Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

| May 27, 2015

recode logoFormer Dial Global/WW1 Execs Launch Program Sales and Distribution Firm. Former Dial Global and Westwood One executives Spencer Brown and David Landau announce they are partnering with Michael Rolnick to form the firm DGital Media.  They describe it as “an audio engagement company that partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.”  The company’s first venture will be the creation of the Re/code Radio network in partnership with Revere Digital LLC.  Re/code is a tech news web destination founded by journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.  The first program to be rolled out will be “Re/code Decode” with host Kara Swisher, expected to go live in June.  Revere Digital COO Lorenzano Kennett comments, “With the proliferation of mobile devices and the popularity of podcasts, we want to make sure our content is available to our audiences wherever they are – in the car, in the office, etc.  By partnering with DGital Media, Re/code will be able to leverage our authoritative content and brand with outstanding audio programming, distribution and monetization.”  DGital Media co-founder David Landau adds, “Partnering with Re/code as a brand accomplishes exactly what we set out to do – which is to amplify media brands through audio.  The Re/code Radio network will bring the same excellence in reporting and analysis to readers through the spoken word.”  Also joining the company as chief content officer is Chris Corcoran, former EVP for content at Dial Global/Westwood One, and as executive vice president for sales and strategy, Grace Carrick, formerly vice president of sales at Dial Global/Westwood One.

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 to Mark 25th Anniversary of TALKERS Magazine.  The forthcoming 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2015 – will also serve as the publication’s 25th “birthday party.”  TALKERS was launched by publisher Michael Harrison in June of 1990 with the first issue of TALKERS: The Information-Radio Newspaper hitting the streets on July 23rd of that year.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is an important milestone, not only for us, but for the talk radio and media industries as well.  That little trade publication provocatively named ‘Talkers’– that dared to refer to the relative handful of spoken-word stations that existed at the time as an ‘industry’ — has chronicled, championed and inspired one of the most colorful and historically significant chapters of American broadcasting ever gathered and archived in one continuous collection.  This year’s conference will serve as a milestone honoring that achievement and rich body of work.”  Casey adds, “Not only will Talkers New York 2015 have features that make note of this history but we will be publishing a number of retrospectives looking back at the past quarter-century in the days and weeks surrounding the conference and leading up to the official anniversary date in July.”  Talkers New York 2015 is sold out but a few choice sponsorship opportunities remain available.  For information, please call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.

alphamedia logoAlpha Media to Pay $38,250,000 for Morris and JMJ Stations.  From a filing with the FCC, we learn the price for the 36 stations that Morris Communications and JMJ operate in Topeka and Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs and Victor Valley, California; Anchorage and Wasilla, Alaska; Grays Harbor-Hoquiam, Washington and Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington: $38,250,000.  This is not an all-cash deal.  Morris will receive $20 million worth of Alpha Holdings private stock (8,196,722 units in the aggregate), $6,585 worth of Alpha Holdings II private stock, and $18,250,000 in cash.

delaneykateKate Delaney Joins NBC Sports Radio for Weekend Shows.  Sports and news/talk radio pro Kate Delaney is adding weekend talk duties at NBC Sports Radio to her plate as she takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Saturday and Sunday shows from Anita Marks, who left the network to join WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM.”  During the week, Delaney is host of the GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” late night news/talk show.  NBC says Delaney’s show will feature “players, coaches, experts and analysts…from the locker room to the playing fields and beyond.”  Delaney’s sports pedigree includes being the first woman to host a solo sports radio talk show on WFAN, New York City and KRLD, Dallas.  She’s covered 15 Super Bowls, 10 U.S. Opens, and 15 Final Fours.  She has also been to the Kentucky Derby 10 times along with the other two Triple Crown races, the Preakness and the Belmont.  NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver comments, “It’s a major coup for us to have Kate with us on the weekends.  She connects really well with sports fans.  She’s smart, funny, and she knows her way around the world of sports.  Kate brings great energy, insight, and opinion to our weekend lineup.”

