Talk Radio/Media Industry News
NEW Rosters Coming to SF Talk Outlets. In the banner story first published yesterday (see next item), TALKERS detailed Clear Channel‘s plans for significant changes involving heritage Los Angeles talker KFI and under-performing sibling KTLK-AM – which will be re-branded as “The Patriot.” The City of Angels, however, is not the only locale where the company is mixing things up with its talk properties. As of the first of the year, modified talent lineups will surface on a pair of Clear Channel San Francisco facilities. Changes on “960 KNEW” will include Rush Limbaugh on from 9:00 am – 12:00 Noon, Sean Hannity 12:00 Noon – 3:00 pm, and Andy Dean from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Glenn Beck will continue to air in morning drive (6:00 am – 9:00 am). Casts from Fox News Radio will air at the top and bottom of every hour. Down the dial five clicks to the left on “910 KKSF,” Armstrong & Getty will add an hour (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Frosty Stilwell moves to 10:00 am -1:00 pm; and Randi Rhodes (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) segues from KNEW. Gil Gross will remain in his afternoon drive slot (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Vice president of programming Don Parker comments, “We are excited to continue to grow the live and local programming on ‘Talk 910′ with the expansion of Armstrong & Getty. We are also thrilled to welcome the Bay Area’s leading midday talk personality, Randi Rhodes, to ‘Talk 910.’ The new lineup on ’960 KNEW’ will be a destination for conservative listeners who follow America’s top personalities – all in one place.” Among persons 6+ this November (PPM), KKSF-AM ranked #17 (2.1, +.1 from October’s 2.0), while KNEW finished at #31 (flat from October’s .4).
Clear Channel Los Angeles Blows Up Progressive Talk KTLK; Creates New Conservative Talker. Progressive talk radio takes another blow as Clear Channel Media + Entertainment prepares to flip KTLK, Los Angeles to “The Patriot AM 1150” in the New Year with the following lineup: Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, PM drive TBA, and Clark Howard. That leaves a midday hole at sister KFI (Limbaugh airs there from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon right now) as the station moves Bill Carroll to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot leaving the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show host TBA for now. In a statement, program director Robin Bertolucci says, “Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic radio markets in the United States and we want to present the best of talk radio from across the spectrum. These changes are designed to give our current and future programming a home where listeners can find and enjoy their favorite talk show hosts.” Some of the current KTLK air talent will remain with the company. PM drive host David Cruz will still talk local issues Saturdays from 12:00 to 2:00 pm on KTLK. Cruz will also join the KFI news team, reporting local news for the station in addition to his weekend community show. Mo’ Kelly adds another weekend edition of his program to the KFI weekend schedule. His show will air on both Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The move takes Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes and Bill Press off the schedule.
KOGO, San Diego PD Cliff Albert’s Status in Question. The local radio blog SanDiegoRadio.org is reporting that sources tell it longtime KOGO, San Diego program director Cliff Albert (along with talk host Steve Yuhas) has left the building. This has not been confirmed and Albert’s “Cliff’s Notes” commentary on the KOGO website is still active – often a dismissed staffer’s likeness and content are purged upon leaving. Albert has been programming KOGO for the past 17 years.
Steve Murphy to Retire from WCCO, Minneapolis. After 33 years with the station, morning anchor and managing editor Steve Murphy is retiring from the CBS Radio news/talk station at the end of the year. Murphy says that his wife recently retired from her nursing job and he’s ready to hang up the headphones and stay up past 7:30 in the evening. CBS Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo says, “He’ll be sorely missed. Steve is a wonderful example of a professional radio journalist with a great sense of news, a confident, soothing but direct delivery and an uncompromising work ethic that will be difficult to duplicate.” Murphy himself made the news last month after getting mugged and beaten while on the way to work at 2:30 am. He says that incident had no impact on his decision but rather the idea of sleeping past 2:30 am was a huge factor.
