Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, May 22, 2015

| May 22, 2015

2015 NYC 150State of Radio Audience Measurement Systems to Be Scrutinized at Talkers New York 2015.  One of the highlights of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 that is sparking a tremendous amount of interest is the high-powered panel, “The State of Radio Ratings.”  Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the scheduled speakers (in alphabetical order) include: Phil Boyce, SVP Salem Media;  Erica Farber, president/CEO RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO Amplifi Media; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP audience insights Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO Moceri Media. The session will be introduced by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade and sponsored by Salem Media.   TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Lots of folks are talking about this panel – so much is brewing in the rapidly changing world of radio audience measurement – whether it is Nielsen Audio making moves to unify over-the-air and online listening or the emergence of interesting new inventions such as the Voltair system and the evolution of PPM…this event will be loaded with provocative questions, answers and takeaways.”  The 18th annual installment of longest-running and most important national talk media industry convention takes place on Friday, June 12 at the historic India House in Manhattan’s financial district.  Although sold out, the event still has several sponsorship opportunities still available.  For information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.

hubbardradio logoJeremy Sinon Named Corporate Digital Director for Hubbard Broadcasting.  This is a promotion to the corporate level for Jeremy Sinon who has been serving as the digital director for Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities operations.  He will continue in that role in addition to his new post as corporate digital director.  The company says that in this position Sinon willsinonjeremy work closely with Hubbard EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler and president/COO Drew Horowitz to “oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals.”  Speaking about his new position, Sinon says, “It’s really an honor to be given this opportunity to help lead the digital efforts for a company that I care so much about.  When I started at Hubbard in 2006 I was one of the first digitally focused hires the company ever made.  It amazes me every day when I look around and see how much we’ve grown since.  I’m excited about the future.  We have really big things in store for us.”  Prior to the last nine years with Hubbard Radio, Sinon was a digital director for the iHeartMedia radio group in Minneapolis and worked at the digital agency Omnera.

irs logoHoward Stern Show at Center of IRS-Privacy Issue.  In a case that some might say could only happen on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show, an IRS staffer has allegedly caused some headaches for the agency that could result in a lawsuit.  Here’s the story: an IRS employee was on the phone with a woman who had called with a question about her tax situation.  Unbeknownst to her, the staffer sternhowardwas also on hold waiting to get onto the Howard Stern show as “Jimmy from Long Island.”  At some point, the call between the taxpayer and “Jimmy” was put on the show but the staffer didn’t realize it.  Stern let the call air for a few minutes before trying to alert “Jimmy” that his call was on the program.  After the segment was over, the female taxpayer began receiving texts and emails from people telling her that her personal information was broadcast on the Howard Stern show.  She is now threatening a lawsuit – against the IRS.  Remember, the FCC doesn’t regulate satellite radio in the same way it does AM/FM radio and it appears Stern did nothing wrong.  For its part, the IRS has released a statement that it’s aware of the situation and puts taxpayer privacy very high on its list of priorities and promises it is investigating the matter.

Odds & Sods. The former longtime radio voice of Michigan Wolverines football, Frank Beckman, tells his WJR,beckmanfrank Detroit audience that his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show will continue as he and owner Cumulus Media have agreed to a three-year extension to his current contract…..SiriusXM is broadcasting this weekend’s college lacrosse action.  The satcaster says it will present the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals and National Championship game live from Lincoln Financial Field in Philly on Saturday and Monday…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series that takes in-depth looks at Southern California communities in Downey on June 12.  The daylong live remote broadcast will emanate from popular local meeting place Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.

talkersten logoStephanopoulos Clinton Donations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 18-22.  The issue of ABC TV’s George Stephanopoulos making donations to the Clinton Family Foundation without disclosing it to the network or the public was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with Iraq policy questions.  Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton private emails matter followed by ISIS’ taking of Ramadi and Palmyra at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

collinschuckWAKR, Akron’s Chuck Collins Dies After Battle with Cancer. The Northeast Ohio radio pro was just 62 years old and had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013.  Chuck Collins was most recently operations manager and a talk host for Rubber City Radio’s WAKR, Akron.  As part of his OM duties he also was in charge of rock WONE-FM and country WQMX.

