Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Remembering Don Pardo. “It’s Saturday Night Live.” One extremely simple sentence, yet only one exceptional voice will forever be associated with it or capable of making it sing. Don Pardo. The elegant gentleman with the huge booming pipes passed away Monday night (8/18) at the age of 96. His nearly-40 year association with NBC-TV’s “Saturday Night Live” was only one part of a voluminous resume on the network for which he had a lifetime pact. Only Bob Hope had a similar arrangement deal with the network. Revered by virtually anyone who has been behind a microphone, the beloved — and yes legendary — Pardo began his career in radio. The off-camera announcer for a multitude of game shows from “Jeopardy” to “Jackpot,” Don Pardo truly achieved pop culture status. “SNL” hosts and cast members felt they arrived once they heard their names uttered by him. Click here for managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s brief retrospective salute to the Massachusetts native and 2010 inductee in the Television Academy Hall of Fame whose voice and persona were a staple for so many.
SAG-AFTRA Condemns Arrest/Detention of Reporters Covering Ferguson, Missouri Events. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists, and other media professionals. It released the following statement: “As a union that represents broadcast journalists, including many local St. Louis broadcasters, we strongly support the rights of journalists not to be impeded in their efforts to report the news. Journalists have an obligation to report what is happening in their community, and the world. We ask that law enforcement in Ferguson permit journalists the freedom to do their jobs.”
Ferguson Unrest Tops Conversation on News/Talk Radio – KMOX, St. Louis is on the Scene. As the week develops, TALKERS research indicates the turmoil in Ferguson, MO tops the list of topics of conversation on news/talk radio. Taking advantage of their relative proximity, CBS’s heritage talker KMOX, St. Louis established a significant presence on the scene with mid-morning host Charlie Brennan and afternoon drive host Mark Reardon broadcasting their shows from the very heart of the troubled area amid the intense protests that have followed the police shooting of Michael Brown.
Marina del Rey Spotlighted As Next “KNX On Your Corner” Site. In addition to focusing on important issues and happenings in Marina del Rey (“The Marina”), the 14-hour (5:00 am – 7:00 pm) “On Your Corner” profile by CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles will feature nearby Playa del Rey, Del Rey, Playa Vista, and Westchester. Civic leaders will be interviewed throughout the special day of programming next month (Friday, 9/12) designed to give listeners insight into the unique attributes of the area. KNX will originate programming from Whiskey Red‘s in Fisherman’s Village. Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news from 5:00 am – 9:00 am; Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm); and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm news broadcast. “KNX On Your Corner” received a 2013 Golden Mike Award for “Best Feature News” from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.
SCBA Schedules Awards Luncheon for Outstanding Achievement in Radio Advertising. The special event of the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) and SCBA’s Sales Management Council will be held in approximately two months (10/16) at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City (Los Angeles). Selected regional advertisers will be honored with “Outstanding Achievement in Radio Advertising” awards. Former SCBA Lifetime Achievement Award winner – and current chairman and chief operating officer of U.S. International Media – Dennis Holt will be this year’s keynote speaker. SCBA president Thom Callahan explains that, “Based on last year’s sold-out event, we have expanded the nominating categories and our winning advertisers. We are absolutely thrilled by both client and agency response to this prestigious luncheon. This year’s winners represent the robust diversity and energy of Southern California radio advertisers; we are so proud to honor them. [This year's festivities] is on-pace to be another record sell-out. The enthusiasm and commitment to Southern California radio will be showcased by senior client management, their agencies, our member stations, and special guests – all coming together on this one special day to honor this year’s Southern California Radio Award winners.” Being recognized this year are: Children’s Miracle Network; First 5 California; Galpin Ford; Morongo Casino; WaBa Grill; and Westside Rentals. Awards in six categories of creative radio commercials, using both Southern California broadcast radio and its digital platforms, are voted on by the Sales Management Council.
Kelly Transfers to Clear Channel WPB as Director of Sales. Clear Channel Sarasota director of sales Bryan Kelly remains in the Sunshine State, but as of next Monday (8/25), he will traverse from the state’s west coast to West Palm Beach on the east coast in a similar capacity. West Palm Beach market manager John Hunt observes, “Bryan produced outstanding sales results in Sarasota and I know he will do the same in West Palm Beach.” Kelly comments, “I look forward to joining the exceptional West Palm Beach team assembled by John Hunt and [Clear Channel regional program manager] Dave Denver. It has been a goal of mine to represent Clear Channel in a fast-paced and competitive market.” Kelly will oversee the sales efforts for Clear Channel’s 10-station West Palm Beach cluster consisting of country WAVW; talk WAXE; talk WBZT; talk WJNO; classic rock WKGR; CHR WLDI; adult contemporary WOLL; oldies WQOL; Spanish contemporary WRLX; and talk WZZR. His previous Clear Channel assignments were in Tampa and Allentown.
