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Media Groups Call on Congress for Local News Media Support

Today, four national media organizations representing thousands of local newspapers and local broadcast media outlets - the News Media Alliance, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), National Newspaper Association (NNA) and America's Newspapers - jointly called on Congress to provide critical support to local news media in its next stimulus bill designed to provide relief to businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In its summary document, the organizations specifically call for Congress to ensure the ability of local media to seek relief under the Paycheck Protection Program and to fund federal advertising spending on local media through directing current U.S. government advertising campaigns to local news and media outlets, and providing the Department of Health and Human Services, the Small Business Administration and other relevant agencies with an additional $5-10 billion for direct funding for local media advertising that would be evenly distributed to local media in communities of all sizes.

News Media Alliance President & CEO David Chavern stated, "Local news provides reliable, fact-based information that is absolutely critical to communities, particularly during events like the COVID-19 crisis. This is evident in the public's incredible demand for information from local publishers. However, the rapidly contracting ad market in response to the pandemic is dealing a sharp and immediate blow to local news publishing. If this continues, there won't be local journalism in many communities." Readers have rushed to local news outlets to obtain reliable news and information about their communities, but most of the value of the online engagement flows to the dominant tech platforms. The sharp decline in the general ad market since the COVID-19 pandemic began has caused the revenue of local publishers to contract dramatically.

According to an industry survey, despite record audience, most publishers who saw an increase in subscriptions from February saw growth of under 10 percent. Additionally, advertising and other sources of revenue are projected to fall by at least 25 percent, with many expecting declines of over 50 percent. As a result, a wide range of local news publishers have been forced to consider layoffs, furloughs or pay cuts, just when the public needs them the most.

National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith stated, "NAB is proud to join our friends at the News Media Alliance, National Newspaper Association and America's Newspapers in support of local media. In communities across America, local broadcasters and local newspapers provide an indispensable source of credible journalism and community focused information that simply cannot be replaced by other media platforms. We urgently request that policymakers support our effort to preserve advertising-supported local media outlets that are so important to the fabric of daily life."

National Newspaper Association President and publisher of the Douglas (Wy.) Budget Matt Adelman stated, "Local newspapers are valiantly serving their communities to the best of their abilities through the COVID-19 public health crisis. They are more critical than ever at a time like this. As the nation pulls together to get through this period, local media need the revenue from advertising and the public needs essential messages from the government."

America's Newspapers CEO Dean Ridings, stated, "In the face of business challenges that are pervasive and all-encompassing, our member newspapers are carrying out their mission to provide their communities with vital news and information. The assistance we are asking for today is an investment in sustaining the information infrastructure that is an essential element for a successful American response to this public health crisis."

Radio Milwaukee Names Kevin Sucher 88Nine Executive Director

Kevin Sucher
Kevin Sucher

Kevin Sucher is named Executive Director of non-commercial WYMS-FM (88Nine Radio)/Milwaukee. A Milwaukee native, Sucher worked as a professional musician for several years and has been nominated for three Grammy Awards. With more than over 20 years of leadership and business experience in the entertainment industry, he's run his own Milwaukee-based management, production and consulting agency, Sucher Entertainment, since 2008. In 2012, Sucher was hired as the president/CEO of Truth Records, a Houston Texas-based artist management company.

"While rooted in Milwaukee, Kevin brings connections and innovative ideas drawn from his national music industry experience," said Radio Milwaukee Board President Juli Kaufmann. "He is an inclusive leader who brings fresh perspective to enhance our already exceptional team. We are thrilled to advance our mission under Kevin's leadership."

"We're finding that 88Nine's unique programming, including changes we've made to respond to the situation, is providing comfort to Milwaukee residents sheltering at home," added Sucher. "The organization's commitment -- especially at this critical time - to creating a more inclusive and engaged Milwaukee by connecting us through music is something I'm incredibly passionate about."

As executive director, Sucher is responsible for management of the station and leading the organization. To ensure a smooth change in leadership, he started in his new position this week in an overlapped transition period with outgoing Executive Director Glenn Kleiman.

