Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Lincoln Financial Media Fires WQXI, Atlanta’s “Mayhem in the AM” After Mocking Bit About ALS-Stricken Steve Gleason. The three sports talk personalities that made up the “790 The Zone” morning show “Mayhem in the AM” – Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino – have been extremely contrite in the aftermath of their firing from the station by Lincoln Financial Media. Although Nick Cellini initially told the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho that his firing was, in a way, a relief and called the station a “sinking ship,” he later wrote to Ho saying his words were made “out of pure emotion” and said the station has been nothing but fair to him over the years. Both via the AJC article and social media, all three have expressed their sorrow for their actions and have reached out to former New Orleans Saints player Gleason to apologize. Still, many in the industry are shaking their heads and wondering how three grown men could , first of all, even come up with the idea to craft a bit that mocks an ALS patient and second, apparently, never think twice about it before going ahead with it on the air.
Reflections on a Tragedy and the Fundamental Role of Radio. That is the title of the closing keynote address at the recent Talkers New York 2013 (6/6) convention delivered by Jason Wolfe, VP programming for Entercom Boston. In a serious, heartfelt speech, Wolfe — whose company owns and operates news/talk WRKO and sports talk WEEI in Boston, among others – recounts the events and emotions of the tragedy surrounding the bombing of innocent civilians at the Boston Marathon from the perspective of being a radio broadcaster. He discusses the responsibility broadcasters have in dealing with unexpected hardships and crisis — in providing help, information and comfort to the population in their listening area. Wolfe is introduced by WOLB, Baltimore morning host and longtime local African American community leader/facilitator Larry Young. See Young’s introduction and Jason Wolfe’s entire speech on TalkersTV by clicking here.
TALKERS Debuts New “Media Broker Spotlight” Feature Today (6/18). In support of the idea that the time is right for displaced radio station managers and first-time buyers to get into radio station ownership, TALKERS in association with its sister trade publication RadioInfo and Sandi Bergman‘s brokerage website RadioTVDeals.com, is launching a weekly feature titled “Media Broker Spotlight.” Each week’s installment will focus on an individual broker deemed small and independent buyer-friendly — profiling the broker, sharing their opinions of marketplace conditions and highlighting three or four listed opportunities that fall into this category. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We strongly believe many of the talented management veterans who presently find themselves on the beach due to the cutbacks plaguing the mega-corporate sector of the industry should consider going into radio station ownership. They should do so on a modest level going into local markets, rolling up their sleeves, working hands-on and breathing new life into properties that if purchased at the right price still have some tread on their tires. There are numerous sellers out there willing to play ball with buyers who show the will and know-how to operate a station properly, as well as numerous sources of local and non-traditional financing from investors who believe in the potential of community-oriented radio. Not every station in America is part of the Clear Channel/Cumulus/CBS complex… and they should not be overlooked. These independent “orphans,” if you will, can thrive with the proper amount of tender loving care. The future of AM/FM radio depends on this as do the careers of so many dedicated broadcasters who have a love for radio flowing in their veins.” This week’s opening installment features media broker Edward F. Seeger of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina-based Seeger Media, LLC. To read the feature, click here.
Phil Hendrie Continues National Syndication of His Show Partnering with WYD Media Management. There was no reason to believe Phil Hendrie was going to hang up his headphones when news broke that he and Talk Radio Network were parting ways at the end of their deal this month and now Hendrie will forge ahead partnering with Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management beginning June 25. Hendrie says, “Ron gets my show and has a highly talented and motivated team behind him. Our longtime loyal affiliates and advertisers will appreciate the level of professionalism and sophistication they bring to the table.” Starting on June 25, Hendrie’s show will be distributed in a new time slot from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET with affiliates airing his “Comedy Gold” broadcasts through July 5. On July 8, Hendrie will be on the air live “as he weaves his famous web of satire and comedy.” Hartenbaum states, “Broadcast radio needs the breadth, depth and creativity of Phil Hendrie. There’s a whole new generation of listeners ready to join the ranks for what Phil has to offer. He’s a comic genius who’s going to grow in ways most people can’t even imagine…stay tuned!”
Dial Global Brings Ronald Furman Aboard as Chief Revenue Officer. Ronald Furman comes to Dial Global from his recent post as executive vice president and managing director of Insignia Sports/Entertainment where he led the go-to-market strategies across integrated television, digital, mobile, technology, social, event, live-game, and activation platforms for multiple content properties, including The Pro Football Hall Of Fame, The NFL Alumni Association, various NFL teams and emerging leagues such as WSOF/MMA. At Dial Global he’ll be responsible for the company’s overall revenue generation. He will be based in New York City and will report directly to CEO, Paul Caine. About Furman, Caine says, “Ron is a recognized industry leader who is proficient at building, developing, and leading high-performing sales teams across multiple media properties. And the timing is perfect, as we announce that Dial Global will broadcast over 90 games this season, including all Monday Night, Sunday Night, and Thursday Night Games, the Thanksgiving Day Triple Header, a full slate of Sunday Afternoon Games, the entire post-season, and Super Bowl XLVIII. His deep sports knowledge and client relationships are a perfect complement to our strength in the sports market, and we look forward to working closely with Ron as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in audio content and distribution.” During his career Furman has also worked as senior vice president, sports sales at Comcast/NBC Universal, and held senior vice president positions at the NFL, Viacom and Univision Communications.
