Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Boyce: Talk Radio Is NOT Dying. In a new opinion piece posted today in TALKERS, Salem Communications VP/director, spoken word format and operations VP, New York region, Phil Boyce, answers the steady stream of critics who claim that news/talk radio is gasping its last gulp of air. He writes, “They seem to come out of the woodwork these days. Most of them never understood talk radio, and why it got so big. Some of them have their own personal dislikes about the format, and now that there are rumors of our death, they relish in it. I have seen more reasons for this than I can shake a stick at, and NONE of it makes sense to me.” Boyce takes issue with the findings of the recently released report from Bridge Research (originally exclusively published in TALKERS on10/15) stating that listeners are fatigued by the repetitive nature of today’s media news cycle and talk radio’s response to it. Boyce also answers a widely disseminated blog by a political science professor in Human Events claiming talk radio is dying because of “conservative greed” and takes a shot at Nielsen’s ongoing exclusion of online numbers when tallying radio audience figures, an omission that is particularly detrimental to news/talk. To read Phil Boyce’s entire piece, please click here.
Dave Ramsey Delivers in Seattle. This photo shows nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey heading out onto the stage at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on October 16 where he presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event. For this presentation, Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage to talk about winning with money, strengthening marriages and leading children with confidence. The day before, Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” along with speakers Chris Hogan and Christy Wright. That presentation focused on how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 team members. Local affiliate KTTH partnered with Ramsey to promote the events. Station program director Jason Antebi says, “Whenever Dave comes to town, people get excited – from the listeners to the station’s staff. Not only does he provide great inspiration and insight to listener’s lives through his show and top-notch events, his team offers some great tips we can impart to our sellers. Can’t Dave just move to Western Washington?”
Salem Stations Hold Listener Rallies in Advance of Elections. Three of the conservative news/talk stations owned by Salem Communications are holding listener rallies in the weeks leading up to the November 4 elections. On October 18, KSKY, Dallas “660 AM The Answer” welcomes Premiere Networks syndicated star Sean Hannity who joins local hosts Mark Davis and Jon David Wells to a sold-out event where potential 2016 presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz will appear. On October 19 in Glendale, California KRLA “AM 870 The Answer” is presenting “Town Hall 2014” featuring the “Morning Answer” team of Brian Whitman, Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss, along with Salem Radio Network national hosts Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. Townhall.com columnist Katie Pavlich will also be in attendance. Then on October 24 and 25, WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” presents an event featuring local host and former congressman Joe Walsh, morning team John Howell and Amy Jacobson, Sean Hannity, potential presidential candidate Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, author and speaker Mark Steyn, and Radio America syndicated personality Dana Loesch. Sean Hannity comments, “It’s always a blast to see our listeners face-to-face and feel their excitement as we move into the final stretch of this important election season.” Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “All of our news/talkers have been all over this election season for months and these events will help them capitalize on the enthusiasm and interest in three of our largest markets. It’s just another thing we do to stay connected to the community.”
Odds & Sods. At the CBS RADIO cluster in Chicago, the company promotes Ashley Fields from her director of marketing position at sports talk WSCR to marketing director of all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and WSCR. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the addition of Cubs broadcasts on WBBM-AM beginning next season means a new focus on sports programming for the all-newser. Feder reports Fields will also “oversee integrated marketing and non-tradition revenue efforts for Cubs baseball and Bears football on WBBM Newsradio and White Sox baseball on ‘The Score.’”…..SiriusXM personality Joe Madison is one of a number of DC VIPs being honored in Washington on Sunday, October 26 at “No Permission Needed 2014” – the 10th anniversary celebration and afternoon of fine art by M. Gasby Brown. The event pays tribute to Detroit natives who’ve “lived, worked and played in Washington, DC.” WPGC, Washington news anchor Guy Lambert is serving as master of ceremonies for the celebration…..Former WQAM, Miami evening personality Kevin Rogers is now handling weekend news anchor duties for iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WIOD. During his time with Beasley Broadcast Group, Rogers also was studio host for the Florida Panthers Radio Network…..Angie Austin is the new host of “Daybreak USA,” syndicated by Ten Syndication and IRN-USA Radio Network. She most recently was a personality at Crawford Broadcasting-owned religious stations KLTT and KLVZ in Denver.
