Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

| January 29, 2015

thunejohnSenate Commerce Committee Chair Thune Seeks Communications Act Overhaul.  Speaking before an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-SD) said he will kick-start the process of reviewing and updating the country’s communications laws, last done in 1996.  From a story at The Hill, Thune admits his efforts will require support fromfccnew Democrats but says it’s very early in the process.  He told the crowd the very legal framework that could allow broadband internet to be classified a utility is obsolete.  He criticized the FCC’s rulemaking process with regard to “net neutrality” and said its agenda is being nudged by “an increasingly imperious president.”  He said, “With the FCC poised to reclassify broadband due to a lack of clear statutory authority, we can readily see the consequences of that obsolescence and the need for action.”  Getting support from Democrats prior to the 2016 election may be all but impossible but Thune says trying to update the Act that was last modernized when the Internet was in its infancy is necessary.”

Mark LevinWestwood One Locks-In Levin. A contract extension between Westwood One and Mark Levin will keep the talk show host with the Cumulus Media-owned syndicator through 2020. Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey states, “Mark has established himself as a pillar in talk radio with his sharp and witty commentary. We look forward to expanding his program’s reach.” Levin comments, “I am delighted to continue working with Cumulus and Westwood One. I look forward to further developing the show over the next five years. I am passionate about challenging the mainstream media and educating the public on the most pressing political and legal issues of our time and maintain myWestwood One commitment to doing so.” Flagship WABC, New York launched Levin’s 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm show in 2003; a third hour was added six years later (2009). Previously an advisor/administrator to several members of president Ronald Reagan‘s cabinet, Levin is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, a non-profit Washington, DC-based advocacy group.

leboncherylynLeBon Named to Co-Host ‘America Continues’ on USA Radio Networks.  Joining host Jim Sharpe on his “America Continues” program – to be syndicated live nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2 – is Cherylyn Harley LeBon.  She is president and CEO of public relations firm KLAR Strategies and is national co-chair of the leadership network, Project 21.  On joining USA Radio and working with Sharpe, LeBon says, “It is a wonderful opportunity to co-host with Jim Sharpe on ‘America Continues’ to share with our audience the unique stories happening around our country.  We want to talk about the stories that are not being told and highlight reasons why America is still so great.”  LeBon previously served as a political appointee in the George W. Bush Administration; as a spokesman at the Republican National Committee; and as senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.  She is also a contributor to BlogHer, TheBlaze, and She Owns It.

weei logoWEEI.com Benefits from DeflateGate Controversy.  Fans of the New England Patriots may be sick to death of the “deflategate” flap but the story has been a boon for Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and its digital destination, WEEI.com.  The station reports that the story has “crushed all previous engagement records for ‘Sports Radio WEEI’ and its digital assets.  Between January 19, the day the allegations of tampering with some of the AFC Championship footballs were first announced, and January 25, WEEI.com racked up the following eye-popping statistics: Over 1 million unique users to WEEI.com; over 4.3 million page views in that same time frame; The WEEI Facebook page reached more than 6.1 million people in one week with more than 1 million of those engaging and participating in a WEEI post; on Thursday, January 22, more than 280,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views were tallied for the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick press conferences, the largest day in site history; and those press conferences peaked at over 22,000 users on the WEEI audio stream.  The station’s previous record-setting day for streaming was a peak of 15,000 for a Tom Brady interview last fall.  WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham comments that “you don’t post numbers like that unless sports fans know you’re the digital destination for timely and credible information.  I’m very proud of the combined efforts from our on-air and digital content teams in reporting this ever-changing story.  We have been at the forefront of coverage from the beginning and been the go-to station for national media outlets such as ESPN, The CBS Evening News, FOX News and CNN, to name a few.”

