Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Jason Lewis Quits Radio On Air. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host abruptly quit his radio program some 24 minutes into his Thursday evening show Tweeting, “Today I left the radio biz for something better.” The Pioneer Press reports Jason Lewis told Clear Channel Minneapolis president and market manager Mike Crusham he intended to retire on August 1 (Lewis’ show was based out of KTLK, Minneapolis). “He told me two months ago he intended to retire August 1. He decided not to go public with it until today. I think he is serious about it. I hope he is not. He is one of the best talk show hosts I have ever worked with or listened to.” Lewis posted a video at Galt.io – his new venture – that explains his Ayn Randian views on government and society. You can view that here.
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil on the Ropes? As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WSCR, Chicago sports talk personality Dan McNeil – off of his midday show now for the past eight weeks while in what’s assumed are contract negotiations – and his superiors at the CBS RADIO station are preparing for his permanent departure. CBS Chicago SVP and market manager Rod Zimmerman tells Feder the two sides have been communicating but talks appear to be all but exhausted and the sense is that the two are not finding mutual ground. McNeil reportedly wants a pay increase from about $300,000 per year to $500,000 and he wants to move to afternoon drive and Feder reports Zimmerman is not amenable to either. Read Feder’s column here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: “Howard B. Price: Being Prepared for Emergencies.” Today (8/1) marks the 14th and concluding business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last June’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a very special presentation by Howard B. Price, director/business continuity, ABC Radio News, titled “It’s Not IF, But WHEN: Preparing Your Station or Network for Emergent Events, Large or Small.” Price cites a set of real life examples of what can happen to broadcasting facilities in terms of invasions by demented listeners or local disasters – natural and otherwise — that impair their ability to broadcast and threaten the lives and well-being of the local population. He goes on to offer a detailed explanation of key steps that should be taken in advance of such events. Price is introduced by national syndicated talk star Doug Stephan who says that he would expect and hope to be pre-empted by his affiliates if they were faced with a local life-threatening calamity. He would even be “embarrassed” to be on the air during such an event and coming across as being oblivious to it. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Howard B. Price is, indeed, an industry hero. His presentation, that concluded our conference on a compelling note, is chock-full of truths and valuable information that address the very heart and soul of our roles as broadcasters. We didn’t catch some of the images of his accompanying power point presentation in our one-camera shoot – but with a speaker the caliber of Price at the helm, absolutely none of the vital information was lost.” To view Howard B. Price’s address, please click here. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo. They will remain posted through the remainder of 2014.
Odds & Sods. Southern California sports media personality Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton exits Broadcast Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’d been co-hosting the Padres pre-game show. Hamilton had been in morning drive at the station until this past January. He’s now operating his own eponymous website and seeking his next opportunity…..Former Minnesota Governor (and radio talk show host) Jesse Ventura debuts his “We the People with Jesse Ventura” podcast on Adam Carolla’s Carolla Digital platform. The weekly podcast will also be available via iTunes…..The on-air lineup for coverage of Houston Texans football on sports talk KILT-AM (and on sister country KILT-FM) is set as Marc Vandermeer and Andre Ware will handle the play-by-play. KILT-AM personality Rich Lord will host the pre-game show with John Lopez and former Texan Seth Payne. KILT-AM personality Sean Pendergast, Mike Meltser and Ted Johnson host the post-game show and crosstown KGOW host John Harris joins the radio network for sideline reporter work…..Westwood One brings Jason Benetti aboard as a college football play-by-play announcer. His first game will be the network’s coverage of the Wisconsin vs LSU game on August 30. Benetti most recently was media director and play-by-play announcer for the Syracuse Chiefs minor league franchise.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New affiliate stations for the WYM Media-produced Leslie Marshall program include KTNF, Minneapolis; KTOX, Needles, California; WKBZ and WTKG, Grand Rapids; KNFO, Denver; KVOT, Taos, New Mexico; KTRC, Santa Fe, New Mexico; WNYY, Syracuse; and WHMP, Northampton, Massachusetts…..Nationally syndicated home improvement show “The Money Pit” with Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to the program schedule at WOBM, Lakewood Township and WADB, Asbury Park, New Jersey; KARN-FM, Little Rock; and KRCN, Denver-Longmont…..The “Racing to Success Minute” feature with host Nadine Lajoie is added to the “Mind Your Own Business Radio Show” WLOB, Portland, Maine.
