Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Congressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’ In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking. Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional. Upton states, “Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.” Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.” Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’ These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.” Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10. You can read the entire letter here.
WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio. CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2. Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistently and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO. With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter. Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.” Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations. The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities. Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.” Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester. He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004. In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008. He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions. In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”
Cox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience. Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group. The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for growing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.” EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort. We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.” In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations. His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island. Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways. I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”
iHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel. Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station. ”This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states. ”I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.’” The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.
McMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD. Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria. McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007. During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.
Steve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays. Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009. Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.
WKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager. At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR. In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor. Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.
New Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster. Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales. SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse. Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.” Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities. She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization. She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.” The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”
Tom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines. TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations. Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations. The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes. Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules. Why? If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could be decoded by downstream EAS decoders. This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist. And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message. It could, in fact, panic the public. The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies. In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news. Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days. Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot. Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time. In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations. In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion. To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible. The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert. The FCC takes it seriously. The public takes it seriously. And it shouldn’t happen. For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Malkin Sells Website to Salem Communications. Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum. Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets. Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites. Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting. They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world. With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”
Local Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent. Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm. GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling. In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager. GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals. We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers. Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management. With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth. Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.” Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.” McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media. I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.” Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales. In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media. ”Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes. ”She will add immense value to Genesis Media.” Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.
24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias. Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias. From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits. Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Glen Macnow on Vacation While Contract Talks Ensue. There’s a lot of speculation in Philly about what the outcome of contract talks between CBS Radio and afternoon drive co-host Glen Macnow (who works with Anthony Gargano on “SportsRadio 94”). First, Macnow tells the Philadelphia Daily News’ Molly Eichel that he left in mid show on Monday (during a live remote from Chickie and Pete’s, no less) to allow Anthony Gargano time to segue into the Howie Roseman show. ”I actually wanted to do it as unobtrusively as possible, just to let people know what was going on. And I certainly didn’t want to not work today after that great Eagles game yesterday. I live for shows like today.” So while he and CBS are in contract talks, Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com says he hears Macnow will move to a more part-time role with the station and that the station plans to pair Rob Ellis with Gargano for the PM drive show in the New Year. The station tells the Daily News it is keeping any and all contract negotiations private.
Al Gardner Returns to Charlotte for Sports Talk Gig. Longtime WBT, Charlotte morning drive co-host Al Gardner will be back on the air in Charlotte but this time on HRN Broadcasting’s WZVG, Charlotte “730 ESPN Charlotte” beginning December 16 alongside Lanny Ford on “The Bottom Line” show. The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that Gardner tells him he’s looking forward to being involved with a local broadcasting endeavor. “They’re going to grow locally. That’s what I want to be part of.” Gardner left WBT more than two years ago to join Randy Michaels’ WWIQ, Philadelphia when the former talk station was launched in 2011.
Adams Returns to Clear Channel Portland as VP/Programming. CBS Radio Houston vice president of music programming Mark Adams leaves to oversee programming operations for Clear Channel‘s eight Portland stations. For eight years (2000 – 2008), Adams programmed Clear Channel Portland rhythmic CHR KXJM and was operations manager of then (talk) sibling KXL-AM (now Alpha Broadcasting sports outlet KXTG). Clear Channel Portland market president Robert Dove comments, “Mark has a proven track record and I know he will lead the Clear Channel Portland cluster to even greater ratings success.” Adams adds, “I am looking forward to working with all the incredible brands and teams in the market, and contributing to their future success. Portland is one of my favorite cities in the country and it’s exciting to have the chance to return to the Pacific Northwest and do some great radio.” Prior to joining CBS Radio in April 2008, Adams worked in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Fresno.
WSB, Atlanta Ups Bowers to General Sales Manager. With the promotion of Walt Phillips to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta operations earlier this fall, the company boosts Beth Bowers from her local sales manager post at news/talk WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM to general sales manager. CMG states that “in addition to continuing the proven tradition of success at news/talk WSB, Bowers will partner with the talented team of GSMs at the other stations in the cluster – ‘97.1 The River,’ ‘KISS 104.1’ and ‘B98.5.’ Together, the team will strategically lead CMG Atlanta’s radio sales organization into the future and offer unprecedented opportunities for advertising clients in the Greater Atlanta market.” Prior to becoming LSM for WSB in January of 2011, Bowers served as director of marketing for CMG Atlanta. She comments, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead this legendary station, as well as partner with the most talented sales staff in the country.”
