Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

| April 1, 2015

westwood one NEWWestwood One Adds Ficke, Hurley. New to the company’s Chicago sales office as vice president of strategic partnerships is Zack Ficke, and as vice president of national partnerships and digital activation, Midwest is Kelli Hurley. The former Premiere Networks’ staffers will report to another Premiere Networks alum – Westwood One executive vice president of Midwest sales Doug Johnston – who states, “I am thrilled to be back together with these two very talented sales individuals.  They will be instrumental as we build a customer-centric Midwest region.”fickezack According to Westwood One president Steve Shaw, “Doug Johnston has put together an incredible team of sellers in our Midwest region.  Zack and Kelli will only enhance our efforts to be the best client partners in hurleykellithe business.  We are moving the mark and delivering results across all of our assets.” Ficke comments, “Marketers are increasingly seeking experiential, cross-platform marketing solutions that are both innovative and engaging.  Westwood One is uniquely positioned to meet this demand with national scale and local activation opportunities across an impressive array of programming.  I am ecstatic to be joining such an accomplished sales organization.  I look forward to working more closely with the entire sales organization.” Hurley remarks, “Westwood One’s digital platforms are incredibly dynamic and they offer highly engaging experiences to consumers and advertisers alike.  I look forward to leading Westwood One’s digital efforts in the Midwest, while continuing to service clients and agencies in the network radio marketplace.” For the past seven years, Ficke was a Premiere Networks’ national account manager, and he previously had the same title at SiriusXM.  Prior to that, he held various sales and account management positions at Marriott’s vacation club division and IT consulting firm Apex Systems. Most recently, Hurley was a Premiere Networks’ national account manager.  She previously worked for United Stations Radio Networks and is returning to Westwood One. In addition, she is a former director of sales for TargetSpot.

handelmanallanAllan Handelman Exits WSJS, Winston-Salem.  The afternoon drive show radio pro Allan Handelman hosted for Curtis Media Group’s WSJS, Winston-Salem, North Carolina has been cancelled.  Handelman – host of the nationally syndicated weekend talk program “Rock Talk with Allan Handelman” – tells TALKERS magazine he’s thankful for the time spent entertaining the station’s listeners.  “My afternoon show on ‘600 WSJS’ has come to an end.  I want to thank WSJS and especially the listeners for being a part of the best audience in the world. They have been great.  Watching the audience grow in the afternoon, while simultaneously witnessing the increased response to my sponsors (the Pet Pantry and C.Crane) has really meant a lot to me.  When the right opportunity comes along to reach North Carolina listeners on a daily basis I’ll be there.  In the meantime, my weekend syndicated show continues without interruption on FM radio stations across the country and online.”  Handelman says he’ll keep fans up to speed on his next move via his website: www.ifitrocks.com.  There’s no immediate word from WSJS what will air in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart.

BIAKelseyTopRevenueStations14BIA/Kelsey Reports 2014 Top-Billing Radio Stations; KIIS, Los Angeles Takes Honors.  Each year, media consulting firm BIA/Kelsey publishes its list of the top revenue-producing radio stations in America.  This year, iHeartMedia-owned CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles ousts Hubbard Radio LLC’s all-news WTOP, Washington – the leader for the past four years – by billing $65.9 million during 2014.  Simultaneously, the firm reports that the industry billed $14.9 billion last year.  The source is BIA/Kelsey’s 2015 Investing In Radio® Market Report.  BIA/Kelsey notes that 2014 over-the-air radio revenues were $14.3 billion, with online generating $636 million.  The firm forecasts both sources of radio income to continue growing at a slight pace over the next few years, reaching $16.2 billion overall in 2019.  BIA/Kelsey chief economist and SVP Mark Fratrik comments, “Local radio stations continue to maintain an important position in the local media marketplace.  Last year, a slight decline in over-the-air revenues was offset by an increase in online revenues, resulting in steady overall revenues.”  See the chart above to get a view of the top 10 revenue-producing radio stations in the U.S.  For more information, broadcasters can visit BIA/Kelsey’s website here.

ingrahamcasualsmallReport: Ingraham to Launch News Site.  Politico’s Dylan Byers is reporting that Courtside Entertainment Group-distributed talk radio personality Laura Ingraham (pictured here) is preparing to unveil a news-oriented website.  Byers says insiders say it will be a “conservative news and opinion website.”  Byers goes on to write, “One source said that Neil Munro, the political reporter who resigned from the Daily Caller this week, will serve as the site’s editor, though that could not immediately be confirmed.  Neither Ingraham nor Munro responded to a request for comment on Tuesday.”  Read his piece here.