Bloomquist Media Wins New York Festivals Gold in Community Service Documentary Category for ‘A Grateful Nation.’ Talk radio practitioners are by now well aware of Bloomquist Media’s work with the Fisher House Foundation – the organization that raises funds to provide housing for the families of American servicemen and women to be near their loved ones as they recover from injuries sustained in battle. In a cooperative effort, Bloomquist Media and Fisher House produced the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation,” which told four stories of service and sacrifice by members of the U.S. military and their families. Because Fisher House Foundation played a role in all of these stories, the organization’s message was organically woven into the compelling content. The program aired during Memorial Day weekend 2012 on news/talk radio stations, as well as Sirius XM satellite radio. Bloomquist Media president Randall Bloomquist says, “This award has tremendous meaning for us. We are always striving for excellence — to produce compelling radio that both entertains the audience and makes them aware of an important community cause. To be honored for creating a truly world-class radio program is a testament to the caliber of our work.”
American Radio Programs Win Honors at New York Festivals 2013 International Radio Awards. The competition for these prestigious awards is intense as broadcasters from around the globe submit entries. Some of the American winners in the 2013 competition include: ESPN which won a gold medal in the News Reports/Features category for “Breaking the Silence” – an edition of “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” and pubcaster WGBH, Boston which took home the gold in the News Programs category for its “Underground Trade.”
WHYN-AM, Springfield Morning Show Receives Local Accolades. Brad Shepard (l) and Bo Sullivan (r) – morning drive co-hosts at Clear Channel’s WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts – were named the favorite local radio personalities in polling by the readers of the Springfield Republican for its “2013 Reader Raves.” Sullivan has been with the station for some 15 years and Shepard was paired up with him for the AM show 10 years ago. Shepard tells the paper, “I really have to say ‘thank you’ to our listeners and everyone who voted for us. This was absolutely unexpected; we didn’t go out drumming up support.” Photo: Mark M. Murray, The Republican
Sports USA Adds Two Games to 2013 College Football Schedule. The tally of college football games being offered to affiliate stations now hits 20 as Sports USA announces the “Cowboy Classic” featuring LSU versus TCU on August 31 and the Big Ten matchup of Wisconsin at Ohio State on September 28 are added to the schedule. The Sports USA season begins on August 29 with USC at Hawaii.
Brad Wheelis to Exit ABC News Radio. The news organization is moving the origin site of all of its newscasts to New York and that means Los Angeles-based Brad Wheelis will leave the network at the end of this month. Wheelis has been with ABC News Radio since 2001 and he currently anchors the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm hourly newscasts. Prior to joining ABC News Radio, Wheelis was an anchor at CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York.
Radio Executive John McConnell Teams with ACM to Form Broadcast Initiative. Longtime ABC Radio executive John McConnell – now president of Entertainment Radio Network and founder of McConnell Media, LLC – teams with veteran talent agents Marc Guss and Phil Sutfin, co-founders of leading talent management company ACM, to launch and spearhead ACM Broadcast. The New York City-based company aims to create “a unique business environment where established and burgeoning talent strategize on using radio and other audio broadcast platforms as the foundation to build their brand.” McConnell states, “I’ve always believed in the power of radio and am a proponent of making that a priority in a performer’s career. I look forward to working with talented individuals and helping them to realize their full potential as they soar to new heights.” About their new partnership, Marc Guss says, “John has always been one of my main go-to radio programming executives because of his innovative thinking. What a thrill it is to now be working together under the same roof with the same objectives.”
NSA Data Mining, Immigration Amnesty Proposal, Syrian Rebels Arms Aid Program, Atlanta Radio Hosts Mock ALS Patient, and Turkish Unrest Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The ongoing controversy over the National Security Agency’s collecting phone and email records; the debate over amnesty to illegal aliens in the U.S.; the program to provide arms to Syrian rebels; the firing of Atlanta sports talk hosts for mocking former NFL player and ALS sufferer Steve Gleason; and the political unrest in Turkey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The State of Radio Advertising and Sales. See it now on TalkersTV! It was one of the most important panels at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention (6/6) receiving coverage in numerous newspapers and blogs across the country and sparking a major industry buzz. Moderated by RAB CEO /president Erica Farber (pictured at left), the panel of heavy hitters includes Jana Cosgrove, president, CBS Radio Sales/Entercom Radio Sales; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, Salem‘s WNYM, New York; Dan Metter, SVP, sales, Premiere Networks; John Murphy, EVP, sales, Dial Global; and Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis Broadcasting. The discussion tackles a variety of key issues affecting the industry including comments about the resilience of advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show in the aftermath of the campaign to influence a sponsor boycott of the program (and news/talk radio in general) resulting from the Sandra Fluke incident. See the entire panel discussion by clicking the TalkersTV box on the top of the column on the right side of this page.
Nathan Daschle Joins Clear Channel as EVP of Political Strategy. Political strategist, attorney and Ruck.us founder Nathan Daschle is recruited by Clear Channel to take the newly created position executive vice president for political strategy. The company states that Daschle “will develop and oversee a Washington, D.C.-based team that will focus on working with political and issue advertisers and advertising agencies to develop custom strategies and campaigns that leverage the unique reach and power of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. He will lead efforts to fully utilize Clear Channel’s unmatched national reach and local activation through its radio, digital, mobile and outdoor assets, as well as its event capabilities, to provide political and issue advertisers targeted, effective, affordable and powerful ways to deliver their messages.” Daschle reports directly to CEO John Hogan who says, “Having Nathan Daschle on board sends a clear message that we intend to seriously invest in this arena and to continue to provide more and better options for political and issue advertisers through our multiplatform offerings. His extensive political background makes him the perfect person to grow the Clear Channel political strategy team as well as lead our ‘class of one’ offerings to political and issue advertisers.” About joining Clear Channel, Daschle comments, “Political and issue advertising, marketing and events is a $7-billion business, and I’m looking forward to making Clear Channel front-and-center with politically focused advertisers and agencies. The future of effective campaign advertising lies in the smart integration of traditional and digital media, and no company does this better than Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Clear Channel is reinventing the way organizations – and campaigns – communicate with their audiences, and I look forward to building a strong, bipartisan team at Clear Channel that will effectively market its extraordinary assets.”