Lincoln Financial Media Appoints Prain DOS in Miami. Lincoln Financial Media announces broadcast pro and media sales consultant Jim Prain is named director of sales for the company’s Miami cluster that includes: AC WLYF, “LITE 101.5,” classic hits WMXJ, “MAGIC 102.7,” and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM “104.3 The Ticket.” LFM Miami SVP and general manager Maureen Lesourd states, “I have had the privilege to know Jim throughout his career and find him a highly credible, accountable and strategic thinker. His leadership will help propel our sales effort to meet the growing demands of our clientele and maximize all the on air, online and social media assets we have to offer.” Prain’s media career includes 25-plus years of media management experience in major and large markets, including positions at companies such as ABC, ABC/Cap Cities and Cox Media. He also invested two years as a small business owner in Detroit, where he launched a power sports company. Prain comments, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maureen and LFM CEO Don Benson over the years and feel this is the perfect fit for me professionally and personally. My passion for helping our customers, combined with the recent benefits of owning a small business, affords me a unique perspective on both sides of the marketing equation. I’m excited to get started.”
Norm Pattiz and PodcastOne Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek Piece. Westwood One founder and current chairman and CEO of Courtside Entertainment Group and subsidiary PodcastOne, Norm Pattiz, is featured in a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek where he projects revenue from podcasts for his company will reach $8 million for this year. He expects that figure to hit $15 million in 2014. The piece includes more figures: Pattiz says his 200 programs on PodcastOne are averaging 100 million downloads per month and have attracted advertising attention from such corporations as Ford Motor, 21st Century Fox’s Fox, Walt Disney’s ABC, and Hulu.com. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk host Dan Sileo – most recently with WMEN, West Palm Beach – is doing holiday fill-in work at Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned sports talker XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090.” Sileo – who’s also worked at WQAM, Miami and WDAE, Tampa, to name a few – tells TALKERS magazine he’ll be doing morning drive (6:00 am to 9:00 am) from December 23 through 31…..Former WPGB, Pittsburgh morning team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent hosted a live broadcast in conjunction with a Toy Treasures charity event at a Pittsburgh-area hair salon this morning. The pair signed copies of their book, Thanking Our Soldiers…..Galaxy Communications-owned classic rock duo WTKW, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV, Oswego, New York (Syracuse market) sign up with CBS Radio to be the local affiliate for New York Yankees baseball for the 2014 season.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity becomes part of KTLK, Los Angeles’ lineup in the New Year…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the programming lineup at WMEL, Melbourne, Florida…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville and KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 2-6. Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the decline in support for President Obama from the Millennial generation. Following at #3 was the Rush Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism flap followed by the Iran nuclear weapons talks and the NSA cell phone location database story tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.” Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”
Vali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii. The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities. Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.” Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster. During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii. Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.
PodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable. Titled after her best-selling book Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne. The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.” The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’” PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from. We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”
WTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire. Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year. Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned. He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business. By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.” Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause. Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them. He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless! He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf. For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP. He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.” RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
A Farewell to Jim Farley. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC. After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies. Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end. Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash. Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd! YOU did it. YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit. I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue. The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up. According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there. After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code. Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence. In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site. Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.
Credit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment. He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest? CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today. Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams. “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe reigns supreme. At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition. The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week. Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.
Holiday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.” The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today. The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000. The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.
Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest. That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City. He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less. The movie also stars Jane Seymour. Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming. He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast. I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”
ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Programmer Chris Sargent Departs. Clear Channel Portland vice president of programming Chris “Sarge” Sargent leaves the cluster effective immediately. In addition to his VP duties, Sargent for the past 20 months was the cluster’s operations manager. He programmed classic hits-oldies KLTH, news/talk KEX, progressive-talk-turned-sports KPOJ and classic rock KFBW. Sargent joined the Portland cluster over four years ago from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Bruce Logan Named VP of Programming and Ops at CBS Radio Houston. Programmer Bruce Logan exits his regional programming manager role at Clear Channel’s Greensboro, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina clusters and his national country brand coordinator post to join CBS Radio as vice president of programming and operations manager for the six-station Houston cluster that includes: hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM “The Bull,” sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH “Hot 95.7,” and Spanish KOLO. He’ll also have day-to-day programming responsibilities for “The Bull” and “Hot 95.7.” CBS Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Bruce has a reputation as one of the premier country radio programmers in America. We have admired his work for some time and are thrilled we have an opportunity to bring him into the division. I am equally excited about his leadership skills and ability to build teams which is so important in today’s cluster environment.”
