Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Don Imus to Be Honored with the TALKERS 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS editorial board announced today (2/11) that one of the most colorful, controversial, and venerable radio personalities of all time, John Donald Imus Jr. – mononymously known as Imus – has been named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The 75-year-old legend has been heard on radio since 1968 on a variety of heritage stations including WGAR and WHK in Cleveland as well as WNBC and WFAN in New York. He has hosted cable TV shows on MSNBC and more recently Fox Business Channel. He presently hosts his long-running show “Imus in the Morning” on WABC, New York. Imus, author of numerous books and performer on several hit comedy albums, is a complex broadcasting figure known both for being a politically incorrect insult-artist as well as being a humanitarian and philanthropist, particularly in the battle against childhood cancer. Imus has won four NAB Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality in 1994. He inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989 and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time magazine in 1997. In 2002, TALKERS magazine ranked Imus as one of the 25 Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time. In making the announcement on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If Don Imus doesn’t deserve this spoken-word radio award, no one does. His unique position, diversity of styles, capacity for reinvention – not to mention influence on the industry, pop culture and politics – stand out among a rarified handful of bold performers who have made broadcasting history.” The award will be presented to Imus at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It is hoped that he will be in attendance to receive the award personally, despite his challenge with health issues and present home-base in Texas. True to form, the legend tells TALKERS, “My wife thinks I should do this – be gracious and accept your idiotic award.”
Save the Date: TALKERS 2016 Set for Friday, May 20 on the Campus of Hofstra University on Long Island, New York. It has been announced by the TALKERS editorial board that an exciting new venue has been selected and a date set for the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. “TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations” will be a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU Radio. Hofstra University, located just outside of New York City in Hempstead, Long Island, is nationally recognized and honored as having one of the nation’s most respected and influential schools of communication. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. Upon making the announcement of this year’s event, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “2016 marks a great leap forward in the rich and colorful history of this legendary conference. Tapping into the theme ‘Bridging the Generations’ TALKERS 2016 will intensely focus on talk radio’s successful and as seamless-as-possible transition into the digital era concentrating on attracting younger demos, broadening the format menu, modernizing political positioning, enhancing both journalistic and entertainment impact, incorporating all aspects of pop culture, understanding Millennials and the New Authenticity, creating a viable cross-platform presence, embracing the new technology, and of course, podcasting, podcasting and more podcasting.” Harrison adds, “This conference will be inter-generational. I cannot begin to express the level of excitement and pride we have in partnering this year with Hofstra University, its wonderfully dynamic Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and its famous radio station WRHU – clearly one of the greatest, heritage campus outlets in America. Their amazing, state-of-the-art resources will provide an exhilarating backdrop and platform for this gathering. As far as we are concerned, the future of talk media begins now!” The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. An early bird registration rate of $249 will be in effect until 5:00 pm ET on Monday, February 29 unless the event sells out prior to that date. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413. Information about special local hotel discounts for attendees is detailed below. Agenda and speakers to be announced in the days and weeks ahead, leading up to the event. Register now!
Fantastic Group Rate Available at Long Island Marriott for TALKERS 2016. A limited number of rooms will be available for a limited amount of time for the nights of Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 at the fabulous Long Island Marriott hotel located near Hofstra University – the site of TALKERS 2016. To take advantage of the $169 per night rate, book as early as possible by clicking here or calling reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and telling the agent you are with the TALKERS event group.
Cumulus and Mark Levin Agree to ‘Lifetime Extension.’ Both Westwood One EVP of news/talk Bart Tessler and talk radio star Mark Levin jokingly use the term “lifetime” to describe the new contract extension between the two parties, but nine years seems like a lifetime in the world of radio contracts. Levin says, “I could not be more pleased to extend my radio partnership with Cumulus/Westwood One. For the next nine years — an unprecedented long-term relationship in the broadcasting industry — I am committed to continuing to bring the best possible program, both substantive and entertaining, to my millions of beloved and loyal listeners each and every day.” Tessler adds, “To know that we’ll be working together for so many years is a Mark Levin show primary victory and a big win for affiliates, advertisers, and listeners. Mark’s tenure will now exceed that of a two-term president and that means continued excellence on the air on a nightly basis.” The company says Levin’s show “not only covers the most critical events of the day, but delves into history, economics, philosophy, and the constitution – and continues to be an enormous ratings and revenue winner for Westwood One and for the more than 300 stations that broadcast the show.
