Talk Radio/Media Industry News
HD Radio Developer iBiquity Digital Bought for $172 Million. The firm doing the acquiring is Calabasas, California-based audio technology company DTS, Inc. Radio industry watchers are probably aware that iBiquity Digital’s HD radio technology is currently available in about 35% of new cars sold in America and DTS is counting on that number to continue rising. DTS chairman Jon Kirchner says, “DTS has long been at the forefront of the highest quality audio technology, and we saw a similar spirit at iBiquity, which identified an opportunity to revolutionize traditional AM/FM broadcasting and is now strongly positioned to capitalize on broadcast radio’s ongoing digital upgrade. This transaction extends our strategy of delivering a personalized, immersive and compelling experience across the network-connected entertainment value chain, and complements our existing suite of technology and content delivery solutions while enabling us to strengthen our position in the large automotive OEM market. Consumers have come to expect a higher quality sound experience in their car, and we believe there is a tremendous opportunity for DTS to capitalize on the upgrade to HD Radio technology as cars are increasingly equipped with screens and advanced entertainment systems. We are thrilled to welcome the talented iBiquity team to the DTS family.” iBiquity president and CEO Bob Struble will remain with the new firm to lead the HD Radio division. He adds, “Today’s announcement is an exciting step forward for our employees and customers, who will benefit from the additional scale and enhanced resources of a larger collective company.”
60 Years on WCCO for Minneapolis Sports Legend Sid Hartman. It’s hard to fathom that someone can work at the same station for 60 years, but that’s the accomplishment Minneapolis broadcaster and journalist Sid Hartman celebrated yesterday (9/1). The market native joined CBS RADIO’s WCCO in 1955 and, according to the company, has been one of the station’s most popular personalities. The 95-year-old Hartman still hosts the Sunday morning “Sports Huddle” program with Chuck Lilligren and Dave Mona – something he’s done for the past 26 years. Of course, he’s been involved in broadcasts of all of the market’s major teams over the decades – the Twins, Vikings, North Stars and Gophers – and in 2011, he was honored by both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers before a game for his contributions to both organizations, when he served as the acting general manager of Minneapolis Lakers. In addition, the Minnesota Twins honored him with “Sid Hartman Day” at Target Field in 2014, and as a part of the MLB All-Star game festivities that year, a youth baseball field in Hartman’s boyhood N. Minneapolis neighborhood was named “Sid Hartman Field.”
Salem Partners with CNN for September 16 GOP Debate. The next GOP presidential debate – to be held at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on September 16 – will be delivered to radio exclusively by Salem Radio Network in a partnership with CNN. All 31 of Salem Media Group‘s news/talk outlets will carry the debate live with pre- and post-debate coverage also provided by SRN personality Hugh Hewitt and Guy Benson of Townhall.com. SRN will make the debate – moderated CNN’s Jake Tapper with CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and Hewitt as panelists – available to stations in other markets. Outlining its plans for future debates and election coverage SRN reports it will offer coverage of the CNN debates on December 15 from Las Vegas and March 10, 2016 from Florida. Salem will also offer extended election night coverage for the caucuses and primaries coming up: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, March 1 Super Tuesday and March 15 Super Tuesday.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of August 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of August 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The August 2015 survey period covered July 16 through August 12. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Cox Promotes Harper to VP of Sales. This corporate role transitions Michelle Harper from her GSM post at WSOC-TV, Charlotte to a vice president position that will put her in charge of a team that works with all CMG newspaper, radio and TV brands to develop and execute strategic sales programs and training. She’s worked in TV sales since 1989 and replaces Paul Curran, who is now with CMG O&O WFTV-TV, Orlando. Harper says, “It is such an exciting time in our industry as collaboration becomes more vital to driving results for our customers. I feel so fortunate to be with a company and in a role that will allow me to continue to help develop strategies and provide innovative solutions.”
Nolan Assumes GSM Role at KFTK-FM, St. Louis. This is a new role with Emmis for Libby Nolan. She’s been with the company for the past five years, most recently as director of the social impact marketing division, Incite, in St. Louis. She’s also been an AE with news/talk KFTK-FM. Emmis VP and director of sales Dave Keiser says, “Libby Nolan is uniquely qualified to meet the demands of this position and to take the sales efforts of KFTK to new heights. Her mix of experience and talent in sales, marketing, public relations and in the community outreach space made her the perfect candidate for this position.”
Model Jessa Hinton Launches Show on PodcastOne. The name of the new podcast is “Anything Goes” and model, television personality and former playmate Jessa Hinton is the host of the PodcastOne program. A press statement indicates Hinton brings a social media following of some 2 million with her to the new venture. The show launched on September 1 and a new edition is available each Tuesday. PodcastOne says, “The podcast combines Hinton’s unique point of view as a down-to-earth girl with the ability to tap into a guy’s perspective, as she welcomes guests for candid conversations about some of life’s biggest questions, including sex, relationships, video games, and more.”
