Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Changes at Tribune Media as ‘The Game 87.7’ to End; Garry Meier and Jonathon Brandmeier Exit. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune Media will soon announce that its nine-month old sports talk venture on WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” will shut down by the end of the year. At the same time, Feder reports that Chicago radio legends Garry Meier – whose program was heard only on wgn.com – and Jonathon Brandmeier, heard in mornings on WGWG-LP, are both out effective immediately. Brandmeier and Meier were both moved off WGN-AM when president and GM Jimmy de Castro began re-tooling the heritage news/talker with personality changes. Steve Cochran was brought in for mornings and Meier was replaced by Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder in afternoons. It remains to be seen how the other WGWG-LP staffers will be affected by the change.
Radio Rising to Occasion as Snow Buries Tight Knit Buffalo Community. No doubt, the Winter of 2014-15 is off to a quick start and no region has felt its fury this past week more than Buffalo, New York where “lake effect” bands of snow have piled up more than eight feet of the white stuff in some parts of the city leaving others relatively unscathed. TALKERS is receiving reports that Buffalo radio stations and personnel have been rising to the occasion helping those directly impacted by the harsh weather conditions with information and support. WBEN afternoon drive host Tom Bauerle is a longtime market icon who recognizes the important role radio plays during such challenging situations. He tells TALKERS, “One of the great aspects of live, local programming during a weather emergency is that we often help people in the here and now. Our host David Bellavia [an Iraq war hero] took a stranded motorist named Liza under his wing last night, and even after his show made sure that rescue workers reached her and her small children. Buffalo is a city of longtime residents, generally, and our roots run deep. Western New York, in my opinion, is blessed with genuinely caring people who show their best attributes during a common calamity. Frankly, many of our listeners were desperate to volunteer to help remove, shelter and feed stranded motorists, but seem to have been rebuffed by the authorities. It really is an honor to host during a time when we can actually make a difference in real-time safety.”
Changes at Tribune Media as ‘The Game 87.7’ to End; Garry Meier and Jonathon Brandmeier Exit. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune Media will soon announce that its nine-month old sports talk venture on WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” will shut down by the end of the year. At the same time, Feder reports that Chicago radio legends Garry Meier – whose program was heard only on wgn.com – and Jonathon Brandmeier, heard in mornings on WGWG-LP, are both out effective immediately. Brandmeier and Meier were both moved off WGN-AM when president and GM Jimmy de Castro began re-tooling the heritage news/talker with personality changes. Steve Cochran was brought in for mornings and Meier was replaced by Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder. It remains to be seen how the other WGWG-LP staffers will be affected by the change.
WPGG, Atlantic City Helps Raise Funds for Thanksgiving Relief. At Townsquare Media-owned news/talk outlet WPGG, Atlantic City, morning personality Harry Hurley led yesterday’s effort to raise money to feed Thanksgiving dinner to more than 950 families in the area with the “Feed a Family Radiothon.” The company’s five radio stations brought in more than $23,000. The station notes that with more than 12,000 people out of work because of the recent casino closing debacle in Atlantic City, this emergency fundraising campaign was even more important.
Hubbard Expands ‘2060 Digital’; Names James Bryant President. Cincinnati VP and market manager James Bryant is heading up Hubbard Radio’s new in-house, digital company called 2060 Digital, LLC. The new digital media services company will expand from Hubbard Interactive in Cincinnati and begin serving Hubbard Radio clusters in the Chicago, Washington, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Seattle, Phoenix and Cincinnati markets. 2060 Digital will “provide digital solutions for clients, including website and mobile site build out, SEO, SEM, retargeting, social media management, content and video.” Two years ago, Bryant was instrumental in launching 2060 Digital in Cincinnati. Hubbard chair and CEO Ginny Morris comments, “We have long looked to Jim for leadership in this space and we feel fortunate that his full attention will be focused on helping us find comprehensive solutions for our advertising partners. We look forward to bringing Jim’s entrepreneurial approach to 2060 Digital to the rest of our company.” At the same time, with the promotion of Bryant, Hubbard announces Mike Fredrick also moves up from his VP/general manager/DOS for the Cincinnati operations to VP and market manager.