Country Radio Hall of Fame Rescheduled for September 3

The Country Radio Broadcasters has announced that the 2020 Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction and Dinner ceremony is rescheduled due to uncertainties surrounding the recent spread of COVID-19. The annual event, initially scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, will take place on Thursday, September 3, at the Westin Nashville.

CRB's Board President, Kurt Johnson, commented, "For the safety of our Country family attending the ceremony, we are delaying the CRHOF event, and encourage everyone to stay safe. I want to say congratulations to the Class of 2020. While we are sad to hold off an evening celebrating you, it will definitely be all the sweeter when we can gather later. See you then!"

As previously announced, the 2020 Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees include three off-air radio broadcasters and three on-air radio personalities. The off-air honorees are Jim Duncan, Victor Sansone, and George Beasley. The on-air honorees are Tim Wilson, Chuck Edwards, and Mark "Hawkeye" Louis.

The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of those individuals who have made significant contributions to the radio industry over a 20-year period, 15 of which must be in the Country format.


Entercom Sees Major Growth Across Podcast Network

Citing Podtrac and Triton, today, Entercom announced blockbuster audience growth across its Podcast Network, which includes Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, outperforming recent softness in listening reported among other leading podcasters. The company also announced new record listenership of 28 million listeners worldwide during the month of March.

Since February 14, listenership for Entercom podcasts is up across virtually every category, including:

  • 60% across society and culture podcasts
  • 34% in true crime
  • 27% within news and politics
  • 26% in music
  • 23% in arts

The best performing new titles from Cadence13 include Unlocking Us with Brené Brown, and America Dissected: Coronavirus, a leading voice in the crisis conversation, catapulted to be one of the most popular podcasts.

Pineapple Street Studios also recently launched two new titles to help audiences through these uncertain times. The Kids are All... Home is a show for kids, by kids, leveraging the creativity of young producers all around the globe who are stuck at home, while also helping them make sense of their newly disrupted lives. Doctors' Log, from Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor, is an intimate audio diary from Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency physician, who reveals what's happening in hospitals across the country, sharing stories of heroism and providing vital information for staying safe.

Adams Radio CEO Issues Open Letter to Independent Broadcasters

Ron Stone
Ron Stone

The following is an open letter to independent broadcasters from Ron Stone, President & CEO of Adams Radio Group: This letter was sent to all the independent broadcasters that I had email addresses for yesterday. I am sending this now as an open letter to ensure I reach every independent radio owner and operator as I believe we have a unique opportunity in front of us.

These are strange times to say the least. I have been thinking about the power of radio and the fact that there are so many independent radio stations in America that make a difference every day in our individual communities. Often the large public groups accomplish great things on their own to help various causes. Given that independent operators like you and I represent only a small number of stations individual, but together, represent more radio licenses than all the public companies combined, I thought we could use that power for something amazing and show the country and our own industry that independent radio still matters.

There has been plenty for all of us to reflect on these past few weeks. Something that has remained constant on my mind is the number of people that just weeks ago were getting along seemingly okay, only to realize that missing one or two paychecks has impacted the most basic human need: providing sufficient food for their family.

I reached out to "Feeding America" https://www.feedingamerica.org/ to see if they would consider working with independent radio stations, coming together as a collective group (Independent Broadcasters Association or "IBA") to coordinate a one day nationwide fundraiser to help feed people that have been most impacted by this crisis. They have responded affirmatively and with much enthusiasm. The concept for radio could be fairly simple:

  • Promote the one-day event for three or four days prior to it
  • Conduct the event (every independent radio station simultaneously 6a-6p)
  • Continue reminding listeners post-event for another three or four days to allow stragglers to contribute

Every station could do the one-day event as they see fit. Some may choose an all-day radiothon, similarly to St. Judes Country Cares. Others may choose to just provide talking points throughout the day. Whatever can be best executed by your station(s). The bottom line is collectively we all do the best we can to raise as much as we can from our listeners for a cause that has never been greater.

Feeding America will host the landing page that listeners will be sent to. That link can be placed on your web sites and social media. All the talking points needed will also be provided for your on-air staff by Feeding America. I suspect there are plenty of local food shelf volunteers that could participate by phone with knowledge about how many people are in need to make your broadcast excellent. 100% of all money raised will go to Feeding America.