Odds & Sods.  At non-commercial triple A and news/talk hybrid KCRW, Santa Monica, California, Matt Miller puts the wraps on his “Left, Right & Center” program, producing the last episode on Friday, January 30…..This evening is the official “weigh-in” broadcast on WIP-FM, Philadelphia prior to Friday’s Wing Bowl 23 – the annual chicken wing eating contest, this year being held at the Wells Fargo Center.  The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm broadcast today takes place at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia.  The station’s Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes are hosting the broadcast…..WGN, shivesdrtomChicago will air the memorial service for Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks on Saturday, January 31 from 10:00 am until its conclusion.  Sports director Dave Eanet will host the broadcast.  The station will make the Kathy & Judy show available via wgnplus.com and will join that show in progress after the Banks memorial service…..The medical talk show “Mayo Clinic Radio” is now being represented for national syndication by Chicago-based Syndication Networks Corp.  The program is a weekly, one-hour show hosted by physician and longtime broadcaster Dr. Tom Shives with veteran radio host Tracy McCray.

bearmanKSCOcageTalk Personality Ethan Bearman Co-Founds Government Watchdog Site.  The new organization and its website – Community Action for Government Efficiency, or CAGE – is a Santa Cruz, California-based one that seeks to help keep politicians accountable, according to co-founder and talk radio personality Ethan Bearman.  He’s pictured here (center) appearing on KSCO, Santa Cruz’s “Good Morning Monterey Bay” program with host Rosemary Chalmers (right) and CAGE co-founder Vincent Perez (left) to announce the debut of the site Cage.org.  Bearman says, “Our goal is to provide a clear and simple pathway of information to the people and business community of Santa Cruz County.  CAGE provides a forum for a common-sense approach to impacting change in economic, political and social issues.”  He says, “Users of the site can find information on relevant topics that impact our business community; share concerns that impact our community; participate in the discussion forums related to these issues; and influence positive behavior from our local politicians by holding them accountable.”  Bearman is host of the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program on KSFO, San Francisco on Saturdays and Sundays.

ISIS Captives/Threat to President Obama, Obamas Saudi Visit, Obama Administration Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Immigration Reform/Amnesty Issues, and Super Bowl Hype/DeflateGate Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28).  The potential swap of captives between Jordan and ISIS and the group’s threat to President Obama in beheading video; Barack and Michelle Obama’s visit with the Saudi royals; the administration plan to hike taxes on top earners; the potential candidates for president in 2016; immigration reform proposals and the amnesty policy championed by President Obama; and the build-up to Super Bowl XLIX and the deflategate flap were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

| January 28, 2015

hannitySean Hannity Show to Air on KDWN, Las Vegas.  Moving across the street from CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas to Beasley Media Group’s KDWN is Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity.  The change takes effect on Monday, February 2.  KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “We are very excited that Sean Hannity is joining our lineup at KDWN.  His show will help solidify our position as the news and talk leader in Las Vegas.”  Hannity’s show will air live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot, replacing the “Live in Las Vegas” show hosted by Dave Carney and Chad Forster.  Back at KXNT, the station moves financial talk star Dave Ramsey from a delayed broadcast in the evening to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart.

omalleypaulO’Malley Upped to Westwood One Senior VP, Strategic Sales Partnerships. Trading in the title of Cumulus vice president of brand solutions, Paul O’Malley becomes Westwood One’s senior vice president of strategic sales partnerships. According to Westwood One president Steve Shaw, “Bringing Paul over to run our new strategic sales division was a no-brainer. His wealth of experience in new business development, world-class reputation among agencies, and vast knowledge of our assets make him the prefect partner to lead this new team. We are building an impressive and outstanding sales force and Paul is a top-tier player on the team.” O’Malley comments that he is “excited by the opportunity” to “deliver experiential solutions which will encompass national scale and local engagement. The best brands in the U.S. are asking for new, innovative, and measured programs. Westwood One and Cumulus have assets and capabilities that are unparalleled in the industry and that deliver results for advertisers.  I look forward to growing our client base and driving revenue across our platforms.” Atlanta-based O’Malley previously (2004 – 2011) was Citadel’s regional president of sales.

