Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, February 27, 2015

| February 27, 2015

brandmeierjonathonWestwood One Announces: Here’s Johnny! Bona fide Chicago radio cult legend Jonathon Brandmeier takes to the national stage next month when Westwood One commences syndicating his daily three-hour eponymous show-gram. Executive vice president of content and programming for Westwood One’s parent company – Cumulus Media - John Dickey comments, “Jonathon is one of the most versatile performers in radio today. We know audiences will enjoy his lively humor and take on each day’s topics. We are thrilled to add ‘Johnny B’ to the Westwood One roster of relevant and relatable talkmillerdennis programming.” Remarking this is an “extremely exciting” time for all those associated with his show-gram, Brandmeier – who has achieved industry success in Los Angeles (on talk KLSX) and Phoenix (on KZZP) as westwood one NEWwell as in Chicago – notes, “We look forward to continuing to entertain audiences in Chicago and expanding our reach nationwide.  Fasten your seatbelts – it is going to be a wild ride.” Simultaneous with Brandmeier’s addition to the Westwood One roster is the departure from it by the program hosted by Dennis Miller. The former “SNL” cast member states that he is “stepping aside from radio at the moment” and that, “it has been a great run. I have had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience, but with so many other commitments, it is hard to maintain a daily talk show. It is time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities – I wish ‘Johnny B’ lots of luck.” Three top-five market Cumulus-owned AM stations (KABC, Los Angeles, WLS-AM, Chicago, and KLIF-AM, Dallas) have already cleared Brandmeier’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) program. In addition, there are affiliates in Salt Lake City (KKAT), Providence (WPRV), and Albuquerque (KTBL) – all are Cumulus Media AM properties.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

| February 26, 2015

2015 NYC 150‘Big Picture’ Panel to Tackle Broad Strokes View of Radio’s Rapidly Evolving Role in 21st Century Media.  The power-packed agenda for the forthcoming 18th annual installment of the longest-running and most important talk media industry national convention is taking shape.  The event’s traditional convergence panel, “The Big Picture,” will feature a lineup of speakers including (in alphabetical order):  Alan Colmes, personality, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, Holland Cooke Media; Joe Sciacca, editor-in-chief, Boston Herald/Boston Herald Radio; and Julietalbottjulie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks with two more industry heavyweights to be confirmed shortly.  The colmesalaneclectic discussion will be moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who states, “I love moderating this panel.  It goes in many directions and is not afraid to explore esoteric speculation about what is lurking just over the horizon and around the next corner.”  Harrison adds, “It is always full of valuable takeaways for our attendees.”  The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial cookehollandDistrict.  Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early-bird, discounted cost of $249 available sciaccajoeuntil 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27 (tomorrow).  Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities.  The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now!  More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.

shoredaveDetroit’s WMGC Shores Up PD Vacancy. The program director opening at WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1″ has been filled, as the Greater Media outlet taps Dave Shore for the position. Vice president and market manager Steve Chessare comments, “Dave’s experience in overseeing sports radio in major markets made him the perfect choice to lead [our] team. We are absolutely thrilled to have him help us take the station to the next level.” Shore – who will beginWMGC- FM his Motor City assignment next month (3/23) – most recently was operations manager of ESPN Radio Los Angeles’ KSPN and was the pre-game host of the station’s broadcasts of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Lakers. For seven years, he was sports director/on-air talent for ESPN Radio Dallas’ KESN and he did television play-by-play for Texas Tech basketball, as well as pre-game duties for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. In 2007, Shore launched Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh’s WCMC “99.9 – The Fan” and managed co-owned sports WDNC “620 – The Buzz” and WCLY “1550 ESPN Deportes.” Shore succeeds Jason Dixon, who was the first program director WMGC hired in August 2013 when the station transitioned from adult contemporary to sports. Ironically, Dixon arrived at WMGC after a three-year stint as operations manager/program director of the same three Raleigh sports stations (WCMC, WDNC, and WCLY) on Shore’s resume.

