Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

| April 23, 2014

talbottjuliePremiere Networks President Julie Talbott Named Woman of the Year.  The editorial board of TALKERS has named Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as the 2014 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman.  The honor, also known as “Woman of the Year,” will be presented to Talbott by last year’s recipient, Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency, at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20 as one of the highlights of an awards ceremony at which presentations will also be made for “Lifetime Achievement,” Humanitarian of the Year,” and Freedom of Speech (the recipients of which have yet to be announced).  In addition to Cohen, past recipients of this prestigious award include Robin Bertolucci, Stephanie Miller, Laurie Cantillo, Grace Blazer, Kim Komando, Laura Ingraham, Randi Rhodes, Lynn Distler, Adriane Gaines, Ellen2014 NYC logo 150 Ratner, Gloria Allred, Lisa Evers and its namesake Judy Jarvis, the late independent talk radio syndication pioneer for whom it was first presented posthumously.   Upon announcing the board’s choice of Julie Talbott, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We all look forward to the day that a special award to a female member of the talk radio community is no longer relevant or necessary – but if you look at the breakdown of the numbers of men versus women in the business, it is clear that we have not yet reached that day.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We couldn’t be more delighted having the opportunity to honor Ms. Talbott for her achievements and contributions to not just talk but the entire spectrum of popular radio over the years. She is a bright, creative, dignified and extremely inspirational role model for young women looking to build a career in the radio broadcasting industry.”  Julie Talbott started her career in advertising at BBDO, where she spent five years as supervisor of media planning and buying.  Her love of radio took her to MJI Broadcasting, where she spent 19 years.  As COO of MJI Broadcasting, Talbott was instrumental in growing the company from five people to more than 150.  In 1999, Premiere Networks acquired MJI Broadcasting.  At that time, Talbott joined Premiere as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions, focusing on advertising sponsorships.  In 2003, she was promoted to executive vice president, affiliate relations.  In that role, she oversaw a staff that increased affiliations for programs hosted by Jim Rome, Glenn Beck, George Noory, Bob and Tom, Steve Harvey, Keith Sweat, Elvis Duran, Fox Sports Radio and others.  In 2009, Talbott was named VP, content and affiliate relations for Premiere Networks and then promoted in September 2012 to extend that title to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s National Media Groups.  In January of this year, she was promoted to president of Premiere Networks.  In her current role, Talbott continues to oversee the operation of Premiere Networks radio programs and services and manage business partnerships with talent, while leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network and iHeartRadio.  A native of Kentucky, Talbott received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky and attended the Business Strategy Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1996.  Talbott lives with her husband and three children in New York.  For information about registering for Talkers New York 2014 please call 413-565-5413.

kwqw logoCumulus Makes Over KWQW, Des Moines.  Gone is the “Wow FM” brand and in is “98.3 The Torch – Common Sense Radio” on Cumulus Media news/talker KWQW.  New program director Robert Rees takes over the morning drive slot on air and WMAL, Washington-based Chris Plante as well as Cox Media’s Herman Cain make way for Westwood One’s Dennis Miller and Premiere’s Glenn Beck in middays.   About his new gig, Rees says, “I’m excited to be here in Des Moines to get people to talk about and laugh about all aspects of life during their morning drive.  Plus, we’ll get them all of the traffic, news and weather information they need to start their day!”

pagliarulojoeJoe Pags Returns to KTRH, Houston.  Beginning on Monday, April 28, WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo will also be heard on Clear Channel’s Houston news/talk KTRH as his afternoon show will be simulcast on both stations from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  In addition to his daily work on WOAI and KTRH, Joe Pags is also heard on Clear Channel’s syndicated “The Weekend” on Saturdays and on KOA, Denver from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturdays.

garciatonySyndication Reality:  Measurable Audience Needed.  The latest piece from Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia published in TALKERS today (4/23) focuses on the reality that some broadcasters with syndication programming ideas don’t want to hear: It takes measureable audience to get the attention of agency people.  Garcia writes that for any general interest radio program, the fact is that “media buyers look for large audience metrics.”  Garcia says that means listeners, not necessarily affiliate stations.  For more, read Garcia’s column here.

murrow2014RTDNA Names Regional Murrow Award Winners.   The complete list of winners is too extensive to print here.  You can check out the full list, by region, here.  But some of the stations who took a moment to promote their victories included Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco which won the 2014 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence which includes the categories of breaking news, continuing coverage, features and in-depth web and digital media presence.  KGO OM Ron Escarsega comments, “There were lots of big stories to cover in 2013: the Asiana plane crash at SFO in July, two BART strikes that disrupted commutes for thousands of people and the U.S. Supreme Court decision that led to the resumption of gay marriages in California.  But there were other stories, too, everything from the opening of the new span of the Bay Bridge to features, like the one about a guitar prodigy struggling with ALS. I’m very proud of the entire news team for coming together to provide comprehensive coverage for our listeners.”  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington was also honored for Overall Excellence in addition to being recognized in the following categories: Breaking News – Coverage of the Navy Yard Shooting; Feature Reporting – “V-E Day” by Reporter Kristi King; Sport Reporting – “Capital’s Dentist” by Sports Reporter Jonathan Warner; Hard News Feature – “United Pets” by Lori Lundin; WTOP senior news director Mike McMearty adds, “It is always an honor to be recognized with an Edward R. Murrow award.  It’s especially gratifying when you win more than any other station in, what I believe is, one of the most competitive markets in the country.  These awards are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the entire WTOP newsroom staff and would not be possible without the freedom to experiment granted by our program director Laurie Cantillo.”

