Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Jack Swanson to Lead KCBS, San Francisco Programming. Legendary spoken-word programmer Jack Swanson is named director of news and programming for KCBS “All News Radio 740AM and 106.9FM.” CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “Jack has a distinguished track record of leading iconic radio stations. He’s a terrific leader with a deep understanding of how a market leading station such as KCBS can be a trusted and active member of its community.” Swanson served for years as vice president of programming at Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. He began his radio career as a news anchor/reporter for WLS, Chicago before becoming the news and program director for KGO, San Francisco. From there he became president and general manager for KING-FM, Seattle. He says, “Being asked to lead one of the best news teams in the country is one of those rare situations that don’t present themselves often. I’m looking forward to contributing to the amazing growth of this legendary station in the years ahead.”
Fruge, Thomas Involved in CBS Radio Programming Changes. Concurrent with CBS Radio Las Vegas vice president of programming Charese Fruge transferring to Houston for similar duties (and to be operations manager there), the company promotes Cat Thomas to succeed Fruge in Las Vegas. Thomas will continue as day-to-day programmer of Las Vegas’ KXTE “X107.5 – Alternative First”; talk KXNT AM & FM; and KXST “CBS Sports Radio 1140.” Senior vice president and CBS Radio Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Charese is a talented programmer and leader. Her longstanding relationships in the music industry, passion for radio, and ability to create special experiences for the listener are an integral part of why she is such a great fit for Houston. We are thrilled to have her join the Houston team, as we continue to grow and build upon our brands under her guidance.” Fruge remarks, “This role is the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to finally be back in the south. I am honored and am looking forward to working with the Houston team to help take these amazing brands to the next level. I have made lifelong friends in Las Vegas and appreciate them always making me look good.” Meanwhile, senior vice president and CBS Radio Las Vegas market manager Jerry McKenna states, “Cat Thomas is a veteran programming executive whose experience in this market is unmatched. He has successfully programmed [CHR] KLUC for the better part of two decades and most recently, has been the driving force behind the success of our spoken-word brands. Our stations are in very capable hands.” According to Thomas, “This is a dream come true. We have the biggest brands in the market. I have loved this group since we put these stations together in 1996. None of this would be possible without the passion of our staff. As [the late Ohio State University football coach] Woody Hayes said, ‘You win with people,’ and we have great people from top to bottom.” A member of the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, Fruge will oversee programming for hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5″; sports outlets KIKK-AM and KILT-AM; country KILT-FM “The Bull”; CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7″; and Spanish contemporary KLOL “Mega 101.” She starts her new assignment – which will include day-to-day PD responsibilities for “Mix” and “Hot” – one week from Monday (5/4). Her resume includes on-air and programming stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, Denver, and New Orleans. In addition to KXTE, KXNT AM & FM, and KXST, Ohio State University alum Thomas will oversee CHR KLUC “Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” and hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.” Eight years after being night personality at KLUC, Thomas was elevated to program director (1996); he became PD of KXNT AM & FM, KXST, and KXTE last year. Similar to Fruge, Thomas’ first day on his new job is one week from Monday (5/4). Elsewhere at CBS Radio Las Vegas, KLUC assistant program director John “J.B. King” Bernard is promoted to program director and “Mix” assistant program director/music director Jonathan “J. Love” Campbell is boosted to PD of that station. Bernard joined KLUC 17 years ago and has been APD since 2001. He previously worked in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento. With CBS Radio Las Vegas the past three years, Campbell formerly programmed in Providence, Oxnard-Ventura (California), and Reno (Nevada).
