Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Pinch Postpones Retirement. Apparently, you can hold off buying a gold watch for Jon Pinch a bit longer. Cumulus‘ 14-year executive vice president and chief operating officer was scheduled to call it quits in late-November, but the company is installing him as market manager for its six-station Atlanta cluster. Cumulus president and chief executive officer Lew Dickey comments, “Jon is the consummate team player and will now be contributing in this new role. We are excited to have someone with his loyalty, talent, and experience leading our terrific team in Atlanta.” Pinch remarks that he is “honored” to lead “these great stations at this important juncture in the company’s growth. This makes perfect sense for the stations and for me – personally and professionally – so retirement will have to wait. To say that the position amounts to downshifting for me sounds almost comical. The lifestyle change, with far less travel, allows me to spend my time at home in Atlanta and continue to work in the industry I love. It is the best of both worlds. I am thrilled to work with the incredible team in place at our Atlanta stations to drive the continued growth of these vibrant radio brands.” The position has been open since April when Cumulus promoted Jeff Brown to corporate senior vice president. Cumulus’ Atlanta cluster consists of country WKHX “Kicks 101.5,” WNNX “Rock 100.5,” CHR WWWQ “Q-100,” country WWWQ-HD2 “Nash Icon 98.9″; news WYAY “News Radio 106.7,” and WWWQ-HD3.
Borrell Associates Study Highlights the Cost to Small and Medium Businesses of Digital Marketing. A study released today by Borrell Associates called the 2014 Digital Marketing Services Outlook focuses on the dollars spent by small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in America on digital marketing. This is relevant to radio inasmuch as it shines a light on what it really takes – in dollars – to support digital marketing that both competes with radio’s traditional on-air advertising and the digital marketing that is also offered by broadcasting companies. For instance, we often jump to the conclusion that digital advertising is less expensive – no transmitter needed, no printing press and mailing system – but as the Borrell study estimates, SMBs spend three of every five marketing dollars on digital marketing services for a national total of $501 billion this year. The study also concludes, “In fact, when it comes to what the typical local business spends on digital marketing, only 13% goes toward classic forms of online advertising such as banners, paid search or video. More than two-thirds of what they spend goes toward managing their digital media channels. The rest goes toward “promotions” — or all those creative activities such as contests, giveaways, coupons and two-for-one deals that flow from their newfound marketing finesse.” Note the Borrell graphic here laying out the industry’s digital media services expenditures. See more about the Borrell study here.
Watchdog Radio Debuts. The new offshoot of Watchdog.org – itself a project of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity – is Watchdog Radio, a “new broadcast initiative at the state and national level, that aims to replicate the success of Watchdog.org’s online reporting.” The Illinois-based organization’s president, Jason Stverak, says, “Watchdog Radio is a chance for us to connect with a wider audience and bring them news stories that are impacting communities all over the country. It is our goal to discuss the issues that others don’t and keep Americans informed on waste, fraud and abuse at every level of government.” “National Watchdog Radio” will be syndicated on weekends. The show is hosted by reporters Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle. The two-hour show will focus on state and local governments across the states, as well as larger national trends. Kathryn Watson of Watchdog.org’s Washington, DC bureau will join the program to discuss the most interesting stories of the week from Watchdog.org.
Execs Named at iHeartMedia Atlanta. Following the just-announced departure of Matt Scarano from Atlanta to iHeartMedia’s Chicago station group, the company announces changes in the Atlanta cluster. Justin Schaflander is named market president and Jason Mosher takes on the VP of sales position. Schaflander moves up from his previous position as VP of sales for the cluster and Mosher is upped from his duties as GSM of WUBL, WGST and Total Traffic and Weather Network.