Obama Impeachment Chatter Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 28-August 1. The talk about GOP leaders pushing for impeachment of President Obama and the Democrats’ use of the matter as a fundraising tool was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the U.S. House’s vote to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama for unconstitutional action. Following at #3 was the ongoing Gaza Strip violence and at #4 was the U.S. immigration policy and the border crisis in the Southwest. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Journal Communications Announces Merger of Broadcast Operations with E.W. Scripps. In a surprise move – at least as far as the public is concerned – Journal Communications announced late Wednesday (7/30) that it has struck a deal with Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps to merge the two companies’ broadcast operations into one company and to spin off their respective print businesses and merge them into a separate company that will also be publicly traded. The Journal Broadcast Group will go away and the broadcast operations will continue under the Scripps banner. The newspaper and print businesses will operate under the Journal Media Group banner. This means an exit for Scripps from the print business. In a video message, Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steve Smith states, “These two independent companies will build upon the strong local brands Journal and Scripps have built over the years.” The newspaper company – with 14 dailies and affiliated digital media – will be headquartered in Milwaukee. Scripps owns only TV stations and, after the merger is complete, the new group will be the fifth largest television group in the country – with 34 TV stations in 24 markets – with Journal’s radio assets also in that group. Journal operates 35 radio stations in eight markets. WXYZ-TV, Detroit reports that Scripps CEO Richard Boehne states the companies will gain about $35 million in “combined transaction synergies” but he said it would be months before it would be known if there would be staff reductions or requests for employees to relocate. The deal, pending regulatory approval, is expected to close in 2015. Since Scripps owns no radio assets, there are no duplicative positions there but the question to be asked is how dedicated to the radio business will E.W. Scripps be? Will it ultimately put them up for sale? Only time will tell.
Cumulus Strikes Deal with CNN for Radio News Product. The product will not be branded CNN but will allow stations to make the content that comes from CNN Newsource their own. A statement from Cumulus Media today about the news service to be made available via Westwood One, says, this new service will offer radio stations nationwide access to broadcast, breaking news, wire service and digital content provided by CNN for use on the air and on their websites. Westwood One owns the patented STORQ technology that Cumulus says provides a local feel to syndicated content. “The addition of this new service will for the first time enable local radio stations to broadcast the latest national and international news acquired by CNN but branded with their own call letters and station slogans.” Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says, “Our affiliates and advertising partners know they can count on us for news and information products that reflect how people today consume content through various platforms, and this exclusive access to CNN’s newsgathering will ensure we can provide stations nationwide an unmatched array of news formats.” Dickey described the service to the New York Post calling it a “differentiated product. For some who want hard news, this isn’t the service, but there are fewer of those types of stations across the country. The emphasis is more on shorter stories, less hard news and ‘give it to me when I want it.’” Cumulus Media’s Westwood One reps other news services – including ABC, NBC, CBS and CNBC Business Radio. CNN shut down the CNN Radio division two years ago.
Fox TV and Entercom Mend Fences – and Restore $$ — After Minihane Comments. Some industry insiders were critical of Fox TV’s dropping advertising on Entercom-owned stations after WEEI-FM, Boston’s Kirk Minihane made controversial comments about Fox TV reporter Erin Andrews – charging Fox with pulling the boycott strategy. However it appears the move by Entercom CEO David Field to apologize and to suspend Minihane for a week placated Fox and, according to a story by Chad Finn in the Boston Globe, the company will resume its advertising of its TV shows and movies on Entercom stations which is reportedly in the neighborhood of $1 million per year. Fox Sports SVP of media relations Lou D’Ermilio stated, “We appreciate Entercom’s recognition and response to the inappropriate comments made by the WEEI host. It is our sincere hope both organizations can now move forward.” Finn reports Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary commented, “On our end, we consider the matter 100 percent resolved.” Read the whole story here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: “The Talk Rumble.” Today (7/31) marks the 13th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a Talkers Conference tradition – “The Talk Rumble.” Moderated by the dynamic multi-media talk star Lionel of LionelMedia.com with a special introduction by syndicated icon, Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America, the freewheeling debate of today’s hottest talk radio issues features: Bubba the Love Sponge, Bubba Radio Network; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/FNC; Mike Gallagher, Salem Radio Network; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale; Kevin McCullough, XtreMEDIA; and David Webb, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. To view this spoken word extravaganza, please click here. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Questions About Political Correctness. WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer writes in an opinion piece published today at Talkers.com, that although he believes we should all avoid words or phrases that are likely to offend, he fears that “a ‘gotcha’ mentality is running amok, looking to punish anyone who has the temerity to take an unpopular stand.” Neer points to two recent cases – one involving Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the other Stephen A. Smith’s current suspension from ESPN – in which both men went to great lengths to clarify statements that many people would, upon hearing the clarification, not find offensive. Still, the controversy continued and in Smith’s case, he was suspended. Read Neer’s insightful piece here.
Larry King Says Piers Morgan Failed Because He Was ‘Pompous.’ Appearing on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF, Buffalo on the “Norton in the Morning” show via Envision Networks’ Guest Services booking service, radio and TV legend Larry King – promoting his “Larry King Now” daily interview show that appears on Ora.tv and Hulu.com – told the show’s listeners that Piers Morgan had a tough transition to replace him as host of the CNN interview show. “Any person who has been on for 25 years in one place and you have an audience who is used to you…it’s very hard to step into those shoes no matter who it is.” Speaking about Morgan, King said, “Personally, I like him fine, but it was all about him. It was the opposite of the way I interview. He was the opposite. So now they not only had someone who was British, different, but then he would use the word ‘I’ every other word…He became, I thought a bit, in my opinion, pompous, but that’s the way I looked at it. So I had trouble watching Piers Morgan’s show, and I guess a lot of other people did too.”