22everyday‘22 Everyday’ – An Important, Powerful Song by Rising Country Star T.J. Bebb Pertinent to News/Talk Radio for Interviews.  Subscribers to TALKERS magazine’s sister trade publication in the music arena RadioInfo’s daily email headlines received a download of an outstanding song this morning (4/1) designed to advocate awareness, prevention and education of the tragic fact that there are more than 22 military suicides in America every 24 hours.  T.J. Bebb has recorded the song “22 Everyday,” which deals with this alarming statistic.  A recent analysis by News21, an investigative multimedia program for journalism students, found that the annual suicide rate among veterans is about 30 for every 100,000 of the population, compared with the civilian rate of 14 per 100,000.  The analysis of records from 48 states found that the suicide rate for veterans increased an average of 2.6% a year from 2005 to 2011 — more than double the rate of increase for civilian suicide.  Numerous other academic and journalistic studies have corroborated this sad state of affairs.  According to RadioInfo music co-editor Duane Doobie Jr., “’22 Everyday’ is a MUST add for every country radio playlist.  Not only is it an excellent song by a wonderful artist – it carries a message that should be heard by every American who cares about their country and the brave men and women who courageously defend it.”  Born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania, T.J. Bebb now calls Nashville home. Bebb has opened up for numerous national acts including: Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and Craig Morgan among others.  He has just released his first Nashville-produced album… a tribute to some of the greatest country singers of all time and also just wrapped up a tour in Brazil where they fell in love with his voice and performance.  T.J. has toured with bands and plays solo acoustic shows as well.  To learn more about this consciousness-raising initiative, download a copy of “22 Everyday” and, perhaps, arrange to interview T.J. Bebb about the 22 Everyday Task Force and Crisis Line (800-273-2855) please click here.

Odds & Sods. WVON, Chicago names Micae Brown host of the “Urban Business Roundtable” program.  The locally produced, 30-minute business program airs three times during the week on WVON and is produced forbrownmicae sponsor Ariel Investments…..The next edition of “KNX On Your Corner,” from CBS RADIO’s all news KNX, Los Angeles takes place in northern Los Angeles County for an in-depth look at the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, April 24 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.  The live remote broadcast begins at 1:00 pm from the knxonyourcornerSalt Creek Grille with Frank Mottek hosting the “KNX Business Hour.”  Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the afternoon news from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm from the restaurant…..Gay rights activist Michelangelo Signorile will be comic and actress Rosie O’Donnell’s guest on SiriusXM’s next “Town Hall” show being produced tomorrow  (4/2) in the satcaster’s New York studios before an audience of SiriusXm listeners.  The show will air on Monday, April 13 4:00 pm ET and on Thursday, April 16 at 2:00 pm ET.

kelleyshannonBeasley Promotes Shannon Kelley to Director of Digital Content.  The services of Shannon Kelley were acquired by Beasley Broadcast Group along with the Charlotte stations it got in a swap with CBS RADIO.  Now, Beasley ups Shannon Kelley to corporate director of digital content.  She’ll work out of the Charlotte offices and in this position will focus “on designing and implementing an actionable digital content strategy with the intention of expanding the company’s brands in the digital space, while increasing traffic to websites, streams and apps.  She reports to vice president of programming Justin Chase.  You can congratulate Shannon at: shannon.kelley@bbgi.com.

Indiana Religious Freedom Law Flap, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Problem, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, Boston Marathon Bombing Trial, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Final Four Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31).  The controversy being created over Indiana’s religious freedom law and Governor Mike Pence’s vow to fix the law; criticism of “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah’s anti-Semitic jokes and Tweets; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email for State Department business; the probe into the downing of Germanwings Fight 9525 and the mental state of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz; the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the NCAA Men’s hoops tourney were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

| March 31, 2015

mitchinsondaniHeartMedia Brings News Pro Dan Mitchinson to Mornings at KFBK, Sacramento.  Saying that Dan Mitchinson “brings a unique combination of experience and success in the news/talk format, along with a passion to evolve our appeal to the next generation of listeners,” iHeartMedia Sacramento SVP of programming Don Parker announces the radio and TV news pro will join Amy Lewis as co-host of the KFBK Morning News, effective Monday April 6.  In a press statement, the station notes thatkfbklogo “Mitchinson’s radio work has been heard on the FOX and CBS networks.  His TV credentials include stories appearing on ‘ABC‘s World News Tonight’, ‘Nancy Grace’ and ‘Geraldo.’  He’s covered presidential visits, natural disasters as well as some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  Mitchinson has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for ‘Best Newscast,’ a Golden Mic award for Best News Special, and the Best Newscast and Single News story award from the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.  KFBK program director Bill White adds, “We’re very fortunate to have someone of Dan’s talent and his credentials speak to his passion for covering and delivering news.  He’ll be a great partner with Amy Lewis as the ‘KFBK Morning News’ continues to inform Sacramento and Northern California.”