Bob & Tom Debut Customized Football Songs. The first affiliate to get a Bob & Tom customized football song is iHeartMedia-owned classic rock WOFX, Cincinnati “Fox 92.5.” The Westwood One-syndicated morning show duo is creating the songs for affiliates in markets with college or pro football teams. The song for WOFX promotes the Bob & Tom show while getting listeners pumped for the next Bengals matchup. Sample the Cincinnati Bengals song, “Who Dey,”
Ebola Pandemic Threat Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 13-17. The growing threat of an Ebola pandemic along with associated topics including criticism of the CDC, the Obama Administration’s response and questions about travel restrictions combined to be the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 on the Talkers TenTM was the battle against ISIS. Following at #3 was the looming mid-term elections and chatter about the possibility of a majority change in the House and at #4 was Florida’s Charlie Crist-Rick Scott debate flap. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Westwood One to Cease Production of NBC News Radio. Affiliates received the word yesterday (Wednesday, 10/15) by way of a note from senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green that NBC News Radio newscasts and other programming will no longer be produced/distributed by Westwood One. As a substitute, Westwood One will soon provide its own CNN-powered branded news network. Green writes that Westwood One News will offer stations “enhanced programming, correspondent reports and news features. Westwood One News is designed to help stations integrate their local branding into newscasts with greater flexibility, including selecting one- to five-minute newscasts based on need and preference.” Westwood One will halt production/distribution of the NBC News Radio network as of 12:00 midnight (ET) Monday, December 15.
Chris Merrill Moves to iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix. It turns out that Chris Merrill – most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego – will not be banished to the evening slot there but will move to the company’s KFYI, Phoenix to take over the afternoon drive show being vacated by Mike Broomhead, who moves to mornings. KOGO shifted to a newsier show format for its morning and afternoon drive dayparts and had slated Merrill to host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show. But with Barry Young retiring from KFYI and Broomhead taking over his mid-morning slot, an opening on the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show was created that Merrill will fill beginning November 10. KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “We are beyond thrilled to bring Chris into town! He is an up-and-coming superstar who understands the evolution of talk radio. With Chris joining the team, KFYI is perfectly positioned for much success in 2015 and beyond.”
Sean Salisbury Gets More Air Time in Houston. According to a report by the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron, Sean Salisbury will replace Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon on the KFNC, Houston “ESPN Houston 97.5” 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program alongside station sports director Dave Tepper. Salisbury also co-hosts the Yahoo! Sports Radio afternoon show with John Granato heard on KGOW in the market. Solomon is leaving the radio show to focus on his news duties.
Bob Frantz Lands at Toledo Sports Talker. After being ousted in July from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he hosted the evening show, Bob Frantz finds a radio home at Cumulus Media’s sports talk WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket” on the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show. WLQR recently parted company with Norm Wamer who held down that daypart. According to a story in the Toledo Blade, Frantz will broadcast from his home in Northeast Ohio as well as from the station’s Toledo studios. The paper quotes Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart saying the program will be “a Northwest Ohio sports talk show” that will also cover Detroit, Cleveland and South Bend sports.
WTOP, Washington to Present Live Ebola Program from Newseum. Washington all-news outlet WTOP is presenting a special town hall program on Monday, October 20 at 10:00 am live from the Knight TV Studio at the Newseum in DC. The Hubbard station says it will examine the threat of Ebola in the U.S. and beyond. The program will be hosted by WTOP anchors Bruce Alan and Debra Feinstein and will feature expert guests Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jesse Goodman, professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and active infectious diseases clinician at the Washington DC VA Medical Center and Walter Reed Medical Center. The station also extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control to join the panel. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “WTOP is pleased to facilitate an in-depth discussion on this important subject. The town hall format gives everyone a chance to ask questions directly of two preeminent physicians on the forefront of the battle against this deadly disease.” The Knight TV Studio will seat 150 people for this broadcast.