Clear Channel Flips Sports Talk KJR’s FM Signal to Hot AC. Clear Channel sports talk outlet KJR-AM, Seattle enjoyed an FM simulcast for the past year and half on sister signal KNBQ at 102.9 but the simulcast ended on Friday as the company made KNBQ a hot AC branded “The New 102.9 NOW.” Sports talk remains on KJR-AM.
Beasley Broadcasting Goes FM Sports in Fort Myers. Beginning Thursday, June 20, Beasley Broadcasting’s rock WJBX, Fort Myers “99X” flips to a simulcast of the company’s AM sports talk station WWCN as “99.3 ESPN.” The company is directing rock fans to its other rock outlet WRXK “96 K-Rock.”
Kansas City Website Raises Issues Regarding Radio Ratings and the Law. By now you’ve probably heard about the reportedly independent website www.listenlonger.com operating in Kansas City that had been seeking out PPM holders in an effort to save its “favorite Kansas City radio station through education about the ratings system.” The site reports it has been in contact with Arbitron – in fact the ratings company sent a cease and desist letter to the operators and they’ve tweaked their strategy but are not shutting down the site. Now the site operators say they will no longer ask to be contacted by PPM holders but will continue to keep the site going and it appears the operation is not violating any laws. For its part, Arbitron has sent a letter to Kansas City subscribers to assure them the May 2013 PPM data has not been tainted that reads, in part: “During the May report period, a third-party website encouraged Kansas City radio listeners to support an unnamed local station, posted general information about ratings methodology and ratings data, and solicited information on PPM panelists. We want to assure subscribers that the website is not affiliated or endorsed by Arbitron and that Arbitron has taken substantial steps to ensure the integrity of the Kansas City PPM panel and all Arbitron audience estimates for the market…Arbitron monitors social media sites daily, interacts with panelists on a regular basis, and has confidential processes in place to help identify panelists who may have disclosed their participation. We have also taken special measures in light of the Kansas City website to protect the integrity of in-tab panelists included in the recently-released May 2013 Kansas City data.” After being contacted by Arbitron, the following (an excerpt) was posted on the site: “Arbitron has demanded we provide the name of anyone who contacted us regarding this issue, and the names of anyone to whom we passed that information along. ListenLonger.com would like to use this update as written notice to Arbitron that no one has ever contacted us saying they had a PPM except a reporter who posed as a PPM holder in an attempt to surreptitiously gather information…In short, please whatever you do, don’t tell us if you have a PPM. Really. We don’t want to know.” The site operators are fans of an Entercom station in the market as they encourage people to sign up for the “Get My Perks” program Entercom employs and although the site operators say Wilks Broadcasting had questioned the integrity of the May 2013 PPM data as a result, Arbitron ensures subscribers the data was not affected.
“How Many Social Media Followers Should I Have?” That question is one of the more commonly asked of digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller. In a column posted today (6/17) Miller answers that question, as well as some of the most frequently asked, including: “We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest. What other hot new sites should we be on?” “How often should we post? I’m not sure we’re posting enough.” “I have many times more listeners than followers. Why should I waste time with social media?” “I can sell ads on my own air and on my website. There’s no way to monetize Facebook and Twitter. I don’t want to get too involved in it for that reason.” Check out Chris Miller’s answers to these questions and concerns by clicking here.
SABO SEZ: It Would be Good for Radio if Arbitron Ratings Were More Openly Available to the Industry and the Public. In an article posted today (6/17) media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo compares how TV ratings are an open book while radio ratings are secretive and inaccessible – a difference that he thinks significantly works to the disadvantage of radio as both a business and an institution. To read Walter Sabo’s column, click here.
Clear Channel Moves John Hogan to New York City. Most of the company’s high-level executives are already stationed in the Big Apple and not the company’s legal headquarters in San Antonio. Now, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment CEO John Hogan is moving to New York as well. In a filing with the SEC, the company notes that Hogan is also getting a pay increase to make his base salary $1,125,000 in addition to moving expenses and a housing allowance for the next year and a half.
WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr Schedules Weekly Remotes for Whitey Bulger Trial. Entercom Boston talk show host Howie Carr – heard daily in PM drive on WRKO – has reported on the activities of New England mobsters for most of his career. He’s written several books about Boston gangland characters, including James Whitey Bulger titled The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century, and now as Bulger goes to trial in a South Boston courthouse, Carr will do a weekly live remote from The Barking Crab restaurant and pub next door to the courthouse.
Magna Global Releases International Ad Revenue Forecasts for the Rest of ’13 and for 2014; United States Radio to Be Flat. Looking at the really big picture first, Magna Global predicts global ad spending to be up 3% in 2013 and rise to 6.1% in 2014. That said, in the United States, those figures are up just 0.4% for ’13 due to the missing Olympics and political ad spending that occurs in even-numbered years. For 2014 the figure is expected to rise. As for radio, Magna Global predicts 2013 will be flat but for those radio companies also selling digital, there is a ton of opportunity as that category is expected to rise 11.5% and is boosted by the mobile aspect of the category, predicted to go up 61.7%.
Odds & Sods. WMAL, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor (and Breitbart.tv editor-in-chief) is sitting in for Cumulus Media Networks’ nationally syndicated Geraldo Rivera this week…..Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” nationally syndicated program is taking two lucky listeners to this year’s IFA Consumer Electronics and Appliance Show in Berlin Germany in celebration of the program’s 10th anniversary covering the event. Graveline is providing airfare, four nights lodging and other perks to the two winners…..Talk media personality Ernest Istook is filling in for KTOK, Oklahoma City’s Lee Matthews in afternoon drive four days this week.