Pro Wrestler Chris Jericho Joins PodcastOne. World champion wrestler Chris Jericho – also a New York Times best-selling author and lead vocalist of the metal band Fozzy – is launching his podcast on PodcastOne. The program, “Talk Is Jericho,” premieres today (12/4) with Steve Austin as Jericho’s first guest. Jericho dishes out his unique take on all things pop culture and life in general as he interviews some of the biggest names in entertainment from wrestling and music to TV and film with new episodes delivered every week at PodcastOne.com. Jericho comments, “I’ve been considering doing a podcast for years now, but wanted to find the right people to work with. Now after being hooked up with the fine folks at PodcastOne, I know I’ve found the right place! I’m stoked to bring you the biggest names in show biz every week to discuss all things pop culture, music, pro wrestling and kumquats. Get ready Jerichoholics…The Pod Of Thunder has arrived!” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “As an entertainer, Chris is so much more than a world champion wrestler. He’s an actor, an author, lead singer in a rock band and radio broadcaster. With a package like that and the proven success of PodcastOne programs like the Steve Austin show, this is clearly a great bet. Actually, more like no bet at all. We’re thrilled with our new partnership.”
Carson and Beckman Promoted at Idaho Broadcasting Groups. The Moscow, Idaho-based broadcasting companies IdaVend Broadcasting, Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc. announce two promotions. The company’s current promotions director – Jon Carson – is upped to executive director of promotions for the nine-station radio group beginning January 2014. Carson has been with the company for more than two years and commutes between the station groups’ two locations in Moscow and Lewiston, Idaho. Carson recently earned designation as CRSM, Certified Radio Sales Manager, from the Radio Advertising Bureau. With the expansion of his team, Carson is overseeing a team of two promotions directors. The Moscow promotions director will oversee promotions for the six-station group, Inland Northwest Broadcasting, and KRPL, Inc. The Lewiston promotions director will oversee promotions for the three-station group, IdaVend Broadcasting. Additionally, Amberly Beckman is promoted to promotions director for the Moscow-based group from her most recent position as promotions director at the Lewiston-based stations. She has served with the company for the past two years.
The Sad State of Radio Broadcast Engineering – Part 2. Around Labor Day, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray wrote a powerful article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?” He was inundated with responses — not just from across the country – but from around the world! Obviously, he hit a nerve with everyone. Ray reports, “I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland. Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed. Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses. Broadcast engineers are a unique group. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business. We take it personally. The station becomes part of us and is what we do. And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally. I can relate.” In a long-awaited follow-up to that article, Tom Ray posts a powerful and informative “Part 2″ today (12/4) that goes into even more depth on this complex and important topic – raising issues and offering solutions – that lies at the very foundation of the state of today’s radio station business. It is must reading for anyone who cares about the present and future state of radio station operations. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
‘Home Wizards’ Show Partners with Media Management Group. KFWB, Los Angeles-based weekly home improvement show “Home Wizards” – hosted by Cindy Dole (left) and Eric Stromer (right) – joins the New York-based MMG Radio Network. Home Wizards is a nationally syndicated radio show and multimedia content brand. The show feeds live from KFWB Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET. In addition to Dole’s and Stromer’s work on the radio on digital platforms, Eric is a regular on NBC‘s “Today Show.” MMG president Jeff Schwartz comments, “Cindy and Eric are familiar to millions of Americans who enjoy home improvement and decorating. They have a great on-air chemistry that resonates with both men and women while creating an inviting environment for sponsors.” Cindy Dole adds, “Home Wizards is a true multimedia opportunity to engage with your audience every day! We needed a team that excels in that space and are so impressed by how MMG masters the art of turning sales and marketing into a higher-level connection that delivers meaningful results!”
