Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

| March 26, 2015

goldsteinsteveSteve Goldstein Exits Exec Role at Saga Communications; Launches Podcast Venture.  After a career with Saga Communications that spanned almost 30 years, Steven Goldstein leaves his executive vice president position and announces that he is forming a company called Amplifi Media, LLC which will specialize in “the development of digital audio-on-demand (podcast) content.”  Goldstein adds, “As connected cars, Bluetooth and smartphones converge, time-shifted audio will grow exponentially.amplifi logo  People will listen to content at a time and place of their choosing, just as is occurring rapidly in the television industry with Netflix, DVRs and on-demand video.”  A press statement from Amplifi says the company will “concentrate on great storytelling, compelling content and fresh voices on a variety of popular subjects, and will adapt, craft and focus the product for the unique needs of the digital audio business.”  Goldstein concludes, “The top of the iTunes podcast chart is dominated by NPR and affiliates.  They have done a tremendous job but there is a world of mainstream topics yet to be explored for on-demand-audio.  That’s where Amplifi will live.”  Goldstein can be reached at 203-221-1400 or via email at sjgoldstein@amplifimedia.com.

RamseyPhoenix15Ramsey Entertains and Informs in The Valley.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star and best-selling author Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage at beautiful Symphony Hall in Phoenix) visited The Valley with the promotional help of affiliate station KTAR “News 92.3.”  He presented to a sold-out audience his “Smart Money” program – which explains how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence – on Wednesday, March 25.  Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage.  While in Phoenix, Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” whichRamseyPhoenixstaff15 addresses how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees.  Pictured at right is Ramsey (center) with vice president of content and operations for Bonneville Phoenix Ryan Hatch (right), and Bonneville Phoenix VP and market manager Scott Sutherland (left).  Hatch comments, “Dave’s consistent success in providing important and helpful content that delivers large audiences on KTAR ‘News 92.3 FM’ is well known.  What really puts Dave over the top is the personal touch and powerful connection he makes with our market when he comes to Phoenix.  It’s become a must-see event for our listeners and clients, which is why you see sold-out crowds on March 24 and 25.”

wallkevinTalk Host Kevin Wall Returns to Air in Nevada.  Las Vegas talk radio personality Kevin Wall returns to the air in the market on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET “790 Talk Now” and in the Reno market on Evans Broadcasting’s KKFT-FM “99.1FM Talk” beginning March 30.  The show is produced by Battle Born Radio Corp. and is titled, “Live and Local Now!”  It will air weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Wall comments, “I am so excited to be reunited with my thousands of listeners across southern Nevada.  The opportunity to talk with thousands of new listeners in northern Nevada is something I’m really looking forward to.  What a brilliant idea, linking northern and southern Nevada.  These two independent broadcasters, without the shackles of corporate radio, are preparing to unleash a whole new brand of conservative talk on listeners across the Silver State.  I can’t wait to get started on March 30th!”

weei logoWEEI to Host Baseball Show at Gay Boston Sports Bar.  Boston sports talk outlet WEEI says it will make history this weekend when it broadcasts its Hot Stove Baseball Panel live from Cathedral Station Sports Bar and Pub – a prominent gay bar in the city – on Sunday (3/29) from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  The Entercom sports talker says the program will feature panelists Rob Bradford and John Tomase of WEEI.com, former Red Sox player and WEEI-FM midday personality Lou Merloni and Sam Kennedy, EVP/Chief Operating Officer of the Boston Red Sox.  The moderator will be Boston Herald sports columnist and WEEI-FM fill-in host Steve Buckley.  Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “When you look at just how far we’ve come as a society at large, it makes sense to openly embrace sports fans from every segment of our richly diverse community.  Sunday’s event is WEEI’s official and public declaration of welcoming Boston’s LGBT sports fans to our extended radio family.”  The event is co-hosted by Boston Spirit Magazine, the premier LGBT publication in the Massachusetts and New England area.

sykescharlieAnnual Charlie Sykes ‘Insight’ Show to Feature Scott Walker One-On-One.  The WTMJ, Milwaukee personality is announcing that the 2015 edition of his annual live event titled, “Insight,” will feature an exclusive one-on-one interview with Governor Scott Walker.  The live program takes place on Wednesday, April 1 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Harris Theater in suburban Brookfield and audio will be played on WTMJ at 8:30 the next morning.  The station says, “620 WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes Insight is a radio show taped in front of a studio audience.  Charlie Sykes will interview the All Star panel and the audio will be played back on 620 WTMJ…The show features the biggest and brightest conservative leaders to review policy and politics in a unique setting.”  In addition to Governor Scott Walker, guests appearing on the panel include: Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (via video), Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr.