kcmo logoLooking to the Future at KCMO, Kansas City.  TALKERS magazine observes that heritage news/talk outlet KCMO, Kansas City has been gradually adjusting the “attitude” of its programming to reflect the style of issues-oriented talk that a younger audience are reported to be demanding these days.  Just two months ago, the station brought in Rob Carson to host the daily morning show.  Carson’s hiringcarsonrob knappgregappears to dovetail well with Greg Knapp’s afternoon drive show, the nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show in early afternoons and the late morning Chris Plante program.  Carson (who’s been in and around the business for the past 26 years, ironically writing for Rush Limbaugh during a portion of those years) tells TALKERS, “I really believe there is a quantum shift happening in talk radio, and it involves a move away from purely political monologue and phone call talk shows and more towards a conservative-style ‘The Daily Show.’”  Note that Carson uses the word conservative.  He adds, “Some are moving completely away from politics and I believe they do so at their own peril as plantechrispolitics is such a massive part of the popular culture.”  Still, Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey tells the tale of the tape and KCMO-AM ranked 18th (1.7 share, persons 6+) in the February PPM survey, well behind talk leader KMBZ-FM (10th place with a 4.2 share, persons 6+) and non-com runner-up KCUR-FM (12th place with a 3.9 share, persons 6+).  Only time will tell if KCMO’s programming strategy will pay off, but it’s apparent that Rob Carson is going to keep swinging from his position in morning drive and that something new and interesting is afoot.

brady billOpinion: Radio in 2015 – Getting Back to the Basics.  Radio sales and management pro Bill Brady writes in an opinion piece published in TALKERS magazine today (3/31) that owners and operators must deal with the fact that it’s not 1988 anymore and adjust their programming accordingly.  Brady writes, “For the most part, the talk format has devolved into a niche within a niche within a niche.  Today’s talk product is not mass appeal ‘topic A’ stuff.  It’s not even mass appeal politics – just conservative politics which severely limit the format’s appeal.  The answer to the problem is very simple: play the hits.”  Read more from Bill Brady here.

ackermanchrisAckerman Retires from Coleman Insights. Vice president Chris Ackerman exits Coleman Insights following a 22-year run at the Raleigh-area research company. President and chief operating officer Warren Kurtzman comments, “Chris is going to be missed on so many levels. Our clients will miss his advice and counsel. We will miss his presence as a fabulous mentor to employees at every level of our organization. Most of all, however, I am going to miss having my good friend for the last 20 years down the hall. Everyone at Coleman Insights wishes nothing but the best for Chris and we thank him for his incalculable contributions to the success of our company.” Ackerman remarks, “[My wife] Kathy and I are deeply grateful for the opportunity [founder and chief executive officer] Jon Coleman and Warren Kurtzman have provided us, and for the support and friendship of all our Coleman colleagues. I am also grateful for the many clients I’ve had the honor and privilege to serve through the years.” Prior to joining Coleman in August 1992, Ackerman was vice president and general manager of Capitol Broadcasting Orlando’s WSTF “Star 101.” The Miami University (of Ohio) graduate previously held the same vice president and general manager title at Renda Broadcasting Pittsburgh; WJYE, Buffalo; and WKQQ, Lexington, Kentucky.

blumhagenlarryCBS Radio Transfers Blumhagen to Los Angeles. Nine-year general sales manager of CBS Radio San Francisco hot AC KLLC “Alice@97.3″ and CHR KMVQ “Now 99.7″ Larry Blumhagen will relocate in three weeks (4/20) to become vice president and director of sales for the company’s six-station Los Angeles cluster. CBS Radio Los Angeles senior vice president and market manager Dan Kearney states, “Larry has been successful since the day he joined the company in 1992. He has developed great relationships internally as well as throughout the advertising community. We are very fortunate that Larry is bringing his strategic and creative expertise to Los Angeles.” Blumhagen remarks that he is “very excited” to have the opportunity “to work with some of the most legendary brands in broadcasting,” and that he is “fortunate to continue to work with CBS Radio.” Past credits for University of Oregon alum Blumhagen include being general sales manager of Portland adult alternative KINK (2001 – 2006). CBS Radio Los Angeles properties include mainstream CHR KAMP “Amp Radio”; adult hits KCBS-FM “Jack-FM”; all-news KNX; alternative KROQ; classic hits-oldies KRTH “K-Earth 101″; and smooth AC KTWV “The Wave.”