CBS Sports Radio Debuts Weekend Football Season Programming. With the official start of the college and pro football seasons right around the corner, CBS Sports Radio announces some new weekend programming additions. They include: “Eye on College Football” hosted by anchor Rich Ackerman airing from 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm ET Saturdays beginning 9/5; “Eye on Fantasy Football” co-hosted by CBSSports.com senior fantasy football writers Adam Aizer, Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET on Saturdays; “Sunday Morning Football” featuring Damon Amendolara airing from 9:00 am to 11:00 am ET on Sundays beginning 9/13; “Fantasy Football Today” with host Ryan Bass airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon ET on Sundays beginning 9/13; and “Eye on Football” with Rich Ackerman airing from 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm ET Sundays beginning 9/13.
Alpha Closes on Morris Stations. The previously announced acquisition of 36 stations in eight markets by Alpha Media closes. Alpha bought the stations from Morris Communications for just over $38 million. Those stations are in the following markets: Topeka and Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs, California; Anchorage and Wasilla, Alaska; and Grays Harbor-Hoquiam, Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington.
Odds & Sods. Changes take place at Great Plains Media’s WRPW, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois “Cities 92.9” as T.J. Hart, a.k.a. Tom Davis, is the new program director and morning host, replacing Ian Bayne. Hart was most recently program director and late morning host at Mid-West Family-owned news/talker WMAY, Springfield, Illinois…..Former WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower is subbing for Andy Slater on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ this Thursday (9/3) and Friday (9/4)….. Sports USA adds the “Who’s Next with Bill Goldberg” podcast to its slate of weekly offerings. Goldberg is a former wrestling Heavyweight Champion, MMA fighter and NFL player…..WOR, New York is presenting a video production on its website titled, “Put It In The Books: WOR’s Legendary Mets Announcer Howie Rose.” In the video, Rose talks about his job as voice of the New York Mets and how it feels with the red-hot Mets heading into a pennant race. Check it out here.
Cheney Book Tour Visits ABC News Radio. Former United States Vice President Dick Cheney (center) and daughter Liz Cheney (left) pose for a photo with ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones (right) as the two spent Tuesday (9/1) speaking with approximately 15 ABC News Radio affiliates on the release date of their new book, Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America.
2016 Presidential Candidates, Illegal Immigration Policy, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Hunt for Illinois Cop Killers/Texas Officers Slain, Steinle Family to Sue San Francisco, Climate Change/Obama Alaska Trip, and Concussion Film Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, the ongoing debate over America’s immigration policy; the investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the recent murders of police officers and the hunt for the killers of a suburban Chicago police lieutenant; the intent of the family of Kate Steinle to sue San Francisco over its sanctuary city policy; the debate over climate change and President Obama’s trip to visit Alaska’s glaciers; and the controversy over the football film Concussion and whether it was toned down to please the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers Dave Ramsey, Ronn Owens, and Clark Howard Lead National Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2015. The votes have all been tallied and the 2015 class of inductees for the National Radio Hall of Fame include: legendary KGO, San Francisco talk host Ronn Owens; national syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey; Atlanta-based talk personality Clark Howard; Los Angeles urban radio star Big Boy, a.k.a. Kurt Alexander; Indianapolis-based, syndicated morning drive team Bob & Tom; and ‘Z100’ New York-based CHR morning show personality Elvis Duran. Also this year, the National Radio Hall of Fame steering committee voted to induct former CBS RADIO president Dan Mason and late WNEW-FM and WABC-AM New York legend Scott Muni. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin comments, “This highly esteemed 2015 class of inductees represents the hard work, drive and unique talent that makes radio great. On behalf of the National Radio Hall of Fame, I want to thank all those who took the time to thoughtfully cast their votes.” The induction ceremony takes place on November 5 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.