williamsonrachelWilliamson to New CMG Digital Post.  Sales and management pro Rachel Williamson is the new director of digital revenue development for Cox Media Group.  The company says that in this role, she’ll focus on working with the company’s 59 radio brands “to drive our digital revenue growth and integrated sales.”  She joins CMG from her most recent post with Cumulus Media as director of national sales.  Cox senior director of digital solutions Jesse McCambridge says, “We are very excited to have Rachel join our team.  We have experienced tremendous growth in digital across the company and Rachel’s experience brings industry expertise and focus on integrated marketing solutions.”

bearmanethan3Bay Area Talk Personality Ethan Bearman Highlighted in HuffPo Piece.  Talk radio personality Ethan Bearman – currently heard on his regular weekend shows on KSFO, San Francisco (where he does a lot of fill-in work), via his GCN-syndicated program and as a regular sub on WPHT, Philadelphia – is one of five “agents of change” that writer Greg Archer profiles in a recent piece in the Huffington Post.  About Bearman, Archer writes, “In just a short span of time, Bearman’s nationally syndicated radio talk show…has quickly risen among the ranks as one of the more thought-provoking outings on the airwaves.  Why The host is unabashedly witty, yes, but he’s also deeply interested in current events, politics, science, tech and other rich topics.  Beyond that, he appears to have a rare gift of being able to dissect half-truths, offering realistic takes on complex topics, and somehow allow the listener to find a curious and perhaps unexpected respite with him somewhere in the middle of ‘The Here And Now.’”  Read the HuffPo piece here.

rabRAB Cites Borrell’s Positive Forecast for Radio’s Digital Sales Growth.  According to research from Borrell Associates, the radio industry will rise above the half-billion-dollar mark in digital advertising this year based upon revenue that is projected to grow by 18%.  The study, titled, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” was done on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau.  It indicates that radio stations added or reassigned as many as 750 new employees to focus on digital ventures last year, causing revenue to grow 16% in 2014.  More than one-third of the radio managers surveyed indicated that they had at least one employee exclusively assigned to digital operations, up from 11% last year.  Also, more than 33% of those surveyed said their stations were either setting up a “digital agency,” were planning to set one up soon, or already had one.  Some other findings from the report include: Nearly two-thirds believe their sales reps are talking to the wrong buyers when trying to sell digital; and 77% gave sales training a number 1 or number 2 priority in terms of what would boost their station digital sales the most.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments on the study, “It’s important to look at all available revenue data in order to provide our industry members with additional market barometers.  We’re making tremendous strides in radio’s digital growth, and this survey continues to provide us with areas to focus on and invest in to truly maximize this revenue stream.”

metaxasericSalem Brings Eric Metaxas Aboard for Daily Talk Show.  Although Eric Metaxas is a well-known author, speaker and TV personality in the Christian community, Salem Media Group says his new daily talk show could cross over to the news/talk format.  Metaxas will begin hosting his new radio show on April 20, airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.  Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce says, “We are extremely enthusiastic to have Eric join the Salem platform.  I have tried to get Eric to join us for two years, and this opportunity seemed to be a perfect match.  He’ll do a great show every day that will inspire listeners and help stations grow their audience.”  In a press statement, Salem notes that Metaxas is the author of the bestseller, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet Spy (Thomas Nelson 2011) as well as a recent Wall Street Journal column titled, “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.”