Round One of September PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of September 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was August 14 through September 10. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Katz-Commissioned Study: Radio Effective Way to Reach Swing Voters. A study commissioned by Katz Media Group shows swing voters are regular radio users – 81% of those identified as swing voters report listening to AM/FM radio regularly. Moreover, voters across the political spectrum report that radio ads are more credible than the ads they see on the internet by a 56-35 margin, which increases to a 62-38 margin among low-turnout voters. The survey was handled by Vox Populi Polling to examine how much influence radio has in the electoral marketplace. The sample size for the survey was 1,059 active voters. Other results from the study include: Swing voters spend 10% more time with radio daily than the average American voter; 67% of swing voters listen to FM regularly, while 14% are exclusively AM radio listeners; 65% of low-turnout Republicans and Democrats say they listen to FM music on a regular basis; and 61% of swing voters agree that radio is a good way for political candidates to reach them. KMG EVP of strategy, analytics & research Stacey Lynn Schulman says, “This research illustrates that radio is both a habitual and influential medium for reaching voters who can make the difference on Election Day. In the race for credibility, radio outshines online advertising by a wide margin in the minds of still impressionable voters.”
Odds & Sods. Former KDWN and KXNT, Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris is now the market manager for Blab TV Las Vegas – an online video talk platform…..Cross Platform Media Group, LLC announces former VP of programming for Westwood One, Tim Maranville, is named chief content officer and director of channel development for the company’s platforms that include: IRN-USA Radio Network and TEN Syndication, home to USA Radio News, “Daybreak USA,” the Steve Deace show, “Bill Martinez Live,” “Point of View,” and others…..John August exits his weekend position with Entravision’s country KNTY, Sacramento “101.9 The Wolf” to take on the fill-in host position for news/talk KNCO, Grass Valley, California’s daily “Swap-Shop” program…..ESPN Radio presents its 17th consecutive season airing MLB post-season baseball beginning tonight as Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton call the AL Wild Card Game between the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals.
Obama ’60 Minutes’ Interview, U.S. ISIS Strikes, Hong Kong Protests, Secret Service WH Security Breach Investigation, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton and 2016 Presidential Hopefuls, and Obama Amnesty Pledge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). Analysis of President Obama’s interview on “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening; the U.S. military’s strikes on ISIS targets and controversy over President Obama’s statements that the U.S. has “underestimated” ISIS; Hong Kong residents protesting the tightening of rule on the Chinese island; the case of the man who entered the White House and the Secret Service’s ability to protect the president; the looming mid-term elections; the prospects for the 2016 presidential race, including Democrats Hillary Clinton and Jim Webb; the state of immigration legislation and President Obama’s pledge to create an amnesty policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
To Reach Millennials, Get Real. In a column posted today (9/29), media consultant Holland Cooke reports from the recent Maine Association of Broadcasters conference where a major topic of conversation was reaching the Millennial generation. Cooke writes that the news for radio operators today with regard to this generation is a good news/bad news scenario: The good is that Millennials like the idea of an audio-only medium but the bad news is they don’t want it to sound like it did for generations past – they have very different media sensibilities. “Keeping it real” is the mantra for this generation as comments from the “How Millennials Use Media” panel indicate. Cooke reports college-age panelists said things like, “People our age find radio gimmicky,” and, “Authenticity is a huge factor.” Read Cooke’s entire column here.
Talent Rant in Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, a war of words was started over the weekend after Windy City radio legend Steve Dahl broke out the heavy verbal artillery against WGN, Jimmy de Castro and pretty much everyone who works on air at WGN. Apparently sparked by his take that WGN president de Castro is a “glory hog” (for appearing in the front row during a group photo of the staff and WGN Walk of Fame honoree Pat Hughes), Dahl let loose with his opinion of the personalities and the station. That brought a return volley from WGN morning personality Steve Cochran who wrote an open letter published by Feder in which he asked, simply, “Why so bitter, Steve?” You can read Feder’s coverage of the Dahl podcast rant here and check out Cochran’s reply here.
Kansas City Woman’s Court Victory at Entercom’s Expense Serves Up Lessons for Broadcasters. Friday’s court victory for a Kansas City law student who was incorrectly identified as a “local porn star” by the “Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz” show on Entercom’s alternative KRBZ “96.5 The Buzz” provides more lessons for broadcasters in how to avoid falling victim to a (in this case) $1 million dollar penalty for something that could have been avoided. As you are probably aware by now, Ashley Patton was misidentified by the morning show as a “local porn star” after confusing her name with that of a text-message suggestion by a listener who wrote to the show that Ashley Payton put pornographic images of herself online. On Friday, the jury awarded $250,000 in actual damages and the two sides agreed to punitive damages of $750,000, which Entercom will not appeal. Entercom had believed that its hosts had not actually engaged in negligent behavior since the identification of Patton was accidental and the station fixed the mistake as soon as it found out about it, as reported in the Kansas City Star’s coverage of the case. But that’s not exactly what happened. It stands to reason the station may have been able to avoid further angering Patton – and avoid the subsequent lawsuit – if it had acted quickly when Patton spoke with program director Scott Geiger hours after the bit aired. According to court records, during that conversation, Geiger questioned Patton’s statement that she was not a porn star, even asking her, “How do you know that you’re not a porn star?” He also promised to call her back after investigating the incident but never did.