Odds & Sods. Joining the lineup of weekend talk shows at Talk Media Network is the “Into Tomorrow withgravelinelogo Dave Graveline” program.  In welcoming the almost-20-year-old program to the company’s roster, Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “The ‘Into Tomorrow’ team travels the globe to deliver the most comprehensive technology discussion available on radio, each and every week.  Talk Media mcpheemicheleNetwork is proud to offer radio stations this valuable program via satellite, for easy automation and scheduling.”…..Journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee – formerly with Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – is the new afternoon drive personality at WMEX, Boston, the daypart held briefly by Howie Carr before WRKO again became his syndicated program’s Boston affiliate.

2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Is FOX News Bad for GOP?’ Flap, Hillary’s Role in Benghazi, Clintons Finances Scrutiny, ISIS Successes in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty Order Loses Round in Court, Obama Accuses Russia of Aggression, FIFA Scandal, Deadly Texas and OK Floods, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26).  The activities of the potential candidates for president in 2016; reaction to historian Bruce Bartlett’s contention that FOX News is “self-brainwashing” conservative voters; more debate over Hillary Clinton’s role in the deadly Benghazi attack; ongoing scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial dealings and income reporting; the success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and questions about America’s Iraq policy; President Obama’s amnesty order loses round at the Appeals Court level; Obama accuses Russia of military aggression; a report of widespread corruption at FIFA – soccer’s governing body; the deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; and the NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

| May 26, 2015

eastlanratings logoDick Broadcasting Signs with Eastlan Ratings for Triad Market Stations.  Certainly this is big news for the Bellevue, Washington-based ratings firm as Dick Broadcasting is the first broadcaster to sign on with Eastlan in a market served by Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys.  This story doesn’t involve a spoken-word radio station as Dick operates only classic rock WKRR “Rock 92” and CHR WKZL in the Triad market, but it’s one broadcasters of all stripes find interesting.  According to a press release issued by Eastlan, under the terms of a new multi-year agreement, the company will field its initial audience measurement study in the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem market this summer.  Dick Broadcasting VP/GM Dick Harlow comments, “I was surprised to learn that we are the first to make this switch in a PPM market.  The meter was supposed to be the savior and all it’s done is increase our annual payments to Nielsen.  And now we find out to win in the PPM game you need a magic black box to job the system.  At some point, enough is enough.  We look forward to working with Eastlan Ratings to see who people in the Triad choose to listen to rather than who they are exposed to.  Plus the sample size will be about triple the number of meters now in the market.”  Eastlan president and CEO Mike Gould adds, “After more than 16 years of providing radio ratings in markets coast-to-coast, we’re finding broadcasters and media buyers who don’t know the Eastlan story are few and far between.  Our methodological hybrid of telephone recall (landline and cellular) and e-surveys isn’t sexy but it’s fair and it’s reliable.  We are thankful that Dick and his colleagues trust Eastlan as their preferred ratings vendor.  We are going to help save them a lot of money by getting their ratings investment back in line with the realities of today’s radio revenue stream.”