Talk Talent to Discuss Strategies for Successful Career at Talkers New York 2015 on June 12. A diverse panel of seven talk show hosts will discuss their careers in the talk radio business and their strategies for success in the current business climate. Moderated by WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director (and former successful air talent) Bill Hess, the session will explore the varied careers and employment situations the panelists bring to the table and get insights into their philosophies about the business and what it takes to be an effective host and valuable brand. Taking part on the panel will be (in alphabetical order): KTRH, Houston-based syndicated host Michael Berry; WRKO, Boston-based syndicated host Howie Carr; Mandy Connell, KHOW, Denver/WHAS, Louisville; McGraw Milhaven, KTRS, St. Louis; Todd Schnitt, WOR, New York and Compass Media Networks; David Webb, SiriusXM; and Dan Yorke, WPRO, Providence. TALKERS magazine VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This panel of working talk hosts really brings the different ways in which a personality operates in today’s radio climate together in one room. Michael Berry and Howie Carr enjoy similar syndication situations, Dan Yorke and McGraw Milhaven are locally focused hosts dedicated to one market. Mandy Connell now works in two markets for the same company and brings the perspective of being a female in a male-dominated industry to the table. Todd Schnitt is doing both a major market local morning show and a nationally syndicated afternoon program while David Webb works within the satellite radio business model. Each of these broadcasters will have valuable experiences and stories to share with the attendees.” Talkers New York 2015 is nearing a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information, please click here.
The Howie Carr New England Juggernaut Rolls On. In a remarkable display of just how potent an independent regional talk radio network can be, radio/newspaper/author phenomenon Howie Carr continues to expand the reach of his Howie Carr Radio Network north into New Hampshire and southeast into Connecticut. Bringing the growing lineup to 22 radio stations (including flagship WRKO, Boston) are WASR, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire as well as Connecticut’s WMRD, Middletown and WLIS, Old Saybrook. On penetrating the Nutmeg State, Carr tells TALKERS, “I’ve always had a sizable audience in Connecticut, and I’m happy that my listeners there can now find me even more easily. As a kid, I wanted to go to Wesleyan, and now I’m in Middletown — and Old Saybrook.” Don DeCesare, president/GM of WLIS/WMRD adds, “We’re thrilled to have Howie Carr as part of our onair lineup. Howie has been New England’s voice for years. We’re proud to add that voice now and be his stations in Connecticut.” Regarding this latest expansion of Carr’s network, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is only going to be a matter of months before the flood dam bursts and Howie Carr becomes a major national host eventually heard in all 50 states. He is at the top of his game.” Meet Howie Carr at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. The annual conference is on the verge of a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413 or click here.
Salem Radio Network Welcomes Michael Medved Back. It’s a gradual return to his daily, syndicated talk radio show, but Michael Medved is slowly working his way back after treatment for throat cancer. Medved announced his hiatus from the program back on January 30. Now, SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are SO grateful to have Michael Medved transitioning back into his SRN talk show. Monday he appeared by phone, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday he has been in his Seattle studio, hosting guests like U.S. Senator John McCain for discussion of today’s Obama apology for U.S. raids killing two hostages, plus the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.” Medved has been a nationally syndicated host for the past 18 years.
Jim Gearhart and New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show to Broadcast from Battelship New Jersey. In recognition of Memorial Day, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning host Jim Gearhart and the rest of the morning show will broadcast from the deck of the Battleship New Jersey on May 22. In a letter inviting listeners to attend the broadcast, Gearhart writes, in part, “While the nation celebrates the start of summer this year, I invite you, your family and friends to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and active military during a special live broadcast of the ‘New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show’ aboard America’s most decorated battleship. The morning show team will be on the deck of Battleship New Jersey, located on the waterfront in Camden on Friday, May 22 joined by veterans, honor guards, military agencies and state dignitaries for patriotic music, discussions and storytelling…As a Naval veteran and the father of two enlisted men, it is my privilege to commemorate our military this Memorial Day Weekend, and I encourage all active and retired servicemen and women, as well as civilians, to come enjoy the show and share their appreciation for those who make America the land of the free and home of the brave.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Joy Browne show is added to the program schedule on WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” adds new affiliate stations WCGO, Evanston, Illinois; WMXI-FM, Laurel, Mississippi; KFEQ, Saint Joseph, Missouri; and KELY, Ely, Nevada to its roster…..AdLarge Media reports “The National Marijuana News” program is added to the lineup at: WHIG, Colorado Springs; WPEK-AM, Asheville, North Carolina; and WNOS, New Bern, North Carolina…..Christian radio offering “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister” is two months into syndication and already heard on nearly 100 stations including recent new affiliates: WGEN-FM, Chicago and the MyGen Radio Network; WTRJ-FM, Jacksonville; and WCLN-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 20-24. The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ISIS violence tied with the military action taking place in Yemen. Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with the scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Foundation, followed by the death of two hostages at the hands of American drones 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.