Radio America to Syndicate ‘Financial Myth Busting.’ The weekend program “Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett” is being syndicated nationally by Radio America. The show is described as being “designed to help Americans separate financial facts from fallacies.” Host Dawn Bennett is the CEO of Bennett Group Financial Services and she says, “Our message of being true to what is really happening in the financial world as it relates to geopolitical events has struck a chord with listeners. We’ve brought an array of guests on the show to report on subjects that deserve more attention. Partnering with Radio America allows us to take these important ideas to a much larger audience, and I couldn’t be more excited.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso adds, “Dawn has a way of cutting through the noise and providing clarity in the cluttered world of financial and economic opinion.”
Accepting the Buckley Award for Media Excellence. WABC, New York-based and nationally syndicated talk personality Mark Levin is pictured here accepting the William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence from the Media Research Center at its 2014 Gala on Thursday, September 25, 2014. Levin joins conservative broadcasters Rush Limbaugh, the late Tony Snow, and Brit Hume as a recipient of the award. During his acceptance speech, Levin made a case for Republican candidates to return to the conservative principles of Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley.
Odds & Sods. In honor of the 25th anniversary of news personality Brian Lehrer’s time with WNYC, the New York public radio outlet is airing a special program titled, “25 Years in 25 Days: Then and Now with Brian Lehrer.” The “five-week series takes a look back at the defining global and local news stories from each year that Lehrer has been on the air.”…..The United Nations Department of Public Information announces the debut of audio news available to broadcasters via its new in-language mobile app. Audio content from the United Nations in eight languages is now accessible. Covering meetings and events at UN Headquarters in New York, UN Radio also produces news features and analyses on a variety of social, political, economic, development and cultural issues involving the UN and its work.
Cox Promotes Spriggs and Anderssen. Longtime Cox Media Group talk radio programmers Pete Spriggs and Drew Anderssen both receive promotions. In Atlanta, Spriggs, who serves as director of branding and programming for heritage news/talker WSB (WSBB-FM “News 95-5” and WSB-AM), is now news/talk/sports radio format leader. At the same time, the company announces that WDBO, Orlando director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen becomes the company’s news/talk/sports format coordinator. These appointments mean the two, in addition to maintaining their current roles, will work with CMG VP of radio programming Steve Smith and the local PDs of the company’s talk and sports stations. Those include: news talk WXKT and WGAU and sports WRFC-AM in Athens, Georgia; news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; news/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; sports KONO-AM, San Antonio; and news/talk KRMG, Tulsa. CMG EVP of Radio Kim Guthrie comments, “Pete and Drew are two of our most talented directors of branding and programming and we’re thrilled they will share their skills with the rest of our team. Their natural instincts will help all of our Cox Media Group news/talk/sports stations across the country continue to grow and flourish.”
‘ESPN Radio’ New York Makes Lineup Adjustments; Lupica Show Adds an Hour. The ESPN O&O in New York tweaks its programming schedule in several ways, effective Monday September 29. The moves come about a month after the company shifted the role of Stephen A. Smith, taking him off the WEPN midday show. The changes include an expanded two-hour show hosted by Mike Lupica airing from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ryan Ruocco – who co-hosted with Smith – partners up with Dave Rothenberg for a one-hour show airing at 12:00 noon. Ruocco also will join the PM drive Michael Kay show where he becomes a contributor. In the evenings, Alan Hahn and former Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro are the permanent hosts of the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Additionally, Bill Daughtry’s role with ESPN grows as his Saturday morning show on WEPN is now heard from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. He’ll continue to host New York Knicks broadcasts as well as provide daily “SportsCenter” updates from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily. “ESPN Radio NY 98.7FM” program director Justin Craig comments, “These changes strengthen an already powerful personality driven lineup on 98.7FM. Two hours of Mike Lupica’s passion and opinions, additional opportunities for Bill Daughtry, Ryan Ruocco and Dave Rothenberg, and the new team of Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro, whose chemistry was evident from day one, reinforce our commitment to serve sport fans.”