gottliebdougProvalDavidA Visit from Richie Aprile.  Pictured here are CBS Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb (left) and actor David Proval (right) in the CBS Sports Radio studios.  Proval – well known to “The Sopranos” fans as Richie Aprile – stopped by the show to talk about his work on the HBO series, his experience in “The Shawshank Redemption” and his current role in the play, “Queen For a Day,” at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in New York City running through July 26.

gracies15The 40th Annual Gracie Awards.  Arriving at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday (5/19) was the Alliance for Women in Media Board and AWM Foundation Board.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer at CBS Corporation; Karla Ballard, SVP at Participant Media (and Gracies co-chair); Michelle Duke, vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation; Christine McLaughlin, broadcast lawyer at Sciarrino & Shubert , PLLC; Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships; Kristen Welch, SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Inc. (and AWM Chair); Kay Olin, consultant at Olin & Associates (and past AWM Chair); Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting, (Gracies co-chair and past AWM Chair); Jill Luckett, senior vice president of Program Network Policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Sandy Girard, VP, Brand Management & Development, SiriusXM; and Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

| May 21, 2015

lettermandavid wideEnd of Letterman Show Reveals Late Night Giant’s Impact on News/Talk Personalities.  Late night TV talk legend David Letterman’s retirement from the business after an astonishing run on both NBC and CBS gave talk radio hosts the opportunity to not only address the cultural phenomenon that his program was but to express their admiration for Letterman’s broadcasting skills, creativity and groundbreaking humor and admit to being influenced by him.  Yesterday (5/20), TALKERS magazine published a heartfelt and deeply personal piece by WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall.  If you missed it, read that here.joycebrian  TALKERS editors are hearing from other hosts who’ve been thinking about how Letterman influenced their careers.  WGOW, Chattanooga midday host Brian Joyce says he hosted comics Rob Schneider and Brian Kiley to talk about Letterman’s show and his impact.  “Rob made his network debut on Letterman’s show back in 1987 when he was 23 years old.  Kiley is a stand-up comedian and writer who has appeared on Letterman’s show six times and has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards as Conan O’Brien’s head monologue harrisonmichael5-15writer.  They discussed their feelings about Letterman and his legacy, plus their overall thoughts on the state of late night TV, plus media in general.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Although Johnny Carson remains THE cultural icon of late night television talk/variety shows, and Steve Allen and Jack Parr certainly cast their significant influence upon several generations of late night TV talkers, no singular practitioner of the genre has influenced the modern era of both radio and television talk show hosts as much as David Letterman.  You see his fingerprints all over the style and constructs of so many of today’s radio gabbers covering the spectrum of pop culture, political and even sports talk programs.  David Letterman’s contribution to the basic attitude of talk programming has been nothing short of profound.”

JohnandLeahShow logoThe John and Leah Show to Air on WNIR-FM, Akron.  The Akron heritage FM talk outlet will be the weekend home to the Envision Networks-syndicated “John and Leah Show” featuring John Ziegler and Leah Brandon.  The Media-Com talk station will air the program live on Sunday evenings at 10:00 pm ET.  WNIR-FM station manager Bill Klaus says, “It’s good to have a live weekend program, instead of taped replays of programs earlier in the week.  We love having a male and female host anchoring our Sunday nights.”  Envision Networks says, “Hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon bring you the final word on the week’s events and first thoughts on the week to come.  The hosts provide an informative, compelling and entertaining take on the news of the week as well as their own crazy lives.  The John and Leah Show is always interesting with unpredictable conversations.”

schoenbergertoddTodd Schoenberger Named Afternoon Host at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Effective June 1, retired hedge fund manager and national media personality, Todd Schoenberger begins hosting the afternoon drive program on Resort Broadcasting’s WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “92.7FM The Talk of Delmarva.”  The company says that it “boasts a deep and seasoned lineup of veteran hosts and award-winning shows, from Mike Bradley to Jim Rash to Rush Limbaugh.  The addition of Toddwgmd logo Schoenberger is expected to only further validate WGMD as the finest and most credible news/talk radio station in Delmarva and points west of the Chesapeake Bay.”  Director of broadcast operations, engineering and programming Walt Palmer comments, “Todd’s background as a frequent guest and expert on major national networks, such as FOX News, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg, exemplifies the station to a level unmatched by our competitors.  WGMD continues to be the clear station-of-choice for radio and on-line listeners.”  Schoenberger was most recently founder and managing partner for LandColt Capital LP.  He is also a published freelance writer and has authored numerous articles for The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, CNBC.com and FOXBusiness.com.