iHeartMedia Previews New Podcast Initiative at First-Ever ‘Soundfront’ in NYC. Yesterday, iHeartMedia presented the “Soundfront” event in New York to preview its new original audio programs. The company says this new content “will allow marketers to collaborate with a host of celebrities and talent through customized and creative storytelling.” Speaking about the company’s need to explore the audio-on-demand marketplace is iHeartMedia CMO/EVP Gayle Troberman, who says, “In the age of visual distraction and shorter attention spans, audio has the ability to break through and get heard better than any other advertising. We are seeing increased engagement in audio programming both on air and via podcast, and original audio forces us to get back to the basics of telling stories simply and honestly, which consumers love. We believe most marketers are massively under-invested in the power of sound and the iHeartMedia Soundfront is our opportunity to challenge the industry to explore the creative potential of sound to tell and sell better.” Saying that it is teaming with “a broad spectrum of A-list producers, musicians, actors, music industry veterans and curators,” the company announces some of the people it is working with, including: “Skybound Rundown” (podcast): From the producers of “The Walking Dead” TV show and gaming franchise focusing on the world of indie gaming; “Heart of the Beat” (podcast): Artist and musician Jared Leto will bring sound and storytelling together in this original audio show that allows artists to reveal the method behind their madness; “Who is Marty Hirsch?” (podcast) is the first-ever audio mockumentary, building off successes like “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Almost Famous” to tell a story of a mythical music icon. iHeartMedia has partnered with Trium Entertainment (the creator and executive producer of “The Biggest Loser”) to produce a number of podcasts including: “The Vent” hosted by Jaime Pressly; “Get Mic’d” – a talent search show for the next great iHeartMedia DJ; and “Science of Success” with Jonah Berger. The iHeartMedia-Trium relationship will also produce videocasts and the hiring away of Big Boy from Emmis in Los Angeles is relevant here as he’ll host “Urban Legends with Big Boy,” a hip hop show. “Z100” New York-based personality Elvis Duran will also host a videocast titled, “The Elvis Sessions” in which he “digs throughout the day-to-day gossip and connects with the true passion that drives artists and celebrities.” Other videocasts will include “On the Fly with Paul Costabile” and “My Journey.” iHeartMedia also used the event to announce an expanded relationship with Snapchat, details of which are expected to come in the future. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was in attendance discussing iHeartMedia’s unique positioning to “use the power of sound to drive social results.” Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes, iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler, Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, and iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman.
Facing “Weak Markets,” Emmis Seeks Covenant Relief from Lenders. In a filing with the SEC, Emmis Communications presents historical performance data and forward-looking statements as it seeks covenant relief for the quarters ended May 31 2015 through February 28 2017. Emmis says it is outperforming its markets but the problem is that the markets are weak – for example, citing New York figures showing Emmis down 6% while the market as a whole was down 7.3% over the nine-month period ended November 30, 2014. It says the battle between its urban KPWR, Los Angeles and iHeartMedia’s new KRRL (which is benefitting from its luring morning talent Big Boy away from KPWR) is causing it to face “new headwinds.” In New York, the company says the market was weak throughout calendar 2014 – down mid- to high-single digits after being up 5% in calendar 2013. It reports national was off by 30% during the 2014 summer months and down 18% for the nine months ended November 30, 2014. Emmis states that it finished fiscal 2015 under its 6.00x covenant at 5.40x but “wants to constructively manage compliance with sufficient cushion.” It goes on to show its efforts to control costs by noting it has “reduced cash operating costs by $7 million as part of its fiscal 2016 budget.” You can see the entire lender presentation here.