Odds & Sods.  Washington-Baltimore all-news WNEW-FM is adding talk to its lineup in the evenings andkatzmcAuliffe overnights.  It’s adding the Dave Ramsey show to air from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm as well as the KMOX, St. Louis-based “America Overnight” with host Jon Grayson…..Hubbard Radio’s Washington all-news WTOP and sister WFED “Federal News Radio,” as part of a restructuring of their sales department, promote longtime national sales manager Jeffrey Wolinsky to director of federal and national sales.…..KBBO, Yakima, Washington flips from talk to sports.  The Ingstad-owned station becomes “The Fan 1390 AM” and the Yakima Herald reports much of the station’s programming will be piped in from Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle, including:  “Brock and Salk” and “Danny, Dave and Moore.”…..WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive personality Jeff Katz (left) had the opportunity to interview Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (right) at the iHeartMedia studios in Richmond and the two posed for a quick photo after the broadcast.

hannityschnittbermanThe Big Apple Drive Timers.  Posing for a quick pic in the WOR, New York studios are the station’s drive time stars Sean Hannity (center), and new morning duo Todd Schnitt (right) and Len Berman (left).  Hannity’s radio show is syndicated by iHeartMedia’s Premiere Networks and airs in the afternoon slot on WOR.  Berman and Schnitt recently partnered up to host the morning drive show on the station.  Schnitt is also heard in afternoon drive (Eastern Time) on stations across the country via Compass Media Networks.

bfoa logoBFoA to Honor Mel Karmazin.  Legendary broadcasting executive Mel Karmazin will be honored with the 2015 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America at its annual breakfast Wednesday, April 15 during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas.  Karmazin retired from his CEO post at SiriusXM in 2013.  Prior to that, he was president and COO of Viacom.  He served as CEO of CBS Corp following his work as chairman and CEO of CBS Radio, which followed the merger of Westinghouse/CBS and Infinity Broadcasting.  The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.  It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation.

Department of Homeland Security Funding Battle, Obama Amnesty Order, FCC’s Net Neutrality Proposal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Brutality, Iran Nukes, and the Bill O’Reilly Journalistic Ethics Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25).  The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security; the status of President Obama’s amnesty order; the FCC’s proposal to regulate the Internet as a utility and the possible ramifications; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the brutal violence being perpetuated by ISIS and controversy over labeling the militant organization “Muslim”; the potential for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons; and the flap over accusations against FNC’s Bill O’Reilly of journalistic lapses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

| February 25, 2015

2015 NYC 150Nielsen Audio VP of Client Service Brad Kelly to Appear on Talkers New York 2015 ‘State of Radio Ratings’ Panel.  Joining the star-packed panel addressing the State of Radio Ratings at the June 12 Talkers New York 2015 conference from Nielsen Audio is vice president of client service Brad Kelly.  He’ll discuss how Nielsen has its eye on both terrestrial listening and the ever-evolving digital options.  He will also update conference attendees onkellybrad Nielsen’s improvement programs for its basic ratings service in both PPM and Diary markets.  This hour-long panel will be moderated by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity and will analyze the changing relationship between talk radio (as well as radio in general) and audience measurement methodology as we move further into the digital age.  It is no secret that determining the methodology to properly and fairly balance (and credit) listenership to radio programming on both terrestrial and online platforms has been a bumpy transition creating challenges for radio programmers and sellers alike.  Joining Hannity will be a stellar panel including:  Erica Farber, president/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Phil Boyce, SVP/Spoken Word Format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network, operations VP, New York Region; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations, VP/news-talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group, and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media.  The session will be held as part of the power-packed, day-long “Talkers New York 2015” on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District.  This marks the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention.  It will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of TALKERS magazine which was launched by Michael Harrison in the summer of 1990.  Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27.  Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities.  The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now!  More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.

cbsradio logoReport: CBS Under Pressure to Sell Radio Assets to Cumulus.  In a story in The Deal by Chris Nolter, hedge fund Sandell Asset Management Corp is lobbying CBS Corp to divest of its radio station group and merge it with Cumulus Media.  Nolter reportscumulus logo that the two companies have been advised to “pursue a reverse Morris Trust merger of their radio businesses.  By spinning off the radio stations to shareholders, CBS would divest an asset with a low tax basis without incurring a large bill from the IRS.  It could also collect a nearly $900 million dividend.”  The story suggests that if CBS’ radio stations merged with Cumulus, they would pull in about $2.4 billion in sales.  Nolter writes that executive chairman Sumner Redstone controls 79.6% of CBS Corp’s shareholder vote so any move would require him being on board.  Read Nolter’s piece here.  CBS has said repeatedly that it likes radio as a cash flow business.