Legendary Talk Radio Executive George Green Discusses Life after KABC and New Book in Inspirational Chat with Michael Harrison. He was one of the kings of Los Angeles media, having served as president and general manager of KABC for 17 consecutive years during the station’s heyday as one of the brightest pioneering lights of talk radio. He had been there for 21 years prior to that, working his way up from sales rep to GSM to the top spot – a total of 38 years with the heritage outlet! Then, it suddenly came crashing down in 1996, when he was informed by the then-new owners of the station, The Walt Disney Company, that he was being replaced in three days by another station head. On the new installment of the international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” posted today (9/1), George Green discusses with Michael Harrison how it felt to suddenly and unexpectedly be shown his way out the door and to the parking lot; how it impacted his life and then inspired him to move forward by starting a new independent media management/advertising agency and by writing a series of uplifting books covering love and aging as well five inspirational storybooks for young children. He even dabbled in acting landing roles in a Hollywood movie, a weekly TV series and five Honda TV commercials. Now, he has written and published a brand new book – years in the writing – titled, Out of the Spotlight: Over Forty Interviews with Famous, Successful People Who Enjoy Their Lives as They Move from One Spotlight into Another (George Green, 2015). It is inspired by George Green’s own experience moving on with life after suffering the pain of being fired from a job that defined his identity. He widens that umbrella of despair to include people who enjoyed great fame only to have to come to grips with time moving on and their spotlight dimming. It happens to people in all walks of life from superstars to everyday folks. According to Michael Harrison, “George Green is one of the most important managers to ever serve in this industry during the modern era. At 84, he remains robust, clear-thinking, articulate and tremendously active in business, sports, the arts and just plain living. I am delighted to be presenting this podcast to the radio industry as well as the world. It is a story worth telling and being heard… especially in this age of cutbacks in the radio business.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com. For stations interested in interviewing George Green, he can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nationally Syndicated Steve Deace Show to Leave USA Radio Network. Thursday, September 17 will be the last day the Steve Deace show will be syndicated by the USA Radio Network. Deace tells TALKERS magazine that he is parting ways with the network and is exploring ways to further grow and manage his radio platform. “We will immediately begin negotiating some new opportunities and hope to share good news very soon. I am very grateful for all of you that have supported our show and made it one of the ‘Heavy Hundred’ shows in the industry.” Deace can be emailed via email@example.com.
McDonnell to Be Inducted into SoCal Hall of Fame. When Joe McDonnell passed away in Los Angeles this past March, it was the lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX. The 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” weighed approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. On her Facebook page, McDonnell’s widow – Elizabeth McDonnell – posts, “Joe McDonnell’s dream is going to come true. The Southern California Broadcasters Hall of Fame will be inducting Joe for the year 2016. This was what Joe wished and prayed for; it was the last marker on his radio accomplishment wish list.” Those familiar with McDonnell’s on-air work would instantly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture.” In addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Just prior to his death, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Also to be inducted in the January 2016 ceremony are Los Angeles Kings analyst on Jim Fox (Fox Sports West) and KABC-TV, Los Angeles (channel 7) sports anchor Rob Fukuzaki.
Futuri Earns Spot on Inc. 5000’s ‘Fastest Growing Private Companies.’ Interactive technology firm Futuri Media is celebrating its recognition for the second year in a row on the Inc. 500|5000 lists as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America and the only media technology company on the prestigious Inc. list. Futuri says there are now more than 525 stations, networks and broadcast groups using its technology across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Cleveland-based Futuri states it is enjoying revenue growth of 185% which puts it among the upper tier on the list, ranking #59 nationally and #23 in percentage-growth in Ohio in revenue among firms its size. Fututi Media CEO Daniel Anstandig comments, “The three key drivers in Futuri’s growth this year have been our TopicPulse social media intel system, mobile apps for TV and radio broadcasters, and our LDR (Listener Driven Radio) interactive programming systems. Our mission is to leverage social and mobile technology for broadcasters in a way that engages audiences, cultivates loyalty, and drives ad revenue. Futuri’s continued growth is a testament to our team’s commitment and success in driving results for our partners.”
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of August 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of August 2015 PPM ratings 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 August 2015 survey period covered July 16 through August 12. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Sports talker KXTG-AM/K275CH, Portland announces former University of Oregon three-sport athlete – and former NFL player – Jordan Kent is signed up to serve as host of the “Quack Attack” pre-game show that airs prior to University of Oregon football games this fall. The station says Kent currently works a multitude of shows for basketball, football, and track media coverage, with his primary role as host for Comcast SportsNet Northwest’s Talkin’ Ducks studio show…..A talent shuffle takes place at Houston sports talk stations KFNC-FM, KGOW-AM, and the affiliated Yahoo Sports Radio Network: Sean Salisbury and Steve Bunin are now hosting PM drive on KGOW; Barry Warner partners up with former crosstown KBME personality Dylan Gwinn for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show on KFNC; Raheel Ramzanali returns to the company to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KFNC. John Granato is now working on KFNC with both Ramzanali – from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon — and Sean Salisbury (who is working on both stations) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.