theblaze radio networkPremiere Networks Distributing TheBlaze Memorial Day Special.  The title of the show is, “Freedom: Love It or Lose It,” and it’s a production of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network.  It’s an “exclusive three-hour Memorial Day radio special…featuring the hosts, writers and editors of TheBlaze and TheBlaze.com, including: Doc Thompson, Buck Sexton, Jay Severin and others.  From personal stories to conversations about the meaning of the holiday, listeners will be treated to a special tribute to those who fought and gave their lives to defend our freedom, and the loved ones who support them.”  Premiere says it’s available for news/talk stations to air between May 24 and 26.

smulyanNASDAQEmmis’ Jeff Smulyan Sits Down for NASDAQ Interview to Promote Radio Business.  Some of the crew of Emmis Communications’ New York stations rang the closing bell at the NASDAQ last Friday and while visiting the exchange, CEO Jeff Smulyan sat down with journalist Kelsey Hubbard to appear on NASDAQ’s CEO Signature Series.  Smulyan promoted his company’s efforts behind getting the FM chips in cell phones activated and in pushing the NextRadio platform.  When asked about his company’s ability to prosper versus competitors including SiriusXM and Pandora, Smulyan stated that SiriusXM is a subscription service and implied it will always face challenges because of that.  As for Pandora, he said his company has been streaming for 18 years and he’s yet to meet anyone who’s making money at it.  “The cost structure is very different and I think that’s at the heart of it.”  Watch the video here.

lionelLionel to Appear at Big Apple’s Cutting Room with Live Talk and Music Show.  Maverick radio and television talk personality Lionel will be “playing” at the Cutting Room, an innovative midtown New York City nightclub owned by actor Chris Noth, and known for its dedication to excellent live music and performances.  Lionel, whose commentaries are seen by New Yorkers on WPIX-TV channel 11, tells TALKERS, “Don’t call it stand up!”  Lionel’s in-person presentation consists of a unique mixture of spoken word and music – described as “extreme thought and critical thinking” — along with the live music of his bluegrass trio, Lock ‘n Load.  The one-night performance takes place at the Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd Street in Manhattan on Saturday, May 10 at 8:00 pm.  Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door.  For more information call 212-691-1900 or click here.

highschoolradioday14This is High School Radio Day.  More specifically, it is the third annual such event.  WBFH, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (suburban Detroit) station manager Pete Bowers is credited with founding/scheduling the inaugural High School Radio Day in May 2012, as well as last April’s follow-up.  Estimating there are 200 high schools in the nation with an over-the-air non-commercial, educational radio station or an internet-only or online radio station, Bowers comments, “The number of terrestrial stations is dropping, but the number of online stations is increasing.  Some of those are applying for LPFM construction permits.  That is why we must unite on High School Radio Day and make the public aware of what we do, how we do it, and the service we provide our communities.”  In 2012, 31 schools from 16 states registered for the event, compared to 52 schools from 32 states last year.  Today’s activities planned by participating stations are found at www.highschoolradioday.com.  Also on the website are names of participating high schools with links to their websites and online streams of their programming.

CBSdcmayorCelebrating CBS RADIO’s Move to DC.  On Monday, TALKERS reported the plans CBS RADIO has to move its six-station cluster from its current offices in Lanham, Maryland to a newly re-developed part of Washington, DC – the Capitol Riverfront.  Pictured here at the Monday afternoon press conference at the site of the office building on Half Street SE are (from left to right): Mayor Vincent C. Gray, senior vice president/market manager of CBS RADIO Washington, DC, Steve Swenson, and CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason.

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cbsphillyCBS Philly Partners for ‘Broad Street Run.’  The coming Blue Cross Broad Street Run on May 2-4 is being sponsored in part by The City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation and CBS RADIO Philadelphia.  The company’s five radio stations are providing marketing, media and programming support as well as secure sponsorships for the famed race to grow the event “Beyond Broad Street.”  This marks the run’s 35th anniversary.  City official Michael DiBerardinis states, “The megaphone the CBS RADIO stations and CBSPhilly.com bring to the event is unparalleled.  They have a proven track record working as close business partners with some of the City’s most iconic events such as the Stotesbury Cup Regatta and the Philadelphia Flower Show.  We are excited to have them as partners.”