iheartmedia logo smallExecutive Changes at iHeartMedia as Lakamp to Exit Digital Division; Kaminsky Moves Up and Market Managers Become Presidents.  In a company-wide memo, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman announces president of technology and digital ventures Brian Lakamp has left the company in order to pursue “entrepreneurial endeavors.”  Pittman thankskaminskybrian Lakamp for his time with the company and credits him for iHeartRadio’s registered user growth as well for some of the sales-related technologies and partnerships Pittman says will “increase the importance of our platforms for our advertising partners and make our sales process more lavenmicheleefficient.”  Pittman is reconfiguring the technology and digital ventures team with iHeartRadio COO Brian Kaminsky rising to president of programmatic and data operations.  Simultaneously, Michele Laven – currently iHeartMedia president of partnerships and local activation – is now the president of business development and partnerships.  Finally, the company announces that all market managers are now market presidents.

kaufmanadamAdam Kaufman Named WBZ-AM, Boston Morning Sports Anchor.  Veteran sports reporter Adam Kaufman is promoted to morning sports anchor for CBS RADIO’s Boston news station WBZ-AM.  The company says that Kaufman is “a multi-platform sports journalist for more than a decade” who will continue to be a show host at sister sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” and CBS Sports Radio, in addition to being a columnist for Boston.com sports and serve as a regional television anchor on Comcast SportsNet New England.  During his career, the Syracuse University grad has worked as the lead play-by-play voice of the Boston College men’s hockey team and spent five years doing radio play-by-play of the Providence Bruins minor league hockey team.

herskovitzalThe 8th Annual Hersky Awards Announced.  It’s the time of the year when radio sales maven and H&H Broadcasting president Al Herskovitz pronounces what he deems to have been the best in talk radio advertising over the course of the past year.  While these “awards” are delivered tongue-in-cheek, the winners are named by Herskovitz as excellent examples of quality and effective talk radio advertising.  To find out the winners in the categories of Best National Host Doing a Local Commercial; Best Jingle Spot; Best Live Spot Reader; and Commercial of the Year, click here.

boomercartonAllessandroIt’s a Tough Job, But Somebody’s Got to Do it.  Morning duo Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) pose for a shot with supermodel and Victoria’s Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio (center) after her guest shot on WFAN, New York to promote tomorrow night’s “Victoria’s Secret Swim Special” airing on the CBS Television Network at 10:00 pm ET.  In addition to a bevy of bathing beauties, the show will also feature GRAMMY Award-wining artists Maroon 5 and Juanes.

Obama’s Amnesty Order, Bill O’Reilly Falklands Report Controversy, the FCC’s Net Neutrality Mandate, Department of Homeland Security Funding Battle, Keystone Pipeline Veto, Continued ISIS Brutality, Feds Choose Not to Charge George Zimmerman, Chris Kyle Trial Conviction, and Ukraine Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24).  The state of President Obama’s amnesty order; the controversy over Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly’s Falklands War reporting in the early 1980s; the “net neutrality” proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler; the battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security before the Friday deadline; Obama vetoes the resurrected Keystone Pipeline project; the ongoing brutality being perpetuated by ISIS; the Justice Department decides not to prosecute George Zimmerman; Eddie Ray Routh is convicted in the slaying of fellow former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield; and the ongoing tensions in Ukraine and Russia’s involvement.

