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Monday, August 31, 2020

Gaga, Ariana, BTS Top VMAs

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards were held last night at various socially distant locations around New York City. Host Keke Palmer appropriately started the show by dedicating the broadcast to Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who died Friday at the age of 43 after a private battle with colon cancer. "We dedicate tonight's show to a man whose spirit touched so many," Palmer said. "He is a true hero, not just on screen, but in everything he did. His impact lives forever."
Mid-show, in the words of Vulture.com, "The 2020 Video Music Awards have basically been the Lady Gaga Show, and hey, we're not complaining." In point of fact, Gaga, Ariana Grande, and BTS led the evening in the number of awards won, taking home four "Moon people" each -- Gaga earned the coveted "Artist Of The Year" trophy, while she and Ariana shared the award for "Song of The Year," "Best Collaboration" and "Best Cinematography" for "Rain On Me;" while Ariana and Justin Bieber went halfsies on the pandemic-inspired "Best Music Video From Home" award for "Stuck With U."
Gaga was also the recipient of the inaugural "MTV Tricon Award," created for being a "Triple-Icon" in 1) music, 2) acting, 3) fashion... and um... 4) activism -- which is actually four things, while The Weeknd won "Video of The Year" for "Blinding Lights." Not surprisingly, K-Pop supergroup BTS won all four of the categories they were nominated in -- "Best Pop," "Best Group," "Best Choreography," and... hang onto something... "Best K-Pop."
Miley Cyrus earned a pair of moon people for "Best Art Direction" and "Best Editing" for "Mother's Daughter," Taylor Swift took home the "Best Direction" trophy for her directorial debut for "The Man" from her Folklore album, and Doja Cat was the recipient of the "Push Best New Artist" award. The complete list of 2020 VMA winners is posted at mtv.com. [Photo: iPhone screenshot]
HITCO

Townsquare Aids Lake Charles Recovery

The crew at Townsquare Media's group in Lake Charles, LA, which took a direct hit from Category 4 Hurricane Laura is working hard to keep their listeners connected and comforted as the recovery moves into its fifth day. Thankfully, the Townsquare broadcast complex was spared from serious damage.
KNGT (Gator 99.5) personalities Mike Soileau and Buddy Russ have been broadcasting live from the studio night and day since last Friday providing news, government agency announcements, traffic info, relief center locations, telling folks where to get food and water, generators, air conditioners... and tire repair due to heavy road debris. Soileau said, "Both of us are born and raised here. This is OUR city and we are so worried about our community. It's an absolute disaster area here and it is going to take not weeks but months for us to recover. But we are going to be here every step of the way as long as Mother Nature and modern technology lets us." Russ added, "I'm sure we could help do roofs or cut trees, but we are WAY better at talking. The response from the community has been amazing. They are providing us with factual info by calling us from their location and sending pictures. Businesses are even sending us selfies to show that they are open and we're putting that on the air! We just want to do what's right for our community. Mike and I grew up here, and we could not sit around any longer and watch our city suffer. We will break our standard New Country format to help our listeners smile and make the best of this situation." For now, the cluster's other jocks are broadcasting from their homes or the nearest safe location.
Market President Darren Ryder said, "After seeing the devastating aftermath in Hurricane Laura's wake, our Townsquare Media engineering team in Lake Charles quickly assessed damages early the next morning and by that afternoon we resumed our radio broadcasts. Townsquare is committed to SWLA and SETX through this crisis as we rebuild our cities and communities. The safety of our staff and listeners is first and foremost. Water and electric infrastructures are badly damaged, and many of the usual civic facilities just aren't in place and won't be for some time. Our team has done selfless, tireless work to get our stations up and running on-air and online. I could not be more proud of our local Lake Charles team. This is what local radio does that nothing else can."
The stations have been broadcasting and streaming steadily since last Thursday, and the digital team and personalities are sending push alerts on each station's app directing people to listen to Gator 99.5, 107.5 Jamz, 92.9 The Lake and 92.1 The Bridge for the latest information. That's Mike Soileau (left) and Buddy Russ (right) bracketing a pair of local American Red Cross reps who went on air to broadcast relief center info.
_Republic