Mike Francesa Tells Industry: Change the Sports Talk Demo to 35-69. Appearing at the Talkers New York 2013 conference last week, WFAN, New York afternoon drive legend Mike Francesa said the industry should change their sales strategies to sell to the Men 35-69 demo “because guys 60 to 69 have all the money. And guys who are 25 live at home and can’t pay their rent. 25 -54 is dumb! I’ve been yelling that one for years.” Francesa also argued with the notion that hosts like him are content machines and they should put their content everywhere. He states, “If I’m on for five and half hours every day from 1:00 pm to 6:30pm, why do I want an interview that I do at 1:30 on the damn internet at 3:30 competing with myself? It’s not rated!” He says he wants people to tune in to his show between 1:00 and 6:30 because that where he makes his living. Being on someone else’s show to give his take on a sports issue or put it on the internet means the listener won’t have to tune in later that day and that goes against the fundamental rules of radio. View Mike Francesa’s entire speech from Talkers New York 2013 by clicking here.
Arbitron and Edison Research’s Infinite Dial Looks at News/Talk/Sports P1s. The breakdown of news/talk/sports P1s from the Arbitron and Edison Research Infinite Dial 2013 study has been released and offers some insight into the digital media habits and perceptions of the aforementioned subset. Some of the notable conclusions from the study:
- News/talk/sports P1s are very aware of digital music services such as Pandora and iHeartRadio although they are far less likely to be regular users than are P1s of other radio formats.
- They are slightly more likely to have listened to a podcast in the last month compared to the larger group of all radio users 12-plus (15% versus 12%).
- News/talk/sports P1s are big YouTube users with 43% saying they watched a YouTube video in the last week compared to 37% for all radio users 12-plus.
- News/talk/sports P1s are far less likely to wake up to a cell phone (19%) than are all radio users 12-plus (30%).
- News/talk/sports P1s are fans of tablet devices with 34% claiming to own one versus 29% for all radio users 12-plus.
- They are less likely to follow a radio station on Facebook (2%) than are all radio users 12-plus (9%).
- And they are also less likely to be frequent social media users (“several times per day”) with 20% saying they do so compared to 27% for all radio users 12-plus.
Free Talk Live Co-Host Ian Freeman Has Video Arrest Case Dismissed; Receives Settlement. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Ian Freeman, who co-hosts “Free Talk Live” with partner Mark Edge, reports his charge of disorderly conduct and violation of a town ordinance in Palmer, Massachusetts for attempting to videotape a proceeding in the community’s town hall was dismissed and he received a $5,000 settlement. Freeman, who is well known for championing personal freedoms and the right to a free press calls the result “a total win for press freedom, except for the fact that it happened in the first place. It could happen to you or a staff member at your station next.” Freeman says as he was recording a proceeding at the town hall, a uniformed officer told him to turn off his video recorder. When he refused, citing freedom of the press, he was arrested and charged. Freeman was represented by the ACLU and he states, “Eventually, the misdemeanor was dropped and the town ordinance violation changed from criminal to civil. The ACLU of MA came on board to take the case, and they knocked it out of the park. Palmer crumbled and agreed the charges should be dismissed ‘with prejudice’ (meaning they can’t be brought again) and also agreed to a $5,000 settlement with no gag order preventing me from talking about it.” With more and more radio news departments using video for their web content, the issue of where and when civil servants can be recorded doing their jobs is one that is very real and may become more high profile as time goes on.
The 2013 Radio Show to Feature Two-Pronged Program Agenda. The National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau announce the 2013 Radio Show – scheduled for September 18-20 in Orlando – will feature two new conference tracks, the Programming Masters Series and Sales Consultants’ Corner, both on Friday, September 20. According to a release from the organizations, “The power tracks, which will run concurrently on Friday morning, are designed to provide radio programming and sales professionals a comprehensive training opportunity in a consolidated format. Attendees will learn strategies and best practices that can be immediately employed to increase station revenue and enhance programming content.” The fast-paced Programming Masters Series will address how today’s multi-platform media environment impacts radio programmers as they juggle the demands of programming multiple stations and cultivating talent. Sessions include: “The Art of Story Telling;” “The Next Gen Programmer,” featuring tips from college radio on how mainstream radio can connect with diverse audiences; and “What’s Working at Work,” featuring unique research on media consumption. Panelists include Evan Harrison, executive vice president, content and entertainment, Univision Radio; Laurie Cantillo, program director, WTOP; Buzz Knight, vice president, program development, Greater Media; and Steve Reynolds, The Reynolds Group. During the four-hour Sales Consultants’ Corner, radio’s top sales trainers and consultants will discuss effective strategies for training salespeople, prospecting new leads and growing revenue. Sessions include “The Seven Steps for Selling Success,” “Getting the Appointment” and “Addressing Objections and Closing.” Additionally, RAB will provide resources and tools stations can use to support the sales process. Panelists include Paul Weyland, president, Paul Weyland Communication Strategies; Marijane Milton, international director of revenue innovation and training, MultiBrand Media International; Michael Guld, president, The Guld Resource Group and author of “The Million Dollar Media Rep;” and Susan Novicki, president, Morrison and Abraham.
NSA Data Collection Program Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 10-14. The controversy over the National Security Agency’s widespread telephone and internet tracking program and contractor Edward Snowden’s leaking of information was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the DOJ’s investigation of journalists. Coming in at #3 was the immigration amnesty legislation followed by the IRS scandal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Peter Schiff show, syndicated nationally by Radio America, announces the show is added to the program lineup at the following stations: WLOE, Eden, North Carolina; WMYN, Mayodan, North Carolina; KLEY, Wellington, Kansas; KKLE, Winfield, Kansas; WRJM, Charleston, Illinois; KXAR, Hope, Arkansas; KTPA, Prescott, Arkansas; and WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the air schedule at WBLF, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania; WEEO, McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania; and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California…..“Stuart Vener Tells It Like It Is” adds the following stations to its roster of affiliates: WTAN, Clearwater, Florida; WDCF, Dade City, Florida; WZHR, Zephyrhills, Florida; KCAA, Loma Linda, California; and WRGC, Sylvia, North Carolina.