Odds & Sods.  Sports author, columnist and media personality John Feinstein begins hosting a weekly golf show on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Channel.  The show will be a one-hour production titled, “A Good Walk Spoiled with John Feinstein,” and will air Monday’s from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.  Feinstein recently exited the CBS Sports Radiofeinsteinjohn Network.  He comments, “I’m happy to be back at SiriusXM and I’m grateful to Scott Greenstein and Steve Cohen for the chance to talk golf, as well as hoops.”…..New York media personality (and WOR talk host) Mark Simone made a recent appearance on Australian television speaking about his relationship simoneAussieTVSinatrawith and knowledge of Frank Sinatra and his music as the late singer’s 100th birthday would have been this year.  Simone is pictured here at left appearing on Melbourne, Australia’s “9News.”…..ESPN Radio is announcing it is preparing to begin its 18th Major League Baseball season of broadcasting more than 66 games that will include multiple appearances from several top teams, including the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, defending American League Champion Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.  The sports giant notes that its radio network will also be the home to the Gillette Home Run Derby and the 86th MLB All Star Game from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 14.  kdkaEvery MLB postseason game will be broadcasted for the 18th consecutive year….. CBS RADIO Pittsburgh stations KDKA-AM and KDKA-FM have been honored by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters with 2015 Excellence In Broadcasting Awards.  “Newsradio 1020” KDKA-AM received honors for Outstanding Radio Commercial for “Alcosan Open House,” and for Outstanding Public Service Announcement/Campaign for “A Salute to Veterans.”  Sports talker “Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan” KDKA-FM received the award for Outstanding Coverage Of A Local Sporting Event for its coverage of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2014 postseason.

hurleyharryNJBA Hall of Fame Class Includes WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley.  The New Jersey Broadcasters Association is announcing the inductees for its 2015 Hall of Fame Class.  This year’s group includes: Harry Hurley, Dan Finn, and Kevin Williams. NJBA president and CEO Paul Rotella comments, “In addition, Richard Swetits was named our Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, and he will enter the NJBA Hall of Fame as part of this extraordinary honor for a lifetime dedicated to our industry and the NJBA.  The 2015 NJBA Hall of Fame Class of Inductees is comprised of true pioneers, innovators, and visionaries, with their accomplishments spanning the state and the region.”

Iran Nukes Issue, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ObamaCare, Germanwings Flight 9525 Mystery, Bo Bergdahl Case, Yemen Tensions, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25).  The negotiations over a West-approved nuclear program for Iran; the strained relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the potential candidates for president in 2016; scrutiny of the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act; the investigation into the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps; the decision to charge Bo Bergdahl with desertion; tensions in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia begins military operations in Yemen; the ongoing buildup of military activity by Russia; and the NCAA men’s hoops tourney were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

| March 25, 2015

2015 small header_250TALKERS ‘2015 Heavy Hundred’ Published — Annual Feature Ranks 100 ‘Most Important’ Talk Radio Hosts.  Today (3/25) marks the publication of the annual feature from TALKERS magazine titled, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – known informally as the “Heavy Hundred.”  This edition marks the 20th consecutive year that this talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “As people can see by perusing this year’s list, it includes a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers, plus several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015.  The task of compiling this annual feature is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”  View the 2015 Heavy Hundred here.

