Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Tribune Names Jimmy de Castro President and GM of WGN, Chicago. The Tribune Company announces it has named former AM/FM president and CEO Jimmy de Castro president and general manager of its sole radio station – WGN, Chicago – beginning June 3. The 60-year-old de Castro has most recently been operating The Content Factory which developed the Dan Patrick sports talk radio show. In the Chicago Tribune, Tribune president of local broadcasting Larry Wert states, “There’s been a lot of change in it over recent years, and a lot of controversy around it, given the personalities that have come and gone. We’re just really looking forward to some smart, go-forward stability. I don’t think we could have picked anyone better than Jim de Castro.” For his part de Castro states, “I wouldn’t take this job unless I thought that I could improve the ratings and improve the revenues and improve the EBITDA. Picking the right lane, marketing it correctly, driving some enthusiasm and some energy in the listening community and in the buying community and in the hallways of 720, are going to have an impact.” Jimmy de Castro founded Evergreen Media in 1988 and merged it with Chancellor Broadcasting in 1997. The company then became AM/FM which was acquired by Clear Channel in a subsequent merger. WGN sales manager Jeff Hill has been serving as general manager since former president and general manager Tom Langmyer exited the station in the fall of 2012.
Sports USA-AdLarge Lawsuit? Nevermind! In a rather unusual turn of events, the suit filed by Sports USA in U.S. District Court Southern District of New York by Sports USA seeking injunctive relief from exclusive sales representative AdLarge reported by TALKERS magazine on May 23 has been “dismissed as a misunderstanding.” In fact, the two companies announce they have extended their relationship. Sports USA president Bob Moore says in a statement, “Any pending lawsuit has been dismissed, and we are really looking forward to this upcoming season with AdLarge. Their connection with national advertisers and their agencies provides the opportunity for continued revenue growth in our football programming.” Meanwhile, AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Schonfeld says, “We are delighted to renew our arrangement with Sports USA. Sports USA has a terrific line-up of 2013 NCAA and NFL games, and we are looking forward to representing their play-by-play coverage for the upcoming football season.
TALKERS Preparing 2013 Frontier Fifty for Publication this Summer. The editorial board of TALKERS announces the long-awaited 2013 installment of the publication’s popular annual feature, “The Frontier Fifty,” will be reappearing after almost a year lay off with a number of new innovations and features. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We have renovated a number of the systems and basic formatting of this feature because it reflects an area of talk media that is undergoing the most rapid change. That is why there had been no new ’Frontier Fifty’ in 2012. The Frontier Fifty was originally designed as a showcase for 50 interesting and outstanding internet talk radio hosts reflective of the diversity of styles and formats available on the internet – from long-form streaming shows to podcasts, from the traditional telephone talk/guest interview fare to the outrageous.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “Since we began this project, internet talk radio has exploded into a gigantic universe of literally thousands of individual performers, shows, networks, and concepts. We needed to step back and do justice to this, or not do it at all. The new incarnation of The Frontier Fifty will be based on a ranked listing of the ’50 Most Important Individuals Making A Difference in the Development and Growth of Internet Talk Radio’ as opposed to just being hosts of programs. It will now include entrepreneurs and internet impresarios as well as individual hosts – people who are making a difference.” Readers can expect to see the 2013 installment of The Frontier Fifty posted mid-to-late summer and are invited to send suggestions and “nominations” for individuals to be considered for inclusion to email@example.com.
KKFN, Denver’s Darren McKee Signs Multi-Year Extension. Afternoon drive co-host Darren McKee – who sits alongside former Denver Broncos star Alfred Williams on “The Drive with Big Al and D-Mac” – has signed a multi-year extension to remain with Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” Program director Nate Lundy states, “As a PD, it’s always a great gift when you can be surrounded by talented people who are passionate about what they do. D-Mac is a great asset to the station and its live-and-local lineup. I’m thrilled to know he will continue to be a part of our success as we embark on our 18th year as ‘The Fan.’”
Clear Channel Makes Changes at Austin Sports Station. Bucky Godbolt exits Clear Channel Media and Entertainment sports talk KVET, Austin “AM 1300 The Zone” where he was morning drive host. In his place, CC pipes in KTKR, San Antonio morning drive host Mike Taylor’s 6:00 am to 8:00 am program. The move allows KVET to clear Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick show and the Jay Mohr show live and shuffle Jon Madani to the PM drive “Sports Buffett” show which is expanding to five hours. In a statement, CC Austin vice president of operations Jay Shannon says, “We’re excited to add Mike Taylor’s show to the KVET morning drive lineup. He has proven his success in San Antonio and we’re thrilled to now have him on the Longhorn flagship station here in Austin.”