Perez Appointed VP/GM of Salem Miami. At the Salem Communications Miami cluster, Felix Perez is tapped to be vice president and general manager. Perez – who has nearly 23 years of experience in Spanish media – was most recently vice president and general manager of Univision New York. Salem radio division senior vice president Allen Power comments, “We are excited about having Felix at the helm in Miami. His years of leadership in media; his focus in Spanish radio; and his track record for exploiting new opportunities and solving problems make him uniquely qualified for this role.” Perez remarks, “Salem’s values and mission are a great match for my own personal business philosophy. The company’s record of delivering for all of its constituencies while holding true to its mission makes it unique.” Salem’s Miami cluster consists of Christian talk WHIM “The Answer”; Spanish Christian talk WKAT “Radio Luz”; Spanish variety WOCN “La Nueva”; and business talk WZAB “The Biz.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Incredible talk show talent needed. WORD 106.3, the news/talk leader in Greenville, SC, has a rare and immediate opening for an exceptional talk show personality. The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator able to connect with the conservative values of our on-air and social media audiences and will have the skills and desire to become a trusted talent that WORD 106.3 listeners can depend on for local, state and national topics. You will have a team of like-minded professionals, with on-air skills. You will work in a fast-paced, challenging environment and you will have unbridled desire to dominate your time slot and make your brand iconic in the 59th largest market. You’ll work at the largest cluster in the State of South Carolina for Entercom, the best broadcaster in the radio space. You’ll live in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina and have the support and tools you need to be successful and create a powerful local brand. Is this you? You have experience preparing and executing an interactive, engaging, successful talk show. You are a master of creativity, imagination and professional judgment in writing, producing, interviewing and creating content. You are wired to what’s important to your audience and know how to deliver it to your audience on air and with social media. Required Experience: A demonstrated track record of on-air success that will translate to success at WORD 106.3. Please submit your resume to email@example.com. Entercom Greenville is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Ebola Pandemic Threat/CDC Criticism, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Financial Markets Activity/Falling Oil Prices, Battle Against ISIS, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). The threat of an Ebola pandemic, criticism of the Obama Administration’s and CDC’s handling of the matter and concerns over the lack of travel bans from countries with Ebola outbreaks; the looming mid-term elections and talk about the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the tumultuous global financial markets and falling oil prices; the battle against ISIS, and the two MLB championship series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Doug Stephan and WYD Media Management Partner for Syndication. The new relationship between nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan and Ron Hartenbaum’s WYM Media Management means WYM begins handling affiliate sales for Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” morning show and it will oversee the national launch of “Good Day Weekend,” a three-hour show that will be available for broadcast any time, every weekend. The two partners say the new show will feature “segments and stories in real time, discussing the week’s breaking news with lively interviews of newsmakers and plenty of advice and fun commentary.” Doug Stephan comments, “Ron and his talented team bring a level of professionalism and credibility that will surely take ‘Good Day’ to unprecedented levels. I’m looking forward to working with such a wonderful partner.”
The Village Voice Names Geraldo Best AM Radio Host in NYC. The iconic New York paper is out with its 2014 Best Of Awards and WABC late morning personality Geraldo Rivera takes the Best AM Radio Personality Award. The paper writes, in part, “Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say. The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards like Bill O’Reilly, which he often does on that toad’s own show with style and red-faced grace.” Check out the full story here.
Full Service FM Signal Begins Serving Muskegon, Michigan. The programming at WFFR, Muskegon, Michigan is a blend of talk and music that launched on Monday, October 13 as a non-profit station operated by Shoreline Broadcasting. Local radio pros – including Andy O’Riley, Bill Marshall and Matt Hendricks – are serving as on-air personalities. According to MLive.com, the station is branding itself, “The Official Radio Station of Muskegon County.” The station is playing music – mostly classic rock – when it’s not airing spoken-word content. O’Riley, who is also serving as the station’s general manager, says on the station’s website, “Our focus will be on making sure that our role as a community asset will be appreciated and used often. Yes, we need to make a living but we also need to be the voice of a community.”