CBS RADIO Detroit One of Motor City’s “Best Places to Work.” The annual feature from Crain’s Detroit Business names CBS RADIO Detroit one of the best places to work in the city. Some of the reasons for the local station group being such a great employer include: Annual company party, tickets to local events, rewards site to allow employees to send thank you and birthday cards and award nominations, and child care assistance. Pictured here in the all-news WWJ studio delivering a newscast is anchor Jackie Paige. The still is from a video created by CBS Detroit that is found on the Crain’s Detroit Business website. You can check out the cool video here.
Odds & Sods. TALKERS SoCal sources notice iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles has stopped using the “More Stimulating Talk” slogan that’s been part of the station brand for so many years and simply refers to itself as “KFI640.”…..Former “Judge Alex” television personality Alex Ferrer is beginning a legal analysis program on the digital platform ConnectPal….. The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals re-sign with iHeartMedia in the Queen City for another five-year run airing its games on news/talk WLW, sports talk WCKY “ESPN 1530,” and rock WEBN…..CBS RADIO Tampa sports talker WHFS-FM “Sports Radio 98.7 the Fan” is presenting “Tickets for Turkeys” to benefit Feeding America Tampa Bay. Listeners who donate a turkey will pick from sealed envelopes which contain tickets to Tampa’s hottest events and attractions such as: Busch Gardens, The Who, Black Keys, Tampa Bay Lightning, Universal Studios, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WWE, Monster Jam, Arena Cross, Tampa Bay Rays and more. The live broadcast takes place tomorrow (11/21).
CBS Boston Addresses Political Relevance of Talk Radio in Recent Election. In a piece published online by WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller, whether talk radio in Boston had something to do with the state getting its first Republican governor in eight years is the topic. Keller writes that some local talk show hosts, including market ratings king Howie Carr (left) and WBZ-AM evening personality Dan Rea (right), say their shows were part of the reason Charlie Baker won the race and an automatic gas tax increase was defeated. The piece comes at a time when the news/talk format is taking its punches for being anything from “predictable” to “only relevant to old white men.” It also comes after an election cycle that political ad buyers will be analyzing to more accurately apportion among the various media the next campaign’s ad buy. Believers in the news/talk format as one that attracts a large percentage of those who actually vote will be eager to see if ratings data confirms the effectiveness of the format. Read the WBZ-TV piece here.
Golden Mike Award Ceremony Moved to March 16. The annual Golden Mike Award fundraiser presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America will take place at the Plaza Hotel in New York on March 16. Next spring, NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith is being honored with the award. Earlier this week the announcement was made but the date has moved from February 23 to March 16.
Obama Immigration Action, ObamaCare-Gruber Controversy, Ferguson Tensions, Battle Against ISIS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Buffalo Record Snowfall/Early Chill, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). The promise by President Obama to enact amnesty for illegal aliens by executive order; the simmering controversy over ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber’s video-taped speeches; the growing tensions in Ferguson, Missouri as the grand jury decision on whether to indict officer Darren Wilson is awaited; the battle against ISIS and the U.S. military’s need for more drones; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the record eight feet of snow received in Buffalo and the early cold snap much of the country is experiencing; and renewed allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Chip Franklin Named Midday Host at KGO, San Francisco. The next step in returning KGO to its talk roots from the newsy experiment that began a few years ago comes as Chip Franklin takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning December 8. Franklin has had long talk radio stints – most recently with KOGO, San Diego from 2007 to 2013 and with WBAL, Baltimore from 1999 to 2007 – and is also working writing position pieces and prep for guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Good Morning America” and “Face the Nation.” He also regularly appears at comedy clubs across the U.S. On his new gig, Franklin comments, “The current narrative is that San Francisco is all liberals, progressives and Democrats mixed in with the occasional 4.9. Maybe, but I see it more as a city that simply embraces freedom and more to the point, the free expression of ideas regardless of ideology. Whether it’s politics, art, music or comedy, it all starts with a passion for discovery – discovery of life here in the Bay area, the wider world, and our inner lives.” Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “KGO strives to inform and entertain the Bay Area with relevant news and compelling talk hosted by big personalities. Chip Franklin’s point of view, intelligence and wit are going to drive some amazing conversations on KGO.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York and CBS “Inside Edition” special correspondent Rita Cosby celebrated her 50th birthday hosting a special benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project at the Hotel Edison in New York City recently. Among the 1,000-plus guests and celebs attending the fundraiser were fellow WABC personalities Curtis Sliwa and Geraldo Rivera. Cosby is pictured here in this photo, (courtesy of Nicole Vranjican), with Broadway’s Tomaczek Bednarek at the event. Read more about the party here…..WPGG, Atlantic City talk show host Harry Hurley is named to the PolitickerNJ’s “2014 Power List.” This is the eighth time Hurley – morning personality on the Townsquare Media news/talk station – has been named to the list…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds former Sun-Times columnist and critic Dave Hoekstra who will host his weekly “Evening Journal” radio program on the station beginning in December. The program will air Saturday evenings.