CC’s Bob Pittman Explains View of Media Landscape in AdWeek Essay. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman pens a brief piece on his philosophy about dealing with the “disruption” that’s taking place in the media business in AdWeek. In it, Pittman states that he believes a crucial mistake to make is to follow conventional wisdom and allow yourself to be hyped. In our business, Pittman says that translates into dumping all other media and putting all your eggs into the shiny new basket that is digital. Pittman advises to be aware of the behavior of the consumer and further asserts his belief that a mix of media is a winning plan for advertisers in this era. Read the entire piece here.
Nielsen Audio Releases Select Data from RADAR 119. The December 2013 RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) is data culled from the 48 PPM markets Nielsen measures between September 13, 2012 to September 11, 2013 and it concludes that “more than 178 million persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period. Keep in mind that RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks and doesn’t purport to account for listening to all network radio programming. The study concludes that in the top 25 DMAs (designated market areas), network radio demonstrates extensive reach including: 70.5% of persons aged 12+ (92,593,000 persons); 73.7% of persons aged 18-49 (50,599,000 persons); and 74.5% of persons aged 25-54 (48,331,000 persons). Subscribing networks are happy to release their success stories and AdLarge Media reports that its ROI Network debuted in this report and was “#1 with Adults and Women 18-49; and Women 25-54, Monday-Sunday and Monday-Friday, 5A-8P.” AdLarge co-founder and president Cathy Csukas states, “We promised our advertisers an expansive network and the results of AdLarge’s ROI Network debut delivered. The robust female showing bolsters our commitment to help advertisers connect with this hard-to-reach demographic that has strong purchasing power.” WestwoodOne issues a statement saying that it is “proud to be a part of RADAR’s expanding networks within the audio landscape. In addition to proving that radio is alive and well and that its audiences are broadening, today’s RADAR 119, released by Nielsen Audio, showcases more diversity in network offerings.” WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer adds, “Overall growth is positive for the audio category, and for RADAR. Generally, the December RADAR is a non-event because many networks re-configure their lineups and publish special tabs at this time of year, WestwoodOne included. It is exciting to welcome a new company into the RADAR marketplace and to the Network Radio Research Council. We look forward to more diversity in the promotion of network radio audiences.”
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is expanding to two hours on Radio Colorado Network’s KRCN, Longmont, Colorado airing from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Grande describes his show as “thoughtful economy and investing dialogue with news, stock market updates, timely interviews and only Phil tells you what Wall Street doesn’t want you to know.”…..CBS Radio’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94” is gearing up for “the most infamous annual radio event in the world” – WingBowl 22 – to be held at the Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2013. The sponsors include Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino. The station says this year it is offering the most prizes in the history of the event, including the top prize: $22,000 from Steven Singer Jewelers. For the first time ever, the contest offers two cars – one for the top local eater and one for the top college eater (two 2014 Chrysler 200’s from Barbera’s on the Boulevard), two bikes for Wingettes (two Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycles from Barb’s Harley Davidson) and other incredible prizes. And for the first time ever, Wing Bowl will have a college division, with the top collegiate eater winning one of the cars…..Minnesota Public Radio today announced that Jim Dwyer and Jean Taylor have been elected to MPR’s board of trustees. Dwyer is chairman and CEO of Michael Foods, a diversified processor and distributor of food products and one of the largest privately held companies in Minnesota. Taylor is president of Life is Now, a strategy and consulting firm that she founded in 2010, and a principal at Middle A Restaurants, a franchise development company.
Record Number of SCBA Radio Sales Training Graduates. The Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) has just presented certification awards to 31 new – or newer – sales professionals, sales assistants and individuals seeking a sales career in Southern California radio. That is a record number of people successfully completing the training classes, which were conducted from September 23 – December 5. SCBA President Thom Callahan comments, “The SCBA is firmly committed to helping our members train the next generation of professional radio sales executives. Each class and professional instructor brought a special focus for our students.” Included in the 10-week training curriculum were “New Business Development,” “Strategic Selling,” “Building Client Relationships,” “Interactive Selling,” and “Cold Calling Techniques.” The SCBA Sales Training Classes is a collaboration of the SCBA and the GSM Council of Southern California.