Entercom Reports 2015 Net Revenue Up 8%. 2015 was a good year for Entercom. The company reported net revenue for the fourth quarter was $117.7 million – up 16% from the same period a year ago. For the year of 2015 net revenue was $411.4 million, an increase of 8%. These figures include the impact of the transaction with Lincoln Financial Media and the station exchange with Bonneville International Corporation which started in July. But the impressive revenue hike is not just the result of additional signals; president and CEO David Field notes that the company’s stations performed well. “I am pleased to report that Entercom’s performance continued to accelerate into the fourth quarter, capping a very successful 2015…Fourth quarter same-station revenue increased by 5%, excluding political advertising. This marked the second straight quarter of mid-single digit organic growth. We are very well positioned for success in 2016 with an expanded market footprint, strong station ratings growth, and enhanced digital and customer marketing capabilities. Our pacings look strong and we are optimistic about our potential to deliver excellent results for our shareholders in 2016 and the years ahead.”
Greater Media’s ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Moves Baligian, Mazawey & Fellhauer to Mornings. The trio of Sean Baligian, Tom Mazawey and Marc Fellhauer is currently heard in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on Greater Media’s WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” Beginning Tuesday (2/16), they will move to morning drive, replacing ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike. ESPN’s Ryan & Rico will now be heard from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the afternoon drive show co-hosted by Matt Dery and Drew Sharp will start at 2:00 pm. Station program director Dave Shore says, “We feel this new lineup will give our dedicated motor city sports fans a more local sports experience. We are very grateful to ESPN’s Mike & Mike for their contributions to the station.”
Five iHeartMedia Programmers Boosted. Trading in their titles of senior vice president of programming to become division executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia‘s national programming group are Tony Coles, Steve Geofferies, Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, and Meg Stevens. Along with fellow division executive vice president of programming Gene Romano, they will report to iHeartMedia national programming group executive vice president and general manager Brad Hardin. According to national programming group president Tom Poleman, “Great programming is the foundation of our stations. We are fortunate to have an amazing group of local program directors leading our brands. The collaboration between local programming and the iHeartMedia national programming group unlocks the unparalleled scale and assets of iHeartMedia, providing us with unmatched resources which benefit each and every one of our stations.” Formerly organized into major and regional market groups, iHM is now comprised of four geographic divisions, each led by a division president. Jeffries and Geofferies are working in the West division with Greg Ashlock; Coles is in the Central with Matt Martin; Mitchem and Stevens in the Northeast with Hartley Adkins; and Romano is teamed with Tom McConnell in the Midwest-Southeast division.
NH Primary Aftermath/Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Record Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Iran-U.S. Navy Incident, U.S. Afghanistan Forces Strengthened, European Refugee Problems, Zika Virus Concerns, and Beyonce Super Bowl Performance Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The analysis of Tuesday’s New Hampshire presidential primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the continuing downward trend in oil prices, the world’s financial markets activity, and concerns about a new recession; Iran’s gloating over the incident with a U.S. Navy patrol; the U.S. increases peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan; the troubles European nations are experiencing dealing with Syrian refugees; concerns about a Zika virus pandemic and reports of cases in 20 U.S. states; and ongoing criticism of Beyonce’s performance at the Super Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KEIR, Idaho Falls is expanding its local content. Riverbend Communications general manager Bill Fuerst tells East Idaho News that the station wants to give more voice to its listeners. “Idaho’s Morning News with Dylan Carder” will expand to two hours – airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am – and Mark Richardson will host a new, hour-long afternoon show at 3:00 pm…..Podcasting and audio-video streaming experts StreamGuys are attending “Proclaim 16” – the NRB International Christian Media Convention and Exposition – to share their expertise to assist worship communities extend their reach. StreamGuys says Matt Kellogg (who joined the company from the recently shuttered Live365) will lead the company’s engagements with houses of worship and religious organizations…..ESPN Radio will present radio coverage of the NBA’s 65th All-Star Game on Sunday (2/14) from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This will be ESPN Radio’s 20th year covering the game. In the booth will be Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry with reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith. Marc Kestecher will host the pre-game and halftime coverage with analyst P.J. Carlesimo.