Jim Bohannon Says Good Relations with Affiliates Got Him the Shot Replacing Larry King. In an exclusive interview conducted with TalkersTV at the recent “Talkers New York 2013″ (6/6), TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jim Bohannon (r) tells interviewer Mike Kinosian (l) that the key to his being offered a shot at replacing Larry King, upon the legendary pioneer’s retirement from the Mutual Broadcasting overnight show, was his good relationships with the program’s affiliates. He explains that during the 11 years he served as King’s backup host he never missed an opportunity to visit an affiliate when on the road and offer to be of service to them. He often called affiliates on the phone and showed interest in their situations. When the time came to consider a replacement for King, the management of Mutual thought that they needed someone with a higher national profile than Bohannon – even though Bohannon was a proven, outstanding radio talent. It was the program’s affiliate advisory board that pressured Mutual into giving “Jimbo” the shot saying ”he earned the right to fail.” Of course he did NOT fail and as the saying goes, the rest is history. Radio Hall of Famer Bohannon, who received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from TALKERS celebrating his 53-year career in the industry, tells Kinosian he was “overwhelmed” by the honor. When asked if he was still having fun being on the air he said, “Doing talk radio was like playing shortstop… you never know what is going to come at you. If someone gets tired of doing a talk show it means they are tired of life.” To see the video of the Jim Bohannon interview, please click here.
WHAM, Rochester Fires Craig Schaller for Blog Post Comments. Commenting on the state of women’s golf after the final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship in nearby Pittsford, New York, WHAM personality Craig Schaller wrote in a blog post comments about the ethnicity of many of the players in what he terms “tongue-in-cheek.” In the post he wrote, “…there are too many gosh darn foreigners on the tour and more specifically, I’m talking about Koreans and Asians in general…It’s hard to remember specific golfers when half of them seem to have names that sound like the sound you get when you bang pots and pans together.” Interviewed by local television outlet WHEC-TV, Schaller states, “I had an inkling it might be a little controversial. I actually said in the blog, I might offend some people I’m sure, but what I said I didn’t think was over the top…I regret the way it was taken. I meant it as a tongue-in-cheek kind of comment made for humor. I think a lot of people maybe not take things as light as they’re meant when you write them sometimes. That was definitely the case. I shouldn’t have said it that way. I admit that. It was poorly phrased and it was definitely offensive.”
CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas Wins Edward R. Murrow Award. The station’s “KRLD Afternoon News” is named winner of the 2013 National Edward R. Murrow Award for “Best Newscast” for large market radio, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced on Wednesday. CBS Dallas vice president of news, talk and sports programming Gavin Spittle states, “This is an amazing honor and a milestone in KRLD’s 87-year history. News director Paul Mann and the entire staff genuinely deserve this recognition.” Mann states, “I couldn’t be prouder of the work the KRLD News team produces every day and I’m thrilled to see that work acknowledged with such a prestigious award. It’s truly humbling.” The National Edward R. Murrow Awards will be presented at a gala on October 14 in New York City.
CBS Radio’s ’92.9 The Game’ Grabs Atlanta Hawks Basketball. CBS Radio and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks announce sports talk WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” becomes the official flagship station of the team beginning July 1. The multi-year agreement that begins with the coming season includes the station broadcasting all NBA regular season and postseason basketball games played by the Atlanta Hawks, all pre-game and post-game broadcasts as well as dedicated Hawks programming with their on-air basketball talent that includes Rick Kamla, Sam Mitchell and Dennis Scott. Long-time Hawks voice Steve Holman will continue his role as play-by-play announcer with the station, adding to his 2,050th consecutive game broadcast. Hawks president Bob Williams says, “Entering into a partnership with ’92.9 The Game’ will create exciting opportunities for both the Atlanta Hawks and our new flagship. CBS Radio’s sports talk investment in the greater Atlanta market, the NBA and the Hawks, boasting one of the most powerful signal strengths in the Southeast, means more Hawks fans than ever will be able to follow and support our team and interact with the basketball savvy on-air talent at ’92.9 The Game’ 24 hours a day, year-round.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Hawks PA announcer and “V-103″ morning show host Ryan Cameron; Hawks CFO Andrew Steinberg, “92-9 The Game” program director Terry Foxx; senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio Atlanta Rick Caffey; Hawks general manager Danny Ferry; and Hawks and Philips Arena president Bob Williams.
Playboy and PodcastOne Hook Up. PodcastOne announces it has struck a deal with PlayboyRadio.com to add the Playboy Radio podcast lineup to PodcastOne.com, via the PodcastOne mobile app, PlayboyRadio.com and iTunes. Additionally, Playboy Radio will be represented for advertising sales by Podcast One’s rep firm Launchpad Digital Media. PodcastOne and Launchpad Digital Media chairman and founder Norm Pattiz states, “Few brands are celebrated by so many, in so many places. In fact, the Playboy Advisor was one of the first radio programs in the original Westwood One syndicated radio lineup. It’s good to be back with old friends in the new age of cutting-edge, on-demand digital entertainment.” Available for download will be programs such as “The Playboy Morning Show with Andrea Lowell and Kevin Klein,” “Playboy’s Happy Hour with Jessica Hall” and “The Bachelor’s Bob Guiney,” and “Swing and Dark Matter with Dave Navarro.” Playboy Radio GM and program director Josh Cooperman says, “Playboy Radio is celebrating 10 years producing fun, sexy and sophisticated radio. We are excited to make our shows available through podcast and equally excited to be working with Podcast One on this project.”