Dan Le Batard Denied LeBron James Ad by Cleveland Plain Dealer. It’s hard to say how far along ESPN and WAXY, Miami sports talk host Dan Le Batard was in actually trying to place an ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer to get a dig in at LeBron James, but the paper forestalled any such plan by saying it would not accept the ad, according to a report in the Washington Post. The paper reports Le Batard was discussing the Miami Heat fans’ reaction to James’ departure for Cleveland and he suggested taking out an ad similar to the mock-up you see here that would razz James for not thanking Miami fans after his four-year stint with the Heat. Le Batard jokingly suggested a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money for the ad. Still, for Le Batard’s part, he got a fair amount of national press over the bit.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated Leslie Marshall show – produced by WYM Media – permanently shifts its live broadcast time to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET…..Red Rock Radio Corp. is flipping two stations – standards WXCE, Amery, Wisconsin and standards WHSM-AM, Hayward, Wisconsin – to sports talk using NBC Sports Radio effective August 4.
Obama Impeachment Chatter/House Obama Suit Vote, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Gaza Strip Violence, Flight 17 Probe/Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, Lerner’s Anti-GOP Emails, and Stephen A. Smith Suspension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The controversy over possible impeachment of President Obama and the Dem’s purported use of the threat in fundraisers combined with the U.S. House’s vote to sue the president for unconstitutional actions; the Ebola outbreak scare; Israel’s continuing attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip; the investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and the complications due to Ukrainian instability and Russia’s involvement; the flap over IRS staffer Lois Lerner’s anti-GOP emails; and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith’s suspension for his comments on the Ray Rice suspension were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Minority Workforce in Radio ‘Highest Since Mid-1990s.’ That’s according to a recent RTDNA study by Robert Papper, professor emeritus at Hofstra University. The latest edition of this annual study, titled “Women and Minorities in Newsrooms,” examines the state of minorities and women working in both television and radio news organizations. The minority workforce in radio over the past 24 years peaked in 1995 at 14.7%. Results for this year show the minority workforce in radio at 13%. Breaking down the radio minority workforce, the data show African Americans make up 4.8% of the workforce with Hispanics making up 6.2%. However, Papper concludes that the number of minorities working at non-commercial stations is “two to three times as high” compared to the workforce at commercial stations. Read the entire study here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Panel Discussion, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Today (7/30) marks the 12th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a panel discussion moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian titled, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Featured speakers include: Tom Becka, KOIL, Omaha; Ron Hartenbaum, WYD Media; Tom Marr, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Piscopo, WNYM, New York; and Martha Zoller, WGAU, Athens, GA/Georgia News Network. The session was introduced by noted industry attorney, Steve Weisman, legal editor, TALKERS who compares these days to Charles Dickens’ “best and worst” of times for being a radio talent. Weisman advises those who think these are the worst of times to “get out now, because they are right.” But he also says for those who see it the other way, they are also right — these are the best of times because of all the “unparalleled opportunities” that exist among the changes at hand. Moderator Kinosian sets the tone opening the session with the statement, “As a former program director, the greatest joy I had was dealing with talent. I loved the formatics, the elements… I loved everything about programming a radio station — but nothing interested me more than the talent. What it’s like to be a personality. This [panel] is about personalities on the air, their lives and their profession. I am interested in them as human beings.” To view the entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: “The Talk Rumble” moderated by Lionel with a special introduction by Dr. Joy Browne. Rumblers include: Bubba the Love Sponge, Bubba Radio Network; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/FNC; Mike Gallagher, Salem Radio Network; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale; Kevin McCullough, XtreMEDIA; and David Webb, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
‘Patriot-Made Audiocast’ Celebrates Three Years. Creating American jobs and celebrating the ingenuity that leads to those jobs is the keystone of the mindset of Debra Grobman and Rita Rich, co-producers of the program “Patriot-Made Audiocast.” The show is celebrating its third year of “telling stories about creating, and keeping jobs in America.” Grobman, based in L.A., says, “The ‘Patriot-Made Audiocast’ is a made-in-the-USA podcast production and the appetite for positive stories about American inventors, designers, artists and musicians is great throughout North America. Washington-based Rita Rich, former longtime producer of the Jim Bohannon show, adds, “As I talk to people about their work, I learned that patriotism and pride in being American is the bedrock of so many of their stories.” Some of the people and companies the program has featured so far include: Annie and William Chilakian, mother and son owners of Silver Moon Bay Convalescent Apparel; Victoria Hunter Closson, inventor of The Headbone; Dal LaMagna, the CEO of IceStone; a green flooring and countertop manufacturer; Chris Miceli, marketing director of Porta-Brace customized carry cases; Judy Smith, co-inventor of Wine-A-Rita drink mix; and Laura Wilkenson-Sinton, co-inventor of FreshTape. Grobman adds, “Consumers are looking for fellowship and a sense of connectedness everywhere, including the marketplace. Rita and I present stories that make the people who make stuff and present ideas as more human and real. That way folks will want to spend money on goods made in the USA. If you put a good story behind the things people buy and you make it worth it.”
