Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Emmis Elevates Walsh, Hornaday, Rickenbach. Effective this Saturday (8/1), executive vice president/chief financial officer/chief operating officer Patrick Walsh will become president/COO of Emmis Communications; senior vice president of finance/treasurer Ryan Hornaday gets promoted to executive vice president/chief financial officer/treasurer; and Christopher Rickenbach bumps up to vice president of finance/assistant treasurer. Emmis founder/board chair/chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan comments, “We have an outstanding team of senior leaders [at this company]. These moves are a natural evolution in our leadership process, allowing Ryan to take on additional responsibility for leading our finance team thereby enabling Pat to build on his impressive track record operating our business. We are blessed to have a great team that makes such a difference in our performance and ability to innovate on behalf of Emmis and our industries.” Walsh remarks, “In my new role, I look forward to working with my colleagues at Emmis and throughout the radio industry to find innovative ways to deliver growth in the coming years. Ryan is one of the most talented finance executives I have encountered in my career – I am thrilled to see him take on the CFO role.” According to Hornaday, “I have been impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates all levels of this organization. I am excited about the opportunity to join the executive ranks at Emmis and help deliver long-term value for our shareholders and employees.” Walsh joined Emmis in 2006 as chief financial officer and serves on the company’s board of directors. In addition, he is on the board of directors of the National Association of Broadcasters; Radio Advertising Bureau; Indianapolis 500 Festival; and the Center for Leadership Development. Walsh previously was chief financial officer at iBiquity Digital; was a management consultant for McKinsey & Company; and he has worked at General Motors and Deloitte LLP. Hornaday has been with Emmis since 1999. Prior to that, he spent three years in the audit practice of Arthur Andersen LLP, Indianapolis. He is a board member of not-for-profit organization Choices and Hornaday is on the finance committee for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Michael Harrison and Jimmie JJ Walker Tackle the Hot Issues on New Installment of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In a freewheeling conversation about current events, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is joined by iconic comedic pundit Jimmie JJ Walker. The former star of the 1970s groundbreaking sitcom “Good Times” (anointed “Comedian of the Decade” by TIME magazine in the 70s) has gone on to “grind out” a five-decade career playing comedy clubs around the country and making guest appearances on radio and TV talk shows. He began his media journey prior to “Good Times” as a technician at the legendary WMCA, New York in the early days of Bob Grant and hosted his own radio talk show for several years back in the 90s – maintaining a close relationship with the talk radio industry throughout his career. In addition to being a comedic trailblazer, Walker has developed a reputation for his independent, intelligent social and political commentary and provides penetrating insight into current-day race relations in America… and that is what Harrison taps into in this podcast. The two discuss a wide variety of topics including Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the “Obama Coalition,” Bill Cosby, social media, the fractured state of comedy, and ageism as it applies to the retirement of David Letterman and Jay Leno. To listen to the entire podcast click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right hand column of every page on TALKERS.com.
AT&T Agrees to Activate FM Chips in Android Phones. Calling it a “big milestone for the radio industry,” NextRadio and TagStation announce that AT&T is saying it will begin including FM chip activation in their 2016 smartphone device specifications. Further NextRadio says this illustrates that “working together and supporting this initiative is paying off. The change is made by the OEMs (smartphone makers) and by having the support of carriers like Sprint and AT&T putting it in their specifications it increases the probability of getting the FM Chip turned on. We already have experienced handset makers activating it across all carriers, (for example, new models of HTC One and Moto phones) and AT&T’s request fuels the support and progress being made.” NextRadio says the next step is for AT&T to communicate its request to manufacturers to activate the existing FM chip in Android smartphones. NextRadio reports the activation timing is expected for all new Android smartphones releasing in 2016, with a chance of some phones being ready by year-end. It goes on to say it’s “imperative that we keep running the NextRadio and FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org radio spots. Research has indicated that our listeners want FM radio on their smartphones, and they will listen when it is activated. Please support the third flight; the radio spots can be found at www.nextradioapp.com/promote.