westwood one NEWWestwood One to Vacate Montfort Drive Offices in Dallas.  With the looming expiration of Westwood One’s lease at the Dallas offices – located at 13725 Montfort Drive – later this year, the company announces it will move those operations to other facilities.  Westwood One will build out some new broadcast facilities at the TM Studios operations on Academy Lane in Dallas, and will move programming, production and affiliate sales there.  The company reports that back-office functions (traffic and affiliate service/affidavit management) will be relocated to an existing Cumulus facility in nearby Arlington.  “Other than some duplicated facility support positions, there will be no other changes to staffing related to the relocations.”

ww1lofton-kearseWW1 at Media Week for Super Bowl XLIX. Broadcasting from the annual media week at the Super Bowl here is Westwood One NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of famer James Lofton (right) as he interviews Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (left).

‘Juno’ Storm Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Tax Plan/529 Plans, ISIS Prisoner Swap Issue, ObamaCare Repeal Vote, ‘American Sniper’ Flap, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27).  Winter storm Juno and the chatter about overblown predictions and mandatory shutdowns; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the Obama Administration’s plan to hike taxes on top earners and its backing off the elimination of the 529 college savings plan; the possible ISIS deal to swap prisoners; the GOP’s plans to vote on repeal of the Affordable Care Act; lower oil process and the activity on the world’s financial markets; and the looming Super Bowl and talk about the DeflateGate issue were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

| January 27, 2015

price howardGetting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right.  Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared.  For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature.  Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.”  Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds.  Read more from Price here.

foxcarolynCarolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success.  Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era.  In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners.  “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.”  Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.

leykistomnonameTom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit.  It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC.  Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187.  He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).”  Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report.  Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.”  TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit.  Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture.  “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day.  I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds.  I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever.  This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”

Westwoon One Super Bowl AdsWestwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of SuperSeahawks - Patriots Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect.  Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).

XEPRS-AMXEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090″ and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team's] vision for theSan Diego Padres future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).

Odds & Sods.  Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow.  In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy.  Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About withrogersmike Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades.  The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.

Johnjay and RichJohnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.

WW1probowl15Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One.  Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX.  Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL.  From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.

Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26).  The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 26, 2015

| January 26, 2015

limbaugh logoLongtime Rush Limbaugh Staffer Kit Carson Dies After Battle with Cancer.  TALKERS magazine has learned from Sound Mind LLC principal Kraig Kitchin that longtime Rush Limbaugh staffer Christopher “Kit” Carson passed away this morning (1/26), in New Jersey.   The cause was brain cancer.  Kitchin says Carson had suffered a bout of cancer four years ago but found his way to recovery two years later and was given a clean bill of health.  In the last several months, the cancer returned.  Kit Carson was the “chief of staff” of Limbaugh’s program since the early 1990s.  He became part of the program’s staff in 1989.  Kitchin says Carson wanted to be an actor, but fell in love with his work on the program.  He screened calls, opened and answered the mail, and he took every opportunity to be invaluable.  And he became invaluable.  Later, he was nicknamed “H.R.” with Limbaugh naming him after Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.  A clearly shaken, limbaughrushtearful Rush Limbaugh announced the news at the top of his radio program today (1/26).  He said, “We are all experiencing a huge void in all of our hearts here today.”  Limbaugh praised Carson as never having a bad word to say about anyone and was always a mediating force for good and harmony among the staff.  Limbaugh said that Carson was the longest-running employee of the show and quickly proved himself to be the new program’s number one defender, champion and evangelist.  Limbaugh also credited Carson with coming up with many ideas and angles that he used as his own on the air—and was also a tremendous force for Rush maintaining optimism and positivity in his work and attitude about life.  Clearly he was the one guy who Limbaugh never once doubted – “I had total trust in him.”  Limbaugh said, “Even at 58 he had an innocent exuberance about him.”  Carson is survived by his wife, Theresa, and two sons.