Edison Research to Work with Triton Digital on ‘Infinite Dial’ Study. Arbitron’s absorption into the Nielsen fold has had an impact on the annual “Infinite Dial” study that Edison Research has been producing in partnership with the radio ratings firm. Edison announces that it will be conducting the long-running study of consumer media usage with Triton Digital when the new study is released in March of next year. Edison states that the study has been “one of the most widely cited and well-regarded studies on digital media usage, eagerly awaited each year and used by advertisers and content providers. Hundreds of start-ups, advertising agencies, established businesses, financial analysts, and academics all make extensive use of the study each year.” Edison Research president Larry Rosen comments, “We’re hard at work making the 2014 version of ‘The Edison/Triton Infinite Dial’ the best ever. Edison has always sought to provide thought leadership and Triton Digital is the recognized leader in digital audio measurement with its MRC-accredited Webcast Metrics platform. Our two companies have come together to continue the tradition of ‘The Infinite Dial’ and the tracking of consumer media trends in the digital economy.”
WPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Files Police Complaint Alleging Threat. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro filed a complaint with the Providence Police alleging that he was threatened outside the radio studios on Tuesday morning by two men he did not know. The men apparently took issue with his comments about a labor union protest that happened in September. According to a report in the Providence Journal, DePetro expressed his opinion of union leaders after a union protest at a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo allegedly served to intimidate attendees and prevent others from attending. DePetro reportedly said, referencing a female union leader, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” Labor unions have since called for a boycott of WPRO until DePetro is fired. DePetro has said that if the men who threatened him are caught, he will press charges.
Sun Broadcast Group Contracts with Jelli for Cloud-Based Ad Platform. SBG CEO Jason Bailey announces that his company is investing the resources necessary to affect the “much-needed change to measurement and accountability in network radio” that he’s been publicly calling for as it will deploy Jelli, Inc.‘s cloud- based ad platform across its entire network that will make it easier and faster to buy and run radio advertisements. The change will start immediately across all of Sun’s Hispanic products including CNN en Español, Fox Deportes, AccuWeather en Español and its national Latino Advantage network. Sun Hispanic content partner, Stardome Media Group, has also committed to the platform change. A roll out to Sun’s general market offerings will begin in early 2014. Bailey comments, “I have been asking leaders large and small to stand with me and implement true change in how we conduct business across our industry. Radio has been living in the dark ages when it comes to accountability. We’re being eaten alive by the real-time metrics of digital audio competitors and our best answer, RADAR, still requires busy planners and buyers to go back months after a campaign to see what should have run. Today we stand proud to put our entire sales and programming schedules on the line and make a real change for this great industry.” In a statement, SBG says it is agreeing to finance equipment and installation costs for each affiliate they service. It has also been working with Jelli’s team of engineers to enhance the ad platform and include delivery of short-form content and features, allowing for real time measurement of sponsorships and integrated product placement in addition to relieving local affiliate workload in scheduling and running network content and ads.
Vulpi Joins USRN as VP/GM Content Affiliations. Former My Traffic Department vice president of sales Frank Vulpi is tapped to become vice president/general manager of Content Affiliations for the United Stations Radio Networks (USRN). Vulpi will oversee roughly one-dozen staffers marketing the network’s programming services. “Frank’s wealth of experience on both the station and the network side of the business is an incredible asset for our company,” comments USRN executive vice president Charlie Colombo. “He understands the needs of our clients; he knows the new platforms; and he knows how to develop and maintain those essential relationships with our affiliates. He is joining an already successful team.” Vulpi’s approximately 30-year industry background includes being general sales manager of New York City’s WYNY. In addition, he spent 15 years with Bloomberg‘s media division, ultimately running its radio and television syndication departments.