Westwood One Adds Two to Network Sales Team. The company says that the addition of Angela Codella and Roman Gwin to its sales staff is part of its “ongoing effort to build the best network sales team in the business.” Codella has joined the New York office as director, national partnerships, and reports to Ron Russo, EVP, Northeast sales. Roman Gwin joins the LA office, also as director, national partnerships, and reports to Kim Bryant, EVP, West Coast sales. Codella comes to Westwood One from SiriusXM where she was an account director responsible for creating integrated marketing and promotional campaigns for clients on the talk, sports, and entertainment channels. Prior to that, she was a senior account executive for CBS RADIO New York’s WWFS and WXRK. Gwin most recently was national account director for iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic and Weather Networks. He served for many years as a sales manager and account executive at iHeartMedia’s KOST, KBIG, and KIIS. WW1 president Steve Shaw comments, “We are making very deliberate and strategic hires to enhance our sales force. Angela and Roman join us with impeccable skill sets in developing opportunities and solutions for advertisers. They will add more creative depth and expertise to our team.”
Odds & Sods. Sports KHTK, Sacramento morning drive personality Morgan Ragan is being nominated for Best Radio Voice of Sacramento by the Sac News and Review. Ragan is part of the “Dave, Deuce and Morgan in the Morning” program on the CBS RADIO station…..Talk media pro Steve Malzberg will be sitting in for talk radio host Chris Plante on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington during the week of August 3 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Malzberg will be subbing in addition to his regular gig hosting his daily Newsmax TV program at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET. Malzberg can be reached at email@example.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Hearst Television’s WBAL-AM and WIYY-FM “98 Rock” in Baltimore, Maryland has a rare opening for chief engineer. We are a fast-paced workplace, flagship for the Baltimore Ravens and Navy, have the largest newsroom in the state of Maryland, and almost 100% LOCAL programming. We are looking for a self-motivated, high-energy person to lead our engineering department. Creative ideas for deploying new technology, improving efficiency and reliability should be key traits. Must have strong IT, communication and technical skills. If you or someone you know is interested in working in a creative, fun, respectful and exciting environment, follow the link and apply today.
Boomer & Carton Host Karl-Anthony Towns. 2015 #1 NBA draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns (center) is pictured here with WFAN, New York’s Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) in the New York City studios. Towns was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves and will play with Kevin Garnett – a player he described as a living legend. When asked what song he sings in the shower, he responded by belting out a Sam Smith tune.
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Immigration Policy Debate, Russian and North Korean Military Aggression, NATO Backs Turkey Anti-Terror Strikes, Planned Parenthood Scandal, James Holmes Death Penalty Phase, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the state of the tentative nuclear deal with Iran; the ongoing debate over the United States’ immigration policy; the recent reports of military aggression by Russia and North Korea; the approval given to Turkey by NATO for its anti-terrorism campaign; the fallout from the videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price of human tissue from abortions; the penalty phase of the James Holmes trial; and the MLB pennant races were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Colin Cowherd Exits ESPN Early After Dominican Comments. Already headed out the door after he accepted an offer from a competing sports entertainment network, Colin Cowherd has been removed from ESPN’s radio and TV programming after a comment he made that was deemed by the company to be offensive. In the process of arguing that baseball is not too complex a game, as some contend, Cowherd said that a third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic which has “not been known, in my lifetime, as having, you know, world-class academic abilities.” The quote was taken out of context and publicized and ESPN reacted with the following statement, “Colin Cowherd’s comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees. Colin will no longer appear on ESPN.” Cowherd apologized on Friday, but he also explained that he was taken out of context and didn’t mean to insult Dominicans. Though no official announcement of what his role will be with soon-to-be employer Fox Sports, sources tell TALKERS magazine Cowherd will be making a much as $6 million per year in his new position.
Angela Hill Moves on From WWL, New Orleans Talk Show. Leaving her 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm talk show on Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans to pursue other interests, Angela Hill is replaced by Scoot, who in addition to his evening show, also made regular appearances on Hill’s program. Hill says, “It’s been an amazing experience, one I will always cherish, but it’s time to do other things. I’ve learned so much. This is a great team…smart, smart radio people, who’ve shown me nothing but love and support. This truly is a family. I will always be a part of WWL Radio and WWL will always be a part of me.” Filling the evening slot on WWL will be a new sports talk show co-hosted by T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic, who slide over from sister sports talker WWWL “3WL” where they hosted morning drive.