cookeTalkersTVNow Showing on TalkersTV: Writing Commercial Copy That Produces RESULTS.  Just try not to flinch when you hear The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Radio Sales: “We tried radio, it didn’t work.”  Even when the retail business and the station fit-like-a-glove — AND the client buys enough frequency — the campaign can flop, and the disappointed advertiser gives up on radio entirely.  WHY?  Consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke explains, “Too often, it’s because the commercial copy was ineffective.  Not surprisingly, this can happen because cutbacks have cost the station a creative department and reps are writing their own spots… too often banging out scripts quickly, so they can get back on the street to close new business — which they’re under pressure to do, because of churn.  Why does this often happen?  You guessed it: Because clients cancel…because they didn’t get results…because the copy didn’t work.  It’s a vicious cycle.”  Cooke adds, “Ironically, the same problem is common at stations that HAVE a creative person or department.”  And he cites three reasons:

1.  The conveyor belt is out of control.  With four, five or six stations under one roof, the writer gets overwhelmed.

2.  ESPECIALLY this time of year, when stations stage the annual first quarter “one day sale,” piling even more work on the writer; in many cases spots that will air long-term (or until the disappointed client cancels).

3.  The writer, back at the station, didn’t share the rep’s in-person contact with the prospect during the important Needs Assessment step.  Cooke figures that “account executives are, potentially, better writers than…writers, because they know clients’ stories first-hand.”

“Potentially,” Cooke stipulates, “because account executives need to speak to the listener (the advertiser’s client) the same way they approached the advertiser.  Reps are natural sellers, but don’t always apply their persuasive talent to copy writing.”  In a video now showing on TalkersTV, Cooke outlines what he calls “the dance steps of a 60-second commercial script,” based on his work helping client station reps craft copy for local retailers.  See Cooke relate what he terms “The Five Steps of Selling Anything to Anybody” (how reps got the order) to the copy-writing process.  See the TalkersTV box at the top right-hand column of this page and every page of Talkers.com.

mussonchristinaKMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names Musson Co-Host.  The new late morning show at Cumulus Media’s Fresno news/talker KMJ-AM/FM launches today as “Broeske & Musson.”  KMJ program director Blake Taylor announces the station promotes Christina Musson from station executive producer to co-host of the program alongside John Broeske.  Taylor says, “We tried out dozens of potential co-hosts for John, but we only needed to look down the hall for the perfect answer.  ‘Broeske & Musson’ is going to be a dynamic show with tons of energy.  They’ll continue to deliver the hard-hitting and fun topics of the day that our listeners expect.”  Musson has been executive producer the past six years.  Her resume also includes production and reporting work at Fresno’s KMPH-TV KGPE-TV as well as KAPP-TV in Yakima, Washington.  She says, “I’m excited to take the next step in my career at such an amazing station and to partner with John Broeske – someone I admire and respect.  I grew up listening to KMJ, so it’s a dream come true.”

knxawards15Radio & Television News Association of Southern California Presents Awards.  The 65th annual Golden Mike awards were presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California (RTNA) on Saturday evening (1/24) in Universal City.  The awards are presented annually for excellence in radio, TV and Internet broadcast journalism.  CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recognized with seven Golden Mike awards in the following categories: Best New Broadcast Over 15 Minutes – “KNX Morning News”; Best Live Coverage of a News Story – “LAX Shooting”; Best News Reporting – “Nanny Nightmare” by Charles Feldman; Best Spot News Reporting – “The Great UCLA Flood of 2014” by Desmond Shaw, Ed Mertz, and Pete Demetriou; Best News Public Affairs Program – “Ask the Mayor”; Best Trafficgregorysteveawards Report – KNX Traffic at 6:15 am; and Best Sports Reporting – “Watts Bears”  by Ed Mertz.  Pictured above left are (from l-r) KNX staffers Ron Kilgore, Frank Mottek, Kathy Kiernan, James Tuck, Ric Schroeder, Wendy Thermos, and Pete Demetriou accepting the award for Best Live Coverage of a News Story.  iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KFI and reporter Steve Gregory also took home seven Golden Mike awards (see photo at right) in the following categories: Best Radio News Special – “Breaking Down The Border Crisis” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Investigative Reporting – “Mold School” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Light Feature (less than a minute) – “Valentine’s Day Flower Inspection” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Serious Feature (less than a minute) – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Hard News Series – “Trial Of Jailed Marine In Mexico”; Best Radio Internet News Reporting – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory and David Perez; and Best Radio Newscast (under 15 minutes).  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “We have the best news team here at KFI, these folks rock and Steve is a prime example of the caliber of talent that makes us so proud!”

