Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

| May 6, 2015

Sean Hannity Says Times Have Reached a Seriously Important ‘Tipping Point’  – Candidly Discusses Wide Variety of Media/Industry Issues on Michael Harrison’s ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmalltalk superstar Sean Hannity on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.”  In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Hannity cover a variety of fascinating topics including the changing nature of how politics is (and should be) handled in talk media as well as challenges presented by the digital age in achieving accurate audience measurement (a subject he will be spearheading at Talkers New York 2015) and his condemnation of the practice of organized political groups trying to “catch” talk show hosts withhannity whom they disagree saying something politically incorrect for the sake of shutting them down.  He explains that the days of predictable arguments about politics within the traditional “right versus left” paradigm are over… or at least they are for him.  He states, “Here’s an interesting evolution of my show… I am far more critical of Republicans than I am of Democrats these days… my argument being that they should know better… they are not articulating an inspiring vision that lets people who don’t have hope today know that their lives could be better.”  Hannity goes on to say that these times and today’s issues are so serious that talk show hosts need to re-evaluate what they consider to be “entertainment” in their medium.  He examines the unique set of functions being a talk show host encompasses and the many different roles they play in doing their jobs: “Some days I might be a newsmaker, some days I might be at the White House interviewing a president.  I might be interviewing a secretary of defense or a secretary of state.  Sometimes I might be interviewing a top newsmaker based on what the issues of the day are.  Another day I might be fostering a debate on the social issues that happen to be in the news.  Sometimes I am interacting with callers.  At other times, I’m giving a monologue with strong opinions.  That is by definition what a talk show host is… it is a unique role in the media.  It is unlike any other position that exists out there.  Reporters are supposed to report on the news and never give their opinion.  Anchors and reporters are supposed to be fair, balanced and objective.  That’s not my role.  My role is not to be fair and balanced… but at times, will I do a straight interview about news and facts or maybe the content of a book or an experience that somebody had while fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan or maybe their role in the CIA or the FBI or maybe their life as a Navy Seal?  Of course!  And that falls under the umbrella of what is our unique role as a talk show host which enables us to do a lot of different things… and then, maybe on a Friday when I’m kind of sick and tired of the news, I’ll put on Jim Norton or Larry the Cable Guy or any comedian and we’ll just have a fun half hour or hour or we’ll just goof around with calls and I’ll just be having fun with the listeners.”  In describing Sean Hannity, Michael Harrison states, “I know Sean has his share of political critics – but that comes with the territory of being a compelling radio/TV talk show host in the modern era.  Sean’s success as a professional performer is borne out by the numbers and track record he has accrued and maintained for such a long period of time.  What many people who only see and hear him as a media performer do not realize is that he is an outstandingly admirable human being… as a family man, colleague and positive spirit.”  To listen to Sean Hannity on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click  here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

brady billBrady: What to Consider Before Buying a Radio Station.  Radio sales/management pro and president of Futures & Options Inc, Bill Brady, presents his perspective on the business of radio station ownership in a column published today (5/6).  Brady writes that for anyone planning to get into the radio business these days, there are some serious points he believes need to be considered first.  “Over the years, too many bloated egos have crashed and burned on the rocks of radio station ownership.  Some were small players who misjudged situations, overpaid for stations, stupidly signed personal guarantees and went bankrupt.  Some huge corporate egos have also lost their groups when they tried to pull off acquisitions too big to digest when economic adversity inevitably came along.”  Is there a future for the entrepreneurial owner without a personal fortune to spend?  Brady says, “Yes, I said it is still a good business for the time being.  Radio stations in 2015 can still generate 30% cash flow.  But, we can’t stop time and with every passing year there is more competition for media time and ad dollars.  And that’s before the ‘connected car’ achieves critical mass.”  Read Brady’s entire column here.

paigemollyMolly Paige Joins Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day.’ Joining the Stephen Multimedia-produced, nationally syndicated morning program “Good Day” is news radio pro Molly Paige.  She takes on the co-host and news anchor role effective immediately.  Paige, most working in network news in Washington, comments, “I knew this would be the situation worth waiting for from the very first time I talked withstephangoodday logo Doug.  He has created a show that informs his audience with the top trending news stories and then entertains them with his personal insight.  I look forward to adding my perspective to the show.”  Paige has also worked at Los Angeles signals KABC, KLOS, KRLA, KCBS-FM and in San Antonio on WOAI.   Doug Stephan says, “The addition of Molly to the ‘Good Day’ team of Rich McFadden, Jennifer Horn and Ken Kessler will help us continue to deliver fast and fun morning conversation.  She has great energy and we are thrilled to introduce her to our loyal listeners.”