Panel of Radio Hunter-Gatherers to Discuss Generating Revenue in Changing Marketplace. One of the power-packed, panel discussions scheduled for Talkers New York 2015, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Changing Paradigm,” will tackle the many challenges and identify opportunities in the sales end of the business today. The lineup features a diverse array of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “major league ‘hunter-gatherers’ covering the spectrum of broadcasting situations today.” Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the lineup presents (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Kathy Carr, VP, sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM/WMCA, New York; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; and Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL/WIYY, Baltimore. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey adds, “This panel will provide a wide variety of valuable takeaways. You have a dynamic, young owner of a medium-sized, up-and-coming group (Vince Benedetto); a seasoned sales and management pro who has masterminded one of the model examples of a powerful and lucrative regional talk network (Kathy Carr); a veteran major market general manager with an impressive sales track record (Jerry Crowley); one of talk radio’s most aggressive impresarios who has built a major sales rep firm and is instrumental in monetizing the careers of numerous syndicated and satellite radio stars (Ron Hartenbaum); an independent, high-profile radio talent who is doing it on his own in cyberspace and showing a profit (Tom Leykis); and a highly accomplished, medium/large market GM who is at the helm of one of the nation’s most historic heritage properties (Cary Pahigian). This is not to be missed.” Talkers New York 2015 is nearing a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information, please click here.
WGN, Chicago Legend Spike O’Dell to Appear on Steve Cochran Show. Former WGN, Chicago personality Spike O’Dell – an inductee in this year’s class of the WGN Radio Walk of Fame – will be a part of the station’s Steve Cochran show tomorrow morning (4/24). Cochran is broadcasting his show from the CMT Studios in Nashville the day after the Chicago Blackhawks play the Predators in game 5 of the first round of the NHL playoffs. O’Dell hosted afternoons on WGN from 1987 to 2000. He took over the morning show after the death of Bob Collins and hosted it until December of 2008.
Hofstra’s WRHU-FM, Signs Deal with New York Cosmos Soccer Franchise. One of the most decorated college radio stations in America, Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, Hempstead, NY has added another major league sports franchise to its programming roster. The Marconi Award-winning outlet has signed a deal with the New York Cosmos soccer franchise. WRHU-FM will be the team’s official radio partner and flagship for the 2015 NASL soccer season. Students will perform all on and off air roles as they do with the station’s other major league partner, the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Odds & Sods. News/talk KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs is being sold by Optima Communications to Pike’s Peak Television for $2.5 million. Pike’s Peak is a subsidiary of News-Press & Gazette Company which owns KRDO-AM. Optima has been airing the KRDO-AM news/talk format on KRDO-FM for the past nine years…..ABC News is available on the Apple Watch. ABC says the app will “give you the world on your wrist. From real-time news updates with personalized notifications to live video and audio, the app keeps wearers in the know without disrupting the moments that matter.” Some of the features include “Stories In A Second” – “glanceable news that keeps you up to date with what’s breaking and showcases the latest hand-selected stories in all coverage areas.” The app will allow users to dig deeper into stories and video with the ability to seamlessly hand off to the user’s iPhone…..ESPN Radio is broadcasting the 2015 NFL Draft next Thursday (4/30) beginning at 7:00 pm ET with host Dari Nowkhah, NFL analyst Louis Riddick and NFL Insider John Clayton. Freddie Coleman will host post-draft coverage alongside NFL Insider Adam Kaplan on Thursday and Friday at 11:30 p.m…..Yahoo Sports Radio will present a five-hour program next Thursday for the first day of the NFL Draft. Featured on the show will be Steve Bunin and Yahoo Sports Radio host Jonathan Peterlin. Insider analysis will come from former Carolina Panthers general manager and Yahoo Sports Radio host Marty Hurney, and former NFL Quarterback and Yahoo Sports contributor Shaun King. The program airs from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..ABC News announces Karen Travers, Mary Bruce and Stephanie Ramos join the news organization as multi-platform reporters covering national and international news for all ABC News platforms with an emphasis on NewsOne, Radio and Digital.