nyfest smallNew York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists Announced.  The winners of the 2015 New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs competition will be announced on June 22 as the awards ceremony at the Manhattan Penthouse.  For the 33-year-old competition, The Grand Jury selected 289 finalists from entries submitted from over 30 countries worldwide. Entries were judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium.  All finalists proceed to the medal round to determine Gold, Silver, and Bronze trophies.  From the United States, finalists include programs created by public radio-affiliated companies as well as commercial broadcasters including ESPN and SiriusXM.  The latter is a finalist in four categories and ESPN is a finalist in six categories.

wgnplus logoWGN Plus to Carry ‘Jones and Mike’ Show.  The Chicago-based program “Jones and Mike,” with hosts Brian Jones and Mike Noonan, is being aired on Tribune Media’s “digital content incubator” WGN Plus where it will be available via WGNPlus.com and the WGN Plus app in thejonesbrian chicago Apple and Google Play stores.  WGN Radio vice president of content and programming Todd Manley comments, “WGNplus is a place for us to take risks and get behind innovative talent. Jones and Mike fit noonanmikethat mold perfectly.”  Brian Jones says, “When we set out to create this show we wanted to bring it to the biggest possible audience of 35-to-54-year-old people interested in hearing lifestyle talk.  WGN Plus has a valuable audience and we’re very happy to be associated with a blue-chip brand like WGN!”  The “Jones and Mike” show is a production of Revolutionary Media Group and is heard on local AM signal WCGO, Evanston on weekends.

Odds & Sods.  The news/talk format produced by Forever Broadcasting in the State College, Pennsylvania market leaves WRSC-FM and will move to the company’s WRSC-AM, bumping the sports talk format off the air.  Replacing news/talk on the FM is a classic hits format branded “Happy 103.”…..ESPN Audio is debuting the “Golf” podcast with ESPN.com golf writers Michael Collins and Jason Sobel.  New podcasts will arrive bi-weekly and will be about 30 minutes in length.  The first episode, May 7, featured Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Joshbowermike Scobee…..Talk show pro Michael Bower is back in the fill-in business from his ISDN-compatible home studio after Memorial Day.  Bower tells TALKERS magazine he’s done fill-in work for such notable signals as KNXT, Vegas; KKFN, Denver; KSFO and KGO, San Francisco; KIRO-FM, Seattle; and KTAR-FM, Phoenix.

New York Sports Talkers Donate ‘Fantasy Packages’ to Fairfield University.  The sports radio fantasy packages consist of time at the various studios watching the shows produced plus meet-and-greets with the hosts and key personnel and benefit Fairfield University Sports Performance which aids varsity student athletics.  CBS RADIO’s Mike Francesa, ESPN’s Michael Kay and SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo are each contributing a package to the online auction that runs through May 31.

2016 Presidential Prospects, Rand Paul Filibuster, Declassified Bin Laden Information, ISIS Takes Ramadi and Palmyra, Iran Nuclear Program Talks, David Letterman Wraps CBS Late Show, and ‘Deflategate’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20).  The potential candidates for president in 2016; Kentucky Senator – and presidential candidate – Rand Paul’s filibuster over the renewal of the Patriot Act over the mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records; the release of information gathered at the site of the death of Osama bin Laden; ISIS takes control of the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian city of Palmyra; the Iran nuclear talks take a turn as the ayatollah refuses to agree to inspections and meeting with its scientists; David Letterman broadcasts his last late night talk show; and the ongoing  controversy over the NFL’s “Deflategate” issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