wdbo-FM logoWDBO, Orlando to Present Domestic Violence Awareness Panel.  This evening (5/6), Cox Media Group news/talk outlet WDBO, Orlando “News 96.5” is presenting a live, one-hour program to “raise new awareness about Central Florida’s growing domestic violence problem and ask listeners to take action in support of eliminating domestic violence.”  The event is a partnership with The George C. Young American Inn of Court – an organization of more than 125 lawyers and judges dedicated to improving professionalism in the practice of law in Central Florida.  Titled, “Awareness & Action: Domestic Violence,” the panel will include Belvin Perry, former chief judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial; Jeff Ashton, Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney who was on the prosecution team in the Casey Anthony trial; Sherri DeWitt, “News 96.5” legal analyst and founder of The DeWitt Law Firm in Orlando; and Carol Wick, CEO for local domestic violence outreach, Harbor House of Central Florida, Inc.  The panel will be moderated by Joe Kelley, host of “Orlando’s Morning News” on “News 96.5,” and Nancy Alvarez, WFTV-TV, Orlando news anchor.  It will be broadcast live on WDBO at 7:00 pm and will be videostreamed on the CMG Orlando radio station websites.

boldgoldfounationBold Gold Foundation to Present Citizenship Award at Inaugural Fundraiser.  The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation – formed by Bold Gold Media Group to help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators – is holding its Inaugural Fundraising and Dinner Event on May 19 at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  The evening will feature citizen-journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas as the guest speaker in addition to the presentation of the 2015 Atlas Award for Citizenship to Bob Tambur – abenedettovince Northeast Pennsylvania business leader and philanthropist.  Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto says, “Radio broadcasting is the most powerful, informative, and persuasive medium in the world, and the news and talk formats are extremely demanding, and like all media, evolving… and we need the best and brightest communicators of tomorrow to begin preparing for these fields today.”  Bold Gold states that the Atlas Award is presented to an individual who, through their hard work and bold actions, show what is possible to achieve in a free society, and who exhibits extraordinary dedication to the highest ideals of character, community service, entrepreneurialism, patriotism, leadership, and virtue.

goldberghankHank Goldberg to Assume Afternoons on WMEN, West Palm Beach.  According to a report in the Florida Sun-Sentinel, former ESPN reporter and analyst Hank Goldberg will being hosting the afternoon drive show on James Crystal Radio-owned sports talker WMEN, Royal Palms, Florida “640 Sports.”  Hank “The Hammer” Goldberg worked at both WIOD and WQAM in Miami during his radio career and spent 20 years with ESPN.  James Crystal has not commented on the move and Joe Raineri is currently afternoon personality.

Odds & Sods.  The 2015 New York Emmy Awards were held on Saturday (5/2) and multimedia talker Lionel of LionelMedia.com received the Emmy for commentary and editorial writing for his work at WPIX Channellionel 11…..Los Angeles all-news KNX “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting the KNX Business Hour’s 2015 Small Business Summit on Friday, May 8 at Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City.  The event, titled “Achieving Small Business Success,” is designed to give small business owners and those thinking about starting a business insight into the key challenges of turning a passion into a profitable venture.  KNX Business Hour anchor Frank Mottek will moderate a special guest panel of business experts…..CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media are debuting the “WOOOOO! Nation” podcast to its Play.it platform.  The podcast features former pro wrestler Ric Flair, also known as The Nature Boy.

Baltimore Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Prophet Cartoon Shooting Incident, California Drought, Kofi Annan Insect Proposal, Obama Trade Deal, and Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5).  The legal and political effects of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore; the growing list of potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Family Foundation; the Garland, Texas prophet drawing contest and questions about ISIS attacks on U.S. soil; action being taken in California to address the state’s ongoing drought; former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s suggestion eating insects will help combat global warming; the political battles over President Obama’s proposed trade deal; and the amnesty for illegals issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