‘Sports Fix’ Celebrates Five Years on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC midday sports talk show “The Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro is celebrating its fifth anniversary on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM “ESPN 980.” The station says the program “has been a ratings leader, achieving #1-ratings in its time slot throughout the five-year run.” Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza adds, “‘The Sports Fix’ has been a constant performer. Kevin, Thom and producer Marc Sterne perform at a high level every day and it shows in their consistency and ratings success.”
Clear Channel Satellite Services to Serve iHeartMedia Only. In a story by Leslie Stimson at Radio World, iHeartMedia, the parent company of Clear Channel Satellite Services, is informing clients that it will no longer provide satellite services to non-iHeartMedia operators. Contracts currently existing will be honored until they expire and the company will not accept new ones. A memo from CCSS reads, in part: “In the coming weeks, our team will be working with the existing customers to discuss the best way for a smooth transition to a new provider. Customers with soon-expiring contracts will have the option to continue their service on a month-to-month basis until we’ve found a suitable assignee for the business.”
October Revenue Gains Reported in Los Angeles, San Diego. According to Miller Kaplan Arase‘s October summary report, Los Angeles posted increases of 3% for local spot and nearly double that (5.7%) for national spot. Meanwhile, San Diego was +1.3% local spot and a substantially higher +18% for national spot. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan comments, “Our entire region produced a very robust October as the critical fourth quarter began. The sluggish third quarter performance we had is a distant memory, as advertisers once again looked to Southern California radio for increased market share and real revenue results. Our combined market growth in October should set the stage for a dramatic and positive finish for [fourth quarter] and 2014. Our members’ efforts to provide proactive solutions to client challenges really came together in October. We see enormous positive energy in our markets and our continued regional focus on radio’s ROI is making a difference for all of our member sales teams.” Revenue in the “NTR/Network/Other” category improved last month by a whopping (approximately) 63% in Los Angeles and 26.3% in San Diego. October’s total market revenue for Los Angeles was 7.1%, while San Diego’s was 8.8%. Year-to-date total market revenue though is -2.2% (Los Angeles) and 2.9% (San Diego).
Ferguson Grand Jury Tensions, Jerusalem Terror Attacks, Keystone Bill Vote, Early Cold and Snow, ObamaCare/Gruber Controversy, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The simmering tensions in Ferguson as the public awaits the grand jury’s decision whether to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; Tuesday’s slayings in a Jerusalem temple; the failed vote in the U.S. Senate to move ahead with the Keystone Pipeline project; the six feet of snow that blanketed Buffalo and the cold affecting the rest of the country; the ObamaCare controversy surrounding plan architect Jonathan Gruber; and the new allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rosen Rises to OM of Chicago’s WSCR, WXRT. Ten-year WSCR “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen is boosted to operations manager of the CBS RADIO Chicago sports outlet, as well as co-owned triple A WXRT. In a memo to the stations’ staff, CBS RADIO Chicago senior vice president and market manager Rod Zimmerman writes, “Mitch’s organizational skills, management style, and sales focus will help grow the great [WXRT] brand.” Rosen previously programmed the Windy City’s similarly-programmed WMVP “ESPN Radio 1000″ and was Paragon Marketing Group’s vice president of broadcast representation. Norm Winer continues as WXRT program director.
Chad Peterson Named Morning Host at KFKA, Greeley, Colorado. Weld County Colorado native Chad Peterson is the new morning drive host at Broadcast Media LLC’s KFKA, Greeley, Colorado. He’ll anchor the newly re-imaged “Advantage Bank’s Morning Drive” program. Peterson says he’s excited to return to his roots, “Returning to the heritage station in the market – the one I grew up listening to – is a privilege and an honor. I’m excited to serve the community.”