NBC Sports Radio Network Adds South Bend Affiliate. The NBC Sports Radio Network announces it signs Talking Stick Communications sports talk outlet WAOR, Nappanee, Indiana “95.7 FM The Fan” to its affiliate list. The Dial Global/NBC Sports national syndication initiative is now heard on more than 265 stations across the country. WAOR program director Mike “Ragz” Ragozino says, “I knew one week after adding the NBC programs “Under Center,” Stashower, and Amani & Eytan, that we made a smart business decision. I am extremely confident that these shows give our station the best all-sports entertainment in Northern Indiana, from sun up to sun down.”
Frank Flores Appointed VP of Hispanic Marketing and Sales at SiriusXM. The satcaster announces Frank Flores is named vice president of Hispanic marketing and sales. He’ll oversee the marketing and advertising sales initiatives surrounding the SiriusXM Latino channels, which include ten exclusive commercial-free music channels covering a wide variety of music genres, and multiple Spanish-language sports and talk channels. President and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “We are excited to have Frank Flores join SiriusXM as we continue the expansion of our Latino subscriber initiative for a national audience of bilingual listeners. Frank will help lead the growth of SiriusXM Latino, which contains the most comprehensive Latin programming lineup on radio. He is a dynamic executive with deep experience and we welcome him to the SiriusXM team.” Prior to joining SiriusXM, Flores was SVP of sales marketing for National Latino Broadcasting.
Big Apple Beauty. Posing for the TALKERS camera with a big green apple in hand at the recent Talkers New York 2013 conference is none other than nationally syndicated Radio America star Dr. Joy Browne. The perennial Heavy Hundred relationship-talker was one of more than 555 industry luminaries who attended the smash event in the Big Apple last Thursday.
Zimmer Radio Buys FM Translator for KWOS, Jefferson City, Missouri. Zimmer’s KWOS, Jefferson City “News Radio 950” is acquiring FM translator K265CT from religious broadcaster Lifesounds Inc. for $35,000. The signal is a 250 watt FM with a construction permit to raise the height of the tower.
NSA Surveillance Case, Amnesty Legislation, Financial Markets Activity, and Zimmerman Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/12). The NSA data mining program and the case of Edward Snowden; the immigration legislation that includes amnesty for illegal aliens; the turbulent global financial markets; and the jury selection in the trail of George Zimmerman were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Miss Universe Credits Rhode Island Talk Radio with Inspiration. Miss Universe 2013, Olivia Culpo, (c) made a surprise appearance at Talkers New York 2013 last week (6/6) and told the attendees during a brief impromptu interview with Michael Harrison that she listened to talk radio growing up in her home state of Rhode Island and was inspired by it to hone her formidable speaking skills. She is pictured with TALKERS staffer (and Massachusetts “Miss Bay State” pageant winner) Emma Leigh Gilbert (l) and WPRO, Providence talk star John DePetro (r).
Michael Smerconish Delivers Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013. It is considered an honor to be invited to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at the annual TALKERS conference – a traditional component of the Freedom of Speech Ceremony that dates back to the early 1990s when the late and legendary talk show host Gene Burns delivered an impromptu speech extolling the importance of free speech in American society and the vital role it plays in the pertinence of talk radio. Bringing the concept full circle, Burns further articulated how talk radio plays a crucial role in exercising and preserving the First Amendment. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “That was a magic moment when Gene Burns explained how free speech and talk radio are intrinsically unified in preserving the very foundation of liberty upon which everything we consider to be ‘American’ is supported.” Harrison recalls, “Gene reprised this role for the next couple of years leading up to it becoming an industry tradition carried on by free speech-aware orators. We began inviting individuals from the broadcasting industry who understood and displayed from their own actions the importance of the First Amendment and comment on the state of its health – based upon the premise ‘use it or lose it.’” Since then, a diverse roster of industry players, who have in their own way challenged the establishment, have delivered their versions of this important address including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Alan Colmes, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jerry Springer, Neal Boortz, Jim Bohannon and many more. This year, the editorial board invited Michael Smerconish, who recently walked away from his daily on-air job with CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia and his own syndicated network of approximately 80 affiliates to take a position as host of a show on the SiriusXM political channel, to deliver the address. According to Harrison, “Smerconish, a moderate conservative, was quite outspoken in his protest against the extreme left-versus-right polarity presently manifested in the stationality of most AM/FM news/talk stations and opted for the ideological freedom provided by his new satellite platform. Standing up to the conventional wisdom and practices of one’s own industry can be even more challenging and bold a stance for a talk show host to take than protesting the government. He was an apt choice to deliver the address this year and he did a great job.” Smerconish began the speech by recounting a media experience he had while still a teenager. Pink Floyd’s legendary “The Wall” LP was released when he was a senior in high school. The band was reluctant to tour in support of the double-album, but as part of its record deal, Pink Floyd was obligated to do a certain number of dates. “I was able to see them and was the envy of my friends,” commented Smerconish, who at the time, was the editor of The Chatterbox, his high school newspaper. “When I came home from the concert, I decided to write a review of ‘The Wall.’” Speculating what the “wall” was and what it symbolized, Smerconish recounted it could have been a prison wall or a wall around a person seeking isolation. When his review came out, he was summoned to the principal’s office. “The principal said he was disappointed that I had written the review and requested a retraction, not because of anything in particular that I had written, but because I had addressed the subject at all,” Smerconish explained. “He wanted me to do a follow up and be critical of the group’s music.” The then 17-year-old Smerconish (who went on to become an attorney) was “only superficially familiar” with the First Amendment. “I doubt that I could have defined ‘censorship’ or ‘prior restraint,’ but I knew enough that something he was asking of me just was not right,” he recollected. “I weighed his request and I did not do it. More than 30 years later, I spend all of my time talking about such dilemmas, speaking my mind, and rendering judgments about matters of public controversy – only now – I do so with profound appreciation for the source of our freedom. Establishing a government framework for the weighty subjects of religion, speech, assembly, and petition is exactly what was accomplished in 1791 when the First Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights were adopted.” Of added significance is the fact that, as Smerconish mentioned, it was done in just 45 words and in a manner that would be relevant for 222 years and counting. “It is so simple and yet so prescient,” he commented. “This guidepost was written two centuries before the advent of the internet.” The succinct way in which Smerconish assessed the state of the First Amendment was “resilient.” To view a video of Michael Smerconish’s entire speech, please click here.