WGN.FM To Air “The Big Payoff.” The Suzanne Muchin and Rachel Bellow-hosted show is for entrepreneurs and entrepreneur wannabes; it begins today (Tuesday, 8/19) at 11:00 am on Tribune Chicago’s WGN.FM. “The Big Payoff” will feature guest entrepreneur interviews and conversations about Chicago’s trending innovations and businesses. Video, full show podcasts and segments will be available on demand at WGN.FM. Beginning in roughly four weeks (9/15), segments will air on WGN-AM with Sirott & Murciano. President and general manager Jimmy de Castro advises listeners to, “Get ready for ‘The Big Payoff.’ Two seasoned business and media vets, Rachel Bellow and Suzanne Muchin, tell you like it really is out there in the new business world. It is absolutely worth a listen, whether you are a young entrepreneur; existing business looking for funding; or if you just want entertainment and to learn something.” According to Tribune Media president and chief executive officer Peter Liguori, “‘The Big Payoff’ could not be more timely, as entrepreneurship is a hot topic in Chicago right now.” Muchin remarks, “My roots are here, as are so many people and businesses that I want to bet on with my time, expertise, and network.” Bellow comments that, “Chicago is a special place where money and meaning are both valued which offers the perfect environment for entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses. This is the right place and time for us to land at WGN and WGN.FM.” Business partners since 1998, Muchin and Bellow have clarified the brand identity of an $8 billion philanthropy. Over the last seven years, they have founded three consulting agencies with client revenue topping $50 million. Three years ago through a partnership with New York-based 2MarketMedia, they launched “The Dirty Truth.” The two women will maintain a group of brand strategy clients through their consulting firm Mind + Matter Studio. Launched last September, WGN.FM focuses on content development, production, and digital distribution; “.FM” stands for “Freeform Media.”
“Billy Madison Show” and Nineball Radio Enter Syndication Deal. Owing to the just-signed pact with Nineball Radio, the weekday morning “Billy Madison Show” is now available for national distribution. Madison currently airs on Cox Media Group Tampa talker WHPT “The Bone, Real-Raw-Radio” and on CMG San Antonio rocker KISS. Nineball Radio president and chief executive officer Stefan Jones opines, “A show with such chemistry is rare, especially with the support of such a great company like Cox Media Group. Billy is a true professional who preps relentlessly and continually creates a show that is like nothing else being offered in rock syndication. He took KISS from 16th to number one, and he is number one at WHPT. I think the numbers speak for themselves. We are excited to be a part of it.” Madison’s show arrived in San Antonio in late-2011. Jones formed independent creator/clearance house for radio programming and services Nineball Radio as an underground prep service in 2005.
SiriusXM Now Airing “Back-To-School” Programming. The satcaster has a variety of such fare on multiple channels, including “SiriusXM Stars,” “Kids Place Live,” and “Doctor Radio.” Hosts and experts are offering parents practical advice for a stress-free back-to-school season. On “Stars” (SiriusXM channel 109), public health advocate Perri Peltz delves into cyber-bullying and the importance of talking to kids about it, while Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein provide money-saving back-to-school shopping tips and efficient prepping shortcuts. Alexa Von Tobel shares recommendations to effectively tackle the process of planning/financing higher education and Jenny Hutt offers advice on how to prepare kids transitioning to high school. On “Kids Place Live” (SiriusXM channel 78), “Absolutely Mindy” has a special guest each morning as she encourages a love for school in young listeners, and she shares recipes for healthy lunches. On “Doctor Radio” (SiriusXM channel 81), gastroenterologist Dr. Ira Breite offers advice to prevent stomach problems caused by stress and anxiety related to the start of the school year. Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Aronoff explains how to differentiate the natural rollercoaster of teenage hormones and emotions from the warning signs of depression. For the older child, a cardiac surgeon will discuss sudden cardiac arrest in youth sports and screening kids for heart conditions.
WTMJ, WISports.com Set to Kickoff ”Preps Live.” Live streams of 26 Milwaukee-area high school football games will be available this fall on Journal Broadcast Group’s WISports.com. A Smartphone channel has been created under JBG Milwaukee heritage talker WTMJ’s “Radio League” application, so that listeners can hear the “Preps Live” channel anywhere. Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer remarks that, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ has a great tradition of sports broadcasting, starting with the Green Bay Packers in 1929. In 2014, we continue to grow in our commitment to play-by-play with the addition of key high school match-ups.” WTMJ sports executive producer Doug Russell declares, “The ability to bring these games to friends and families [who] can’t be in the stands is what WTMJ sports is all about.” Meanwhile, J. Pat Miller, director of marketing & innovation for WTMJ and co-owned adult hits WLWK “The Lake,” points out the “Radio League” app features 10 music formats. “We are excited to add this Wisconsin-based preps sports station to our growing line-up of stations,” Miller notes. Matt Menzl and Alex Uhan headline the team of “Preps Live” football announcers; Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee plans to offer a full schedule of prep basketball games in the winter.
Odds & Sods. All this week, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway is broadcasting his program from Jerusalem. “The situation in Israel is something my audience comes back to again and again,” remarks Conway, who lived there for a year as a teenager. “I will be bringing some very powerful radio to Iowa.” Conway is part of the “Solidarity Israel” trip organized by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Affiliate Roundup. Talk Shows USA-syndicated/Tom Gresham-hosted “Gun Talk” adds the following affiliates: KARN-FM, Little Rock; WBRN, Big Rapids, Michigan; WNDA, New Albany, Indiana & WLRS, Eminence, Kentucky; and WINT, Willoughby, Ohio…. Most recent affiliates of “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge include: WPTK, Raleigh; WEZO, Augusta, Georgia, KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma; KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas; KAWW, Heber Springs, Arkansas; and WZTK, Alpena, Michigan.
