Talk Radio/Media Industry News
The third of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio was released the day after Christmas (Friday, 12/26) for Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was November 6 through December 3. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com.
Top News/Talk Stories of 2014. As is the tradition at TALKERS magazine, the end of the calendar year provides the opportunity to look back and present the industry with a list of talk radio’s most-talked-about stories and people of 2014. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that we present the Talkers TenTM each week – a chart that shows the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio based upon ongoing research from TALKERS. This year-end chart uses that data. The accompanying graphic presents the charts for 2014.
Big John Howell to Exit WIND, Chicago. According to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Big John Howell is exiting his morning drive gig with Salem Communicatons’ news/talk WIND, Chicago “560 The Answer.” Feder writes that Howell was offered a contract renewal but he turned it down. Feder says Howell’s contract runs out at the end of this month but Howell may work into January while the company decides how to replace him. But the rumor is that Howell may jump across the street to join Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM. Howell has hosted the morning show for the past eight years and currently works with Amy Jacobson as co-host.
Anthony Gargano Exits WIP-FM, Philadelphia. Tweeting that his contract offer from CBS RADIO to remain afternoon host on sports talker WIP-FM in Philly was a “lowball” offer, Anthony Gargano exits. He Tweets, “Thanks to WIP and all of the Philadelphia fans for 15 great years! On to the next chapter.” It’s rumored that the station’s Josh Innes will assume Gargano’s role in afternoons where Gargano had been co-hosting with Rob Ellis. There are also rumors that Gargano may pop up at Greater Media’s crosstown competitor WPEN-FM “The Fanatic.”
Round Two of December PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was November 6 through December 3. 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.
Odds & Sods. According to Jose Lambiet’s Gossip Extra, the Rick Sessa-hosted “American Biker Talk Radio” show is moving from its current station – WSVU, West Palm Beach – to rock-formatted WBGF, Belle Glade, Florida “93.5 The Bar” beginning in January.
Inconceivable Guest Appearance! Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk star Michael Medved (right) poses for a photo outside the studio after interviewing actor Carey Elwes (left) – star of the classic film, The Princess Bride. Elwes stopped by the show’s Seattle studios to chat with Medved – a noted film critic as well as talk personality – about his new book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (Touchstone 2014).
Staff Recognizes End of MarketWatch Radio Network. The air staff of the MarketWatch Radio Network held a farewell party last week to celebrate one last time together. Dow Jones’ exit from the AM/FM radio business at the end of the year spells the end for the business news network founded by Frank Barnako in 1999. Barnako made a special appearance at the party joining staffers (from left to right, also noting stations they served) back row: Tracy Johnke (WBZ-AM, Boston), Andrew O’Day (WINS, New York and WBZ-AM), Alisa Parenti (WBZ-AM and WBBM-AM, Chicago), Joan Doniger (WBBM-AM), Steve Potisk (KNX, Los Angeles and KYW, Philadelphia), Adrienne Mitchell (WBBM-AM, KRLD-AM, Dallas and KCBS-AM, San Francisco), Ann Cates (WCCO, Minneapolis, WBBM-AM, KCBS-AM). Front row: Barnako and WSJ Radio executive editor John Wordock.
BFoA Creates Bill Burton Memorial Fund. The recent passing of beloved radio pro Bill Burton is recognized by The Broadcasters Foundation of America as it establishes the Bill Burton Memorial Fund. Burton, known for his trademark words of encouragement, “Be Fabulous,” died last weekend from head injuries suffered after a fall at his home. He was 85. Former BFoA executive and long-time friend and colleague Carl Butrum states, “Bill’s influence inspired countless individuals in the radio business. Radio owes Bill our gratitude for his wisdom and for imparting to us his boundless positive attitude, which infected everyone who came into contact with him. We mourn his loss, but remember the great man with The Bill Burton Memorial Fund.” Donations to the Bill Burton Memorial Fund are being accepted at the Broadcasters Foundation website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or by calling 212-373-8250, or emailing email@example.com.