Erica Farber: “There’s Nothing We Can’t Do Anymore!” Brimming with optimism, Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) CEO/president Erica Farber tells TalkersTV, “For the first time in the history of radio, we are integrated marketers.” In an interview conducted at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention (6/6) by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, Farber explains how radio can not only offer commercials on our broadcast signals but also video, special events and a variety of methods of exposure on our digital platforms as well. Farber praises what she describes as ”great energy” in the radio business and says that those of us who are in radio are here because “we love it” and although we are facing obvious challenges, there are also great opportunities. When asked to define her role at the RAB as well as the organization’s role she states, “We are advocates of the industry to anyone who will listen – advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, and consumer media.” She strongly believes that far more people are listening to radio than detractors of the medium would have you believe. To see a video of the entire interview with Erica Farber, please click here.
TALKERS Magazine Building Bridge Between American and Chinese Radio. At the same time President Barack Obama was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, another diplomatic meeting between the two nations was taking place at United Nations headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side (6/7). Broadcasters from China Radio International (CRI), the state-owned-and-operated radio station/network of the People’s Republic of China participated in the seventh annual “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” a cultural initiative presented by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service in association with the United Nations Foundation. This was the first time a delegation of Chinese broadcasters participated in this event. Pictured (above, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison being interviewed by the delegation for broadcast on CRI answering questions about how talk radio in America operates and what differences exist between the culture of broadcasting in both countries. When asked what he hopes can be achieved by the meeting that was taking place that day between the presidents of the two nations Harrison stated, “I hope good things come from it, but I have learned through years of experience not to put too much stock in the words and actions of ANY politicians, regardless of what country they represent. I believe, however, in the PEOPLE of different countries as evidenced by the ‘love fest’ taking place right here, right now, between your broadcasters and ours. Radio is first and foremost a medium to unite people. May today be just the beginning in our quest to unite the people of our great countries on the basis of mutual respect and common human interests. If we do that, perhaps the politicians will have no choice other than to be reasonable.” According to Harrison, “This was one of the most exciting conversations I have ever had in my 45 year career in broadcasting. The radio folks from China seemed absolutely fascinated by how different the business is here – especially the American concept of free speech. However they were clearly quite worldly and educated to many aspects of American business and culture. I will always remember this wonderful meeting.” Li Ping, director general of CRI North America, told Harrison that she hopes “this will be the beginning of a long and productive relationship between Chinese and American radio broadcasters.” Pictured above, right (l-r) Xu Leiying, reporter, CRI; Josephine Cheng, president, Chinese Radio Network (CRI’s partner in New York); Harrison; Li Ping, director general, CRI North America; Dong Xiaole, reporter, CRI; and You Yu, reporter/assistant to director general, CRI, North America.
Longtime Albuquerque Personality Jim Villanucci Lands in Portland. After a not-so-amicable split from his 14-year home at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, talk show host Jim Villanucci will take over the late morning slot at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland “FM News 101” beginning June 24. Villanucci will fill the slot currently held by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck show. Villanucci was a huge ratings-getter for KKOB over the course of his stay there in afternoon drive and now brings his broad talk host skills to the Pacific Northwest leading into market icon Lars Larson who hosts the early afternoon show. The move reunites Villanucci with market manager Milt McConnell with whom he worked in Albuquerque.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Podcasts to Be Featured on PodcastOne. The Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Gow Broadcasting, operator of Yahoo! Sports Radio in partnership with Yahoo! Sports, announce a multi-year deal to make Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts available to listeners for free on PodcastOne.com and via the PodcastOne mobile app. Additionally, Yahoo! Sports Radio Network podcasts will be represented for advertising sales by Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media. PodcastOne/Launchpad Digital Media chief financial officer, Dan Yukelson states, “As ‘radio’ continues to be redefined as ‘audio,’ the sports-talk format has never been more popular. Yahoo! Sports Radio is a leader in on-demand sports content and we are looking forward to ushering sports talk into the digital age together. Along with our current PodcastOne lineup of sports/talk programming such as category leaders Steve Austin and Ross Tucker, the addition of Yahoo! Sports Radio will further strengthen our platform and reach.” Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts now available on PodcastOne and represented exclusively by Launchpad Digital Media include Bryan Benway, Terry Ford, Dylan Gwinn, Rick Horrow, Travis Rogers, Pat Forde, Dan Wetzel, Geoff Ketchum, Doug Farrar, Steve Czaban, “Calling All Sports with Marty Tirrell and Bob Ryan,” “The War Room with John Harris” and the “Mouthpiece Boxing Podcast.”
Clear Channel’s KGME, Phoenix Re-Brands as Fox Sports 910 Phoenix; Adds Local Midday Show. Clear Channel’s Phoenix sports talk outlet KGME announces it has re-branded as “Fox Sports 910 Phoenix,” leaving behind the old “Xtra Sports” brand. The station also adds a new live and local midday show called “The Freaks with Kenny & Crash,” featuring hosts Kenny Sargent and Crash Gladys that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm beginning today (6/12). Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This programming change will create a better experience for sports talk radio listeners in Phoenix. ‘Fox Sports Radio 910 Phoenix’ and the addition of ‘Kenny & Crash’ will provide listeners with phenomenal sports talk programming with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude and the best conversations in the Valley.”
