Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Saturday, May 2, 2015

| May 2, 2015

Dr. Mehmet OzDr. Oz Hooks On with iHM. Well that didn’t take long. Just this past Wednesday (TALKERS, 4/29), we reported that Harpo Productions is pulling the plug on Westwood One-syndicated “The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.” Now comes word that Dr. Mehmet Oz is entering into partnership with iHeartMedia. According to iHM Networks president Darren Davis, “We have been great fans of Dr. Oz and we are thrilled to be able to give him this much larger platform – from broadcast to digital and mobile. We could not be more excited to be working with him.” Dr. Oz comments, “I have always seen radio as a terrific way to reach people in their daily routines and deliver health information in a way that is fun and easy-to-understand. After many years of visiting iHeartMedia studios all over the country, they were the obvious partner for my brand – given their wildly successful brands, amazing on-air talent, and commitment to the wellness of America.” The Harpo Productions-Westwood One news came shortly after at least 1,000 doctors stated they believe Dr. Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for him to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Dr. Oz has promotediHeartMedia products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel he should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should resign and have his license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Late last month (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. The final Westwood One version of “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be fed to affiliates in approximately four weeks (Friday, 5/29); his iHeartMedia commitment takes effect “the latter part” of this year.

Friday, May 1, 2015

| May 1, 2015

cumulus logoA Down First Quarter for Cumulus Media.  The numbers here are compared to the same period in 2014.  Cumulus Media reports 2015 Q1 net revenue dipped 7.2% on income of $271,079,000.  Revenue was down across the board at the company in the first quarter and here’s the breakdown: broadcast revenue was $251 million (down 7%) and digital revenue was $8.06 million (down 16.4%).  Political ad revenue was down 67.7% and a portion of the net revenue drop was due to an increase in the license fees and other category which rose 9.1%.  Breaking down the broadcast revenue a bit further, local and national spot sales were down a bit – 3.6% and 2.4% respectively – but network revenue sank 13% on income of $86.7 million.

radioonelogoRadio One Down 4.8% in Q1.  Urban media operator Radio One reports a down first quarter of 2015 on income $105.8 million – a drop of 4.8%.  The company saw positive results in its cable TV advertising sector – up 9.9% — and that helped ease some of the decline in other sectors.  The radio broadcasting segment was down 9.4%.  Radio advertising was down 5.5% and digital advertising dipped 6.1%.  Meanwhile, in the category “event revenue & other” Radio One dropped a dramatic 82.6%, due in part to a timing issue relative to annual events.

jacobsmediaInside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan.  Using data from its recent Techsurvey 11, Jacobs Media presents this analysis of the media usage of the typical sports radio fan.  Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use.  No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans.  In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.”  Some of the media habits of sports radio fans that the survey highlights center around the smartphone.  Sports radio P1s are very frequent texters and they stream audio and video on a more frequent basis than P1s of other radio formats.  For more, see the full story here.

cookehollandYES-YOU-CAN Sell Rush Limbaugh.  Media consultant Holland Cooke presents some tested means of selling the “controversial” leading news/talk radio host – Rush Limbaugh.  As Cooke points out, just because there’s been some backlash against Limbaugh’s show and his affiliate stations doesn’t mean stations can’t find sponsors for the show.  After, as Cooke observes, “This guy moves product.”  In this piece he offers some thoughts on whom to prospect, how to write spots that work and how storytelling can work in your favor.  Read it here.

harrisonmichael5-15Michael Harrison to Do 60-Second Daily Feature on Media for Boston Herald Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has entered into an agreement with the Boston Herald to write and perform a weekly 60-second feature titled “Michael Harrison on the Media” beginning Monday (5/4) that will be dropped into the pioneering online station’s programming flow several times a day as well as its growing network of terrestrial partners.  In it, Harrison explores the direct connection between media and the human condition – past, present and future – commenting on the impact of changing communicationsbostonheraldradio logo technology on society and culture.  According to Harrison, “I love the idea of being connected with such a forward-thinking organization as the Boston Herald and its ground-breaking media station, Boston Herald Radio.  Creating one of these tight little pieces each week helps sharpen my insights and ability to express them and just like my weekly, longform podcast ‘Up Close and Far Out’ on Podcast One, it gives me the opportunity, at this seasoned stage in my life, to dabble in speculation about the broader scope of media outside the radio industry itself for a worldwide consumer audience of ‘media freaks.’  What fun!”  Boston Herald Radio Network executive producer Tom Shattuck tells TALKERS, “I am thrilled to have these exclusive commentaries by Michael Harrison running on our platform!”  To hear an installment of “Michael Harrison on Media” please click below.