Howie’s Back – Actually He Never Left – Carr Continues on Boston Airwaves with New Flagship and Ownership of 15-Affiliate Regional Network Set for National Expansion. Last week TALKERS reported New England radio legend Howie Carr’s departure from his longtime radio home WRKO, Boston after two decades upon the termination of his most recent employment contract. It was no secret that the relationship between Carr and WRKO owner, Entercom Communications, had been a stormy one with the air personality/Boston Herald columnist and prolific best-selling author likening his departure from the facility to being “sprung from prison.” Beginning today (11/17) Carr brings his 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm daily program up the dial to WUFC 1510 AM as the evolving news/talk outlet also kicks off a return today to branding itself by its original, legendary handle, WMEX. The station, owned by Blackstrap Broadcasting is under the management of Kevin Wallis’s Wallis Communications which reportedly has signed a purchase and sale agreement to take over ownership of the outlet during the first quarter of 2015. More importantly, Carr exits Entercom taking ownership and control with him of his 15 station New England regional network – the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) which includes such heritage outlets iHeartMedia’s WHYN, Springfield, Saga Communications’ WGAN, Portland and WCRN, Worcester owned by Kurt Carberry who will manage affiliate relations and distribution for HCRN. Known for succeeding on both the ratings (adults 25-54) and revenue fronts, Carr has developed a reputation for being extremely listener and affiliate-friendly in terms of live appearances, sales promotions and production services – qualities he says he intends to keep intact as he expands the scope of the network to a larger segment of the Northeast and ultimately across the nation. On joining the new 1510 AM outlet, Carr tells TALKERS, “It’s a real pleasure to finally be working again with people who are truly committed to radio, and to the talk format in particular. Boston remains a great market for talk radio, and WMEX is where it all began, with Jerry Williams talking to James Michael Curley, Malcolm X and so many others. It’s also the station where I started, in 1980, occasionally hosting the Herald Bulldog Edition. I know the new WMEX is going to be a great success for all concerned.” The heritage WMEX calls in Boston go back to 1934 (first at 1500 AM, then 1470 AM before taking up 1510 AM in 1941) and the station was home to many radio greats over the years including Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg. In addition to Carr, the new incarnation of WMEX includes such national personalities in its line-up as Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Dennis Miller, and Alex Jones as well as local shows including the daily “Morning Meeting” provided by Boston Herald Radio. Sales and marketing for the Howie Carr Show and HCRN are being handled by the company’s vice president Kathy Carr who can be emailed at Kathy@howiecarrshow.com.
Sullivan Honored by Habitat for Humanity of Ohio. At its annual conference, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio last week awarded the 2014 Volunteer of the Year award to the 13-year host of Premiere Networks’ “At Home With Gary Sullivan” program. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati president and chief executive officer Ed Lee notes, “Gary Sullivan is always willing/eager to share/leverage his knowledge and contacts to help expand the reach of Habitat for Humanity in the Greater Cincinnati region. He has truly made a difference in our community and helped transform lives through decent, affordable home ownership. The Habitat mission is brought to life by our volunteers – none do it better than Gary.” Sullivan remarks that he is “embarrassed and humbled by this award, but proud to accept it on behalf of all the hard working Habitat volunteers.” His Saturday and Sunday Premiere Networks radio show is heard in 240 markets. In addition to being a longtime Habitat volunteer, Sullivan is a board member and serves on the “executive” and “development” committees. He has been active in the non-profit Christian housing ministry for over 20 years. He created/hosted “The Hardware Store,” which aired on HGTV for four years in the mid-1990s.
Sales Management Moves at Greater Media Detroit. At the Detroit station group, Greater Media announces Patti Taylor is promoted to general sales manager of classic rock WCSX and rock WRIF. At the same time, Jonathan Ghazal is named sales manager for WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” Taylor has been serving as GSM for WCSX since February of 2013. Ghazal joined Greater Media Detroit as an account executive in October of 2012. Ghazal takes over for Cindy Senkbeil who remains with the WCSX sales team. She’d been sales manager of WMGC since November of last year.
Odds & Sods. Small business expert Jim Blasingame celebrates his 17th year on air hosting “The Small Business Advocate.” The show began as a two-hour daily program on November 17, 1997…..WGN, Chicago promotes Scott Miller to supervising producer. Miller is the executive producer of the Pete McMurray show. His new duties will mean he has oversight of the booking for all of the Tribune radio shows…..The price tag on Hubbard Radio’s purchase of Omni Broadcasting’s 16 Minnesota stations is $8 million dollars. The deal, announced last week, must pass FCC muster…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh is the media sponsor of the 16th Santa Spectacular taking place at Point State Park this Friday (11/21). The CBS RADIO Pittsburgh stations – including news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM – are helping to present the afternoon’s activities that culminate in the lighting of Duquesne Light Tree and fireworks-to-music finale.