weismanstevenFCC Issues Biggest Fine Ever.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the landmark FCC fine levied against WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, Virginia.  Though the fine is for a violation of indecency standards by a television outlet, this story gives a glimpse into the mindset of today’s FCC.  The station was hit with the maximum $325,000 allowed by law. Weisman writes, “Many are questioning the size of the WDBJ fine particularly when it was an obvious mistake rather than an intentional exercise of pushing the indecency envelope as has been the case with indecency fines from years past when hosts such as Howard Stern were often singled out for indecency charges.  WDBJ has indicated that it will oppose the proposed fine.”  Read Weisman’s entire story here.

mcmahonbillWhat Radio Personalities Want and Need Most from a Coach.  According to noted talk radio consultant Bill McMahon, it’s not easy being a radio personality.  They work in relative isolation far from their listeners.  They can’t see or hear them.  Most radio studios don’t even have an outside window.  The only immediate feedback personalities get on their performance is from those working with them in the studio.  If they work alone, there is no feedback in the moment.  McMahon, CEO of consulting firm The Authentic Personality, goes on to say, “Oh, radio personalities get plenty of delayed reaction to their work, but it often does more harm than good.  The phone lines light up or they don’t.  Texts, Tweets, Facebook posts, and emails deliver all kinds of mixed messages.  Some are glowing with praise and love.  Others state clearly and unequivocally, ‘you suck!’  After the show, the confusion continues.  An enthusiastic PD might proclaim he loves a bit the personality hated, usually without offering specifics about what made it so good.  Later, the GM weighs in saying, “I didn’t get that phone segment you did in the 8 o’clock hour and I don’t think it was relevant to our listeners.”  Problem is the personality thinks it’s the best thing he did all morning and his followers on Twitter and Facebook seem to agree. This is the real world of a radio personality where everyone has an opinion on what they do and the opinions are anything but unanimous.  It’s no wonder even the most successful radio personalities with consistently high ratings can be very insecure.”  In a new article posted today (3/25) that is a must-read for PDs, McMahon details some of the things he has learned that radio personalities need from their talent coaches.  To read it in its entirety, please click here.

wkxwMuch Ado About Nothing? You Decide.  When it comes to New Jersey politics and Governor Chris Christie, controversy is never far away.  But recently, Townsquare Media-owned talk giant WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” found itself in the political spotlight – if only for a moment – after a spur-of-the-moment bit during the “Ask the Governor” show involving a “gift” for news director Eric Scott was picked up by the mainstream media.  In summary, the International Business Times wrote about Christie’sscotteric spontaneous request to show sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group to get show host Eric Scott something for his work on the program.  Christie is quoted saying, “How about a new car from the Lester Glenn Auto Group for Eric Scott?  Right, can we do that?  Are the Lester Glenn Auto people listening?  Eric Scott is getting the shaft here, and what we need is a little love for Eric Scott.  So maybe it could be coming from the christiechrisLester Glenn Auto Group.”  Read the IBT piece here.  After getting Scott the use of a Corvette from Lester Glenn Auto Group for a week, Townsquare EVP Alex Bekett sought to calm those crying ethical foul over the matter by issuing the following statement to PolitickerNJ.com to clarify: “Eric Scott was offered free use of a 2015 Corvette Stingray by ‘Ask The Governor’ sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group from March 17, 2015 – March 24, 2015 as a result of an unsolicited humorous comment made by Governor Christie on February’s award-winning monthly ‘Ask the Governor’ program on ‘New Jersey 101.5.’  Neither ‘New Jersey 101.5’ owner Townsquare Media, nor Mr. Scott, paid for use of the automobile.  The car belongs to Lester Glenn Auto Group.  Neither Townsquare nor Mr. Scott were given a car, but rather Mr. Scott was given brief use of a car.  Neither Townsquare nor Mr. Scott have knowledge of the political contributions of the ownership of the Lester Glenn Auto Group.  The Lester Glenn Auto Group is a valued Townsquare Media advertising partner.  A portion of a conversation during February’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program on New Jersey 101.5 led to the unsolicited provision of free use of a car for Mr. Scott from Lester Glenn Auto Group. None of the parties involved believe anything that transpired was inappropriate.  Nothing that transpired will affect continued objective coverage of the governor on ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ as was evidenced by last night’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program.”