Sony to Release ‘The Interview,’ New York Police Killings Protests/Obama Racism Remarks, Potential 2016 Presidential Candidates, Joe Cocker Dies, Christmas Holiday, ISIS Violence, and NFL Playoffs Push/Possible Coaching Changes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/23). The decision by Sony to go ahead and release the movie “The Interview” on Christmas day after all; ongoing police killings protests in New York City and the slaying of two NYC cops over the weekend, plus President Obama’s comments on racism in America; chatter about the potential candidates for president in 2016; the death of rock icon Joe Cocker; the coming Christmas holiday; ISIS violence in Iraq; and the NFL playoff scenario and talk of potential coaching changes after the season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The Valuable Lessons for Talk Radio Taught by the Podcast Series “Serial.” One of the spoken-word audio entertainment stories of 2014 is the phenomenal success of the podcast series “Serial.” It is a 12-part episodic experiment in audio storytelling by Sarah Koenig that has garnered an enormous listenership of millions and a remarkable amount of media attention. Basically it is a colorfully delivered “whodunit” murder mystery. According to noted talk radio consultant, talent coach and TALKERS contributor Bill McMahon, “I first learned about ‘Serial’ the podcast from my Twitter feed. It was a day I was thinking a lot about the future of radio and audio entertainment. I was feeling pretty pessimistic. It took hearing one episode of ‘Serial’ to completely change my mood. It rekindled my love of audio entertainment and my belief in its power and appeal. It took me back to the experiences that made me fall in love with radio and audio entertainment. I remembered listening to my first Seattle Rainiers baseball broadcast. I’d never been to a game or met any of the players, but Leo Lassen’s enthusiasm, excitement, and colorful descriptions allowed me to visualize them in my mind. It felt like I was right there in the stadium. I remembered Lan Roberts, the morning personality on KJR, and his fascination with and belief in UFOs. His vivid descriptions and recorded sounds of his midnight experience waiting for a UFO and its passengers that he expected to land in a field east of Seattle were unforgettable. My imagination allowed me to see what he saw and feel his anticipation and then disappointment when it didn’t happen. It was magic. I felt that same sense of magic listening to ‘Serial.’ It’s no accident ‘Serial’ has attracted so much media attention and millions of listeners for each of its 12 episodes in just three months’ time. For creators of audio information and entertainment content, especially journalists, news reporters and storytellers of all kinds, there is so much that can be learned from the success of season one of ‘Serial.’” In an exclusive opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (12/23) McMahon offers his educated take in the practical wisdom revealed by the producers of “This American Life” and Sarah Koenig’s experiment in audio storytelling. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
Michael Harrison: Spreading the Digital Junkyard. In an opinion piece published at TALKERS today (12/23), publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) asks pointed questions of media industry practitioners about their perception of the state of digital media. He writes, “Have you noticed lately that some of your favorite websites have become increasingly user-unfriendly? Odds are your usual haunts in the newspaper, magazine, general entertainment and information arenas have become cluttered with terribly annoying pop-up ads, videos that start playing loudly without invitation (sometimes more than one at a time) – and maddeningly confusing hodge-podges of editorial and commercial content laid out in such a manner as to make it almost impossible to follow an article without being sidetracked into a unwanted advertisement…Clearly, an unholy alliance of the techno-geeks and sales-freaks have taken control of the major league media website show. The true internet content programmers and strategists have lost their hold on the situation. They have stopped programming with the sensibilities of the user in mind. Sound familiar?” Harrison is quick to declare he’s not a Luddite; in fact, he’s been a champion of the internet since it became public! BUT, that doesn’t mean digital is without its serious flaws and certainly doesn’t mean there’s no remaining value in AM/FM radio. Read Harrison’s entire piece here.
Round One of December PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was November 6 through December 3. 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.
ABC News Surpasses Affiliate Goal. In a memo to staffers, ABC News president James Goldston announces the news organization – preparing to re-launch its radio news division separate from recent partner Westwood One – has surpassed its goal for signing new affiliates. Goldston writes, “So far, we’ve signed well over 1,000 stations to affiliation agreements for ABC News, ABC Digital and ABC Air Power – with 200 brand-new affiliates and many stations signing up for more than one ABC service. Not only have we retained many key affiliates, but we have added several of the most iconic, most-respected and most-listened to stations in America, including WTOP, Washington; WGN, Chicago and KFI, Los Angeles.” The new service launches on January 1.