FOX Sports Radio to Broadcast from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight. Prior to the May 2 Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao welterweight fight in Las Vegas, FOX Sports Radio will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The roundtable program will feature JT “The Brick,” Steve Gorman, Tomm Looney and Jeffrey Gorman. Stations wishing to bring some unique expertise to their coverage of this upcoming fight may consider booking Jackie Kallen (pictured here) or Ivan Goldman from Boxing Insider. Kallen has been involved in the sport of boxing for almost 35 years. She started as a boxing journalist, hosted her own talk radio show, then became the publicist for the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit and eventually segued into management. Her success in the male-dominated business inspired the Meg Ryan film Against the Ropes. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author. He has written for Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He’s a Fulbright Scholar and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. To book either, email: email@example.com.
Earth Day/Climate Change, Baltimore ‘Freddie Gray’ Protests, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, Saudi Strikes on Yemen, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, North Korea Nukes Warning, and Gang Member Amnesty Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The observation of Earth Day and the issue of climate change; continuing protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the violence being perpetrated by ISIS; the military strikes on Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; China’s warning about the underestimated nuclear weapons arsenal held by North Korea; and the case of a gang member accused of murder receiving amnesty under President Obama’s executive order were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%. In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”
SSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland. Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland. Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show. Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.
Odds & Sods. WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service. McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton by being entered into the Congressional Record. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor. McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station. McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23). The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.” The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
No Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year. The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC. The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity. In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level. As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.” The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either. “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.” So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014? Here are a few of the numbers: president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.
Raising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Little Rises to President of Phoenix Market for iHeartMedia. Assuming the position left briefly vacant by Scott Hopeck after he was promoted to the same post at the New York City cluster is Linda Little. She moves up from her SVP of sales position with the station group. Prior to that, she was GSM for adult contemporary KESZ and country KNIX. She also served as integrated media business development manager. She comments, “I have had the privilege of building my media career in Phoenix and am very fortunate to have worked for a company that has given me many opportunities to grow while constantly evolving with the industry.” In this position she’ll oversee news/talk KFYI, talk KOY, and sports talk KGME.
Schreiber Promoted at Mercury Radio Arts. Moving up from his head of strategy and special projects position with Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts to president of the company is Jonathan Schreiber. In this new post, Schreiber will oversee Mercury’s divisions including digital, radio and publishing and its continued growth in film, television and “digital content across different genres beyond politics and current events.” The company says Schreiber will continue to serve as an advisor to TheBlaze, the company’s news, information and entertainment network led by CEO Betsy Morgan. Schreiber has an 18-year pedigree in the tech, mobile and entertainment businesses. Beck says, “I personally recruited Jonathan to help take our company to the next level. Since joining Mercury, he has played an integral role in both the strategy and execution at Mercury Radio Arts and my overall business philosophy and approach. He is a trusted advisor and this title reflects the leadership position he has and will continue to assume in this new era for both me and our business.
Industry Mourns Don Quayle. The first president of National Public Radio (NPR) has died: Don Quayle was 84 years old. NPR’s Susan Stamberg recalls that Quayle gave her her first radio job. “It was the early-1960s and he was head of the Educational Radio Network – the precursor of NPR – a little network of 12 east coast stations that developed a daily drive-time news show. He hired me to help produce it. When this national network arose, he was an obvious choice to run it. Don was principled, decent, and astute. In the euphoric tumult of our first years, he navigated the choppy seas of building a public radio system. He knew NPR had to serve our listeners, above the competing needs of stations, boards, and funders.” The program to which Stamberg alludes, of course, is “All Things Considered,” which Quayle debuted on NPR in 1971. He headed the network – which now has more than 900 member stations – from 1970 to 1973. Prior to that (1960 – 1962), Quayle managed Boston public outlet WGBH. Five years ago, the Logan, Utah native received an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his “significant contributions” to public broadcasting from his alma mater, Utah State University.