ppmunitRound Four of Holiday PPM Data Released.  The fourth of four rounds of Holiday 2014 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 December 4 to December 31.  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.

franklinjoeNew York Talk Legend Joe Franklin Dies at 88.  The New York talk television and talk radio icon who was famously parodied by Billy Crystal on “Saturday Night Live,” died after a long battle with cancer on Saturday (1/24).  Joe Franklin hosted a television program interviewing celebrities and offbeat characters beginning in the early 1950s.  He worked in radio later in his career at such stations as WOR, New York and most recently on the Bloomberg Radio Network.  Franklin ranked 71st in the 2010 TALKERS magazine 20th Anniversary Heaviest Hundred list (which ranks “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time”) and appeared a number of times as a special guest speaker at the annual TALKERS Convention in New York City.  Publisher Michael Harrison would introduce him to the attendees from out of town as a famous New York City “tourist attraction as legendary as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park.”  Franklin juggled so many careers in the media that it’s a good thing he stopped to write a book every few years – in fact, 23 in all — to capture his amazingly colorful life.  His autobiography Up Late With Joe Franklin (Scribner, 1995) is jam-packed with celebrity-rich-anecdotes — from Eddie Cantor and Rudy Vallee to Howard Stern, for example.  According to the Library Journal, “He actually knew those early entertainers and knew many of those currently entertaining.”  What originally made him a household name — even before the highly touted “Saturday Night Live” parodies by Billy Crystal — was Franklin’s late night variety program “The Joe Franklin Show,” which ran from 1950 through 1993.  The Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the longest running TV talk show in history manned by one host.   And what a show it was!  Much like visiting your favorite neighborhood hardware store, you never knew what unexpected gems would pop up among the variety and clutter.  A sample show would feature a sculptor, belly dancer, an up-and-coming comic, a podiatrist and then maybe a famous actor or singer.  According to Publisher’s Weekly (1994), his program’s “total guest list ran between 200,000 and 300,000.”  and included such names as Frank Sinatra Jr., Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Vincent Price, Howard Stern, Buddy Hackett, — as well as first TV exposure for eventual stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand and Julia Roberts.  “It would be easier to list the few who did not appear than to catalogue those who did,” PW says. Franklin started and ended his long show business career in radio.  His first job, at 16, was working behind the scenes at WNEW, New York where he became “the record librarian,” (or really “the record picker”) for Martin Block’s popular “Make Believe Ballroom” radio program.   Once station management recognized his unique expertise in vaudeville and entertainment trivia, they offered him a 15-minute program dedicated to nostalgia.  Eventually that became his calling card and part of the schtick he’d weave into shows, whether radio or television.  The self- proclaimed “King of Entertainment” had an encyclopedic knowledge of “all things entertainment” from the first half of the 20th Century:  silent films, Broadway stage shows, musicians and singers.  With that, he also earned the title the “king of nostalgia.”  After his television show ended, Franklin focused on his long-running “Memory Lane” radio program, which ran on WOR on weekend overnights.  He’d tell stories about many of the entertainers whose records he would play.  In recent years, up until the time of his death, he hosted a weekends-only series of six-minute segments on Bloomberg Radio Network called ‘The Business of Show Business.’  Audio podcasts are still available at Bloomberg.com.  Throughout his career, the round-faced, jovial Franklin was commonly called back to television to do guest spots on the big late night and daytime talk shows such as those hosted by Regis Philbin and David Letterman.   Considered a good luck charm for the start of a new talk show due to the length of his show’s run, Franklin often kicked off day one of a show – and did so on the first broadcasts of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “This American Life.”  Though Franklin may never have wanted to act in movies – like his childhood friend Tony Curtis – he did appear as himself in “Ghostbusters” and “Broadway Danny Rose,” just to name two of the 34 titles that IMDb lists.   Franklin was born in 1926 in the Bronx, New York.  He met his model/actress wife when she was a secretary and he was “a kid of 24 just doing radio… and we were married on the TV show called ‘Bride and Groom,’” where real-life couples tied the knot after being quizzed about their relationship on national television.  Perhaps what sums Joe Franklin up best is his favorite personal quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s even more important to be nice.”