HD Radio to be Standard on the 2015 K900. The seventh Kia-made vehicle to have HD Radio as a standard feature will be its 2015 K900. The luxury sedan will join the recently-launched Cadenza, along with the Forte, Optima, Sorento, Soul, and Sportage as other Kia vehicles to offer the digital AM & FM format. HD Radio is – or will be – available as a factory-installed feature from 33 automotive brands including Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI USA, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Ram, Rolls-Royce, Scion, SRT (Chrysler), Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The 2015 Kia K900 is expected to arrive at dealers during the first quarter of 2014.
WGN, Chicago Helps Raise More Than $554,000 for Tornado Victims. In response to the widespread damage of the November 17 storms throughout Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago partnered with the McCormick Foundation, WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune to host the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort on Tuesday, November 26. The fundraising initiative took place over a 24-hour period, with WGN Radio hosts rallying listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Effort. WGN listeners, in addition to major donations from Medline Industries Inc., Cadence Health, Wintrust Financial Corporation and the FDC Foundation, contributed to a total of $554,087 raised. The McCormick Foundation matched the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents to the dollar, providing an additional $250,000 in funds and bringing the total amount available to grant to $804,087. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort continues the WGN Radio tradition of reacting quickly to take care of our listeners in need. It’s also another example in a long list of generous giving from the Chicago community. We thank our partners at the McCormick Foundation, WGN TV, and the Chicago Tribune as well as generosity of our listeners, viewers, and readers for helping rebuild the lives of those impacted by the devastating storms.”
Upstate New York Business Talker Flips to Sports. Genesee Media Corp.’s WRSB, Canandaigua (plus translator W286AE, Fairport) and WASB, Brockport flip from business talk as “Business 1310” to sports talk using programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.
Daytona Beach Talker Gets Dog Park Re-Opened. WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida – being operated by Goliath Radio under an LMA – recently put its community-oriented philosophy to work to help re-open a closed dog park in Daytona Beach. Goliath Radio talk show host Big John, a former member of the Volusia County Council, came to the rescue when resident Mary Nichols (pictured here) found herself and her dogs locked out of the park that had been open since 2001. It turns out Big John had helped create the park when he was on the County Council. When Nichols showed up at the radio station to complain about the closure, Big John put her on the air and took calls about the park that had become the center of a dispute between the county and the suburban city of Holly Hill. Big John urged the sides to find a compromise. Within 20 minutes of the broadcast, the outline of an organization of dog owners/lovers that might operate the park came together; a local veteran’s club offered a meeting room and support to bring it together and support for maintaining the dog park was offered. By the following Thursday, the Friends of the Holly Hill Dog Park was formed and able to show a broad base of support to the County Council which voted to reopen the park for 90 days while officials and the newly-formed support group work out details for ongoing operation. Big John tells TALKERS, “People are ready and willing to do good things if we just give them a chance to figure out how. Radio can be the bridge to coming up with answers and actions in our communities that benefit everybody.”
Mike Lindsley Returns to WSKO, Syracuse. Sports talk host Mike Lindsley is back in Syracuse on Cumulus Media’s WSKO where he’ll host the Mike Lindsley Show: In the Cell with M.L.” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning December 9. Lindsley talked sports in the market for more than 10 years before moving to Townsquare Media’s WTMM, Albany in March of this year. Both Lindsley and WTMM co-host Brian Cady were let go from the station in early September after a caller pretending to be former Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer went on the air and said he experimented with PEDs. Townsquare made no connection about the snafu and their release. Back in Syracuse, operations manager Tom Mitchell replaces CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gottlieb with Lindsley and he says, “We are happy to welcome Mike Lindsley back to the ‘voice of the Central New York sports fan.’ Once again, listeners have a choice of local afternoon sports shows. Mike is known for his strong opinions and his love of the Syracuse Orange, Syracuse Chiefs, and New York Yankees, in no particular order.”
