Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7. After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, ”and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Hosts on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” show; Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore; Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America; Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA; Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz; Timothy Spangler of KRLA, Los Angeles; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester; Dr. Evelyn Higgins of CRN Digital Talk Radio and GCN; Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead, NY; Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more. Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced. All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
RAB: Radio Flat at $3.5 Billion in Q1. The Radio Advertising Bureau releases data indicating that the first quarter of 2013 remained flat “aided by an uptick in Spot in March after a sluggish start to the year. Both Digital and Off-Air performed well throughout the quarter and were up 9% and 5% respectively.” The report breaks out data on advertising categories. A synopsis shows “spot spending by communication/cellular advertisers soared by over 1/3 (36%) for this quarter, propelling the category to #1 for the period. Also up – in rank order based on spending – were financial services (+13%), department/discount stores & shopping centers (+58%), and home furnishings/floor coverings (+6%). While dollar volume was virtually flat for television/networks/cable providers (-3%) and restaurants (-2%), these were solid contributors to radio’s bottom line in the #2 and #4 spots; automotive declined 20% and slipped to the #3 rank.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Major increases in radio advertising by communications/cellular and financial services went a long way to offset a drop in automotive spending. Additionally, spending is up in the department/discount stores category – reflecting increased confidence among retailers who have experienced radio’s ability to drive traffic and sales. Radio’s digital sector revenue continues to grow as radio stations invest in and promote their digital offerings to listeners, driving increased attention by the ad buying community.” The report features data from Miller Kaplan Arase LLP and the Q1 revenue figure does not include network radio data. Read the entire report here.
Beasley Broadcasting Names David Wolfman WQAM, Miami LSM. Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami announces David Wolfman is the new local sales manager at the station. Wolfman reports to director of sales Keriann Worley. He comes to Beasley from his most recent position as general sales manager for Clear Channel Miami. Prior to that, he spent several years with Interep National Radio Sales. Worley states, “David Wolfman is a proven sales leader and he will be directly responsible for revenue growth on 560 WQAM. His passion for sports, innovative thinking, and his knowledge of the Miami market make him a perfect fit for this dynamic position. We are thrilled to have him join our team.”
Dave Ramsey Visits The Queen City. Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is in Cincinnati this week. Earlier he presented to a packed house his new, intimate “Building Your Legacy Live Event” in which he talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey joined with local affiliate WKRC to promote the event. WKRC general sales manager Bill Mountel says, “Cincy has been starved for a taste of Dave and now they can get a ‘double dose’ of Dave Ramsey. Cincinnati fans and 55KRC listeners are excited to have Dave in town and are already looking forward to his next visit to the Queen City!” Today, Ramsey is hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” at Vineyard Church. Ramsey, along with speakers Jon Acuff and Chris Hogan, will speak about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees. Pictured here with Ramsey are: (front row) WKRC GSM Bill Mountel, Ramsey, WKRC personality Brian Thomas, (back row) WKRC PD Scott Reinhart and CC Cincinnati market president Chuck Fredrick.
Hubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” Stands Alone. With the recent moves of KFNS and KSLG to guy talk and female-targeted programming, respectively, Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis stands as the only full-time sports talk station in the market. In a piece by Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chronicling the station’s four-year history as a sports outlet, general manager John Kijowski discusses where the station is now and what the state of the market is for sports talk radio. Among the tidbits from Kijowski in the article is his belief in FM for sports talk: “In the sports genre, having a big FM signal in today’s world is vital for success. Then the format can’t be done on the cheap, you have to invest in it. From that respect, I feel good about what we do and I still think we have a ways to go.” It should be noted that though WXOS is the last sports station standing, its place among the stations seeking men 25-54 is not what it was a year ago, having dropped to sixth place in the most recent Arbitron PPM data. However, one of the most interesting points in the piece is Kijowski’s admission that it took four years in the format for the station to make a profit. So much for the notion that sports talk radio is an automatic money press! Read the entire piece here.
Food Nation Radio Network Signs On with Business TalkRadio Network. In a move that will take effect June 1, the weekly food talk radio show “The Food Nation Radio Network with Elizabeth Dougherty” joins the roster of Business TalkRadio Network. BTRN consulting operations officer Jeff Weber says, “We are all really excited that hosts Elizabeth Dougherty and Michael Serio are bringing this compelling program to a national audience. We’re proud to be a part of this show which is informative and fun. It’s truly a one of a kind program.” The program is based out of Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa and is described by the producers as “an adventure of good food, food-related stories and compelling interviews.” Host Elizabeth Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training. She has written hundreds of articles on food that have appeared in many major publications. She says of the new relationship, “We are pleased to partner with the Business TalkRadio Network as ‘Food Nation Radio’ continues to grow so that we can continue to concentrate on the cutting-edge and entertaining content we provide to our listeners each week.”