At the end of the event, local independent radio will all be able to promote the total amount raised by the "IBA" sharing with our listeners the power of local radio. Imagine the possibilities of what several thousand radio stations working together could accomplish!

The first step in this is to gather the information on all the companies that would be willing to participate. Adams Radio has set up a landing page to collect this information which you can access HERE.

I am asking that every broadcaster that wants to participate, enter their information on that site by April 15 so that we have your information and can distribute to you what you will need for the event. The target event date would be April 30, the day we all are hoping will be the last for the shelter in place orders. That gives everyone 15 days to prepare which should be plenty.

This is our chance to show that radio, specifically independent radio, is very much alive and well and doing what we have always done best, serving our communities. I hope you will participate. If we find success in this event, we may be onto something big for independent radio operators. A new organization designed specifically for us. An Independent Broadcasters Association. A co-op organization working together to accomplish many great things in the future for our communities and our own operations. There are so many ways we can help each other by working together. The power of many will go a long way! Please consider the concept.

Thank you.


Entercom Teams with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

Feed the Need Radiothon
Feed the Need Radiothon

Entercom has announced the "Feed the Need Radiothon" in Pittsburgh to benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The radiothon, which aims to fund 100,000 meals to help displaced workers who are utilizing the emergency drive up distribution sites as well as food pantries in and around the Pittsburgh region, will be broadcast live on KDKA-AM (News Radio 1020), KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan), WBZZ-FM (100.7 Star) and WDSY-FM (Y108) on Tuesday, April 14 from 7am to 5pm ET. The initiative is part of the companywide Stay Connected campaign which aligns its crisis efforts in producing impactful and compelling content, promotions and partnerships to support local communities.

"Radio serves as a lifeline for local communities and brings them together in times of need. Pittsburghers always come together and this is no exception," said Entercom Pittsburgh Senior Vice President and Market Manager Michael Spacciapolli. "We are looking forward to leveraging our voice to help our friends and neighbors through the 'Feed the Need Radiothon' in partnership with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. We hope to do our part and help our community during this pandemic."

"We are facing challenging times as a community and as a nation," added Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank President/CEO Lisa Scales. "With your help, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is committed to keeping the community fed during this time of crisis. Lending a hand and helping a neighbor in need is what Pittsburgh does best. We are deeply grateful for Entercom and their family of stations, and we are excited to partner on the "Feed the Need Radiothon." This effort will help ensure that all of our neighbors have enough to eat during this uncertain time."

During the radiothon, News Radio 1020 KDKA, 93.7 The Fan, 100.7 Star and Y108 will broadcast live throughout the day, featuring hourly interviews and updates focused on the fundraising effort to support those in need. Listeners are encouraged to donate online and via phone call or text message.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank distributed more than one million more pounds of food in March 2020 than was distributed in March, 2019. The Food Bank has also seen an increase of 543 percent of people coming to the warehouse for support. Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank was founded in Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1980 to support those dealing with unemployment after the collapse of the steel Industry.

Entercom Pittsburgh partners with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank annually. For more information, please visit KDKARadio.com/feedtheneed.

JVC Media, WPOZ Partner for On-air Easter Sunrise Service

Stay-at-Home Easter Sunrise Service
Stay-at-Home Easter Sunrise Service

JVC Media announces a partnership with heritage Orlando station WPOZ-FM to broadcast Z88.3's "Stay-at-Home" Easter Sunrise Service. U.S. churches will be closed for in-person Easter services this year due to the coronavirus crisis. While Easter service has long been a springtime celebration that brings together the faithful, church leaders have scrambled to maintain these traditions without bringing large numbers of people together. One of WPOZ's annual traditions is their Easter Sunrise Service.

WPOZ President and CEO Jim Hoge said, "Though this year may look different, we'd still love to stay safe and celebrate together with you and your family, and we will provide this important service through our radio station to our listeners and we are honored to do it."

When the staff of JVC Media approached Executive VP Shane Reeve about broadcasting an Easter service on their own stations, Reeve immediately reached out to market leader WPOZ for advice. "Jim Hoge and the entire staff of WPOZ couldn't have been more accommodating and helpful. All of us in the radio business know that this is what we are built for; serving our community and sticking together when times get tough," said Reeve.