Filmmaker and Internet Radio Trailblazer Kevin Smith Visits WJR, Detroit. Filmmaker Kevin Smith — “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma” – is pictured here with WJR, Detroit program director Kevin Metheny during a visit to the WJR studios. Metheny states, “My favorite living film director, Kevin Smith. We had a nice conversation about his movies and those of other directors.” In addition to his film work, Smith has been a trailblazer in the internet radio and podcast realm with his Smodcast Internet Radio venture. Smith and many of his Hollywood cohorts do regular internet radio shows via S.I.R.
Slash Visits Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr. Musician Slash is pictured here (left) chatting with Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr (right) in the FSR studios in Los Angeles during a visit to Mohr’s radio show on May 21. The former Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist talked about his time with GNR, upcoming projects and how Cher – of all people – helped him quit smoking. Slash is a big horror movie fan and has produced three such films. He’s behind the new horror flick “Nothing Left to Fear.”
Steven J.J. Weisman Receives High Academic Honor. TALKERS legal editor and Harrison Strategies senior partner, Steve Weisman received the 2013 Gregory H. Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Law, Taxation and Financial Planning at Boston-based Bentley University where, in addition to his stellar radio industry career as a trade editor, legal advisor and talent manager, he is an esteemed professor. Weisman (c) is pictured receiving the honor at the university’s recent commencement ceremony from Mike Page, provost of the University (l) and Greg Adamian, trustee and former president of Bentley (r). Professor Weisman’s many nominations from both graduate and undergraduate students over the years contain descriptions like “intelligent,” “motivating” and “inspiring.” Several students noted that Professor Weisman not only cares about the course content but also about teaching his students to be good citizens out in the world. We at TALKERS agree Steve Weisman is a mighty good fellow and are proud that he will be one of the more than 50 speakers appearing at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6 discussing key industry issues. For more information about the conference click here.
New Rules for Email. Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke writes that “With enabling technology evolving so rapidly, technique is critical. With new-tech comes a new etiquette; or, too often, a lack thereof. You prove it every time you check your email. I’ll bet you delete without reading more messages than you read.” Holland advises that to be as effective as possible in business when using email, be sure to consider what you’re typing in the subject line, when to send more than one email and when not to email at all. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Nationally Syndicated Radio Personality Andy Greenberg Publishes New Book. Omaha-based talk radio personality Andy Greenberg is heard on stations around the country via his Radio America-distributed vignette “Your Daily High with Andy Greenberg.” Now, Greenberg and co-author Marian Shalander Kaiser have published a book called Your High (Tate Publishing 2013) based on Greenberg’s broadcasts. Promotional material for the book states, “The book takes Greenberg’s loveable radio antics and puts them in easy-to-understand vignettes. Every idea is new and unique, yet familiar. Each vignette opens with a situation to which everyone can relate. It then transitions to a motivational technique that is easy to understand and implement. According to the authors, life doesn’t have to be hard; individuals just have to look at it a little differently. Your High uses the popular style of Greenberg’s radio personality to show readers how to be successful in business, life, and everything in between.”
IRS Scandal, DOJ Journalists Investigations, Obama’s Guantanamo Closure Plan, Benghazi Attack Investigation, and Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22). The Internal Revenue Service scandal and the status of Lois Lerner’s testimony; the Department of Justice’s investigation into journalists and news organizations; President Obama’s move to close Guantanamo Bay; the Benghazi attack investigation and cover-up allegations; and the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey9: News/Talk Breakout. Consulting firm Jacobs Media held a webinar yesterday in which it broke out data relative to the news/talk format from its all-radio TechSurvey9. A key point for talk radio programmers comes from the answers to the question, “Why are you listening to less AM/FM radio than in the past?” The study indicates 49% said it was because they are not enjoying the programming. The next most common response was because of a lifestyle change. After that, the responses were: 17%, too many commercials; 10% listening to SiriusXM; and 9% listening to internet radio. Some of the key points from the study indicating unique attributes of regular users of news/talk radio:
- They are big users of email – especially for building a relationship with their favorite news/talk station. They are less likely to connect with the station via Facebook or Twitter.
- 74% report their primary reason for listening to AM/FM radio is for news, traffic and weather information and 42% cited the need to find out what’s going on locally – much higher than users of other radio formats.
- News/talk users are #2 in owning a car with a digital dashboard (compared to other format fans) with 13% reporting they own one.
- Social media use for news/talk fans indicates they are far more likely to be on LinkedIn – likely due to the “professional” status of many listeners. They are least likely of all format fans to “like” a Facebook page and are not especially frequent users of Twitter compared to other format P1s (although use of Twitter increased 17% over the 2012 survey).