Farm Journal Broadcast to Debut Digital Platform. From Farm Journal Broadcast comes a digital mobile radio service called, “My Farm Radio.” The company says that the new digital effort is set to debut on November 3 and will focus on providing a mix of best-in-class news, weather and markets along with entertaining and informative conversation for America’s farmers and ranchers. It will feature both a live stream and on-demand content. Farm Journal Media SVP of broadcast Brian Conrady says, “All the latest research indicates that for a growing number of farmers and ranchers, mobile devices are rapidly becoming the go-to choice for news and information. While this totally new offering will be a first for agriculture, we expect our audience – and clients – will quickly associate ‘My Farm Radio’ as the Pandora-type app for agriculture.” My Farm Radio will launch with the full portfolio of programs and reports from Farm Journal Media, including “AgriTalk,” “Market Rally,” and “American Countryside.” In addition, the company will be approaching potential programmers to make their shows or reports available on the app, or even own their own channel on the platform.
Big Radio Brings Back Heritage WBEL Calls to Beloit, Wisconsin Station. The Scott Thompson-operated Big Radio company announces a change of call letters as WTJK, Beloit is now WBEL-AM – the calls it originally signed on with in 1948. Thompson says, “The future of AM1380 is in its past…For years, it was the powerhouse radio station not only for Beloit, but for the entire Rock River Valley in both Wisconsin and Illinois. Because it is a full-time 5,000 watt radio station, we intend to bring it back to its glory days. Local news, weather and high school sports together with local, real, non-satellite personalities will air from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Now with the addition of WGEZ in Beloit, Big Radio will be able to broadcast on both WBEL and WGEZ from their studios in downtown Beloit.” The WGEZ purchase from Alliance Communications is expected to be approved by the FCC by the end of the year. At the same time, the company announces that Ben Thompson (son of Scott), is named general manager of WGEZ and market manager for Janesville/Beloit. Ben Thompson has been with Magnetar Capital, an Evanston, Illinois-based hedge fund, since graduating from DePaul University in finance and accounting. He will be moving to Beloit and starting effective December 1, 2014.
U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat, the Battle Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Hong Kong Protests, Financial Markets Activity, and MBL Playoffs and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The case of the second Texas hospital worker to become infected with Ebola and the threat of a pandemic; the coalition battle against ISIS and controversy over the U.S. and Turkish military relationship; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential election; the protests in Hong Kong and China’s response to the matter; the dip in U.S. stocks and the activity in the global financial markets; and the MLB playoffs and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
News/Talk Radio and the Oversaturated News Cycle – Study Reveals Listener Fatigue. Highly respected media research firm Bridge Ratings has been annually monitoring the consumption patterns of news/talk radio and has just released its latest findings which shed light on the perceived softening of listenership to this format that remains one of the most popular broadcast radio formats among Americans. The study, which analyzed perceptions and behavior from a national news/talk listener panel, uncovered a significant level of listener FATIGUE – not only with the format but with news coverage; more specifically, talk radio topics related to politics and the frequency with which they air. To read the entire report on the study and how a general national news coverage malaise has affected American radio listening, please click here.
KOGO, San Diego Gets Newsier. The programming at iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego was tweaked on Monday to reflect its “commitment to news programming,” according to program director Brian Long. To accomplish that, the station shuffles some of the talk shows to different dayparts and moves talent accordingly. LaDona Harvey leaves her midday talk show and is paired up with Ted Garcia to host “San Diego’s Morning News.” Moving out of morning drive is Chris Merrill who is now heard from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. In afternoon drive, Bob “Sully” Sullivan vacates that daypart and is now heard from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Ernie Brown and Marilyn Hyder are hosting “KOGO’s Afternoon News.” Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh remains in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Finally, former longtime program director Cliff Albert is back at the station hosting the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm “KOGO’s News at Noon” program. Brian Long comments, “We have assembled a fantastic lineup that will keep our audience informed on-air, online and through social media platforms.”