Pros On The Loose

Beasley made some notable personnel cuts in Ft. Myers, FL: RAMP has learned that Matt Mangas is out as PD of AC WJPT (Sunny 106.3) and Active Rock sister WRXK (96K-Rock), along with Sunny APD/morning talent Ralphie Marino.
A lifelong New England radio guy, Marino (pictured) relocated to sunny Florida a year ago to be closer to his children. He previously spent five years doing mornings at CCB Media Hot AC WQRC (99.9 The Q)/Cape Cod, MA while also doing part-time at Beasley Country WKLB (Country 102.5)/Boston. His lengthy resume also includes stops at WKTU/New York, WJMN (Jam'n 94.5), WODS and the former WQSX (Star 93.7)/Boston, as well as WERZ/Portsmouth, NH and the former WIGX (94X)/Nassau-Suffolk, NY. Interested parties can easily reach Ralphie at ralphiethedj@gmail.com.
• Mangas had been in the building this time since Oct. 2016. He previously spent seven years across the street with Sun Broadcasting and enjoyed an earlier run as PD of WRXK from 1996-2001. Earlier in his career Mangas served as OM of WRCN/Long Island. His contact info is forthcoming, pending his approval.
_Interscope - BG

Formats 'N Frequencies

• Seventy years after it first signed on the air, Mid-West Family News-Talk WMAY/Springfield, IL is  making the biggest move in its illustrious history -- starting tomorrow, the station's footprint will be further enhanced with the addition of a powerful new translator signal at 92.7 FM, adding to the station's existing presence at 94.7FM and its original 970 AM.
"Now more than ever, people across Central Illinois are relying on WMAY for breaking news and insightful coverage and commentary of important local, state, and national issues," said Mike Paterson, GM of Mid-West Family Springfield. "Moving WMAY to 92.7 FM expands its reach into downtown office buildings and to inform consumers in surrounding counties." He added, "The pandemic, the rebuilding of the local economy, the election, Statehouse scandals, and more -- these are all reasons why people need a reliable way to stay informed and stay connected. Expanding our on-air reach, in addition to our streaming audio and our extensive online and social media presence, brings that vital information to every place that our audience needs it."
WMAY broadcasts a mix of local and nationally syndicated personalities -- The WMAY Morning Newsfeed features Chris Murphy and Greg Bishop, followed by the WMAY Newsfeed at noon and 24-year station vet Jim Leach in afternoons. Former Springfield alderman Frank McNeil is heard weekday evenings. The lineup also includes Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey, Dr. Asa, and Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis.
• Beasley got busy in Augusta, GA, flipping WGUS-FM from Southern Gospel to Soft AC as Sunny 102.7, under the command of OM Tee Gentry. The new format launched at midnight last Thursday, August 27 with James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)."
The new Sunny 102.7 will feature "Music That Makes You Feel Good," from such artists as Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Whitney Houston, Journey, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Richie... you get the picture.
"Sunny 102.7 is the perfect station to feel good all day long," said VP/GM Kent Dunn. "Music that makes you feel good is universal and what we all need right now. We are thrilled to add Sunny 102.7 to the line-up of Augusta stations."
TJ - Tracy Johnson Media Group

Now Entering Louisville: Dave & Mahoney

Alpha Media Alternative WGHL (ALT 105.1)/Louisville, KY has signed several official-looking documents to become the latest affiliate of The Dave & Mahoney Show in morning drive, starting Monday, September 14.
The Dave & Mahoney Show is hosted by Dave Farra and Jason Mahoney (hence, the show's snappy name) along with Audrey Drake and producer Ian Schebel and originates from Entercom Alternative KXTE (X107.5)/Las Vegas, where it has been a top ratings performer there for more than a decade.
Farra, who also wears the show's stylish Executive Producer hat, says, "Alpha Media is a highly respected broadcasting company with an incredible track record of building winning brands, and PK [ALT 105.1 Content Director Phil 'PK' Kukawinski] is one of the sharpest programmers in the format today." Co-host Jason Mahoney adds, "Plus, Louisville is home to Muhammad Ali, The Kentucky Derby, and countless bourbons... this is right up our alley. We can't wait to wake up the great city of Louisville each morning!"
Kukawinski remarked, "I'm incredibly excited to be bringing Dave & Mahoney to ALT 105.1! I've been a fan of the show for years and finally had the opportunity to bring it all together. I can't wait to share the show with Louisville and all of Kentuckiana! (Guess now would be a good time to hide my bourbon from the guys, too)."
ALT 105.1 now becomes show's 6th affiliate, including its flagship, X107.5/Las Vegas. For more info about syndicating The Dave And Mahoney Show, please email syndication@DaveAndMahoney.com.
BNZ - Benztown