Odds & Sods. Fred Lucas’ book about talk radio, The Right Frequency (History Publishing 2012) is soaring high on two of Amazon’s Kindle best-seller lists. The book is #1 in the Public Affairs category as well as #1 on the digital texts chart…..XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning drive co-host J.D. Hayworth is sitting in for Cumulus Media Networks personality Mike Huckabee all next week and on Memorial Day as well…..Fox Sports Radio continues its UFC coverage as the network simulcasts “UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold” on Saturday, May 18. The event will take place at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua, Santa Catarina, at 9:00 pm ET. After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..CBS Radio News presents a Memorial Day Weekend special program titled “Combat Stress: Finding the Way Home” that focuses on the impact post-traumatic stress has on the lives of our military veterans. “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft anchors and speaks with veterans and top experts. The program features personal stories from veterans and their families, an in-depth exploration of treatment options, and stories of encouragement for those suffering with combat stress.
Second Amendment Petition Delivered to Congress. Salem Radio Network vice president, news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) delivers more than 125,000 signatures in support of the Second Amendment. Accepting the signatures is Republican U.S. Representative from Texas Louie Gohmert (center) and flanked by United States Concealed Carry Association CEO Tim Schmidt (left). The network began the petition drive in response to calls for new gun legislation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Talkers Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Freedom Feens” – syndicated by Genesis Communications Network – picks up new affiliates KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota and WZFG, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom,” a syndicated military news and talk radio show hosted by two-time purple heart recipient Colonel Denny Gillem, is added to the program schedule at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle. Additionally, Colonel Gillem will also analyze military news and issues for sister station, KIRO-FM.…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters is added to the program schedule on WIBQ, Terre Haute, Indiana.
IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 13-17. The IRS’ scrutinizing of conservative organizations for taxes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 13-17, putting it atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation. At #3 was the AP phone records search by the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. Following at #4 was Syria-Israel tensions. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Spotlight on Michael Berry: Gaining Traction in Self-Syndication. With tongue in cheek, KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry calls himself “The Czar of Talk Radio” – an apt title that reflects both his dab of self-deprecating irreverence and the fact that his self-syndicated show has been somewhat of an empire-in-the-making as it spreads now to 10 formidable talk stations across the country with no end to its growth in sight. Berry was a high jumper on this year’s TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” (2013) rocketing from #95 last year to #67. Michael Harrison calls this former Mayor pro tem of Houston-turned-talk radio host “one of the most promising and intriguing up-and-comers in the business today” and often cites his name when asked from where the next wave of talk radio superstars is coming. Interested in learning more about this 42-year-old rising star? Read TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s in-depth profile of Michael Berry posted today (5/15) by clicking here.
Department Store Chain in Middle of Talk Radio Ad Storm. The Charlotte-based department store chain Belk found itself in the eye of a partisan politics storm after an ad for one of its vendors that mentions Belk found its way onto a local station airing the Rush Limbaugh program. Activist groups monitoring conservative talk radio with the goal of harassing advertisers into deserting the format quickly began targeting Belk with requests to end the campaign. However, Belk spokesperson Jessica Graham told the Charlotte Observer it doesn’t advertise on talk radio and the ad was through a vendor. She also explained the vendor was being made aware of the company’s policy. But the fire had already been started with conservative Belk shoppers and those sympathetic to the anti-talk radio crusade squaring off on social media and communicating with Belk about their feelings. Graham told the paper in the aftermath of the flap, “This is why we don’t advertise on talk radio.”
JVC Media to Buy Asterisk Communications’ Florida Stations. Long Island-based JVC Media announces it has entered into an agreement to purchase five Florida FM stations from Asterisk Communications. The stations include: country WTRS, Dunnellon (Gainesville/Ocala market); hot AC WMFQ, Ocala “Q92”; smooth jazz WXJZ, Gainesville; news/talk WBXY, Gainesville; and sports talk WYGC, High Springs (Gainesville market) “104.9 The Game.” JVC Media CEO John Caracciolo says, “We are honored and privileged to welcome these top-performing radio stations into the JVC family. The prior owner of these stations was committed to community service, high-quality broadcasting and creating an excellent work environment for its staff, and we are proud to be able to continue the tradition that Asterisk started in this great market.” JVC chief operating officer Victor Canales adds, “We love this radio market, and we are excited to continue the trend of fun, local radio in North Central Florida. We plan on adding staff in Florida and New York and to make a big splash with marketing and programming when we begin operating the stations.” JVC Media owns four FM radio stations on Long Island, dance music WPTY, Spanish WBON, country WJVC, and rock WRCN and operates Long Island Events, which manages the 7,000 seat outdoor entertainment venue known as the Pennysaver Amphitheater. JVC was formed by broadcasting veterans John Caracciolo and Victor Canales and is backed by Northwood Ventures.
Christina Albee Named Chief Marketing Officer at Dial Global. Dial Global brings Christina Albee to the company from Condé Nast where she was most recently managing The Studio at Condé Nast, a division producing a wide range of digital campaigns. She also supervised event marketing, strategic alliances, and operations at the Condé Nast Media Group. In Albee’s new role as chief marketing officer at Dial Global, she’ll be responsible for the company’s positioning and branding. On her new position, Albee states, “I am thrilled to assume the chief marketing officer role at Dial Global. I look forward to working closely with Paul Caine to innovate and advance our marketing initiatives surrounding Dial Global’s premium programming and unique assets. There’s an incredible amount of opportunity to redefine the category and I’m happy to be a part of Dial Global’s extremely smart team at the forefront of this industry.” Prior to Albee’s work with Condé Nast, she held associate publisher positions at Style.com, and Time Inc.’s In Style Weddings and TEEN PEOPLE. She was also part of multiple successful brand launches, including PEOPLE en Español, In Style, TEEN PEOPLE and All You.