Wanna Buy a Fantastic Radio Station Mobile Studio? Well. If you do, here is a rare opportunity to pick up a real gem. The legendary WGN, Chicago is letting go of its phenomenal mobile broadcast studio and tow truck. Seems it is too big to be conveniently used in the congested Windy City. But in a market where there’s space to move around, it is a fully-equipped, mind-blower that could put your station in front of everybody, boost sales, and significantly increase the value of your broadcasting asset. To learn more, please click here.
KOY Transitions From Business Talk To Mainstream Talk. Clear Channel Phoenix replaces its one-year business talk format on KOY “1230 The KFYI Business Channel” with mainstream talk under the “KFYI 2: The Next Generation of Talk” moniker. As KOY’s handle underscores, the station continues its association with co-owned mainstream talker KFYI. Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This is an exciting brand to put under the KFYI umbrella. Our approach of heavy digital messaging, new hosts, and more moderate content is geared toward the evolution of the information format.” The on-air roster for “KFYI 2″ is Armstrong & Getty (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Dana Loesch (10:00 am -1:00 pm); Casey Bartholomew (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); “America Now” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “TMZ Live” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); “Ground Zero” (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Bloomberg Radio (10:00 pm – 6:00 am). Having the distinction of being Arizona’s first radio station, KOY received its broadcast license in 1922 with the calls KFCB – “Kind Friends Come Back.” KFYI ranks seventh this July (4.3, 6+); Bonneville talker KTAR-FM finishes #14 (3.0); and Rio Salado College‘s KJZZ (NPR) is #19 (2.1). KOY does not appear in the July 2014 report.
Forty-One and Done For Ann Compton. Being the first woman assigned to cover the White House fulltime by any network was — in Ann Compton‘s opinion — an advantage since the President could not miss seeing her. The Chicago native, who began covering that demanding beat nearly 40 years ago, wants to devote more time to other things, such as being a grandmother. So, on September 10 — the anniversary of her 41st year with ABC News — she will retire. Click here for an in-depth feature piece by TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian to find out what Compton believed were her most challenging things early-on; vivid reflections on 9/11/2001; and why — and who — made being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame especially memorable.
Dr. Joy Browne Switching Networks to GCN. Longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred syndicated star Dr. Joy Browne’s show will be moving from present distributor Radio America to Genesis Communications Network (GCN) beginning Monday, September 8. The program will continue to air during its regular time slot of 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET. GCN will also syndicate Dr. Joy Browne’s “Best Of” weekend program, which will air Saturdays, 1:00 am – 4:00 am ET. Browne, a licensed clinical psychologist, hosts the longest running relationships program of its kind in syndication, airing on over 100 stations across the country including WNYM, New York. Her show offers listeners advice on issues ranging from relationships and marriage to finance and career. (She even reviews movies and comments on theater.) Regarding Browne’s show, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “With interest growing among talk radio broadcasters in expanding the menu beyond politics and getting back to a number of areas that have long been mainstays of spoken word commercial radio during its golden days, I suspect we will see the stock of a show like Joy Browne’s take a significant upward turn. After all, she’s remained a serious player on stations across the country during a period in which relationship shows have had tough going. Considering she is still the best in the genre, watch out world – Dr. Joy will be riding high for years to come.” Interested stations can contact GCN affiliate relations at (877) 996-4327, Ext. 241, 148 or 123 for more information.
KFWB Recruits Murphy as PD. When KFWB, Los Angeles flips from talk to sports next month, the station will be programmed by Owen Murphy, who has been working as a talent coach and sports radio consultant for several hosts. KFWB Asset Trust trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Owen has built great relationships with some of America’s premiere sports talents. He has a unique perspective and will provide a fresh approach for sports radio fans in Los Angeles.” Murphy remarks, “I cannot adequately express how excited I am to be part of a team that is going to serve the Los Angeles sports radio audience in a manner never before heard. Having [CBS Sports Radio's] Jim Rome as a centerpiece of the station’s new lineup is a thrilling base to build upon for the passionate sports fans of Southern California.” Rome will be heard on KFWB 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Murphy’s resume includes a 2009 – 2010 stint programming KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Seattle. He previously was an ESPN Radio producer for “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and was executive producer of “The Dan Patrick Show.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report, KFWB ranks #42 (.2). Its all-sports competitors are KSPN (1.2 in July, #28); KLAC (.9, #32); and KLAA (.3, #40).