Michael Harrison and Tom Leykis Chat About the Past, Present and Future of Audio Media. Legendary broadcast radio performer and pioneering online radio entrepreneur Tom Leykis joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in an extensive, one-on-one discussion about Leykis’ colorful career that spanned decades as a talk show host on some of America’s highest-profile radio stations and during which time his on-air persona ranged from outrageous “shock jock” to edgy “progressive” political news/talker. Today, Leykis approaches the fourth anniversary of his successful online radio enterprise, The New Normal – a multifaceted platform upon which he streams his daily, live, listener call-in program, “The Tom Leykis Show,” as well as a podcast for radio talents Gary & Dino. A separate iteration of The New Normal delivers two streaming music channels – pop and rock – personally curated by Leykis. Leykis discusses his leading-edge business model that includes a mix of advertising, subscriptions, merchandising and live events – now generating upwards of $600,000 annual gross revenue. The two venerable pros talk about targeting Millennials, the nature of “authenticity” as it applies to today’s younger demos, the scope of non-traditional revenue and various aspects of media theory as it applies to 21st century communications. To listen to this entire uninterrupted conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
New Hampshire Primary/Presidential Race, SCOTUS Climate Change Ruling, Financial Markets Activity/Financial Crisis Fears, Syria Civil Conflict, Cam Newton Criticisms, and Beyonce Super Bowl Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary race and the activities of the candidates for president; the Supreme Court’s ruling delaying new power plant regulations while President Obama’s climate change orders go through legal challenges; the activity on the world’s financial markets and fears of a new financial crisis; criticism over Cam Newton’s handling of the Carolina Panthers’ loss in Super Bowl 50; and the flap over Beyonce’s SB50 halftime performance were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle is exploring the growing homelessness crisis in the Northwest on a special program to air tomorrow (2/11) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Radio host Herb Weisbaum will moderate the two-hour special touching on issues including violence in homeless camps, to families seeking shelter and the impact on neighborhoods. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and other local leaders will join Weisbaum on the program…..espnW re-signs writer and commentator Kate Fagan to a new multiyear agreement that continues her role as a featured reporter and columnist for espnW on multiple ESPN platforms – including espnW.com, ESPN TV’s “Around the Horn,” “First Take, His & Hers” and others. Fagan will also host the new ESPN Radio show, “Will & Kate,” with ESPN contributor Will Cain, airing Sundays from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. The show will “take an intellectual look at topical societal issues in sports by hosts who often find their opinions to be at opposite sides of the spectrum.”…..The WSHU Public Radio Group opens a Long Island News Bureau in Stony Brook, New York in partnership with Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. The bureau, located in close proximity to the school, will serve as the base for WSHU’s Long Island operations.
CBS’ Vinita Nair Keynotes KDKA-AM’s ‘Hometown Heroes’ Event. At the March 3 “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes” event presented by Pittsburgh’s “NewsRadio 1020 KDKA,” “CBS This Morning: Saturday” personality Vinita Nair will serve as keynote speaker. Proceeds from an auction at the event will benefit “It’s About the Warrior Foundation” – a local organization dedicated to serving post 9/11 veterans. The “KDKA Afternoon News with Robert Mangino and Shelley Duffy” will broadcast live from the Lexus Club at PNC Park from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. This year’s five “Larry’s Heroes” are: Darla Poole Brescia, co-founder of Gray Paws, a sanctuary for abandoned senior dogs; Lexi Campbell, founder of Camp Cranium, a non-profit overnight summer camp for children ages 6-18 who have experienced a traumatic or acquired brain injury; Dave Gray, founder of CDG Sports, a well-known, local youth sports mentor who uses his expertise to serve several non-profit children’s organizations; Carol McCaskey, a retired teacher who started the Backpack Initiative to Fight Hunger in the Deer Lakes School District; Rose Ann Milbert, a registered nurse who works in the neonatal unit of Magee-Women’s Hospital who founded Tiny Angel Gowns, an organization that creates gowns and infant sized tuxedos for families of babies who died in the hospital. Each hero receives a $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice.