hopeline‘The HopeLine’ with Dawson McAllister Goes into Syndication.  Radio pro Dawson McAllister recently returned to Christian on WAY-FM with “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister,” and is now offering clearance of his new show to the general Christian market, focusing on contemporary Christian radio stations.  For 17 years Dawson McAllister was heard Sunday nights on more than 300 Christian radio stations with “Dawson McAllister Live,” before transitioning exclusively to top 40/mainstream stations in 2007 in a syndication agreement with Premiere Networks.  After years of requests from Christian stations and former listeners for Dawson to return, along with the recent opportunity presented by WAY-FM, he made the decision to launch this new Saturday night show.  He comments, “The unique thing about this show is that I have the opportunity to challenge my audience to make a difference in their world by having an impact on the lives of their friends – I love the idea of partnering with teenagers and young adults to change the world one life at a time.”  The show is described as “a three-hour, interactive call-in show where 13-29 year olds can call and talk to Dawson about all the issues in their lives.  In return, Dawson and his co-host Sarah Lee offer trustworthy Biblically based common-sense advice and encouragement that is truly life-changing.   Christian stations wishing to air “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister” or CHR stations wishing to air “Dawson McAllister Live” can contact Ike Wingate at Wingate Media at ike@wingatemediagroup.com.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

| February 24, 2015

2015 NYC 150Sean Hannity to Moderate Major Panel Session, “The State of Radio Ratings,” at Talkers New York 2015. Continuing with an important theme that he has discussed at prior TALKERS conferences, Premiere Radio Networks and Fox News Channel talk icon Sean Hannity will moderate a panel analyzing the changing relationship between talk radiohannity (as well as radio in general) and audience measurement methodology as we move further into the digital age. It is no secret that determining the methodology to properly and fairly balance (and credit) listenership to radio programming on both terrestrial and online platforms has been a bumpy transition creating challenges for radio programmers and sellers alike. Joining Hannity will be a stellar panel including (in alphabetical order): Erica Farber, farberericapresident/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Phil Boyce, SVP/Spoken Word Format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network, operations VP, New York Region; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Sagaboycephil Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations, VP/news-talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group, and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media. The panel will be joined by a yet-to-be-named representative of Nielsen Audio. The session will be held as part of the power-packed, day-long “Talkers New York 2015” on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial goldsteinsteveDistrict. This marks the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. It will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of TALKERS magazinelangmyertom which was launched by Michael Harrison in the summer of 1990. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, mocerigregpresentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now! More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio Back for 2015 after Brief Retooling with Experimental Programs by Alan Colmes and Lionel.   TalkersRadio, the experimental internet radio platform launched by TALKERS in 2013, is back online after a two-month “re-tooling” in which several technological improvements were instituted and new ideas sorted out.  The platform is designed to serve as a workshop for new shows and concepts being developed as well as an industry showcase for programs about to be marketed.  On announcing the re-launch, TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein states, “We are happy to be back up and running with great enthusiasm for the potential of this audio ‘stage.’  All of us at TALKERS are indeed proud of the remarkable success TalkersRadio has had in its first year-and-a-half providing a number of fine broadcasters the opportunity to work out new ideas and techniques, including having launched the terrestrial radio success of the Brent & Meg show and Doug Stephan’s ‘American Family Farmer.’”  The platform, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “an audio gymnasium” is re-launching with two on-demand programs hosted by well-known hosts Alan Colmes and Lionel.  Colmes – star of Fox News Radio and the Fox News Channel – is continuing to work on a concept titled “Healed Planet” — far removed from his political fare — in which he interviews thought leaders in the human consciousness movement.  Lionel – an iconoclastic and legendary veteran of major radio and television stations and networks, currently seen and heard on his own LionelMedia.com, performs an exclusive, experimental program for TalkersRadio simply titled, “Lionel.”  In it, he amply displays his remarkable and compelling aptitude for stream of consciousness story-telling and observations of leading-edge issues.  According to Bernstein, “TalkersRadio will also be streaming live industry events and inner-industry forums in the coming weeks and months with an exciting ‘new and improved’ system powered by our colleagues at Backbone Networks in Boston.”  Bernstein encourages broadcasters with new ideas and concepts that might be of interest to TalkersRadio to get in touch with him at 413-565-5413.  To hear TalkersRadio, please click here.