Russian Aggression in Ukraine/U.S. Troops Exercise in Eastern Europe, SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision, U.S. al Qaeda Drone Strikes, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, and South Korea Ferry Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22).  Growing concerns over Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland as exercises in Eastern Europe begin; the Supreme Court’s decision to again strike the Affirmative Action policy in Michigan; the United States’ use of drones to hit al Qaeda targets in Yemen kills 55 suspected terrorists; speculation about the candidates for president in 2016 and the looming mid-term elections this fall; the crew of the South Korean Ferry that capsized faces charges after allegedly failing in its duty to passengers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

| April 22, 2014

dentonbillCC LA Moves Denton to AMs Duty.   According to Don Barrett’s LARadio.com, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s Los Angeles cluster is shifting general sales manager Bill Denton’s responsibilities from CHR KIIS and alternative KYSR to its AM properties – news/talk KFI, conservative talker KEIB, and sports talk KLAC.  The piece goes on to report that Denton’s skills in generating income for radio stations are well known in the market (CC reportedly lured him away from CBS last year) and that CC management would like him to put his talents to work on the AMs which have reported recent revenue decreases.  This move comes as an estimated six sales staffers exit the LA cluster in a company-wide move that some are reporting eliminated up to 300 jobs nationally.  Read the LARadio.com piece here.

bustellmikeHubbard Radio Names Bustell VP of Market Research.  The company creates a new position, vice president of market research and brings The Media Audit’s Mike Bustell aboard to fill the role.  Hubbard Radio EVP and COO Drew Horowitz states, “I am thrilled to have someone of Mike’s caliber joining Hubbard Radio to create an entirely new revenue stream for the company.  In a slow growth or no growth environment it is incumbent on us to develop new revenue models to keep our business on a growthhubbardradio logo trajectory.  Mike will bring an innovative approach to our sales teams helping them develop new revenue categories and expand our current account expenditures with programs that deliver results.”  Bustell served as executive vice president of sales and marketing at The Media Audit and major market manager for Impact Resources.  Bustell comments, “It’s an honor to come to work for Hubbard Radio.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of their stations, managers, and salespeople throughout the country, many for as long as 20 years.  Hubbard is the finest, private, family-owned broadcaster in America.  They win awards, serve their communities, and dominate in ratings, and revenue generation.  They play to win and have great values and a great history.  I can’t wait to dive into all their research tools and assist their stations help more local advertisers and industries achieve growth.”

iheartradio newNew iHeartRadio Networks Unveiled.  A press statement from Clear Channel says its new advertising platform is a “unified one-of-a-kind platform [that] will better maximize Clear Channel’s powerful collection of assets, providing the targeted impact marketers need ― and what they are accustomed to receiving from television networks.”  The company explains, “This new Network offers advertisers’ access to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s 840 live radio stations, plus popular digital channels, local website properties, nationally-syndicated programs and satellite radio channels.  The network also includes specialized and proprietary options like talent endorsements, organic DJ mentions and product placements, commercial roadblock messaging across the entire network and nimble copy change capability since all the assets are owned and operated by Clear Channel.”  Clear Channel Networks president Darren Davis comments, “The new unified network has the tremendous capability to give advertisers the massive reach they’d expect from a radio or television network, but with the effective frequency and enhancements not typically available in the network advertising space.  It’s truly the best way for a brand to reach American consumers in a much more affordable way than television networks – and with greater ROI.”  The company is also introducing a range of iHeartRadio Targeted Networks designed to effectively reach specific demographic and psychographic groups – including Country, Hispanic, African-American, Millennial, Women, Men and Holiday.

corcoranmacJC Corcoran Begins Digital Venture.  Along with his former KIHT “K-Hits” producer/partner Laurie Mac, longtime St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran (pictured here with Mac) is debuting his new digital program title, appropriately, “The Digital Showgram.”  Corcoran worked in the St. Louis market for 29 years before leaving last year to host mornings at Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston (which subsequently flipped to hip hop as “93.7 The Beat”).   Corcoran’s show streams live from 6:30 to 8:00 am daily and then goes into podcast mode.  Corcoran is operating on a subscription model at $9.99 per month.  He says, “We are a commercial-free, entertaining talk show for St. Louis.  We’re giving the audience almost exactly what they got during our terrific run that ended in 2009, but without the commercials, clutter, filler and music repetition we know they detest.”  JC says his early sign-off time makes him available for additional broadcast opportunities.  His programing is available at jcontheline.com.

ppmunitFourth Round of March PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the fourth and final group of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

rtdna logoHofstra University’s Bob Papper Releases Annual News Director Survey.  You’ll find Hofstra University Professor Emeritus Bob Papper’s annual news director study at the RTDNA site here.  Some of the interesting results include the following: Radio news directors are more stable in their jobs compared to their television brethren, staying with their station for an average of just over 9 years relative to TV’s 2 years in major markets and 3 years in large and medium markets; also, the average age of both TV and radio news directors is 49.

kbme logoKBME, Houston Tweaks Program Schedule.  The air schedule at Clear Channel’s sports talk KBME, Houston is being shuffled as the Fox Sports Radio Network-syndicated “Jay Mohr Sports” program moves to early evenings and the station reverts to live and local during the day.  The Houston Chronicle reports that Matt Thomas moves from the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show to the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot currently occupied by Mohr, and Charlie Pallilo’s show slides down from the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  The paper says ratings show a dramatic drop-off during the first hour of Mohr’s program.