Former Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle to Host Show on WSYR, Syracuse. The Clear Channel news/talk station is bringing former U.S. Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle aboard to host a one-hour Saturday program airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon. The one-term rep made the announcement about her new program on the station’s Bob Lonsberry program and said it will debut on Saturday, May 25 – Memorial Day weekend. She says given the holiday, her program will be dedicated to the nation’s military.
Odds & Sods. Former Jacksonville Jaguars great and current Dial Global football analyst Tony Boselli moves into the radio broadcast booth for Jaguars play-by-play alongside Brian Sexton and Jeff Lageman. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM serves as the flagship for Jaguars broadcasts…..It’s a busy week for talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who, in addition to his daily show on home base WOAI, San Antonio, is sitting in on the AM drive show on KTRH, Houston. Next week, Pags does double duty on WOAI filling on for Charlie Parker who’s out on medical leave…..Monday, May 20 will be a full one for ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith as he sits in with Mike Greenberg on the “Mike & Mike” AM drive show on the radio and on ESPN2. Immediately following, Smith will take his regular turn on ESPN2’s “First Take with Skip Bayless and Cari Champion” and, to further meld the two shows that day, Bayless will join Mike & Mike at 9:30 am for a group discussion on the events of the day. Greenberg will then join “First Take” for a segment at 10:15 am. Whew!…..Viacom’s Comedy Central inks a pact with SiriusXM to begin airing content on the satellite service under its brand. And to kick off the launch of Comedy Central Radio, the cable channel will go dark and simulcast the audio feed of the historic launch, which goes live at 12:00 midnight ET on Sunday, May 19. Virgin Mobile and Monster DNA headphones will sponsor the opening minute of Comedy Central Radio, which marks only the second time that the channel has gone dark in its illustrious history, the first being May 22, 1992 when it did so for the entirety of Johnny Carson’s final broadcast of “The Tonight Show.”
Three Old Movies for New Radio Managers. Noted radio consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke says, “Forget those boring management training videos!” and recommends three old flix to today’s upcoming crop of radio managers for a valuable bit of advice and inspiration. He suggests viewing “Disclsoure” for input of sexual harassment, “Bridge on the River Kwai” for leadership training, and “Glengarry Glen Ross” for sales do’s and don’ts. To read more, click here.
Donald Rumsfeld Visits Steve Malzberg. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was Steve Malzberg’s guest on Wednesday (5/15) on his Newsmax Media-produced and syndicated talk show. Rumsfeld is promoting his new book Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life (Broadside Books 2013). In addition to promoting the new book, Rumsfeld and Malzberg talked about the big issues of the day – responsibility for the Benghazi attacks, the IRS scandal and the tensions in the Middle East. Malzberg’s program airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Industry Mourns Fred White. The broadcasting industry and Major League Baseball is mourning the passing of Kansas City Royals director of broadcast services (and long-time Royals play-by-play voice) Fred White, who passed away after a battle with cancer one day after retiring from the organization. White worked in the broadcast booth with Denny Matthews from 1973 through 1998 before he left that role to move into managing the broadcasting services.
IRS Scandal, Benghazi Attack Probe, Justice Department AP Phone Records Audit and Israel-Syria Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/15). The scandal involving the IRS and conservative groups; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; the Justice Department’s audit of AP phone records and Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee; and Israel-Syria tensions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KTRS, St. Louis Morning Host McGraw Milhaven Teams with St. Louis Post-Dispatch for Web Streaming Video Version of His Program. St. Louis talk radio personality McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS magazine he, along with video technology partner Talisen Technologies, are teaming with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s online platform StlToday.com to present the streaming video version of his KTRS morning drive show. Milhaven says, among other benefits, this deal will give his program access to the reporters and video production of the Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com to add to his ability to cover local news stories and present them with added video production elements for the people using his program on computer, tablet or smartphone. Milhaven says, “We’re pretty excited. We knew convergence was coming, that live internet programming like this was coming. The ability to use the resources of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives us access to the largest and best newsroom in the region. Consumers can get it on smartphone, tablet or computer in extraordinary HD quality. It really allows us to turn our radio show and the newspaper into a high-quality TV channel.” The deal between Milhaven, KTRS and the paper allows both the radio station’s and newspaper’s sales staffs to sell spots on the video version of the show. Milhaven says initially during spot breaks on the radio show, the viewers will see pre-recorded video spots introducing them to the program, but ultimately it gives sales the added bonus of selling a visual component along with the audio. “Fox example, during a live read spot that I might do, we can add a slide or video to the internet version to give the client another way to enhance his message.” It also allows a talk radio show another way of getting back into the home where people often use their tablets while going about their morning routines. Initial response to the “beta version” of Milhaven’s video initiative – seen on the station’s website – has been excellent. He says, “The TSL – or rather time spent viewing – in our infancy has been very promising, averaging 35 minutes. We’re very pleased with that considering we’re just beginning to tap the potential. Also, the compliments on the high quality of the video and the added graphics have been encouraging.” Milhaven’s association with StlToday.com begins on Thursday, May 16. For a number of years, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been singing the praises of local newspaper (daily and weekly) websites and resources as perfect partners for the next digital phase of talk radio stating, “McGraw Milhaven is making a very smart move in this newspaper alliance. The industry should take note and watch his progress with interest. We are talking about the evolution of the concept of the local ‘media station’ as it grows on one of its most potentially fertile platforms. The combination of talk radio and a local newspaper in a teamed-up, combined medium is programming and sales dynamite.”