Roger & JP Named Midday Show at ‘The Bone’ in Tampa. Hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” has a new midday show co-hosted by Roger Luce and John “JP” Parise. The duo comes to Tampa from Cox Media Group’s Long Island rock outlet WBAB, Babylon, New York where they hosted the morning show. CMG Tampa director of branding and programming John Brennan states, “Roger & JP are a great fit for ‘The Bone’ and the Tampa market. The team is excited to have them, and we’re looking forward to a fresh sound in Tampa Bay.” Roger & JP comment, “We’ve wanted to work in Tampa and at ‘The Bone’ for a long time. Joining ‘The Bone’ family with Mike Calta and Drew Garabo, we feel it’s a great team and can’t wait to start. Our goal is to become Tampa radio fixtures for many years to come.”
Kabrich: AQH Rating Point Increase Stat Doesn’t Support Voltair’s PPM Effectiveness. In another blog post from broadcast consultant Randy Kabrich addressing the controversial Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance and Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings methodology, he compares the Total AQH Rating of all stations in the 48 PPM-rated markets (Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday) from both the June 2014 (prior to Voltair) and June 2015 (with an estimated 62.6% of competitive stations in those markets using Voltair units) surveys. The result is the figure rose by just 0.9 ratings points – 402.2 Total AQH Rating in ’15 versus 401.3 in ’14. Kabrich goes on to report that “a total of only 390 stations nationwide out of 1407 stations in PPM markets — Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday — had ANY INCREASE in AQH June 2014-2015 with 600-plus Voltairs sold – and a large number of the increases were caused by facts that can easily be explained and not attributed to Voltair.” Further, he says even if all 390 stations that saw increases had Voltair units, the breakdown indicates that almost 40% of those stations saw an increase of just 0.2 AQH rating points. Read Kabrich’s entire blog here.
Miklasz Returns to WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Three years ago, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz stepped down from his second gig as midday sports talk host on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis. Now, the company announces that Miklasz will return to the station in late August to host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show. He will exit his role with the newspaper. WXOS is an ESPN affiliate and to make room for Miklasz, the station will only air the first two hours of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning.”
Nashville Sports Talkers Greg Pogue and Joe Dubin Return to Radio on WNSR Simulcast. Sports talk personalities Greg Pogue and Joe Dubin are returning to the Nashville radio waves today on Southern Wabash Communications’ WNSR and W240CA simulcast. The “Greg Pogue and Big Joe Show” will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Previously, the duo aired on Cromwell Group’s crosstown “The Game 2” (WQZQ and translator W235BW) but ended that show when Dubin joined WSMV-TV as a sports reporter.
Odds & Sods. Talk personality Ed Schultz’s days on MSNBC appear to be numbered as wholesale changes to the MSNBC cable channel are on the way. According to the New York Daily News, new NBC News chief Andrew Lack told staffers of both NBC News and MSNBC that he plans to rebuild MSNBC to focus on breaking news coverage and to be less of a left-leaning talk outlet. Lack also plans a name change for the network since Microsoft hasn’t been involved with the cable channel in years. Schultz’s “The Ed Show” is reportedly one of the shows slated for demolition as part of the re-build. Schultz ended his three-hour, daily syndicated AM/FM radio show in May of 2014 and currently does a one-hour, web-based radio program…..BobsBlitz.com reports that WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale sports talk host (and former longtime New York radio personality) Sid Rosenberg will return to WABC, New York on August 4 and 5 to sit in for Geraldo Rivera. The blog reports that Rosenberg will be joined on the air by Don Imus executive producer Bernard McGuirk…..AdLarge Media becomes national ad sales rep for The Associated Press’ news digital on-demand service via the AudioBoom podcast platform. The deal broadens the reach of AP’s breaking news audio service and allows affiliate radio stations to host on-demand audio on their websites and mobile applications with updates every hour, 24/7.
CBS RADIO Announces Market Manager Changes. Taking over for Marc Rayfield at the CBS RADIO Philadelphia cluster as SVP/market manager is current director of sales David Yadgaroff. Rayfield was recently named market manager for the New York market. Elsewhere in the company, current Boston SVP/market manager Mark Hannon adds the same duties for Hartford, replacing the retiring Suzanne McDonald. CBS combines the SVP/market manager post for both Miami and Orlando and appoints Steve Carver, who replaces Joe Bell in Miami and Dave Robbins in Orlando. They both exit the company. Director of sales Tony Perlongo is promoted to SVP/ market manager in Las Vegas, taking over for the exiting Jerry McKenna; and Mike Valenzuela rises from VP/director of sales in the Riverside cluster to SVP/market manager, replacing Harvey Wells who’s returning to the Chicago area to be closer to family.