ktarlogoBonneville’s KTAR-FM Honored with Four Regional Murrows.  Phoenix market news/talk KTAR-FM is the recipient of four Edward R. Murrow regional awards, from the Radio Television Digital News AssociationBonneville Phoenix VP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “We are thrilled that the KTAR news team is once again being recognized for producing first-rate journalism that makes a difference in our community.”  The four awards were for: Continuing Coverage: “Tragedy at Yarnell Hill” – KTAR news, talk, and digital content teams; News Series: “Immigration: Seeking Solutions” – Jim Cross, Aaron Granillo, Sandra Haros, Bob McClay, Martha Maurer, talk show, and digital content teams; Reporting, Sports: “Hoops History on Wheels” – Aaron Granillo; Use of Sound: “Miracle League” – Aaron Granillo.

wmgc sportslogoOdds & Sods.  According to Crain’s Detroit Business, Detroit Pistons basketball will move from its current home at CBS RADIO Detroit to Greater Media’s new sports talk outlet WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.”  The story reports Greater Media will make an announcement later today but also quotes CBS Detroit market manager Deb Kenyon stating her company decided not to bid on a renewal after considering the terms…..WKNR, Cleveland sports talk host Tony Rizzo will not serve any jail time after he pleaded “no contest” to a reduced “persistent disorderly conduct” charge in connection with a December incident during which his wife Catherine reported Rizzo struck her.  Rizzo was sentenced to 30 days with 27 suspended and received credit for the three days he served…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN Radio” announces it has renewed its deal to serve as the flagship for St. Louis Rams football play-by-play.  The multi-year deal includes current Rams Radio on-air personalities Steve Savard and D’Marco Farr continuing in their roles on game days and throughout the week…..SiriusXM is adding a new show called “OurTime with Matthew Segal” to the lineup on its P.O.T.U.S. channel.  SiriusXM calls it a “new six-week series produced by and for Millennial listeners…each episode will be organized by theme and dedicated to a non-partisan discussion that offers a fresh, in-depth dialogue of issues faced by the nation today, including health care, the budget, education, LGBT equality, and voting rights.”  Segal is founder of OurTime.org.

unlogo blueTalk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Thursday, June 19.  TALKERS magazine announces the next installment of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.”  Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan.  Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world.  “This is one of our most prideful annualtrns logo events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that – in spite of the technical and tactical challenges presented by a project of this complexity and enormity – we are able to produce yet another installment in 2014.”  Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media.  Some of these stories have staggering implications on war, peace, life and death.”  Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.”  “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” will conveniently take place the day before Talkers New York 2014 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City.  Hosts already on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News RadioDoug Stephan of the “Good Day” show; Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore; Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America;  Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA; Ethan Bearman of GCN and KGO, San Francisco; Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more.  Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced and the event will be covered live on TalkersRadio.  All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.

Tan Talk Network Owner David Wagenvoord Dies.  Details of David Wagenvoord’s passing are few but friend and business partner Jerry Dennon tells TALKERS Wagenvoord owned many stations over the years and was involved in the brokering business.  Wagenvoord owned WTAN, Clearwater, Florida; WDCF, Dade City, Florida; and WZHR, Zephyrhills, Florida on which he operated the Tan Talk Network.

noorycardinals stadiumGeorge Noory Goes ‘Hitting for Heroes.’  As “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory might admit, he was actually trying to hit for heroes as he and son Jonathan (pictured here standing to Noory’s left) attended the annual Hitting For Heroes event on Friday, April 18, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  Benefitting Little Patriots Embraced, a charity focused on enhancing the lives of military families in need, the event gives baseball fans a chance to hit one out the park by going up to bat against the warm-up pitchers for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Noory confesses he missed every pitch and is not going to give up his night job!

Russian Aggression in Ukraine, ObamaCare Criticism, 2016 Presidential Race/Chelsea Clinton Pregnancy, Global Warming, Boston Marathon/Bombing Anniversary Coverage, South Korean Ferry Tragedy, and Teen Jet Stowaway Among Top Stories Yesterday (4/21).  Growing concern over Vladimir Putin’s troops entering Ukraine; debate over the number of people signed up for health care via the Affordable Care Act; speculation about candidates for president in 2016 and chatter about Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy and what it may mean for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy; ongoing disagreement over the state of the science behind anthropogenic climate change; coverage of the 2014 Boston Marathon and the memorials one year after last year’s bombings; the search for survivors and questions about culpability in the South Korean ferry accident; and the case of a 16-year-old teen who survived a flight from California to Hawaii in the wheel well of a jet were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, April 21, 2014

| April 21, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Agenda Taking Shape for Talkers New York 2014.  The 17th annual installment of the talk radio and media industry’s largest and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014 — is taking shape with most speakers and sessions already scheduled (for up-to-the-minute agenda, click here).  The one-day, power-packed conference will feature approximately 65 industry speakers participating in two keynote address, two special presentations, five panel discussions, an awards ceremony, the Talk Rumble, an exhibition, gala luncheon, and closing cocktail reception.  Talkers New York 2014 will be held on Friday, June 20 at the India House located at One Hanover Square in the cultural heart of New York City’s downtown Wall Street financial district.   The event – as usual — is expected to be an early sellout.  Registrations ($249 for all activities) are only open to professionals working in radio, communications and associated business and can only be obtained via telephone with credit card.  Please call 413-565-5413 to register or obtain a sponsorship.  Because New York City has so many hotels from which to choose, there is no “official” conference hotel – but several nearby recommended facilities include: Holiday Inn Express (click here), Hilton Millennium (click here), Marriott Downtown (click here) and Hilton Doubletree (click here).