Chattanooga AM Trio Debuts News/Talk/Sports Format. Operating as Hot News Talk Radio LLC, principals Sab Cupelli and David Tulis are programming a new news/talk/sports format on three Chattanooga signals: WSDT 1240 AM, WEPG 910 AM, WSDQ 1190 AM. The stations are featuring Westwood One’s Don Imus and Dennis Miller, Courtside Entertainment Group’s Laura Ingraham, Premiere Network’s “Coast to Coast AM” plus local programming including “Nooganomics” with David Tulis and various sports programming. Cupelli is an experienced station owner and programmer. Tulis is a veteran business news editor at the Chattanooga Free Press and a talk show host.
One-Week Suspension for ESPN’s Smith. Concrete proof is hardly required to illustrate the kind of ramifications that can result from a sports talk host’s off-the-cuff remarks. Those seeking evidence, however, need only examine two incidents from this month. TALKERS has been following and reporting on the fallout from disparaging remarks WEEI, Boston “Dennis & Callahan” morning show member Kirk Minihane made regarding Fox reporter Erin Andrews. Add to that what happened last Friday (7/25) on ESPN‘s “First Take” when Stephen A. Smith inferred that women should consider how they are the ones who provoke violence against themselves. In a staff memo, ESPN president John Skipper writes that Smith will not appear on “First Take” or ESPN Radio for one week. In the note, Skipper states, “As many of you know, there has been substantial news coverage in the past few days related to comments Stephen A. made in the wake of the NFL‘s decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games following charges of assaulting his then fiancée, now wife, a few months ago. Those remarks did not reflect our company’s point of view, or our values. They certainly don’t reflect my personal beliefs. We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion about appropriate next steps. Those conversations have involved a diverse group of women and men in our company. Our women’s ERG has added to the conversation and going forward, I know they will help us continue constructive discussion on this and related issues.” Smith was quoted that his particular remark was, “the most egregious mistake” of his career. According to Skipper, “I believe his apology was sincere and that he and we have learned from what we’ve collectively experienced. I am confident we will all move forward with a greater sense of enlightenment and perspective as the lasting impact of these last few days.” According to Skipper’s memo, Smith will return to ESPN one week from today (Wednesday, 8/6).
Odds & Sods. Joining the Salem Communications Houston operations is 30-year market pro Michael Shiloh who is named news director and morning anchor at the station group that includes news/talk KNTH “1070 The Answer,” business talk KTEK, and Christian talk KKHT…..The University of Houston has a radio flagship for its football play-by-play this season as games will be broadcast on Clear Channel news/talk KPRC, Houston with Kevin Eschenfelder and Ted Pardee in the booth and Jeremy Branham on the sidelines. Cougars football aired on CC’s sister sports talker KBME last season…..Towson University football and men’s basketball play-by-play will air on CBS RADIO’s sports talker WJZ-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1300” this season. In addition to the gamecasts, football coach Rob Ambrose and basketball coach Pat Skerry will make appearances on sister sports talk WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan.”
Former Marconi Winners to Help Celebrate 25th Anniversary of NAB Honor. In recognizing the 25th anniversary of the NAB Marconi Awards, five former recipients of the honor with be part of the awards dinner and show at the 2014 Radio Show in September in Indianapolis. Ron Chapman, Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo, Big Boy, and Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold of the “The Bob & Tom Show” will serve as emcees and presenters throughout the evening on September 11. Helping lead the festivities and serving as presenters will be NAB Radio Board chair Don Benson of Lincoln Financial Media, Radio Show steering committee chair and Cox Media Group‘s Kim Guthrie and NAB Joint Board chair Charles Warfield of YMF Media LLC.
New England Broadcaster Dave Thatcher Dies at 70. Longtime radio personality Dave Thatcher died on July 26 at age 70. Thatcher worked for years in both the Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut markets. Early in his career he was a morning drive personality in Springfield, working at a number of stations in the market. He also produced talk shows at WHYN and WNNZ in Springfield.
Gaza Violence, Flight 17 Probe/Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Obama Impeachment Move, Immigration Reform/Border Crisis, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Ebola Threat, and Ray Rice Suspension Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to broker peace; the investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and Russia’s continued involvement in Ukrainian instability; the move to impeach President Obama; immigration reform, amnesty proposals and the crisis at the U.S.’s Southeastern border; the looming mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; the renewed threat of the Ebola virus; and the aftermath of the NFL’s two-game suspension of Ray Rice were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Panel Discussion, “The State of Talk Radio Programming.” Today (7/29) marks the 11th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a panel discussion titled, “The State of Talk Radio Programming,” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey. Panelists include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York. The panel focuses on a variety of topics pertinent to today’s talk radio programming strategies with an emphasis on dealing with the common criticism that the format is skewing too old. Moderator Casey starts it off asking “Is talk radio a kingmaker that wins elections or is talk radio dead?” He points out that to read the press this format receives, one would get the impression both of these statements are true. The reasoned answers by all participants are illuminating – drawing upon facts and context as opposed to bias and emotion. To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian titled, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Featured speakers include: Tom Becka, KOIL, Omaha; Ron Hartenbaum, WYD Media; Tom Marr, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Piscopo, WNYM, New York; and Martha Zoller, WGAU, Athens, GA/Georgia News Network. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Michael Castner Moves to AM Drive at KEX, Portland. Changes in the programming schedule at Clear Channel’s Portland news/talker KEX include the shift of afternoon drive personality Michael Castner to host of the morning drive program alongside the current staff of co-anchor Lacey Evans, news director Brad Ford and traffic reporters Michael Convery and Lynne Masterson. As a result Paul Linnman leaves the AM show for a commentator role with the station. Taking over the afternoon drive slot is Houston-based talk personality Michael Berry whose show slides down from evenings to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot.