Donald Trump Candidacy, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Global Immigration Problems, ISIS Destroys Ancient Ruins, Houston Deputy Slaying, and Deflategate Matter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). The popularity of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump among Republican voters; the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; illegal immigration problems facing the U.S. and European nations; the continuing destruction of historical sites in Palmyra, Syria by ISIS; questions about the motive for the weekend slaying of a Houston police deputy by a black man; and the stalemate between the NFL and Tom Brady over the “deflategate” matter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Ordway Returns to WEEI-FM, Boston for Middays. The longtime king of afternoon drive sports talk at WEEI, Boston is going back on the air there, more than two years after he exited his “Big Show with the Big O” program in the spring of 2013. Since he left, Glenn Ordway has been producing and hosting his own online sports talk show. Now, he’ll co-host the midday show on WEEI-FM with current midday personalities former Red Sox outfielder Lou Merloni and former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria. Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary states, “There is no one in Boston media who better understands the passion, pride and peculiarities of New England sports fans than Glenn Ordway. In an era where copycats are far too often the norm, Glenn is a true and timeless original with legions of followers eager to hear his views every day.” Ordway comments, “Who says you can never go back home? I’m elated to return to WEEI and look forward to reconnecting with the most passionate fans in the greatest sports city in America.” Ordway joins the midday show on Tuesday, September 8.
Hardin, Zellner, Maynard Receive iHeartMedia Promotions. The “National Programming Platforms” group of iHeartMedia appoints Brad Hardin executive vice president/general manager; Jon Zellner executive vice president of programming operations; and Maynard executive vice president of programming strategy. All three will be New York City-based and report to National Programming Platforms president Tom Poleman, who states, “iHeartMedia’s strength is built on our great programmers working together to develop great content and experiences for our listeners utilizing our unmatched scale. Brad, Jon, and Maynard each have a remarkable amount of hands-on experience programming some of the best local radio stations in the world, making them uniquely qualified to lead our company-wide programming initiatives.” Hardin comments, “I am looking forward to working more closely with the amazing people on our National Programming Platforms team as well as programmers throughout our markets. They are the very best in content creation and live event marketing. I am excited to have the opportunity to further contribute to our future growth, and continuing to demonstrate the power of iHeartMedia’s local and national brands.” Zellner remarks, “iHeartMedia continues to set the industry standard for innovation and one-of-a-kind content. I am honored and very excited to have the opportunity to work with Tom and the programming team on implementing new ideas and strategies for our incredible brands.” Maynard notes that he has “had an incredible experience since joining iHeartMedia. It is extremely motivating to work with a company that is committed to exceeding expectations both internally and with our millions of listeners. The people in this company are what make it great, and I am truly grateful for this opportunity and even more excited for what lies ahead.” Most recently the executive vice president of programming and company-wide active rock/alternative brand manager, Hardin has been with iHeartMedia (and the former Clear Channel) for over 15 years. He was senior vice president of programming for west major markets and has programmed in Tampa, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Louisville. Zellner joined iHeartMedia in 2009 as senior vice president of programming and he is being promoted from executive vice president of programming. His resume includes senior management positions at SiriusXM and CBS Radio. Maynard will work with iHeartMedia’s programmers and oversee the company’s on-air creative directors; he joined iHeartMedia in late-July 2014.
Radio Advertising Bureau: 2015 Radio Revenue Down 1% Over 2014. To be clear, the data released by the RAB on Friday compares the first half of 2015 with the same period a year ago. As you may remember, the RAB is no longer releasing quarterly revenue reports and will continue with two reports per year going forward. The 1% figure above reflects total revenue (from data provided by Miller Kaplan Arase LLP) for radio stations. The breakdown looks like this: spot revenue was down 3%; network revenue dipped 1%; digital revenue was up 2%; and off-air was up 11%. What isn’t surprising is the 11% rise in off-air. Live events and other off-air projects have been widely reported to be the one consistent bright spot for multi-platform media companies. However, the meager rise in digital revenue – just 2% — has to bother corporation execs and market managers. The full report presents more data about the top five advertiser categories. See that here.
Eastlan Expands by Eight. Washington State-based media-research firm Eastlan is picking up eight new markets: Baton Rouge; Fort Morgan-Sterling, Colorado; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Marshall, Missouri; Santa Rosa, California; Sedalia, Missouri; Winchester, Virginia; and West Plains, Missouri. Eastlan president and chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “As radio continues to evolve in the increasingly competitive audio entertainment environment, the old expense models don’t make much sense anymore. Broadcasters need a responsibly-priced ratings tool to prove the unmatched reach of radio.” Centennial Broadcasting president and chief executive officer Allen Shaw explains, “After considerable deliberation among our corporate staff, market managers, and sales teams in Fredericksburg and Winchester, we concluded Eastlan’s radio audience measurement services will provide us with credible data at a very efficient cost.” Guaranty Corporation president and chief executive officer Flynn Foster remarks, “Guaranty Media is excited to work with Eastlan in Baton Rouge. We have felt for some time that Eastlan’s process of gathering ratings is superior. The sample size will be at least double what we have seen in the past, and a much better measure of who is listening to our five radio stations. We look forward to many years together.” Measurement for those eight markets will begin this fall.