KNX, Los Angeles Continues ‘On Your Corner’ Series with Holiday Charity Component. The “KNX On Your Corner” on CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles continues in December as the station profiles Cerritos on the 12th from Mimi’s Café . Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the news from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Listeners can participate on Twitter and Facebook using #KNX OnYourCorner. Mimi’s Cafe will also serve as a drop-off point for KNX’s annual “CHiPs For Kids” holiday toy drive in conjunction with CBS 2 and KCAL 9. New, unwrapped toys will be collected for distribution locally to less fortunate children by the California Highway Patrol.
Backbone Networks Offering TALKERS Readers Free eBook, “16 Tickets to Starting a Talk Radio Station.” Boston-based, digital radio tech firm Backbone Networks – the state-of-the-art broadcasting solutions company that played an important role in the successful launch of TalkersRadio, has published an eBook designed to show talk broadcasters aspiring to set up their own internet talk stations the key steps to take in order to make it happen. According to Backbone president Richard Cerny, “Every successful radio personality can now easily afford his/her own 24/7 station.” Cerny tells TALKERS, “The future of radio is bright but targeting a single distribution medium to reach listeners has many challenges. The future is an integrated view of your listeners. One that encompasses AM, FM, satellite and the internet. The barriers to entry for starting a digital station have been lowered, especially compared to the cost of running a traditional terrestrial radio station. The difference between surviving and thriving depends on your station as a platform, your programming and the fan base you build and maintain.” The newly published eBook is available at no cost to TALKERS readers. To obtain a copy, please click here.
Ferguson Tensions, Latest Hostage Execution/Battle Against ISIS, Net Neutrality, GOP vs ObamaCare, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and DEA Raids NFL Teams Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/17). A state of emergency is declared in Missouri as the decision by the grand jury whether to indict officer Darren Wilson is awaited; the execution of aid worker Peter Kassig over the weekend and the ongoing battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria; the controversy over net neutrality and the Obama Administration’s support of it; talk of the GOP’s plans to take on the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the weekend raid of three visiting NFL teams by the Drug Enforcement Agency were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Announces Corporate Structure Changes. With the retirement of Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson at the end of this year, Salem Communications announces some corporate changes that begin with its consolidating the radio and network divisions into one. Dave Santrella moves from president of the Radio Division to president of Broadcast Media, adding to his radio division responsibilities the oversight of the Salem Radio Network, SMR/VMR Rep Firm, and a variety of digital assets. Phil Boyce, currently VP, director spoken word formats is promoted to SVP, Salem Radio Network and spoken word formats. In this new role, Boyce will be in charge of all program and revenue aspects of Salem’s news and news/talk networks including its five network talk hosts, the Janet Mefford show, and SRN News. Boyce will continue to work with other aspects of Salem’s spoken word formats, most notably as a program consultant for national ministries. Boyce will continue to oversee Salem’s New York operations as well. Santrella says of Boyce, “Phil has proven to be a tremendous and versatile leader. He’s been an enormous help to our national ministries and an invaluable consultant to our talk network. Putting Phil over our news and news talk network puts him in his sweet spot and I am thrilled to have him steering this important aspect of our broadcast business.” Other radio division changes include: Allen Power and Linnae Young taking on new roles as senior vice presidents dividing up the oversight of other operational vice presidents, as well as departmental managers in ministry relations, digital and business-formatted radio properties. Terry Fahy is promoted to an operational vice president role overseeing most of the company’s stations west of Phoenix. Other operational vice presidents including Brian Taylor, John Peroyea, David Ruleman and Mike Moran, all pick up additional station responsibilities. On the network side, Mike Reed and Mike Miller are promoted to senior vice presidents as well, with Reed taking on additional responsibilities in the Dallas office’s network operations and Miller expanding his role in the network’s music space.