Premiere and TheBlaze to Present Memorial Day Special. The annual Memorial Day radio special produced by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network returns in 2015 with Premiere Networks handling affiliate relations. The three-hour program – titled “Reflections from a Grateful Nation” – features the hosts, writers and editors of TheBlaze and TheBlaze.com, including: Doc Thompson, Skip LaCombe, Buck Sexton, Jay Severin, Chris Salcedo, Mike Broomhead and others. In addition to special appearances by award-winning actor Gary Sinise, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak and members of the military, listeners will hear personal stories and conversations about the meaning of the holiday in this special tribute to those who fought and gave their lives to defend America’s freedom. It’s available to news/talk stations for airing from May 23-25. Interested stations can phone Premiere at 818-377-5300.
Michael Harrison Interviews Boston Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca on Weekly Podcast, ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In a candid and informative interview on the popular weekly podcast “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca discusses his views on a wide variety of media-related topics that include, among others: the state of the newspaper industry in a changing media landscape; the impact of the digital era on journalism; and his experience in being involved with his newspaper’s pioneering effort in online news/talk/sports radio broadcasting – Boston Herald Radio. During the extensive conversation, Sciacca – a 37-year veteran of the newspaper business as a reporter, columnist and editor — tells TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison that the biggest challenge facing journalists in the newspaper business today is “keeping their print product relevant.” He tells Harrison, “I believe this is the greatest time to be leading a news organization in America even though resources are challenging and newspapers are experiencing difficult times in terms of revenue. There really is a great window of opportunity to be creative – to reinvent our business. So when I became editor five years ago after being at the Herald for 32 years, I embraced the challenge because even though I knew the road was going to be difficult to navigate, we have done some incredible things over the last five years and we’ve really transformed what was purely a print organization into a multimedia news organization.” This transformation, of course, includes the launch of Boston Herald Radio – the newspaper’s online talk station that produces 11 hours of original, live content every weekday from a studio located right next to the newspaper’s newsroom. It has proven to be a major source of breaking stories, not only for Boston-area news consumers, but for the media across the country and around the world. Harrison and Sciacca delve into media theory and discuss differences in the psychology between reading stories online as opposed to the printed page. They also analyze the impact of video cameras inside a radio studio and the differences between what Harrison describes as “great radio or bad television.” Sciacca discusses the Boston Herald’s commitment to getting the stories right, rather than just being first – a pressure amplified by the competition generated by the 24 hour non-stop, digital news cycle and he recalls how coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing was particularly challenging because of all the false information that was out there in the general news media’s frenzy to stay on top of the breaking story during its early hours and days. Harrison describes his theories about the emergence of what he calls “stickless” radio broadcasting (meaning radio without the traditional license, transmitter and tower) and the development of the online “media station” in the 21st century. To hear the entirety of this fascinating conversation between two seasoned, front-line media visionaries, please click here, or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” box in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Four More Smartphone Models Can Have FM Chip Activated Via Clip Interactive. According to Clip Interactive, more consumers can exercise the FM chip listening option as it has expanded the phones that can use its technology to include the HTC One M9, HTC Desire 610, Sharp Aquos Crystal and LG G3. Clip Interactive says its application technology connects to this chip, allowing the listener to tune into local stations without having to stream, which depletes data allowances and consumes more battery life. FM chip activation through Clip Interactive mobile apps allows stations to optimize listening options for users. Clip Interactive chief technology officer Peter Shoebridge says, “Activating the FM chip on more devices benefits the listener as they can reduce data usage and enjoy the real-time broadcast. The industry can expect more announcements about additional devices in the coming weeks as we continue our mission to provide interactive radio to the masses.”