Amazing Blast from the Past – Ya Gotta See This! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, an admitted YouTube “addict,” stumbled across a 1961 episode of the classic TV game show “I’ve Got a Secret” hosted by the legendary Gary Moore (left) that he is compelled to share with this publication’s readership (at least those who’ve never seen it). It features the then-host of CBS-TV’s “General Electric Theater,” former movie star Ronald Reagan (right), as the guest. His secret: The men on that episode (Reagan, Moore, along with panelists Steve Allen and Henry Morgan, all got their start in show business as radio announcers. The shtick is, at the end of the questioning session, Reagan is going to administer a radio announcing aptitude test to Allen and Morgan in which they would have to read very difficult copy while Reagan and others try their best to distract them with outrageous comedy and try to break them up. The results are hilarious and a must-see for anyone in the radio business today – especially news/talk show hosts. Harrison says, “It is definitely worth the 10 minutes and 47 seconds it takes to see an absolutely magical piece of history that’ll brighten your day and give you a priceless bit of cultural insight.” Check it out by clicking here.
BFoA to Honor Charles Osgood with Dick Clark Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Golden Mike Award dinner on Monday, February 29 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, Charles Osgood will be honored with the Dick Clark Lifetime Achievement Award. Osgood has been anchor of the two-time, Emmy Award-winning “CBS Sunday Morning” since 1994 and anchor and writer of “The Osgood File,” his daily news commentary on the CBS Radio Network. He has been an anchor and reporter for many CBS News broadcasts and an anchor/reporter for WCBS News Radio 88 in New York. Prior to CBS, he worked for ABC News. As previously announced, the 2016 Golden Mike Award will be presented to Bob Pittman, chairman and chief executive officer of iHeartMedia, at its annual fundraiser. This is the second year the BFoA has bestowed the Dick Clark Lifetime Achievement Award during the gala event. Last year, it was presented posthumously to Dick Clark, in whose memory the award is named. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to broadcasters who have lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen tragedy. Donations can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative. In addition, bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society. For more information, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, call 212-373-8250, or email email@example.com.
Entercom’s Furst Choice to Program KC Talk Combo. Self-described “freelance programming advisor/consultant” Alan Furst is tapped to program Entercom Kansas City siblings KMBZ-AM “Talk 980” and KMBZ-FM “News/Talk 98.1.” Entercom Kansas City vice president and market manager Dave Alpert remarks, “We are very pleased to welcome Alan. He brings with him a wealth of experience, possesses a passion for the on-air product, and a passion for winning.” Furst – who begins his new duties next Monday (2/15) – comments that he is “very excited to join one of the truly great news talk brands, KMBZ.” He went on to thank Alpert and Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton “for the opportunity to be part of the outstanding staff at Entercom Kansas City. I look forward to helping both stations continue to grow.” Prior to opening his programming consultancy in October 2014, Furst spent nearly two years as program director of Radio One Houston’s KROI. His varied resume includes hands-on operations manager and PD experience at San Antonio country and CHR duo KAJA “KJ-97” and KXXM “Mix 96”; WLW, Cincinnati; and WIBC, Indianapolis. In addition, he was senior vice president of content for DMX Music; Cumulus Media’s country format director; group program director for the Australian Radio Network; senior vice president of programming for Clear Channel, AMFM, and Capstar Broadcasting; national program director for NewCity Communications; and a programming consultant for Shane Media Services. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s “Holiday” 2015 PPM report, both KMBZ-FM (3.3, #14) and KMBZ-AM (2.6, #18) were down one-half share from December 2015.