The idea grew into a broadcast in all JVC markets. "When Shane Reeve told me about this, I said we need to air services in Ocala, Gainesville, and Long Island as well. This is not the time for competition. This is the time to up our game and help our communities worship through technology and radio which is always there for you. I am so proud of the WPOZ and JVC teams for putting this together. Special thanks to WPOZ's Jim Hoge for allowing us to broadcast this programming," said JVC Media President and CEO John Caracciolo.

This Easter Sunday Ellis and Tyler from Z88.3 Mornings host a special service to celebration Easter together starting at 6:45am. The broadcast will be heard in Orlando on WPOZ 88.3 FM and WOTW 103.1 FM, in Gainesville-Ocala, FL on WXUS 102.3 FM, and on Long Island, NY on LI News Radio 103.9 FM.

Hubbard Radio Launches the ''Fight Back Give Back'' Program

Fight Back Give Back
Fight Back Give Back

Hubbard Radio/West Palm Beach has created the "Fight Back Give Back" program to help local charities raise awareness and funds during the COVID-19 crisis. The company says that the need in, and around, the Palm Beach County area is unprecedented and "only by working together can we rise up against hardship and unite in our efforts to help those most affected by this invisible killer."

To provide charities a voice, and connection, to a passionate community of listeners, Hubbard West Palm Beach is committing to donate up to $1,000,000 worth of commercial airtime in April and May to Fight Back Give Back.

"We're happy to lend our microphone to the organizations that do so much for our community. 'We're in this together' is being widely used right now, but there are no truer words. We hope this opportunity will help the not-for-profit organizations we work with day in and day out, get through this time a little easier," said Hubbard Radio.

Designated local charities will receive 50 thirty-second PSA announcements airing Monday, April 13 through Sunday, May 31 across its seven stations (97.9 WRMF, Party 96.3, New Country 103.1, Sunny 107.9, X102.3, 850 WFTL & Fox Sports 640 South Florida).


Cumulus Media Hit with Layoffs, Furloughs and Pay Cuts

Like many other companies in the industry, Cumulus Media finds itself instituting layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, in a videotaped message to employees. Cumulus CEO Mary Berner laid out the details for a plan she said "was not easy but necessary." Calling it a COVID-19 people plan, Berner said the plan was temporary.

Under the plan, over 80% of salaried employees will be taking three individual weeks of furlough (no work, no pay). The three weeks will be taken in one week installments over a 15-week period beginning April 20th.

Two additional groups will also be affected including a number of people in positions which can't be covered by others during their absence. People Cumulus depends on for financial controls or those who don't have someone above them or in their department who can cover for them. The people in this group will be asked to take a 90 day pay cut effective April 16th while they remain in their jobs and work them for those 90 days.

The other group includes employees whose job functions or responsibilities have been greatly reduced or eliminated entirely as a result of the COVID 19 impact. These employees will be put on a straight 90 day furlough effective April 16.

Berner did not give an exact number regarding how many Cumulus employees will be put out on a 90-day furlough. She did say the company intends to bring them back when normal business operations resume.

In the video message she said, "Even though these are intended to be temporary actions, I know they are going to land hard, really hard and that is in the emotional and financial toll that a furlough or salary cut will take on each of you, but also in terms of the increased workload the vast majority of you will have to take on during your co-workers furlough weeks. I am truly sorry and sad about this announcement. None of you deserves this."

AMPG Names Duchesne Drew President of MPR Division

Duchesne Drew
Duchesne Drew

After an extensive national search, Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of American Public Media Group (APMG) and CEO of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), today announced that Duchesne Drew has been named president of MPR effective May 4.

Drew will lead strategy, programming and daily operations serving MPR's growing regional audiences through MPR News, Classical MPR, The Current and MPR's rapidly expanding digital, social and mobile services. Drew imports from the Bush Foundation, where he led the foundation's leadership programs, community innovation and communication teams and built networks across the region as its Community Network vice president. Prior to his role at Bush Foundation, Drew was managing editor of operations at the Star Tribune, where he began as a summer intern and rose to one of the most senior roles in the newsroom. Last year, he was honored with the Widening the Circle Award by ThreeSixty Journalism, recognizing individuals who have contributed to the next generation of journalists, particularly while promoting inclusion and diversity.