Odds & Sods. Programmer Sue Wilson is promoted to vice president/director of operations at Rubber City Radio in Akron which means she adds supervision of news/talk WAKR to her duties…..SiriusXM begins presenting an audiocast of “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.” The news program is now airing nightly at 7:00 pm ET on the satcaster’s TODAY Show Radio channel.
Jim Bohannon Promotes VetsRoll in Wisconsin. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon (second from left) is pictured here on remote with affiliate station WCLO, Janesville, Wisconsin “Newsradio 1230.” Bohannon appeared on air with station OM and talk personality Tim Bremel (left) and World War II veterans Stan Van Hoose (second from right) and Mitch Bliss (right) to promote VetsRoll. The organization provides safe ground transportation and an enjoyable experience for World War II and Korean Conflict-era U.S. military veterans and “Rosie-the-Riveters” to visit war memorials and other related sights in and around Washington, DC.
Spreading the News! Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured here prior to her recent pap smear) tells TALKERS magazine she’s gearing up to take part in a public service campaign for cervical cancer. January is cervical cancer screening month and Dr. Daliah says the “Start Spreading the News Campaign” to advise women to get cervical cancer screenings can help to put a dent in the 12,000 cases and 4,000 deaths that happen each year in the U.S.
NYPD Cops Killed/Protests Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, North Korea Internet Fail/Sony Pictures Hack, Positive U.S. GDP News, Christmas Holiday, and NFL Playoffs Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/22). The murder of two NYC police officers over the weekend and the ongoing police killings protests in New York; the possible candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing violence being perpetuated by ISIS; the loss of internet in North Korea and that nation’s possible connection to the hacking of Sony Pictures; the report of the U.S. gross domestic product rising 5% in the third quarter; the Christmas holiday; and the NFL playoffs push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Legal Analysis: The FCC Properly Rules In Favor of Redskins. The Federal Communications Commission’s decision last week to grant license renewal to radio station WWXX-FM, Buckland, Virginia, despite objections filed with the commission centering around the team’s Redskins name, was greeted with approval from TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman. In a column posted today (12/22), Weisman writes that – whether one agrees that the team name is offensive or not – the FCC’s decision was the correct one. “The objection to the renewal tried to twist legal terms totally beyond their meaning. The objectors argued that the term ‘Redskins’ was obscene. Obscenity is not permitted on the public airwaves and continuing use of obscenity on a radio station would legitimately be a ground for denying a renewal of license. Obscenity may be in the eye of the beholder to some people, but not in the eyes of the established law, and the FCC rules and regulations which limit obscenity to the depiction or description of sexual conduct.” Read Weisman’s entire explanation of the decision here.
Alpha Media Enters Shreveport and Tyler-Longview with Access 1 Acquisition. The nine radio stations owned by Access 1 Communications in the Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas markets are being purchased by Alpha Media for an undisclosed sum. The stations – which Alpha will begin to operate under an LMA effective January 1, are: hip hop KBTT, gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview. Alpha notes that when all pending deals are complete, it will own and operate 83 stations. Alpha chairman Larry Wilson states, “I’ve known [Access 1 president and CEO] Chesley Maddox-Dorsey for a long time. She’s a great person with superb integrity and it’s a tremendous honor for us to be buying stations from Access 1. I’ve been continually impressed with the quality of people I’ve met and their passion for the industry; it fits right in our sweet spot for live and local radio and we are very much looking forward to the acquisition.”
Odds & Sods. The digital broadcast of “The Anthony Cumia Show” is being repped by AdLarge Media. Cumia – longtime partner of SiriusXM’s Gregg “Opie” Hughes – left the satcaster in August and recently debuted his digital video show…..WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo agrees to a new contract with iHeartMedia. He’s also heard on other iHeartMedia stations…..Oldies WVLZ-AM, Nashville will flip to sports talk on January 5 using programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio.