podcastone logo‘Mogul Mom’s Playbook’ Debuts on PodcastOne.  Joining the growing stable of star-powered podcasts available via the Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne is “Mogul Mom’s Playbook with Shaunie and Stella.”   The new podcast focuses on the increasing commitment of moms to juggle kids, career, parenting and relationships and is hosted by “Basketball Wives” star and executive producer Shaunie O’Neal and famed executive producer and founder of Wikked Entertainment, Stella Bulochnikov.  The weekly program features the duo and their celebrity friends “as they share tips, advice, support and lots of laughs to encourage the everyday ‘superwoman.’”   Pattiz says, “We are thrilled to welcome Shaunie and Stella to our family of hosts.  Their expressive personalities are such a joy to be around and their ability to connect with women has been proven in their personal and professional lives.”

Odds & Sods.  The first of three Republican primary debates will be moderated by Salem Media Group talk show host Hugh Hewitt.  Salem is working with CNN to produce the RNC-hewitthughsanctioned debates.  According to a press release, Hewitt will also broadcast special editions of his talk show pre- and post-debate.  At the conclusion of the debate, candidates will be invited to join Hewitt to talk candidly about the event and the pressing issues facing the nation.  Hewitt says, “I am delighted to be included with journalists posing questions as part of one of America’s finest political traditions – the presidential debate.”…..The self-described “metaphysical/biographical” program, “Outer Limits Of Inner Truth,” is airing a special two-hour show on Thursday, February 26 to commemorate its one-year anniversary.  The program is distributed via Star Com Radio Networks and airs on more than 24 stations across the country…..SWN Communications, a Memphis-based provider of the “Inside Track” radio show dedicated to horse racing, announces the program – hosted by Charlie Ricks and Bernie Halprin – becomes available on Yahoo! Sports Radio’s national network effective February 28.

Rudy Giuliani Comments Controversy, Obama Amnesty Order Case, DHS Funding Battle, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Ukraine Tensions, Sunday’s Academy Awards, and Frigid Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/23).  The controversy over former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Obama’s love of his country; debate over President Obama’s amnesty order and its effects; the congressional battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the civil unrest in Ukraine and Russia’s role in the matter; the 87th Academy Awards; and the frigid weather affecting much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 23, 2015

| February 23, 2015

radioamerica newHedgecock Gives Way to Benson on Radio America.  After many successful years in national syndication – which followed a long reign as the king of talk radio in San Diego, Rodger Hedgecock is ending his daily long-form radio show to focus on hishedgecockroger work as a TV commentator and elections coverage specialist for KFMB-TV, San Diego “CBS 8” and his production of the two daily reports he does for KFMB, San Diego.  Radio America COO Mike Paradiso states, “Roger has been a strong leader in Radio America’s lineup for years bensonchadand I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication.  He will be missed.”  Taking over Hedgecock’s nationally syndicated program is Chad Benson, whom Radio America describes as “a rising star from the Next Generation of talk hosts.”  Benson debuts on March 30 from home base at Alpha Media-owned KUFO, Portland “Freedom 970.”  About Benson, Radio America says the 44-year-old is “an accomplished talk show host boasting over 22-years-experience in the entertainment industry.  He started in music radio in the 1990s at the legendary KRTH, Los Angeles as the executive producer of the Robert W. Morgan show and has also been featured on Los Angeles radio stations such as KZLA-FM and KNCI-FM and KWOD-FM in Sacramento.  Chad has also honed his skills as a voice artist for several Hollywood productions, as fans of ‘Droopy the Dog’ hear Chad’s voice as the signature Hanna-Barbera character.”  Alpha Media San Antonio OM/PD Greg Martin says, “Chad Benson is not the usual talk host.  His entertaining style and passion for talk radio helped develop him into a great talent.  He’s not afraid to go places the average talk host will not tread.  Very unique.”  Benson’s show will air 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.