NBA, ESPN Audio – Teammates for a 20th Season. For the 20th successive year, ESPN Audio will broadcast games of the National Basketball Association. This year’s ESPN – NBA schedule — which will feature 29 regular-season games — tips off in slightly more than two months (Tuesday, 10/28), with Tim Duncan and the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs hosting the Dallas Mavericks. ESPN Audio will broadcast a Christmas Day doubleheader, which will showcase San Antonio against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Immediately following that will be LeBron James’ first game back in Miami as the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Miami Heat. ESPN Audio will air the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals, as well as the 64th All-Star Game. Returning as ESPN Radio’s lead play-by-play voice and prime analyst are Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry, respectively. Calling/analyzing select games are Marc Kestecher and PJ Carlesimo.
Westwood One Taps Townsend as Senior Account Manager. Former Clear Channel New York sales manager Steve Townsend joins Westwood One‘s sales division as senior account manager. New York City-based Townsend reports to senior vice president of network sales Darrin Klayman, who states, “Steve has a proven track record and he comes with an immeasurable wealth of sales expertise. His multimedia experience and passion fit well into our desired DNA as we strive to build a team that will provide integrated multi-platform solutions for our clients.” Townsend meanwhile comments, “Westwood One is at the forefront of delivering solutions and driving revenue for clients. From its customized content, events, talent endorsements, local activations, digital initiatives, and geo-targeted programs, it is clearly the place to be; I am thrilled to be part of the momentum.” Townsend’s Clear Channel New York sales manager responsibilities were for adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM” and classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3,” as well as managing sales for the “Automotive” category for the company’s entire New York group. He previously was sales manager in New York City for then-Citadel-owned (now Cumulus) hot AC WPLJ; CBS Radio‘s WXRK (now CHR WBMP); and he was an account executive and national sales manager for classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM.
Conclave Confirms Smith As Keynoter – Smulyan to Speak as Well. The 39th annual Conclave Learning Conference – presented in partnership with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association (MBA) – will feature a keynote address by National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith. Conclave chair Mark Bolke comments, “Whether you are in programming, news, sales, or station management, what happens in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission directly impacts our collective future. Gordon Smith’s keynote will instill in all of us the ongoing need to protect our industry’s interests and preserve its status as America’s premier source for music, entertainment, news, and emergency information.” MBA president and chief executive officer Jim du Bois states, “With the broadcasting industry facing unprecedented legal, regulatory, and competitive challenges, Gordon Smith and the NAB are leading the charge in Washington. We are honored that he is taking time from his busy schedule to share his insights on key issues facing radio and television broadcasters. We are also looking forward to hearing his vision for the industry’s future as it adapts to rapidly changing media consumption habits and a shift to mobile distribution platforms.” Smith is scheduled to deliver his keynote on (Saturday) November 15 at 9:00 am onsite at the Conclave, which will be held at Minneapolis’ Crown Plaza Hotel Airport. Smith is a former United States Senator. The Oregon Republican served two terms in the Senate and was appointed NAB president/CEO five years ago (9/2009). The Conclave’s day-and-a-half learning conference begins (Friday) November 14 with a “Radio & TV Career Fair and Air Check Clinic,” followed by a special keynote from Emmis president and chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan on the NextRadio mobile platform.
“Dr. Daliah” Accepts Daunting Task. Radio stations and personalities constantly are being enlisted to support a number of worthwhile endeavors. An especially challenging fundraiser involves Dr. Daliah Wachs. The syndicated talk show host and Las Vegas television personality has been asked to build the pediatric wing of Community Outreach Medical Center, which will serve thousands of underserved and uninsured Las Vegas children. “This is a huge undertaking but it will get done,” Dr. Wachs promises. A board certified family physician, Dr. Wachs (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, University of Nevada – Reno, and UCLA) originates her daily “Dr. Daliah” program from Las Vegas talker KDWN; iHeart Radio carries it daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon PT. In addition to her radio show, Dr. Wachs is the medical expert on KVVU-TV, Las Vegas.
SBS Reports 12% Q2 Revenue Gain for Radio. Primarily owing to a boost in special events revenue and network sales, revenue for Spanish Broadcasting System‘s radio division increased 12% in the second quarter to $3.8 million. SBS’ consolidated net revenue grew from $36.1 million in 2013 to $40.9 million (+13%). Consolidated OIBDA fell 22% to $9.9 million, compared to $12.7 million; radio OIBDA decreased 10% to $1.5 million. Spanish Broadcasting System reported a net loss of $3.23 million (44 cents per diluted share), versus a loss of $1.23 million (17 cents) in the year-prior period.
Odds & Sods. After the success of his first non-fiction book, “FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio” (Villard 2001), Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has written and published his first novel “Something of the Night” (Amazon 2014). It features a detective on the Jersey shore whose colleague and best friend is a radio talk show host. Originally tasked to find a missing small town author, the plot evolves into something much deeper, threatening the entire metropolitan region. A suspenseful page turner, the twists are non-stop. Neer has been told that social media is the only way to move books today. However he still believes in radio’s power and will promote it mainly through our medium. Interview requests will be honored by emailing email@example.com. To access the book, please click here. ….. Mark Wainwright is filling in this week (8/18 – 8/22) for morning host Joe Galuski at Clear Channel-owned talker WSYR, Syracuse.