kollinsdonKollins to Program KGMZ, San Francisco.  San Francisco sports talker KGMZ “95.7 The Game” has a new PD two-and-a-half months after Jason Barrett exited the position for family reasons.  Entercom announces Don Kollins assumes the post on June 12.  Company market vice president Steve DiNardo says, “After an exhaustive search, the best choice was located north of us – way north – in Canada!  We’rekgmzlogo excited to have Don join the San Francisco programming team.  He comes to us with an established record of success – specifically in sports and news/talk formats.  His experience in managing both play-by-play relationships with professional sports teams as well as personalities makes him the ideal choice for this position.  Under Don’s leadership, I’m confident that we will continue to build on the successes that Jason Barrett achieved during his four-year tenure as PD.”  Kollins comes to Entercom from Rogers-owned CJCL, Toronto “SportsNet 590 The Fan.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison and Richard Neer Reminisce About Their First Two and a Half Years in Radio.  There’s a whole lot of ancient radio and pop cultural history discussed in this week’s installment of the hit international podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” as the TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher is joined by his close friend and colleague of 48 years – Richard Neer – in an intimate conversation about how they met in 1967 at their first job at the same radio station, WLIR-FM, Long Island.  They were teenage broadcasters struggling to survive in their first toe-hold as pros (while still attending college) at a small beautiful/classical music-formatted FM station in Garden City where they served as staff announcers/news readers and engineers thatneerrichard fumbled their way through the challenging process of learning to run the board and announce records that were targeted to a far older audience while trying to avoid the wrath of a demanding owner.  By 1970, they had learned their craft under fire and actually became quite good at it, earning the respect of WLIR’s owner, John Rieger, who appointed Harrison program director and Neer music director of a new progressive rock format for the station that the duo suggested.  As it turned out, the station’s new format was an instant smash, WLIR-FM went from obscurity to national prominence, and Harrison and Neer were catapulted, within 10 months of the new format’s debut, to highly coveted, on-air positions at the legendary WNEW-FM, New York.  Both went on to colorful 48-year careers in music, talk and sports radio as well as trade publishing.  Neer subsequently wrote FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) which still stands as a widely quoted reference work about the golden era of album rock broadcasting.  To hear the podcast in its entirety and enjoy descriptive insights into what it was like to be a couple of kids in small-time radio back in the late-1960s, please click here or the player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

ksfologoKSFO, San Francisco Raises $135,000 for Fisher House Foundation. During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Cumulus Media-owned news/talker KSFO, San Francisco’s morning show with Brian Sussman, Katie Green and Sheri Yee helped raise $136,000 for the Fisher House Foundation.  The “KSFO Morning Show” broadcast live from the Palo Alto Fisher House Friday morning from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and featured interviews with soldiers and their families who have used Fisherfisherhouselogo House’s services.  Listeners donated online and by phone during the live broadcast and throughout the Memorial Day weekend.  KSFO supported the fundraiser through on-air recorded and live promotional announcements, listings on KSFO.com and a message from Brian Sussman on the KSFO newsletter.  This is the fifth consecutive year for KSFO’s Memorial Day weekend fundraising effort.  KSFO has raised more than $600,000 for Fisher House Foundation over the past five years.  Sussman comments, “Once again the KSFO audience has revealed its profound patriotism!  This kind of generous giving is representative of the American spirit.”

redstatetalkradioConservative Talk Digital Platforms Merge.  Effective June 1, the two conservative talk digital platforms Red State Talk Radio and WDFP Digital will become one network.  Red State Talk Radio program director Premo Mondone says, “Our goal is simple.  We will utilize the growing technology of digital broadcasting to produce the very best in grassroots, common sense, conservative programming.  This merger will allow Red State Talk Radio to move to the next level.  Put simply, I think that in time, we can establish ourselves as the dominant conservative Internet talk radio station in America.”  Joining the newly merged company will be WDFP’s Donna Fiducia (formerly of the Fox News Channel) and Don Neuen, co-host of “Cowboy Logic Radio.”  The result of the merger will be new programs joining the Red State network and the platform will broadcast two digital streams (Studio A & Studio B), which will allow the station more capacity and flexibility.  It also plans to bring new contributors on board.

westwoodoneLacrosse15WW1 Wraps NCAA Lacrosse Title Game Coverage.  The championship game for college lacrosse was played over the weekend at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia with the Denver University Pioneers beating Maryland to claim the school’s first title.  Pictured here is Westwood One announcer Jason Horowitz (left) interviewing winning coach Bill Tierney (right).