ESPN Radio Names Russillo & Kanell Early Afternoon Team. Longtime ESPN personality Ryen Russillo stays with the ESPN Radio network – he was formerly partnered up with Scott Van Pelt on the “SVP & Russillo” program – and joins Danny Kanell for the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm show appropriately titled, “Russillo & Kanell.” This show is also being simulcast on the sports giant’s ESPNEWS cable channel. Both Russillo and Kanell – who serves as a college football analyst for the company – recently signed new, multi-year contracts.
Odds & Sods. Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully announces he plans to return for the 2016 baseball season but says it will probably be his last in front of the camera and behind the mic. Scully – who’s been calling Dodgers games for an improbable 67 years – will turn 88 in November…..Norm Hitzges gets a partner for his KCTK-AM/FM, Dallas late morning sports talk show. Moving from the early afternoon BaD Radio show with hosts Bob Strum and Dan McDowell to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with Hitzges is Donovan Lewis. Hitzges and Lewis have been working together on the Cowboys postgame show for the past seven years…..Recently retired Houston Texans center Chris Myers is going straight to radio in his post-football career at CBS RADIO’s KILT-AM, Houston “Sportsradio 610.” Myers will serve as a football analyst appearing on the morning drive show with Nick Wright and John Lopez on Tuesday and Friday mornings and will become part of the Texans postgame show with Sean Pendergast and Teddy Johnson.
Judge Recommends Former Bubba Lawyers Be Disbarred for DUI Setup. Regular readers of TALKERS are probably aware of the bizarre twist in Todd Schnitt’s 2013 defamation suit against Bubba the Love Sponge in which three of Bubba’s then-lawyers, theoretically in order to gain an edge in the contentious lawsuit, were accused of using a young, female paralegal to entice Schnitt attorney C. Philip Campbell into driving her car after both had been drinking at a local restaurant and then alerting police that a drunk driver was behind the wheel. On Thursday (8/27), Pinellas Senior Judge W. Douglas Baird recommended that the three lawyers – Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams, and Adam Filthaut – be permanently barred from practicing in Florida. This recommendation goes to Florida’s Supreme Court for approval. It’s not known how the Court will rule on the matter.
Three Northeast Broadcasters Merge to Form Coastal Media Partners. Three companies are merging to form a six-station radio group called Coastal Media Partners that the new firm says will allow advertisers to target local listeners “from the North Shore of Massachusetts up the coast to Portland, Maine by working with one regional broadcaster that offers reasonable rates.” The three companies are: Port Broadcasting, LLC owner of WNBP, Newburyport, Massachusetts and WWSF, Sanford, Maine; Aruba Capital Holdings, LLC, owner of WXEX-AM/FM of Exeter, New Hampshire; Garrison City Broadcasting of Dover, New Hampshire, owner of WTSN and WBYY in Dover, New Hampshire. The agreement includes the radio stations and digital assets — such as live streaming and websites — of all six stations that cover formats including oldies, classic hits, adult contemporary, and news/talk/sports. Port Broadcasting’s Carl Strube and Pete Falconi will run the day-to-day operations of the new company. Falconi states, “There is a great deal of synergy in this merger. All of the stations are very community focused but offer different brands to attract different demographics. The overall radio signal footprint spans geographies to reach a population of just over 2 million people.” Garrison City SVP Susan Demers Weigold states, “After 30 years of being independent radio station owners, our family is delighted to form a partnership with three radio veterans who understand the importance of providing our listeners with local programming, news and sports. Our niche is to keep our stations community based. We can expand on community service and provide businesses with creative advertising opportunities that reach across three states on six stations.”
Ronn Owens to Return to KGO, San Francisco on Monday. Weeks after undergoing surgery for phase one of Deep Brain Stimulation treatment for his Parkinson’s Disease, legendary Bay Area talk personality Ronn Owens posts on his Facebook page that he’s feeling better – minor complications notwithstanding – and will return to KGO, San Francisco’s airwaves on Monday. Here’s what he had to say: “Just checking in (with a three-day growth of beard!) to let you know that I’m feeling much better and plan to be back on the show on Monday. Falling down the stairs after the Deep Brain Stimulation surgery slowed my recovery due to the resulting blood clot on the surface of the brain, along with another blood clot in the lung and a nasty cough. Those factors have also forced my doctors to postpone the second phase of the DBS process (implanting a battery pack in my chest) until late October. Nonetheless, the DBS procedure is still on track for success and I look forward to it being able to reverse my Parkinson’s symptoms by 5 to 7 years when it’s complete in early November.” Prior to his recent surgery, Owens spoke with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on the latter’s international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” on the PodcastOne platform. You can check out that discussion here.