Odds & Sods. Appearing in the KFAQ, Tulsa studios this morning is a crew from “Good Morning America” as morning host Pat Campbell interviews attorney Clark Brewster. Reserve Sheriff Deputy Robert Bates hired Brewster to represent him in the case of the fatal shooting of Eric Harris that took place during a drug sting. Bates has been cleared by the FBI of violating Harris’ civil rights but faces a second-degree manslaughter charge for accidently using his pistol instead of a taser on Harris. Pat Campbell tells TALKERS magazine, “Our station has been ground zero for many exclusives on this story, including the only sit-down interview with Sheriff Stanley Glanz. KFAQ news director Tami Marler has been all over this since day one, getting scoops and guests other outlets can’t secure.”…..FOX Sports Radio is presenting “FOX Sports Live 2015 NFL Draftcast” – a multi-platform NFL draft special featuring Jay Glazer, Joel Klatt, Peter Schrager, Mike Garafolo and Don Bell in Chicago. It will air on the network’s more than 400 affiliates nationwide beginning at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 30…..The last Buckley Broadcasting property – KIDD-AM, Monterey, California – has been sold to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson Broadcasters for $50,000. Buckley took KIDD-AM dark a few months ago and recently tore down its aging tower structure.
ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Controversy/U.S. Naval Presence in Yemen, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Police Shootings Controversies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The reports of ISIS executing Christians; the controversy about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the United States’ naval presence in the waters off Yemen; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the cases of police shooting citizens in Baltimore, Tulsa and elsewhere; and the weekend’s Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Anthony Gargano Officially Named WPEN-FM, Philly Morning Host. Last week Philly.com called it the “worst-kept secret in Philadelphia sports talk radio” – and it turns out that was true. As reported almost everywhere, former longtime WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Anthony Gargano is the new lead morning drive talent on Greater Media’s sports talker WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” Gargano – who left CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM recently after failing to come to terms with the company on a contract renewal – will be joined on “Anthony Gargano in the Morning” by co-host Jon Marks, sports update anchor Maureen Williams and producer Jamie Lynch. The station had been airing ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” which can now be heard in the market on Beasley Media Group’s WTEL-AM. Greater Media Philly SVP/market manager John Fullam comments, “We are thrilled to have Anthony join ‘97.5 The Fanatic.’ He is the perfect lead-off man for Philly sports talk every weekday morning. It is great to provide Philly sports fans an all-star lineup for their drive times with Anthony in the morning and Mike Missanelli in the afternoon. We are also proud to continue our long-standing affiliation with ESPN and our outstanding contributors including Sal Paolantonio, Ron Jaworski and Jayson Stark.”
New Kevin McCullough-Hosted Show Debuts on WNYM, New York Tonight. Syndicated talk host and XtreMEDIA principal Kevin McCullough adds another talk program to his busy schedule as he debuts “Late Night with Kevin McCullough” airing on Salem Media Group’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. McCullough says the show will be him “rounding out the talk radio day with an irreverent look at the news, the talk radio industry, and everything else in life,” and says it’s a joint endeavor between his company and Salem New York. McCullough says the show will “in some ways be a throwback to the greatest era of radio where the steaks always sizzled and the beverages are always cold! Newsmakers, icons, and listeners will drive the conversation. ‘The Ladies Lounge’ will feature some of the most important but not-yet-amplified voices of ladies in talk media – plus a ‘house band’ called The Hot Sardines.” The program debuts tonight (4/20).
Salem Rolls Out Metaxas Show. The radio syndication of popular author and TV personality Eric Metaxas by Salem Radio Network was announced back in late February but today the show celebrates its national debut. Although Metaxas is well known in the Christian community, Salem says it believes his program will crossover into the news/talk format as well. The show will launch in 26 of the top 30 markets, mostly on Salem O&Os. Salem SVP Phil Boyce says, “This is the biggest rollout for Salem Radio Network in 10 years. Eric’s show will be different, and a little bit about everything. His personality and sense of humor will shine through.” The show airs live from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.
Scott Hopeck Named President of iHeartMedia New York. This is a move from the market president position at iHeartMedia’s Phoenix station group for Scott Hopeck. Prior to his work in Phoenix, Hopeck was SVP/sales for the company in Atlanta where he was also general manager of the Braves Radio Network. Hopeck will report to EVP of operations Hartley Adkins, who says, “Scott’s unique skills and experience in digital and technology are perfect for the evolution of this market from traditional media to world-class, multiplatform media with a tremendous impact on advertisers. Additionally, his sports and MLB experience are ideal for the important and unique opportunities we have in New York.”