Mickey Ryan Named to PM Drive Show at WGFX-FM, Nashville. The afternoon drive sports talk show 3HL heard in Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville “104-5 The Zone” adds Mickey Ryan to the cast that includes Brent Dougherty and Blaine Bishop. Station program director Brad Willis notes that Dougherty and Bishop have been part of 3HL since it launched in January of 2010 in the midday slot. The show moved to the PM drive daypart on October of 2011. Prior to the launch of 3HL, Ryan had worked with Dougherty on the station’s evening show. Willis says, “Mickey was a great part of our team five years ago, and life took him to Arkansas. During his time there, he hosted his own radio show and became the assistant athletics director for Arkansas State University. We are excited to have Mickey as part of our radio family again, and are looking forward to having him on air with Brent and Blaine on 3HL.”
WLS-AM, Chicago Morning Host Dan Proft to Support GOP Candidates Via PAC. In addition to his position as morning drive co-host on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago, Dan Proft heads up the conservative political action committee Liberty Principles PAC. According to a story in the Chicago Daily Herald, Proft will spend some $2 million before the November elections in an effort to get Republicans elected to state offices. In the piece, Proft cites the vast majority that Democrats enjoy in the Illinois House as a reason to get more Republicans elected. He says, “We think that there needs to be more balance in state government.” Read the whole story here.
Nathan Butler Joins Clear Channel Satellite. Named the new director of operations for Clear Channel Satellite is Nathan Butler. The company says Butler has served in the radio broadcasting, engineering and technology field for years. His background includes director of operations at Kentucky News Network and Total Traffic Network. His expertise includes working with the X-Digital System, radio broadcasting, radio programming, social networking, broadcast journalism, radio producing and digital media.
U.S. ISIS Policy/Syria Strikes Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of September 22-26. The air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria and the U.S. military policy combating ISIS was the most talked about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the negotiations with Iran over cooperation against ISIS and the country’s nuclear program. Following at #3 was the number of new terror plots uncovered and at #4 was the NFL domestic violence cases and the suspension of Bill Simmons by ESPN. 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.
WGN, Chicago to Challenge WBBM’s News Dominance. From a story by Robert Channick published in the Chicago Tribune comes word of some of WGN, Chicago’s programming tweaks that are designed to capture more of the news-hungry radio users in the market and, presumably take some ears away from market radio news leader WBBM. Among the additions are the first hour of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano show becoming “The Business Lunch,” and focusing on Chicago business stories. CBS RADIO’s WBBM airs “The Noon Business Hour” with Sherman Kaplan and Kris Kridel at the same time. Additionally, former WMAQ-TV and WFLD-TV news anchor and reporter Anna Davlantes joins the station to host “The Big Story” – a 90-second news segments that will air during the Steve Cochran morning show and be a jumping-off point for show. The same segment will air in the afternoon with WGN managing editor of radio news Judy Pielach hosting. WGN Radio president Jimmy de Castro also tells the paper the station plans to add staff to the news department in the future.
Smaldone and Gold Named Hosts of ‘America Weekend.’ Radio pros Valerie Smaldone and Leslie Gold are named new hosts for the Envision Networks-syndicated weekend talk radio program “America Weekend.” Envision’s show airs on both Saturdays and Sundays and the network says it’s “designed to be a break from the usual brokered programming and political fare of most news/talk stations,” covering “the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners.” Smaldone and Gold join current “America Weekend” talent Mike Bennett, Ed Kalegi, Smith and Sabatino, and Dave Graveline. Envision VP of programming Michael Lichtstein says, “We couldn’t be more excited to have Valerie and Leslie join the team of hosts on ‘America Weekend.’ Each brings a breadth of radio experience to the show and together they set a new bar when it comes to delivering compelling and thought-provoking conversation.” Smaldone adds, “I am delighted to be working with the fabulous Leslie Gold as we host a weekly show together focusing on fascinating personalities and celebrities, trends and curiosities.” Gold says, “‘America Weekend’ presents an opportunity to talk about the stuff that intrigues, amuses and vexes all of us. Hosting the show with my real-life friend Valerie Smaldone makes it an immense pleasure for me. We pledge captivating talk by two veteran broadcasters who are also true friends. It should be much fun.”