New Hampshire Gets New FM N/T Station – Howie Carr Headlines Lineup. Beginning Monday (8/31) Binnie Media-owned WNNH-FM, Concord, New Hampshire will re-launch as “99.1 NH1 News, New Hampshire’s Newsradio.” The station will provide the Concord area with what is being described as “continuous local news updates on the top stories from around the Granite State, along with opinion and analysis from nationally recognized personalities, including Howie Carr weekday afternoons.” The “NH1” brand has been serving New Hampshire as a major statewide TV and radio news organization. “99.1 NH1 News” will feature hourly updates from the NH1 News staff. The NH1 Radio News Network will continue to broadcast on 12 radio stations in New Hampshire, including stations in Concord, Nashua, Portsmouth, the Lakes Region, and Lebanon. In 2014, NH1 News received a Granite Mike Award for the Best Radio Newscast from the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters. The local news coverage on “99.1 NH1 News” will be augmented by the world and national resources of CBS News. Binnie Media EVP Lee Kinberg tells TALKERS, “This is the next logical step in the growth of NH1 News. Last month NH1 News on WBIN-TV was the #1 10:00 pm news in New Hampshire and in less than a year, NH1.com is achieving over 800,000 page views a month. “99.1 NH1 News” brings our comprehensive local news coverage to Concord’s radio listeners.” In addition to Carr, nationally known personalities including Don Imus, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, and Michael Savage round out the weekday lineup. Carr tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with all the great professionals at NH1 News, and to be able to reach a whole new audience in the Granite State — especially with the presidential primaries coming up in less than six months.” This marks the 24th affiliate for Howie Carr’s rapidly-growing independent regional talk network. Binnie Media owns 16 stations in Maine and New Hampshire.
Bob Sullivan Exits Daily Role on KOGO, San Diego. His comments to the San Diego Union-Tribune about leaving his co-host role on the afternoon drive show with former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio are pretty sanguine, still there’s a tenor of disappointment in Bob “Sully” Sullivan’s comments that he and the station have different philosophies about what the show’s topics should be. Sullivan tells the paper, “I like to talk red-meat topics — illegal immigration, gun control and minimum wage — and I think the station wants that segment to go more toward local politics, pension reform and the water crisis. Carl is very passionate about that stuff and I just am not.” Sullivan’s 16-year tenure with the station will continue as he’ll still be business editor and serve as a fill-in host. DeMaio has been on the program for the past five months – shortly after losing a race for a seat in Congress.
Rita Cosby to Host Weeklong Web Series on Education. The hour-long program – titled “Back to the Books Radio” – will appear exclusively on WABC, New York’s website beginning Monday, August 31. On the program, Rita Cosby will “discuss timely and critical issues in American education with some of the nation’s most prominent voices in education, including highlighting: teacher and student standards, busing, charter schools, Common Core, and illegal immigrants and who should pay for their education. The series is a provocative and no-holds-barred look at the issues that are important to those who are concerned that the educational system is failing the country’s children — what is working, and what is not. The series looks in-depth at New York City’s massive public education system with more than one million students and 1,700 schools.” Each show features interviews with top experts and thought leaders in New York and U.S. education.
Salem Media Group Re-Brands TOH News with Townhall.com Collaboration. Raising the radio profile of its conservative website Townhall.com will likely be one of the effects of Salem Media Group’s decision to rename its top-of-the-hour news product with the brand Townhall.com. SMG says the site “reaches 3 million unique visitors every month. This will be a brand extension to the powerful SRN News product that provides both news/talk and Christian talk stations a strong 24/7 radio news service.” Salem says it will continue to produce the SRN News feed at :55 past the hour, primarily for Christian stations and that the Townhall.com branded product will be designed for news/talk stations. Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce comments, “We will continue to offer the outstanding reporting that is a hallmark of SRN News with great anchors and respected correspondents like Greg Clugston at the White House, Linda Kenyon at the Senate and Wally Hindes at the House. The new brand extension will allow us to better market the product for news and talk stations and we can’t think of a better partner than Townhall.com which is so respected and well-known.”
‘640AM Sports’ in Fort Lauderdale Shuffles Hosts. Midday sports talk host Joe Raineri moves to afternoon drive on WMEN, Fort Lauderdale “640AM Sports,” replacing Hank Goldberg. Currently, the midday daypart consists of DirecTV/FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Rich Eisen from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm but there is speculation that the station will opt for adding Colin Cowherd’s new FOX Sports Radio program – set to debut in September – to the slot currently held by Eisen.