Entercom Sacramento Raises Richard to VP/Market Manager. The vacancy in that position in California’s capital city was created this past week when Sean Shannon was named to replace the retiring Jon Pinch at Cumulus Media Atlanta (RadioInfo, 4/17). Entercom Sacramento immediately promotes vice president of sales Lance Richard to be Shannon’s successor. According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Lance has helped to improve our sales organizations, our coaching ability, and our ability to deliver multi-platform programs that work for advertisers. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to reward that success with a promotion to vice president and market manager in Sacramento.” Richard comments, “We have the best brands in the market, great local talent and content, strong ratings, and an excellent team in-place. I look forward to continuing our momentum and leading Entercom Sacramento’s market leading portfolio of brands.” The Auburn University graduate has been with Entercom since 2009, previously as its corporate vice president of integrated sales. His resume also includes two years as regional sales director for Monster MediaWorks; four years as director of sales for Emmis Chicago; and two years as executive vice president of sales and strategic marketing at IP2M. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7″; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Industry Programmers to Take Part in ‘Programming Talk Radio in 2015’ at Talkers New York Conference. On Friday, June 12 at the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District, the talk media industry will gather for the 20th annual edition of the TALKERS magazine-presented conference. One of the nine panel discussions and presentations will be titled, “Programming Talk Radio in 2015” and will feature panelists: Carl Anderson, EVP, Programming, iHeartMedia; Mike Bendixen, Program Director, Newstalk 1010, Toronto; Valerie Geller, CEO Geller Media International; Scott Masteller, Program Director, WBAL, Baltimore; Mike McVay, SVP, Content & Programming, Cumulus Media; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner and GM, WGDJ, Albany. It will be moderated by TALKERS magazine VP and executive editor Kevin Casey. Issues addressed will include: integrating digital into news/talk programming; dealing with resistance to advertising; the challenge of keeping the format fresh; finding the next generation of talent; allocating resources to the actual program and to social media; seeking alternative ways to monetize the format; balancing the levels of local and syndicated talk content; and more. Casey says, “I’m really looking forward to talking about the state – and the future – of the format with this outstanding panel of industry heavyweights. These questions are on the minds of industry programmers and it will be enlightening to hear what our panelists have to say.” Registrations for Talkers New York 2015 are moving fast. To reserve your place, call 413-565-5413. For more information about the event, click here.
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Media Group’s New York news/talk outlet WNYM “AM 970 the Answer,” the new Eric Metaxas show being syndicated nationally by the company’s Salem Radio Network (see story above) bumps Chicago-based Joe Walsh from the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot on the station. Walsh had been heard there since January of 2014. Walsh remains on WIND, Chicago…..In Boston, market news pro Henry Santoro leaves his gig with streaming station RadioBDC (operated by the Boston Globe and Boston.com) to join pubcaster WGBH as midday anchor. Prior to joining RadioBDC, Santoro had spent almost 30 years with the old alternative outlet WFNX.
Longtime CBS RADIO Engineer Scott Mason Dead. Details are few but a statement from CBS RADIO Los Angeles SVP/market manager Dan Kearny was made public earlier this morning. Kearny writes: “The entire CBS RADIO family is grieving today over the passing of Scott Mason, who has been part of CBS since 1979. With his spirited passion for radio and unwavering dedication to his work, Scott’s accomplishments were numerous, from being an on-air personality at KROQ to hosting diverse programs like the popular “Loveline” and “OpenLine,”a long-running public affairs show, to overseeing the design and construction of CBS RADIO LA’s state-of-the art facilities on the Miracle Mile. Our thoughts today are with his family and all those who knew and worked alongside Scott during his amazing life and career. Due to Scott’s wishes, no funeral services will be held. A memorial will be planned in the weeks to come.”