Laura Ingraham Doesn’t Discount Run for Office. It’s not exactly a statement of intent, but Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham tells RealClearPolitics that she’s “keeping an open mind about running for office in the future.” The comment comes at the end of a piece about her influence on some of the primary races – specifically the assertion that she was instrumental in helping Dave Brat upset Eric Cantor in the Virginia U.S. House primary and her current stumping for Joe Carr as he takes on Lamar Alexander in the Tennessee U.S. Senate primary that takes place on August 7. Ingraham was in Nashville recently at a campaign event for Carr – a Tea Party-backed candidate who is drawing a line in front of Alexander on the immigration issue. Read the entire story here.
SiriusXM Posts Q2 Revenue Hike of 10%; 380,000 New Self-Pay Subscribers. After a somewhat down 2014 Q1 report, SiriusXM rebounds with what CEO Jim Meyer is calling an “outstanding” quarter. SiriusXM’s revenue for the quarter was $1.035 billion – a 10% increase from the same period a year ago. Net income was $120 million. Last quarter, SiriusXM reported adding just 267,000 new subscribers but that figure is up dramatically with almost 475,000 new subscribers added – approximately 380,000 of those self-paying subscribers. Meyer comments, “We set new records for trial conversions to self-pay, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin in the quarter, and we are raising our 2014 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow. Our extraordinary operating performance supported the buyback of over 350 million shares in the quarter, or approximately 6% of our outstanding stock. Perhaps more importantly, we improved our superior content by adding even more channels and shows created with major brands and personalities, such as Joel Osteen, NBC’s TODAY Show, and YouTube, and we expanded the range and depth of our commercial-free music programming with the introduction of three new channels in the categories of country, women’s pop, and dance. As the leader in audio entertainment, we never rest in searching for new content that our subscribers will love.”
Meeting of the Mentors. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) paid a visit Sunday (7/27) to his old friend, radio legend Dick Robinson (right), founder and chairman of the mega-successful Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB). The two veteran radio “mentors” compared notes about the state of the industry and according to both men, it was an uplifting, stimulating discussion that left them “inspired and optimistic” about the future of the business. CSB – the oldest and largest group of broadcasting schools in America — is a tremendous success story that celebrates its half-century anniversary this year. The institute that launched thousands of careers was founded by then-renowned Hartford DJ Robinson in 1964 (pictured below at WDRC, Hartford at that time) to help aspiring young broadcasters learn the fundamentals of radio performing and production and has since grown to include 12 East Coast campuses from Boston to Miami. According to Robinson, “Our success is based largely on the fact that we have grown, evolved and expanded the definition of what we cover as the years and decades went by…and we are still doing exactly that – evolving with the times. Whereas we started primarily as a school for DJs, we have grown to encompass all aspects of the radio business as well as television including the burgeoning field of sports and all aspects of audio and video production.” Robinson says, “We are a remedy to the high cost and long-term commitment required to attend a standard college or university communications department curriculum – a process that leaves graduates in significant debt and doesn’t necessarily guarantee enhanced prospects of gaining employment in the field.” Robinson also explains, “We are also a practical alternative to four-year schools for adults in their late 20s, 30s and even older who want to change careers or start a new one in the broadcast business.” The obvious question arises: Considering the economic challenges facing radio today with staff cutbacks and the future of AM/FM in question, are there still opportunities for people of any age in the fields of radio and broadcasting? Robinson’s response: “Absolutely! More than ever! With radio stations and multi-dimension ‘media station’ operations that include audio, video, graphics, and text elements all on one platform popping up not only on newspaper websites – but the online arms of a wide variety of businesses, demand for people who have what we would consider basic radio and television skills is growing exponentially. And that’s only half of it – never before in the history of our industry has there been so much opportunity for entrepreneurial broadcasters to make it on their own. In the old model, a majority of the people aspiring toward a career in radio or television would have to seek employment and get past a gatekeeper to be able to work in the field. Very few had the resources and connections to go out and buy a radio or TV station. But today, it is just a matter of ‘knowing what to do’ to be in business for yourself as a media practitioner. At CSB we are teaching our students how to be entrepreneurs as well as talent, technicians, and marketers.” Reflecting upon the get-together, Michael Harrison states, “Dick Robinson is one of the most extraordinary men the radio industry has ever produced. His school has taught countless broadcasters the art and craft of our wonderful business and he is still going strong as a station owner, format innovator and mentor of mentors. There isn’t a lifetime achievement award big enough for what this guy has done and continues to do.”