WIBC-FM, Indianapolis to Add Abdul Hakim-Shabazz to Weekend Schedule. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Emmis news/talk outlet WIBC-FM, Indianapolis is adding former WXNT morning host and practicing attorney Abdul Hakim-Shabazz to the weekend schedule for the Saturday 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show. Shabazz’s conservative morning program at crosstown WXNT was cancelled in 2011. WIBC-FM program director David Wood tells the paper, “He has a nice following and he does a fun show.” The paper notes Shabazz “has frequently made light of his incongruous profile — being black, conservative and a Muslim.” Shabazz publishes IndyPolitics.org and is a local political commentator. He practices law with Indianapolis law firm Lewis and Wilkins.
WDBO-FM, Orlando Names Tony Marino Afternoon News Anchor. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5” announces news and traffic pro Tony Marino is the new afternoon drive news anchor at the station. Marino comes to the station from Total Traffic Network in Miami. In the past he has also served at CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas in the news department.
Bloomquist Media Wins Two 2013 Communicator Awards. Yesterday TALKERS reported that the Bloomquist Media-produced special “A Grateful Nation” – which raises funds to benefit the Fisher House Foundation – was a U.S. finalist for the New York Festivals 2013 Radio Programs and Promo Awards. Bloomquist Media has also been honored for the same program with two 2013 Communicator Awards. “A Grateful Nation,” was honored with a Gold Award of Excellence for Writing/Creative Concept and a Silver Award of Distinction in the Programs category. Bloomquist Media president Randall Bloomquist states, “We are very pleased to see ‘A Grateful Nation’ honored for its creative concept and writing. Powerful storytelling is key to the success of our innovative Branded Audio Content strategy.” “A Grateful Nation” 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 65 news/talk radio stations, as well as Sirius XM satellite radio. The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program recognizing big ideas in marketing and communications. Founded nearly two decades ago, The Communicator Awards receives over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards programs of its kind in the world.
Jacobs Media to Host Techsurvey9 News/Talk Webinar. Next Tuesday, May 21 Jacobs Media will host a webinar for news/talk radio broadcasters presenting data from its Techsurvey9. The company says, “With over 78,000 respondents from 264 North American radio stations from 12 formats, the study provides a rich, deep exploration into the shifting digital, social, and media habits of radio listeners. As always, we’ve got some great data here that can help stations better understand what their audiences are doing when they’re not listening to radio. Overall, 27 news/talk stations contributed close to 12,000 respondents, showing why this is valuable information for news/talk stations. Jacobs Media will present the webinar at 2:00 pm ET on that day and it is charging $99 for participation in the webinar for stations that did not pay for their data, but it says the small fee allows broadcasters to bring as many people into their conference rooms as they like. More information can be found here.
RAB Study: Auto Radio Ads Have Greatest Influence as Consumers Get Close to Purchase. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s newest service – Finding Consumer Trends Reports – “radio plays a dominant role, whether people are considering a vehicle purchase, or spending time in a vehicle. The closer listeners get to purchasing or leasing a vehicle, the more important a part radio advertising plays. And radio is a top ‘must-have’ for automotive buyers of every age.” The RAB states that “these are just some of the key findings stemming from its new service to help radio stations sell locally and highlight the buying power of radio listeners coast to coast.” It was developed in partnership with Presslaff Interactive Revenue, and offered as a benefit of membership, Finding Consumer Trends (F.C.T) Reports are turn-key online surveys of a station’s audience that provide salable insights and qualified leads on purchase interests in top advertising categories. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “We were excited to launch this initiative for our members. The number of responses demonstrates the engagement radio has with its listeners. The information gleaned from this survey on automotive proves radio’s role within brand consideration and purchase.” The RAB says the first F.C.T Report survey was conducted from March 12 to April 2, 2013 and attracted over 28,000 respondents aged 18-plus. Respondents were asked about vehicle and brand preferences along with advertising and dealership influencers. Of those respondents surveyed, 44% currently own a vehicle that is over 8 years old and nearly one in three (32%) of the total respondents will be in the market to purchase/lease a vehicle within the next year. Presslaff Interactive Revenue’s president Ruth Presslaff says of the study, “RAB member stations now have a wealth of information they can use to engage dealerships and services shops. With responses from over 28,000 radio listeners from coast to coast, we have uncovered everything from automotive brand preferences to buying intentions to their listening habits while driving. This is compelling information that will be beneficial for all radio sales, within and well beyond the automotive category.”