Odds & Sods. Abundant, thunderous changes taking place with Major League Baseball‘s Boston Red Sox have even spread to the broadcasting booth. While it doesn’t take effect until next year, Dave O’Brien will shift from radio play-to-play to the television side, calling Red Sox games on NESN. O’Brien, who has a renowned national presence from his ESPN television exposure, will succeed Don Orsillo, whose contract isn’t being renewed. No word yet on a successor to O’Brien on the Red Sox Radio Network, whose flagship is Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. Quincy, Massachusetts native O’Brien joined the Red Sox radio booth for the 2007 season – when the Red Sox wound up winning the World Series…..St. Louis sports media pro Bernie Miklasz returns to Hubbard Radio‘s WXOS “101ESPN” on Monday, August 31 to revive his sports talk show. The longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports writer is exiting his position with the paper to begin hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. He will also write for the station’s 101sports.com website…..ESPN Radio announces that Ian Fitzsimmons will host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot with Will Cain, Trevor Matich, and Freddie Coleman next week. The network is reportedly preparing to officially announce Dan LeBatard will assume that daypart permanently later in September…..Former Philadelphia Eagles great Brian Westbrook is reprising his football expert role at Greater Media‘s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” on the AM drive Anthony Gargano show. Westbrook will be part of the Monday program from 9:00 am to 10:00 am following Eagles games during the NFL season…..ABC News announces Lana Zak is the newest member of the Multi-Platform Reporter team. Zak began her career with ABC News as an anchor producer for Diane Sawyer at “Good Morning America.” Most recently, she has served as a coordinating producer for ABC’s Specialized Units.
New Economic News Program to Debut in January. This new offering comes from Walter O’Connell Tax Services, LLC on a weekly basis beginning January 2, 2016. According to O’Connell, “Economics-Weekly.com” is a one-hour radio program featuring selected readings in economics from top economic bloggers from around the world and “was founded on the belief that liberty and free trade are created, and sustained, through economic understanding.” O’Connell says, “Our current weekly syndicated radio program is a perfect pre-air or post-air program for news, business, economic, political or current event programing.”
Country Duo Montgomery Gentry to Appear on ‘Hannity’ Tonight. Country music will be a topic on FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” this evening (8/28) as country superstars Montgomery Gentry will be on the program. Eddie Montgomery (left) and Troy Gentry (right) recently spoke with Sean Hannity (center) about their new Blaster Records album, Folks Like Us. Photo: Monarch Publicity.
TV Reporters Slayings/Gun Control Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 24-28. The tragic slayings of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward and the related issue of gun control were the most-talked-about stories during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 was the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. Coming in at #3 was the debate over immigration policy followed by the possible presidential candidacy of Vice President Joe Biden at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Howard B. Price: Now, It’s Personal. Writing in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of WDBJ-TV, Roanoke journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price says that, although it’s impossible to know if anything could have prevented their deaths, media employers must take this tragedy as a lesson to do more to prepare staffers to combat threatening situations. How so? Price says, “Ask any crisis trainer, and they will tell you that situational awareness is critical – no matter one’s field or the instant circumstances of their work. Who would have imagined that a live shot on local tourism in a bucolic park would end in so much trauma – on an early morning newscast in Moneta, Virginia?” He suggests that even in the most seemingly benign situations, crews should observe a safety protocol. “When you arrive at the scene of a story, look for areas of safe refuge and secondary escape routes. Try to keep a corner of your eye cocked peripherally to catch at least a glimpse of anything that doesn’t look quite right. Keep a cellphone or two-way radio close. Think about how you might call for help. And don’t hesitate to raise red flags about any coverage plan you find risky.” Read Price’s entire story here.
Newsmax.com Places Third in Views for Political News. The July 2015 comScore MultiPlatform data shows that while CNN Politics is #1 in multiplatform views with 136 million for the month, Newsmax.com comes in third (55mm), close on the heels of Politico.com (57mm). Newsmax.com tops Fox News Politics, HuffPost Politics and MSNBC TV, according to comScore’s survey, which includes desktops and mobile devices. comScore also notes that July marked the best month in mobile traffic and video starts on record.
Holland Cooke: ‘Quality, Currency, Quantity.’ Just back at his Block Island, Rhode Island home base after a summer on the road visiting client stations, consultant Holland Cooke writes in TALKERS today about crafting news copy that is more “remarkable.” He says, “Not ‘miraculous,’ but ‘remarkable,’ meaning likely-to-provoke-a-remark when heard. ‘Hmmm…’ is a remark, because the listener heard useful information which he/she might quote over lunch or dinner. Or at least REMEMBER, which is, after all, what diary ratings measure, and relevance is what brings PPM-ers back again and again.” For more thoughts about effective radio news, read Cooke’s entire column here.