AdLarge Media Appoints Green VP/Digital Sales. Former PodcastOne national account director Jay Green is tapped to become AdLarge Media‘s vice president of digital sales and content partnerships. AdLarge Media co-founder and president Cathy Csukas comments, “We are delighted to bring Jay on board to steer our digital audio and mobile strategy. Jay’s impressive background and knowledge of digital audio advertising trends, combined with his expertise in operations and management, make him the ideal candidate to help us meet our expansion goals.” The company’s chief executive officer and co-founder Gary Schonfeld remarks that, “Jay’s keen understanding of the digital audio marketplace will advance our objectives and those of our digital and mobile partners. He is skilled at developing the kind of customized programs and packages that national advertisers have come to expect from AdLarge Media.” Green states that he is “passionate about digital audio advertising” and that he is “dedicated to creating first-to-market campaigns for our advertisers. AdLarge’s reputation for innovation and excellence was a compelling reason for me to become an integral member of their team. It’s an exciting time to join the company.” Prior to working at PodCastOne, Green spent 10 years at Dial Global, where he ultimately became vice president of strategic operations. His background includes sales, campaign management, sales planning, research, audience analysis, and market research for various new product launches.
Washington, DC-Based RELM Network Adds Food Show. The program – titled, “Foodie and the Beast,” has been airing on Hubbard Radio-owned WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” for the past six years and now joins the growing lineup of streaming and on-demand content at RELM Network. The program is hosted by David and Nycci Nellis and is an offshoot of Nycci’s popular DC website “The List” (AreYouOnIt.com,) which has been dubbed by The Washington Post as “one of the premier resources for all things food and wine in DC and beyond.” Nycci is a gourmet cook and a veteran food journalist in radio, TV and print. The show is also seasoned with world-renowned guests, including celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Michel Richard and Mike Isabella – as well as famous cookbook authors, farmers, marine biologists, oystermen, winemakers, distillers and brewmasters.
NPR Debuts New Curated Streaming App. An interesting new development from NPR is its curated streaming app dubbed NPR One. A story in TechCrunch identifies the new app – separate from NPR’s existing mobile platform apps – as one that “combines the benefits of both streaming and traditional terrestrial radio” with the new app. TechCrunch reports that it “uses a combination of streams of NPR’s public news broadcasts, combined with stories that are curated for your specific tastes. You can get regionally relevant content by letting the device have access to your location settings, and you can also search for podcasts and other content to teach the app about what you want and get it instantly.” Read the whole TechCrunch story here.
Cumulus Media Honors Youngstown Cluster with President’s Cup. The corporate prize for best sales performance for the second quarter of 2014 at Cumulus Media goes to the company’s Youngstown, Ohio eight-station group as it receives the coveted President’s Cup. Each quarter, one market is recognized for its overall performance among the company’s 90 radio markets. The Youngstown staff (pictured here) that operates country WQXK “K105,” CHR WHOT “Hot 101,” news/talk WPIC, news/talk WSOM, classic rock WYFM “Y103,” rock WWIZ “Rock 104,” and sports talk simulcast WBBW-AM/WLLF-FM will share the $10,000 prize. Vice president and market manager Rick Parrish says, “I am very proud of the success our Youngstown sales team, programming team and support staff have achieved with our eight radio stations that serve northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania. Our team set the goal to bring the Cumulus President’s Cup to Youngstown, and through hustle and hard work, we did it!” Cumulus EVP and Co-COO John Pinch adds, “The team in Youngstown has performed at record levels this year and is well deserving of this award. To win the President’s Cup requires contribution from every person at every level in the cluster. Congratulations, Cumulus Youngstown!”
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is seeking talented sales people to work in the Charlotte Market at news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link.” Greater Media is seeking applicants with: quantifiable success in radio/media sales or another industry; the drive, hunger, and ability to see the sales process through from prospecting to the final close; courage to ask for and deliver remarkable programs; a love and passion for winning; integrity and pride in being a full-service rep; new business expertise and a creative mind; a desire to exceed expectations and move up quickly; independent and entrepreneurial performers; excellent verbal and written communication skills. At Greater Media Charlotte, you will be surrounded by people who love to have fun and work extremely hard. We offer great benefits and lots of incentives for self-starters, while enjoying the stability of a privately owned media company with two of Charlotte’s best radio stations. If you think you are ready for the next step in your career and think you have the talent to make it happen, we want you on our team! Send your resume and a cover letter to: Sandra Szoke, director of sales, Greater Media Charlotte, Inc., WBT/WLNK Radio, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208; email@example.com. No phone calls please. Greater Media Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Gaza Violence/New Anti-Semitism, Flight 17 Probe/Russian Influence in Ukraine, Immigration Policy Debate/Child Illegals Influx, Pentagon Afghanistan Waste Report, Ebola Fears, and Ray Rice Suspension Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/28). The continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and increased incidences of anti-Semitism in Europe; Russia’s influence in