- 65% of news/talk listeners downloaded digital radio apps and, compared to users of other radio formats, were more likely to download your station’s app and the TuneIn app.
- Compared to the same study period one year ago, news/talk fans’ use of internet radio rose 15%; saw a 36% increase in the use of tablet devices; and a 19% increase in the use of the digital dashboard.
Paul Finebaum to Join ESPN August 1. The formerly Birmingham, Alabama-based sports journalist and talk show host will change his home base to Charlotte for his new gig with ESPN. Paul Finebaum, who had a tumultuous last two years with Cumulus Media at WJOX in Birmingham, will not be moving to SummitMedia’s crosstown WZNN “97.3 The Zone” as many industry watchers had suspected. Instead, Finebaum will take his radio program to ESPN where it will air on ESPN Audio and the ESPN-owned SEC Network, destined to debut in August of 2014. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Finebaum will also make 100 appearances on ESPN’s cable TV channels. After entering into a couple of legal battles with former long-time employer Cumulus Media over the course of several years, Finebaum agreed to work out his contract and exit radio in order to sit out his non-compete and start fresh somewhere else. He left WJOX in January of this year.
Clear Channel Announces Bid to Push Back Debt with Bond Exchange. Clear Channel Communications announces it is seeking to push off some debt until 2021 via a $2.1 billion bond exchange. The company is offering to swap $796.3 million of 10.75% notes due in 2016 and $1.28 billion of 11% payment-in-kind notes due in 2016 for the new debt that would come up in 2021. The notes will pay 12% in cash and 2% through the issuance of payment-in-kind notes. Bloomberg’s Mary Childs reports, “Free cash flow at the San Antonio-based broadcaster hasn’t exceeded $340.9 million in any year since its 2008 buyout by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of the company, which owes about $20.8 billion total, are at about the lowest in two years, a sign investors are open to refinancing, Bloomberg data show.”
Cox Enterprises Announces $1 Million Donation to Oklahoma Tornado Relief. The parent company of Cox Media Group – Cox Enterprises – announces that in partnership with the James L. Cox Foundation it is donating $1 million in support of relief and recovery efforts. “Cox Enterprises is committed to supporting the victims of this terrible storm,” says Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. “As a company that operates multiple businesses in Oklahoma, we are committed to helping our employees and the communities we serve recover from this disaster. In providing this assistance, we also encourage others to support the local relief and recovery efforts.” Cox Enterprises operates multiple companies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including: Cox Communications, Total Resource Auctions – Oklahoma City, Total Resource Auctions – Tulsa, news/talk KRMG, Fox23, My41, country KWEN, Tulsa “K95,” hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “Mix 96” and rock KJSR, Tulsa “Rock 103.” “In this difficult time of recovery and rebuilding, our hearts go out to the families affected by the tornadoes,” states Percy Kirk, senior vice president and general manager, Cox Communications Oklahoma. “This gift is a symbol of our commitment to our community and it is our hope that it will provide comfort and relief to many.” In addition to the cash donation and in-kind public service announcements, Cox’s local media properties in Tulsa are hosting a series of community fundraisers.
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Hosts Remote Auditions for Sports Talk Host. CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports talk outlet “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan” is hosting open auditions for a weekend sports talk show on the station. The open auditions rounds begin this weekend and will take place at five different locations over the next four weeks. The company states, “Participants will be judged by station personnel on their ability to rant on a random sports topic. Ten entrants from the open auditions will be selected to move on to the semifinal round to be held at the Tilted Kilt in the North Shore on Monday, June 24. From there, the top four entrants will move on to the Finals at Sidelines Bar and Grill in Sewickley to be judged during a live broadcast with Andrew Fillipponi on KDKA-FM on Thursday, June 27 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “We’re looking for the next great Pittsburgh sports talk show host – someone who can grow into a superstar. We’re eager to see which member of this passionate fan base can take advantage of this very rare opportunity.”
‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Returns to WOOD, Grand Rapids for Flagship Station. The Talk Media Network-syndicated program dedicated to all things military and hosted by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Denny Gillem returns to its original flagship station WOOD, Grand Rapids. Talk Media Network’s Josh Leng reports that the weekend “Frontlines of Freedom” program will air live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WOOD beginning June 1. Gillem says of the move, “Six years ago my co-founder and I created ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ on WOOD radio. June 1 is the show’s six-year anniversary. It’s a great honor to be returning to our roots at the finest station in West Michigan.” The program began in 2006 as a special Memorial Day show called, “A Colonel’s Salute to Veterans” that won a Michigan Broadcasters Association award. One year later the weekly program was founded at WOOD. Phil Tower, director of news & content programming at Clear Channel’s WOOD, states, “Few persons are held in such high regard as the men and women of our military, so it’s a natural fit to welcome ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ back to our WOOD radio lineup.”