Benghazi Investigation, IRS Targeting Conservative Groups, Obama Calls Out Rush Limbaugh, Justice Department AP Phone Records Search, and Angelina Jolie Mastectomy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14). The ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attack; the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; President Obama’s calling out Rush Limbaugh; the Justice Department’s search of Associated Press phone records; and actress Angelina Jolie’s choice to have a double mastectomy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Industry Mourns Death of Dr. Joyce Brothers. Before there was a Dr. Laura Schlessinger or a Dr. Joy Browne on the radio and in talk media, there was a Dr. Joyce Brothers. Named by TALKERS magazine as the 72nd most important radio talk show host of all time (“Heaviest Hundred”), Joyce Bauer Brothers, the mother of media psychology, died yesterday at the age of 85 surrounded by her family. The cause of death has not been disclosed. Dr. Joyce Brothers exploded into the public conscience in 1955 after appearing on the TV game show “The $64,000 Question,” the most popular program at the time. She was the second person to ever win the entire payment and she was the first woman. Those qualities alone may have made her an instant celebrity, but add into the mix this unexpected element: she answered obscure questions on the subject of boxing while pitted up against boxers. After that, she landed an opportunity to do commentary for CBS Sports during a boxing match between Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson. Thus began her television career. By 1958, Dr. Brothers was hosting a new kind of television talk show – one where she took mailed-in questions from viewers on the subjects of love, marriage, childrearing, and sex. It was that last subject during an innocent era of the late 1950s which summoned the NBC executives into the control room one day. They sweated through her response to a question about premature ejaculation and then waited for the calls to come in – calls of complaints. In the book Making Waves, the 50 Greatest Women in Radio and Television, Dr. Brothers says, “Their white faces drained of blood, and they were waiting for phone calls of complaints and horror.” Sure enough the calls did come in – but “were all positive – men saying ‘This is something I’ve had all my life and you’ve helped me.’” There was not one complaint among them, she recalled. And from that point forward, “I went on my own way and I was on my own way,” a path that lasted decades during which she was often cited as one of the most admired women in America. Her ability to take private issues public with genuine compassion, grace and intelligence — and never embarrass or offend someone – was the key to her connection to the viewer and listener. The only topic she declined to ever discuss? “Mental illness,” she once explained. “I am not trying to do therapy on the air. If I think there is even a possibility that people need therapy, I suggest they seek professional help.” Though her media career began in television, she made a significant foray into radio on NBC Radio/Westwood One and is widely credited with spearheading the call-in psychology shows that became a traditional genre of talk radio. Over the years, she appeared frequently as a guest on talk shows such as “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” Dr. Brothers also landed numerous television roles – many of which were comedic cameo appearances on sitcoms and even ended up in an animated version of herself on “The Simpsons.” She was the author of nine books including most recently Widow, in which she dispenses advice to women who have lost a husband (hers died in 1989). Her articles have appeared in Readers’ Digest, Good Housekeeping and Parade. Born to attorney-parents who worked together in their own law practice, Dr. Brothers grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens. She credits her off-the-charts memory for her ability to cite details for things she only read once. Not only did she skip two grades in high school, but then she went on to graduate with honors. After winning a scholarship to Cornell University where she was forced to major in Home Economics (to retain the scholarship), she discovered psychology and achieved a double-major. She went on to get her doctorate at Columbia University. Dr. Brothers married medical student Milton Brothers in 1949 and left a teaching position in 1955 at Hunter College in New York City to be a stay-at-home mother for her newborn daughter. It was when their money got tight that Dr. Brothers hoped to take home the prize from “The 64,000 Question.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Dr. Joy Browne Credits Pioneer Dr. Joyce Brothers with Making Psychology Accessible. One of the leading radio psychologists of the last quarter century, Dr. Joy Browne (syndicated 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm daily by Radio America) tells TALKERS, that in addition to the media pioneer being an enormous influence on her career, not to mention talk radio and TV in general, the late Dr. Joyce Brothers was a giant figure in America popular culture because “she made psychology accessible to the masses.” Browne, who worked on a number of occasions with Brothers, describes the legendary broadcaster as being one of the “most focused people I’ve ever met in this business.” Browne recalls, “Dr. Joyce Brothers could accomplish almost anything she wanted to do simply by putting her brilliant mind to it…whether it was remembering minutia about boxing to win a game show… to knowing exactly what to do to promote her books… to distilling complex topics down to their basic essence so people could understand them. She had an amazingly disciplined mind.”
Talk Host Phil Valentine Alleges Experiencing IRS Harassment as Political Payback. In an op-ed piece posted today (5/14) exclusive to TALKERS, Nashville-based Cumulus Media syndicated conservative host Phil Valentine claims that he has been repeatedly audited by the IRS over a number of years for no wrongdoing on his part which he believes is tied to his on-air political positions. He also says that he has spoken a number of his liberal friends on radio who’ve told him they have experienced the same thing. He writes, ”The revelation on Friday (5/10) that the IRS was targeting conservative groups came as a shock to much of America, especially those on the right side of the aisle. Once the story broadened on Monday to include more groups and more abuse it became apparent that there’s something big going on here. For me, it was all simply a confirmation of something I’ve been experiencing for some time. In fact, I’ve been chronicling the experience on my radio show.” Valentine encourages fellow talk show hosts who have been experiencing the same thing but are afraid to complain because of how “frightening” the IRS can be, to stand up and come forward. To read his entire opinion piece, please click here.