the Ukraine and the effort to fully investigate the downing of Flight 17; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S. and the influx of illegal minors entering the country; the recent Pentagon report detailing billions in spending waste in Afghanistan; renewed fears of an Ebola virus outbreak; and outrage over the two-game suspension NFL star Ray Rice received after knocking his wife unconscious in a domestic dispute were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Emphatic Fox To Entercom: Apology Denied. After returning from a planned vacation last week, WEEI-FM, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane reignited the controversy he started with criticism of Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews’ All-Star Game work by reiterating his disdain for her work. But even his bosses at Entercom, who had been supportive, had to backtrack and he’s now been suspended for this week – without pay. To recap, the unbilled member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show on WEEI had some disparaging things to say the day after the broadcast about an in-game interview conducted by the network’s Erin Andrews. Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Derek Jeter – appearing in his final All-Star contest – to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame. Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit. Andrews questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up. Apparently though, the televised exchange between this year’s co-host of (ABC-TV‘s) “Dancing with the Stars” and Wainwright did not sit well with Minihane, who declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow-up. Second of all, the guy admitted he did it – he admitted it. He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’ How is that social media’s fault? I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.” A Minihane-issued statement was posted Wednesday night (7/16) on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game. My choice of words was wrong. I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” But upon returning last week, he commented on the issue and lashed out at Andrews again, saying, “I think she stinks at her job. I don’t think she’s very smart. I don’t think she comes across as very smart. I think Fox only hired her because she is good-looking. I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she would be a waitress at Perkins. That is what I believe, I do believe that.” It was probably that last comment that prompted Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to inform Entercom the company was pulling its entertainment and sports-related adds off of all Entercom stations and it was that move that brought Entercom CEO David Field into the mix. In the letter to Field, Shanks wrote that Minihane’s comments were “boorish and sexist.” Shanks further maintains that Minihane’s apology was “juvenile and insincere.” Furthermore, the Fox executive writes, “I had hoped by this time we might hear a sincere apology from WEEI, or perhaps someone from your office might have reached out to Fox. None of that has been forthcoming, and needless to say, we are disappointed.” According to Shanks, through film and television businesses, Fox is “a significant advertiser on Entercom stations. I have discussed this issue with our senior management and our various senior marketing executives. At their recommendation, going forward, Fox’s entertainment and sports businesses will not be advertising on your stations for the foreseeable future.” Field reacted by commenting, “Kirk Minihane’s statements regarding Erin Andrews were offensive and deplorable. It is clear by the response from our listeners, advertisers, and employees that Kirk’s efforts to apologize and make this right have been insufficient and ambiguous. We want to make it unequivocally clear that his comments were unacceptable and do not reflect Entercom’s values and standards.” As far as Shanks is concerned, the situation was made “worse,” owing to the fact that the “apology was posted under a banner hailing ‘The Triumphant Return of Kirk Minihane.’” Seemingly lost in the wake of pulled advertising dollars corporate-wide and having to suspend an on-air personality is the fact that in the latest (6+) trends (June 2014), WEEI-FM (3.3) beat cross-town CBS Radio format rival WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” (2.9) for the first time (total week, 6+) in nearly two years. The last time it happened was August 2012, when WEEI-FM had the advantage over WBZ-FM by a 4.3 – 3.7 count (6+). WBZ-FM won each battle the rest of the year by 4.5 – 4.1 (September); 4.6 – 2.8 (October); 4.1 – 2.5 (November) 4.4 – 3.0 (December); and 4.6 – 2.7 (“Holiday”). The closest WEEI-FM came to WBZ-FM in 2013 was one-tenth in August (3.9 – 3.8); WBZ-FM’s largest (6+) lead in 2013 was in May (5.7 – 2.9). Thus far in 2014, “The Sports Hub” has emerged victorious over WEEI-FM (6+) in January (5.6 – 3.4); February (4.5 – 2.8); March (4.7 – 2.7); April (4.3 – 3.3); and May (5.1 – 3.4). As noted, WEEI-FM beat WBZ-FM in June (3.3 – 2.9, 6+). It will be interesting to see how Entercom handles this situation because the ratings for the Dennis & Callahan show have improved since Minihane joined the show and numerous Boston media watchers agree that his addition has breathed new life into the program.
Stephen A. Smith to Exit WEPN-FM for SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio Channel. That’s according to a report by The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman who writes that Stephen A. Smith will soon exit ESPN O&O WEPN-FM where he co-hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily show with Ryan Ruocco to host his own program on the satellite service – reportedly in the same time slot that would lead into Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s afternoon drive show. Raissman also suggests that a move to SiriusXM could be interesting for the controversial Stephen A. Smith, who caused a stir by his comments in reaction to the two-game suspension the NFL star Ray Rice received for punching out his wife in an elevator. Read Raissman’s column here.