Orban Addresses Nielsen-Voltair Issue. Audio processor competitor Orban has been very quiet during the industry-wide discussion about 25-Seven’s Voltair processor but breaks that silence with a press statement released on Thursday (7/23). The statement says, in part, “Some have argued that Voltair is ‘just another form of audio processing.’ However, we believe that there is an essential and fundamental difference between audio processing (like that done by our Optimods) that increases the opportunity of the Nielsen encoder to insert audibly undetectable watermark tones and processing that directly manipulates the level of the watermark, potentially breaking Nielsen psychoacoustic masking model and allowing the tones to become audible. Based on their testing, Nielsen concluded that Voltair can degrade perceptual quality. In an environment where traditional radio is suffering ever-increasing competition from new media, we believe that it is unwise for radio to degrade its audio in an internecine battle whose ultimate winner could be non-broadcast providers. Because Nielsen is a large, global business that depends on producing credible audience measurements, we expect that it will soon solve any problem (if it actually exists) by making improvements to its encoder. Accordingly, we have decided not to add processing to Optimods that directly manipulates the Nielsen watermark signal because we expect that any such effort would degrade audio quality and would soon be rendered obsolete by Nielsen’s encoder improvements. Moreover, we trust the Media Rating Council to thoroughly evaluate any such improvements, as they have already done for the Nielsen PPM system in its current form. While it is true Orban’s Optimod processors are compatible with Voltair, we urge caution.”
Doug Steckler Ends Friday Appearances with Tim Conway Jr. on KFI, Los Angeles. For the last four years, Doug Steckler has been co-hosting the Friday evening edition of Tim Conway Jr.’s show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles. But that is ending and Steckler says in a statement, “I am leaving the Tim Conway Jr. show on KFI where I enjoyed sharing Friday evenings with the funniest, nicest guy in radio. We had more fun than should be legal. All good things must come to their finish and it’s always better (if still difficult) to get out while you can still hear the laughter. I want to wish everyone connected with the Tim Conway Jr. show the very best in every way. I would like to especially express my profound gratitude to Sheron Bellio, our executive producer, whose creativity, original thinking, laser wit, and supernatural administrative abilities made every Friday a wonderfully conspiratorial caper.” Conway and Steckler co-hosted a talk show on the old hot talk-formatted KLSX-FM, Los Angeles (now CHR KAMP) from 1996 through 2005. Doug Steckler is represented by Jason Insalaco’s Kelton Agency.
WTEM, Washington Adds Craig Hoffman for Redskins Beat Reporter Gig. This will be a year-round gig at Red Zebra Broadcasting’s Washington Redskins flagship WTEM “ESPN 980” for Craig Hoffman as he is named the new Redskins beat reporter. Hoffman was most recently with ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas “103.3 FM ESPN” as a host and update anchor. Red Zebra says he has experience “covering both professional and college teams along with reporting from large national events like the NCAA Final Four. Craig will cover the Redskins year-round and will contribute content to the station’s local shows. He will also be part of the game-day broadcasts on the Redskins Radio Network while producing content for ESPN 980’s website and social media outlets.”
Paul Vandenburgh Takes Top Talk Show Honors in Metroland ‘Best Of.’ WGDJ, Albany owner, general manager and morning talk host Paul Vandenburgh’s daily show was named the Best Talk Radio Program in the market by Albany alternative weekly Metroland. Here’s how the entry reads: “This is the show for local issues. Special mention must be made of the must-listen interviews he conducted with local reporters on scene in Dannemora during the prison break. Standard disclaimer: We’re a bunch of liberals and disagree with 75 percent of his opinions, but so what? Who didn’t enjoy it when he went after Troy’s City Hall clown show during the frozen pipes scandal?”
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles-based talk legend Tom Leykis is streaming his program live from the Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow (7/25) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT from the Aqua Camel booth. What is Aqua Camel? It’s a self-watering plant pot system that uses 65% less water. The company is co-founded by Tim Sabean, former Sirius Satellite Radio and CBS RADIO programmer…..Hearst-owned WBAL, Baltimore “NewsRadio 1090” agrees to a new multi-year partnership with the Naval Academy Athletic Association to continue serving as radio flagship for Navy football. This will be the 11th consecutive year WBAL has broadcast Navy football.