Tony Stiles to Join The Next News Network. Talk radio personality Tony Stiles, host of his eponymous program heard Saturdays on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha “The Mighty 1290,” announces he’s accepted the news anchor position at Chicago-based internet news network The Next News Network. Stiles states, “I am honored that after only seven months on the air in Omaha, that my show, ideas and personality has resonated nationally through a loyal audience by word-of-mouth, radio and internet access. This coming Friday night I will continue my role of frequent anchor until I assume the daily desk in early summer.” The Next News Network founder Gary Franchi says, “As the founder of Next News Network, I became aware of Tony’s ability to attract an audience as I followed his rapid growth and heard his show. Tony is a perfect fit for our 24/7 internet newscast which, like Tony, is the first of its kind.”
CBS News Reporter Tells WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Her Work and Personal Computers Compromised. In a story that has since gone viral after being picked up by numerous consumer news outlets, with the allegations the DOJ has been investigating AP and Fox News reporters as the backdrop, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told WPHT, Philadelphia AM drive host Chris Stigall her work and personal computers are being analyzed as part of an investigation. Attkisson said she could not point the finger at the DOJ but the speculation is that it’s a possibility. Attkisson has been reporting on the Benghazi attacks story.
Sports USA Announces College Football Schedule. Sports USA unveils its 2013 schedule of college football contests saying it “consists of 18 games featuring the best teams in college football. Defending national champion Alabama, unbeaten Ohio State, Texas A&M, (with Heisman Trophy winning QB Johnny Manziel) Michigan, Florida, and LSU will be among the teams featured this year.” Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are pleased to provide these incredible matchups to our nearly 400 affiliates nationwide. Additionally, we are providing a sideline reporter for each game.” The season kicks off with USC at Hawaii on August 29 and wraps up with the Independence Bowl on December 31. Other key match-ups include Florida at LSU on October 12, Michigan versus Michigan State on November 2 and Alabama at Auburn on November 30.
Odds & Sods. “America Tonight” nationally syndicated talk show host Kate Delaney is doing some fill-in work this weekend for NBC Sports Radio Network. Delaney, who earlier in her career worked at WFAN, New York, will sit in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on May 26 and from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on May 27…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series on June 7 as it takes a comprehensive look at the Orange County city of Fullerton. During the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, community leaders including Mayor Bruce Whitaker, council members, Chief of Police Dan Hughes and other special guests will be interviewed. Additionally, a special series by KNX investigative reporter Charles Feldman will look at the double-barreled impact on the city of the “Great Recession” and the high-profile fatal beating of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, by members of the Fullerton Police Department nearly two years ago.
ESPN to Begin Mega-Layoffs. At this point the company’s only public statement has been, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.” It’s unclear how many ESPN Audio staffers will be affected but the company, which employs about 4,000 in the United States and another 3,000 in other parts of the world, could be in the hundreds according to some reports. ESPN is a huge source of revenue for principle parent Disney (20% is owned by Hearst) but some industry watchers speculate that ESPN’s increasing costs in acquiring precious play-by-play contracts – especially considering new entrants into the field including CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 – is forcing it to be more cost-conscious.
IRS Protest Led by WIND, Chicago’s Joe Walsh. Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is pictured here (with megaphone) on the street outside the Dearborn Street offices of the Internal Revenue Service in Chicago protesting the agency’s targeting of conservative and religious groups. The rally was organized and led by Walsh, who hosts his own evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago, “AM 560 The Answer.” Walsh states, “It’s time to send a message that our First Amendment rights will not be denied by an out-of-control administration.” Dozens of protesters joined Walsh during the lunchtime gathering.
IRS Targets Conservatives, DOJ Fox News Investigation, Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath, Benghazi Attacks Case, and Anthony Weiner to Run for NYC Mayor Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the investigation by the Department of Justice into Fox News Channel reporters; the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornado; the ongoing scrutiny of the Benghazi attack and disgraced former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid for mayor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Goes into Emergency Mode in Oklahoma City. The EF5 tornado that moved through the Oklahoma City area on Monday reportedly has taken at least 24 lives, including 9 children trapped in an elementary school in the suburb of Moore. But officials are saying the death toll could have been worse had it not been for the local radio stations that went into action warning residents about the storm almost 30 minutes before the tornado touched down. As the twister approached and cell service began to overload, local radio outlets remained on air. Reports to TALKERS indicate most stations went into wall-to-wall storm mode using either audio from a news/talk outlet or by using audio from a local TV station. Radio’s role has just begun as many of those who are seeking information about emergency services will rely on radio. Numerous broadcasting companies are already organizing relief efforts for those affected by the tornado. As storms moved across the Plains states on Sunday, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth was cited in an Associated Press story crediting local TV and radio stations’ wall-to-wall broadcasts covering the storms for keeping the death toll low.