1. MH-On-the-Media-1.mp3     

2015 NYC 150Spectrum of Talk Radio Programming to Be Addressed on “Variety, the Spice of Life” Panel at Talkers New York 2015.  At the Talkers New York 2015 conference taking place on June 12, talk personalities from a variety of styles of programming will discuss the industry, their roles in it, and the future of talk content when they appear on the “Variety the Spice of Life” panel.  Moderated by TALKERS general manager of radio operations David Bernstein, the panel will feature: Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host at classic rock-formatted WAQY “Rock 102,” Springfield, MA; Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network; Tony Bruno, WIP-FM, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann of WYD Media; Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, WOLB, Baltimore.  This panel will present hosts from disparate backgrounds and radio formats, including a rock jock appealing to listeners immersed in rock and pop culture; the industry’s longest-running radio psychologist; a season sports talk pro; a progressive host with a multi-disciplined background; a nationally syndicated morning talk generalist; and an urban personality working mornings and heavily involved in the community on a local station.  Bernstein says, “This will be an exciting panel to moderate – there is so much more to talk radio than one would think having it always described in the media as just a bunch of conservative white men talking politics.”  Talkers New York 2015 takes place on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in New York City’s financial district.  Space is limited, so register today by calling 413-565-5413.  For the full agenda, please click here.

podcastone logoPodcastOne Platform to Host Bossip Podcast.  Bossip.com is billed as the “premier online destination for African American popular culture and entertainment news.”  Now, it is partnering with PodcastOne to produce the “Bossip Presents: Don’t Be Scared” podcast.  A press release says, “The weekly podcast is a viciously funny conversation between Bossip’s awkward, quirky and at times terrifyingly honest trio, Bossip staffer-hosts David Dennis, Jason “Jah” Lee and Danielle “Danni” Canada.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Bossip.com has built a great digital platform that hits the right points of humor and news in entertainment gossip.  This new podcast extends their site to the rapidly growing audio-digital platform, and provides a strong content addition to our roster of websites who have turned to podcasting as an impactful way to communicate with their loyal audience.”

alphamedia logoDone Deal: Alpha Closes on Coast Radio and Free Lance-Star Stations.  There are seven more radio stations officially in the Portland-based Alpha Media fold after the closing took place on the deals with Coast Radio Company and Free Lance-Star Radio.  As previously reported when the sales were announced, Alpha gets three California signals from Coast: adult contemporary-formatted trio KUIC, Vacaville, KKIQ, Livermore, and KKDV, Walnut Creek.  And from Free Lance-Star it acquires: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia.   Alpha chief Larry Wilson says, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with such great employees at all of the stations.  Each cluster is exceptional and brings its own unique attributes to the company, allowing us to build a diverse and dynamic culture.”

Odds & Sods.  Talk radio personality Leslie Marshall joins the iHeartRadio platform as her podcast is nowmarshallleslie being featured there.  Marshall also announces she’s begun writing a blog for Blue Nation Review and has penned her first column titled, “It’s 2015 and Sexism Is Alive and Well in Clinton Coverage.”…..Getting a national presence is WINS, New York weekend news anchor David Weiss who has two features that will be distributed by America’s Talk Radio Network.  The five-minute “News for You” show features Weiss’ take on the world and national news and the two-minute “Slice of Life” is a more offbeat take on daily life…..In Seattle, Ed Ronco is the new local host of “All Things Considered” on KPLU.  He’s been with the station for two years and also hosts a weekly travel segment titled, “Going Places.”

srnCapitolGangSalem’s Capitol Gang.  Posing for a shot at Salem Media Group’s reception at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening (4/30) are (from l-r): Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich, hosts Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher.  The event was to honor freshmen members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.  It was also attended by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U. S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge add newfreemanedge affiliates to their roster including: KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga market trimulcast WSDT, WEPG, and WSDQ; KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; and KAZZ, Parowan, Utah and its Cedar City, Utah K253BU at 98.5 FM…..The Marilu Henner show is added to the program schedule at: KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; WGGH, Marion, Illinois; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; KHUC-FM, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

talkersten logoBaltimore Protests and Violence Top Talkers TenTM.  The week of protests, violence and questions about the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody were all facets of the most-talked-about story of the week.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the 2016 presidential prospects.  At #3 was scrutiny of the operations of the Clinton Foundation followed by the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage statutes 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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

| April 30, 2015

pew logoPew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2015 Released.  There isn’t really much in the 2015 edition of the Pew Research Center’s “State of the News Media” report that’s surprising, but for those who like to put hard numbers to what most industry observers already suspect, it serves that purpose.  In the audio category (AM/FM, online streams, satellite radio), Pew uses Nielsen Media Research data and reports that 53% of Americans 12-plus have listened to online radio in the past month – an increase from 27% in 2010.  Not surprisingly, smartphone usage for listening is overtaking laptops and desktops as the technology of choice with 73% having listened via a smartphone in the past week.  Laptop/desktop listening in the last week was reported by 61%.  Internet-based listening in the automobile continues to increase with “more than a third of U.S. adult cellphone owners (35%) having listened to online radio in the car.  That is substantially more than the 21% who did so in 2013, and nearly six times the number (6%) who had done so in 2010.”  The study breaks out podcasting separately and states, “The percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the past month has almost doubled since 2008, from 9% to 17% by January of 2015.  The percentage listening in 2015 was up two points over 2014 levels (15%).”  The “State of the News Media” also looks at other news media – newspapers, cable news, network news, public broadcasting and more.  See the whole study here.