Got Old Radio Shows? Opportunity to Monetize Content in Your Basement. One of the largest independent audiobook companies in the world, Blackstone Audio, is looking to expand its product offerings beyond audiobooks into spoken-word, including comedy, opinion pieces, soundtracks (non-musical), old-time radio and TV shows, sports broadcast highlights, and any other forms of spoken-word or subject matter that would be interesting to the audio-listening public. Blackstone would offer the content owners of recorded audio programs that they choose to license or distribute an arrangement under which the content owners would receive the majority of the net revenue from the sale of their content to the public by Blackstone. If you have recorded spoken-word content and would be interested in having Blackstone Audio consider it for licensing or distribution contact Larry Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the criticism of Donald Trump’s recent statements tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for the week of July 20-24. At #2 this week was the Iran nuclear deal. Coming in at #3 was talk about the U.S, immigration policy and the sanctuary city concept followed by threats from ISIS at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Nielsen Audio-Voltair Debate Rages On. The industry is still aflutter with chatter – and quite a few blogs – over Tuesday’s Nielsen Audio webinar in which the ratings giant told clients its tests of Telos Alliance’s Voltair audio processor showed no conclusive evidence that the unit positively impacted the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the embedded codes in any way that could affect ratings. Although Nielsen did admit that in some circumstances, Voltair did give the watermark a boost that would allow the PPM to pick up more codes. Broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich responded to that conclusion in a recent blog post in which he explained that – due to the U.S. system of Quarter Hour measurement – picking up some extra codes via Voltair which might have gone undetected without it, still would not increase ratings because the Media Rating Council testing done on PPM concluded the measurement system “hears” enough of the codes to get an accurate record of listening. The Voltair unit has only been in the field for less than a year and it appears there isn’t enough data, available publicly anyway, to produce sound conclusions about whether – or exactly how – the unit affects the audio and the PPM’s reception of it across all radio formats. Even Telos Alliance doesn’t seem to have all the answers about its product as Kabrich points out in today’s blog post that focuses on contrary opinions about whether certain music “encodes well” for PPM. Read it here.
Cumulus-Commissioned Study Indicates Radio Advertising Helped Drive Awareness of Amazon Prime Day. The Ipsos study commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One analyzing how advertising drove awareness of the July 15 Amazon Prime Day was done to “understand how effective advertising and radio is to drive online purchases.” The study concluded that: 81% of Americans aware of Amazon Prime said they were exposed to some form of advertising for the event; one out of five Americans reported making a purchase during Amazon Prime Day because of advertising; three out of five Amazon Prime subscribers (18-49) exposed to advertising said they purchased something during Amazon Prime Day; and radio advertising was the most effective at converting awareness into Prime Day purchases when compared to TV and online. Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase versus TV (39%) and online (48%). Cumulus and Westwood One chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard comments, “Advertising put Amazon Prime Day on the map, and radio was the most effective at converting awareness into purchases. The greatest Amazon Prime Day purchases occurred among Millennials, households with children, and those with a full-time job — precisely the profile of the American radio listener.”
Dave Ramsey Show to Air on WRKO, Boston. The Dave Ramsey program will air in the evening daypart, immediately following the Howie Carr afternoon drive show on Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, effective July 27. Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary says, “After a long day reporting and talking about hard news, Dave’s show invites our listeners into the homes of America’s working class to hear their stories, struggles and triumphs. It’s radio ‘comfort food’ ideally suited to New England values.” This addition comes shortly after other changes to the station’s program lineup that include the move of former morning host Jeffrey Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot and the addition of Kim Carrigan as host of the “Boston.com Morning Show.”
WTEM, Washington Inks Clinton Portis for Redskins Coverage. Washington Redskins great Clinton Portis is joining Red Zebra Broadcasting to serve as an analyst for the upcoming football season. Portis played seven seasons for the Redskins. WTEM “ESPN 980” says that in addition to joining afternoon show personalities Chris Cooley, Steve Czaban, and Al Galdi every Monday during the football season, Portis will also co-host a monthly one-hour show, Fridays during the season, where he’ll provide a detailed look at the Redskins performance. Portis comments, “I am so excited to finally be on the air covering the team I love. Chris Cooley was a great teammate and close friend and we promise to make it as memorable as we did during our playing career.”