cbsradio logoCBS RADIO to Move Washington Operations into DC.  According to a story in the Washington Business Journal, CBS RADIO has signed a lease for a 33,000 square foot second floor in a 10-story office building on Half Street SE and the stations will relocate from their current site in Lanham, Maryland.  In addition to the second floor, CBS will also lease about 3,000 square feet of space on the ground floor to serve as a performance space.  Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to announce the deal at a press conference today that will include CBS RADIO president Dan Mason and senior vice president Steve Swenson.  CBS operates sports talk duo WJFK-FM and WJFK-AM, all-news WNEW-FM, hip hop WPGC, adult contemporary WIAD and Spanish WLZL.

relm networkRELM Network Offers Free Don Geronimo Podcasts.  Radio personality Don Geronimo began hosting a daily two-hour program on the RELM Network on April 1 after years working on CBS RADIO outlets – most recently KHTK, Sacramento and WJFK-FM, Washington.  Beginning today, RELM isgeronimodon offering a free, weekly “best of” Don Geronimo show podcast.  RELM says it will be 20 to 30 minutes in length and will contain highlights from recent episodes.  It will be available at relmnetwork.com, dongeronimopodcast.com and iTunes.  Geronimo’s show airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm with a recorded version available shortly after each live show ends.  RELM is charging $9.99 per month to subscribe to the show ($26.99 per quarter or $99.99 for a year).   The cast of the show also includes co-host Drew Hoffar, their sidekick, Joe Ardinger, and features regular appearances by longtime pal and newsman Buzz Burbank.

tombarnardshowRoster Growing at Tom Barnard Network.  Twin Cities radio personality Tom Barnard is adding a number of new podcasts to Tom Barnard Network – the digital venture that operates independently of his KQRS, Minneapolis morning show.  According to the Pioneer Press, Barnard is distributing podcasts from Kailen Rosenberg, Rusty Gatenby and Tommy Mischke.  Rosenberg is a relationship expert and author who hosts the show “Lovetown, USA” on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network.  Her podcast is titled, “The Love Happy Hour,” which is produced with the assistance of Kelly Guest.  Gatenby is an entertainment reporter – formerly with KSTP-TV – who is producing a video podcast with fellow broadcaster Melinda Jacobs called “The Rusty Gatenby Review.”  Longtime Twin Cities radio show host Tommy Mischke debuts “The Mischke Roadshow” on May 12.  Mischke previously hosted shows on WCCO and KSTP-AM.  Barnard’s nephew Sean Barnard, who serves as general manager for the venture, tells the Pioneer Press, “We saw that there were a lot of talented people out there looking for an outlet, and it’s a very unique, fun and creative way to do things.”

cclogoAE Sues Clear Channel New Orleans.  Another sales staffer at Clear Channel’s New Orleans cluster is suing the company claiming management conspired to dismiss her in retaliation for testifying in the cases of other African American AEs suing the company.  Caucasian sales staffer Michelle Killian alleges in her suit that market manager Dick Lewis, sales manager Rob Hasson and director of sales Joshua Mednick attempted to create reasons to terminate Killian through assigning unattainable sales goals.  She also alleges the company began giving her smaller value sales leads in order to affect her income.  Further she alleges this came about after she testified in the cases of Prixie Montgomery and other black AEs suing the company for violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Killian states in her complaint that the atmosphere created at the cluster was such that black and white AEs only spoke to each other when business demanded it and that she was also targeted by management for interacting and socializing with African American co-workers.

siriusxmSiriusXM and NBC Agree to New ‘TODAY’ Show Channel.  In an agreement announced on today’s edition of the “TODAY” show on NBC TV, it was announced that the network and SiriusXM will produce the “TODAY” Show Radio channel that will carry audio from the morning television program live.  The channel will also air replays of the show.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “Listeners will for the first time be able to take the ‘TODAY’ show with them on their busy morning routine and throughout the day during their daily drive.  TODAY’s unparalleled and timely content is another great example of working with an iconic brand to provide great programming to our millions of subscribers.”