| May 20, 2015

donovanjohnnyJohnny Donovan Retires from WABC, New York.  Capping a WABC, New York career that goes back to 1972, legend Johnny Donovan is retiring from the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station.  He’s been handling daily announcing and production director duties at WABC.  In a press release announcing his retirement, the company notes that Donovan was a music jock during the influential WABC top 40 era.  When the station flipped to talk in 1982, he remained on as staff announcer and productionwabc logo director – a position he held for more than 30 years.  An amateur radio operator in his youth, Donovan became a DJ on WHVW in Hyde Park, New York after helping build the station in 1963.  He went on to work at radio stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York, with a stop at Atlantic City, New Jersey’s WMID.  In 1968, Donovan arrived in New York City as an overnight music host on WOR-FM. Four years later, Donovan brought his talent to the AM band and WABC.  Cumulus SVP content and programming Mike McVay states, “Johnny Donovan was THE sound of 77 WABC.  He joins the ranks of legends like Don Pardo, Ed McMahon and Ernie Anderson.  His production and imaging skills are legendary.  He will be missed at WABC, but more than that, he will be missed in our industry.”  Donovan will continue to be heard as the voice of the Rush Limbaugh show – a position that he’s held since 1988 – and will continue his own voice-over business.

stigallchrisGoodbye, Mr. Letterman.  And Thanks!  Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall says farewell to his professional inspiration in a column published at TALKERS today (5/20).  Tonight will air the final new episode of “Late Night with David Letterman” and the WPHT, Philadelphia talk host shares his personal admiration — perhaps even obsession – with one of the undisputed legends of late night talklettermandavid wide television.  In the piece, Stigall explains his attraction to Letterman as a performer.  “I was a high school kid with big dreams of hosting his own show one day, but never felt like I was attractive or popular enough to make it.  David Letterman taught me there’s something very good, right, and rewarding about being an individual.  The more I watched and read about Letterman, the more fixated I became.  Not just his comedy – which I loved.  It was his ‘damn the torpedoes’ approach to this hallowed thing called television.  It was everyday people from his shows’ staff cast in bits.  It was random souvenir shop and deli owners turning into unintentional comedy stars.”  Read Stigall’s entire piece here.

herskovitzalCreative Promotions Lead to New Sales.  Radio marketing pro Al Herskovitz writes in a column published today that a radio sales pro worth his or her salt should never overlook the value of a creative radio promotion to solidify current clients and attract new ones. He says commonplace ticket giveaways and the like are fine but do little to make a client’s goods or services memorable, and such prizes usually go to station P1s anyway.  How about having your morning host attempt to give a lion a bath?  Sound too dangerous?  Read Herskovitz’s entire column here for the details and his thoughts about using the promotion as a sales tool.

boldgoldfounationBold Gold Foundation Inaugural Event Draws Hundreds.  The inaugural fundraising and awards event for the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation took place over the weekend at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Northeast Pennsylvania and drew hundreds of supporters who gathered to cheer on and support the organization’s efforts to help prepare tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders.  The Foundation celebrated broadcast radio’s legacy, while positioning to help lead the effort to bring new recruits into the news and talk ranks.  Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto laid out the Foundation’s mission, explaining, “Broadcast radio continues to be the modern day town square where the news and issues of our times are related, debated and discussed in communities across America.  The power of this medium, now amplified and synergized with the power of mobile and social media, can be positioned to influence the local and national narratives in more powerful ways than ever before.  Our work will be focused on helping the best and brightest get the education and resources they need to write the next chapters of communication history.”  Honored at the event was Northeast Pennsylvania entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Tambur.  He was presented the 2015 Atlas Award for Citizenship.  Benedetto says Tambur is “an example of someone who builds and creates, sees problems and boldly sets out to fix them.  He shows what is possible to achieve in a free society and is the standard by which all future recipients will be measured.”  Special guest speaker, citizen-journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, provided a riveting audio and video presentation showing his past and ongoing efforts to expose corruption and hypocrisy in government and media.  Benedetto says, “James shows what just one person, armed with the courage to report the truth is able to accomplish.”  The event was emceed by David Madeira, morning show host of Bold Gold’s Scranton-based talk station, WTRW “94.3 The Talker.”