Odds & Sods.  A new, nightly lineup is unveiled at ESPN Radio, effective Monday, March 30.  The sports content giant says “the new shows will be hosted by three distinct ESPN voices with disparate takes on the sports world – Jorge Sedano, Bomani Jones and Freddie Coleman.  The new lineup will kick off at 7:00 pm ET with ‘Theespnaudiologo Sedano Show,’ followed by an evocative new program ‘The Right Time with Bomani Jones’ at 9:00 pm and continuing with the three-hour ‘Freddie Coleman Show’ at 11:00 pm.”  VP, ESPN Audio network content David Roberts comments, “The new weeknight lineup underscores our commitment to serve sports fans by offering the most compelling, interesting, informative and entertaining content wachsdaliahfrom an on-air team that is dynamic, distinctive and diverse all week long.”…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs tells TALKERS magazine she’s thrilled that Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval recently honored the request she made – along with Assemblyman Chris Edwards – to make a Proclamation that Nevada Blood Donation Day will this year be April 25.  She says, “I am so ecstatic that Governor Sandoval and Assemblyman Chris Edwards were so quick to assist us in making a statewide day for blood donation!  This will help save so many lives!”

wgan logoCool Job Opportunity.  Saga Communications’ Portland, Maine radio group is seeking a brand manager and news director for news/talk WGAN.  Saga reports it has an opening to lead its top news/talk outlet WGAN and its sister brands in the beautiful Portland market.  Successful candidates will exhibit an ability to lead a five-person news department, develop and coach local talent, direct programming, develop and curate a contemporary sound for the entire station in delivery and production.  Please send your resume and supporting material to Bob Adams, General Manager, Portland Radio Group: Badams@portlandradiogroup.com.  EOE/MF.

The Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, Iran’s Nuclear Program, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Russian Military Aggression, the Crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, Scott Walker Voter ID Law Victory, Google-White House Relationship, and Angelina Jolie Cancer Prevention Surgery Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24).  The political relationship between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. and Israel; the controversy over negotiating a nuclear policy with Iran; the growing list of potential candidates for president in 2016; increased military aggression by Russia and the West’s response; the mystery of the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s high court victory in that state’s voter ID law battle; suggestions of a cozy relationship between Google and the White House; and the flap over Angelina Jolie’s decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed for the purposes of cancer prevention were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

| March 24, 2015

2015 small header_250TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2015 Delayed One Day – Coming Tomorrow Wednesday, March 25.  TALKERS magazine has delayed the date for the posting of the 2015 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” which was originally set to be posted today.  The list will be revealed tomorrow (3/25) at approximately 2:00 pm ET.  This will mark the 20th consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.”  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015.”  Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”

savagemichaelSavage Celebrates Milestone!  Talk radio icon Michael Savage – now syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating 21 years in radio today (3/24) with a special program that will reflect on his more than two decades on the air.  Savage is recognizing his time on the radio by encouraging listeners to call in and share their favorite memories from past shows.  He’ll also play rare archival show segments from over the years throughout the program.

robinsonjosephRobinson to President Post at iHeartMedia Ventures Group.  This is a promotion for iHeartMedia’s EVP of strategic development as Joseph Robinson is named president of theiheartmedia logo iHeartMedia Ventures Group in which Robinson will work “to develop high-value strategic opportunities with media, technology, and content companies.”  He’ll report to iHeartMedia president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler, who states, “Joe has played an invaluable role in helping iHeartMedia explore new digital and technology opportunities for both consumer-facing and internal initiatives.  I’m delighted that Joe is expanding his role with us; his new leadership position will be instrumental in our continued success as a 21st century media company — one that is both relentlessly forward-looking on the technology front and focused on using iHeartMedia’s cross-platform assets in creative ways that help redefine the future of consumer media and entertainment.”