KNTH, Houston’s Sam Malone Goes Multi-Platform. Morning drive host Sam Malone, heard daily on Salem Communication’s news/talk KNTH, Houston “AM 1070 The Answer,” is now broadcasting his program in multi-media fashion, making it available to fans in a video format. Malone partnered with Houston-based tech company Phonoscope to develop the web-based video component. As you can see in the photo here, Malone’s set is able to deliver some of the aspects of a television broadcast that news/talk audiences can use: a news crawl, the ability to identify guests/callers via chyron, a backdrop for photos/video, and other promotional messages. For example, today (5/21) he’s able to constantly provide the toll-free number to donate to victims of the Oklahoma tornado. From a sales perspective, the format obviously allows for still photos and video in commercial spots.
Play Ball: Fun with Flagships. Baseball season is well underway and the recent April 2013 PPM data from Arbitron gives TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian the opportunity to delve into the numbers and get a glimpse of where the flagship stations for most of the Major League Baseball teams stand at this point. As Kinosian notes, baseball is a very important programming element for many stations, “Sandwich a typical three-hour game between pre-game and post-game programming and a station can devote approximately 20% of its 24-hour broadcast day to being a MLB flagship.” Baseball has a reputation of being a cume-builder and baseball fans certainly know where their team can be heard on the radio. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the nation’s baseball radio broadcast flagship stations here.
Five Secrets to Hiring Excellent Digital Sellers. “Made you look!” teases Sabo Media chairman and TALKERS magazine columnist Walter Sabo. The truth is that finding effective digital media sellers is exceedingly difficult and anyone who’s tried to hire digital sales pros knows this. Walter Sabo writes that the reason is digital buyers don’t know how to buy digital advertising. Who’s fault is that? According to Sabo, the rules for return on investment for a digital ad do not exist – or at least there’s no industry-wide agreement on how to measure ROI. Read more about this vexing problem that is hampering the sale of digital ads here.
NAB Announces Ginny Morris to Receive National Radio Award. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that Ginny Hubbard Morris, chair of Hubbard Radio LLC, will receive the National Radio Award during the Radio Show Luncheon on Friday, September 20 at 2013 Radio Show in Orlando. NAB EVP of radio John David states, “Ginny Morris is highly regarded for her leadership and success. It is a tremendous honor to recognize Ginny for her continuous dedication to radio and for her many accomplishments and contributions to the business.” The NAB notes that Morris has more than 30 years of broadcast industry, business and general management experience. As chair of Hubbard Radio LLC, Morris is responsible for managing the strategic direction for Hubbard’s 21 radio stations throughout Chicago, Washington D.C., Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis and Cincinnati. As part of the company’s growth strategy, in 2011, Morris led Hubbard’s acquisition of 17 radio stations from Bonneville International Corporation, strengthening Hubbard’s national reach and significantly expanding its industry footprint. Morris originally joined her family’s broadcasting business in 1982 and worked her way to management positions before becoming president and general manager of KSTP-FM and KSTP-AM in 1995.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media sports talk WNKT, Columbia, South Carolina “107.5 The Game” re-ups with IMG College on a new four-year deal to serve as the flagship for University of South Carolina Gamecocks play-by-play. The package includes football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball…..Sports USA announces the first five games of its 2013 NFL broadcast schedule. The season will kick off with the Cincinnati Bengals at the Chicago Bears on September 8. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are thrilled with the first part of our schedule. These matchups are second to none. Additionally, Sports USA will be the only Sunday afternoon NFL broadcasts to feature a sideline reporter at every game in order to offer insights and quicker access to injury reports.”…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO and 99.7 FM in Providence announce a series of summer radio shows hosted by New England area tradesmen Dean Marsico and Derek Stearns – both nationally known for their TV shows “Rock Solid” and “Indoors Out” on the DIY Network and their appearances on the PBS Series “Victory Garden.” The duo will host a monthly program, the first episode airing on Sunday, May 26.