Tantaros and Talk Radio Network Settle. The terms of the settlement will remain confidential as they almost always do in cases such as these, but a US District Court in New Jersey has dismissed the suit brought by Fox News Channel personality Andrea Tantaros against Talk Radio Network with prejudice after the two sides settled the matter. Tantaros had claimed in her suit that Talk Radio Network had breached its contract with her and that it had misrepresented its operations – including its ability to market her radio talk show – and that it had neglected to make her aware of its suit against ad rep firms working with it when it wooed her to begin hosting a nationally syndicated program. Tantaros is a host of “The Five” on Fox News Channel.
WBT, Charlotte’s John Hancock Videos Bold Look at Legal Pot. The experience of WBT, Charlotte talk show host John Hancock buying weed at a legal marijuana shop in Colorado while on vacation has been chronicled on video and the Greater Media news/talk outlet posted the video on its site here. TALKERS asked Hancock, who does a tremendous job walking the viewer through the process of buying legal pot and asking questions of the proprietor in the video, how his decidedly conservative audience has responded to his posting a video of himself buying marijuana to consume. He says, “My older demo is either ‘disappointed’ in me, or vowing to quit listening. The majority seem intrigued by the process of buying weed legally. Many wonder how I enjoyed ‘experimenting’ again! Bill Clinton may have never inhaled, I still haven’t exhaled…” Hancock laughs when he tells TALKERS that a listener called in to say, “Can’t wait for the video of your trip to Nevada,” joking about exploring legal prostitution!
Odds & Sods. At the Toledo operations of Cumulus Media, Norm Wamer exits his positions as host of “The Front Row with Norm Wamer” heard on sports talker WLQR-FM, and as program director for sister news/talk WLQR-AM, the latter a post he’d held for the past 14 years…..WPEN-FM, Philadelphia host Mike Missanelli is catching flak from the media, football fans and more after his Tweet following the season-ending knee injury of Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Missanelli Tweeted, “Hey Giants Fans: Victor Cruz is over. Dance to that.” Missanellli removed the Tweet minutes later and apologized claiming he thought Cruz just dropped the ball and that he was unaware Cruz was injured on the play.
U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat, Battle Against ISIS, Financial Markets Activity, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Oregon ‘First Fiancee’ Scandal, NFL and MLB Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The heightened concern over the CDC’s and U.S. hospitals’ ability to combat Ebola in America; the battle against ISIS and the Obama Administration’s ability to build a coalition of nations in the region to fight the organization; the dipping U.S. stock market and the state of the global financial markets; the looming mid-term elections tied with the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the scandal plaguing Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancée; and the weekend’s NFL and MLB playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TV’s “Bones” Episode Takes Shot at Conservative News/Talk Radio. The cry keeps emanating from the media world and beyond. “Radio is dying or is already dead!” Particularly AM talk radio. Then a question comes to mind. If the format is dead then why does a prime time, long-running, TV hour crime drama devote the theme of one of its shows to the murder of an AM radio conservative, talk show host? Did any of you watch this past Thursday night’s (10/9) episode of “Bones?” It was titled, “The Purging of the Pundit.” If you haven’t ever seen the program, the theme of the entire series is simply about a female scientist who appraises the remains of murder victims and partners with her FBI agent husband to solve the crimes. In this particular episode the victim was an AM radio conservative talk show host who was named “Hutch.” They also portrayed him as overweight and, for a little extra spice and color, a sadomasochist in the thrall of a dominatrix. In an opinion piece posted today (10/13) in TALKERS, H&H Communications president and radio marketing maven Al Herskovitz writes, “Unless I’m suffering from serious paranoia, most of the elements including the name, with some slight exceptions, minor exaggerations and a few twists, strike me as a barely-veiled description of someone in our business with whom we all are familiar. It’s hard to believe the medium — AM radio — troubles the TV producers to that degree. The only logical conclusion is they object to the talk host’s political positions and find this a way to use their program to get out their message while still keeping it under the umbrella of entertainment. Or perhaps, they are simply trying to appeal to what they assume are the predisposed beliefs of their target viewership and shamelessly illustrating (and amplifying) a nasty caricature based on a stereotype. There are numerous conclusions for us that can be drawn from this. But here’s one really important one. Don’t sell short your format. Talk radio continues to make major impact on our society. Obviously it has some TV producers concerned.” To read Herskovitz’s entire article, please click here.