suttonsteveSutton to Program KCMO, Kansas City.  Talk radio pro Steve Sutton is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City.  Sutton is an experienced broadcaster who’s worked at CBS RADIO, iHeartMedia, ABC, and Air America (where he was co-creator and VP of programming and operations).  Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re very excited to have Steve join us in Kansas City.  He’s a multi-formatted programmer with amazing life experiences.  I can’t wait to hear how he sets news/talk radio on its ear.”  Sutton comments, “A life of amazing experiences continues in Kansas City at KCMO.  We all do this because it’s fun and fulfilling.  And now, thanks to Lew Dickey, John Dickey, Mike McVay, and Mark Sullivan, I get to do it again.  Donna Baker and I arrive within a week of each other.  We both can’t wait to start drawing on the easel.”

holleymichaelWEEI, Boston Re-Ups with Michael Holley.  Boston sports talkers WEEI announces that PM drive personality Michael Holley is “in it for the long haul with his veteran partner, Dale Arnold.”  Holley just signed a new, multi-year contract that will keep the duo together in the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift (alongweei logo with recent addition Jerry Thornton).  Holley comments, “I’m so grateful to be able to do a job that I love, in a region that I love, speaking and working with people that I love.  There have been so many incredible stories in New England sports the past decade-plus, and I’m excited and humbled that I’ve been able to share in the journey on the radio.  I look forward to many more great shows with Dale, Jerry and our producers Andy Massaua and Ben Kichen.”

younglarryWOLB, Baltimore Morning Host Larry Young Named TALKERS 2015 “Humanitarian of the Year.”  Veteran radio talk show host and former Maryland State Senator Larry Young has been selected by the TALKERS magazine editorial board as this year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host.  The prestigious honor – also known as “Humanitarian of the Year” — will be presented to Young during the Awards Presentation at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015.  The presentation will be made by Carole Marks, CEO of Talk Media,2015 NYC 150 Inc.  WOLB, owned by Radio One, is an urban/talk-formatted station serving the Baltimore-area African American community.  Young began his show and radio career on the station in 1998 hosting weekday mornings, 6:00 am to 10:00 am, after a turbulent and controversial career in Maryland state politics.  Since then, he has accrued a number of honors celebrating his work in the community as a broadcaster including “Best Radio Station” by Baltimore City Paper in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009. He also has been the recipient of such awards as the 2007 Pinnacle Award presented by the American Development Consortium, the 2009 Ed Bradley Award presented by the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the 2011 Unsung Hero Award presented by the Grace Outreach fundraising committee and prestigious 2012 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award presented by the Greater Baltimore Urban League.  Young, a longtime member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” is held in extremely high regard not only within the community served by WOLB, but by his co-workers as well.  WOLB general manager Howard Mazer tells TALKERS, “Larry Young is the kindest and most helpful person I know. The word NO is not in his vocabulary. When anyone in the community calls Larry, he will go out of his way to help them.  It does not matter the time or the day.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “I have had the personal pleasure of spending time with the folks at WOLB at the station’s community functions where I have witnessed this man in action first-hand and I must say – the work of Larry Young and the relationship he has with his listeners and co-workers is absolutely inspiring – makes me proud to be in radio. And it is not a single day, promotion or activity that we are talking about.  Every moment of his work on and off the air involves the concepts of service and connection.  Larry Young and WOLB are the very essence of ‘community’ as it applies to radio.”  Talkers New York 2015 – the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention — takes place on Friday, June 12.  As of today’s posting, it is 75% sold out.  For complete agenda details and registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please click here.