ISIS Progress in Iraq and Syria, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, B.B. King Murder Allegations, Texas-Oklahoma Floods, Memorial Day Weekend, NBA-NHL Playoffs, and Anne Meara Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25).   The military progress of ISIS taking territory in both Iraq and Syria; the ongoing talk about Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the allegation by B.B. King’s family that he was poisoned by two associates; the severe floods affecting parts of Texas and Oklahoma; the Memorial Day holiday; the weekend’s NBA and NHL playoff action; and the death of comedienne and actress Anne Meara were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 22, 2015

| May 22, 2015

2015 NYC 150State of Radio Audience Measurement Systems to Be Scrutinized at Talkers New York 2015.  One of the highlights of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 that is sparking a tremendous amount of interest is the high-powered panel, “The State of Radio Ratings.”  Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the scheduled speakers (in alphabetical order) include: Phil Boyce, SVP Salem Media;  Erica Farber, president/CEO RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO Amplifi Media; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP audience insights Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO Moceri Media. The session will be introduced by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade and sponsored by Salem Media.   TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Lots of folks are talking about this panel – so much is brewing in the rapidly changing world of radio audience measurement – whether it is Nielsen Audio making moves to unify over-the-air and online listening or the emergence of interesting new inventions such as the Voltair system and the evolution of PPM…this event will be loaded with provocative questions, answers and takeaways.”  The 18th annual installment of longest-running and most important national talk media industry convention takes place on Friday, June 12 at the historic India House in Manhattan’s financial district.  Although sold out, the event still has several sponsorship opportunities still available.  For information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.

hubbardradio logoJeremy Sinon Named Corporate Digital Director for Hubbard Broadcasting.  This is a promotion to the corporate level for Jeremy Sinon who has been serving as the digital director for Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities operations.  He will continue in that role in addition to his new post as corporate digital director.  The company says that in this position Sinon willsinonjeremy work closely with Hubbard EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler and president/COO Drew Horowitz to “oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals.”  Speaking about his new position, Sinon says, “It’s really an honor to be given this opportunity to help lead the digital efforts for a company that I care so much about.  When I started at Hubbard in 2006 I was one of the first digitally focused hires the company ever made.  It amazes me every day when I look around and see how much we’ve grown since.  I’m excited about the future.  We have really big things in store for us.”  Prior to the last nine years with Hubbard Radio, Sinon was a digital director for the iHeartMedia radio group in Minneapolis and worked at the digital agency Omnera.

irs logoHoward Stern Show at Center of IRS-Privacy Issue.  In a case that some might say could only happen on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show, an IRS staffer has allegedly caused some headaches for the agency that could result in a lawsuit.  Here’s the story: an IRS employee was on the phone with a woman who had called with a question about her tax situation.  Unbeknownst to her, the staffer sternhowardwas also on hold waiting to get onto the Howard Stern show as “Jimmy from Long Island.”  At some point, the call between the taxpayer and “Jimmy” was put on the show but the staffer didn’t realize it.  Stern let the call air for a few minutes before trying to alert “Jimmy” that his call was on the program.  After the segment was over, the female taxpayer began receiving texts and emails from people telling her that her personal information was broadcast on the Howard Stern show.  She is now threatening a lawsuit – against the IRS.  Remember, the FCC doesn’t regulate satellite radio in the same way it does AM/FM radio and it appears Stern did nothing wrong.  For its part, the IRS has released a statement that it’s aware of the situation and puts taxpayer privacy very high on its list of priorities and promises it is investigating the matter.