Oklahoma Tornado, IRS Targets Conservatives, Benghazi Investigation, and DOJ Investigates Fox News Channel Journalists Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). The devastation from the EF4 tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City area yesterday; the allegations of the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS; the ongoing investigation into how the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was handled; and the Department of Justice’s investigation of Fox News Channel journalists were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rhythm & Shmooze. Las Vegas based-nationally syndicated medical talker Dr. Daliah Wachs of KDWN, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and GCN is known to occasionally get up on the stage during musical performances, grab the mic, and belt out a tune. True to form, she is pictured here doing exactly that at her son Stone‘s recent Bar Mitzvah. Wachs (l) is singing Def Leppard‘s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” with the band Vegas Underground. Wonder if they do the Electric Slide.
Open Letter to Rush: Marketing and Branding Expert Warns Host to Do a “Brand Over” Before it is Too Late. Author, broadcaster and branding consultant, Dr. John Tantillo, tells Rush Limbaugh that he must act quickly to offset the negative campaigning being waged against him, his style of talk and, resultantly, all of talk radio in the commercial/advertising arena. In an open letter to the star host posted today exclusively in TALKERS (5/20), Tantillo suggests, “Rush, when products reach the maturity stage, the textbook answer is to address it by stressing product benefits and differences. In your case, Rush this is rather easy. You wrote the book on talk and created an entire lucrative advertising model around it. You simply are all about talk and making a profit from it. This is something that they cannot take away from you, or as I would like to say: ’It’s your brand.’ And because this is your brand, you should work from there when commencing your brand over. That’s right — brand over, not that inane ‘make over’ where consultants who don’t really know you, advise you to become something that you are not. No, Rush, a brand over, is for you and will take the Rush from the inside and makes the necessary alterations to the outside. All good! Your centering mission should be: ‘To thy own brand be true,’ where any and all changes about your brand come from there.” Tantillo offers a compelling 10 step strategy that Rush can take to turn around the campaign being waged by his critics and set himself on a successful course for the next stage of his maturing brand. To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.
Mignon Clyburn in as Acting Chairperson of the FCC. As announced, Julius Genachowski has exited the Federal Communications Commission where he was chairman and commissioner Mignon Clyburn will serve as acting chair until the confirmation process for the new chairman has taken place. Nominee Tom Wheeler’s confirmation has been delayed until later in June. Last week the Commerce Committee announced the confirmation hearings would not take place this week.
Time to Clean Up Digital Space for Summer. With Memorial Day weekend about to roll around, digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller suggests this is a good time to start making big moves in small chunks and get your website and social media initiatives up to speed with a little upgrading. In a new column posted today (5/20) Miller offers a punch list of items you can work on each week between now and Labor Day to get your website and social media fixed up, and ready to totally support your on-air product this fall! They include writing down your goals, taking something OFF your website, picking fonts and colors, freshening your Facebook page cover photo, checking your tabs for relevance, cutting back on posts by setting and raising your standards, focusing Twitter on something specific, and properly prioritizing Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest by de-emphasizing them as social sites and using them more for storage and as content channels. To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.
Internationally Known American Broadcaster Living and Working in London Shares his Perspective on the Radio Business from the Other Side of the Pond. They might be speaking English, but the comparisons break down quickly after that. American radio broadcaster Charlie Wolf has been living and working in the UK for years, holding on-air positions at a number of leading British media outlets from the legendary “pirate radio” to the BBC. During these years, he has become somewhat of an in-house UK “go-to” guy explaining, debating and in most cases defending the American position on issues as seen from the English point of view. In an exclusive commentary posted today (5/20) in TALKERS, Wolf shares his observations and insights about how very different talk radio is in the UK than it is in the US. To read his entire provocative piece, click here.
‘America’s Morning News’ Host John McCaslin Addresses Small Business Finance Conference. America’s Radio News Network executive vice president John McCaslin (holding mic) is pictured here at the 2013 NADCO “Game Change” conference held over the weekend. The conference was for companies certified by the Small Business Administration to provide loans for small businesses, which create two-thirds of the nation’s new jobs. McCaslin, who also hosts the nationally syndicated “America’s Morning News” program, told the packed house at San Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado where he thinks the economy — and the unrelated overnight trio of scandals rocking President Obama — are headed in the coming months. The veteran newsman was among the “Inside Washington” speakers. Besides much-needed job creation, the four-day conference — sponsored by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, and Wells Fargo — centered on the new VetLoan Advantage Program for members of the U.S. military returning home from overseas deployment.