wind logoSalem-Owned WIND, Chicago Debuts New Program Schedule; Dave Ramsey to Join the Station in June.  The Chicago secular news/talk outlet WIND “AM 560 The Answer” announces its lineup changes that take effect on both Monday, March 30 and Monday, June 1 of this year.  WIND has made official the addition of Dan Proft as permanent morning co-host, alongsideramseydave Amy Jacobson, in which the duo will host the newly created, “Chicago’s Morning Answer,” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  Station general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Dan Proft is the perfect addition to our lineup.  As the only talk radio station in Chicago dedicated to talking about politics, current events, and proftdanbreaking news, Dan Proft provides the kind of analysis and insight that our audience has come to expect from us.  ‘Chicago’s Morning Answer’ will be the go-to place in Chicago to get up to speed on what’s happening in the world each morning.”  Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher will be added to the station’s lineup airing live from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  Dennis Prager will follow from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, replacing Dennis Miller.  Then, on June 1, nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey will begin airing in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot, immediately following the Joe Walsh program that will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Finally, “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” (syndicated by Compass Media Networks) will debut on March 30 in the 4:00 am to 5:00 am slot.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutMichael Harrison and Norm Pattiz Discuss a Wide Spectrum of Media Issues on PodcastOne.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and PodcastOne founder/CEO Norm Pattiz engage in an illuminating conversation about media and its impact on society in the third and latest installment of the podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  The two iconoclastic media figures draw upon their radio industry experience and 38-year friendship in tackling such issues as net neutrality; new advertising techniques; the impact of consolidation on radio; differences between radio and TV; the evolving state of journalism; the effect of fractionalization on the national consciousness, problems and changes in music radio and the burgeoning state of podcasting.  To hear the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

parriottphilKKOH, Reno APD Phil Parriott Dies in Auto Accident.  Tragic news from the Cumulus Reno station group after news/talk KKOH, Reno assistant program director Phil Parriott died early on the morning of March 21 from injuries sustained in a car accident.  Station staffers are saying Parriott was an extremely valuable member of their team who will be deeply missed by current and past co-workers who call him a friend.  KKOH program director Dan Mason states, “We report tragedy in the news every day and can easily forget that real people are involved.  We’re reminded of that as we mourn our friend and colleague today.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil’s family during this difficult time.”

wpen-fm logoGreater Media Named ‘Best in Philly’ Again.  For the fourth consecutive year, Greater Media’s radio properties have been named among the “Top Workplaces in Philadelphia” by Philly.com.  Hundreds of companies take part in the survey, but only a select few companies are awarded top workplace.  The Greater Media Philadelphia station group consists of rock WMMR; classic rock WMGK “102.9 MGK”; adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM”; and sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.”  The evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program was based entirely upon feedback from an employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics in the fall of 2014.  Greater Media Philly VP and market manager John Fullam comments, “Great companies start with great employees.  We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.”

2016 Presidential Prospects, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, UVA Rape Investigation, Battle Against Militant Islam, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23).  The potential candidates for president in 2016; the controversy over the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the strained relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama and the recent Israeli elections; the police statement that it failed to find corroborating evidence in the Rolling Stone-reported UVA gang rape story; the militant Muslim organizations waging war in the Middle East and Africa; concern over Russia’s recent uptick in military maneuvers; and the weekend’s NCAA tourney action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 23, 2015

| March 23, 2015

nielsen logoNews/Talk Off to Strong 2015 Start in Brew Town. While taking heed of the standard disclaimers about putting too much stock into Nielsen Audio’s 6+ Mon.-Sun. numbers when judging news/talk stations, it’s still pretty impressive that Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ and iHeartMedia’s WISN combined for a 16.8 share (AQH share, persons 6+, Mon.-Sun. 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight, February 2015 PPM survey).  These two news/talk outlets together present some of the nation’s mostwtmj logo successful local programming and syndicated talk shows along with a healthy serving of successful sports play-by-play.  Certainly, some markets are just good news/talk markets due to wisn logodemographics, history, political intrigue, heritage signals and successful sports franchises.  And, yes, Milwaukee fits that mold.  But care has to be taken to give credit to the programmers and air talent (both talk hosts and news personnel) who make these stations sound like Milwaukee.  By the estimation of TALKERS editors, the triumvirate of Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner (both at WTMJ) and Mark Belling (at WISN) is worthy of being singled out for praise.  (Also noteworthy and heard on WISN is WIBA, Madison-based host Vicki McKenna.) These personalities have contributed heavily to their stations’ success.  For the last six PPM surveys – October 2014 through February 2015 – WTMJ has scored between 8.8 and 10.9 (persons 6+), while WISN has notched from 4.3 and 6.5.  There’s no guaranty of continued success in the radio business but with the local talent on board these signals and Wisconsin appearing to remain in the nation’s political spotlight as long as Scott Walker is in the governor’s office, the smart money will remain on both of these stations.  For related data on the entire news/talk format, see the latest news/talk format PPM analysis from TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian here.