Odds & Sods. The former longtime radio voice of Michigan Wolverines football, Frank Beckman, tells his WJR,beckmanfrank Detroit audience that his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show will continue as he and owner Cumulus Media have agreed to a three-year extension to his current contract…..SiriusXM is broadcasting this weekend’s college lacrosse action.  The satcaster says it will present the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals and National Championship game live from Lincoln Financial Field in Philly on Saturday and Monday…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series that takes in-depth looks at Southern California communities in Downey on June 12.  The daylong live remote broadcast will emanate from popular local meeting place Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.

talkersten logoStephanopoulos Clinton Donations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 18-22.  The issue of ABC TV’s George Stephanopoulos making donations to the Clinton Family Foundation without disclosing it to the network or the public was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with Iraq policy questions.  Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton private emails matter followed by ISIS’ taking of Ramadi and Palmyra 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.

collinschuckWAKR, Akron’s Chuck Collins Dies After Battle with Cancer. The Northeast Ohio radio pro was just 62 years old and had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013.  Chuck Collins was most recently operations manager and a talk host for Rubber City Radio’s WAKR, Akron.  As part of his OM duties he also was in charge of rock WONE-FM and country WQMX.

gottliebdougProvalDavidA Visit from Richie Aprile.  Pictured here are CBS Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb (left) and actor David Proval (right) in the CBS Sports Radio studios.  Proval – well known to “The Sopranos” fans as Richie Aprile – stopped by the show to talk about his work on the HBO series, his experience in “The Shawshank Redemption” and his current role in the play, “Queen For a Day,” at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in New York City running through July 26.

gracies15The 40th Annual Gracie Awards.  Arriving at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday (5/19) was the Alliance for Women in Media Board and AWM Foundation Board.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer at CBS Corporation; Karla Ballard, SVP at Participant Media (and Gracies co-chair); Michelle Duke, vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation; Christine McLaughlin, broadcast lawyer at Sciarrino & Shubert , PLLC; Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships; Kristen Welch, SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Inc. (and AWM Chair); Kay Olin, consultant at Olin & Associates (and past AWM Chair); Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting, (Gracies co-chair and past AWM Chair); Jill Luckett, senior vice president of Program Network Policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Sandy Girard, VP, Brand Management & Development, SiriusXM; and Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

| May 21, 2015

lettermandavid wideEnd of Letterman Show Reveals Late Night Giant’s Impact on News/Talk Personalities.  Late night TV talk legend David Letterman’s retirement from the business after an astonishing run on both NBC and CBS gave talk radio hosts the opportunity to not only address the cultural phenomenon that his program was but to express their admiration for Letterman’s broadcasting skills, creativity and groundbreaking humor and admit to being influenced by him.  Yesterday (5/20), TALKERS magazine published a heartfelt and deeply personal piece by WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall.  If you missed it, read that here.joycebrian  TALKERS editors are hearing from other hosts who’ve been thinking about how Letterman influenced their careers.  WGOW, Chattanooga midday host Brian Joyce says he hosted comics Rob Schneider and Brian Kiley to talk about Letterman’s show and his impact.  “Rob made his network debut on Letterman’s show back in 1987 when he was 23 years old.  Kiley is a stand-up comedian and writer who has appeared on Letterman’s show six times and has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards as Conan O’Brien’s head monologue harrisonmichael5-15writer.  They discussed their feelings about Letterman and his legacy, plus their overall thoughts on the state of late night TV, plus media in general.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Although Johnny Carson remains THE cultural icon of late night television talk/variety shows, and Steve Allen and Jack Parr certainly cast their significant influence upon several generations of late night TV talkers, no singular practitioner of the genre has influenced the modern era of both radio and television talk show hosts as much as David Letterman.  You see his fingerprints all over the style and constructs of so many of today’s radio gabbers covering the spectrum of pop culture, political and even sports talk programs.  David Letterman’s contribution to the basic attitude of talk programming has been nothing short of profound.”