Howard Tuuri Named VP/GM for Genesis Communications. Radio executive Howard Tuuri joins Genesis Communications to serve as vice president and general manager for the company’s four Florida stations – news/talk WWBA, Tampa; sports talk WHBO, Tampa; Spanish WMGG, Tampa; and sports talk WHOO, Orlando – as well as its two Internet publications. Tuuri, who will report to Genesis president and CEO Bruce Maduri, previously served with Cox Media Group as a VP/GM for its Tampa operations. Maduri states, “Howard’s background and quality of experience are a tremendous fit for our organization. He has been a valuable member of our Leadership Team, and this appointment confirms our commitment to grow and realize the vision of a truly integrated media content company.”
The Presidential Race, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Battle Against Islamic State/Syrian Civil War, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president; low oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the effects of the ongoing Syrian civil conflict; North Korea’s weekend launch of a satellite missile; concerns over a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; and Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 and controversy over the Doritos commercial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
RAB/Borrell: Radio Digital Revenue to Rise 14%. According to a study by Borrell Associates on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue rose 11.4% in 2015 to more than $550 million. The study also predicts radio’s digital revenue will improve by 16% this year. This fourth annual report is titled, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” and concludes the average market cluster made $951,756 in digital sales last year, with the average station making $231,210. Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell summarizes, “All signs point to the radio industry mobilizing even more in the interactive space. Eighty-two percent believe there is strong potential – the highest we’ve ever seen; 62% believe that their sales teams’ ability to sell digital products is solid – up from 52% a year ago; and 37% believe their digital strategy is headed in the right direction – up from 27%.” The full study is available to RAB members, but here are some of the juicier takeaways: One-third of stations surveyed believe their sales reps are talking to the wrong buyers when trying to sell digital products. Three years ago, two-thirds believed that was the case; Only 16% believe that radio sales suffer because reps are forced to sell digital advertising. That’s down significantly since 2014, when more than half felt that way; Conversely, 24% believe that digital sales suffer because reps focus on radio advertising. Three years ago, twice as many felt that way; And the average radio cluster received 0.26% of all locally spent Internet advertising. There were some, however, achieving 15 times that – up to nearly 4%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to be radio’s fastest growing sector. Stations that are laser focused on increasing revenue beyond their core broadcast business are experiencing the benefits. The results from this study provide us with insights of where efforts are paying off and what additional training is needed for radio to continue with this trajectory. The RAB is here to help with that knowledge and training.”
Service King and Motel 6 Win Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards. This was the third annual Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards designed to recognize excellence in audio creativity and celebrate brand advertisers and radio creative. Westwood One asked listeners to vote on their favorite audio commercials airing in the Westwood One Super Bowl 50 broadcast. In addition, Westwood One commissioned a Nielsen study of 3,030 consumers who rated all 45 commercials on a series of key attributes. Listeners voted for Service King’s “Mission 2 Hire” ad as their favorite Super Bowl commercial. The ad promotes Service King’s Mission 2 Hire program, which is dedicated to hiring 500 veterans at Service King locations around the country. Hear the ad here: http://thesoundawards.com/service-king/. Motel 6 was rated the most likeable ad in the Westwood One-commissioned Nielsen study. The brand’s “Designer Dogs” ad features long-time Motel 6 narrator Tom Bodett, who promotes Motel 6’s great rooms and low rates while poking fun at trendy dog breeds with silly names. The Motel 6 ad also received top consumer ratings for relevance, engagement, and memorability. Here is a link to hear the ad: http://thesoundawards.com/motel-6-3/.