Odds & Sods.  Last weekend, Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters presented its annual awards at a luncheon in Charlottesville and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington picked up five honors – four superior and one meritorious.  WTOP reporter Andrew Mollenbeck was awarded superior in the Best Documentary or In-wtop logo NEW 1-15Depth Report category for “New Arrivals,” reporter Megan Cloherty meritorious in the Best Feature or Human Interest category for “A Typical Day Turned Deadly,” and Chris Core superior for “Core Values” in the Best Editorial or Editorial Series category.  The WTOP Newsroom also received superior awards for the following: Best Coverage of a Spot News Story – “The Bob McDonnell Verdict”; and Best Coverage of a Continuing News Story – “The Search for Hannah Graham.”…..The Philadelphia Eagles and CBS wiplogoRADIO-owned sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” renew their deal for the station to serve as flagship for Eagles play-by-play for years to come.  The agreement also includes new elements such as an HD Radio station devoted exclusively to the Eagles 24/7 with year-round programming.  CBS RADIO Philadelphia stations have carried play-by-play coverage of the Eagles since 1992.  Eagles radio announcers Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest tenured play-by-play announcer, and former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick will continue to provide commentary of the games…..All-Pro receiver Steve Smith, currently with the Baltimore Ravens – is joining the roster of expert hosts on SiriusXM NFL Radio.   Smith will host “The Opening Drive” alongside co-host Bob Papa every other Wednesday live from 7:00 to 11:00 am ET.

koh logoCool Job Opportunity.  KKOH, Reno needs a full-time talk show producer and on-air operator with mad skills who can do it all: run the studio, screen calls, schedule guests, research topics, locate/edit audio, post content to social media, update the website, maintain podcasts, create promos and work with a well-established team.  The ideal candidate has on-air experience and passion for the news and important issues of the day, plus the ability to multi-task, handle stress and deadlines.  We’re a conservative talker, but it isn’t just about politics.  It helps if you don’t mind crazy hours, too.  Reply with resume and air check to renoradio.jobs@cumulus.com. EOE.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutMichael Harrison Discusses Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk, Rips Presidents and Politicians of Both Parties, and Interviews Linda Ronstadt.  The fourth in the new weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is posted at PodcastOne (PodcastOne.com). It presents the publisher of TALKERS and RadioInfo reflecting upon the recent TED Talk delivered by Monica Lewinsky.  The famous – perhaps, infamous — White House intern who found herself embroiled in the center of one of the most sensational presidential scandals in history surfaces with compelling personal insights about her experiences as a 22-year old from the perspective of being a 40-year old, and sheds new light on the internet’s impact on what she describes as the “shame industry.”  Harrison, known for his steadfast adherence to a non-partisan political posture other than his staunch support the First Amendment, springboards off Lewinsky’s remarks and shares provocative comments about his distrust of politicians – left and right – and admonishes the media that ganged up on Lewinsky for giving “figurative oral sex” to presidents and politicians of both parties for years.  Harrison also presents his recent, compelling interview with Linda Ronstadt and talks about his days as a golden-eared radio PD who has come to recognize how difficult it is to accurately predict what kind of music anyone will really like in a media-fractured marketplace.  The podcast can be heard directly by clicking here or by clicking on the special “Up Close and far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right hand column of both the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.

wltl logoWCKG, Elmhust, Illinois Teams with High School Station to Create ‘Study Hall Radio.’  An award-winning Chicago-area high school radio station – WLTL, La Grange (serving Lyons Township) – is working with commercial talk radio station WCKG, Elmhurst to produce: Study Hall Radio” that will air on WCKG on Saturdays at 2:00 pm.  Student broadcasters, under the guidance of faculty advisor Chris Thomas, will feature student reporters, interviewers and more.  Thomas says, “WLTL’s student broadcasters are generating the topics, researching and reporting the stories and conducting the interviews.  I am just the person helping to put all of the pieces together and making connections for the listening audience as to why adults should care about what is on the minds of students today.”  The April 4 premiere episode will focus on driving and teenagers.  Additional programs are planned to cover topics such as prom and dating, graduation and summer plans, jobs and activities for teenagers.  The purpose of each program will be to inform Suburban Chicago listeners of what is happening at the high school level, and how and why it affects our community.

Religious Freedom Act Controversy, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Hillary Clinton Email Case, ISIS Violence, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, and NCAA Hoops Tourney Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30).  The political controversy in Indiana over the implementation of that state’s religious freedom act; the strained relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email for State Department business; the battle against ISIS; the state of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz and the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525; and March Madness were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 30, 2015

| March 30, 2015

garciatonySix Tips for Success in Syndication.  The syndication game in the radio business has gotten so much more competitive over the years that today one must have a well-thought out and almost flawlessly executable plan in order to successfully bring a radio show to a national audience.  That warning doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it’s just gonna be real hard.  But Global Media Services principal Tony Garcia – a veteran of the radio and syndication businesses – writes in TALKERS magazine that a quick rundown of his six-point checklist can let you know whether or not you have a reasonable shot.  Point #1 is Know Your Product.  Sound easy?  Read more here.

ramseyDallas15Dave Ramsey Does Dallas. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author, Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Verizon Theater in Dallas where he hosted his “Smart Conference.”  This day-long event took place on Saturday, March 28 and included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.  Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Dallas on Friday, March 27 during which Ramsey and Hogan spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees.  Ramsey partnered with CBS RADIO-owned local affiliate KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080” to promote the appearances.