Radio to Be on Hand at Advertising Week Conference in NYC Next Week. When Advertising Week kicks off in New York City next week, radio will be a segment of the media industry presenting during the four-day conference. One of the panel highlights will be titled, “Voices of the Original Social Media,” hosted by the RAB and moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber, on Tuesday, September 30 at 11:30 am ET. This session will feature both nationally syndicated air talent and local stars relating their experiences with listeners and brand partners and how that’s being leveraged over the airwaves and on digital platforms. The panel will include: NBC Sports Radio Network’s Amani Toomer, Premiere Networks’ Bobby Bones, WQHT, New York “Hot 97” morning personality Ebro Darden, and WMIB, Miami “103.5 The Beat” midday personality Angie Martinez. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman will take part in a panel titled, “Loss of Serendipity” on Wednesday, October 1 alongside MediaLink chairman and CEO, Michael Kassan and Google SVP global marketing Lorraine Twohill during which they will “explore the flip side of data-tailored content creation and distribution by considering the importance of serendipity.” Entercom president and CEO David Field will moderate a panel titled “Evolution or Revolution Part II” on Thursday, October 2. His panelists will include: Enterprise Group president Jim Doyle, The New York Times EVP of advertising Meredith Kopit Levien, TBWA president and CEO Troy Ruhanen, Centaur Media CEO Andria Vidler, and Shelly Palmer of Shelly Palmer Digital Living. They will talk about “disruption, real-time reinvention, retaining and growing share, and balancing today with tomorrow.”
Limbaugh Goes on the Offensive. Brandishing a new tactic to fight the StopRush campaign being waged against his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh and official show spokesman Brian Glicklich issued a press release yesterday (9/23) with the purpose of “outing” the forces behind what Limbaugh calls a “conspiracy.” TALKERS readers are well aware of the campaign – led by Media Matters for America – to hit Limbaugh (and others) where it hurts most: in their advertising revenue. That organizations aligned with Media Matters are conducting digital campaigns to harass advertisers on Limbaugh’s program is not disputed, but yesterday’s release attempts to flesh out the tactics and the people involved in the campaign. The release says, in part, “The StopRush group claims to be made up of ordinary consumers unhappy with Rush Limbaugh’s comments. The group claims to be ‘grassroots,’ just concerned consumers who won’t shop at businesses that advertise with Rush Limbaugh. In truth, however, there are no potential customers here, just a small number of hardcore political activists founded by Angelo Carusone, EVP of Media Matters for America. It’s remarkably tiny. Only 10 Twitter users account for almost 70% of all StopRush tweets to advertisers, amplified by illicit software. In addition, almost every communication from a StopRush activist originates from outside the state of the advertiser. Thus, these activists are not and never would have been customers… their only role is to harass small businesses in an attempt to interfere with their operations, as long as they are advertising with Rush. ‘A small number of politically motivated out-of-state activists are distributing target lists indiscriminately, and annoying small businesses until they give up the advertising deals that help them grow, or risk being unable to conduct business at all. It’s not even activism… it’s blackmail,’ according to Brian Glicklich. Meanwhile, Carusone issues the following statement in response to Limbaugh’s press release, which you can read in its entirety here. “Rush Limbaugh’s show has reportedly lost millions of dollars in revenue for radio companies, thousands of advertisers big and small refuse to run ads on the program and radio stations are dropping the show. After initially insisting there were no troubles with advertisers, two years later Limbaugh’s crisis team comes out with a report attributing this massive exodus to just 10 people? The numbers just don’t add up. This is a grassroots effort that grows every day. Instead of attacking people on the internet, Limbaugh’s team would better fill their role by advising their client not to excuse rape in some situations (as he did just last week). Rush Limbaugh is bad for business — and the only thing Limbaugh has to blame for that is his own repeated conduct.” In addition to the press statement, Limbaugh published on his website the names of nine people he says are leaders in the campaign, complete with Twitter IDs and, in some cases, emails.