iHeartMedia Tweaks Talk Programming on New KFXR, Dallas. The Dallas-market talk station KFXR is dropping the “DFW 1190” brand and is going with “Talk Radio 1190” as it moves away from the business talk and brokered programming to air other iHeartMedia content on the signal. So far, the new programming schedule will include the Russ Martin show from sister rocker KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” from 7:00 am to 11:00 am (a rerun of the previous afternoon’s program); KTRH, Houston-based Michael Berry for the 5:00 am hour and from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and KPRC, Houston-based Matt Patrick from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Forrest Goodman Named Host at ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ in Memphis. Well-known Memphis radio personality Forrest Goodman is the new morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s WKIM, Memphis “Newstalk FM 98.9.” Goodman is working alongside Steve Butler on the program. Goodman is working in his 16th season on the radio broadcasts of Memphis Tigers football and basketball play-by-play broadcasts. He has worked in the market as program director at crosstown WREC and was a talk host on the station, as well. Cumulus Media corporate program director, news talk Randall Bloomquist states, “Forrest Goodman is a gifted broadcaster and a fixture on the Memphis radio and sports scenes. Adding him to the ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ roster is a real coup and bolsters the station’s position as the voice of Memphis.” Goodman adds, “I’m so pleased to be back on the air. This is my home and ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ has great talent. I get a chance to work again with Ben Ferguson and Andrew Clarksenior, two guys I have worked with before who are real pros.”
Chase Named Ruby Radio’s VP/Programming. After a 22-year gig programming iHeartMedia’s Las Vegas adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5,” Tom Chase becomes Ruby Radio‘s vice president of programming. Ruby Radio president and chief executive officer Ken Sutherland comments, “We have worked together three times in the past and Tom Chase is an outstanding programmer. I have a very high regard for his skills – both as a solid strategic and operational program director – and as a strong department manager.” Chase remarks that he likes “the texture and presentation” of the Ruby-owned stations. “I grew up in a small community in Idaho, so I can relate to the size of these towns. Ruby Radio has found ways to make these stations sound like they are in much bigger markets, without sacrificing the ‘home town feel’ of community involvement that you need for success.” Chase will oversee Elko, Nevada hot AC KHIX “Mix 96.7″; KBGZ “Big Country 103.9″; and talk KZBI, as well as Winnemucca, Nevada hot AC KHYX “Mix 102.7″ and K232BK “Big Country 94.3.” He begins his new duties next month.
Odds & Sods. A partnership between Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago and the hyperlocal site DNAInfo.com means WGN listeners will hear the neighborhood news organization’s reports twice daily – during the 8:00 am hour and the 3:00 pm hour – delivered by DNAInfo’s Jon Hansen. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports WGN vice president of content and programming Todd Manley says, “I’m a huge fan of what they’re doing at DNAinfo, and I’m thrilled about our agreement.”…..With the departure of Howie Carr from WRKO to crosstown “WMEX 1510 Boston” after his contract expired last week, Entercom is filling the afternoon drive slot with talk radio pro Mike Siegel in the interim…..Julie Boruchov is promoted to vice president, sports sales and marketing, East Coast for Westwood One‘s network sales division. She has been serving as director, sports sales, East Coast.
‘Commercial Real Estate Show’ Expands to 40 Stations. The Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” hosted by Michael Bull (pictured here) is now heard on 40 stations across the country. The program debuted on WAFS, Atlanta four years ago and has grown to its current affiliate roster. Bull says that the program “provides investors, and corporate and institutional investors, advisors and occupiers of commercial real estate, a source for valuable information and best practices. The forecasts, sector updates and market intelligence intrigue a vast audience of people looking for ideas, advice and fresh talk radio content.” A press statement from the program notes that “one of the factors adding listener interest is the relative ease someone can now invest in commercial real estate through crowd funding. For just over a year now, the Jobs Act has allowed sponsors of real estate investments to advertise for investors. Through a growing number of real estate crowd funding websites, accredited investors can easily invest small amounts of money in large commercial real estate deals.” The syndicated program is a weekly one-hour show.
Gordon Smith to Receive 2015 Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is announcing NAB president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will be honored with the 2015 Golden Mike Award at the organization’s black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 23. BFoA chairman Philip Lombardo says, “Gordon’s accomplishments for broadcasters are widely recognized across our profession. But perhaps many are not aware of Gordon’s tireless efforts on behalf of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help our colleagues in need. Gordon’s influence has raised awareness of the Foundation’s charitable mission, and his commitment to helping those in our business who need it most has been admirable. We are honored to have Gordon on our Board and to recognize his dedication to our purpose with the 2015 Golden Mike Award.”