| May 5, 2015

berrymichaelMichael Berry Renews with iHeartMedia.  Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry inks a new long-term deal with iHeartMedia that runs through 2020.  Berry’s program is based at news/talk KTRH, Houston and is heard on iHeartMedia stations in 13 additional markets.  The former Houston city councilor started his talk radio career with the company in 2005.  Berry states, “While I’m loyal to the company I’ve worked with for so long, this agreement is about the future, not the past. From Bob Pittman, our chairman and CEO, and Rich Bressler, our president, COO and CFO, to Kelly Kibler, my EVPO; Eddie Martiny, my market manager; and Marc Sherman and Bryan Erickson, our programming directors in Houston — every single one of them is committed to our show, our team, and the way we do things.  They’ve provided a platform for me to serve my sponsors, entertain our listeners, and raise money for Veterans, and I’m incredibly excited about our future.”  Bob Pittman comments, “Michael is a great talent, and his audience loves and relies on him – both for the news and important information he provides every day, and for his strong commitment to his community of listeners and the causes important to them.  We are very pleased that Michael will continue his strong work for us, and delighted that he’ll continue to be such a key part of our team.”

lewisloriCumulus Brings Digital and Social Media Pro Lori Lewis Aboard.  This new relationship brings industry-respected digital and social media maven Lori Lewis together with Cumulus Media as she becomes the company’s new vice president of social media.  A press release says in her new position, she’ll work with Cumulus’ programming and sales teams to develop integrated social media strategies for the company’s radio stations and the Westwood One network.  She will also provide social media solutions to Westwood One’s affiliate partners as part of the company’s Enterprise Solutions Group.  Lewis will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey.  Lewis was most recently with consulting firm Jacobs Media.  Lew Dickeycumulus logo comments, “Lori is our industry’s foremost authority on social media.  She has architected successful social strategies for many of the biggest brands in radio.  We are excited for Lori to bring her unique experience and expertise to our station group as well as to our affiliate partners at Westwood One.”  On joining Cumulus, Lewis says, “I am honored to take this newly created role within Cumulus, and to create real value and impact socially for our audiences, advertisers and affiliate partners.  Many mistake social for volume, when in fact it’s about differentiating.  This move, on behalf of Lew Dickey and [Cumulus SVP] Gary Pizzati, speaks volumes of their leadership and foresight in moving Cumulus forward, and I thank them for that.”

entercomEntercom Promotes Kramer to COO, Names Levy to Board of Directors.  Station group president Louise Kramer is promoted to chief operating officer for Entercom Communications Corp.  In a press statement, the company says, “Kramer is a media veteran who has been withkramerweezie Entercom since 2000, most recently serving as station group president.  In this role, she spearheaded the company’s reinvention efforts, focusing on enhancing the company’s future growth and directly overseeing several of the company’s markets.  Ms. Kramer is a member of Entercom’s operating committee and, since 2013, has served as chairperson.  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Weezie is an enormously talented and effective leader who has made a huge impact on our organization since she joined Entercom in 2000.  Like so many great leaders, she is totally and selflessly committed to her team’s success, bringing levydavidher vast energy, intelligence, creativity, and high standards to our entire organization.  I am thrilled to see her continue to rise to the highest levels of our company.”  Also, the company reports that David Levy is named to the board of directors.  Levy has served as president of Turner Broadcasting System since 2013.   In this role he oversees all creative and business activities of the Turner signature entertainment networks —TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim — and their digital brand extensions, as well as Turner Sports.

wmal logoCumulus Has a Buyer for WMAL, Washington Transmitter Site.  According to Bethesda Magazine, Cumulus Media has a deal with two prominent area home builders who will turn the Bethesda, Maryland site of WMAL-AM, Washington’s transmitter into a 76-acre housing development.  Winchester Homes and Toll Brothers are reported as the buyer but no sale price has been announced yet.  According to real estate firm CBRE, the land could hold up to 300 homes on quarter-acre lots in accordance with current zoning regulations.  Cumulus will relocate the WMAL-AM transmitter.

younglarry and cohostsRadio One Revamps WOLB, Baltimore’s Larry Young Show.  The urban morning drive talk show lead by radio personality Larry Young is now being simulcast on Radio One’s translator W291BA at 106.1 FM.  That signal airs Christian music and is branded “PRAISE 106.1.”  Joining Young (center) and co-host Coach (left) is former WWIN, Baltimore “Magic 95.9” midday personality Tim Watts (right).  The station says, “We’re combining the best of the Praise format with the information, entertainment and ‘ground level’ interaction that our listeners already expect from Larry’s show.  For additional color, we’ve welcomed Tim Watts back to be part of this daily roundtable of all things Baltimore and our community.”