Odds & Sods. After a Tweet from ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo, we now know that the 10-year ESPN personality will remain with the sports media giant. Russillo reports “I’m staying at ESPN” after his status with the company was being questioned. His former radio partner Scott Van Pelt recently leaving the radio gig for new roles in ESPN’s cable programming and other highly publicized cuts at the company had industry watchers wondering if Russillo would remain…..At Calvary-owned Pittsburgh news outlet KQV, Bruce Sakalik resigns from the station after 15 years — the last 10 as morning news anchor. He leaves radio for a position with Comcast.
Boomer & Carton Host Daniel Bryan. WFAN, New York morning hosts Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) pose for s photo with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan on the show’s set today (7/23). Bryan appeared on the program to plug his new book, Yes! My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania (St. Martin’s Press 2015). During the interview Bryan spoke about his career, his marriage to Bella Twin, Brie Bella, and his story of the couple’s house being robbed.
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Planned Parenthood Videos, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Chattanooga Slayings Aftermath, ISIS Threat, and Sandra Bland Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, the state of the deal with Iran over its nuclear program; fallout over the two recent videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price for human tissue from abortions; the conversation about the immigration policy in the U.S. and the cases of sanctuary cities; the memorials to the Marines slain in the Chattanooga attacks and questions about the radicalization of shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez; the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of the threat posed by ISIS; and scrutiny of the arrest and death of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen on Voltair and PPM: The Morning After. Yesterday’s Nielsen Audio webinar with PPM client stations regarding upcoming changes to its PPM technology and the Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance has the industry buzzing. As you know, Nielsen has been testing the Voltair unit and has concluded that it cannot “support” Voltair, saying it found nothing substantial to show the processor positively affects the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the watermark tone that credits listening. A number of managers and programmers have subsequently commented anonymously that they remain unconvinced by Nielsen’s research and presentation. One programmer tells TALKERS, “Their research proved without a doubt that Voltair recorded more listening in certain formats when the PPM was in a noisy environment. However, they did a flip-flop in their presentation, stating that ‘Voltair’s increased recording of listenership was inconclusive.’ Interestingly, at the same time they announced the rollout of an enhanced and more robust watermark which should be in the field by fall. If there was not a problem, then why the new watermark?” But broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich writes in a blog post today in which, in this instance, he defends Nielsen’s response. He says it’s well known that PPM doesn’t hear all of the codes and because of the 15-minute Quarter Hour ratings method employed in the U.S., it doesn’t need to. “The Media Rating Council has examined every aspect of the PPM very extensively with their audits…[The] policies for stations to receive credit from the PPM codes were put in place many years ago after years of testing because it is known that the PPM meter misses codes! And yet, the results are statically valid. Otherwise no PPM markets would be accredited by the MRC. And don’t you find it interesting that the MRC has agreed to look at Voltair with stations who have gone to them based on their own observations? Look at it from the outside. What do those stations gain? It is almost as if they have post purchase dissonance and need someone to tell them they made the correct decision.” Read Kabrich’s interesting blog piece here.
What Would it Take to Reunite Mike Francesa and Chris Russo? That’s what New York sports talk fans are probably wondering after a passing question to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo by YES Network (and WEPN-FM, New York) personality Michael Kay about whether he’d considering working with WFAN, New York afternoon personality Mike Francesa again received the answer, “Yeah, I would. Definitely. I miss the camaraderie.” Francesa was asked the same question by Newsday and told the paper that he would consider it. Both Russo and Francesa are under contract to their respective employers – Russo through 2016 with SiriusXM and Francesa with CBS RADIO through 2017. It’s no secret that Francesa is unhappy with his relationship with CBS. NJ.com reports that Russo told Kay he handled his 2008 exit from WFAN and the Francesa partnership poorly and wishes he’d been more up front about the situation.