cookehollandWeekends: Healing Talk Radio’s Achilles Heel.  In a new article posted today in TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke boldly states: “At too many stations – some with once-proud call letters – weekends are an embarrassment.  Through utter neglect, stations injure ratings and leave money on the table.”  He goes on to offer advice and insights designed to help programmers and management maximize weekends – including brokered programs – to improve station ratings, revenue and image in the community.  He also appears on the latest installment of TalkersTV (upper right column box on every page of Talkers.com) with valuable information about how talk stations can make their Saturday and Sunday programming truly “Solid Gold Weekends.”  To see TalkersTV, please check out the upper right box on every page of Talkers.com.  To read Cooke’s new column, please click here.

mcmahonbillMcMahon: Determining How Long it Will Take for a Radio Show to Succeed.  Just how long to give a new radio show to “take off” has been a debate in the radio business almost since the medium debuted.  All parties would love the answer to be, “almost instantaneous,” but that’s not realistic.  Bill McMahon, CEO of The Authentic Personality, writes in a column published in TALKERS magazine today that programmers must get realistic expectations from their superiors.  But once the timeline is known, there are things that can be done to make success happen as quickly as possible.  “Coaching focused on perfecting talents and strengths and highlighting appealing personal traits will significantly speed up the development process.  Nothing slowed the development of the superstars of radio, true originals, like Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and Larry Lujack more than bad coaching from PDs and management that didn’t recognize and support their unique talents and strengths.  Each was fired multiple times.  All were told to fit into some current standardized success model and be anything but themselves.  They refused.  Each had his own instincts and ideas about the kind of show he wanted to do.”  Read the rest of this enlightening piece here.

2015 NYC 150John Dickey and Michael Harrison to Conduct “Fireside Chat” at Talkers New York 2015.  The agenda is being set for Talkers New York 2015 and one of the highlights of what promises to be a power-packed day of relevant discussions, presentations, and addresses will be a conversation between Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  Thedickeyjohn presentation will be conducted in the informal, one-on-one “fireside chat” format.  John Dickey is responsible for Cumulus’ sales, programming, marketing, promotion and engineering and will be able to offer comments, opinions and information about a wide variety of issues presently facing talk radio, as well as the entire spectrum of radio formats.  Conference director Michael Harrison states, “There are few people as ‘plugged into’ both the day-to-day operations as well as the big picture of commercial radio in America today than John Dickey.  He has extensive, first-hand knowledge about what’s happening in the business and plays an enormous harrisonmichael2015role in influencing policy – plus he has a true passion for radio and its position in our society.  I look forward to this session with enthusiasm and plan on it providing our attendees with a lot of valuable takeaways.”  Save the date and register early.  The 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention will take place on Friday, June 12, 2015.   It will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.”  The all-day event – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm — is again expected to be a quick sellout.  Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27.  Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now!  Speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.

ppmunit altRound Four of January PPM Data Released.  The fourth of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was January 1-28.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

salemmediagroup logoSalem Incorporates ‘Media’ into New Corporate Name.  As a corporation with multiple media platforms, Salem Communications Corporation decides to change its name to Salem Media Group to better reflect “the dynamic growth” of its multi-media business.  Salem CEO Ed Atsinger says, “Salem’s mission has always been to serve our two core audiences – Christian and conservative – with engaging and meaningful content.  That mission brought us into radio, and it has guided our growth ever since.  As more and more of our audience seek new ways to get information and inspiration, we have added new media platforms to our traditional radio offerings.  Now nearly one-third of our total revenue comes from non-broadcast sources.  This rebranding of Salem acknowledges our evolution and confirms our commitment to serve our market.”  Salem says that in addition to its 106 radio stations and syndicated programs, it “owns several of the most influential brands in the Christian and conservative media space, including Crosswalk.com, GodVine.com, Christianity.com, BibleStudyTools.com, TownHall.com, HotAir.com, RedState.com, Human Events.com, the Conservative Book Club, and Regnery Publishing.