gordonmaryGordon Named Sales Manager for iHeartMedia Tampa. The appointment of Mary Gordon as sales manager for iHeartMedia‘s Tampa cluster takes effect in four weeks (6/1). Senior vice president of sales Fernando Bauermeister comments that, “Mary’s experience of leading successful teams made her a natural choice for the position. We are excited to have Mary join our staff and we look forward to her helping our clients grow their business.” Gordon states, “I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to join the team of talented professionals at iHeartMedia Tampa. I look forward to utilizing the amazing assets that iHeartMedia has in its arsenal to find solutions to the key marketing objectives in the west Florida region.” Gordon’s background includes a stint in sports marketing for IMG (International Management Group), as well as being general sales manager – and later director of sales – for Cumulus Media Atlanta’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5″ and WYAY. The eight-station iHM Tampa cluster includes: urban contemporary WBTP “The Beat”; WDAE “Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio”; talk WFLA; CHR WFLZ “The Hit Music Channel”; country WFUS “US-103.5″; talk WHNZ “Impact Radio”; hot AC WMTX “Mix 100.7″; and WXTB “98 Rock.”

hoyttomHoyt Heads to Louisville as Salem Media Group GM. Founder-president of Missouri-based AdAbilities Tom Hoyt – is named general manager of Salem Media Group Louisville talk outlet WGTK “The Answer” and WFIA “The Spirit – Christian Talk & Praise.” Salem vice president of operations Mike Moran notes, “We were looking for a general manager with a combination of strong leadership skills, management experience, and a proven sales orientation. I believe with Tom we found a man who delivers on all those fronts and brings the additional benefit of knowing and loving the city of Louisville.” Hoyt comments, “I cannot imagine a more ideal opportunity than this position with Salem Media Group in Louisville. The stations are heritage properties with a veteran staff. I am thankful that Mike has selected me and I am looking forward to building on the success the team has established.” Hoyt – who succeeds Tim Hartlage at the Louisville talk combo – previously worked in the market for Cox Media Group; was vice president and chief sales officer for CommunityLink Publications; general sales manager of Emmis St. Louis; and director of sales for Barnstable Broadcasting‘s stations in Greenville, South Carolina. Hartlage continues working for Salem, focusing on local ministry.

sagaSaga Communications Q1 Revenue Down 1.2%; Radio Division Dips 2.6%.  For the first quarter of 2015, Saga Communications is reporting net revenue decreased 1.2% on income of $29.1 million.  Revenue for the radio segment was $24, 276,000 – a decline of 2.6% compared to the same period a year ago (the TV segment was up).  Other data reported included free cash flow up 5.2% to $3.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared to $3.4 million for the same period last year.  Station operating expense decreased 0.8% to $22.8 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) compared to $23.0 million for the same period last year.  Operating income was $3.8 million.  Net income for the period was $2.1 million ($0.36 per fully diluted share).

Odds & Sods.  Philadelphia news/talker WPHT will play a role in the local appearance of Kentucky Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul.  After his press conference at the People’s Plaza on Independence Mall onwpht logo Monday, May 18, the senator will make a special appearance at the Independence Seaport Concert Hall for a discussion focused on his book, Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America.  WPHT host Dom Giordano will moderate…..Longtime WGN, rosenbergmiltChicago radio host and current WCGO, Chicago personality Milt Rosenberg was recently honored by the City of Chicago for among other things, “bringing the world of ideas to millions of listeners, combining a scholar’s understanding of the humanities broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.”

2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Prophet Drawing Contest’ Shooting, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Baltimore Aftermath, and California Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4).  The influx of new candidates for president in 2016 including independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Republicans Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee; the aftermath of the weekend’s shooting of two purported ISIS followers at a “prophet drawing contest” in Garland, Texas; Bill Clinton’s dismissal of criticism of the Clinton Family Foundation finances; the civil and political situation in Baltimore and questions about how Freddie Gray died; and the worsening drought in California and the battle over water policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 4, 2015

| May 4, 2015

entercomEntercom 2015 Q1 Revenue Flat.  Net revenue for the first quarter of 2015 was $78.4 million – up just a tick from the $87.2 million reported during the same period a year ago.  Entercom says station expenses increased 2% to $59.2 million while station operating income decreased 6% tofielddavid $19.2 million.  President and CEO David Field states, “Entercom’s first quarter revenues were up slightly over the prior year as significant market share gains were offset by sluggish advertising conditions.  We are very much looking forward to completing our acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and adding its terrific new markets and brands to our lineup.  In the meantime, we are complying with the Department of Justice’s review of this transaction which would provide us with a second-place position with a 32% pro-forma share of the Denver radio market.”