Odds & Sods.  An extension of the affiliation deal just completed between ABC Radio News and Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago includes an expansion of shared editorial resources in the Chicago market.  Simultaneously, WGN’s Ryan Burrow will be a contributor to ABC News Radio and report from Chicago and around the country.  ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones comments, “Ryan Burrow is a talented, award-winning reporter who understands how to tell stories that capture an audience’s interest.  Through ABC News Radio’s expanded partnership with WGN, Ryan will cover stories of interest to our national audience from across the Midwest region and around the country.”…..Washington-based political consultant Raynard Jackson sits in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated radio show “News One Now” airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET…..Joe Ligotti is named morning host at WMEX, Boston, replacing the syndicated “Dr. K Show.”

podcastone logoDee Snider Podcast to Launch on PodcastOne.  Musician and media personality Dee Snider is debuting a new, weekly podcast called, “Snider Comments,” on the PodcastOne Network.  The program promises to “pull back the curtain on the world of rock and expose the raw and untold stories of current and past rock ‘n’ roll superstars.”  PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz states, “This is the latest music insider podcast on the PodcastOne Network.  There are plenty of places for consumers to listen to their favorite music, but very few to get a more personal, behind-the-scenes view from the artists that live in that world every day.  Dee is not only a rock star and an icon, he’s a great personality and a terrific communicator.  I couldn’t be more pleased to have him on our network.”

romejimKXTG-AM15Jim Rome Visits Portland’s KXTG-AM.  Appearing in the Portland market from affiliate KXTG-AM “750 & 102.9 The Game” was CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome.  He hosted his national syndicated sports talk show from Alpha Media’s SKYPE LIVE STUDIO on Friday, May 15.  Guests joining Rome in the studio included Oregon Ducks head football coach Mark Helfrich, Portland Trailblazers president Chris McGowan, and Fox Sports analyst Joey Harrington.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Alpha Portland SVP/GM Milt McConnell, KXTG-AM promotions director Derek House, Rome, and KXTG-AM program director Mike Ragz.

Hillary Clinton Email Controversy, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donation Scandal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Takes Ramadi, California Oil Spill, N. Korea Nuke Threats, Saudi Beheadings Controversy, and ‘Deflategate’ Matter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19).  The ongoing talk of Hillary Clinton’s private emails that are alleged to have been used for State Department business; the scandal involving George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including talk of Democrat Martin O’Malley officially entering the race; the taking of Ramadi, Iraq by ISIS; the coastal California oil spill; North Korea’s saber-rattling and talk of its new nuclear technology; the increase in beheadings in Saudi Arabia; and the latest on the NFL’s “Deflategate” case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

| May 19, 2015

limbaughrushLimbaugh to Leave WRKO, Boston – Again.  This is not the first time that Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh might not be heard on the Entercom news/talk outlet.  His show was heard on iHeartMedia-owned crosstown WXKS-AM for a little more than two years before returning to WRKO in 2012.  Now, Premiere says in a statement that it and Entercom management were unable to come to terms on a renewal deal.  “We were unable to reach agreeable terms for the Rush Limbaugh show to continue on WRKO.  A final broadcast date will be announced in the near future.  Rush Limbaugh airs daily in every measured media market in America, and we look forward to announcing exciting news for our Boston listeners soon.”wrkologo  iHeartMedia flipped WXKS-AM to business news using Bloomberg after its time as a news/talker with Limbaugh and such local personalities as Jeff Katz.  It will be interesting to see where the Limbaugh show pops up in Boston.  Unless there’s a format flip to talk in the future for an iHeartMedia FM – and we doubt that’s likely – the list of potential quality AM signals that might be a home to the show are few.  Still, it’s possible that this is just a stage of the process that will see the two sides come to terms eventually.  It would be a shame to see Limbaugh’s show languish on an inferior AM signal – seems like a lose-lose situation for both sides.