"Duchesne is absolutely the right leader for our regional services - especially during this extraordinary time. He has terrific leadership and news experience, and his commitment to using public media to inform and inspire people is a perfect fit for MPR," said McTaggart. "Duchesne has a wonderful ability to connect with people and welcome new ideas. He brings passion and curiosity about how MPR can serve our audiences even better."

"I'm delighted to be joining MPR," Drew said. "Minnesotans are relying on MPR now more than ever. Our music and news services are proving their importance in people's lives. I'm honored to lead these talented teams and I look forward to helping us serve even more Minnesotans."

In addition to serving on the board of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Drew is a member of the Itasca Project's working team and Make It. MSP.'s Leadership Council, which is focused on attracting and retaining talent within the Twin Cities region. Drew's other board commitments include the African American Leadership Forum, the Monitors Club, the Leadership Learning Community and the Columbia Daily Spectator.

Since November, Tim Roesler, APMG's chief business development officer, has served as interim president of MPR and he will assist with this leadership transition through the end of June. Tim will then return to his responsibilities developing new business and earned revenue support for the APM Group.

"Without missing a beat, Tim stepped into the role as interim president of MPR last year," McTaggart said. "His strong leadership added stability during a time of change, and we have all relied on his many talents, good humor, and his no-nonsense, compassionate approach."

Memo Details Radio One, Reach Media Layoffs, Furloughs

Radio One
Radio One

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, Radio One and Reach Media sent employees a memo concerning layoffs at the Urban radio broadcaster. Many sales and promotions positions are the most affected including some air personalities. Here's the entire memo:

"Today is an extremely difficult day for all of us at Radio One and Reach.

As you are aware, we are faced with a time of uncertainty and it is not business as usual. Our businesses have been dramatically affected by the effect of the coronavirus on our advertisers. We have experienced significant cancellations for second quarter and new business is coming in at a trickling rate. The decline in revenues forces us to react soundly and appropriately to ensure that we are able to operate our businesses going forward.

Unfortunately, this meant having to make very difficult decisions to furlough or layoff many employees, across all divisions of the company today. While we hope to bring many of them back, unfortunately at this time we do not know when this crisis will end."

Voxnest's Podcast Platform Spreaker Integrates With Nielsen


Voxnest has signed a new agreement with Nielsen for the use of Nielsen Audience Segments. Under the deal, both advertisers who utilize Voxnest Audience Network and podcast publishers on Voxnest's Spreaker will utilize the integrated data in order to achieve an understanding of podcast listeners, get specific with audience targeting and drive better advertising outcomes overall.

Voxnest Audience Network -- a marketplace with more than 20,000 podcasts and 200 million monthly downloads -- helps advertisers connect with prospective customers, target their niche and optimize for best results. With the integration of Nielsen Audience Segments, advertisers in the programmatic marketplace will be able to get even more granular with delivering ads to specific segments of podcast listeners based on data like purchase intent, demographics, interests, geography, psychographics and media consumption.

While the entire programmatic podcast ad segment saw some growth in 2019, Voxnest's network increased 138.5 percent year-over-year. As the segment continues to grow, advertisers, agencies and podcast publishers are all seeking more data to help inform and improve the decisions involved in their ad strategy. Access to precise data is even more important now amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic; advertisers want to be comfortable allocating their budgets towards buys that are accurate, and Voxnest's says its relationship with Nielsen helps to ensure that.

The agreement with Nielsen will also extend to content creators and publishers -- with Professional and Enterprise level plans -- on Spreaker. In the secondary phase of the integration, Nielsen Audience Segments will give podcasters podcast analytics dashboard, including detailed demographics and a host of useful information.

"The podcast advertising market is rapidly growing and changing, and while that makes it an exciting time to be in the industry, our clients - especially sales organizations like Katz Digital - are also looking for data to help them navigate this new territory," said Voxnest COO Andrea De Marsi. "We're excited that working with Nielsen will give them an even deeper understanding of how to connect with the right listeners."