wtic logoWTIC-AM, Hartford Lays Off News Director Dana Whalen.  At the local level, CBS RADIO’s WTIC-AM, Hartford is taking a bit of flak from news junkies and those who’ve worked in the business in the market for the dismissal of longtime station news director Dana WhalenHartford Courant columnist and one-time WTIC-AM air personality Colin McEnroe writes an eloquent piece praising Whalen for her professionalism during her long career.  He writes, “I’ve heard from many of my former colleagues, all of them shaking their heads over this one.”  You can read that piece here.

halemanekaviHalemane Joins Premiere Networks. Vice president of digital media is the title Kavi Halemane is being given. In defining that role, Premiere Networks’ chief product officer Chris Williams comments, “Kavi will be responsible for managing Premiere’s digital media product, editorial, and social strategy. His mission is to grow loyalty and engagement between our talent and audience by delivering a compelling digital platform to extend their brands. Kavi’s previous experience creating world-class digital communities for marquee artists has him perfectlyPremiere Networks positioned to excel in this role.” According to Halemane, “I’m very excited to be returning to the New York City area to join [Premiere parent] iHeartMedia under Chris Williams. Premiere Networks has a pedigree for great content. I look forward to expanding their brands in digital through this leadership role by infusing new strategic solutions, partnerships, and innovation.” Most recently Beverly Hills-based, Halemane was executive vice president of digital for The Collective. His past credits include marketing-digital strategist for Interscope, Geffen, and A&M Records; head of new media and digital production for PE-KO International Records; and co-founder of howellbands.com.

2015 NYC 150John Dickey and Michael Harrison to Conduct “Fireside Chat” at Talkers New York 2015.  The agenda for Talkers New York 2015  is shaping up to be one of the most powerful in its colorful history.  One of the highlights of what promises to be a stimulating 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.  The 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 offer comments, opinions and information about adickeyjohn 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 in’ to 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 role 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.”  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 – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm — is on the verge of selling out within a matter of days.  Registrations, priced at $299 per person and 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 will be the allowed limit.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  They are not refundable or transferable.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  Again, an early sellout is days away, so avoid being shut out by registering now!  To see the latest agenda, please click here.

riverapeterIconic Rock Singer Is Available for Talk Radio Interviews. News/talk radio hosts seem to enjoy occasionally changing the tempo of their shows by interviewing interesting guests from the world of pop culture.  Especially names from the golden era of music and radio that are still actively going strong.  Such is the case with Peter Rivera — the legendary original lead singer and drummer for the eternally classic songs “I Just Want to Celebrate” and “Get Ready” by the legendary band Rare Earth. Still in heavy rotation on classic rock radio and strategically placed in many TV commercials, any baby boomer rock aficionado will remember that booming voice and those powerful drums on the group’s long series of hits.  During their reign of stardom, Rare Earth sold more than 25 million records with five top 10 singles.  (Seven gold, one double-platinum, and two platinum albums.) Peter’s story is one of those all-American classics; a kind of “rags to riches” tale in which an obscure white boy, growing up in a red-brick row house in Detroit, Michigan, finds his way out of the grimy, blue-collar neighborhood that spawned a whole generation of factory workers, dock hands, and “tough-guy” bar brawlers to the big time glitz and glam of the pop music industry.  Rare Earth was the first all-white band signed to Motown Records that broke through with hit records.  Now at 70, Rivera still puts out a powerful sound and is a striking figure in concerts perched behind his drums and belting out tunes from a brand new album, It Is What it Is.  To download the album and set up an interview, please click here.

Odds & Sods.  In Chico, California, Chris Singleton takes over the program director duties at talk KYMC from Bob “The Fish” Fischetti.  Singleton also programs Huth Broadcasting’s co-owned alternative KVXX…..A new daily feature targeting women is being produced by ABC News Radio.  “Your Body,” hosted by ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton, is a new daily audio report geared towards helpingabcnewsradio women achieve better health and wellness.  It debuts on May 26.  Dr. Ashton is also seen on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America.”…..In advance of today’s presentation of the 2015 James Beard Awards (for culinary excellence), Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York presented interviews with a selection of New York’s James Beard Award Nominees including: Barbuto’s Jonathon Waxman, Cosme’s Enrique Olvera, and Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey.  A radio special aired on Sunday night and videos were available via wabcradio.com.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “New York’s restaurant business is extremely competitive and the James Beard Award is coveted.  These chef nominees give WABC’s audience a rare peek into their businesses and their craft.”