JohnandLeahShow logoThe John and Leah Show to Air on WNIR-FM, Akron.  The Akron heritage FM talk outlet will be the weekend home to the Envision Networks-syndicated “John and Leah Show” featuring John Ziegler and Leah Brandon.  The Media-Com talk station will air the program live on Sunday evenings at 10:00 pm ET.  WNIR-FM station manager Bill Klaus says, “It’s good to have a live weekend program, instead of taped replays of programs earlier in the week.  We love having a male and female host anchoring our Sunday nights.”  Envision Networks says, “Hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon bring you the final word on the week’s events and first thoughts on the week to come.  The hosts provide an informative, compelling and entertaining take on the news of the week as well as their own crazy lives.  The John and Leah Show is always interesting with unpredictable conversations.”

schoenbergertoddTodd Schoenberger Named Afternoon Host at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Effective June 1, retired hedge fund manager and national media personality, Todd Schoenberger begins hosting the afternoon drive program on Resort Broadcasting’s WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “92.7FM The Talk of Delmarva.”  The company says that it “boasts a deep and seasoned lineup of veteran hosts and award-winning shows, from Mike Bradley to Jim Rash to Rush Limbaugh.  The addition of Toddwgmd logo Schoenberger is expected to only further validate WGMD as the finest and most credible news/talk radio station in Delmarva and points west of the Chesapeake Bay.”  Director of broadcast operations, engineering and programming Walt Palmer comments, “Todd’s background as a frequent guest and expert on major national networks, such as FOX News, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg, exemplifies the station to a level unmatched by our competitors.  WGMD continues to be the clear station-of-choice for radio and on-line listeners.”  Schoenberger was most recently founder and managing partner for LandColt Capital LP.  He is also a published freelance writer and has authored numerous articles for The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, CNBC.com and FOXBusiness.com.

nyfest smallNew York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists Announced.  The winners of the 2015 New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs competition will be announced on June 22 as the awards ceremony at the Manhattan Penthouse.  For the 33-year-old competition, The Grand Jury selected 289 finalists from entries submitted from over 30 countries worldwide. Entries were judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium.  All finalists proceed to the medal round to determine Gold, Silver, and Bronze trophies.  From the United States, finalists include programs created by public radio-affiliated companies as well as commercial broadcasters including ESPN and SiriusXM.  The latter is a finalist in four categories and ESPN is a finalist in six categories.

wgnplus logoWGN Plus to Carry ‘Jones and Mike’ Show.  The Chicago-based program “Jones and Mike,” with hosts Brian Jones and Mike Noonan, is being aired on Tribune Media’s “digital content incubator” WGN Plus where it will be available via WGNPlus.com and the WGN Plus app in thejonesbrian chicago Apple and Google Play stores.  WGN Radio vice president of content and programming Todd Manley comments, “WGNplus is a place for us to take risks and get behind innovative talent. Jones and Mike fit noonanmikethat mold perfectly.”  Brian Jones says, “When we set out to create this show we wanted to bring it to the biggest possible audience of 35-to-54-year-old people interested in hearing lifestyle talk.  WGN Plus has a valuable audience and we’re very happy to be associated with a blue-chip brand like WGN!”  The “Jones and Mike” show is a production of Revolutionary Media Group and is heard on local AM signal WCGO, Evanston on weekends.

Odds & Sods.  The news/talk format produced by Forever Broadcasting in the State College, Pennsylvania market leaves WRSC-FM and will move to the company’s WRSC-AM, bumping the sports talk format off the air.  Replacing news/talk on the FM is a classic hits format branded “Happy 103.”…..ESPN Audio is debuting the “Golf” podcast with ESPN.com golf writers Michael Collins and Jason Sobel.  New podcasts will arrive bi-weekly and will be about 30 minutes in length.  The first episode, May 7, featured Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Joshbowermike Scobee…..Talk show pro Michael Bower is back in the fill-in business from his ISDN-compatible home studio after Memorial Day.  Bower tells TALKERS magazine he’s done fill-in work for such notable signals as KNXT, Vegas; KKFN, Denver; KSFO and KGO, San Francisco; KIRO-FM, Seattle; and KTAR-FM, Phoenix.

New York Sports Talkers Donate ‘Fantasy Packages’ to Fairfield University.  The sports radio fantasy packages consist of time at the various studios watching the shows produced plus meet-and-greets with the hosts and key personnel and benefit Fairfield University Sports Performance which aids varsity student athletics.  CBS RADIO’s Mike Francesa, ESPN’s Michael Kay and SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo are each contributing a package to the online auction that runs through May 31.