Like Mother, Like Daughter. The Los Angeles Times reports that Shout! Factory is releasing all 142 episodes of the original classic television sitcom “The Phil Silvers Show” (originally titled, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” and known to fans as “Sgt. Bilko”) on DVD. The series ran on the CBS Television Network between 1955 and 1959. The multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom, set at a fictional army post in Kansas, cast Silvers as Master Sgt. Ernie Bilko, who happened to be the post’s ace con man. Bilko’s love interest in the story (shown in the photo at left with Silvers) is a character named Sgt. Joan Hogan portrayed by the beautiful actress Elisabeth Fraser. If the late female star looks somewhat familiar to those of you who follow talk radio it is because her daughter Meg McDonald (right) of the syndicated GCN talk show team Brent & Meg is clearly a chip off the old block. Brent & Meg air daily between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm ET and were recently cleared at Townsquare Media’s WPGG, Atlantic City.
Glenn Beck’s Post-Illness Agenda Spotlighted in VICE Interview. After going public with the illness that’s been plaguing him for the past five years (an autoimmune disorder and adrenal fatigue) and the news that he’s beating the afflictions, Glenn Beck is rededicating himself to carrying out the media projects he’s been planning based out of his Texas studios. In the VICE piece that you can read here, Beck says that part of his personal change since dealing with the illness is his desire to produce programming and content that shows hope. “Instead of telling dystopian stories, we also need to look at the good side, look at what we can do: Man can be healthier, more well-connected, and we can end so much pain and suffering in a very good way and turn everything around…I really think that the freedom that is within our grasp is the exact kind of freedom that our Founders hoped someday we would find, but never understood the route that would get us there. Now, with technology, man can truly be as an individual is free.” Beck tells VICE about various projects his company is working on including biographies of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.
Crusham Calling It Quits. After more than 44 years in the radio industry, iHeartMedia Minneapolis market president Mike Crusham is retiring. Executive vice president of operations for major markets Hartley Adkins comments, “Mike Crusham has lead iHeartMedia Minneapolis through many successful years. He has built lasting relationships with co-workers and clients alike. His career has been fruitful and his legacy will not be forgotten. I will miss him and wish Mike all the best.” Crusham remarks that the “past nine years at iHeartMedia have been some of my most successful and personally gratifying in the business. iHeartMedia Minneapolis has great brands and stations, combined with a brilliant staff. I have had a tremendous team and a company that has been supportive and instrumental in setting me up to win. I have worked hard and had a blast doing it. I will miss the job and the people tremendously. It is, however, time for me to do something different.” The iHeartMedia Twin Cities cluster consists of CHR KDWB “All The Hits”; KEEY “K-102 Today’s Country”; sports KFXN-FM “The Fan”; classic hits-oldies KQQL “Kool 108″; hot AC KTCZ “Cities 97″; and talk KTLK-AM. Crusham joined iHeartMedia in mid-2005 as Miami’s director of sales. He was later named regional vice president for South Florida and Miami’s market manager. After a 10-month stint as the company’s market manager in Boston, he transferred to Minneapolis. Prior to joining iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel), Crusham held a variety of management and sales positions in Houston, Pittsburgh, Austin, Nashville, and Tulsa.
WEEI, Boston Adds Thornton to Air and Digital Platforms. A new personality joins Entercom’s WEEI, Boston, WEEI Network, and WEEI.com. Jerry Thornton is now an on-air host, digital columnist and blogger for the station’s website. He had been active on the station as a part-time program host and was a frequent contributor to BarstoolSports.com. He’s now the third member of the afternoon drive Dale & Holley show featuring Dale Arnold and Michael Holley. The company says that in addition to his reputation as a prolific sports journalist, Thornton is also known across New England as a very popular stand-up comedian. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham comments, “We’re thrilled to add the talented and versatile Jerry Thornton to our roster. Jerry brings an entertaining outlook on the sports world and has great chemistry with Dale and Holley that will augment the show’s rapid growth. With his ability to write and connect with people via social media, Jerry will also be a huge asset to our already tremendous digital brand.”