Margery Punnett to Leave ‘myTalk 107.1’ in Minneapolis. Announcing via the Hubbard Radio female-targeted talk outlet’s website, Margery Punnett (left) says she’ll leave her midday talk show position at KTMY, Minneapolis “myTalk 107.1” in November to join her husband (and former KTMY co-host) Ian Punnett in Phoenix. Margery Punnett – who currently co-hosts the midday show with Elizabeth Ries (right) – says she’ll move to Phoenix to join Ian who’s there studying at the graduate level at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Ketelaar Exits WOC-AM, Quad Cities. According to a story in the Quad Cities Times, WOC-AM Quad Cities morning drive host Steve Ketelaar has left the station. It’s not clear if Ketelaar was let go or if he left of his own accord. In the story, Jim O’Hara, operations manager for the iHeartMedia Quad Cities cluster, tells the paper, “He is going to pursue his voice-work career full time, which is…pretty successful already. He’s looking forward to doing it 100% of the time.” Ketelaar co-hosted the morning show with Dan Deibert who remains co-host of the morning show on WOC-AM. He’s being joined by the company’s Dan Kennedy as co-host.
Hearst Baltimore’s Cecil to Exit. Director of sales Bob Cecil has shared his decision to leave Hearst Baltimore’s two-station combo. President and general manager Cary Pahigian comments that Cecil has “contributed immeasurably” to the Baltimore tandem “for several decades,” but “after careful consideration” he will “step away and enjoy time with his family. We thank Bob for his extraordinary efforts and wish him only the best.” In a staff memo, Cecil writes, “It has been a great privilege teaming with the Ravens, Orioles, Naval Academy, and so many other terrific business partners throughout my career. I am appreciative of the support of Cary Pahigian and look forward to his – and your – great success in the years ahead.” Hearst Baltimore consists of WIYY “98 Rock” and talker WBAL. Cecil joined the stations 14 years ago; his last day there will be one week from Friday (10/3).
Salierno Named Interim GM of Star Radio Group. Longtime radio sales executive Ralph Salierno is promoted to interim general manager of the Star Radio Group based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. For the past two years, Salierno has served as director of sales for the station group. He’s also worked in the industry in Orlando, Virginia Beach, Oklahoma City and Memphis. Star Radio Group is part of The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company which was purchased at a bankruptcy auction in May of this year by Sandton Capital Partners for $30.2 million. The radio stations are: country WFLS, hip hop WVBX, classic rock WWUZ, and news/talk WNTX-AM and translator W243BS at 96.5 FM. Free Lance-Star and Star Radio Group publisher and CEO Gene Carr states, “Ralph has been a key member of the Star Radio group and has earned this internal promotion. In his new duties as interim GM, he will continue to serve as the director of sales as well. Ralph has done a great job in driving revenue growth.” At the same time, the station announces Jeff Beck is promoted to program director for WFLS and WWUZ. He’ll also have a supervisory role over WVBX and WNTX. Carr adds, “Jeff brings years of service and industry knowledge to the team. This new management team will help to position the company for further growth.”
SOCO Radio Adds LMA of Pueblo Stations. Announcing the local management agreement between his SOCO Radio and United States CPP LLC, SOCO principal Mike Knar takes control of news/talk KWRP, Pueblo, translators K230BB, Fowler, Colorado (93.9), K262BB, Boone, Colorado (100.3) and oldies KFVR-FM, Beulah, Colorado. Knar states, “These are assets I’ve coveted since I left Cumulus in 2011. We plan on driving a very hard local message in Southern Colorado. SOCO also controls AC KFEZ, Walsenburg, Colorado and hip hop KJQY, Colorado City. Knar announces his firm is seeking talent for his stations, especially broadcasters who can work on air and sell. Contact him at: email@example.com.