gallagherFergusonPlayposterMike Gallagher to Play Roles in Ferguson: The Play.  Nationally syndicated talk radio pro Mike Gallagher – whose program is heard around the nation via Salem Radio Network – will take part in a controversial stage production in Los Angeles based on the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.  Regular TALKERS magazine readers are aware that Gallagher is, in addition to his radio work, an accomplished stage actor.  Hegallaghermike appeared on Broadway in the musical Memphis and who took home a TONY Award as one of the investors in the 2014 Broadway revival of Pippin.  In this production, based on the Grand Jury witness testimony, Gallagher will play three roles: a lawyer, a forensic toxicologist and a medical examiner.  At the end of the production, the theatre audience will be asked to judge whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted.  The play will be presented at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles for four nights – April 26-29.  The producers of the Phelim McAleer-written and Nick DeGruccio-directed play hope to bring it to the stage in Ferguson itself.

brandmeierUnhingedlogoJohnny B’s ‘Talk Unhinged’ Debuts on Westwood One Today.  Stating that the program is debuting on 100 affiliate stations across the country, Westwood One announces the new Jonathon Brandmeier show is called “Talk Unhinged,” and the company says it’s “an entertaining, offbeat look at news, pop culture, and sports–from the big trending topics to the stories about to fall through the cracks–combined with celebrity interviews and free-wheeling audience interaction.”  It airs live from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and launches on such Cumulus Media stations as: home base WLS-AM Chicago; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KLIF-AM Dallas; WWBA-AM, Tampa; KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City; WPRV-AM, Providence; and KTBL-AM, Albuquerque; among others.

pagetommyCumulus Media Recruits Tommy Page for New Executive Role.  Former Pandora, Billboard and Warner Bros. Records exec Tommy Page is now with Cumulus Media as senior vice president of brand partnerships  where he’ll focus live events for that division of the company.  In this position Page will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey, who comments, “As an artist and marketer, Tommy is a natural choice to create meaningful connections between artists, brands and their passionate fans through immersive and measurable marketing experiences.  Tommy has a deep understanding of the live experience and helping advertisers bring their brands to life with unique partnerships.”

veatanyaVea Promoted at KSL in Salt Lake City.  The new title for Tanya Vea at Bonneville International’s KSL radio and TV is vice president and general manager of KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio.  She has served as vice president station manager at KSL since April 2014, overseeing news, programming, marketing, operations and engineering.   According to a story in the Deseret News, she now assumes responsibility for all operating departments, including sales.  Bonneville president Darrell Brown comments, “Tanya will be an outstanding general manager. She has been a key contributor to many of the cross-platform initiatives, including the groundbreaking DMC combined newsroom for KSL and the Deseret News.  Her expanded role as general manager of KSL will now allow her to have a greater impact on the entire organization.”

Mike FezzeyEx-WJR Leader Fezzey Passes. Former WJR, Detroit president and general manager Mike Fezzey died of a heart attack on March 27 while on a business trip in Naples, Florida. The 58-year-old native Detroiter had been president/general manager of heritage talker WJR from 1994 to 2011, but for the past four years, was president of Huntington Bank‘s southeastern Michigan region. According to a WJR statement, “Mike Fezzey was a community leader; active in many charities and nonprofit activities in Michigan; and he was a leader in his church. Under [his] leadership, [Cumulus Media-owned] WJR maintained [its] position as Detroit’s preeminent radio station, and it became one of America’s leading news-talk stations.” Cross-town CBS Radio market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “Mike was a leader in our industry for years. He was an inspiration to many in the way he transcended his career. He will be sorely missed by all of us.” Huntington Bank released a statement, which describes Fezzey as “an extraordinary member of the Huntington family who was highly committed to the Detroit area and making it a growing, vibrant community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family.” A former president of the Detroit Advertising Association, Fezzey received a Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence from the University of Georgia and the Neal Shine Award for philanthropy in journalism. In July 1996, Feezey selected Paul W. Smith to succeed the late J.P. McCarthy as WJR’s morning drive talent. On Saturday (3/28), Smith voiced a WJR commentary regarding Fezzey. Prior to being elevated to president/general manager at WJR, Fezzey was an account executive and sales manager there. His wife, Suzy, and their three adult children survive Fezzey.

brentmegCarnivalBrent & Meg Receive the Coveted ‘Poopy’ Award.  Nationally syndicated husband/wife duo Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for their role in the “Studio City Beautification” program instituted by the Studio City Resident’s Association and the City of Los Angeles to keep the streets free of unwanted dog droppings.  They are pictured at a special dinner honoring their community-mindedness at Carla’s Café, surrounding LA City Councilmember Paul Kerkorian of the second district (which includes major studios such as Universal and CBS). Meg and Brent are animal lovers and make sure that plastic mitt bags are available to “help dog owners keep our streets clean…not our movies…just our streets.”  The Brent & Meg Show now airs Monday through Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) as well as on its anchor affiliate WWPG 1450, Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Brent & Meg will be serving as Official Masters of Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.  To register, call 413-565-5413 before it, again, sells out.