KFWB, Los Angeles to Flip from News/Talk to Sports. Officials at the KFWB Trust are being tightlipped about the reports but LARadio.com’s Don Barrett is reporting that KFWB staffers were called to a meeting on Friday, July 25 and informed their jobs would go away in five weeks when the format changes. Barrett reports that staffers told him the station would go to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network which would bring Jim Rome back to the Los Angeles market. He’s been gone from his home market since jumping from Premiere Networks to CBS Sports 18 months ago. Some are questioning whether LA needs another sports talk outlet but it’s probably less about what the market “needs” and more about getting CBS Sports Radio and Jim Rome back into the Los Angeles market. It’d also be a heck of a lot less expensive to program network sports than a mix of network and local news/talk.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Jerry Del Colliano Delivers Special Presentation, “Radio in the Digital Age.” Today (7/28) marks the 10th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a special presentation titled “Radio in the Digital Age” delivered by Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano. The longtime industry observer, analyst, and maverick draws upon his experience as both a professional radio broadcaster and former professor of music industry at USC to explain how the traits of the large, coming-of-age millennial generation do not quite mesh with the approach taken by most of the boomers running radio stations today. He implored the full house of broadcasters in attendance to heed the warning, “We must change! We must disrupt! Because the audience is changing.” To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey titled “The State of Talk Programming.” Featured speakers include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Odds & Sods. Although Stoney Richards is leaving his role at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh’s country WDSY where he’s been APD, music director and afternoon drive personality in order to pursue his acting career, he will maintain his weekend talk show on the company’s news/talk KDKA-AM where he hosts the “Live From The Centre” program…..Speaking of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh, the station is partnering with local The Education Partnership to help provide new school and classroom supplies to local schools in financial need. This Wednesday (7/30), it will host a call-center in the 84 Lumber Theatre at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to answer listener questions, collect monetary donations and serve as an outlet for those looking for volunteer opportunities. Also, an onsite collection will take place at KDKA’s studios for the project dubbed “Crayons for Kids.” KDKA-AM morning news host Larry Richert comments, “When I first learned of the great need in our hometown I was shocked! The Education Partnership is such a lean and vital organization. With our help we can deliver on the basic needs of 30,000-plus school students who count on having the basics to learn and grow, starting with crayons!”…..In response to the comments by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison published by the Boston Herald about the current state of news/talk radio in Boston relative to its colorful past, general manager Phil Redo – now with public broadcaster WGBH, Boston – checks in with his take. He tells TALKERS that (former WTKK-FM, Boston personalities) “Jim Braude and Margery Eagan (pictured here) are doing a fabulous show for us here on WGBH Radio. They have been on the air for nearly 18 months and made a smooth transition from commercial to public. Each day they explore a wide range of topics, from the top local news stories to connecting the dots on major national and international events. They provide an important access point for this community – and to the decision makers who will impact each of us by those decisions. In addition, the governor and AG show up every month to host an hour – as does Boston’s new mayor. Their show Boston Public Radio has grown from below a 1.0 share to above a 4.0 share and in June, ranks in the top 10 both 6+ and 25-54 during their 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot…They have done so well that we’re expanding the program to three hours this fall.”
Unusual General Manager/Sales Manager Opportunity at Talk Station Owned by an “Eccentric.” The self-described “eccentric” (we agree) owner of one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations, KSCO AM 1080, Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas/Silicon Valley, Michael Zwerling, is looking for a general manager/sales manager to bring his station’s monthly ad billing up from “a laughable $30,000 per month” (his words not ours) to a “more respectable and completely do-able $300,000 per month.” Asked how a station billing only $30,000 in monthly ad revenue could be considered anything even REMOTELY deserving of being described as “one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations,” Zwerling retorts, “Easy — ad sales have never been our focus in the past; we have done and continue to do very well, thank you, with our ‘royalties from radio’ revenue model we have employed for nearly 18 years. Yet we continue to serve our communities FAR better than most corporate-owned stations, and far better than most other independent stations that can’t AFFORD to serve their communities.” Zwerling continues, “But I started to feel like a fool recently when I realized that just because we don’t NEED to sell advertising — doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t TRY to sell as much advertising as possible — just like any other station being run by anyone with even HALF a brain!” According to Zwerling, the sky is the limit in terms of unique opportunity for the right person with “fire in his/her belly” to bring an additional $270,000 PER MONTH ad revenue into KSCO. But there is a catch. To read the entire story penned by TALKERS staff writer Mona Lipschitz, please click here.
WABC, New York’s Mark Levin to Host Cumulus Media’s “Bark in the Park” Event. The 4th Annual “Bark in the Park” event presented by Cumulus Media’s New York stations WABC, WPLJ, WNSH “NASH FM 94.7,” and WNBM “Radio 103.9” is being hosted by WABC personality Mark Levin Saturday, August 2 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. The stations are teaming up with the North Shore Animal League America and Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center which will be on site with many dogs up for adoption. The mission is to find a home for as many puppies as possible. Additionally, the day will feature a wide array of vendors, services, food, demonstrations, and activities for families and dog lovers alike.
Apple to Acquire Spoken-Word Aggregator Swell. According to a report in re/code, Apple is paying approximately $30 million to acquire the company Swell, whose current app creates a stream of spoken-word content delivered to iPhones and iPads based on the user’s likes. Liz Gannes writes in her piece that with the acquisition, the Swell app will go away and some analysts believe Apple will integrate the service into existing services such as iTunes Radio. Read Gannes’ re/code story here.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Invades Las Vegas! The crew pictured here is Yahoo! Sports Radio network talent in Las Vegas as the network “took over” Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo Hotel and Casino during the week of July 21-25 broadcasting live for what it dubbed, “Yahoo! Sports Radio Super Week.” From left to right are: Air personalities Steve Czaban, Scott Linn, Geoff Ketchum, Sean Salisbury, Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow, personalities John Granato and Peter Brown.