amfaminsuranceNielsen: Radio Gives ‘Brand Lift’ to American Family Insurance.  From a study with the help of Katz Radio Group looking to prove the effectiveness of radio advertising, Nielsen Audio engaged in a study to measure the brand impact of a radio campaign on insurance decision makers (ages 25-64).  The analysis included insurance decision-makers who tuned in to one or more stations airing American Family Insurance commercials and compared their engagement with the company to that of decision-makers who did not listen to those stations.  Nielsen says, “The results of the study showed that radio increased brand health metrics, particularly among decision-makers seeking new insurance, in the areas of favorability, recommendation and intent to request a quote from American Family Insurance.  The study found that insurance decision-makers who heard the campaign were 25% more likely to request a quote from American Family Insurance than those who didn’t hear it. And brand-switchers who were exposed to the campaign were nearly twice as likely to request a quote, highlighting radio’s ability to influence the insurance company’s best prospects.”  Read more here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallHoward B. Price:  For AM/FM Radio, Doing Good is Good for Business.  TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the ABC Television Networks director of business continuity, Howard B. Price on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast, “Up Close and Far Out,” about the responsibility licensed AM, FM and television stations have to serve the public with timely and accurate information during both natural and man-made disasters.  According to Price, “This is why we hold the license.”  Aside from all the entertainment elements that radio provides and that Price says he “enjoys as much as anyone else,” he points out, “That is not, however, why radio stations are licensed – they are licensed to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.”  Price continues, “And while that definition can certainly include quality entertainment andprice howard programming that stimulates and enlightens – at the end of the day, what it is all about is being there in times of crisis… making sure that our communities stay informed, that decision-makers have the information that they need in real time, and to be able to apply the necessary time and resources to be able to deal with emergent events.  This is the role that radio was born to play.”  Price explains what he describes as the essential element of this truth.  “If you want to keep people focused on the idea that terrestrial radio is still relevant, that electrons flying out of tall sticks on a single channel is still a very important thing for us to preserve and enhance, then you not only have to talk the talk – you have to walk the walk.  And ‘walking the walk’ means that when your community is in crisis, you’ve got to be there to inform them.  You’ve got to be able to put people on the street, you’ve got to be able to go to the scene of wherever news is breaking, and make sure that people have the information that they need both to calm them and comfort them as well as provide them with the essential information that allows them to make the right decisions for themselves and their families and businesses.”  Price adds, “The old line for radio still exists… you go to any old-time sales manager and he’ll tell you radio is a street business, it’s a retail business and nothing is truer about that than when it comes to reporting the news in local communities.”  According to Price, nothing can be more important to the survival of terrestrial radio than remaining visible and relevant to their local communities.  He also explains how this philosophy applies to music radio as well as talk and all-news formats, citing examples including how, in the wake of 9/11, Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill flipped their WPLJ, New York morning music show around “on a dime” from being an entertainment show into serious news mode without the benefit of having a news department.  They became “comforters in chief” and did an extraordinary job of rising to the occasion.  Price points out that music stations that cede listeners to talk and all-news stations during a serious crisis are foolish to give their listeners reasons to punch out because they might not come back.  Harrison and Price also discuss ways in which any radio station – regardless of budgetary and resource limitations – can be fully prepared to serve its listeners in this fashion during a severe emergency explaining that in this day and age of convenient digital communications and citizen journalism, there is no excuse not to be ready to go into action.  Michael Harrison states, “Although many people still believe that the idea of radio rising to the occasion and super-serving its audience in times of crisis might seem idealistic, quaint, naïve, and unrealistic  – even ‘boy scout’ – that it ironically might be THE answer to AMs and FMs maintaining their importance and relevance going forward.”  Harrison concludes this fascinating podcast by suggesting that terrestrial radio should always treat its audience with compassion, empathy, and a deep-seated desire to be helpful and give anyone who might be listening the support they need just getting through the pain, rigors and hardship of day-to-day life as a human being in a highly pressured, dangerous world.  To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com. “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is a presentation of Podcast One.  Howard B. Price will be receiving the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.