Friday, March 27, 2015

| March 27, 2015

leetomTom Lee Tapped to Lead LA’s ‘The Beast 980.’  Radio and sports talk pro Tom Lee is being given the programming reigns to KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” – the recently flipped sports talker owned by the KFWB Asset Trust.  Lee says in a press statement that “Los Angeles sports fans are the greatest and perhaps the most underrated in America.”  Lee will have the opportunity to help bring substantivekfwb sports ratings to a radio format that has historically never really achieved – from a pure ratings standpoint – much in the Los Angeles market.  Lee continues, “Their passion, the distinct LA attitude and our great sports teams will all be represented by ‘The Beast 980.’”  Lee certainly understands successful sports talk as his resume includes some of the industry’s most visible sports talk ventures.  He launched FOX Sports Radio in 2000, leading the programming team that created and developed the 24/7 national sports network.  Lee has also programmed KESN-FM, Dallas ESPN Radio, as well as sports radio stations WIP, Philadelphia and KJR, Seattle.  KFWB Asset Trust Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Tom has achieved some of the highest ratings of all-sports stations across the country.  Our listeners will benefit from Tom’s invaluable skills in producing relevant content, top-notch talent and his experience in working with sports teams.”  Lee begins his new gig on March 30.

goldsteinsteveSteve Goldstein Exits Exec Role at Saga Communications; Launches Podcast Venture.  After a career with Saga Communications that spanned almost 30 years, Steven Goldstein leaves his executive vice president position and announces that he is forming a company called Amplifi Media, LLC which will specialize in “the development of digital audio-on-demand (podcast) content.”  Goldstein adds, “As connected cars, Bluetooth and smartphones converge, time-shifted audio will grow exponentially.amplifi logo  People will listen to content at a time and place of their choosing, just as is occurring rapidly in the television industry with Netflix, DVRs and on-demand video.”  A press statement from Amplifi says the company will “concentrate on great storytelling, compelling content and fresh voices on a variety of popular subjects, and will adapt, craft and focus the product for the unique needs of the digital audio business.”  Goldstein concludes, “The top of the iTunes podcast chart is dominated by NPR and affiliates.  They have done a tremendous job but there is a world of mainstream topics yet to be explored for on-demand-audio.  That’s where Amplifi will live.”  Goldstein can be reached at 203-221-1400 or via email at sjgoldstein@amplifimedia.com.

colmesalan“Healed Planet” Hosted by Alan Colmes Exploring New Worlds of Radio and Listenership.  One of the new program/projects launched on TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio platform TalkersRadio has been gaining notable traction in terms of expanded programming topicality and new listenership.  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an experimental talk show conceived and hosted by syndicated Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes and it serves as a prime example of TalkersRadio carrying out one of its primary missions as a “laboratory/workout gym” for proven talk show hosts to test new concepts and as a showcase for promising newcomers to present their work to the industry.  A new “Healed Planet” program is produced at least once per month and is available to TalkersRadio listeners (primarily members of the radio industry) on demand.  The program features the multi-platform, news/talk figure that gained international notoriety as the liberal co-host on the iconic left-right political discussion show “Hannity & Colmes” during itstalkersradio logo successful 12-year run on Fox News Channel in a role quite different than his regular followers might expect.  (In addition to being heard nightly on his syndicated radio show, Colmes is also still seen on Fox News Channel as a contributing commentator.)  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, cosmic consciousness and everything else rolling around the fertile mind of Alan Colmes.  He describes it as “presenting stimulating conversations with thought-leaders in the human consciousness movement.”  At present, three episodes of “Healed Planet” are up and running featuring Colmes in conversation with authors Gabe Berman and George A. Hart, plus a discussion with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  On having this new vehicle of expression, Colmes tells TALKERS,” I love having a nightly forum where I can give my political views and takes on the issues of the day, and I love having a forum where politics doesn’t matter and we can all talk as human beings without any ideological prism.”  According to Colmes, he is basically doing this for fun, stating, “Sometimes it is simply cool to do a media presentation just for the heck of it and explore subjects and styles that don’t necessarily fit into the understandably more-rigid confines of our day jobs, even though my daily radio show is on at night.”  TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “It is fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners and people in the industry to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it – Alan is quite famous.  And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!”  To listen to “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” please click here.

spiegelmattWSCR, Chicago Host Apologizes for ‘Childish’ and ‘Crass’ Tweet.  From the “haven’t they been paying attention” department comes this story, chronicled by Chicago media writer Robert Feder here.  In a nutshell, WSCR veteran talk hosts Matt Spiegel and Dan Bernstein were Tweeting critically about the television presence of Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal when the two veered into the now-all-too-familiar territory visited by many media personalities these days: they commented on her breasts.  To Spiegel’s (and to some degree Bernstein’s) credit, he seems to have realized his error and has apologized profusely via Twitter, admitting that he made a stupid, childish mistake.  Feder reports that sources say Spiegel and Bernstein will not be disciplined for the incident.