ObamaCare Criticism, Nelson Mandela Retrospective, Iran Negotiations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; remembrances of the life and times of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela; the instability of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and Congress’ plans for renewed sanctions; and the snowy action in the NFL over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show. In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101” morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling. The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.” Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history. We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get going.” This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station. Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge. Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave Ramsey. Joan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR. Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”
John DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.” This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment. Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks. Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me. Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”
Saunders Begins Daily Talk Show. WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM. Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner. Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster. She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM. After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio. Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders. The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share. Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”
Flora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs. Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca. Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.” In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.” Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team. He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands. Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix. I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years. DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.
Yankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99″ to its Radio Network. Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99″ signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season. Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse. We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.” CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99′ and Galaxy. They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse. We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.” In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.
KIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000. Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5). KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children. Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential. It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.” Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon. We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.” Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers. Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty. Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000. The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.
Beasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash. The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.
NEW Rosters Coming to SF Talk Outlets. In the banner story first published yesterday (see next item), TALKERS detailed Clear Channel‘s plans for significant changes involving heritage Los Angeles talker KFI and under-performing sibling KTLK-AM – which will be re-branded as “The Patriot.” The City of Angels, however, is not the only locale where the company is mixing things up with its talk properties. As of the first of the year, modified talent lineups will surface on a pair of Clear Channel San Francisco facilities. Changes on “960 KNEW” will include Rush Limbaugh on from 9:00 am – 12:00 Noon, Sean Hannity 12:00 Noon – 3:00 pm, and Andy Dean from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Glenn Beck will continue to air in morning drive (6:00 am – 9:00 am). Casts from Fox News Radio will air at the top and bottom of every hour. Down the dial five clicks to the left on “910 KKSF,” Armstrong & Getty will add an hour (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Frosty Stilwell moves to 10:00 am -1:00 pm; and Randi Rhodes (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) segues from KNEW. Gil Gross will remain in his afternoon drive slot (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Vice president of programming Don Parker comments, “We are excited to continue to grow the live and local programming on ‘Talk 910′ with the expansion of Armstrong & Getty. We are also thrilled to welcome the Bay Area’s leading midday talk personality, Randi Rhodes, to ‘Talk 910.’ The new lineup on ’960 KNEW’ will be a destination for conservative listeners who follow America’s top personalities – all in one place.” Among persons 6+ this November (PPM), KKSF-AM ranked #17 (2.1, +.1 from October’s 2.0), while KNEW finished at #31 (flat from October’s .4).
Clear Channel Los Angeles Blows Up Progressive Talk KTLK; Creates New Conservative Talker. Progressive talk radio takes another blow as Clear Channel Media + Entertainment prepares to flip KTLK, Los Angeles to “The Patriot AM 1150” in the New Year with the following lineup: Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, PM drive TBA, and Clark Howard. That leaves a midday hole at sister KFI (Limbaugh airs there from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon right now) as the station moves Bill Carroll to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot leaving the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show host TBA for now. In a statement, program director Robin Bertolucci says, “Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic radio markets in the United States and we want to present the best of talk radio from across the spectrum. These changes are designed to give our current and future programming a home where listeners can find and enjoy their favorite talk show hosts.” Some of the current KTLK air talent will remain with the company. PM drive host David Cruz will still talk local issues Saturdays from 12:00 to 2:00 pm on KTLK. Cruz will also join the KFI news team, reporting local news for the station in addition to his weekend community show. Mo’ Kelly adds another weekend edition of his program to the KFI weekend schedule. His show will air on both Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The move takes Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes and Bill Press off the schedule.
KOGO, San Diego PD Cliff Albert’s Status in Question. The local radio blog SanDiegoRadio.org is reporting that sources tell it longtime KOGO, San Diego program director Cliff Albert (along with talk host Steve Yuhas) has left the building. This has not been confirmed and Albert’s “Cliff’s Notes” commentary on the KOGO website is still active – often a dismissed staffer’s likeness and content are purged upon leaving. Albert has been programming KOGO for the past 17 years.