wlup logoIt’s Back to Music Radio for Mancow.  As has been reported for several weeks now but just officially confirmed by Cumulus Media over the weekend, Erich Mancow Muller will assume morning drive duties on the company’s WLUP-FM, Chicago “Classic Rock 97.9 The Loop” effective March 30.  After winning the “listener-generated morning show talent search,” Mancow will return to the Chicago airwaves to produce the entertainment-based “Mancow Morning Show on 97.9 The Loop.”  Show cast members will include: Al Roker, Jr., Luv Cheeze and Cathy Vlahogiannis, providing the female prospective with Carrie Ann DeYoung, as well as new talent Abe Kanan, famous for his show onmancow SiriusXM.  Cumulus says that “after a month of on-air auditions by multiple candidates vying to host mornings on ‘The Loop,’ Mancow garnered an impressive listener response to The Loop’s Morning Show Web Survey during his five-day run.  Mancow brought back the funny and served up the fast-paced entertaining show that put him on the map with Chicago radio listeners from 1994 to 2006.  Fans of the original “Mancow Madhouse” came out of the woodwork to show their support, and thousands of positive comments flooded the station website.  Comparing the voting traffic to the other candidates, it was no contest: Mancow won the ‘election’ in a landslide.”  After leaving Emmis and former alternative WKQX in 2006, Mancow reinvented himself as a conservative talk show host and was syndicated by TRN-FM for a number of years.  Speaking about his new gig, Mancow comments, “This is my final act because I don’t believe I’ll ever top this!  Chicago is a tough city for commuters and our ONLY goal with this show is to provide an escape and make our listeners laugh.  There will be radio theatre.  We will be three-dimensional and break out of the speaker. This show will pop like no other.  We believe it will cut through the clutter and seize an audience that hasn’t been served in years.  Cumulus and John Dickey brought me back into radio. He is a leader I can follow into this great radio battle to victory.  This guy is committed to talent and committed to winning.  It doesn’t matter how much you love radio (and I do); if you don’t have the right people around you, you are doomed.  Finally, I have my dream team cast of characters and a company that actually wants to win.  Lately in radio it seems like people are listless and don’t know what to do.  That is not the case with ‘The Loop.’  We have a direction and we know where we’re going.  This is the most exciting time ever.”

wnov logoEric Von Joins Lineup at Urban Talker WNOV, Milwaukee.  Spoken-word and urban music outlet WNOV, Milwaukee is owned by Courier Communications Corp. – publisher of the market’s African American newspaper the Milwaukee Courier.  The station announces itvoneric is adding local radio personality Eric Von to its programming lineup, hosting the 7:00 am to 9:00 am daily show beginning April 6.  Von had been an air personality at WMCS, Milwaukee – a former urban-formatted station – before that station’s format flip in February of 2013.  WNOV general manager Sandra Robinson comments, “We’re excited to have Eric Von join the lineup. He brings to progressive radio his own unique style that engages audiences in calm and rational tones.  Eric’s ability to raise awareness among listeners and keep them tuned in to those issues that are important in their lives is critical in a city where so many feel left out and ignored.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