Worlds Collide on Opie & Anthony’s SiriusXM Show. SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony are known for broadcasting the unusual but this collage of guests from disparate worlds really takes the cake. Picture here are (from l-r) comic Colin Quinn, celebrity chef Guy Fieri, SiriusXM host Anthony Cumia, country music superstar Trace Adkins, SiriusXM host Opie Hughes, and comic Tom Papa. The collision happened on the O&A show last week as the four guests all happened to be scheduled for the same day and appeared on the program at the same time.
Radio Advertising Bureau Unveils New ‘State-of-the-Art’ Website. The RAB proudly announces the debut of the new www.RAB.com . Calling it an “updated, fresh design,” the RAB says the new site was created “with today’s mobile salesperson in mind.” The site uses a responsive design that automatically reacts to a visitor’s screen size, so RAB members can search for vital sales intelligence, consumer insights and sales material support no matter if they’re on their desktop, in the office, or using any mobile device including tablets and smart phones. The section for radio managers, account executives and associate members is navigated through the 7 Steps to Selling Success, a set of principles reinforced through RAB Professional Development training and certification courses. It features sections devoted to prospecting, appointments, research, creative, and proposals and presentations. Managers will also find their own dedicated section with important links to RAB Professional Development, management articles, and sales tips. Radio account executives will find a number of new and exciting features including “Trending Now on RAB.com.” Based on real-time traffic across the new RAB.com, account executives will see what topics, articles, reports, etc. are growing in popularity. Favorite RAB services such as Articles on Demand, Instant Backgrounds, prospecting reports, consumer profiles, commercial scripts, mp3 commercial audio and RAB’s co-op library are all available on the site with easy-to-find functionality. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The RAB prides itself on delivering the most current products, information and resources to our members. Redesigning this site with total mobile capabilities was a ‘must have.’ In order to remain competitive, our members need to access current services and data while on the go.”
CBS Radio Philadelphia’s Marc Rayfield to Be Inducted into Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. CBS Radio proudly announces that Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield is being inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in a special ceremony on Monday, May 20. Rayfield will be inducted along with basketball coach Larry Brown and seven other talented honorees. The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) is celebrating its 16th anniversary at a reception to today at 5:30 pm. Rayfield is the vice president of WIP SportsRadio, one of the nation’s most respected all sports stations. WIP is known for innovation in business such as the first studio naming rights partnership in the United States with Tastykake. WIP is home to Angelo Cataldi and the morning team. The station also annually hosts one of the largest radio promotions in the country, Wing Bowl, prior to the Super Bowl in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. Rayfield is currently responsible for live broadcasts of the Phillies, Eagles and Philadelphia Union as well as Temple, St. Joe’s and Villanova athletics.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7. After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, ”and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Hosts on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” show; Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore; Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America; Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA; Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz; Timothy Spangler of KRLA, Los Angeles; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester; Dr. Evelyn Higgins of CRN Digital Talk Radio and GCN; Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead, NY; Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more. Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced. All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
RAB: Radio Flat at $3.5 Billion in Q1. The Radio Advertising Bureau releases data indicating that the first quarter of 2013 remained flat “aided by an uptick in Spot in March after a sluggish start to the year. Both Digital and Off-Air performed well throughout the quarter and were up 9% and 5% respectively.” The report breaks out data on advertising categories. A synopsis shows “spot spending by communication/cellular advertisers soared by over 1/3 (36%) for this quarter, propelling the category to #1 for the period. Also up – in rank order based on spending – were financial services (+13%), department/discount stores & shopping centers (+58%), and home furnishings/floor coverings (+6%). While dollar volume was virtually flat for television/networks/cable providers (-3%) and restaurants (-2%), these were solid contributors to radio’s bottom line in the #2 and #4 spots; automotive declined 20% and slipped to the #3 rank.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Major increases in radio advertising by communications/cellular and financial services went a long way to offset a drop in automotive spending. Additionally, spending is up in the department/discount stores category – reflecting increased confidence among retailers who have experienced radio’s ability to drive traffic and sales. Radio’s digital sector revenue continues to grow as radio stations invest in and promote their digital offerings to listeners, driving increased attention by the ad buying community.” The report features data from Miller Kaplan Arase LLP and the Q1 revenue figure does not include network radio data. Read the entire report here.
Beasley Broadcasting Names David Wolfman WQAM, Miami LSM. Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami announces David Wolfman is the new local sales manager at the station. Wolfman reports to director of sales Keriann Worley. He comes to Beasley from his most recent position as general sales manager for Clear Channel Miami. Prior to that, he spent several years with Interep National Radio Sales. Worley states, “David Wolfman is a proven sales leader and he will be directly responsible for revenue growth on 560 WQAM. His passion for sports, innovative thinking, and his knowledge of the Miami market make him a perfect fit for this dynamic position. We are thrilled to have him join our team.”