ozmehmetDr. Oz Hooks On with iHM. Well that didn’t take long. Just this past Thursday (TALKERS, 4/30), we reported that Harpo Productions is pulling the plug on Westwood One-syndicated “The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.” Now comes word that Dr. Mehmet Oz is entering into partnership with iHeartMedia. According to iHM Networks president Darren Davis, “We have been great fans of Dr. Oz and we are thrilled to be able to give him this much larger platform – from broadcast to digital and mobile. We could not be more excited to be working with him.” Dr. Oz comments, “I have always seen radio as a terrific way to reach people in their daily routines and deliver health information in a way that is fun and easy-to-understand. After many years of visiting iHeartMedia studios all over the country, they were the obvious partner for my brand – given their wildly successful brands, amazing on-air talent, and commitment to the wellness of America.” The Harpo Productions-Westwood One news came shortly after at least 1,000 doctors stated they believe Dr. Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for him to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Dr. Oz has promotediHeartMedia products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel he should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should resign and have his license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Late last month (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. The final Westwood One version of “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be fed to affiliates in approximately four weeks (Friday, 5/29); his iHeartMedia commitment takes effect “the latter part” of this year.

westoncharlieAltoona, Pennsylvania Talk Personality Charlie Weston Dead at 65.  Just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, Altoona, Pennsylvania market talk radio personality Charlie Weston has died at age 65.  Weston worked for more than 30 years in the market at news/talk stations WRTA and WFBG.  In addition to his talk show work, Weston also called local high school sporting events.

Friday, May 1, 2015

| May 1, 2015

cumulus logoA Down First Quarter for Cumulus Media.  The numbers here are compared to the same period in 2014.  Cumulus Media reports 2015 Q1 net revenue dipped 7.2% on income of $271,079,000.  Revenue was down across the board at the company in the first quarter and here’s the breakdown: broadcast revenue was $251 million (down 7%) and digital revenue was $8.06 million (down 16.4%).  Political ad revenue was down 67.7% and a portion of the net revenue drop was due to an increase in the license fees and other category which rose 9.1%.  Breaking down the broadcast revenue a bit further, local and national spot sales were down a bit – 3.6% and 2.4% respectively – but network revenue sank 13% on income of $86.7 million.

radioonelogoRadio One Down 4.8% in Q1.  Urban media operator Radio One reports a down first quarter of 2015 on income $105.8 million – a drop of 4.8%.  The company saw positive results in its cable TV advertising sector – up 9.9% — and that helped ease some of the decline in other sectors.  The radio broadcasting segment was down 9.4%.  Radio advertising was down 5.5% and digital advertising dipped 6.1%.  Meanwhile, in the category “event revenue & other” Radio One dropped a dramatic 82.6%, due in part to a timing issue relative to annual events.

jacobsmediaInside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan.  Using data from its recent Techsurvey 11, Jacobs Media presents this analysis of the media usage of the typical sports radio fan.  Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use.  No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans.  In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.”  Some of the media habits of sports radio fans that the survey highlights center around the smartphone.  Sports radio P1s are very frequent texters and they stream audio and video on a more frequent basis than P1s of other radio formats.  For more, see the full story here.

cookehollandYES-YOU-CAN Sell Rush Limbaugh.  Media consultant Holland Cooke presents some tested means of selling the “controversial” leading news/talk radio host – Rush Limbaugh.  As Cooke points out, just because there’s been some backlash against Limbaugh’s show and his affiliate stations doesn’t mean stations can’t find sponsors for the show.  After, as Cooke observes, “This guy moves product.”  In this piece he offers some thoughts on whom to prospect, how to write spots that work and how storytelling can work in your favor.  Read it here.