fccnewBobby Bones EAS SNAFU to Cost iHeartMedia $1 Million.  The Federal Communications Commission has laid down a $1 million fine for country WSIX-Nashville and Premiere Networks parent company iHeartMedia for the misuse of the EAS tones.  The company admits to misuse of the tones and will pay the penalty.  The agency writes in its ruling that the “FCC has long prohibited the transmission of actual or simulated EAS tones in circumstances other than a real alert or an authorized test.”  WSIX-FM, Nashville – Bobby Bones’ flagship station – aired a false emergency alert during the broadcast of the nationally syndicated show and, as the FCC writes, “broadcast or transmission of bonesbobbyemergency tones outside an emergency or authorized test violates FCC regulations designed to protect the integrity of the EAS system.  False broadcast of an emergency signal can cause unnecessary public concern and undermine the urgency of real alerts.  While commenting on an EAS test that aired during the 2014 World Series, Bobby Bones, the show’s host, broadcast an EAS tone from a recording of an earlier nationwide EAS test.  This false emergency alert was sent to more than 70 affiliated stations airing [the show] and resulted in some of these stations retransmitting the tones, setting off a multi-state cascade of false EAS alerts on radios and televisions in multiple states.”  In the last six months, the Commission has taken five enforcement actions totaling nearly $2.5 million for misuse of EAS tones by broadcasters and cable networks.

rtdna logoRTDNA: Technology in Newsrooms.  The fourth part of a series from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association and Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper focuses on newsroom technology and the plans news directors have to upgrade or add to current equipment.  Though the bulk of the article deals with television news, radio is addressed.  Papper reports that, according to his questionnaires returned by news directors, plans to acquire new technology have nosedived over the years.  “Three years ago, 38% of radio news directors and general managers said they’d be making no technology purchases in the next year.  Two years ago, the number rose to 44%.  Last year, 69.3% said nothing.  This year, the abstention crowd is up to an astonishing 78.6%.”  Read more from the study here.

Odds & Sods.  Voice over pro Xavier Paul Cadeau joins ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New Yorkcadeauxavierpaul 98.7 FM.”  Cadeau comments, “Sports radio is exciting!  I am looking forward to working with the great people at ‘ESPN New York 98.7 FM.’  They are on the cutting edge with audio imaging and I want to do my part to make it sound amazing!”…..Jim Fronk exits Great Eastern Radio’s Concord, New Hampshire where he wore two hats as co-host of the “New Hampshire Wake-Up Show” on news/talk WTPL and as midday jock on sister classic rock WLKZ “104.9 The Hawk.”

kalteralanCBS Sports RadioVoice of ‘Letterman’ Visits CBS Sports Radio.  “Late Show With David Letterman” voice Alan Kalter visited CBS Sports Radio’s “Gio and Jones” program to talk about the final three shows hosted by David Letterman.  Kalter chatted about his favorite sports guests on the show and his first day on the job at Letterman.  He also teased the surprises to come on the final show that airs Wednesday (5/20) on CBS TV.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Gregg Giannotti, Kalter, and Brian Jones.

2016 Presidential Prospects/Iraq Policy Questions, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donations Scandal, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, Deadly Texas Biker Brawl, and Iran Nukes-Gulf Military Actions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18).  The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the issue of the U.S.’s Iraq policy being put before the Republican candidates; the scandal at ABC News over George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Foundation; the continuing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email matter; the deadly biker brawl in Waco, Texas over the weekend that took the lives of nine bikers; and the Iran nuclear program questions and the Gulf nation’s current naval operations in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 18, 2015

| May 18, 2015

nielsen logoNielsen: News/Talk Format Top in April PPM Survey.  That’s from Nielsen Audio’s analysis of its own data from the April 2015 PPM survey.  News/talk wins the format race – calculated based on average quarter hour share – with an 8.8 share of persons 6+.  When it comes to persons 25-54, news/talk lands in fifth place with a 6.2 share.  Ahead of the format in that demographic are (from first to fourth) are: pop/CHR, country, AC and hot AC.  View the rest of Nielsen’s report here.