wgnhofplaqueWGN, Chicago to Induct 10 into Station WoF.  When Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago inducts its 2015 Walk of Fame class during the Steve Cochran show on Friday, May 29, 10 broadcasters will be honored.  The ceremony and live broadcast will air from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Tribune Tower.  Those to be inducted include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack, Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal, Ron Santo and Eddie Schwartz.  They will be commemorated in bronze plaques placed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio.

Odds & Sods.  Bringing a passion of hers to WABC, New York on Sunday nights at 7:00 is Laura Smith who tells TALKERS magazine she’s “psyched” to debut “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith” this weekend.  Smith says the program is a revival of the program she hosted on SiriusXM and on WFAS-FM, Westchester several years ago.  “It’ssmithlaura a passion of mine as it incorporates conversations with some of the world’s most popular thought leaders and then the biggest celebrity psychics, mediums and astrologers giving free readings live on the air.  This Sunday, I have global phenomenon, spiritual teacher and four-time NYT best-selling author, Marianne Williamson plus celebrity medium Thomas John.”…..There’s now an FM signal to complement Delmarva’s news/talk WDEL-AM, Wilmington.  The company announces it is using the newly acquired WJKS, Canton, New Jersey to create at trimulcast of the legendary news/talker.  In the market the station can be heard on WDEL at 1150 AM, on WJKS at 101.7 FM and via HD-3 on WSTW’s 93.7 FM.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  More stations are airing the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson show.  New affiliate stations for the KXL, Portland-based talk personality include: WHBY, Green Bay; WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina; WLEA, Elmira New York; WBRP, Baton Rouge; WNRP, Pensacola; KCRS,larsonlars Odessa; WDRC-AM, Hartford; and KTIP, Porterville, California.  Larson comments on his busy schedule, “I prep from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Left Coast and talk from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm.  I’ll leave the mic when they drag me away.  I’ll sleep when I get old.”…..Stephan MultiMedia’s “Good Day” with Doug stephandougStephan is also adding affiliate stations and announces it’s surpassed the 300-station mark with the following new outlets: KTFL, Gilbert, Arizona; KVNU, Logan, Utah; WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WDNY, Dansville, New York; WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; KBIZ, Ottumwa, Iowa; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; WEBY, Milton, Florida; KSCB, Liberal, Kansas; WFEA, Nashua, New Hampshire; and KQEW-FM, Fordyce, Arkansas…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the daily lineup at KWOR, Worland, Wyoming.

dickeycurtisKubyinfShow Prep with Lew Dickey.  When Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey is in New York, he’s more than ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the talent at legendary news/talk outlet WABC.  Dickey (seated right) is captured here in the office of WABC midday talk duo Curtis Sliwa (seated left) and Ron Kuby (seated floor) as the executive gives Kuby a therapeutic massage to make him more relaxed on the air.  Dickey did, however, draw the line when Sliwa demanded that his be a foot massage.

Germanwings Flight 9525 Tragedy Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of March 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.  Following at #3 was the tense relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, at #4, was the potential candidates for president in 2016.  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.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

| March 26, 2015

RamseyPhoenix15Ramsey Entertains and Informs in The Valley.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star and best-selling author Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage at beautiful Symphony Hall in Phoenix) visited The Valley with the promotional help of affiliate station KTAR “News 92.3.”  He presented to a sold-out audience his “Smart Money” program – which explains how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence – on Wednesday, March 25.  Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage.  While in Phoenix, Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” whichRamseyPhoenixstaff15 addresses how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees.  Pictured at right is Ramsey (center) with vice president of content and operations for Bonneville Phoenix Ryan Hatch (right), and Bonneville Phoenix VP and market manager Scott Sutherland (left).  Hatch comments, “Dave’s consistent success in providing important and helpful content that delivers large audiences on KTAR ‘News 92.3 FM’ is well known.  What really puts Dave over the top is the personal touch and powerful connection he makes with our market when he comes to Phoenix.  It’s become a must-see event for our listeners and clients, which is why you see sold-out crowds on March 24 and 25.”

wallkevinTalk Host Kevin Wall Returns to Air in Nevada.  Las Vegas talk radio personality Kevin Wall returns to the air in the market on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET “790 Talk Now” and in the Reno market on Evans Broadcasting’s KKFT-FM “99.1FM Talk” beginning March 30.  The show is produced by Battle Born Radio Corp. and is titled, “Live and Local Now!”  It will air weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Wall comments, “I am so excited to be reunited with my thousands of listeners across southern Nevada.  The opportunity to talk with thousands of new listeners in northern Nevada is something I’m really looking forward to.  What a brilliant idea, linking northern and southern Nevada.  These two independent broadcasters, without the shackles of corporate radio, are preparing to unleash a whole new brand of conservative talk on listeners across the Silver State.  I can’t wait to get started on March 30th!”

