Five years after Larry Wilson created Alpha Broadcasting with the backing of Endeavour Capital, the company is combining with its younger sibling: two-year old L&L Broadcasting. As its first order of business, the combination, to be called Alpha Media, has struck a $57 million deal to buy Main Line Broadcasting’s 19 stations in four markets.
Syndicated talk personality Randi Rhodes is calling it quits, announcing she’ll end her show on May 16. The progressive talker airs on about 30 affiliates. “We’ve had a successful partnership with Randi for several years, and we wish her all the best for the future,” a Premiere Networks spokeswoman says. The syndicator says Rhodes made the decision to stop production. Rhodes hasn’t said what’s behind her decision or what her next move will be.
The Media Audit has promoted East Coast regional manager Tracy Austin to vice president and general sales manager. She succeeds Mike Bustell, who exits after 21 years for a new position with an as yet undisclosed company. The Media Audit CEO Phil Beswick calls Austin a natural leader. “She has taken over territories and built a solid business helping clients grow their business,” he says. MORE
Cumulus Media has promoted 12-year oldies WORC-FM, Worcester, MA afternoon drive personality Mark Veau to program director. “In my six years here, Mark has always been a go-to guy to get things done with his specialized knowledge of the audience and promotional history of WORC-FM,” market manager Bob Goodell says. Veau also hosts a weekly public affairs show on WORC-FM, classic hits sister “The Pike 100 FM” WWFX and hot AC WXLO (104.5). MORE
What’s nine hours of airtime worth? For Portland, OR talker KYKN (1430), it’s the cost of keeping host Bill Post on the air. Post is campaigning for an open seat in the House of Representatives and his Republican primary opponent, Barbara Jensen, requested equal time, according to the Statesman Journal. Jensen will host three, one-hour round table discussions and use the rest of her time for one-minute spots that profile local charities. MORE
Forget the mainstream. Austin’s newest radio station is aiming for the fringe. “Fringe Austin” will launch Monday, playing indie rock on 105.3, a translator frequency currently used by Genuine Austin Radio classic country KOKE-FM (99.3). J.B. Hager and Sandy McIlree, previously heard in the market on Entercom hot AC “Mix 94.7” KAMX for 18 years, will host mornings. MORE
Stations banging 35 year-old classics leapt to their highest 6+ PPM ratings ever in March. While Pharrell’s hat and Miley’s twerk appeared to dominate pop culture, stations powered by Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Pink Floyd rode to record-high national shares in the three primary demos. CHR, country, and hot AC also smashed first quarter ratings records. MORE
There’s more national programming on the air than in the past, but in the minds of many listeners local and radio still go hand in hand. A Kassof & Co. survey found two-thirds (65%) consider radio a mainly local medium. Consultant Mark Kassof says it is largely the perception among both genders and among young (18-24 year-olds) and old (55-64). MORE
For the second time this week U.S. Marshals raided and shutdown a pirate radio station. The latest raid came in the Boston where “Touch 106.1” has been on the air for eight years. In a press conference outside the suburban Dorchester station, co-founder Charles Clemons didn’t mince words. “We are unlicensed,” he told reporters. MORE
No cash damages changed hands in Nielsen’s lawsuit against L.M. Communications for alleged copyright violations. But that doesn’t mean the ratings company walked away empty-handed. “L.M. Communications is now a subscriber to Nielsen ratings in all markets,” Nielsen says in a statement. MORE
The New York Auto Show opens to the public today, offering a peek into radio’s evolving position in the connected car. iHeartRadio will be available in Subaru’s new Starlink infotainment system for the first time, bringing a menu of 1,500 live radio stations and the ability to create custom stations from a catalog of 18 million songs. MORE
Oldies may not be such a goodie for Pandora, which a group of six record labels is accusing of infringing on the copyrights on pre-1972 music. “Pandora’s refusal to pay Plaintiffs for its use of these recordings is fundamentally unfair,” the lawsuit says. Capitol Records, Sony Music, Universal Music, Warner Music and ABKCO Music accuse Pandora of a “massive and continuing unauthorized commercial exploitation” for refusing to license the older recordings. MORE
Lost Hank Williams Sr. recordings of a performance he recorded at country KSIB, Creston, IA (1520) in February 1950 are being released next month. The record will feature songs recorded during four episodes of a program that Williams’ record label got on the air by paying for the 15-minute block of airtime. MORE
Sonic logos — from Intel’s “Leap Ahead” music to the three-note chime of NBC — have proven to be powerful branding tools. But they’re not as common on the local level. Classical WCRB, Boston (99.5) is working to change that, as it partners with the Boston Conservatory to see if students can drum one up, so to speak. MORE
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told CNBC that the strong activity seen at the end of March has carried over into April. Despite the tepid start to the year, he now expects the industry to again exceed 15 million units sold.
The Scion has never developed into the big seller that Toyota had hoped, with peak sales of 170,000 vehicles eight years ago. In 2013, Scion sold 68,321 units. And so far this year sales are down 12% from last year. To turn things around, the company will replace three of its current five nameplates over a two-year period starting next year, but promises to stick to the original concept for the brand, an entry-level compact and subcompact.
Los Angeles - Doug Sherman-led Immaculate Heart Radio breaks into the Los Angeles market with a deal to buy “Powerful Gospel Radio” KTYM, Inglewood (1450) from Trans America Broadcasting for $6 million. Immaculate Heart Radio owns a number of other stations in California, including in the San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz, Visalia-Tulare-Hanford, and San Luis Obispo markets. Trans America will reorganize and change its name to Tel-America North Corp. as it continues to own KAIL-TV (channel 7) in the Fresno-Visalia, CA market. MORE DEALS