Former WJBO, Baton Rouge Sportscaster Walter Hill Dies.  For years, Walter Hill teamed up with John Ferguson to call Louisiana State University football games on WJBO, Baton Rouge.  Hill died in Lafayette, Louisiana on Saturday (4/21) at age 86.  Hill later served as sports director at WBRZ-TV.  He retired from that station in 1986 after 25 years.

envisionnetworks newCool Job Opportunity.  Affiliate Sales Manager.  Sales Experience Required.  Base salary plus Uncapped commission.  The position is based in Cleveland, Ohio.  Envision Networks is looking for salesperson to join a growing company and a fun team.  The successful candidate will be responsible for aggressively growing and maintaining the number of affiliated radio stations in their regional territory.  We use salesforce.com for our CRM and marketing.  We use social media as a sales tool.  Additional responsibilities: maintain affiliate relationships and handle affiliate questions or concerns in a timely manner; attend regional trade shows and entertain clients; attend affiliate events and broadcast industry functions to learn, laugh and live the dream; work closely with the director of affiliate relations to develop and relay new sales/marketing programs, products and services; provide innovative customer service and sales; maintain and track territory sales initiatives.  Qualifications & Requirements: 1) Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of training and experience; 2) Previous broadcasting industry experience is a plus, but not required; 3) Strong computer/technical skills; must have knowledge and experience with CRM, Word, Excel, and Outlook; 4) Ability to work well independently and as part of a positive team; 5) Good oral and written communication skills. Attention to detail is critical; 6) Exceptional organizational and time management skills; 7) Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously; 8) Ability to prioritize and meet deadlines.  Spanish language skills a plus.  Salesforce.com a plus.  Microsoft Office Suite Required.  Envision Networks (www.goenvisionnetworks.com) offers profit sharing as well as competitive benefits and compensation package plus organization funded 401k retirement plan in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment.  Please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements in MS Word or ASCII text to Laura Orkin, Chief Operations Officer or e-mail LauraO@envisionradio.com, or via fax to 216-514-4699.  No phone calls PLEASE.

conwaysimonBBQConway Goes Live from BBQ Joint for Good Cause.  WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway took his talk show on the road on Good Friday to the local Jethro’s BBQ ‘n’ Pork Chop Grill in order to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Conway reports that the local eatery gave him a percentage of its take for the afternoon for the cause and it even named a drink after him called the Simon Shandy.  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society got $2 from each drink sold!

Friday, April 18, 2014

| April 18, 2014

main line broadcastingLarry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L to Merge; Company to Buy Main Line Broadcasting for $57 Million.  A big two-pronged announcement from Larry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting: First, the two companies will merge into one to be named Alpha Media.  Second, the company will purchase 19 stations in four markets from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million.  Here’s what the companies announce.  “The current corporate team for Alpha Broadcasting and L & L Broadcasting will remain and operate the company from the corporate headquarters in Portland, Oregon.”  Alpha operates six stations in Portland while L&L operates 43 stations in sevenalpha logo markets.  L&L has been overseeing the operation of the Portland stations for the last year pursuant to a management agreement with Alpha.  Chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger will be the culmination of a long term plan to ultimately combine the two companies and will allow us to streamline our oversight of all 49 stations to take advantage of the many synergies.”  But wait, there will soon be more than 49 stations.  The announcement that L & L Broadcasting is entering into an agreement to acquire 19 radio stations from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million will expand L&L logothat to 68 stations.  Main Line Broadcasting is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and operates in the Louisville; Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia; Dayton; and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania markets.  L & L Broadcasting president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We’ve worked hard to maintain strong community involvement and an intimate connection with our listeners and advertisers in all of our markets.  I’m confident that we’ll be able to implement our mission of live and local radio in the Main Line markets.”  Main Line CEO Marc Guralnick adds, “I am extremely proud of all of Main Line Broadcasting’s employees who have done a phenomenal job over the years.  I am pleased to have these great broadcasters now under the leadership and vision of Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt.  There’s not a better company than L&L Broadcasting to ensure this continued success.”

rhodesrandiRandi Rhodes Calls it Quits.  Progressive talk show host Randi Rhodes, according to a press statement from syndicator Premiere Networks, “has decided to end her show” as of May 16.  The presser says, “We wish Randi well and thank her for her years of incredible creativity and unique voice.”  Rhodes – a native New Yorker – was a very successful, longtime local talk host at WJNO, in West Palm Beach who went into syndication with Air America during the early 2000s and moved over to Premiere after Air America’s demise.  Last November it was reported that Premiere would be dropping the Randi Rhodes show but two days later that was reversed.  There’s been no official statement about today’s news from Rhodes herself.

talksmerconishTalk Personality Michael Smerconish to Be Interviewed at Own Book Club Event.  Fans of talk host Michael Smerconish are aware of his regularly scheduled book club events that go back to his days hosting morning drive on WPHT, Philadelphia.  The setup was simple: Smerconish would invite an author he enjoyed to come to town and be interviewed by him in front of a live audience.  The author would then sign books and mingle with fans.  Now, the tables are turning as Smerconish prepares to release his first novel titled, Talk: A Novel (Cider Mill Press 2014), and he will be the one interviewed.  On Wednesday, May 7, at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Smerconish will sit down with Larry Kane to be interviewed about his new book that deals with “the inner workings of conservative talk radio and campaign politics.”