Nielsen’s ‘Cross-Platform Report’ Concludes More Than 90% of Americans Use Radio Each Week. The just released “A Look Across Media: The Cross-Platform Report” from Nielsen uses RADAR data for its conclusions about radio use and habits. Stating that radio is used by more than 90% of Americans each week, the report notes that African Americans (92%) and Hispanics (94%) are the biggest users of radio on a weekly basis. According to Nielsen, the average American “consumes almost 60 hours of content each week across TV, online, radio and mobile,” and it breaks down this way: TV – 35.1 hours; radio –14 hours; video online – 1.5 hours; video on mobile – 1.3 hours. Though the report states that monthly listening to AM/FM radio is 60 hours and 42 minutes on average, missing from the options is listening to audio via mobile – obviously an important competitor for AM/FM radio. The report measures traditional TV, using Blu-Ray/DVD, using game console, using internet from computer, watching video on the internet, and watching video on mobile in addition to listening to radio via AM/FM. See more about the report here.
Morelli Moves to CBS Radio as VP/Integrated Marketing. Two-year CBS Radio Chicago director of integrated marketing & events Jennifer Morelli is named vice president of integrated marketing for CBS Radio. Morelli led non-traditional sales efforts for the company’s six-station Windy City cluster. According to CBS Radio president of sales Michael Weiss, “Jennifer has taken on roles of increasing responsibility during her tenure at CBS Radio and is well prepared to take on this leadership position for the division. She has demonstrated the ability to create opportunities for clients that go beyond conventional advertising and branding methods.” Morelli joined CBS Radio Houston four years ago as integrated marketing manager. She previously held several positions – including general sales manager – with Emmis in Austin and she has worked in the sales department of WQRF-TV, Chicago. Morelli’s radio career began in 1997 at Sconnix Broadcasting‘s Quad Cities stations where she was an account executive.
Nieslen Audio November PPM Data Released. The November 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for all 48 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo. Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.
Karel to Cut Back Radio Show Time; Promotes New Podcast. Talk show host Charles “Karel” Bouley, whose daily program currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET via the Genesis Communications Network, will cut the daily show back to an hour each day and focus more energy on his new podcast “The Karel-Cast” via TheKDW.com network beginning January 2. He says he will continue hosting his weekend evening programs on KGO, San Francisco and his program on WWRL, New York. He says, “As an entertainer who is a content provider of audio, video, live stage shows, print, and live web cams, Karel and ‘The Karel Show’ have been a driving force for a website that has functioned as an actual network. So now, it truly will.”
Hometown Media Moves Wilmington News/Talk Outlet to New Frequencies. The news/talk format branded “Port City Radio” is no longer being heard on Wilmington, North Carolina outlets WNTB and WLTT. Those signals are now airing country format “The Dude” and news/talk has been moved to Hometown Media’s WSFM and translator W240AS, formerly the home of a classical music format.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Begins ‘Holiday Giving Campaign.’ The 2013 Holiday Giving Campaign is underway at the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The campaign asks broadcasters to spread the word about the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to those who may need its assistance, and encourages donations and memberships at www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or by calling 212-373-8250. Often a last refuge, the Broadcasters Foundation has helped broadcasters and their families remain in their homes and made it possible for retirees to afford life-sustaining medications. The Broadcasters Foundation also has provided one-time emergency grants, including in the aftermath of natural catastrophes such as Hurricane Sandy. Chairman Phil Lombardo states, “The goal of the Foundation’s board of directors is that no broadcaster’s cry for help should ever go unanswered. Requests for aid have more than doubled over the past few years and more come in every day. Next year, we will disburse over $900,000 in financial assistance, a 100% increase from five years ago.” BFoA president Jim Thompson adds, “The pace of incoming donations is lagging behind the requests for aid. Our grant recipients are our colleagues — individuals who we have worked with and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances. Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases. I ask every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”
Dr. Daliah Wachs on ‘Pawn Stars’ This Thursday. Genesis Communications Networks-syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs (left) poses for a photo with “Pawn Stars” historical artifacts expert Mark Hall-Patton (right) during her most recent appearance on the History Channel program. Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS magazine that the show will air this Thursday at 10:30 ET in which she brings a Civil War-era metacarpal bone saw in to sell. How much, if anything, does she get for it? You’ll have to watch the show to find out! Her contract with the network prevents her from spilling the beans.