Dave Ramsey Visits The Queen City. Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is in Cincinnati this week. Earlier he presented to a packed house his new, intimate “Building Your Legacy Live Event” in which he talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey joined with local affiliate WKRC to promote the event. WKRC general sales manager Bill Mountel says, “Cincy has been starved for a taste of Dave and now they can get a ‘double dose’ of Dave Ramsey. Cincinnati fans and 55KRC listeners are excited to have Dave in town and are already looking forward to his next visit to the Queen City!” Today, Ramsey is hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” at Vineyard Church. Ramsey, along with speakers Jon Acuff and Chris Hogan, will speak about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees. Pictured here with Ramsey are: (front row) WKRC GSM Bill Mountel, Ramsey, WKRC personality Brian Thomas, (back row) WKRC PD Scott Reinhart and CC Cincinnati market president Chuck Fredrick.
Hubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” Stands Alone. With the recent moves of KFNS and KSLG to guy talk and female-targeted programming, respectively, Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis stands as the only full-time sports talk station in the market. In a piece by Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chronicling the station’s four-year history as a sports outlet, general manager John Kijowski discusses where the station is now and what the state of the market is for sports talk radio. Among the tidbits from Kijowski in the article is his belief in FM for sports talk: “In the sports genre, having a big FM signal in today’s world is vital for success. Then the format can’t be done on the cheap, you have to invest in it. From that respect, I feel good about what we do and I still think we have a ways to go.” It should be noted that though WXOS is the last sports station standing, its place among the stations seeking men 25-54 is not what it was a year ago, having dropped to sixth place in the most recent Arbitron PPM data. However, one of the most interesting points in the piece is Kijowski’s admission that it took four years in the format for the station to make a profit. So much for the notion that sports talk radio is an automatic money press! Read the entire piece here.
Food Nation Radio Network Signs On with Business TalkRadio Network. In a move that will take effect June 1, the weekly food talk radio show “The Food Nation Radio Network with Elizabeth Dougherty” joins the roster of Business TalkRadio Network. BTRN consulting operations officer Jeff Weber says, “We are all really excited that hosts Elizabeth Dougherty and Michael Serio are bringing this compelling program to a national audience. We’re proud to be a part of this show which is informative and fun. It’s truly a one of a kind program.” The program is based out of Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa and is described by the producers as “an adventure of good food, food-related stories and compelling interviews.” Host Elizabeth Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training. She has written hundreds of articles on food that have appeared in many major publications. She says of the new relationship, “We are pleased to partner with the Business TalkRadio Network as ‘Food Nation Radio’ continues to grow so that we can continue to concentrate on the cutting-edge and entertaining content we provide to our listeners each week.”
Odds & Sods. Fred Lucas’ book about talk radio, The Right Frequency (History Publishing 2012) is soaring high on two of Amazon’s Kindle best-seller lists. The book is #1 in the Public Affairs category as well as #1 on the digital texts chart…..XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning drive co-host J.D. Hayworth is sitting in for Cumulus Media Networks personality Mike Huckabee all next week and on Memorial Day as well…..Fox Sports Radio continues its UFC coverage as the network simulcasts “UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold” on Saturday, May 18. The event will take place at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua, Santa Catarina, at 9:00 pm ET. After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..CBS Radio News presents a Memorial Day Weekend special program titled “Combat Stress: Finding the Way Home” that focuses on the impact post-traumatic stress has on the lives of our military veterans. “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft anchors and speaks with veterans and top experts. The program features personal stories from veterans and their families, an in-depth exploration of treatment options, and stories of encouragement for those suffering with combat stress.
Second Amendment Petition Delivered to Congress. Salem Radio Network vice president, news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) delivers more than 125,000 signatures in support of the Second Amendment. Accepting the signatures is Republican U.S. Representative from Texas Louie Gohmert (center) and flanked by United States Concealed Carry Association CEO Tim Schmidt (left). The network began the petition drive in response to calls for new gun legislation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Talkers Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Freedom Feens” – syndicated by Genesis Communications Network – picks up new affiliates KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota and WZFG, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom,” a syndicated military news and talk radio show hosted by two-time purple heart recipient Colonel Denny Gillem, is added to the program schedule at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle. Additionally, Colonel Gillem will also analyze military news and issues for sister station, KIRO-FM.…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters is added to the program schedule on WIBQ, Terre Haute, Indiana.
IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 13-17. The IRS’ scrutinizing of conservative organizations for taxes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 13-17, putting it atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation. At #3 was the AP phone records search by the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. Following at #4 was Syria-Israel tensions. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.