RAB Reports Q2 Sales Down 3%. It’s not surprising that the quarterly report from the Radio Advertising Bureau indicates pretty much what the Q2 data from the industry’s publicly traded companies showed. Again the culprit was spot sales which dipped 5% while network ad sales were flat. The positive was the digital and off-air categories which were up 9% and 15% respectively. (All comparisons are Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013). Advertiser categories that saw notable increases during the quarter included: home improvement (+ 4%); charitable/religious/non-profit/government agencies (+11%); specialty retail (+14%); auto parts/service (+14%); and amusement/theme parks/museums (+ 9%). RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Based on pacing and industry insights, we anticipated a relatively flat-to-down Q2. While we don’t forecast, a greater percentage of radio’s total annual revenue historically comes through in the second half, and we’re anticipating that we’ll see better results by the end of this year.” See the whole report here.
Brady: Radio’s Precarious Tipping Point. The somber financial state of radio as an advertising medium is the subject of almost-daily articles both in the consumer media and the media trades. It’s not unusual to read the opinion that radio has an “image problem,” but as Futures & Options, Inc. president and CEO Bill Brady writes, “Fifteen years of post-consolidation chickens are finally coming home to roost. Homogenized programming, time-spent listening declines and the decimation of sales departments are now taking their toll.” Brady also argues against the notion that the current state of things is the “new normal.” A lot is written about what’s wrong with radio programming, but in this piece, read what media management pro Brady says is problematic about the business end of the business. Check it out here.
Michael Harrison Comments on Disney Plans to Sell off 23 of its 24 Stations: Talkers publisher Michael Harrison,when asked his take on the much-discussed Walt Disney Company decision to sell 23 of its 24 Disney Radio outlets, says, “The loss of 200 more industry jobs is, indeed, tragic – an ongoing plague that is nothing short of heart-breaking on the human level of our beloved industry. However, those who are running around like Chicken Little, squawking that this move is indicative of the radio industry’s sky falling, are missing the real implications of this development. Group owners and consolidators such as Disney, who don’t think this medium matches their unbending programming or, worse, believe there is no way to keep old listeners and attract new listeners via creative programing, SHOULD get out and give new, enthusiastic operators the chance to get in at a reasonable investment.” Harrison points out, “That is not to say that all consolidators should exit the business – companies such as Cumulus Media, Emmis, Alpha Media, Saga Communications and others are showing that, although the answers aren’t necessarily coming easily, they intend to find and implement them in the belief that the ‘stick’ still has years of life and the potential for pertinence in it.” Harrison continues, “Disney’s bailing out on the idea that AM radio can no longer attract young listeners indicates it does not have the will nor financial incentive to create programming that will draw listeners of all ages to our medium.” Harrison concludes, “The primary answer to radio’s growing lack of confidence and eroding status is to make massive improvements and reinventions in its on-air attractions.”
Dan McNeil Officially Gone from WSCR. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Dan McNeil is not returning to the air at CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago “The Score.” He’d been off the air since June when his contract expired and he and the station had been in negotiations, but the two sides apparently could not come together. It’s been widely reported that McNeil wanted to move from middays to afternoon drive and receive a pay hike from a reported $300,000 per year to $500,000. Former partner Matt Spiegel notified listeners of the station’s inability to bring McNeil back and said he’s looking forward to getting a new partner and forging ahead. Read Feder’s column here.
Paul Westcott Exits WTAG, Worcester. Leaving the full-time radio business at Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAG, Worcester for a position in Washington outside of the radio business is morning drive personality Paul Westcott. Today (8/15) is Wescott’s final day hosting the morning show but it will not be the end of his talk show career. Westcott reports that he’s going to stay in the media business posting and podcasting via former “America Now” host Andy Dean‘s new ConnectPal platform. This means there’s a morning drive position open at WTAG, Worcester and interested radio talent can apply by emailing: KEVINJOHNSON@clearchannel.com
Heidi Selexa Show Debuts on CRN Digital Talk. Radio personality and actress Heidi Selexa is bringing her show “Out of the Friend Zone” to CRN Digital Talk Radio where it premieres today at 10:00 pm ET. CRN Digital Talk says, “The one-hour program is a fun yet serious, authentic show examining interpersonal relationships. It unlocks the secrets of what is really going on in other people’s minds – and also serves as an open platform to expose and explain misunderstood signals, signs and messages between the sexes.” CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn adds, “’Out of the Friend Zone’ accomplishes something special. Many shows help people with relationship and communication issues – but Heidi accomplishes it in an exceptionally fun way. She talks with listeners – not at them.” In addition to Selexa’s AM/FM radio career, she was a personality on SiriusXM’s “80s on 8” channel.
Odds & Sods. A new hockey season means the return of “Chicago Blackhawks Live” to WGN Radio. Two September editions are already announced as Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw will be featured on September 3 and head coach Joel Quenneville will be featured on September 10. Both broadcasts will be live from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from the Old Town Pour House in Chicago and will air on sports talk WGWG-LP and replays of the programs on news/talk WGN following the Cubs games…..Talk media pro Jerry Klein will do some substitute work at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte over the coming Labor Day weekend. He’ll fill in for John Hancock on Friday 8/29 and for Keith Larson on Monday 9/1. Klein was a full-time personality on the station back in 1994…..CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer (pictured here) is said by CBS to be the only network radio news reporter traveling with President Obama on his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard where he anchored coverage of the president’s press statement about the Ferguson, Missouri situation. Maer also did two-ways with affiliate stations about the president’s statements as well as about the Hillary Clinton-President Obama foreign policy rift.