Don La Greca Inks Extension with WEPN, New York. The co-host of the afternoon drive Michael Kay show on ESPN O&O WEPN, New York has signed a three-year contract extension with the station to continue in that role. Don La Greca, in addition to his duties with the Kay show, will continue to host 98.7FM’s “Jets Gameday” pregame show and “The 5th Quarter” postgame show. La Greca will also retain his duties as studio host and occasional play-by-play commentator for New York Rangers broadcasts. ESPN New York 98.7FM general manager Tim McCarthy states, “Don has established himself as one of the most knowledgeable hosts in all of New York sports. He is a rare breed who can combine talk and play-by-play without missing a beat. Don and Michael are one of the longest-tenured and most entertaining sports talk teams in the country.”
Odds & Sods. According to the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman, ESPN is going to move current sports talk WEPN, New York evening duo Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot that opened with Mike Lupica’s recent departure. He says Dave Rothenberg will leave the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm show with Ryan Ruocco and host evenings solo. He also notes the station will air the soon-to-move Dan LeBatard show in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot…..Former WGN, Chicago operations manager Alex Quigley is joining Hubbard Radio Chicago to serve as executive producer and update anchor for classic hit WDRV’s weekly, three-hour Chicago Bears post-game show that will be hosted by Mike North…..News and talk radio programmer Al Mayers, currently station manager at Bloomberg Radio, is adding Bloomberg TV programming duties to his responsibilities, according to a report in the New York Post. The story says Claudia Milne is exiting the Bloomberg TV programming post to work on special projects and product placement for Bloomberg. Mayers was a longtime Boston program director having served at WRKO, WEEI and WHDH. He also programmed WJR, Detroit…..WMTI, New Orleans “106.1 The Ticket” is flipping from sports talk to a music format. No word on what Cumulus will settle on. Currently the station is stunting with song loops.
Westwood One Celebrates Affiliate Mark for News Product; Names Chas Henry to Anchor/Correspondent Role. Syndicator Westwood One is celebrating surpassing the 750-affiliate mark for its news product Westwood One News, powered by CNN. WW1 says that since launching in January, it’s placed the service on more than 750 stations, including in nine of the top 10 markets. At the same time, the company announces it has brought aboard Washington, DC news pro Chas Henry to serve as an anchor and correspondent. Henry has served at WTOP, Washington; TV news outlets NewsChannel 8 and ABC7, and at CBS RADIO’s WNEW-FM as anchor and national security correspondent. A combat-decorated veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, Henry came up in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising in rank from private to captain. He has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar and been frequently heard nationwide on the CBS Radio Network. For Westwood One, in addition to anchoring newscasts, he will report on national security issues and will fill in on the daily feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” from September 8-14.
GOP Candidate Dr. Ben Carson on the Dave Ramsey Show. Pictured here on the air with nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey (left) is retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson (right). Ramsey has invited all of the presidential candidates to appear on his program to discuss relevant topics during the election season. Earlier this summer, Texas Governor Rick Perry appeared on the Ramsey program.
Virginia TV Reporters Slayings, Trump Candidacy, Immigration Policy Debate, Probable Joe Biden Presidential Run, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Financial Markets Volatility, and Western Wildfires/Tropical Storm Erika/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/26). The killing of two Virginia television journalists by a former station employee; the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump; ongoing debate over immigration policy and Trump’s interaction with Univision reporter Jorge Ramos at an Iowa press conference; the probable entrance of Vice President Joe Biden into the presidential race; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; concern over the volatile world financial markets and a possible crash; the Western drought, recent wildfires, Tropical Storm Erika, and the specter of climate change were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool Job Opportunity. Wanted: Part-Time WBT Tailgate Girls. “News Talk 1110” WBT, Charlotte is seeking part-time WBT Tailgate Girls who are interested in learning more about event marketing, promotions and broadcasting. As part of the WBT Tailgate Girls, you will work to gain exposure for the radio stations at station-produced and/or sponsored events, area concerts, sporting and cultural events and other on-site opportunities relevant to the station’s marketing and sales effort. Candidates must be detail oriented, creative and outgoing. They must have strong communications and organizational skills and must be able to represent the station(s) in a positive manner at events. Candidates should have strong people skills, web/internet knowledge, and must be able to multi-task and meet deadlines. All candidates should possess a desire to learn more about promotional/marketing strategies for radio. In order to be considered for the position, candidates must have a valid driver’s licenses. Hourly pay: $12.00. If you think you have the talent and qualifications to be a (part-time) News Talk 1110 WBT Tailgate Girls with Greater Media Charlotte, please e-mail resume and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to mail a package, send to: Greater Media Charlotte, Attn: Promotions, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208 NO TELEPHONE CALL PLEASE!