Greenville Remembers Russ Cassell. Entercom Greenville, South Carolina-owned WYRD “WORD 106.3″ 8:00 am – 12:00 noon talk show host Russ Cassell passed away over the weekend. The 60-year-old Cassell reportedly suffered a massive heart attack at his home Saturday morning (10/11) and could not be revived; he had been with WYRD the past 20 years. Entercom Greenville vice president and general manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “The passing of Russ Cassell is a sad day for his family, our Entercom family, and his listeners. His passion was his radio program on ‘WORD 106.3.’ Cassell was a well-respected professional. He was a radio giant and it is difficult to express how much he will be missed.” Operations manager Bob McLain remarks, “There are some radio personalities who are larger than life – that was Cassell. He was passionate about what he believed, and he was dedicated to keeping people informed. He was a brilliant and very talented radio host and a personal friend. His loss will be greatly felt by all of us in the ‘WORD’ family, those who worked with him, and those who listened to him.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news and talk programming Tom Tradup oversees programming on Greenville’s WGTK and states of Cassell, “He was a tough competitor, but beloved throughout the upstate of South Carolina. All of us at ‘Conservative Talk 94.5′ have Russ’ family and Entercom colleagues in our prayers.” One listener comments on the station’s website that, “Russ Cassell was famous for saying ‘Know what you believe and why you believe it.’” Another writes, “His convictions were strong, but his compassion for humanity was stronger.” WFBC AM & FM, Greenville hired Cassell in December 1980 to do afternoons and color analysis for Clemson University football broadcasts. Six months later, he was promoted to morning drive. Cassell eventually became program director, music director, sales manager, and station manager. McLain hosted a WYRD memorial show for Cassell Saturday (10/11) at 6:00 pm. The station will continue paying tribute to Cassell all this week during what was his customary 8:00 am – 12:00 noon air-shift.
Nielsen Knew of TV Ratings Errors. In a story, which at the very least, is bound to raise some eyebrows in the radio industry, Nielsen last Friday (10/10) acknowledged that it had been reporting inaccurate television ratings for the last seven months. In a Friday conference call with reporters, however, Nielsen executives Pat McDonough and Steve Hasker downplayed viewer discrepancies, saying they fell between .1% – .25% of viewing totals. They repeatedly indicated incorrect ratings fell “well within the tolerance of statistical error.” Nielsen said it discovered a software flaw and traced it back to March. Inaccuracies, of course, could affect billions of advertising dollars based on the research company’s rating stats. WPP‘s GroupM is the world’s largest media buying group. A managing partner in charge of research there, Lyle Schwartz, tells The New York Times, “You look at Nielsen as the gold standard for currency. When you introduce these errors on systems that were working fine in the past, you start looking at the numbers a little bit closer to see if there is anything else occurring that we haven’t identified yet.” Nielsen execs say any changes in numbers or program rankings would be corrected when the company issues new TV ratings today (Monday, 10/13).
PPM Analysis: News. In several thorough breakouts, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian scrutinizes Nielsen Audio September PPM data for all-news outlets. Follow each news station’s trends for the last six monthly ratings sweeps and see how the format fares in terms of market share and market rank (6+). In addition, each all-news outlet’s year-to-year, as well as month-to-month performance is tracked. Mike Kinosian’s entire analysis can be viewed by clicking here.
SAG-AFTRA’s White Gains Four-Year Extension. SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White received a four-year contract extension yesterday (Sunday, 10/12). White comments, “This job presents new challenges every day and I am thrilled to continue in my role at SAG-AFTRA. It is an honor to represent SAG-AFTRA members and I look forward to continuing the great work we have accomplished to date.” Along with union president Ken Howard, White was a lead negotiator on the recent primetime television and feature film deal. White was a candidate for a similar position with the National Basketball Association this spring.