Hartford Courant Shows Connecticut Radio People Some Love. Although a number of America’s great newspapers/local news bureaus employ media writers who cover the radio business as part of their beats, often, local media give radio stations and talent the cold shoulder due to the competitive nature between the two. For this reason, it’s nice to see the Hartford Courant’s recent pictorial on the radio personalities of Connecticut. Check out the piece here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Saying that it’s hit the 500-affiliate mark, Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the addition of WWCS, Pittsburgh; WCAR, Detroit: KTXX, Austin: WCLT, Columbus, and KSGG, Reno to its affiliate roster.
Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath/Militarized Missouri Cops Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 11-15. The death of black teen Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer, the subsequent riots and looting, and the militarized status of the Missouri police tied for the top stories of the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ISIS threat and the U.S.’s Iraq policy. Following at #3 was the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama foreign policy tussle and at #4 was the suicide of actor and comic Robin Williams. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
Colossal Sales Deal Between Katz and Cumulus. Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group announces it has agreed to a new deal with Cumulus Media that is creating a new rep division at Katz dedicated to Cumulus owned-and-operated stations nationwide. The firm – Westwood One National Sales – will provide advertisers and agencies direct access to all of Cumulus’ radio stations. In a press statement, the companies say, “The new long-term agreement supports the companies’ mutual goal to evangelize the power of sound and drive more dollars into the sector. Westwood One National Sales will exclusively represent Cumulus stations nationwide and focus on providing integrated, multi-platform marketing solutions aimed to meet the rapidly evolving needs of advertisers. Westwood One National Sales will also offer advertisers and agencies access to Cumulus’ newly developed traffic system. The cutting-edge technology is designed to improve speed-to-market, giving Cumulus advertisers and agencies real-time pricing and availability of minute-by-minute, market-by-market opportunities across the country.” Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray says, “Our common goal is to get radio a much bigger share of advertiser spending by solving their marketing problems and showcasing the unmatched results radio delivers. Our new partnership with Cumulus to launch Westwood One National Sales strengthens our ability to deliver the most innovative marketing solutions for advertisers and agencies across the expanding advertising platform of one of our important partners.” As a result of this, Bryan Forbes is promoted to senior vice president, general manager of Westwood One National Sales. His current post with KRG is vice president/director of sales. Westwood One National Sales will have dedicated offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
Fighting for AM in New Cars; NAB Pleads with BMW. After learning that BMW’s new electric model – the i3 – will not include an AM radio due to the engine’s causing interference with AM reception, the NAB’s Gordon Smith wrote a letter to BMW asking the company to reconsider the move and re-engineer the system to accommodate AM, as some other manufacturers have. Smith writes, “In the last decade, AM radio has embraced an evolution towards ethnic language programming, with a wide variety of formats serving a melting pot of diverse communities that make up the fabric of America. Indeed, two-thirds of all minority-owned stations are now broadcast on the AM band; and many of these radio stations serve as a community gathering spot for vital information about health services, education and job opportunities.” Smith goes on to note that in many markets, sports broadcasts – from high school to the professional level – are only heard on AM signals. How BMW will respond, if at all, is anyone’s guess but it’s worth noting that radio stations that are also streamed could be heard via the owner’s smartphone which the i3 allows to be connected to its audio system. Still, that the AM band — where most talk radio shows reside — is considered disposable by a major auto manufacturer (combined with the growing popularity of electric autos) is a huge red flag for AM stick owners.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Talks AM Revitalization in Columbus. The campaign for AM revitalization being championed by FCC commissioner Ajit Pai was the topic at Wednesday’s town hall meeting held by the Ohio Broadcasters Association where Pai spoke and heard from broadcasters and the public on the matter. Pai said three things he’s been thinking about lately regarding AM revitalization are: eliminating nighttime skywave protection for clear channel AM signals; allowing the use of synchronous transmission systems on the AM dial; and allowing stations to go all-digital on a voluntary basis. But Pai said that by Halloween it’s his hope that the FCC will adopt AM revitalization that would: 1) move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters and, 2) ask the public to comment on a new batch of specific proposals for improving our AM radio rules because “the proposals we made last year, while they will help AM broadcasters, aren’t going be a panacea.”