Remembering Bill Burton. Holiday festivities were dampened over the weekend by the news that the industry lost a genuine cheerleader. Particularly to those in Michigan radio sales circles, the name Bill Burton is legendary, as was his insistence that salespeople always “be fabulous.” Cause of death for the 85-year-old Burton was head injuries resulting from a fall at his home this past Tuesday (12/16); he passed away on Saturday (12/20). As president and chief operating officer of the Detroit Radio Advertising Group, Burton’s primary responsibility was to sell radio at the decision-making level. In fact, he preferred to be called a “radio cheerleader,” “professional product mover,” or “people builder,” rather than the aforementioned impressive title he held the past quarter of a century. “Why Radio” was the underlying theme to the countless presentations the Detroit native would make around the country. Credited with originating the line, “An automobile is a radio with four wheels,” Burton would stress 91% of drivers listen in their cars, making them a “captive audience” for advertisers. Radio is the “frequency medium,” he would insist and “frequency is paramount in selling.” Burton started his radio career as an AE at Eastman Radio, where he would eventually become president and chairman. A 2002 Michigan Broadcast Hall of Fame inductee, Burton entered the Adcraft Hall of Fame in 2005. He held a degree in business and economics from Michigan State University (MSU 10 years ago presented him the Lifetime Achievement Award from its Broad College of Business), and Burton attended law school at the University of Michigan, before joining the Army. Among Burton’s many non-industry accomplishments was successfully completing the Boston Marathon.
Nashville Broadcaster Teddy Bart Dies at 78. Nashville radio and TV legend Teddy Bart died on December 21 at age 78. According to his obit in The Tennessean, Bart’s shows were known for defining “the discussion of Nashville’s political and business heavyweights.” In addition to work on local television stations, Bart was part of the long-running “Waking Crew” on WSM-AM. He also hosted “Teddy Bart’s Round Table” with co-host Karlen Evins several stations in the market.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is currently looking for a passionate and innovative individual to join our team in the role of Web Developer. This is a big year for Greater Media technology where you can be part of rolling out all-new, state-of-the-art brand experiences for some of the best radio stations in Charlotte: News/Talk 1110 WBT, 107.9 The Link, and The Bob & Sheri Network. You must have a solid grasp of and demonstrated experience with modern web technologies and standards such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery. You must also be a proficient developer in PHP and MySQL. Experience with WordPress and WordPress plugin development along with a minimum of 2 years’ experience is required. The daily activities of this position include: Designing and developing new digital experiences, features and functionality for our programming and promotions departments across our radio stations’ web and mobile app properties; Collaborating with our sales department to create and traffic engaging advertising opportunities for our clients; Talking to people. Seriously, you’ll interact in some form or fashion with just about everyone in the company so you’ll need to have “people skills.” So, if you’ve got a great eye for digital design and terms like responsive design, Node.js, git, Bootstrap and API integration get you excited, please reach out to us! Please send your cover letter and resume to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. firstname.lastname@example.org 704-338-3079 (fax) No phone calls please. EOE.
Snyder Scores FCC Victory. Ruling that the name of the NFL‘s Washington, DC franchise does not fall under its definition of profanity and it is not equivalent to obscenity, the FCC on Thursday (12/18) refused to order radio and television stations to cease using the team’s Redskins moniker. George Washington University Law School professor of public interest law John Banzhaf is behind the challenge and he comments, “Virtually everyone seems to assume that no radio or television station which repeatedly and unnecessarily used racial slurs on the air would be allowed to continue broadcasting, much less have its valuable broadcasting license renewed. All we seek is that Native Americans be given the same protection as African Americans, Asians, and other racial and ethnic groups.” An appeal of Thursday’s decision within the agency and subsequently to the U.S. Court of Appeals is likely. Dan Snyder – who owns the Washington team as well as Red Zebra flagship WTEM – insists he will not change the franchise’s nickname.
Cumulus Media Expands Relationship with Dr. Drew. As part of a new, expanded relationship with Dr. Drew Pinsky and radio co-host Mike Catherwood, the “Dr. Drew Midday Live with Mike Catherwood” show will air on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles beginning in early January. At the same time, the company’s Westwood One syndication division also will begin syndicating “Loveline” starting January 1. “Loveline” will now be airing on a total of 35 Cumulus-owned stations. According to Cumulus, the new KABC midday show will “offer LA listeners unique access to Dr. Drew’s comprehensive advice on a broad range of topics. Listeners will be encouraged to call in Monday through Friday and enter the discussion with one of the country’s most trusted physicians and media personalities.” Westwood One currently handles ad sales for “Loveline” and beginning January 1 will also be responsible for syndicating the nightly show to local radio stations nationwide. “Loveline” will continue to be available digitally via PodcastOne. Drew Pinsky comments, “I’m really looking forward to becoming part of the Cumulus family and proud to be on the air at the legendary KABC in Los Angeles. It will be a great platform to connect with listeners during the daytime. And while ‘Loveline’ continues to be anchored at KROQ, I am thrilled that the show is expanding into new markets at night. This is a tremendous opportunity and I am grateful.”