Odds & Sods.  Former “Regular Guys” personality Eric Von Haessler begins hosting his “The Von Haessler Doctrine” show on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB, Atlanta airing Sundays at 1:00 pm.  Since exiting his “Regular Guys” co-host position at Cumulus Media’s crosstown rock WNNX “96 Rock” in June of 2014, Von Haessler has been doing fill-vonhaesslerericin work at WSB and podcasting…..Boston sports talk personality Danny Picard launches his new eponymous podcast at the same time he debuts his new website and celebrates the opening of his new studio inside Beantown Athletics in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  Picard is a weekend personality on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and is part of the “Patriots Pre-game and Post-Game Live” shows on Comcast SportsNet New England…..Westwood One is picarddannyannouncing some of the details of its Super Bowl programming as the official network radio partner for the National Football League.  It will feature a full schedule of game day programming leading up to kickoff.  Westwood One’s live game coverage features Kevin Harlan, handling the play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the fifth straight year, and Boomer Esiason, serving as the color analyst.  Hall of Famer James Lofton and Mark Malone will once again report from the sidelines.  Emmy Award-winning host Jim Gray will anchor the pregame and halftime coverage…..FOX Sports Radio is also on the scene in Glendale, Arizona this week leading up to the Super Bowl.  FSRN announces that as part of its continuous coverage “Jay Mohr Sports” news anchor Dan Beyer and J.T. The Brick will broadcast live from radio row while the Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show will broadcast from the DIRECTV Super Fan Festival at the Pendergrast Family Farm in Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District across from Phoenix Stadium.  Also, former NFL player Lincoln Kennedy will broadcast a special edition of the network’s Saturday morning program Gargano & Kennedy…..CBS Sports Radio’s plans for coverage of the big game include live-from-Glendale broadcasts all week by the network’s Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and the Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney program.

Friday, January 23, 2015

| January 23, 2015

alphamedia logoFredericksburg Stations to Join Alpha Media Portfolio.  Still in acquisition mode, Portland, Oregon-based Alpha Media announces it will acquire the four-station Free Lance-Star Radio group.  The stations include: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia.  Alpha chairman Larry Wilson comments on the deal, “Around 50 miles from Washington D.C., Fredericksburg is a thriving place that continues to grow. It will be a nice addition to our East Coast footprint.  I feel privileged to be able to get into that market and work with the great people there.”  The stations were acquired by Sandton Capital in a bankruptcy auction and the firm must divest of the signals to comply with cross-ownership regulations.  Free Lance-Star operates print and digital publications in the market.  George Reed of Media Services Group is the broker for Free Lance-Star Radio.

sumpterjimJim Sumpter Show Renewed on USA Radio Networks.  The midday Jim Sumpter program will continue to be syndicated via the USA Radio Networks after the two parties agreed to a renewal deal.  The Jim Sumpter show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET Monday through Friday and from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Saturdays.  In a press statement USA Radio Networks says, “Jim brings a powerfully unique presentation of storytelling and interpretation of current events from a constitutional perspective that translates to compelling radio that draws listeners in as few other hosts can.”  Sumpter comments, “The content of my show challenges establishment elites – especially politicians who say one thing, but do another and media organizations who shirk away from truthful reporting – that it takes a special group of courageous patriots who both get it and are committed to supporting it.  I’m grateful for this opportunity from Sam Hassell, Sherrie Roberts, and Tim Maranville to give me the venue and support to make a lot of noise, stir up a lot of trouble, and do a lot of good.  This is going to be fun.”