John B. Wells’ ‘Caravan to Midnight’ Show Launches in National Syndication. The popular daily cybercast show “Caravan to Midnight” hosted by former “Coast to Coast AM” personality John B. Wells (pictured here) is launching in syndication available to AM/FM stations. Entercom’s WRKO, Boston joins the affiliate roster as the first major market station, airing a Saturday evening edition of the show. The “Caravan to Midnight” program debuted in February of this year. Wells’ show is described as one that “explores and exploits critical news stories that the mainstream media often ignores or superficially covers. With a well-informed curiosity and an unabashed pursuit of the truth, he expertly interviews high-profile guests who bring credible, frightening, entertaining and insightful perspectives to the program.” Wells comments, “Once my commitment to ‘Coast to Coast’ came to an end in January, I had the freedom to create my own platform and the opportunity to connect with like-minded truth-seekers. Not only has my audience followed me, but it continues to increase.” Spearheading the national radio syndication effort and overall brand extension is David Rubini, former CBS RADIO ad executive and current operations executive of C2M Network. He says, “John B. has a long track record for making money for his clients. Given the instant and overwhelming response and support for the ‘Caravan to Midnight’ cybercast, I’m confident his track record is going to get longer.” The radio program is syndicated and distributed by C2M Network, which is owned and operated by Wells and based in Dallas. In addition, Wells plans to develop new talent for syndication with C2M Network. To see a very interesting video demo of the show, click here.
Odds & Sods. TALKERS sources report that conservative media figure Monica Crowley is no longer hosting a radio program. Her weekend show had been syndicated nationally by TRN…..After an 11-year stint at WFXT-TV, Boston “Fox 25,” Doug “VB” Goudie exits the station and its morning news program. Goudie began his media career as an on-air producer and comic foil for Howie Carr on Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston. He tells the Boston Herald that he could be persuaded to work with Carr again and jokes (referencing Carr’s recent auto accident), “I heard Howie’s looking for a driver. I’m available.” The station recently changed hands as part of a swap between Fox TV and Cox Media Group with Cox planning to take the station’s news programming in a hard-news direction…..iHeartMedia-owned Cincinnati outlets WSAI “Fox Sports 1360” and WCKY “ESPN 1530” are joining the Cleveland Cavaliers radio network and will bring Cavs basketball play-by-play to the market. The Cavaliers are Ohio’s only NBA franchise…..Former U.S. Senator and one-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum is joining forces with Salem Radio Network to fight the expected executive orders from President Obama granting amnesty to some 4 million-plus undocumented aliens. Santorum and the network’s hosts will ask listeners to petition the White House, via a SRN digital portal, not to take that action…..Westwood One releases its college hoops schedule for the 2014-15 season. The season kicks off tonight (11/14) with play-by-play from the Quicken Loans Veteran Classic and runs through the March 7 Stanford at Arizona contest.
Re-Thinking Your Website. The purpose of a radio station website has morphed over the past 15 years or so and if you’re concerned your station’s site might be a bit archaic, now’s a good time to revisit it. Mersoft Media director of business development Gabe Barnes writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine that, though it might seem elementary to some, there appear to be many station sites out there that aren’t taking into consideration what the industry knows about how people use websites. For example, Barnes says he still sees stations putting less important content or design in the most-viewed parts of a webpage. “Why waste this space when it can be used for promotions or sponsorship opportunities?” Read his entire piece here.
WABC’s John Batchelor Welcomes Asian Journalists. The photo here shows WABC, New York personality John Batchelor in the studio with a group of visiting Asian journalists. They are participants in the U.S. State Department’s 2014 Edward R. Murrow Fellows Program for Journalists. The visit to WABC was part of a four-city tour for promising young print and electronic reporters. Pictured here behind Batchelor are (from left to right): Pengfei Hou, Guangdong New Express Daily, People’s Republic of China; Haishan Wu, The Economic Observer, Peoples Republic of China; Boma Ardhi Nugroho, Swaragama FM Radio, Indonesia; Fergus Clancy Hunter, Fairfax Media, Australia; Dean Benitez Mario Antos, Metro TV, Indonesia; Hendrick Tze Seung Foh, Radio Television Malaysia.
Play it Again, Charles. The photo at left shows an exclusive client event held at the New York City home of CBS TV and Westwood One personality Charles Osgood as he entertains special agency guests by playing his ornate Steinway piano. After music, drinks, and hors d’ouevres, Osgood, Westwood One executives, and client guests moved on to an exquisite dinner at Quality Italian restaurant.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The GCN-distributed Steve Sanchez show joins the program lineup at KXXT, Phoenix where it will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.
Obama Executive Amnesty Plan and Lame Duck Congress Tied Atop Talkers TenTM. The controversy over President Obama’s plans to use executive powers to give amnesty to illegals and what’s likely to come from the lame duck congress tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the U.S.-China climate pact. Following at #3 was Russia’s plans to begin patrolling the Gulf of Mexico and at #4 was the comments about fooling the American public by ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber. 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. View this week’s entire chart here.