ppmunitThird Round of March PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the third of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

sextonbuckOdds & Sods.  Sitting in for Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh today (4/18) is TheBlaze national security editor Buck Sexton.  The former CIA officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst says of sitting in for Limbaugh, “If you told me when I started doing radio in 2013 that by 2014 I would be sitting in for Rush Limbaugh, I would have laughed.  Today, it is happening, and what would have sounded like a joke then is the realization of a dream now.  I couldn’t be more excited, or more thankful, for the opportunity.”…..NFL dierdorfdanbroadcasting icon Dan Dierdorf switches to the college ranks after retiring from CBS.  He’ll become the color man in the radio booth for University of Michigan football alongside play-by-play man Jim Brandstatter (who makes the shift from his color analyst position after 34 years).  Both Dierdorf and Brandstatter played at Michigan during the 1969 and 1970 seasons…..Sports talk personality Jason Goff exits CBS RADIO’s WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” where he’s been the evening host…..Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace is staying put at the cable news/talker as he’s inked a multi-year renewal that will keep him hosting “Fox News Sunday” and involved with the news operation’s political and elections coverage…..ABC News Radio’s “Perspective” program produces a special Earth Day edition titled, “Going Green,” and is available to affiliate stations today (4/18).  ABC says Iron Chef and host of ABC’s “The Chew” — Michael Symon — shares his gardening tips, the benefits of growing your own vegetables and the many ways you can turn your backyard space into a culinary destination. Experts will also be on hand to debunk common food labels and share their green grocery shopping tips.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Armed American Radio” with host Mark Walters is added to the program schedule at KBIM, Roswell, New Mexico…..The Genesis Communications syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi joins the lineup at KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri and WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.

Russian Aggression in Ukraine Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 14-18.  The continuing aggression by Vladimir Putin’s Russian troops in Ukraine and reports of Jews being targeted with neo-Nazi tactics tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was criticism of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act.  Following at #3 was income tax return day tied with talk of statistics indicating the number of Americans receiving benefits, and at #4 was speculation about candidates for president in 2016.  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 magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

| April 17, 2014

grahammichaelMichael Graham to Middays on WYAY, Atlanta.  Talk radio pro Michael Graham is saying good-bye to Massachusetts and New England and heading south for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7.”  Graham has been hosting a program on the New England Talk Network and on the Boston Herald’s digital audio project since Greater Media flipped WTKK, Boston from talk to urban contemporary (as WBQT).  Cumulus is getting away from the all-news on WYAY – it’s already added market pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to the wyay logoschedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift – though there’s no indication it has plans to change the drive time news programming anytime soon.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes but Graham himself bids a fond adieu to New England and a not-so-fond adieu to the Massachusetts political scene which he blames for WTKK’s demise.  He singles out Governor Deval Patrick and you can read that here.

beckglennGlenn Beck Talks About Film Projects to Hollywood Reporter.  Talk radio star and media entrepreneur Glenn Beck tells the Hollywood Reporter that there’s a reason he bought a movie studio in Texas – The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving: He has plans for three film projects with many more hopefully to come.  The facility, where such movies as “Robocop” and “JFK” were filmed, also serves as the base for his radio and digital operations under his TheBlaze banner but his Mercury Radio Arts film division has plans for the three films – one set in ancient history, one in modern history and a third “faith-based” project – that are underway.  Read the Hollywood Reporter piece here.  Meanwhile, Beck also appears irked that he’s pigeonholed as a political right-winger by the media, telling the magazine, “Everybody thinks they know who I am because of my stint on Fox – that was two years of my life.  I’m much more into culture than I am into politics, and that’s where I intend on making my stand.”

cclogoClear Channel Restructures Sales Efforts; Extent of RIF Unknown.  The prospect that Clear Channel Media + Entertainment intended to change the structure of its sales force has been rumored for some time and now the plan has been put into effect.  The exact nature of the realignment is not known but the company released the following statement: “As a policy, we don’t discuss personnel matters.  However, for the last several months we have been flattening our senior management organization to reduce overlap.  Now we are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority, and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

kall logoJohnson to Replace Hanson at Broadway Media.  A number of changes taking effect at Broadway Media in Utah to report.  First, the company announces that its Salt Lake Radio Group market manager G. Craig Hanson is leaving the company after 37 years to enter the ownership end of the business in St. George, Utah.  Taking over for him will be Stephen C. Johnson.  He’ll serve as general manager and CEO of the Salt Lake Radio Group that includes: KXRK, KUDD, KUUU, KEGA, KYMV and KALL.  Johnson spent the last 35 years with Simmons Media.  Other moves include Broadway Media VP/administration Bret J. Leifson exiting to pursue other interests.  Joining the companies is John G. Kimball who will serve as general manager and CEO of Real Media – the division that operates Broadway’s digital, technical, event and entertainment, and outdoor media assets.  Kimball has worked in the market with Bonneville and Real Salt Lake.