Business Rockstars Welcomes Andy Schuon as Investor, New Board Member. The multi-platform network Business Rockstars LLC announces media heavyweight Andy Schuon has made an equity investment in the company and has joined the board of directors. Schuon rejoins longtime collaborator Steve Lehman, chairman of the Business Rockstars, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, who hosts “Business Rockstars,” the company’s flagship daily radio and television program. The company says Schuon brings decades of experience to Business Rockstars. He is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs. Schuon previously programmed KROQ, Los Angeles and served as EVP, programming and production at MTV, MTV2 and VH1. He also was CEO of pioneering Sony/Universal online music subscription service Pressplay (now Napster). He worked with the world’s top artists as executive vice president/general manager of Warner Bros. Records, was the head of digital and president, Artist Services at Live Nation/Ticketmaster, president of Infinity Broadcasting and has served on the boards of Premiere Networks, Hot Topic Stores, iLike.com, and Coinstar/Redbox’s new ventures. Lehman says, “Andy and I have a long history of success together, so his joining our board is a homecoming of sorts. With Andy on our board of directors, our already rapidly growing entrepreneurial media, mobile and social platform will be kicked into overdrive. Andy is a world class visionary when it comes to building networks, so we look forward to his contributions as we amplify the culture around entrepreneurial content and programming.”
Odds & Sods. Sports talker KXTG-AM, Portland “750 The Game” is now being heard on the FM dial on translator K274AR at 102.9. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “Adding the FM frequency to our sports station will not only help increase revenue and ratings but will play a key role in opening up new live and local opportunities.”…..Play-by-play for Houston Astros games will continue to air on iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston for the next four years as the two sides agree on a contract renewal. KBME is also the flagship for the NBA’s Houston Rockets…..ESPN Radio continues its coverage of college football with a 30-game postseason bowl schedule that will include all matchups from the inaugural College Football Playoff and the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented to take place on January 12. Veteran play-by-play voice Mike Tirico will call the final alongside analyst Todd Blackledge, with reporters Holly Rowe and Joe Schad…..SiriusXM is also on board for college football as the satcaster will offer broadcasts of 35 bowl games including all three games of the College Football Playoff.
Pavlina Returns ‘Most Interviews’ Crown to U.S. Teen talk host Pavlina Osta (pictured here with Sean Hannity at Talkers New York 2014) has returned the “most interviews” world record to the United States interviewing 347 people in 24 hours to claim the Guinness World Records title. The record was set at the Walmart in Port Orange, Florida. Each interview consisted of a minimum of five questions and every question was unique. The entire 24-hour period (on 11/22-23) was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365. For each interview conducted, Pavlina donated one can of pet food to Sophie’s Circle. The previous record holder, Claudio Siepi of Italy had 256 interviews and had held the record since 2012.
Walking the Walk. Media consultant Walter Sabo posted a timely sentiment on his Facebook page for holiday season shoppers. Sabo’s message shows a picture of a portable Sony radio and the caption reads: “To those of you who love radio and talk about radio all the time I hope you are in fact giving something like this to every single person you know.”
Alan Stock Emcees Menorah Lighting. KDWN, Las Vegas morning personality Alan Stock is pictured here in downtown Summerlin, Nevada at the community’s Menorah lighting ceremony on December 16. Stock says almost 300 people turned out for the ceremony braving chilly temperatures.
North Korea-Sony Pictures Hack Case Tops Talkers TenTM This Week. The hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system – possibly by North Korean operatives – and the threats against the release of the new film The Interview, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 15-19. Coming in at #2 was the renewed Cuba relations issue. At #3 was the Taliban school massacre in Pakistan tied with ISIS violence followed by the Sydney café siege 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.