"Nielsen Audience Segments is a product that's derived from our high quality audience data, and it gives a complete view of the consumer and enables targeting across all the major listening platforms," added Nielsen Vice President of Business Development Jonathan Schwartz. "We're thrilled to help Voxnest's clients and partners make even smarter advertising decisions."


iHM & Aaron Mahnke Extend Partnership for Podcast Development

iHeartMedia has announced a multi-year extension to the iHeartPodcast Network's exclusive partnership with esteemed author and podcast creator, Aaron Mahnke. The deal includes two more years of new content for the popular "Cabinet of Curiosities," two new seasons of "Unobscured" as well as an executive producer role for the newly launched hit "Strange Arrivals," additional seasons of "Noble Blood" and a new scripted series set to launch this fall. Additionally, the partnership will add a slate of five new podcasts to feature groundbreaking talent including Rabia Chaudry - attorney, advocate and author of the New York Times bestselling book "Adnan's Story."

A pioneer of the podcasting medium, Mahnke rose to fame several years ago with his megahit show, "Lore," which is still one of the most downloaded podcasts in the world and was spun off into a TV show, book series and live tour. In 2018, iHeartMedia and Mahnke entered into an exclusive partnership to create an original slate of podcasts. This resulted in new, huge hits like "Unobscured" and "Cabinet of Curiosities." As part of this deal, Mahnke also began to executive produce new shows including "Noble Blood," which reached the top of podcast charts everywhere when it launched last year.

"History is one of those areas that has a lot of value for us right now," said Mahnke. "We can be entertained by it, learn from it, and even add new pieces to its incomplete puzzles-and my partnership with iHeart allows me to do a lot more of all of that through their openness to new ideas and industry-leading production staff. I couldn't be more excited about the future."

In addition to being available on digital, full episodes and vignettes of the extended content slate will air on broadcast radio, bringing this exceptional storytelling to iHeartMedia's more than a quarter of a billion monthly broadcast listeners.

"Aaron ranks among the most innovative, groundbreaking creators at work today, in any medium, and so we are putting all of iHeartMedia's resources behind him to make more podcast content, faster, for bigger audiences," said Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartPodcast Network. "This is one of the best parts of our job-putting some of the best creators in the world, on the biggest stage in the world. Beyond being Aaron's business partner, we are also just huge fans and couldn't be more excited about what's to come."

Triplett Broadcasting Co-founder Robert Triplett Dead at 97

Robert "Bob" Triplett

Radio Online is saddened to report the death of Robert "Bob" Triplett who died this past Sunday at the VA Medical Center in Chillicothe, Ohio. He was 97.

A life-long resident of Ohio, Bob had a multitude of accomplishments in his life. He was the first high school athlete to run the mile in under 5 minutes and was a Golden Glove boxer. Bob was a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran. During World War II, he trained pilots in the use of radar on combat missions. He studied to become a broadcast engineer and was General Manager of WKOV in Wellston, Ohio. In 1972, he and his brother, Wendell, formed Triplett Broadcasting Company, owning and operating several radio stations throughout Ohio and Kentucky. Bob built several of these properties and managed them as well.

After retiring at age 70 he still continued as a contract engineer with many stations in Ohio and West Virginia.

Bob is survived by his wife, Irene (Hunter) Triplett, six children and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Among his surviving children is Ed Douglas who is the Senior Vice President of Affiliate Relations with the Tom Kent Radio Network.

Due to the current pandemic situation, private graveside services will be held in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Kingston, Ohio. Calling hours will not be observed. The family is planning and will announce a public Memorial Service when conditions allow.

Radio Online would like to express our deepest condolences to the Triplett family.

JVC Media/Long Island, Florida Gives Away Free Airtime

JVC Media's Open For Business
JVC Media's Open For Business

JVC Media announces that it's opening the airwaves of all of its stations in all markets to help promote local essential businesses and services that are still open and still serving the community. JVC Florida stations including Orlando's "103.1 The Wolf" and "Florida Man Radio 660/105.5" and Ocala's "Q92.9," "True Oldies Y100.1" and "US102.3" are calling this "Quarantine Speed Advertising." JVC New York stations including "My Country 96.1," "Oldies 98.1," "La Fiesta 98.5," "LI News Radio 103.1" and "Party 105.3" are promoting the "Pandemic Business Shout Out."