Some On-Air Do’s And Don’ts from a Leading Consultant. One of the hardest-working consultants (and TALKERS columnist) in the radio business today, Holland Cooke shares some helpful tips to sharpening up on-air performance (sort of like an old “aircheck meeting”) and keeping people listening longer. In a new article posted today (5/14) Cooke suggests prepping better, listening better (while on the air), and speaking in the second person singular. He advises not to talk like a radio guy (avoid terms like “remote” broadcast – people think a remote is what they use to change TV channels), do not waste listeners’ time, and SEDUCE listeners into giving you more of their time. Cooke writes, “The way Arbitron ratings are calculated – diaries or PPM — keeping listeners even just five more minutes each time they tune in could as much as DOUBLE your ratings. So when you tease, really tease!” To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.
John Curley Back on Evenings at KIRO-FM, Seattle. The night shift was the original slot John Curley had when he joined Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle but he moved to morning drive in November of 2012. Just two months later the station replaced him in AM drive with Dave Ross and he’s been off the air since. Now, program director Pete Gammell pairs Curley up with current evening host Andrew Walsh. Gammell says in a statement, “With John’s comfortable style and storytelling skills he naturally fits well in a nighttime setting. Partner John’s entertaining approach with Andrew’s newsy perspective and you have a completely new dynamic and compelling show.”
Inga Barks Adds PM Drive Show to Hosting Responsibilities. Bakersfield, California-based talk radio personality Inga Barks begins hosting the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program on Buckley Broadcasting’s KNZR, Bakersfield. She’ll handle this program in addition to her evening talk show heard on Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM, Fresno. Barks previously worked in the Bakersfield market on American Media General’s news/talk KERN.
Las Vegas Talk Personality Heidi Harris Debuts Daily Feature. Las Vegas-based talk show host Heidi Harris – most recently heard in Los Angeles on Salem Communications’ KRLA – is producing a daily feature dubbed the “Heidi Harris Files” that is airing on Silver State Broadcasting’s news/talk KBET. The three- minute vignette will air on KBET three times daily at 7:30 am, 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm. Harris has also worked at CBS Radio‘s KXNT and Beasley Broadcasting‘s KDWN in the Las Vegas market.
Bruce Newbury to Host Local Show on WADK, Newport, Rhode Island. 3G Broadcasting is adding a local program to its news/talk WADK, Newport with Bruce Newbury hosting his “Talk of the Town” show. Newbury also hosts a weekend food and cooking show on Cumulus Media’s WPRV, Providence and he’ll continue in that role. Newbury’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program will debut on May 22.
New York Festivals Announces 2013 Radio Programs and Promo Awards Finalists. This international competition isn’t limited to spoken-word programs as the list of categories indicates, but many of the categories include news, long-form and community service components in the spoken-word realm. As you’ll notice by scanning the list of finalists from the United States (which will compete with finalists from other countries with winners announced June 17 in New York) many programming finalists were produced at public radio stations or companies. However, commercial broadcasters including ESPN and SiriusXM were well represented. ESPN had finalist entries including the “Best News Documentary or Special” for “Outside the Lines and The Sporting Life: A Fight for Faith.” SiriusXM was also represented as it was a finalist with “Best Interview” for “Bob Edwards Talks with Children’s Book Author Jack Gantos,” among others. Bloomquist Media is a finalist in both the “Community Service” and “Profiles/Community Portraits” categories for “A Grateful Nation.” See the entire list of finalists here.
Two Generations of Hayworth Men Grace San Diego. Talk radio personality (and former Arizona Congressman) J.D. Hayworth is currently co-host of the morning drive program alongside Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton on XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090.” On a recent visit to the station’s partners in downtown San Diego – Fox Sports San Diego – J.D. Hayworth noticed a huge black and white photo of Babe Ruth crossing home plate. Hayworth tells TALKERS magazine, “Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw this HUGE photo of my grandfather, Ray Hayworth, a catcher for the Detroit Tigers, reaching to tag Babe Ruth at home plate! My grandfather greets passersby outside the building, while the Bambino’s image is seen inside the lobby!”
Obama Benghazi Reaction, IRS Target Allegations, Justice Department AP Phone Records Search, Syria Tensions, and Philly Abortion Doctor Found Guilty Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The president’s reaction to recent Benghazi testimony and the GOP’s push to continue searching for answers; the IRS’ alleged targeting of conservative groups; the Justice Department’s investigation into phone records at the Associated Press; ongoing tensions in Syria; and the conviction of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mike Huckabee Sounds Positive About Radio to Newsmax. After appearing to sound less than eager to continue his talk radio career in a piece published in Arkansas Business last week, Cumulus Media Networks talk host (and former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee tells Newsmax he’s hoping to continue his daily talk show. “I’m hoping that we’re going to continue right on. That’s my plan and my hope and so there’s nothing to report other than I’ll be on the air today and next week and, as far as I know, for the long term to come. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a terrific outlet for me.” In last week’s piece, Huckabee sounded as though he was considering the cost and benefit of his daily radio show when he told Arkansas Business, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is. How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully, disgustingly, profitable. That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.”