Kissing the Cup! It’s almost hockey season and CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn (left) and VP of affiliate sales and marketing Jennifer Horn (right) are getting into the spirit as they kiss the Stanley Cup, currently being held by the 2014 champion Los Angeles Kings. The Horns had the opportunity to check out the NHL championship trophy at Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller’s Stanley Cup celebration.
U.S. ISIS Policy/Syria Strikes, NFL Domestic Violence Cases/ESPN Suspends Bill Simmons, Emma Watson UN Speech/Nude Pix Threat, UN Climate Change Conference, Hillary Clinton Presidential Prospects, Mid-Term Elections, Iran Nukes Negotiations, and Hannah Graham Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The Obama Administration’s ISIS policy and the recent air strikes in Syria; the ongoing discussion about the various domestic violence cases involving NFL players and ESPN’s decision to suspend Bill Simmons for his rant against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell; actress Emma Watson’s speech before the UN about feminism and women’s rights and the subsequent threat by hacktivists to reveal nude pictures of her; the UN Climate Change conference and President Obama’s speech; the prospects for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about majority changes in Congress; the negotiations with Iran over fighting ISIS and the country’s nuclear program; the case of missing Virginia college Hannah Graham were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Harrison Sings Praises of Podcasting as “a Fundamental Broadcasting Process” of the New Era. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) reiterated his longtime praise of podcasting as “the best thing to come down the pike since sliced bread” as a natural and obvious supplement to the tools available to broadcasters “in distributing their media products to a potentially unlimited global consumer base.” In a statement made Monday (9/22) during the weekly TALKERS conference call, Harrison described podcasting as “so simple, elegant and traditional a distribution concept, it is amazing many people in radio are still confused as to exactly what it means now that it has become reincarnated in a digital age configuration and is being called podcasting.” According to Harrison, “Podcasting has always been around. On a fundamental level, a ‘podcast’ is simply a convenient unit of packaging in the distribution of a cohesive piece of pre-produced media content. From the perspective of basic media theory, music records were ‘podcasts’ before the advent of the internet. In 1978 and ‘79, when the infamous Ayatollah Khomeini — while in ‘exile’ in France — instigated a revolution that ultimately ousted the Shah from Iran, he did so, in part, by sending his manifesto and doctrines to his constituents via recordings on audiocassettes which were duplicated and/or ‘bicycled’ around the country from interested person to interested person. That was also a pre-internet form of podcasting.” Harrison says that modern digital podcasting should be a fundamental service of every radio station, network, syndicator and individual radio show every bit as important as their on-air service and online streaming. He says, “Basically the word ‘pod’ – although stemming from an Apple device – should mean programming on demand. What we are really talking about is the vital and growing role ON DEMAND programming will play in the presentation of radio-oriented content. We might soon reach a point when the only real-time, appointment broadcasting in both radio and television will be ‘live events’ most typified by sports presentations, breaking news, and talk shows dependent upon live listener/guest interaction.” Harrison continues, “We will be getting into deeper and deeper discussions about the optimum programming of podcasts (or on demand content) as we figure out better and more practical ways to slice and dice the episodes into pragmatically digestible portions.” When asked if he could cite an example of a broadcaster, station or company effectively executing podcasting at this point on the timeline, he immediately responded, “I’d put my money on Norm Pattiz and what he is doing with Podcast One. This prestigious platform he is developing with attractive on demand entities performed by significant names with built in followings is an example of elegant, obvious genius at work. This is an example to emulate. Podcast One is going places and fast!” He concludes, “But there is room on this train for everyone who has decent content and a handle on digital age promotion. Thankfully, lots of bright folks in radio are well on their way to fully capitalizing on this marvelous technological gift.”
Ludlum Leaves KNX. After nearly six years as director of news programming at Los Angeles’ KNX, Andy Ludlum exits the CBS RADIO all-news outlet. He spent more than 16 years at onetime (similarly-formatted) KNX sibling KFWB in a variety of capacities including program director; news director (2003 – 2006); and executive producer (1998 – 2003). KNX news director Julie Chin is the station’s interim PD until CBS RADIO Los Angeles market manager Dan Kearney hires a successor to Ludlum. After a -.6 to 2.4 (May – June, 6+), KNX advanced to 2.5 in July and to 2.7 (#14) in August. It registered a 3.1 in January (#9) and March (#10).