Kelly Kibler Is Promoted to SVP of Operations for CC’s Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio Markets. Moving up from her most recent post as the company’s market president in Dallas, Kelly Kibler is named senior vice president of operations, effective immediately. In her new role with the company, she’ll oversee the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets and will report to Tom Schurr, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s president of operations — major markets. Kibler has been with CC for more than 16 years, holding a variety of leadership and sales positions in the Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas markets. Schurr states, “Kelly’s strong performance and high level of achievement make her the perfect choice to oversee and lead our Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets. Her track record is one of continuous success with the company.”
AdLarge Promotes Don Wachsmith to Chief Revenue Officer, Radio Sales. AdLarge Media reports that EVP, radio sales Don Wachsmith is promoted to chief revenue officer, radio sales for the company. AdLarge Media CEO and co-founder Gary Schonfeld states, “Don has done an incredible job of exceeding revenue goals, two years in a row. His client relationships and ability to develop targeted national radio advertising packages have dramatically increased sales results for AdLarge.” AdLarge president and co-founder Cathy Csukas adds, “With Don’s leadership, Adlarge has already surpassed 2012 results and achieved exceptional growth in 2013. This is a well-deserved promotion for Don and recognition for his contribution to our success.” Wachsmith states, “The past two years at AdLarge have been a wonderfully rewarding experience. As AdLarge continues to expand partnerships with content providers, I look forward to delivering targeted branding experiences for our national advertising clients.” Wachsmith joined AdLarge in 2011. Prior to that, Wachsmith was executive vice president, sales, at Dial Global Media.
Arbitron Announces ‘Model-Ready’ PPM Data Available in GfK MRI’s Granularity Portal. Arbitron Inc. reports that Model-Ready Radio data is now available in media and consumer research firm GfK MRI‘s Granularity Portal. The company states that “the model-ready radio ratings data is linked with Media Monitors commercial airplay data to enable advertisers to get a better read on radio’s contribution to marketing and sales results. Its presence in the Granularity portal is designed to boost radio’s presence in marketing mix models and make it easier, faster and less error prone to use for advertisers, agencies and modelers.” The model-ready data is now available in Granularity to all subscribers of the new data set. It had previously been available in a beta version for a limited number of trial users, which was announced in October 2011. Arbitron also states, “A series of case studies demonstrated that the model-ready Arbitron PPM Radio Ratings Data can help improve the statistical reliability of marketing mix models and provide advertisers with a better understanding of radio’s ability to drive marketing ROI. The data is based on PPM radio ratings which is linked to commercial occurrence data from Media Monitors for the specific date, quarter-hour, and station on which each commercial ran.”
KKLA, Los Angeles Names Frank Sontag PM Drive Host. The untimely death of talk show host Frank Pastore after a motorcycle accident in November of 2012 left Salem Communications’ Christian talk station KKLA, Los Angeles seeking a new afternoon drive host. Now, the company announces Frank Sontag takes over the program that airs from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Program director Chuck Tyler says, “We are excited about having Frank Sontag join our lineup in the critical afternoon drive position. Frank is a true veteran of Los Angeles radio having worked at KLOS-FM for 27 years.” Sontag served as news director, disc jockey and was part of the popular Mark and Brian program. During that time he also hosted his own talk radio show – “The Impact Program” – for 21 years.
ABC News Radio Recognized with Three Edward R. Murrow Awards. The national Edward R. Murrow Awards have been announced by the Radio Television Digital News Association and ABC News Radio is recognized with awards in three categories. ABC won Best Breaking News Coverage for its handling of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre; Best Continuing Coverage for its work reporting on Hurricane Sandy; and Best News Series for its The 2012 Campaign and Election: Your Choice Your Vote.” You can hear the winning entries here.
Glenn Beck Promotes New Novel on SiriusXM’s‘Author Confidential.’ Talk media superstar Glenn Beck (l) is the featured guest on this weekend’s edition of SiriusXM’s “Author Confidential” as he talks with SiriusXM Patriot Channel host Mike Slater (r) about his new novel The Eye of Moloch (Threshold Editions 2013). The book is the follow-up to his previous New York Times bestseller The Overton Window and incorporates themes of tyranny, freedom, high-tech surveillance and more. The program premieres on Saturday, June 15 at 10:00 am on the Patriot Channel.
Gerard Media Purchases Talk WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan. Gerard Media owns news/talk WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana and will add 5,000-watt class D AM WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan to its portfolio for $175,000. The seller is WHFB Broadcast Associates.
WRKO, Boston Holds Live Town Hall Broadcast with Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown. WRKO, Boston morning drive host Jeff Kuhner will take part in a live broadcast town hall meeting at Bentley University on Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 pm with former U.S. Senator Scott Brown. The station says Kuhner and Brown will discuss topical political issues, including National Security privacy issue, the IRS scandal, the Benghazi attack and the Senate special election. The program will end with an open session for audience questions and will be moderated by June Knight.
Alleged State Department Cover-Up, Immigration Legislation, NSA Data Collection Program, Severe Weather ‘Derecho’ Threat, and Plan B Pill Policy Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). Allegations of a State Department cover-up of illegal activities including prostitution and drug abuse among staffers abroad; immigration legislation making its way through Congress; the NSA data collection program and the revealing of secrets by Edward Snowden; the threat of a dangerous weather system possibly forming a “derecho” that could affect the eastern half of the country; and the controversy over the Obama Administration’s policy on the Plan B pill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.