| March 22, 2015

Ed ShaneShane Succumbs to Cancer. Chief executive officer of Houston-based Shane Media Services, and publisher of the music magazine Best in Texas – Ed Shane – has lost his battle against colon cancer. Shane and his wife/business partner/former country programmer (KILT, Houston, WIL, St. Louis) Pam Shane revealed his diagnosis on social media less than four weeks ago (2/24). In that posting, Pam Shane noted, “This will be an interruption for Ed and me during the next few months. Shane Media clients are aware of this, and know that I will be keeping their projects moving forward. We appreciate the support from friends and colleagues at this difficult time.” Outpouring of sympathy and exceptionally kind comments permeated social media. For example, renowned sports broadcaster (Boston Red Sox radio play-by-play, among others) Jerry Trupiano declares Shane was, “a true giant in the industry and one of the best people I ever worked with.” Among the many others “heartbroken” to hear the news of Shane’s passing is CBS Radio country KFRG “K-Frog,” Riverside on-air talent Heather Froglear, who comments, “We were so fortunate to have [him] on our team for many years. I will be forever grateful for [his] guidance on the air. He always encouraged this young gal just starting in country radio. I considered [him] a mentor – but mostly a friend. My heart goes out to Pam and the rest of Ed’s friends and family. You will be missed – terribly.” Longtime group program director Frank Bell recollects that during his tenure at Keymarket/Sinclair, “Ed Shane helped us launch many great country stations, including KFRG; WGGY, Wilkes Barre-Scranton; and WOGY, Memphis. His handiwork in news-talk helped shape the sound of WWL, New Orleans; WBEN, Buffalo; and WLAC-AM, Nashville. Ed’s clarity of thought made him a welcome addition to every conference call and strategic planning meeting. He was one of those rare consultants who ‘talked the talk’ and ‘walked the walk.’ In Texas terms, he wore a big hat and had lots of cattle. Thoughts and prayers today go out to his life and business partner, Pam, and that talented group of Shane Media programmers, both past and present.” Distinguished programmer Ed Scarborough (Lieblick) declares, “We have lost a true ‘gentle’ man. Condolences to Pam and Ed’s family, and to Ed’s extended family. He touched many lives and leaves aEd Shane #2 wonderful legacy.” According to Brent Clanton, “Ed gave me my first job in Radio at Paul Taft‘s KODA, Houston and he taught me so much more than the business. I was privileged to work with him on two [Houston] start-ups, KIKK-AM ‘Business Radio 650′ with the equally-legendary Dickie Rosenfeld, and more recently, the launch of Radio One‘s ‘News 92 FM’ [KROI]. Ed was a gentleman, a perfectionist, and was always thinking ahead on ways to make a radio station’s product better. He made me a better broadcaster, and planted in me an appreciation of how to bring up the next generation of radio professionals.” Intersat‘s manager of media product strategy (and former programmer) Chuck Dickemann comments, “Ed’s influence on me and my career went far beyond broadcast and radio. His support, confidence, and mentorship permeated everything I did. Beyond that, he was a friend – a true friend.” Programmer John Roberts mentions that, “Ed was a pro’s pro for sure, but more importantly, he was simply a great guy. Plenty of people in radio, including me, owe significant career steps to Ed & Pam’s generous advice and help. Stories about change in our business, real or perceived, seem to hit us between the eyes daily. The idea of consultant Ed Shane not being around is one legit ‘change’ I wish we did not have to face.” Mardit Media Consulting president Barry Mardit notes that Shane was a “familiar face at CRS. He always greeted me with a warm smile and a hearty handshake. I always looked forward to our brief chats as well as his in-depth presentations. The consummate professional and true champion who so believed in the power of radio. Ed was a vast storehouse of the knowledge and expertise needed to harness and unleash its full potential. Our industry has lost a giant and those who have known Ed have lost a giant of a friend.” SeniorNet Dallas president Dan Halyburton states, “Ed Shane was a great radio man and a good friend. Ed played an important role in the efforts at KPLX, Dallas in the 1990s to fight one of the toughest country battles ever. His knowledge and commitment to winning were unequaled. Ed always had such energy and presence.” Country consultant Joel Raab notes, “Ed Shane was a great guy and solid professional. He was always generous with his thoughts and advice. He gave me lots of encouragement – even though we were competitors. For that I will always be grateful.” Ron Parker recalls that his “very first radio job was at WPLO-FM, Atlanta and Ed was the operations manager of the station for Plough – thoughts and prayers to Pam and the Shane family.” Ed Shane – who founded Shane Media in 1977 – entered hospice care early this past week. He previously was station manager of Houston’s KRBE and programmed talk KTRH in that market. He also was the former program director of KKDJ, Los Angeles (now iHeartMedia CHR KIIS), as well as a number of other major market stations.