weei logoWEEI to Host Baseball Show at Gay Boston Sports Bar.  Boston sports talk outlet WEEI says it will make history this weekend when it broadcasts its Hot Stove Baseball Panel live from Cathedral Station Sports Bar and Pub – a prominent gay bar in the city – on Sunday (3/29) from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  The Entercom sports talker says the program will feature panelists Rob Bradford and John Tomase of WEEI.com, former Red Sox player and WEEI-FM midday personality Lou Merloni and Sam Kennedy, EVP/Chief Operating Officer of the Boston Red Sox.  The moderator will be Boston Herald sports columnist and WEEI-FM fill-in host Steve Buckley.  Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “When you look at just how far we’ve come as a society at large, it makes sense to openly embrace sports fans from every segment of our richly diverse community.  Sunday’s event is WEEI’s official and public declaration of welcoming Boston’s LGBT sports fans to our extended radio family.”  The event is co-hosted by Boston Spirit Magazine, the premier LGBT publication in the Massachusetts and New England area.

sykescharlieAnnual Charlie Sykes ‘Insight’ Show to Feature Scott Walker One-On-One.  The WTMJ, Milwaukee personality is announcing that the 2015 edition of his annual live event titled, “Insight,” will feature an exclusive one-on-one interview with Governor Scott Walker.  The live program takes place on Wednesday, April 1 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Harris Theater in suburban Brookfield and audio will be played on WTMJ at 8:30 the next morning.  The station says, “620 WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes Insight is a radio show taped in front of a studio audience.  Charlie Sykes will interview the All Star panel and the audio will be played back on 620 WTMJ…The show features the biggest and brightest conservative leaders to review policy and politics in a unique setting.”  In addition to Governor Scott Walker, guests appearing on the panel include: Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (via video), Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr.

Odds & Sods.  Sports author, columnist and media personality John Feinstein begins hosting a weekly golf show on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Channel.  The show will be a one-hour production titled, “A Good Walk Spoiled with John Feinstein,” and will air Monday’s from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.  Feinstein recently exited the CBS Sports Radiofeinsteinjohn Network.  He comments, “I’m happy to be back at SiriusXM and I’m grateful to Scott Greenstein and Steve Cohen for the chance to talk golf, as well as hoops.”…..New York media personality (and WOR talk host) Mark Simone made a recent appearance on Australian television speaking about his relationship simoneAussieTVSinatrawith and knowledge of Frank Sinatra and his music as the late singer’s 100th birthday would have been this year.  Simone is pictured here at left appearing on Melbourne, Australia’s “9News.”…..ESPN Radio is announcing it is preparing to begin its 18th Major League Baseball season of broadcasting more than 66 games that will include multiple appearances from several top teams, including the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, defending American League Champion Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.  The sports giant notes that its radio network will also be the home to the Gillette Home Run Derby and the 86th MLB All Star Game from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 14.  kdkaEvery MLB postseason game will be broadcasted for the 18th consecutive year….. CBS RADIO Pittsburgh stations KDKA-AM and KDKA-FM have been honored by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters with 2015 Excellence In Broadcasting Awards.  “Newsradio 1020” KDKA-AM received honors for Outstanding Radio Commercial for “Alcosan Open House,” and for Outstanding Public Service Announcement/Campaign for “A Salute to Veterans.”  Sports talker “Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan” KDKA-FM received the award for Outstanding Coverage Of A Local Sporting Event for its coverage of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2014 postseason.

hurleyharryNJBA Hall of Fame Class Includes WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley.  The New Jersey Broadcasters Association is announcing the inductees for its 2015 Hall of Fame Class.  This year’s group includes: Harry Hurley, Dan Finn, and Kevin Williams. NJBA president and CEO Paul Rotella comments, “In addition, Richard Swetits was named our Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, and he will enter the NJBA Hall of Fame as part of this extraordinary honor for a lifetime dedicated to our industry and the NJBA.  The 2015 NJBA Hall of Fame Class of Inductees is comprised of true pioneers, innovators, and visionaries, with their accomplishments spanning the state and the region.”

Iran Nukes Issue, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ObamaCare, Germanwings Flight 9525 Mystery, Bo Bergdahl Case, Yemen Tensions, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25).  The negotiations over a West-approved nuclear program for Iran; the strained relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the potential candidates for president in 2016; scrutiny of the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act; the investigation into the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps; the decision to charge Bo Bergdahl with desertion; tensions in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia begins military operations in Yemen; the ongoing buildup of military activity by Russia; and the NCAA men’s hoops tourney were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.