Rome Added as KFWB Gears Up To Sports Flip. Rumors of a talk-to-sports format change by Los Angeles’ KFWB will become reality sometime in September and the station locks in CBS Sports Radio mega-talent – and LA native – Jim Rome as a cornerstone. Trustee for KFWB Asset Trust, Diane Sutter, comments, “It has been nearly two years since Southern Californians have been able to enjoy Jim’s show and he is just a hint of what listeners can expect from the new KFWB sports lineup. We are thrilled and excited to bring Jim back home to his many Los Angeles sports fans.” Rome, a genuine sports radio host original, will be heard on KFWB 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and will originate the program from Orange County. Remarking that he is “thrilled to be returning home” on KFWB, Rome states, “CBS Sports Radio has provided me with an incredible opportunity to communicate with our nationwide audience via various platforms, but to reunite with our Los Angeles-based fans is particularly meaningful to me, personally and professionally. I look forward to bringing ‘the jungle’ back home to Los Angeles.” Rome has been with CBS Sports Radio since the network launched approximately 18 months ago. It is believed sports KFWB’s moniker will be “The Beast.” For years, KFWB had been an all-news station and competed against CBS Radio‘s KNX (which later became its sibling) in that arena. Five years ago though (September 2009), it switched to talk. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report, KFWB ranks #42 (.2). It will be butting heads against existing all-sports outlets KSPN (1.2 in July, #28); KLAC (.9, #32); and KLAA (.3, #40).
Clear Channel’s Political Advertising Tool Now Incorporates Nielsen Data. Earlier this year, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announced the development of its proprietary radio targeting tool for political advertisers – dubbed Audience Delivery Optimizer (AuDiO). Now, the company reports that it is now incorporating Nielsen’s radio audience measurement data to further enhance its ability to identify key voter segments. CC says this marks the first time that Nielsen’s Portable People Meter currency data has been combined with specific public voter information – creating a powerful new tool for political advertisers. Clear Channel calls AuDiO a “first-of-its-kind radio optimization tool that enables political campaigns to precisely identify the 10 voter segments that are most crucial in key election districts.” It goes on to say that with the integration of Nielsen’s industry-standard audience measurement data into AuDiO, political advertisers now have access to even more robust identification capabilities for their radio buys. Using the 10 most common political segments, AuDiO can determine how many voters radio reaches in any political district around the country. It can then identify the media preferences of any segment, giving advertisers key information about which media are best to reach which voters. AuDiO works at all levels of national, statewide and local elections, and will be available for the upcoming 2014 election cycle.
GCN Adds ‘Lock-N-Load’ to Morning Offerings. New to the Genesis Communications Network stable of programs is the Bill Frady-hosted daily program “Lock-N-Load.” The company states that the show “covers all spectrums relating to the world of the gun, including the gun industry, trends, self-defense and, of course, those that would strip away your rights. With guests such as the 3D gun guru Cody Wilson, Gunowners of America executive director Larry Pratt, Noble Peace Prize nominee Dr. Jim Garrow, tactical trainer Chris Costa, psychologist Dr. Linda Lagemann and many others, ‘Lock-N-Load’ explores the dynamics of the uniquely American Second Amendment and everything that goes along with it.”
Jim Bohannon Addresses Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Conference. Sitting on a panel about spoken-word radio titled, “Give’em Something to Talk About,” Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Jim Bohannon appeared at the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters conference in Nashville. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Westwood One’s Misti Douglas, Jean Williams, and Chrystal Heidemann, Governor Bill Haslam, Bohannon, and Westwood One’s Donny Walker.
IS Iraq Campaign/U.S. Military Involvement, Hillary Clinton-Obama Relationship, Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath, Limbaugh-Robin Williams Suicide Comments Controversy, and Israel-Hamas Cease Fire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/13). The Iraq campaign of IS and the Obama Administration’s involvement of U.S. military personnel; the rift between Hillary Clinton and President Obama over U.S. foreign policy; the tensions in Missouri after the shooting death of Michael Brown; controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments after Robin Williams’ suicide; and the cease fire between Israel and Hamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel to Launch Sports Talker on Charlotte Translator. Telling the Charlotte Observer that “we saw a huge opportunity for sports on the FM dial done the right way. It was the opening in the marketplace,” market manager Charlie Wilkinson announces plans for the company to bring a new sports talk station to the market on W254AZ at 98.7 by the end of this month. The station will air Fox Sports Radio Network shows, including Dan Patrick’s DirecTV-produced program. The station will also be available on sister station classic rock WRFX’s HD-2 channel. WRFX program director Jeff Kent will serve as PD and Wilkinson tells the paper local shows will be added in the future.
WKRC, Cincinnati Weekend Host Blake Roberts Arrested in Shooting of Wife. The good news is that Misty Seylhouwer was not seriously injured after her husband, Blake “Roberts” Seylhouwer discharged a rifle in the driveway of his suburban Cincinnati home and the bullet struck her. After initially concluding the incident was an accident, police have reversed course and Blake Seylhouwer is being charged with felonious assault and domestic violence. Seylhouwer said he accidently discharged the gun while taking it out of the trunk of his car but police later determined he purposely fired in the direction of Misty Seylhouwer and the bullet ricocheted off the driveway and struck her. She has filed for protection order against Blake Seylhouwer, who hosts the “Small Business Sundays” program on WKRC. He operates several businesses in the area including a small business consulting firm.
Jimmy deCastro Says He’s ‘Having a Ball.’ In an interview with Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago president and general manager Jimmy deCastro speaks about the station’s decision to cut ties with the MLB’s Chicago Cubs after 89 years, the move of personalities Jonathon Brandmeier and Garry Meier to the company’s online platform WGN.fm, and the ratings struggles sports talker WGWG is facing. deCastro has hinted that the company would be interested in purchasing an FM signal in the market but there are no definite plans to do so. He tells Feder he believes the prices for FM signals will come down but that the company’s willingness to buy one depends on the success of the current operations. Read the whole interview here.