Bill Bennett to Give Up Daily AM Duties; Hugh Hewitt Moves to Morning Drive at SRN. Ending an 11-year run as host of Salem Radio Network’s morning drive program “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” Bennett will step back a bit from the mic as of April 4 when he becomes senior correspondent. He’ll produce a daily feature titled, “Making America Work,” that will also be formatted as a one-hour weekend program. In the series, he’ll interview successful American business owners and entrepreneurs. Moving to the morning drive daypart (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) will be current early evening host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt will re-locate to Washington, DC for the new program. Salem Media Group notes Hewitt’s “radio career has taken off in the last year with a new-found love for breaking news and what to think about it. He was given an opportunity to expose his great knowledge and talents to the country when he was selected as a panelist on the CNN presidential debates. He has already conducted more interviews with the presidential candidates than any other host, and has become the ‘go to’ show for this campaign.” Hewitt comments, “In 25 years of broadcasting on television and radio I have never been as excited as by this opportunity to build on the enormous platform Bill Bennett has constructed. It is already a show for influencers across the country, and I plan to maintain that influence, making this a ‘must listen’ for every mover and shaker in America, from a stay-at-home mom or dad to CEOs and government leaders.” Bennett says of his time on the radio, “Engaging in an illuminating and entertaining conversation with the American people has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding episodes of my career. I now look forward to another phase of work with the Salem Radio Network. The seminars and in-depth discussions in our new ‘Making America Work’ series that we are planning for 2016 and beyond will write a new chapter in radio. I simply want to express my gratitude to Salem for its continued confidence in me and to my audience – the greatest radio audience in America – for its loyalty and its candor, intelligence and goodwill.”
WYAY, Atlanta’s Michael Graham Offers to Consult Candidate to Oppose Georgia Legislator Who Defended the Klan. According to a piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, WYAY, Atlanta “Newsradio 106.7” late morning personality Michael Graham has advertised in the Jackson Herald his willingness to put his political consulting acumen to use for a candidate who will challenge Republican State Representative Tommy Benton. This comes after Benton defended the Ku Klux Klan while discussing proposed legislation he authored to protect institutions named after Confederate military figures and revert street names back to their original names, if they honored such historical people. One street was named after Confederate General John B. Gordon, an early Georgia Klan leader. In discussing the issue, Benton defended the Klan, saying it “made a lot of people straighten up.” He also said it “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order. I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.” Graham’s ad requests any Jackson County resident wishing to challenge Benton’s seat to contact him. Graham promises to donate his time and political consulting expertise as well as help promote fundraising. Read the AJC story here.
Presidential Race, Super Bowl 50, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and European Anti-Islam Rallies Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to Sunday night’s Super Bowl 50; North Korea’s launch of a long-range satellite missile; concerns over the Zika virus and a potential pandemic; and the anti-Islam rallies held in Europe over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One Provides Radio Coverage of Super Bowl 50. The exclusive radio play-by-play of Super Bowl 50 was provided by Westwood One. As part of its post-game program, WW1’s James Lofton (right) interviews Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (left) who was named MVP of the game.
Odds & Sods. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports iHeartMedia Indy market manager Rick Green is being promoted to a regional president post for the Mid-Atlantic region where he’ll be based in Richmond, Virginia. A new Indianapolis market manager should be named soon…..The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman is reporting that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman just re-signed to broadcast New York Yankees games on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for two more seasons……iHeartMedia promotes longtime company sales pro Sherri Griswold Holladay to the regional vice president of sales position for the Mid-South region…..Beasley Media Group names Steve Griesbach director of engineering for the Las Vegas cluster. Griesbach most recently served with Cumulus Media’s Green Bay, Wisconsin station group.
Scheduling Announced in Nielsen v Bubba Suit. Both sides of the $1 million suit by Nielsen against Tampa-based morning personality Bubba the Love Sponge are digging in for a fight. Now, we know the timeline for the legal skirmish. If the matter goes all the way to trial, it’ll start next January 3. Before that, however, there are discovery deadlines, a mandatory attempt to settle via mediation and a pre-trial conference in December. Nielsen probably has lawyers on retainer, but this is still going to be expensive for both parties.
Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 1-5. The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was Russia’s Syria military operations. At #3 was the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the recently negotiated nuclear agreement, followed by concerns over the Zika virus at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. At its South Florida cluster, Entercom appoints Katerina Perez general sales manager of alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark” and sports talk WAXY-AM, “The Ticket.” Perez is a native Canadian who spent most of her life in South Florida. Most recently she was SVP of sales at iHeartMedia’s Seattle cluster. Entercom South Florida VP/market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Katerina has a proven track record of success and will be a valuable addition to our management team. Her experience, relentless focus on the customer and her sales management skills will enable us to develop more impactful advertising campaigns for our clients and substantially grow our business.”…..Hugh Hewitt got some love from USAToday recently. The publication wrote a profile piece of the Salem Radio Network-syndicated talk personality as the result of his increased presence in the national media this election season. As regular TALKERS readers know, Hewitt has been participating in the GOP primary debates produced by CNN (and simulcast for radio by SRN). As the story indicates, Hewitt has also been a much-sought-after political pundit by such program hosts as CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, and NBC’s Chuck Todd. Read the USAToday piece here.….Beasley Media Group promotes Katy Lollis to director of sales for the company’s Fayetteville, North Carolina station group. Market manager Mac Edwards states, “Katy has been a valued employee of our company for nearly a decade. Her experience, market insight and incredible work ethic have always been highly valued and deeply respected. Now, we are confident Katy will take our sales team to new heights in 2016 and beyond!”
Comprehensive Holiday PPM Overview. RadioInfo and TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2015 PPM survey. The move to all-Christmas or Christmas-intensive music playlists on the part of AC, hot AC and CHR stations brings about an annual “anomaly” to the radio ratings. Kinosian has detailed the performances of AC, hot AC and country stations recently but this report also shows the effects on other radio formats – including sports, news/talk and all-news. Kinosian writes, “Among other tidbits, this comprehensive analysis summarizes all stations that finish #1 and #2 in Holiday 2015; differential between the top two spots; and perhaps most vital of all – formats most dramatically/negatively influenced by all-Christmas music programming. For that, we have broken it out by format and by each PPM-market.” See the entire report here.
National Radio Talent System’s Student Initiative Heads to Pacific Northwest. The Dan Vallie-founded National Radio Talent System heads to the Pacific Northwest in conjunction with Hubbard Radio. Four previous institutes have taken place in the South and the East but June 13 -22 the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will take place at Central Washington University in Washington State. Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris comments, “Compelling and relatable on air talent is what separates local radio from all other audio entertainment services. Our investment in the National Radio Talent System at Central Washington University is an extension of Hubbard Radio’s commitment to do our part to nurture and grow the talent pipeline for the industry. We are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and his team in this important initiative.” The school’s assistant dean of student development Keith Champagne says, “Having a nationally award winning college radio program in KCWU-FM, the partnership with Hubbard Radio and the National Radio Talent System was simply a perfect match. Giving student broadcasters opportunities they can’t find anywhere else is a cornerstone of Central Washington University. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will be another great example of that.” The Radio Talent Institute says its curriculum builds upon “the already quality education students are receiving at the university and through working at their college radio station. All sessions in the Institute are taught by professional broadcasters in each of their areas of expertise.”
Alliance for Women in Media Announces New Board Members. New board members have been announced for the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation. Kristen Welch, SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications will continue the role of chair for both organizations. Continuing as chair‐elect of AWM/F is Sarah Foss, vice president of product management and media at Imagine Communications in New York City. The treasurer of AWM/F is Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corp. in New York. The treasurer‐elect of AWM/F is Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships in New York City; and past chair of AWM/F is Kay Olin, principle of Kay Olin and Associates, in St. George Island, Florida. Serving directors at large of AWM are: Robin Alston, director of business & legal affairs, A&E Television Networks; Karla Ballard Williams, founder and CEO of YING; Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency; Sandy Girard, vice president of entertainment at SiriusXM; Susie Hedrick, SVP sales, North America at Wide Orbit, Inc.; Annie Howell, founder and co-president at The Punch Point Group; Jill Luckett, SVP program network policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Kimberly Maki, corporate vice president, corporate communications & public relations, Bright House Networks; Laura Martinez, senior director, affiliate sales, Cumulus/Westwood One; Christine Merritt, president, Ohio Association of Broadcasters; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink/RBR-TVBR; and Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer, CBS Corporation. Serving as directors at large of AWMF are: Karla Ballard Williams; Valerie Blackburn, project manager, CBS Radio; Heather Cohen; Michelle Duke, vice president, NAB Education Foundation; Sandy Girard; Annie Howell; Jill Luckett; Kimberly Maki; and Christine McLaughlin, of counsel, Sciarrino & Shubert, PLLC.