Steve Murphy to Retire from WCCO, Minneapolis. After 33 years with the station, morning anchor and managing editor Steve Murphy is retiring from the CBS Radio news/talk station at the end of the year. Murphy says that his wife recently retired from her nursing job and he’s ready to hang up the headphones and stay up past 7:30 in the evening. CBS Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo says, “He’ll be sorely missed. Steve is a wonderful example of a professional radio journalist with a great sense of news, a confident, soothing but direct delivery and an uncompromising work ethic that will be difficult to duplicate.” Murphy himself made the news last month after getting mugged and beaten while on the way to work at 2:30 am. He says that incident had no impact on his decision but rather the idea of sleeping past 2:30 am was a huge factor.
Lincoln Financial Media Appoints Prain DOS in Miami. Lincoln Financial Media announces broadcast pro and media sales consultant Jim Prain is named director of sales for the company’s Miami cluster that includes: AC WLYF, “LITE 101.5,” classic hits WMXJ, “MAGIC 102.7,” and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM “104.3 The Ticket.” LFM Miami SVP and general manager Maureen Lesourd states, “I have had the privilege to know Jim throughout his career and find him a highly credible, accountable and strategic thinker. His leadership will help propel our sales effort to meet the growing demands of our clientele and maximize all the on air, online and social media assets we have to offer.” Prain’s media career includes 25-plus years of media management experience in major and large markets, including positions at companies such as ABC, ABC/Cap Cities and Cox Media. He also invested two years as a small business owner in Detroit, where he launched a power sports company. Prain comments, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maureen and LFM CEO Don Benson over the years and feel this is the perfect fit for me professionally and personally. My passion for helping our customers, combined with the recent benefits of owning a small business, affords me a unique perspective on both sides of the marketing equation. I’m excited to get started.”
Norm Pattiz and PodcastOne Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek Piece. Westwood One founder and current chairman and CEO of Courtside Entertainment Group and subsidiary PodcastOne, Norm Pattiz, is featured in a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek where he projects revenue from podcasts for his company will reach $8 million for this year. He expects that figure to hit $15 million in 2014. The piece includes more figures: Pattiz says his 200 programs on PodcastOne are averaging 100 million downloads per month and have attracted advertising attention from such corporations as Ford Motor, 21st Century Fox’s Fox, Walt Disney’s ABC, and Hulu.com. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk host Dan Sileo – most recently with WMEN, West Palm Beach – is doing holiday fill-in work at Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned sports talker XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090.” Sileo – who’s also worked at WQAM, Miami and WDAE, Tampa, to name a few – tells TALKERS magazine he’ll be doing morning drive (6:00 am to 9:00 am) from December 23 through 31…..Former WPGB, Pittsburgh morning team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent hosted a live broadcast in conjunction with a Toy Treasures charity event at a Pittsburgh-area hair salon this morning. The pair signed copies of their book, Thanking Our Soldiers…..Galaxy Communications-owned classic rock duo WTKW, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV, Oswego, New York (Syracuse market) sign up with CBS Radio to be the local affiliate for New York Yankees baseball for the 2014 season.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity becomes part of KTLK, Los Angeles’ lineup in the New Year…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the programming lineup at WMEL, Melbourne, Florida…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville and KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 2-6. Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the decline in support for President Obama from the Millennial generation. Following at #3 was the Rush Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism flap followed by the Iran nuclear weapons talks and the NSA cell phone location database story tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.” Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”
Vali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii. The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities. Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.” Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster. During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii. Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.
PodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable. Titled after her best-selling book Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne. The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.” The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’” PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from. We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”
WTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire. Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year. Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned. He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business. By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.” Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause. Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them. He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless! He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf. For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP. He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.” RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
A Farewell to Jim Farley. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC. After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies. Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end. Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash. Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd! YOU did it. YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit. I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue. The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up. According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there. After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code. Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence. In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site. Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.
Credit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment. He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest? CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today. Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams. “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe reigns supreme. At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition. The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week. Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.
Holiday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.” The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today. The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000. The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.
Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest. That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City. He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less. The movie also stars Jane Seymour. Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming. He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast. I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”
ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.