2016 Presidential Prospects, Rand Paul Filibuster, Declassified Bin Laden Information, ISIS Takes Ramadi and Palmyra, Iran Nuclear Program Talks, David Letterman Wraps CBS Late Show, and ‘Deflategate’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20).  The potential candidates for president in 2016; Kentucky Senator – and presidential candidate – Rand Paul’s filibuster over the renewal of the Patriot Act over the mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records; the release of information gathered at the site of the death of Osama bin Laden; ISIS takes control of the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian city of Palmyra; the Iran nuclear talks take a turn as the ayatollah refuses to agree to inspections and meeting with its scientists; David Letterman broadcasts his last late night talk show; and the ongoing  controversy over the NFL’s “Deflategate” issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

| May 20, 2015

donovanjohnnyJohnny Donovan Retires from WABC, New York.  Capping a WABC, New York career that goes back to 1972, legend Johnny Donovan is retiring from the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station.  He’s been handling daily announcing and production director duties at WABC.  In a press release announcing his retirement, the company notes that Donovan was a music jock during the influential WABC top 40 era.  When the station flipped to talk in 1982, he remained on as staff announcer and productionwabc logo director – a position he held for more than 30 years.  An amateur radio operator in his youth, Donovan became a DJ on WHVW in Hyde Park, New York after helping build the station in 1963.  He went on to work at radio stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York, with a stop at Atlantic City, New Jersey’s WMID.  In 1968, Donovan arrived in New York City as an overnight music host on WOR-FM. Four years later, Donovan brought his talent to the AM band and WABC.  Cumulus SVP content and programming Mike McVay states, “Johnny Donovan was THE sound of 77 WABC.  He joins the ranks of legends like Don Pardo, Ed McMahon and Ernie Anderson.  His production and imaging skills are legendary.  He will be missed at WABC, but more than that, he will be missed in our industry.”  Donovan will continue to be heard as the voice of the Rush Limbaugh show – a position that he’s held since 1988 – and will continue his own voice-over business.

stigallchrisGoodbye, Mr. Letterman.  And Thanks!  Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall says farewell to his professional inspiration in a column published at TALKERS today (5/20).  Tonight will air the final new episode of “Late Night with David Letterman” and the WPHT, Philadelphia talk host shares his personal admiration — perhaps even obsession – with one of the undisputed legends of late night talklettermandavid wide television.  In the piece, Stigall explains his attraction to Letterman as a performer.  “I was a high school kid with big dreams of hosting his own show one day, but never felt like I was attractive or popular enough to make it.  David Letterman taught me there’s something very good, right, and rewarding about being an individual.  The more I watched and read about Letterman, the more fixated I became.  Not just his comedy – which I loved.  It was his ‘damn the torpedoes’ approach to this hallowed thing called television.  It was everyday people from his shows’ staff cast in bits.  It was random souvenir shop and deli owners turning into unintentional comedy stars.”  Read Stigall’s entire piece here.

herskovitzalCreative Promotions Lead to New Sales.  Radio marketing pro Al Herskovitz writes in a column published today that a radio sales pro worth his or her salt should never overlook the value of a creative radio promotion to solidify current clients and attract new ones. He says commonplace ticket giveaways and the like are fine but do little to make a client’s goods or services memorable, and such prizes usually go to station P1s anyway.  How about having your morning host attempt to give a lion a bath?  Sound too dangerous?  Read Herskovitz’s entire column here for the details and his thoughts about using the promotion as a sales tool.