Pros In Motion

• iHeartMedia News-Talk 710 WOR/New York has extended Buck Sexton's live and local show from two to three hours. Effective today, The Buck Sexton Show will be heard weeknights from 6-9pm ET.
"I'm thrilled to be extending my presence on the far-reaching airwaves of WOR," said Sexton, who joined WOR in February 2020. "I look forward to expanding my nightly conversation with fellow New Yorkers and tri-staters about the issues that matter most to us." WOR PD Tom Cuddy said, "Since COVID-19 hit us, Buck has been broadcasting from his apartment in midtown Manhattan and has never missed a day. He has done an outstanding job giving New Yorkers everything they need to know to survive this pandemic, along with his thoughts on the political stories of the day."
Sexton continues to host his Premiere-syndicated The Buck Sexton Show, available weekdays on more than 180 affiliates, in addition to iHeartRadio and a simulcast on Pluto TV's The First channel.
Buck Owens' legendary Country station KUZZ/Bakersfield is ready to unwrap its new morning show -- a scientific combination of veteran wake-up personality Cliff Dumas and 18-year KUZZ veteran Tanya, who will move up from middays. The newly minted duo is pictured here in the historic KUZZ lobby under the watchful eyes of Buck himself, pictured with actor Robert Duvall.
You may recall that former KUZZ morning host Steve Gradowitz retired last December after a remarkable 33-year run. His co-host Geoff Emery, who has been piloting the show solo since then, will move into middays. This new lineup debuts Tuesday, September 8.
Dumas is a multiple CMA, ACM and CCMA-winning broadcaster who most recently co-hosted the Talent Farm-distributed Cliff & Sharon Show with Sharon Burns. He was also the voice of CMT Canada for 15 years and notably spent 24 years with CBC Television in Canada as a writer, voiceover talent and co-producer of 18 Canadian Country Music Awards, and other TV specials.
"We are so excited to welcome a broadcaster of Cliff's caliber onto our station," says KUZZ PD Brent Michaels. "Cliff and Tanya will do a great job starting our day, and Geoff will continue entertaining listeners as they work." Dumas can now be reached at cliff@buckowens.com.
465 - Bob And Tom

In Other News...

• Country superstar Luke Bryan and 32 Bridge Entertainment/EMI Records Nashville recording artist Jon Langston are taking over the midday show on Mt. Wilson Broadcasters' KKGO (Go Country 105)/Los Angeles for the whole month of December, starting today.
Bryan (left), who is also a judge on American Idol, and Langston, who is signed to Bryan's new label with UMG Nashville, 32 Bridge Entertainment, in conjunction with EMI Records Nashville, will share personal stories, their unique perspective on Country music and other cool stuff weekdays from 10am-2pm PT, starting this morning and running through Friday September 25.
"We couldn't be more excited to partner with country stars Luke Bryan and Jon Langston," said Station Manager Michael Levine. "They have such a loyal following in Southern California and I know listeners will be thrilled to hear them on the station each day!"
• Curtis Media Group Top 40 WWPL/WPLW (Pulse FM 96.9 & 102.5)/Raleigh held its annual Back To School Bash over the weekend, this time reimagined as a virtual primetime TV special Saturday night on the local CW affiliate.
The show featured performances by Jasmine Thompson, Lauv, JP Saxe, Tones & I, Zara Larsson, AJR, Kelsea Ballerini, Lewis Capaldi and a special performance by OneRepublic, all to raise money for the UNC Children's Hospital.
The show was hosted by Pulse jocks Jax, Mel & PD Jud Heussler, along with local viral sensation Curtis Waters. Heussler said, "The Pulse FM Back To School Bash has always been one of the station's premier events and we weren't going to let a pandemic change that! Reimagining this event into a TV special let our listeners enjoy the live music they miss safely from their own home." Curtis Media Group SVP & Pulse FM GM David Stuckey commented, "Jud had a vision for this event, he and his staff rolled up their sleeves, did a lot of hard work and put together a show that was star-studded, fast-paced and entertaining." The show is currently available for on-demand viewing at TheNewPulseFM.com.
Futuri