newsmaxtv logoNewsmax Signs Deal with NCTC Adding Nearly 12 Million Subscribers.  A new deal between Newsmax TV and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), will provide Newsmax TV access to 900-plus member cable systems, encompassing nearly 12 million MVPD subscribers.  Newsmax Media founder Christopher Ruddy says, “This NCTC agreement further accelerates our focus on securing carriage with independent cable operators country wide and is an important component of our goal to reach 50 million-plus subscribers for our first year on-air anniversary.  Initial meetings with many NCTC members indicate a widespread reception that we anticipate will lead to notable launches in 2015.”  Newsmax TV, which the company says targets the underserved baby boomer audience, is already carried by DISH and DIRECTV in approximately 35 million cable/satellite homes.

nielsen logoRound Three of Holiday PPM Data Released.  The third of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The survey period was December 4 to December 31.  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.

FAIRHold2015Ninth Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Event Scheduled for April 15 and 16. The annual Washington, DC radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform will take place on Monday and Tuesday, April 15 and 16 at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. As in the eight years prior, the event will consist of talk hosts from across the country broadcasting live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event will focus on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” Event general manager and FAIR spokesman Bob Dane comments, “Politicians fear and respect the amplitude of talk radio. Hold Their Feet to the Fire speaks for millions of radio listeners and, this year, will prove that the mic is mightier than Obama’s pen.” For talk show hosts wishing to take part in this year’s radio row, reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and ISDN lines are provided by Silver Lake Audio of New York, the official engineering firm for Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Contact Bob Dane or Anna Giaritelli for more information at 202-328-7004 or bdane@fairus.org or agiaritelli@fairus.org.

Odds & Sods.  The new American General Media sports talker in Bakersfield – KGEO “1230 AM ESPN” – is adding a live and local program beginning Monday (1/26) as the Greg Kerr show debuts.  The local sports media pro will take to the air from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm daily for the station that launched late last year…..Baseball broadcaster Jeff Levering is moving up to the big leagues from his gig with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox to the Milwaukee Brewers Radio Network broadcast team.  Levering is going to be the play-by-play voice for select road games this season as he joins Bob Uecker and Joe Block.  He’ll also contribute content for the Brewers’ digital platform…..ESPN Audio announces its new weekend program lineup.  Eight new shows are being added, including the two-hour “espnW Presents: Spain & Prim on ESPN Radio,” co-hosted by espnW’s and ESPN Chicago 1000 Radio’s Sarah Spain and ESPN anchor and analyst Prim Siripipat.  Additional shows debuting in the new lineup are: Marty & McGee, Dave Rothenberg Show, Dickerson & Hood, Robin Lundberg, Coachman & Bretos, Ian Fitzsimmons and “NBA Lockdown: Insiders.”

sayreterrieqKKOB, Albuquerque’s Terrie Q. Sayre Passes Unexpectedly.  KKOB, Albuquerque program director Pat Frisch informs TALKERS that station weekend personality Terrie Q. Sayre died unexpectedly at the age of 54.  Frisch says, “It is with deep sadness that I tell you we lost a true friend, a bright lite in the 770 KKOB family.”  Frisch says Sayre handled weekend mornings for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOH, Reno for several years before moving to Albuquerque and doing weekends for KKOB for the past seven years.  Sayre was a former show girl for Harrah’s and Caesars Lake Tahoe and was Mrs. Nevada 1998.  She was married to Skip Sayre and is survived by a brother.

State of the Union and Obama Tax Plan Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The State of the Union Address and President Obama’s tax plan tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the “no-go zones” controversy and the related militant Islam issues.  Coming in at #3 was ISIS’ holding of two Japanese nationals for ransom and following at #4 was the 2016 presidential prospects.  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.  View this week’s entire chart here.