Catching Up with Laura Ingraham. A dozen years have elapsed (April 2001) since Westwood One filled its 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET slot with a then-36-year-old, meteoric-rising, dynamo. Association with the Norm Pattiz-founded syndication powerhouse would last more than two years before the conservative-slanted talk talent segued to 9:00 am – 12:00 noon duties for Talk Radio Network in September 2003 where her star continued to rise to national prominence for the next decade during which time she ascended to the position of the most listened-to female political radio talk show host in the country. As of the first of this year though, five-time author and TALKERS magazine “Woman of the Year” recipient Laura Ingraham has reunited with Pattiz, as the illustrious broadcaster, 2009 Radio Hall of Fame inductee, and iconic Los Angeles Lakers fan is distributing Ingraham’s daily talk program through his recently minted Courtside Entertainment Group. ”I was off the air for six weeks and I needed to build back my station base,” Ingraham recounts. ”We are doing a pretty good job of that thus far. It has been fun, and we have a great team spirit. I treasure that and think we are onto something quite special. Norm and I have known each other since I started in radio, so we have come full-circle and are good friends. After all these years, it is exciting that he and I have started this new venture together.” Multi-media talker Laura Ingraham is not only one of the most successful talk show hosts in America, she is an extremely interesting human being. Read about this attorney’s, cancer survivor’s, and single adoptive mom’s colorful past, transitional present and bright future in an in-depth profile by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (5/13) by clicking here.
Ben and Skin Take Over PM Drive on “105.3 The Fan” in Dallas. As many in the Dallas market had predicted when Greg Williams and Richie Whitt were let go from the afternoon drive show on CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” a month ago, it’ll be Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – Ben and Skin – hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift at the sports talker beginning this afternoon. CBS Radio Dallas vice president of news/talk/sports Gavin Spittle says, “We are really excited to bring the energy and excitement of the Ben and Skin Show to our listeners. They are a perfect fit for our lineup and are well known in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, having spent their whole lives here cheering on and suffering alongside fellow sports fans.” Ben and Skin were most recently heard in the Dallas market on ESPN O&O KESN-FM. They exited that station earlier this year after failing to come to terms on a new contract with KESN-FM.
Michael Harrison Tapped to Keynote 38th Annual Conclave Learning Conference. ”Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?” In what will be a comprehensive-yet-fast-paced overview of the state of broadcast radio and its integration into the digital media world of the 21st century, Talkers publisher Michael Harrison approaches these issues of this new environment from the perspective of the changing role of talent in a keynote address that will take place during Conclave Learning Conference 38 on Thursday, July 18 at 9:00 am. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says of Harrison, “A visionary, an inventor, a trailblazer, and a writer of powerful words and ideas. Michael is all of these things and more, and the Conclave is very lucky to have him on our teaching faculty this year.” Upon being named keynote speaker at this year’s Conclave Michael Harrison states, “It is an honor to be involved with such a positive organization and participate in its mission to educate and inspire the upcoming generation of radio broadcasters. I can’t think of a better use of all these years of experience that I have been blessed with attaining in such a wonderful industry.” Harrison’s presentation is of importance to both radio personalities and management alike and will examine and offer solutions for what he describes as: 1) The number one problem threatening the survival of FM/AM radio, as we’ve known it – DEBT – along with several other existential threats facing the medium. These include generational/cultural shifts, exotic new media competition, audience measurement shortcomings, and emerging obstacles impairing commercial placement and presentation; 2) The increasing importance of intellectual property as a bargaining chip in talent/management relationships and negotiations. “Who owns what?” will be a key question and consideration in all radio business relationships including those between employees and employers; 3) Talent as entrepreneur. The new media offers today’s talent the opportunity to go into business for themselves on a level never enjoyed by their predecessors of the age gone by; and 4) The human element. Harrison provides an uplifting and inspirational case for radio’s greatest asset – human-to-human communication – as its most vital tool in maintaining a purpose for the medium to continue to play an important role in society and continue to be needed as a cultural institution for many years to come. Michael Harrison is the editor and publisher of two of the radio industry’s leading trade publications, TALKERS and RadioInfo. Mr. Harrison founded Talkers in 1990 and today manages its many divisions and services which include its website, its annual conventions, its regional conferences, and its positive social initiatives. In late 2012, Mr. Harrison assumed the duties of publisher of the major broadcasting trade journal, RadioInfo, which serves a wide spectrum of popular music formats. Among the initiatives being promoted in the revamped publication are a call for radio stations to “reclaim ownership” of the music culture by restoring and nurturing the DJ to prominence as well as the development of music charts that are “specifically targeted to the interests and needs of radio listeners and presentations.” He is an influential pioneer in the radio trade publishing field having served as the first managing editor of Radio & Records during its formative years and radio columnist/record chart consultant for Billboard in the early 1980s. A graduate of Hofstra University where he currently sits on its Department of Communications Advisory Board, Michael Harrison’s background in radio broadcasting and trade journalism is extensive. In a career dating back to 1967, he has served as an on-air program director of such heritage stations as WLIR-FM, Long Island; KPRI-FM, San Diego; KMET-FM, Los Angeles and WZLX-FM, Boston. He was an owner/operator of WSPR in Springfield, Massachusetts. He has been an air personality on a range of stations including the legendary WNEW-FM in New York as well as WCBS-FM and WPIX-FM in the Big Apple, plus, WTIC, Hartford, WWRC, Washington, DC and others. He has hosted and produced hundreds of hours of syndicated radio series and specials for most of the leading networks and syndicators. Conclave Learning Conference 38 takes place in Minneapolis July 17-19, 2013. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com. Also found on the Conclave website is hotel room reservation information for the Doubletree Park Place Hotel. The Conclave, a 38-year-old 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation offers year-round learning to the industry including webinars, a Speaker’s Bureau, and the annual national media summit Summer Learning Conference. Since 1979, The Conclave has provided over $1 million in media scholarships.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Claims 30 Million-plus Registered Users. The digital audio platform iHeartRadio developed by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has surpassed the 30 million registered users mark, according to the company. CC states that iHeartRadio has achieved this in less than two years since its launch. Further, since iHeartRadio listeners are not required to create an account to stream broadcast radio stations, the number of registered users reflects only a small snapshot of the service’s overall reach, particularly given the175 million downloads of the iHeartRadio mobile app and more than 60 million monthly uniques across its digital network. Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “iHeartRadio sets the standard for how radio continues to fit into people’s everyday lives. This latest milestone is another clear indication how our full-featured iHeartRadio experience resonates with tens of millions of people — with more coming every day. Being able to draw on Clear Channel’s unparalleled range of resources allows us to continually innovate and improve on the user experience, while giving listeners access to both live radio and custom stations. When you combine this with the strong promotional power of Clear Channel’s broadcast properties across the nation, iHeartRadio is well-positioned to continue or even surpass our current adoption rate.”
Have You Hugged a Lawyer Today? Radio consultant Holland Cooke asks this metaphorical question because if you haven’t, you may be missing out on a great sales – and programming — opportunity. He suggests you consider a targeted approach to pitching attorneys to advertise on your talk radio station, in this case, a female lawyer who specializes in family law (a.k.a. divorce). He even provides some pretty compelling copy in this piece. But it shouldn’t stop there, as Cooke says, “Admittedly, divorce is the legal category’s low-hanging fruit. It’s the back end of ‘The Wedding Industrial Complex,’ fueled by human nature and recession resistant. But there’s plenty else lawyers do that radio sells quite well, and radio has lots more to offer ‘em than :60s.” Find out more, read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
WTOP, Washington’s Websites Get Clean Bill of Health. The websites of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP and WFED in Washington were the victims of cyber attacks that left some users of Internet Explorer vulnerable. Hubbard reports that as of Saturday, May 11, the sites were deemed safe for users no matter which browser they use. Hubbard Washington SVP and general manager Joel Oxley states, “Getting the websites back up and running safely for all users has been our top priority. We take our users’ privacy very seriously, and we have taken steps to prevent similar occurrences. We apologize to our user community for any inconvenience that this incident has caused.” The company says that when the attacks were discovered, an investigation was launched immediately, the malicious code was removed, additional security measures were installed, and federal law enforcement officials were notified of the incident. Hubbard is recommending that users of their sites run security scans on their computers.
Compass Media Networks Announces College Football Schedule. The 2013 college football broadcast schedule for Compass Media Networks is being announced and the 17-game schedule kicks off on August 31 with Georgia at Clemson and ends with the Big Ten Championship game on December 7. Compass notes that all of the games lined up this season include top-ranked teams from the ACC, BIG TEN, SEC and PAC-12. Other big match-ups on the schedule include Alabama at Texas A&M (9/14), Oregon at Stanford (11/7), and LSU at Alabama (11/9).
Lew Dickey Talks Limbaugh on Bloomberg TV. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey went on Bloomberg TV on May 9 and he spoke – although not in detail about the ratings and sales numbers at his news/talk stations that carry the Rush Limbaugh program – but about the general effect Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments had on his stations. About the loss, he told Bloomberg’s Betty Lu, “It was in the millions of dollars and what we said was our news/talk segment…represents about 10% of our business and it’s indisputable that it took a hit because of those events. We’ve moved on, we’re growing again.” Speaking to charges that Limbaugh says Dickey is still blaming him for news/talk problems at Cumulus stations and he might take his program elsewhere when the contract is up, Dickey says, “Sometimes contract negotiations get handled in public, we prefer not to do that…we have the premier talk distribution platform in the business and if you want to be on a big stage in this game, you need to be on our stations in the largest markets. They’re the biggest signals, the heritage brands and everybody knows that.” In what might have been a move to downplay the importance of Limbaugh’s midday show to his stations, Dickey stated that half their revenue comes from morning drive. Lu asked Dickey if he thinks conservative talk hosts are not as big as they used to be and he answered, “I think everything has to evolve…we have to make sure these radio stations do a wonderful job of reflecting the local communities in which they compete and that’s what we’re focused on.”