nielsen logoSecond Round of March PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

fccnewFCC Issues FNPRM for 2014 Quadrennial Review; Ownership Regs Proposed to Remain, Cross-Ownership Open for Consideration.  The Federal Communications Commission has released its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that initiates the 2014 Quadrennial Review and chief among the topics are the broadcast ownership rules.  The Commission is proposing to keep the current radio broadcast ownership rules in place but it is open to discussion about relaxing the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban as well as the radio-television cross-ownership rules.  This has Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai furious in his dissent.  He takes the Commission to task for, 1) failing to complete the 2010 Quadrennial Review and; 2) putting proposals such as the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban question into the 2014 review.  Here are his words: “Congress has instructed us to review the newspaper-paiajitbroadcast cross-ownership rule every four years and repeal or modify it if we determine that it is no longer in the public interest.  And here is the simple truth: The Commission has not been able to conclude since 2000 that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule remains in the public interest.  And today, the Commission dodges the issue entirely, putting off the issue until 2016, sixteen years after our last determination! What’s the solution at this point?  While writs of mandamus are not to be issued lightly, I believe that the D.C. Circuit would now be justified in ordering the Commission to remove the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule from our books.  We have had plenty of opportunities to justify maintaining the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, but instead we have chosen to punt — including today.”  Pai’s sentiment that the FCC works too slowly, especially in an era when changes in technology are happening at an ever-faster pace while government seems to work slower than ever, is one echoed by many in the broadcasting industry.  Consider the Commission’s conclusion regarding how digital media is affecting broadcast media.  It’s important to understand that the quote from the FNPRM is relative to broadcasters’ (TV also) desires to relax ownership regulations.  Whether you agree or not, it’s the Commission’s assessment of the current state of the audio entertainment landscape that indicates its willingness to only see one moment in time, without regard for the future.  “Despite broadcasters’ claims to the contrary, we tentatively find that, for purposes of the Commission’s ownership rules, non-broadcast sources of audio programming are not yet meaningful substitutes for broadcast radio stations with respect to either listeners or advertisers.  While alternate platforms such as satellite radio and Internet-delivered audio are growing in popularity, broadcast radio remains the dominant radio technology.  In 2012, 92 percent of Americans age 12 or older listened to broadcast radio, a figure that has remained essentially constant over the last decade.  Satellite radio still serves only a small portion of the population, even though its subscription rates continue to climb.  And though recent data suggest that a significant portion of adult U.S. broadband households (42 percent) listen to Internet-delivered audio programming, we note that millions of U.S. households continue to lack broadband connections.  In addition, only 14 percent of Internet radio listeners listen in their cars, where most broadcast radio listening occurs.   Thus, we tentatively conclude that Internet-delivered audio programming is not yet a meaningful substitute for broadcast radio listening for most listeners.  We seek comment on this tentative conclusion and invite commenters to provide any more recent relevant information and data.  We believe, moreover, that satellite radio and content delivered via the Internet generally are national platforms that are not likely to respond to competitive conditions in local markets.”  Even if you agree with these conclusions (which, obviously, many do not), will they still be true in 2015, 2016 (when the 2014 Quad is supposed to be delivered to Congress) or 2017?

biakelseyBIA/Kelsey’s New Study Explores ‘Reinvention of Audio.’  The full name of the study from BIA/Kelsey is “The Internet Radio Revolution Has Arrived: Platforms, Services, Audiences and Advertisers Reinvent Audio,” and as the title implies, it works to make sense of the state of audio entertainment and its relationship with the advertising world as it exists today, plus where it’s going in the near future.  The study authors note a five-step process that occurs when a major change affects the media: 1) Fundamental breakthroughs in enabling technologies occur, 2) Entrepreneurs and their investors experiment with getting the right value proposition into the market, 3) Consumers find the winning technologies and begin to use them, 4) Advertisers sensing a new opportunity for connecting with their consumers allocate “experimental budget,” and 5) Media companies and publishers take new platforms seriously.  The report states, “It is only when we reach this last phase that we really get a sense of how fundamentally a technology will impact us in the long run.”  It believes the audio business is entering this fifth phase.  Read the entire study here.

iheartradio newiHeartRadio Gets into Subaru’s STARLINK.  Japanese automaker Subaru was a little late to the party with a digital infotainment system but the new STARLINK is available on many of its 2014 cars and now Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces its iHeartRadio will be included on the system.  The STARLINK infotainment system is being demoed at the New York Auto Show beginning tomorrow (4/18).  Subaru of America marketing strategy & launch manager David Sullivan, says, “We are thrilled to have iHeartRadio as our first content partner for the STARLINK cloud service application.  The award-winning service brings a huge amount of programming and custom content to Subaru vehicles with a great, easy-to-use interface.”

ObamaCare Criticism, IRS-DOJ Tea Party Connection, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Sebelius Senate Run, Tax Day, and Bloomberg vs the NRA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the allegation that the Lois Lerner led department of the IRS contacted the Department of Justice about prosecuting the Tea Party; escalating aggression by Putin’s Russian forces in Ukraine; speculation that former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will run for the U.S. Senate; chatter about the complex U.S. tax code and the number of taxpayers supporting benefit takers; and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to battle the National Rifle Association were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.