harrisonmichael5-15Michael Harrison to Do 60-Second Daily Feature on Media for Boston Herald Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has entered into an agreement with the Boston Herald to write and perform a weekly 60-second feature titled “Michael Harrison on the Media” beginning Monday (5/4) that will be dropped into the pioneering online station’s programming flow several times a day as well as its growing network of terrestrial partners.  In it, Harrison explores the direct connection between media and the human condition – past, present and future – commenting on the impact of changing communicationsbostonheraldradio logo technology on society and culture.  According to Harrison, “I love the idea of being connected with such a forward-thinking organization as the Boston Herald and its ground-breaking media station, Boston Herald Radio.  Creating one of these tight little pieces each week helps sharpen my insights and ability to express them and just like my weekly, longform podcast ‘Up Close and Far Out’ on Podcast One, it gives me the opportunity, at this seasoned stage in my life, to dabble in speculation about the broader scope of media outside the radio industry itself for a worldwide consumer audience of ‘media freaks.’  What fun!”  Boston Herald Radio Network executive producer Tom Shattuck tells TALKERS, “I am thrilled to have these exclusive commentaries by Michael Harrison running on our platform!”  To hear an installment of “Michael Harrison on Media” please click below.

1. MH-On-the-Media-1.mp3     

2015 NYC 150Spectrum of Talk Radio Programming to Be Addressed on “Variety, the Spice of Life” Panel at Talkers New York 2015.  At the Talkers New York 2015 conference taking place on June 12, talk personalities from a variety of styles of programming will discuss the industry, their roles in it, and the future of talk content when they appear on the “Variety the Spice of Life” panel.  Moderated by TALKERS general manager of radio operations David Bernstein, the panel will feature: Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host at classic rock-formatted WAQY “Rock 102,” Springfield, MA; Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network; Tony Bruno, WIP-FM, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann of WYD Media; Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, WOLB, Baltimore.  This panel will present hosts from disparate backgrounds and radio formats, including a rock jock appealing to listeners immersed in rock and pop culture; the industry’s longest-running radio psychologist; a season sports talk pro; a progressive host with a multi-disciplined background; a nationally syndicated morning talk generalist; and an urban personality working mornings and heavily involved in the community on a local station.  Bernstein says, “This will be an exciting panel to moderate – there is so much more to talk radio than one would think having it always described in the media as just a bunch of conservative white men talking politics.”  Talkers New York 2015 takes place on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in New York City’s financial district.  Space is limited, so register today by calling 413-565-5413.  For the full agenda, please click here.

podcastone logoPodcastOne Platform to Host Bossip Podcast.  Bossip.com is billed as the “premier online destination for African American popular culture and entertainment news.”  Now, it is partnering with PodcastOne to produce the “Bossip Presents: Don’t Be Scared” podcast.  A press release says, “The weekly podcast is a viciously funny conversation between Bossip’s awkward, quirky and at times terrifyingly honest trio, Bossip staffer-hosts David Dennis, Jason “Jah” Lee and Danielle “Danni” Canada.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Bossip.com has built a great digital platform that hits the right points of humor and news in entertainment gossip.  This new podcast extends their site to the rapidly growing audio-digital platform, and provides a strong content addition to our roster of websites who have turned to podcasting as an impactful way to communicate with their loyal audience.”

alphamedia logoDone Deal: Alpha Closes on Coast Radio and Free Lance-Star Stations.  There are seven more radio stations officially in the Portland-based Alpha Media fold after the closing took place on the deals with Coast Radio Company and Free Lance-Star Radio.  As previously reported when the sales were announced, Alpha gets three California signals from Coast: adult contemporary-formatted trio KUIC, Vacaville, KKIQ, Livermore, and KKDV, Walnut Creek.  And from Free Lance-Star it acquires: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia.   Alpha chief Larry Wilson says, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with such great employees at all of the stations.  Each cluster is exceptional and brings its own unique attributes to the company, allowing us to build a diverse and dynamic culture.”

Odds & Sods.  Talk radio personality Leslie Marshall joins the iHeartRadio platform as her podcast is nowmarshallleslie being featured there.  Marshall also announces she’s begun writing a blog for Blue Nation Review and has penned her first column titled, “It’s 2015 and Sexism Is Alive and Well in Clinton Coverage.”…..Getting a national presence is WINS, New York weekend news anchor David Weiss who has two features that will be distributed by America’s Talk Radio Network.  The five-minute “News for You” show features Weiss’ take on the world and national news and the two-minute “Slice of Life” is a more offbeat take on daily life…..In Seattle, Ed Ronco is the new local host of “All Things Considered” on KPLU.  He’s been with the station for two years and also hosts a weekly travel segment titled, “Going Places.”