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Reports Q1 Revenue Up 4%.  For the first quarter of 2015, iHeartMedia reported its consolidated revenue increased 4% to $1.4 billion in 2015 compared to 2014 after adjusting for a $54 million unfavorable impact from movements in foreign exchange rates.  On a reported basis, consolidated revenues were slightly up.  The company says revenue increased $28 million, or 4%, driven primarily by the traffic, weather and syndication businesses, as well as events. Revenue growth was partially offset by lower core local broadcast radio advertising revenue.

friedmanmarshaFriedman: Talk Radio Remains a Great Venue for Publicity.  Public relations pro Marsha Friedman pens a regular column titled The PR Insider that is read widely by the public relations industry and its clients.  As CEO of EMSI Public Relations, Friedman has decades of experience in the PR biz and is very bullish on the power of talk radio to get a message across.  Her most recent piece is about talk radio’s effectiveness.  For this, she reached out to TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison who says, “Research continues to indicate that talk radio is where a high concentration of voters and active consumers are indeed listening.  Talk radio also puts the spotlight on important issues that for reasons of ratings, circulation or sizzle the rest of the mainstream media often tends to ignore or simply bury.”  Friedman explains the benefits of talk radio from her experience which you can read here.

Daily DoseHarpo Dumps “Daily Dose.” Affiliates received word yesterday (Wednesday, 4/29) from Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green that, “After many years, Harpo Productions has decided to end production of ‘The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz’ feature.” This comes shortly after at least 1,000 doctors say they believe Dr. Mehmet Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for the host of the eponymous one-hour Dr. Oz television program to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Oz has promoted products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel Dr. Oz should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should both resign and have hisDr. Mehmet Oz license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Last Thursday (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. As an option to Dr. Oz’s soon-to-be defunct radio feature, Westwood One is suggesting “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta,” a feature it distributes from CNN‘s chief medical correspondent. The final “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be sent to stations four weeks from tomorrow (Friday, 5/29).

costantiniCamdenYardsAn Eerie First for MLB.  Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini in the press box at Camden Yards in Baltimore covering Wednesday’s Baltimore Orioles-Chicago White Sox game that was played with no fans in attendance due to the violence and unrest after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.

Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nukes Issue, Economy Slows in First Quarter, and Nepal Quake Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29).  The simmering protests in Baltimore and a report that Freddie Gray appeared to be trying to hurt himself in the police van; talk about the Supreme Court arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage laws; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the issues surrounding negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the GDP report indicating the economy slowed during the first three months of 2015; and the aftermath of Saturday’s earthquake that’s devastated Nepal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

| April 29, 2015

pricehowardPursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest.  Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand.  ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri.  He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future.  Read his entire piece here.

dickeylewLew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity PartnersRobert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his termCumulus ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.

zampillodanRed Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington.  The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.”  The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason ReidRed Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area.  We look forward to having Dan join our team.  He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”

jacobsmedialogo

What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station.  In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s.  He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing.  “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio.  They are less apt to be social networkers.  Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids.  The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.”  See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio.  Read the entire piece here.

Odds & Sods.  From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair.  Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform.  New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber.  The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style.  “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.”  It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”

srnlogoSalem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims.  Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal.  The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE.  SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area.  The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.

fisherhouselogoFisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets.  As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.”  Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling.  The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.”  Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.”  Schick met his wife in a military hospital.  Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House.  The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson.  For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to radio@fisherhouse.org with the word “radio” in the subject line.

Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28).  The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

| April 28, 2015

WBALBaltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallWFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.”  In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens.francesamike  Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self.  According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough.  A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day.  He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed.  Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored.  “If you are ignored, you are dead.”  Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek.  In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”).  After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.   In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium.  Radio is a performer’s medium.”  He explains, “Radio is unvarnished.  It is visceral.  It is emotional.  Television is more packaged and homogenized.”  Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us.  People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television.  They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations.  They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.”  Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.”  He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone.  It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years?  Now everyone does.  THAT is an opportunity!”  In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise.  What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique!  All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough.  He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.”  To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

guptashow placardDr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One.  Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake.  In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations.  His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One.  Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.

siriusxmSiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%.  Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%.  Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014.  Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014.  Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014.  The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014.  Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008.  Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”

Odds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29.  The program has been airing onimusdon both since 2009.  Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities.  Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree crabtreebryanis adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets.   WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup.  biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting ourbrandotim neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel.  The final show is this Thursday.  Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3.  “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”

wtmj logoWTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment.  Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds.  The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000.   WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good.  We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community.  [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative.  We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”

limbaughrushLimbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway.  For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26.  Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor.  It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.

beckandrewwkMusic and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network.  New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K.  TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.”  Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose.  During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes.   Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted.  I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart.  If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring.  After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”

Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27).  The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.