Dirk Van to Retire from Westwood One’s ‘First Light.’ For 26 years, Dirk Van has been the only host of Westwood One’s early morning news magazine “First Light,” but he announces that Thursday, July 30 will be his last day. The company says he “leaves with a legacy of accomplishments and awards.” Dirk also hosts “The Week in Review” news program and has anchored morning drive newscasts throughout his successful career. Van says of his 35-year radio career, “Radio is all about people, and I’ve had the great fortune to work with the best in the business, following in the footsteps of my father, Lyle Van – a radio legend at NBC and WOR — and others greats like Lou Adler, Nick Verbitsky, Tom O’Brien, Ron Nessen, and Bart Tessler. Hosting our morning magazine, ‘First Light,’ has been an amazing experience and has allowed me to work with talented broadcasters for more than a quarter century. Talking to listeners on a daily basis has kept me grounded, and hopefully provided a window into what America is thinking. And to think — we started way back when talk radio was ‘new.’ Helping to create an exciting, new product, Westwood One News, has been especially rewarding, and being a part of its success is a great way to cap a career. And talk about ‘sailing off into the sunset’— that’s exactly what I plan to do, with my beautiful wife, Paula, who has put up with those agonizing broadcasters’ hours all these years. To all my friends at Westwood One, thank you!”
Talk Host Phil Valentine Wins Screenplay Competition. Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine picked up first place honors at the Colorado Film Festival in the screenplay competition. The Westwood One-syndicated personality’s “Derek Dickens & The Dream” screenplay is a fictional story of one man’s mid-life crisis that turns him into an international pop sensation when he takes on an imaginary persona through which he lives out his lifelong dream. This 50-year-old fabricates a 20-something British band, with himself at the lead, and it takes the world by storm. He realizes no one is prepared for this kind of success, at any age. Noting that the Colorado Film Festival is watched by industry pros, Valentine jokes, “I’ve been sitting by the phone waiting for a call from Hollywood. I already have Robert Downey, Jr. planned for the lead.” This is not the first accolade for this screenplay; it was a finalist in nine other film festivals, including the Beverly Hills Film Festival, the American Movie Awards, and the Atlanta Film Festival. Valentine has been dabbling in film alongside his radio career for several years now. He recently wrote and produced the award-winning documentary, “An Inconsistent Truth.”
BizTV and BizTalkRadio Enter News Game. The business news reports that will be available to air from 9:00 am to 5:05 pm daily are being produced by Little Rock-based Independent News Network. It is a five-minute, top-of-the-hour product that gives stations the option of running the whole cast or choosing from headlines, market reports or business stories. BizTV and BizTalkRadio EVP Scott Miller says, “We felt there was a void in the marketplace for business news. There are several great resources for news, but our TV and radio affiliates wanted a news product that follows the stock market and provides business centered news stories.”
Odds & Sods. Morning show personality Sergeant Sam Cox is retiring from his gig at Emmis-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin. Cox has been with the station for 28 years. He served with the Austin Police Department for 31 years and retired from the force in 1995…..WKGN, Knoxville is flipping from regional Mexican to sports talk after Hodges Media purchased the station from Richardo Espinosa for $225,000. The station is using Fox Sports Radio Network programming in addition to local shows. The station will work with the Tennessee Volunteers platform GoVols247.com. Nate Hodges and executive producer Brad Matthews will host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Tom Poisal will host the afternoon drive show…..Talk radio pro Adam McManus sits in for WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer” morning personality Rose Tennant August 17-21. He recently did fill-in work for KMJ, Fresno where PD Blake Taylor says, “Adam did a great job filling in at KMJ – lots of energy and thought-provoking topics. Generated tons of calls!”…..Three-time Super Bowl Champion and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth begins producing a new, weekly podcast on PodcastOne called, “The Stinkin’ Truth.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “What a great addition to our network of sports programming. A great athlete and communicator, Mark joins Shaq, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Ross Tucker and so many more on that list. Mark’s podcast will be a stand out, and we expect it to deliver a significant audience and become a featured attraction in the podcast world.”
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Chattanooga Killings Aftermath, New Planned Parenthood Video, Illegal Immigration-Kate Steinle Death, ‘El Chapo’ Escape-Mexican Corruption, and Sandra Bland Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the fragile state of the Iran nuclear deal and the response from nations around the world; the investigation into terrorist ties to Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez and the aftermath of the slayings; the surfacing of a second video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor haggling over the price of fetus body parts; ongoing talk about the state of the U.S.’s immigration policy and the death of Kate Steinle; talk about Mexican corruption in the wake of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison; and the arrest and subsequent death in jail of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.