Three New Multi-Media Talent Debut PodcastOne Shows. Speaking of Norm Pattiz’s PodcastOne, the company announces three new podcast series preparing to debut. TV and radio legend Larry King and his wife Shawn King will premiere their podcast on October 10. “Pawn Stars” cast member Rick Harrison debuts his “Pawncast” next month, and Ultimate Fight Club star Chael Sonnen begins a series in October as well. The Kings will interview guests and Shawn will lend a female perspective to the show. Larry King comments, “I’ve never worked with a partner before. It’s going to be fun doing this with the wife!” Harrison will talk about history, pop culture and more, plus speak with Las Vegas mainstays and celebrities on his show. And, saying the company is building upon its colossal success with former WWE stars Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Jim Ross, Roddy Piper, Bill Goldberg and Jesse Ventura, the PodcastOne is targeting the lucrative MMA audience with Sonnen’s new weekly show featuring mixed martial arts talk and special guests.
SCBA White Paper Contrasts AM/FM Radio Satisfaction with That of Pandora. In an effort to combat the perception that pureplays like Pandora are running away with consumer satisfaction – and more important, being an effective advertising medium – the Southern California Broadcasters Association is issuing its latest white paper titled, “Consumer Response and Listening Satisfaction of Broadcast Radio vs. Pandora Internet Music Service.” Using data from Bridge Ratings LLC and Scarborough, the study included a survey of 4,339 Pandora Prime users and 4,400 heavy users of broadcast radio. The SCBA states while marketers are always looking for something new and different, “questions of how the audience is measured and/or its effectiveness over time may not have been looked at in the rush of the ‘new media blitz’ on advertisers. Moreover, how is the consumer using broadcast radio vs. the Pandora internet music service over time and what are the trend lines advertisers should concern themselves with to protect their media investment and ensure the media plans are performing as they should?” Some of the conclusions reached by the SCBA include: customer dissatisfaction with Pandora over time as evidenced by a 40% drop in reported satisfaction over the course of three years; the collapse of session use on Pandora; and diminished awareness – or recall – of ads heard on Pandora versus broadcast radio. See the white paper here.
WTOP, Washington Holds Live Online Chat Regarding Missing UV Student. With the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham a top story in the region, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington held a live chat about the case with reporters Neil Augenstein and Mike Murillo from a press conference in Charlottesville. Augenstein Tweeted statements from authorities and the questions from the media and then took questions from visitors to WTOP.com. It was during the chat that Augenstein reported the breaking development that 32-year-old Jesse Matthew has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection with the missing Graham.
Woodward Exits KJR-AM, Seattle. Sports talk outlet KJR-AM cuts midday personality Elise Woodward from the payroll. She was co-host of the 10@10 show with Jerry Brewer on the iHeartMedia-owned station. The Seattle Times reports the former UW basketball star was surprised by the move after being at KJR since 2002. She worked in afternoon drive with Mike Gastineau for four years until Gastineau retired from the station in 2012. Woodward maintains her roles as both a sideline reporter for UW football on crosstown KOMO and color analyst for UW women’s basketball home games that air on KKNW.
ESPN Holds Affiliate Programming Conference. At the recent affiliate programming conference held at ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut campus, radio PDs and brand managers at affiliate stations took part in panels and discussions on such topics as the state of sports radio, best programming practices, how to produce great talk shows and more. Pictured here taking part in the “Producing Great Talk Shows” panel are (from left to right): ESPN’s Colin Cowherd, KGMZ, San Francisco PD Jason Barrett, ESPN Radio talent producer Josh Drew, and “The Herd” producer Vince Kates-Paulus.
U.S. Strikes in Syria/ISIS Fighting Coalition, Domestic Violence and the NFL, Climate Summit 2014, Hillary Clinton 2016 Prospects, Mid-Term Elections, White House Security Breach, and Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/23). The strikes against ISIS in Syria by the U.S. military and the building of a coalition; the NFL’s domestic violence cases; President Obama’s address at the UN Climate Summit 2014; the prospects for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race; the looming mid-term elections and potential majority changes in Congress; the recent Secret Service White House security breach; and the threat of an Ebola virus pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.