The ‘Big O’ Returns to WQAM, Miami. According to a report in the Miami Herald by Barry Jackson, Orlando Alzugaray, a.k.a. The Big O, will exit WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale “640 Sports” and return to Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami in the midday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot beginning August 25. Alzugaray left WQAM in 2010. The midday show has been hosted by Alex Donno and Brandon Guzio recently and Jackson reports that Donno will move to the evening 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm show and will become part of the Florida Panthers broadcast team. Guzio and evening host Kevin Rogers have reportedly exited the station.
Armstrong Announces Retirement. As of the end of next month (September 2014), renowned market manager Dave Armstrong will leave radio after a 50-year career in the industry. Salem Radio president Dave Santrella comments that, “Dave has been a tremendous leader in our company. His creative contributions have created legacy attributes that Salem enjoys to this day and will enjoy well into the future. For that – we are forever grateful.” Armstrong remarks, “This is the end of another chapter in my workbook, but it is not the final chapter. I am excited to see what’s next.” Approximately 40% of Armstrong’s 50-year radio career (20 years) has been spent with Salem, for whom he has managed stations in New York City, Los Angeles, and – for the last eight years – in San Diego. Salem’s San Diego stations are talk KCBQ-AM and Christian talk KPRZ. Its Los Angeles cluster consists of contemporary Christian KFSH; talk KRLA; and Christian talk KKLA. In May 2003, Salem transferred Armstrong, then regional vice president of operations and general manager of Salem Los Angeles, to oversee the company’s northeast radio operations. That meant Armstrong became general manager of Salem New York’s WMCA and WWDJ, as well as having operational oversight for the company’s Boston-area outlets. Before joining Salem, Armstrong was a program director and sales manager for a number of stations.
Nielsen July PPM Analysis Shows Talk in Summer Dip; Expects Improvement. Reviewing the results of the July 2014 PPM data by format and comparing the results to previous months’ data as well as data from previous years, Nielsen Audio provides a glimpse of how formats as a whole are performing. The study notes that the news/talk format is enduring a seasonal decline. Nielsen reports: “The changes in lifestyles, work habits and consumer trends that occur each summer, coupled with news and sports cycles create an annual down-trend for spoken word formats during the middle of the summer. 2014 is no different as July revealed that the 6-plus shares for news/talk dropped to their lowest mark in PPM since we began tracking this data in 2011 (8.1%), all-news stayed flat relative to last summer (2.5%), and sports fared slightly better this July (4.1%) than in 2013 (3.8%). For all three of these formats, the coming months should bring an upswing in listening as football returns and we head into the mid-term election news cycle.” Still, as a format in the PPM markets, news/talk finished 5th among persons 25-54 behind CHR, country, hot AC and AC. See the study here.
RAB: Radio Ranked Most Effective Medium Influencing Healthcare Choices. The results of a recent Finding Consumer Trends report from the RAB, indicate that when it comes to which type of advertising influences healthcare choices, radio was ranked as the most effective medium – especially among 25-44 year olds. The RAB goes on to state that when it comes to medical care decisions, it is insurance that outranks all other choices – including medical referrals. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “With changes in medical and insurance coverage top of mind with consumers, this reports confirms radio’s ability as a powerful medium to influence their selection of where and who will provide them with medical services. Marketers in this category who are trying to reach the 25-44 year olds should look to radio to communicate to this target group.” More results from the study include the following: 77% of respondents state that a radio personality’s testimonial for healthcare products makes them trust the product the same or more; reputation and positive experiences are the top two reasons that local hospitals are top of mind; and the majority of respondents are currently seeking services by a dentist or orthodontist. A webinar featuring the national results will be presented by the RAB and Ruth Presslaff of Presslaff Interactive Revenue on August 26, at 11:00 am ET and again at 4:00 pm ET. Register for the webinar here.
KFBK, Sacramento to Broadcast ‘Honor Bowl.’ Sacramento news/talk outlet KFBK is partnering with The Honor Group, Inc. – a community organization dedicated to educating, empowering and equipping military veterans for success – to air the fifth annual Honor Bowl. That event is a high school football showcase that educates the community about the needs of military veterans. KFBK will air two of the five football games that make up the two-day fundraising event. The broadcasts will help The Honor Group to attract sponsors to the Honor Bowl, and proceeds from the event’s ticket sales will help purchase aftermarket rehabilitation equipment benefiting disabled veterans throughout the country.
Ferguson, MO Troubles, Robin Williams’ Suicide, Hillary Clinton’s Obama Criticisms, IS Campaign/U.S. Iraq Policy, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and Lauren Bacall Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/12). The race riots and looting in Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the shooting death by police of an unarmed black teen; actor and comic Robin Williams’ suicide; Hillary Clinton’s criticisms of President Obama’s foreign policy; the IS campaign in Iraq and U.S. military policy there; the threat of an Ebola pandemic; Russia’s continuing attempts to arm Ukrainian rebels; and the death of actress Lauren Bacall were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.