'Cardboard To Headboard' -- Radio Helps Vets

Radio stations around the country are urgently working together to house at least 2,000 more homeless veterans in support of the Veterans Matter -- National Homeless Veterans Housing Program. With COVID-19 presenting an increased danger to the lives of vulnerable homeless veterans, who are often sleeping on nothing more than a piece of cardboard, a growing number of radio stations are responding to the call and stepping up to help move more homeless veterans from cardboard to a headboard in a home of their own.
Radio engagement is being shepherded by Mike McVay, President of McVay Media, who said, "One of radios greatest assets is community involvement. Serving those who served our country is the least we can do. We need to get the message out and engage listeners and total communities to help the homeless veterans now -- when they need us most. Stations that use the #Cardboard2Headboard Campaign to engage their entire community will be appreciated as a heart of the community, including the loyal veteran communities."
Participating stations (like WFMS/Indianapolis, shown here) are running :30 PSAs and social media videos produced by artists including John Mellencamp, Lee Brice, George Thorogood, Brantley Gilbert, Kane Brown, Carly Pearce, Chase Rice, Justin Moore, Mitchell Tenpenny and others.
Veterans Matter is an innovative growing grass-roots program that partners with local Veterans Affairs (VA) homeless programs to successfully house thousands of homeless vets. Because of this partnership every dollar Veterans Matter deploys results in another veteran housed in long term housing that has a 91% success rate. To date, Veterans Matter has housed nearly 4,000 veterans in 25 states. "Times are tough, but our veterans never quit fighting for us, so we sure as hell are never going to quit fighting for them," said Ken Leslie, Founder of Veterans Matter and formerly homeless himself. "Every veteran deserves their own home for the brave in the land of the free." For more information about this life-changing program, please visit Cardboard2Headboard.org. Stations or artists wanting more information can email trish@veteransmatter.org.
JAM - John Garabedian
BNZ - Benztown
Oceanic Tradewinds, T&T Creative and Westwood One jump into the Winner's Circle on Labor Day with the debut of Winning with Jekalyn Carr, hosted by 23-year-old Gospel phenom Jekalyn Carr, a seven-time Billboard #1 chart-topper, who has been called "one of the world's most powerful people" by Ebony magazine. Winning with Jekalyn Carr is available as a one-hour daily show and a two-hour weekend program that works in both the Inspirational and Urban formats. That's Ms. Carr (center), bookended by Derek Harper, OM of Radio One Atlanta and Inspirational Format Director, and Gary Bernstein of Oceanic Tradewinds on the right. Harper said of Ms. Carr, "She's the face of the format for the next decade and beyond."
Tracy Bethea, PD of iHeartMedia's WHAL (95.7 Hallelujah FM)/Memphis said, "I love her personality... and her incredible focus, depth, and power translates into a winning radio program for the ages." Reggie Baker, Regional Praise PD for Urban One Richmond and Charlotte remarked, "Jekalyn is destined to be the next big radio star -- I'm all in on this one," and not to be outdone, Skip Dillard, VP of Programming for Mediaco's WBLS and Gospel WLIB-AM/New York said, "Jekalyn continues to excel at everything she does. The holiday programs she produced for us were wonderful."
All programs, including the one-hour video/audio Labor Day special are available barter-free right through September. Don't wait -- cross the finish line now by contacting Gary Bernstein at 508-245-1776 or gary@oceanictradewinds.com.
• The world continues to mourn the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, who died Friday, August 28, at the age of 43 after a private four-year battle with colon cancer. He is survived by his wife and family, who were at his side when he died.
Before he was cast as Black Panther superhero, King T'Challa, Boseman's career took off as he portrayed Black American icons Jackie Robinson in 2013's 42, James Brown in 2014's Get on Up, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017's Marshall. Although Boseman never spoke publicly about his colon cancer diagnosis, he worked through his treatment for much of his career. Boseman most recently appeared in Spike Lee's Vietnam War drama Da 5 Bloods, and this year he will appear opposite Viola Davis in the forthcoming film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, a film adaptation of the August Wilson play, directed by George C. Wolfe.
Born the youngest of three boys and raised in Anderson, SC, Boseman wrote and staged his first play while still in high school and earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Howard University. After moving to New York, Boseman was a part of the local theater scene, and landed guest roles on Law & Order, CSI: NY, Justified and ER. He was also a series regular on NBC's Persons Unknown.
Out of respect for Boseman's amazing career, Benztown has made available an Audio Tribute to Chadwick Boseman, written by Bill Royal, voiced by Kenny Smoov, and produced by Tom Green.
Saga Communications
This email was sent to mikemcvay@mcvaymedia.com.
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