boldgoldfounationBold Gold Foundation Inaugural Event Draws Hundreds.  The inaugural fundraising and awards event for the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation took place over the weekend at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Northeast Pennsylvania and drew hundreds of supporters who gathered to cheer on and support the organization’s efforts to help prepare tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders.  The Foundation celebrated broadcast radio’s legacy, while positioning to help lead the effort to bring new recruits into the news and talk ranks.  Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto laid out the Foundation’s mission, explaining, “Broadcast radio continues to be the modern day town square where the news and issues of our times are related, debated and discussed in communities across America.  The power of this medium, now amplified and synergized with the power of mobile and social media, can be positioned to influence the local and national narratives in more powerful ways than ever before.  Our work will be focused on helping the best and brightest get the education and resources they need to write the next chapters of communication history.”  Honored at the event was Northeast Pennsylvania entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Tambur.  He was presented the 2015 Atlas Award for Citizenship.  Benedetto says Tambur is “an example of someone who builds and creates, sees problems and boldly sets out to fix them.  He shows what is possible to achieve in a free society and is the standard by which all future recipients will be measured.”  Special guest speaker, citizen-journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, provided a riveting audio and video presentation showing his past and ongoing efforts to expose corruption and hypocrisy in government and media.  Benedetto says, “James shows what just one person, armed with the courage to report the truth is able to accomplish.”  The event was emceed by David Madeira, morning show host of Bold Gold’s Scranton-based talk station, WTRW “94.3 The Talker.”

Odds & Sods.  An extension of the affiliation deal just completed between ABC Radio News and Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago includes an expansion of shared editorial resources in the Chicago market.  Simultaneously, WGN’s Ryan Burrow will be a contributor to ABC News Radio and report from Chicago and around the country.  ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones comments, “Ryan Burrow is a talented, award-winning reporter who understands how to tell stories that capture an audience’s interest.  Through ABC News Radio’s expanded partnership with WGN, Ryan will cover stories of interest to our national audience from across the Midwest region and around the country.”…..Washington-based political consultant Raynard Jackson sits in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated radio show “News One Now” airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET…..Joe Ligotti is named morning host at WMEX, Boston, replacing the syndicated “Dr. K Show.”

podcastone logoDee Snider Podcast to Launch on PodcastOne.  Musician and media personality Dee Snider is debuting a new, weekly podcast called, “Snider Comments,” on the PodcastOne Network.  The program promises to “pull back the curtain on the world of rock and expose the raw and untold stories of current and past rock ‘n’ roll superstars.”  PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz states, “This is the latest music insider podcast on the PodcastOne Network.  There are plenty of places for consumers to listen to their favorite music, but very few to get a more personal, behind-the-scenes view from the artists that live in that world every day.  Dee is not only a rock star and an icon, he’s a great personality and a terrific communicator.  I couldn’t be more pleased to have him on our network.”

romejimKXTG-AM15Jim Rome Visits Portland’s KXTG-AM.  Appearing in the Portland market from affiliate KXTG-AM “750 & 102.9 The Game” was CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome.  He hosted his national syndicated sports talk show from Alpha Media’s SKYPE LIVE STUDIO on Friday, May 15.  Guests joining Rome in the studio included Oregon Ducks head football coach Mark Helfrich, Portland Trailblazers president Chris McGowan, and Fox Sports analyst Joey Harrington.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Alpha Portland SVP/GM Milt McConnell, KXTG-AM promotions director Derek House, Rome, and KXTG-AM program director Mike Ragz.

Hillary Clinton Email Controversy, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donation Scandal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Takes Ramadi, California Oil Spill, N. Korea Nuke Threats, Saudi Beheadings Controversy, and ‘Deflategate’ Matter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19).  The ongoing talk of Hillary Clinton’s private emails that are alleged to have been used for State Department business; the scandal involving George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including talk of Democrat Martin O’Malley officially entering the race; the taking of Ramadi, Iraq by ISIS; the coastal California oil spill; North Korea’s saber-rattling and talk of its new nuclear technology; the increase in beheadings in Saudi Arabia; and the latest on the NFL’s “Deflategate” case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.