ObamaCare Criticism, Rush Limbaugh Pope-Marxism Flap, Iran Nukes Deal, New York Rail Crash, and Paul Walker Crash Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act as well as anticipation of how it will affect the health care industry; the flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “pure Marxism”; the deal between the U.S. and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program; the deadly commuter rail crash outside of New York City; and the death of actor Paul Walker in a high-speed sports car crash were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WFAN-AM/FM, New York’s ‘Boomer & Carton’ to Simulcast on CBS Sports Network. The video simulcast of the morning drive sports talk show based at WFAN-AM/FM, New York and hosted by Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) had been airing on the Madison Square Garden cable channel in New York. That deal ended in early October and now CBS announces the video simulcast will appear on its cable and satellite channel CBS Sports Network beginning in January. The company says, “Combining these two powerful assets within CBS will result in national exposure for the local radio program and premier weekday content for the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports.” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus states, “The addition of the ‘Boomer & Carton’ show significantly enhances our on-air lineup, adding hours of live and relevant programming to CBS Sports Network each morning. It is great to be able to welcome one of the nation’s top sports talk radio shows to the networks of CBS Sports.” It is believed the New York Yankees-owned YES Network also was involved in the bidding process as it simulcasts WFAN-AM/FM afternoon personality Mike Francesa’s show.
Bloomberg: Clear Channel Burning Cash to Delay Reckoning. In a piece published by Bloomberg, Krista Giovacco writes that Clear Channel’s recently announced desire to push the due date on $1.8 billion in borrowings from 2016 to another three to five years into the future and almost double the interest rate buys the company time, but also eats into its cash flow. Giovacco reports, “While the proposal gives Clear Channel more time to turn around a business that’s posted losses every year after Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP took control in 2008, it also raises the company’s risk of missing interest payments on $20.7 billion of debt, according to Moody’s Investors Service. After capital expenses, Clear Channel ran a deficit from operations in the year ended June, meaning the company had to eat into cash that’s declined more than 60% since the end of 2010 to $704.2 million. ‘Refinancing at a higher rate is never a positive,’ Scott Van den Bosch, a New York-based senior analyst at Moody’s, said in a telephone interview. ‘It’s not a cure-all, but it buys them time to improve the balance sheet.’” Giovacco further states, “Clear Channel is seeking to extend $1 billion of loans to 2019 from 2016 and is proposing to pay interest of as much as 7.5 percentage points more than the London interbank offered rate, compared with 3.65 percentage points more than Libor on the existing debt, according to CreditSights Inc., Clear Channel had a free cash-flow deficit of $69.4 million in the year ended June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. On the trailing 12-month basis, the company burned cash for the first time since 2009, the data show.” Read the entire piece here.
CBS Radio Creates New Sales Role; Names Alan Blum VP. CBS Radio announces the unveiling of a new title within the company – vice president of branded content solutions – and announces Alan Blum is stepping into the role immediately. CBS states that Blum will report to Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, Altitude Group, a team of local engagement experts tasked with helping Fortune 500 brands connect with consumers using CBS Radio and CBS Television Stations along with their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. It further states that in this new role, Blum will work directly with the nation’s leading marketers to develop cross-platform programs that build brand awareness and favorability for advertisers. He will identify unique and engaging ways to introduce clients into a range of broadcast and digital programming, as well as out of home media.” Lobel comments, “Local marketing is rapidly becoming the ‘new black,’ and given Alan’s considerable agency and branded content experience, he is the ideal partner to have as we enhance our commitment to delivering world class solutions to clients who want to own the local market landscape. He has a fresh perspective in looking at marketing solutions from a consumer point of view, and can see opportunities that have a chance to become sensational.” Blum comes to CBS Radio from Re:Vision, a New York-based advertising agency he founded in 1993.