floresreneeFlores Appointed High Desert Broadcasting LSM. Former Lazer Broadcasting Oxnard-Ventura national and regional sales manager Renee Flores joins High Desert Broadcasting as local sales manager for its seven-station cluster in Lancaster, Palmdale, and the Antelope Valley (Southern California). High Desert president Miles Sexton comments that Flores, “brings a rare combination of experience in both product marketing and broadcast sales to this position, along with proven team leadership accomplishments. We are thrilled to have her join our management team to oversee the sales operation of this dominant radio cluster.” Flores points out that she has lived “in this exciting and growing portion of the Los Angeles metro area. It is great to be returning with such a wonderful opportunity to grow and serve the diverse business community here.” Flores’ prior background includes being general sales manager for Lazer Broadcasting’s three Oxnard-Ventura stations, as well as handling sales for the company’s 25 California and Nevada stations. High Desert’s seven stationsHigh Desert Broadcasting are KOSS “NewsTalk 1380″; regional Mexican KCEL “Que Buena 96.1″; hot AC KGMX “K-Mix 106.3″; alternative KKZQ “The Edge”; classic rock KQAV “The Quake”; KMVE “Classic Top 40″; and regional Mexican KUTY “La Mera Mera 1470.”

johnstondougJohnston Joins Westwood One in EVP Role.  Joining the company as executive vice president, Midwest division in the network sales department is Doug Johnston.  The company says he’ll “oversee revenue development and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events.  Johnston is based in Chicago and reports directly to Westwood One president Steve Shaw.”  He comes to WW1 from his most recent post as SVP, sales, central region, for Premiere Networks.

Odds & Sods.  Adding another daily show to his current role as afternoon drive personality on iHeartMedia’sconwaysimon legendary WHO, Des Moines, is Simon Conway.  Today (2/23), he begins hosting the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids…..Fusion and ESPN Radio are announcing an agreement in principle for the former to simulcast the Dan Le Batard radio program beginning this spring.  The three-hour broadcast will air weekday afternoons from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.

wtmj logoCool Job Opportunties.  Several outstanding career opportunities are currently open at Journal Broadcast Group‘s news/talk/sports WTMJ, Milwaukee.  WTMJ has taken traffic reporting in-house, after working with an outside vendor, and is building its own 24-hour on-air/digital traffic center.  There are opportunities for traffic reporters.  The station also has a rare opportunity for a sports anchor/sports talk host.  WTMJ is also searching for an experienced digital content producer/morning show producer.  In sports marketing, WTMJ is adding another sports account manager position to sell Green Bay Packers football and Milwaukee Brewers baseball.  See these and other great opportunities at Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee Operations here.

rabRAB on 2014: Off-Air and Digital Help Bolster Spot and Network for Flat Revenue Year.  The annual report on radio’s revenue for the previous year from the RAB is released and the organization states that radio ended Q4 and full year 2014 with revenue comparable to those reported at year-end in both 2013 and 2012.  Radio’s digital and off-air sectors delivered impressive growth rates throughout the year, which also saw slight dips in the spot and network sectors.  For all of 2014, spot revenue was down 3% and network revenue dipped 4%.  Those decreases were offset by the rise in digital (up 9%) and off-air revenue (up 16%).  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “Radio held its own in 2014 with radio revenue remaining steady despite an economic climate which saw some businesses tightening their spending in Q4 due to reduced consumer confidence.  Digital revenue growth indicates that radio is meeting marketers’ growing commitment to reach consumers via all digital ad channels, and this continued growth confirms radio’s position as a true marketing partner.”

abcNathansonKevinHartABC News on the Red Carpet at the Oscars.  At last night’s 87th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, ABC News was on the red carpet interviewing the stars in advance of the annual awards program.  Pictured here is ABC News’ Jason Nathanson (right) speaking with comic, actor and record producer Kevin Hart (left).