Will You Wear My Pin? One of the most dynamic broadcasters association presidents in America, New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) president Paul Rotella appoints noted presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin an honorary NJBA member. Seen here Rotella is pinning the coveted NJBA membership pin on Goodwin during a reception following her recent lecture at the New Jersey City University in Jersey City, and Paul’s mom, Jean Rotella, looks on along with NJ Chamber’s Ray Zardetto. The lecture series is a part of New Jersey’s year-long 350th birthday celebration.
Decatur’s WSOY Sets Benchmark Accomplishment. Although the stated goal of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois’ 12-hour “Community Food Drive” was 825,000 pounds of food,the Neuhoff Media talker looked to have the 13th annual event reach an even loftier, unanticipated objective of one million pounds. The event’s host – and one of its co-creators – Brian Byers admits, “I worry each year if we can make our set goal. Each year, I am grateful that we can reach what we set, but once I heard that we had a shot to hit one million [pounds], I knew we had to get there. It would not have sat well with me all year knowing we got so close [without reaching] it. We set high goals for ourselves. It is not the size of the community that should dictate what we can or cannot do – it is the generosity of the people. What we have in Decatur is unmatched anywhere.” The Salvation Army is one of the drive’s largest beneficiaries and three-year captain Wes Dalberg comments, “We see an increase in traffic through the Salvation Army each year, yet somehow, this community comes together and raises more and more donations – it really is amazing.” The WSOY food drive wrapped up last Friday (10/10) at 6:30 pm with 1,039,593 pounds of food as the final (record-setting) total. Monetary donations matched nearly one-third of what was collected during the combined sum of the station’s previous 12 food drives.
A Visit to Historic Ithaca. Well-known CBS Radio news correspondent Peter King (not to be confused with the sports guy) recently visited Cayuga Radio Group Ithaca, New York affiliate WHCU AM & FM. The station is included in “Ithaca Radio,” King’s just-published book he co-authored with his brother Rick Sommers. “Ithaca Radio” (Arcadia Publishing) contains many historical photographs from four legendary stations, including a 1940′s-era shot of legendary CBS News correspondent Edward R. Murrow at a WHCU microphone. Left to right are WHCU news director Greg Fry, co-author Rick Sommers, King, and WHCU morning host Lee Rayburn.
Ten “Giants of Broadcasting” Honorees Announced. The Library of American Broadcasting‘s 12th annual “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts” event will be held this Thursday (10/16). Honorees include Spanish Broadcasting System founder and chairman Pablo Raul Alarcon Sr.; SBS president Raul Alarcon Jr.; television producer/director David Barrett; “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor and co-managing director Gwen Ifill; talk show icon Regis Philbin; longtime New York City television anchor Chuck Scarborough; noted television programmer Fred Silverman; Greater Media chairman and chief executive officer Peter Smyth; a special tribute to Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver; and “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor and co-managing director Judy Woodruff. Hubbard Radio president Virginia Hubbard Morris chairs the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, which created the Library of American Broadcasting – located at the University of Maryland. Donald West chairs the Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards program.
Venison for Dinner. During the week, Lars Larson is a mild-mannered conservative talk show host on the air six hours a day on two shows. One is heard regionally in the Northwest on a network of 17 affiliates emanating from Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland; the other is nationally syndicated across the country on more than 100 affiliates by Compass Media Networks. On the weekends, Larson morphs into a rugged outdoorsman, taking on the untamed forests and natural wilderness of Eastern Oregon, braving encounters with wild beasts, and hunting for food to feed his family. This photo was taken this Saturday morning (10/11) as the proud champion of the Second Amendment displays his latest conquest felled at 450 yards with a Nosler rifle and .270 wsm shell.
Indefinite Extension Proposed to LPTV Digital Deadline. The FCC last Friday (10/10) released a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the issue of analog low power and translator TV stations. The Commission suggests extending indefinitely the present September 1, 2015 deadline for those stations to switch to digital transmission. Broadening the cut-off date would give new life for Channel 6 analog television stations that basically function as FMs, given that channel 6 audio is receivable on FM (at 87.75). The docket – open for comment 30 days after publication in the Federal Register – proposes LPTV and translator channel-sharing in the manner being proposed for full-power digital stations; creation of a new digital-to-digital replacement translator service; and elimination of the analog tuner requirement.