WCPT, Chicago Adds Gay Programming. Newsweb Radio-owned progressive talk radio outlet WCPT, Chicago announces the addition of programming targeted to the gay community. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the station is adding a show called “Out Chicago” hosted by Scott Duff to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sundays. In addition, the station will air a series of vignettes – also titled “Out Chicago” – to air daily on the station. Newsweb Radio consultant Michael Damsky says, “It’s an ideal content and branding overlay for WCPT’s progressive talk format. WCPT is the only radio station serving the needs of Chicago’s vibrant LBGT community and the only broadcast outlet allowing advertisers to directly target this important market segment.”
WIND, Chicago Names Mann GSM. Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND, Chicago has a new general sales manager as Michael Mann moves from crosstown WLS to “AM 560 The Answer.” WIND general manager Jeff Reisman states, “Michael is a proven, respected, and talented leader who has an outstanding track record of nurturing sales talent, driving growth, plus a keen understanding of both local and ad agency business. I am confident that under his leadership, AM 560’s sales department will rise to new levels.” Mann adds, “I am thrilled to join Jeff and the entire Salem Chicago team. I look forward to continuing to work with advertisers in delivering creative and effective campaigns.”
San Diego Sports Talk Host Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton Joins U-T. Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, morning drive host at Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned sports outlet XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090,” joins the San Diego Union-Tribune as a sports columnist. He’ll be authoring his “1-Man’s Opinion” column each Monday. Hamilton is a 26-year veteran of the San Diego market. He was the longtime voice of the San Diego Chargers. Last year, he was voted “Columnist of the Year” while writing for SDNN.com and SWRNN.com by the San Diego Press Club.
Clear Channel Steals Badgers Athletics from Journal. As University of Wisconsin director of athletics Barry Alvarez notes, Badgers football has been heard on Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee since 1927, but that is changing next season as football, men’s basketball, hockey and women’s basketball and coaches shows will be heard on Clear Channel’s oldies WRIT and sports talk WOKY “The Big 920.” Alvarez says, “We appreciate the opportunity to move the needle in our history books with Clear Channel, yet at the same time, we’re extremely grateful to Steve Wexler and everyone associated with Journal Broadcasting for building an incredible radio heritage for the Badgers. We have high expectations for the Clear Channel affiliates and know our fans will continue to enjoy high-quality Badger broadcasts and programming.” Associated programming will also air on news/talk WISN. The deal was struck by rights holder Learfield Sports.
Lew Dickey, Sr. Passes at 86. Broadcaster Lew Dickey, Sr. passed away over the Thanksgiving weekend at age 86. In a statement, Lew Dickey, Jr. – CEO of Cumulus Media – states, “My dad was an enormously talented broadcaster and, more importantly, a deeply devoted husband, father, and mentor. He touched the lives of many people and will be dearly missed.” Dickey, Sr. got his start in radio at Storer Broadcasting’s WWVA, Wheeling, West Virginia and quickly rose through the ranks at the company. He was promoted within Storer to leadership positions at KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh followed by WAGA-TV, Atlanta. In 1958, Dickey left a successful corporate career to start Midwestern Broadcasting by acquiring WKWK in Wheeling. In 24 months, he turned around the failing station, and began to expand. In 1965, he bought WOHO-AM, Toledo and added WWWM-FM in 1973. Shortly afterwards, he bought WLIO-TV in Lima, Ohio in partnership with the Toledo Blade. In 1992, he purchased WALR-FM and WCNN-AM in Atlanta.
Icy Proposal Gets Warm Reception. That young man on his knee on the ice at a recent Fort Wayne Komets game is news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne morning show producer Loren Gardner and the lovely young lady he’s just asked to marry him is country WQHK, Fort Wayne “K105” afternoon personality Heather Cruise. Cruise appeared at the hockey game to sing the national anthem and she had no idea that after she finished, Gardner would be there to pop the question. Needless to say, she was a bit surprised but she did indeed say, “Yes.”