The message is simple. In Florida call the Quarantine Speed Advertising line at 407-647-5332, in New York call 631-542-5441, and leave a 30-second voicemail showcasing your business. The JVC team will produce your message and play it on the appropriate radio station free of charge.

"Now more than ever, our community needs to come together and stay at home to keep their families and loved ones safe," said JVC Executive VP of Florida Shane Reeve. "We are committed to our communities and we will use every asset available to us to serve them."

JVC/New York Executive VP Bruce Shepard added, "Consumers are spending less time in cars, at concerts, and other out of home locations. With consumers hunkered down in their homes with radios and smart speakers playing radio stations, radio wins. Listeners want interaction not just a play list. We have been overwhelmed with calls to our Pandemic Business Shout out and we are happy to help local businesses get the word out".

JVC Media President and CEO John Caracciolo said, "This is the time for radio to shine. We are not closed, we are not automated, we are live, local, and serving our local communities. I don't see the streaming or satellite services offering something like that."

Report: Bandokoudis Sues Entercom for Discrimination

Afentra Bandokoudis
Afentra Bandokoudis

Afentra Bandokoudis, the former co-host of "Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz" on Alternative KRBZ-FM (96.5 The Buzz)/Kansas City, is suing parent company Entercom alleging discrimination and retaliation after she was fired in 2018, reports the Kansas City Star. Bandokoudis filed suit in U.S. District Court in Kansas in late March, accusing Entercom of paying male air personalities like Johnny Dare and Scott Geiger (aka Lazlo) a larger salary despite her morning show "consistently outperforming" that of her male counterparts.

According the suit, Bandokoudis made a base salary of $100,000 while John Caprefoli (Johnny Dare) on co-owned KQRC-FM, made "considerable higher" than the $185,000 paid to Geiger. Both men also received monthly endorsement rates and special bonuses such as Entercom stock.

Bandokoudis joined KRBZ in 2002 until her termination in August, 2018, except for a two-year stint at a Seattle radio station from 2007-2009, according to the lawsuit and reported by the Star. She married KRBZ afternoon host Geiger, to whom she reported to at KRBZ in 2005. The couple filed for divorce in 2017, which was finalized the following year shortly before Bandokoudis left KRBZ, court records in Johnson County show.

Bandokoudis in 2015 told Geiger of the discriminatory practices she believed were going on at Entercom, which included having a smaller budget than Johnny Dare's morning show, as well as his show receiving preference for booking on-air guests, such as comedy acts appearing in Kansas City, according to the lawsuit.

The newspaper said that Bandokoudis' lawsuit references her involvement in a physical confrontation that occurred at Entercom's offices at an unspecified time, which Entercom allegedly did not investigate. Bandokoudis' suit claims she was fired because of her sex and in retaliation for making complaints to Entercom. She is seeking back pay, lost wages and liquidated damages from Entercom.

Max Media to Present ''Virtual Hugs for Heroes''

Max Media
Max Media

Max Media in Virginia Beach is organizing a virtual event to honor local healthcare workers, first responders and public service workers. On Good Friday, April 10 at 5pm ET, all six Max Media stations will join with local community leaders for "Virtual Hugs for Heroes." The event is designed to support and thank the people who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic while respecting the governors' stay-at-home order.

"We at Max Media are amazed and appreciative of the incredibly dedicated and selfless actions of our healthcare, first responders and public service communities! Putting themselves in harm's way for all of us everyday during this pandemic, is why we wanted to recognize them in a special broadcast this Friday," commented Max Media Hampton Roads VP/GM Keith Barton.

The "Virtual Hugs for Heroes" program will feature messages from local mayors, a prayer of healing and hope from Pastor Heath Krueger of Spring Branch Community Church, special music and a huge thanks to our local healthcare workers who are sacrificing so much to help our family, friends and neighbors through this unprecedented time. "Virtual Hugs for Heroes" gives Hampton Roads a chance to safely show our gratitude for these altruistic, hardworking individuals.

"Virtual Hugs for Heroes" will be available on-air on the following stations: 97.3 The Eagle, 92.9 The WAVE, HOT 100, ESPN Radio 94.1, Solid Gold 97.3 WGH-FM-HD2 and 1310 The Power. The program can also be heard on each station's website and free app.


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