srnCapitolGangSalem’s Capitol Gang.  Posing for a shot at Salem Media Group’s reception at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening (4/30) are (from l-r): Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich, hosts Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher.  The event was to honor freshmen members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.  It was also attended by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U. S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge add newfreemanedge affiliates to their roster including: KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga market trimulcast WSDT, WEPG, and WSDQ; KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; and KAZZ, Parowan, Utah and its Cedar City, Utah K253BU at 98.5 FM…..The Marilu Henner show is added to the program schedule at: KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; WGGH, Marion, Illinois; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; KHUC-FM, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

talkersten logoBaltimore Protests and Violence Top Talkers TenTM.  The week of protests, violence and questions about the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody were all facets of the most-talked-about story of the week.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the 2016 presidential prospects.  At #3 was scrutiny of the operations of the Clinton Foundation followed by the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage statutes at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

| April 30, 2015

pew logoPew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2015 Released.  There isn’t really much in the 2015 edition of the Pew Research Center’s “State of the News Media” report that’s surprising, but for those who like to put hard numbers to what most industry observers already suspect, it serves that purpose.  In the audio category (AM/FM, online streams, satellite radio), Pew uses Nielsen Media Research data and reports that 53% of Americans 12-plus have listened to online radio in the past month – an increase from 27% in 2010.  Not surprisingly, smartphone usage for listening is overtaking laptops and desktops as the technology of choice with 73% having listened via a smartphone in the past week.  Laptop/desktop listening in the last week was reported by 61%.  Internet-based listening in the automobile continues to increase with “more than a third of U.S. adult cellphone owners (35%) having listened to online radio in the car.  That is substantially more than the 21% who did so in 2013, and nearly six times the number (6%) who had done so in 2010.”  The study breaks out podcasting separately and states, “The percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the past month has almost doubled since 2008, from 9% to 17% by January of 2015.  The percentage listening in 2015 was up two points over 2014 levels (15%).”  The “State of the News Media” also looks at other news media – newspapers, cable news, network news, public broadcasting and more.  See the whole study here.

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Reports Q1 Revenue Up 4%.  For the first quarter of 2015, iHeartMedia reported its consolidated revenue increased 4% to $1.4 billion in 2015 compared to 2014 after adjusting for a $54 million unfavorable impact from movements in foreign exchange rates.  On a reported basis, consolidated revenues were slightly up.  The company says revenue increased $28 million, or 4%, driven primarily by the traffic, weather and syndication businesses, as well as events. Revenue growth was partially offset by lower core local broadcast radio advertising revenue.

friedmanmarshaFriedman: Talk Radio Remains a Great Venue for Publicity.  Public relations pro Marsha Friedman pens a regular column titled The PR Insider that is read widely by the public relations industry and its clients.  As CEO of EMSI Public Relations, Friedman has decades of experience in the PR biz and is very bullish on the power of talk radio to get a message across.  Her most recent piece is about talk radio’s effectiveness.  For this, she reached out to TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison who says, “Research continues to indicate that talk radio is where a high concentration of voters and active consumers are indeed listening.  Talk radio also puts the spotlight on important issues that for reasons of ratings, circulation or sizzle the rest of the mainstream media often tends to ignore or simply bury.”  Friedman explains the benefits of talk radio from her experience which you can read here.

Daily DoseHarpo Dumps “Daily Dose.” Affiliates received word yesterday (Wednesday, 4/29) from Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green that, “After many years, Harpo Productions has decided to end production of ‘The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz’ feature.” This comes shortly after at least 1,000 doctors say they believe Dr. Mehmet Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for the host of the eponymous one-hour Dr. Oz television program to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Oz has promoted products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel Dr. Oz should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should both resign and have hisDr. Mehmet Oz license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Last Thursday (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. As an option to Dr. Oz’s soon-to-be defunct radio feature, Westwood One is suggesting “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta,” a feature it distributes from CNN‘s chief medical correspondent. The final “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be sent to stations four weeks from tomorrow (Friday, 5/29).

costantiniCamdenYardsAn Eerie First for MLB.  Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini in the press box at Camden Yards in Baltimore covering Wednesday’s Baltimore Orioles-Chicago White Sox game that was played with no fans in attendance due to the violence and unrest after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.

Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nukes Issue, Economy Slows in First Quarter, and Nepal Quake Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29).  The simmering protests in Baltimore and a report that Freddie Gray appeared to be trying to hurt himself in the police van; talk about the Supreme Court arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage laws; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the issues surrounding negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the GDP report indicating the economy slowed during the first three months of 2015; and the aftermath of Saturday’s earthquake that’s devastated Nepal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.