alphamedia logoAlpha Media to Acquire 36 Signals from Morris Communications.  With the announced intent to buy 36 stations in eight markets from Morris Communications, Alpha Media says it’s on track to hit the 135-station mark.  Morris operates radio stations in: Topeka; Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs and Victor Valley, California; Anchorage; Wasilla, Alaska; Grays Harbor-morriscommunicationsHoquiam, Washington and Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington.   Alpha chairman Larry Wilson comments, “What a wonderful thing it is to combine with such a fine stable of radio properties.  They bring heritage radio stations to our platform that will truly enhance our growth opportunities extensively.”  Morris Communications chairman and CEO William S. Morris III says, “We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Larry Wilson and his exceptional team.  They are experienced operators that will maintain the ongoing success of these stations.  We take comfort in knowing we have superior employees in each market that will continue to serve these wonderful communities.”  George Reed of Media Services Group is the broker for Alpha Media.

fontanadannyFormer Charlotte Radio Host Danny Fontana Dies at 65.  As reported by the Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn, former financial talk host and station owner Danny Fontana has died at age 65.  The Observer reports Fontana’s wife Mary found him dead in his study on Friday evening (5/15).  Businessman-turned-stock broker-turned radio personality Fontana started in the radio business doing financial/economic commentaries on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  He then did the afternoon show there for four years, starting in 1995.  In 2000 he started co-hosting with Al Gardner on WBT’s morning show.  In 2005, Fontana bought WDYT-AM, Charlotte and ran the station for four years before tough financial times forced the station to go dark in 2009.

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 Sponsor C. Crane to Provide all Speakers at this Year’s Conference with a Radio.  One of America’s leading independent manufacturers and distributors of radios and radio-related products, C. Crane, will be providing each of the approximately 65 speakers at Talkers New York 2015 with a brand new radio.  The gesture, hailed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “really boss,” is a symbolic display of support for the continuing importance of over-the-air broadcasting as a basic American communications platform.  Continuing beyond his retro-ese blurt, Harrison states, “C. Crane is not only a major force in keeping the concept of over-the-air radio alive and well, the company has long been a fabulous friend to the radio industry through its numerous, long-term sponsorships of stations, networks andccrane logo programs.”  Harrison adds, “Company president Bob Crane knows that the best target consumer group for superb new radios are people who are already listeners to and fans of the medium.  We can all take a lesson from that simple and obvious observation in terms of giving people who already know how to use this elegant little system known as ‘AM/FM radio’ compelling reasons to stick around.”  C. Crane is one of 15 sponsors of Talkers New York 2015 that include (in alphabetical order): ABC News Radio, American Family Farmer, Broadcasters General Store, Comrex Corporation, C. Crane, The Ric Edelman Show, The Sean Hannity Show, Life Coach Media, Newsmax, Premiere Networks, Radio America, The Dave Ramsey Show, Talk Radio News Service and A Touch of Grey (radio show).  Although registrations for the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most-important annual convention are sold out, several major sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For information please call 413-565-5413.  Talkers New York 2015 is a one-day event that takes place on Friday, June 12 at the historic India House in New York’s financial district.  For the latest agenda please click here.

Odds & Sods.  Former Boston talk radio producer Jeremy Leahy is now hosting his own show on the Cleveland, Tennessee-based digital station “Red State Talk Radio Network.”  Leahy’s program, “Standing Ground,” premieres on Thursday, May 28 at 7:00 pm ET.  During his career, Leahy has worked with conservative talk hosts including Jay Severin, Laura Ingraham and Bill O’Reilly…..NPR vice president for programming Eric Nuzum is exiting the public radio corporation for SVP of original programming for Amazon.com-owned Audible.com…..Radio personality Mark West’s oldies and talk morning show on WALL, Middletown, New York ends.  West had been brokering the time on the station and the rest of the dayparts had flipped to a regional Mexican format.

Cool Job Opportunity. Are you ready to go back to school?  Montclair State University Radio in beautiful, suburban Montclair, New Jersey, is looking for a new general manager.  Reporting to the director of the school of communication and media, the general manager is responsible for overseeing the 24/7 operation of WMSC-FM.  The GM will work closely with students, administration, faculty, staff, and alumni to develop a presence for the university radio station, which serves campus and local communities as well as a more global audience through the Internet. S/he will teach courses and workshops for students, fostering a rich learning environment and enabling the development of skills in all key areas of radio programming and production. S/he will also be responsible for maintaining full Federal Communications Commission compliance for the university’s licensed radio station.  Click HERE for more information and to apply online.