Archive for September, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

| September 30, 2011

Video Thrilled the Radio Star.  Something radio people seldom, if ever, worried about has rapidly become an extremely potent arrow in their stations’ proverbial quivers.  In varying degrees, programmers and on-air talent are becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about –– and adept at integrating –– video components on station and individual websites.  TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian explores the video strategies of some of the industry’s leading talk personalities as they discuss target demos, video quality, product placement, the concept of “radio on video,” relevance and more.  Read the entire piece here.

KFI, Los Angeles Hosts John & Ken Targets of Hispanic Organizations.  Several Southern California-based Hispanic organizations want KFI’s John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou off the air after one activist’s cell phone number was given out over the air.  The Los Angeles Times reports immigrant rights activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera is leading the charge after the duo gave his cell and office numbers out over the air and suggested listeners call him to express how they feel about his support for the California bill that would create state tuition assistance for illegal immigrants.  Cabrera reports receiving as many as 400 phone calls, many filled with coarse, hateful language.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci wouldn’t comment to the Times but says she’ll meet with representatives of the activist groups.  The groups have sent letters to Clear Channel corporate and local management requesting the John & Ken show be taken off the air.  That’s not likely to happen but this incident illustrates the heated nature of immigration topics on Southern California talk radio.  This is a topic that will be addressed at the coming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum in L.A. on October 20 presented by TALKERS in cooperation with the L.A. Press Club.

Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish Scores Interview with President Obama.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish will broadcast an interview with President Obama on his Dial Global program today at approximately 1:40 pm ET.  Smerconish, an independent conservative, has interviewed the president five times before.  He has obviously established a good rapport with the White House as a fair interviewer.  Needless to say, as sitting presidents don’t often do interviews with talk radio hosts, this is a coup for Smerconish.

Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Hits #1 on NYTimes Bestseller List.  Nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey lands his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List in the hardcover how-to, advice and miscellaneous category for the week ending September 24.  Ramsey is currently on a cross-country bus tour to promote the book in cities where his radio program airs.

USRN Names Matthew Warneke Senior Account Executive.  United Stations Radio Networks announces the addition of Matthew Warneke to its ad sales department in New York City.  Warneke, most recently with Omnicom Media Group as group director/national audio, becomes a senior account executive with the syndicator.  USRN EVP Rich Baum states, “We’re thrilled that Matthew has joined us at United Stations.  Given his background and experience, Matthew brings an unparalleled understanding of the needs of our advertising clients to our team and we look forward to having him help us deliver great results for our marketing partners.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski is added to the program schedule at KSEO, Durant, Oklahoma…..The Cigar Dave show picks up new affiliates WWTN-FM, Nashville; WRZN, Hernando, Florida; and WKEI, Kewanne, Illinois….. Sports USA’s Joe Morgan show adds KLAA, Los Angeles to its roster of affiliates…..RadioLinx’ “For Your Ears Only” with David Alpern is added to KFPW, Fort Smith, Arkansas; WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and WVOX, New Rochelle, New York.

Obama Economic Policies Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 26-30.  President Obama’s economic policies including his jobs bill was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s speech at the Reagan Library followed by European economic jitters at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the week’s top talk radio topics based on ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at  To view the entire chart, click the banner below.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

| September 29, 2011

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Speak at Talkers Forum.  When the closing panel, “The Issues Facing Southern California – Challenges and Solutions” takes place at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum, not only will it have the eyes and ears of the local broadcasting and media community upon it — but the mayor of the nation’s second most populated city as well.  He will be in attendance preparing to deliver the concluding remarks at the first-time event that is aptly being described as a “who’s who of everybody who’s anybody in Southern California talk radio.”  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be the closing solo speaker at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm rounding out what managing editor Kevin Casey calls “the most amazing roster of speakers we’ve ever seen crammed into a one-day radio industry event…this is a real happening!”  More than 30 speakers including Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, eight program directors of the leading talk stations in the region and a star-studded array of talk show hosts constitute the roster of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison terms “a new kind of industry gathering.”  Although already filled to capacity, a stand-by registration list has been set up to fill vacancies in the case of cancellations and the entire forum will be shown shortly thereafter on TALKERS TV.  For complete information click here.

Cumulus Does Some Management Restructuring in San Francisco.  Specifically, KGO and KSFO general manager Deidra Lieberman becomes vice president of sales for the six-station cluster that now also includes sports KNBR.  Cumulus manager Bill Bungeroth – already overseeing KNBR and music-formatted stations KFOG-FM and KSAN-FM – becomes market manager for the entire cluster.  So far this is a restructuring of management and there are no reports of positions being consolidated.

WKNR, Cleveland Makes PM Drive Show Changes.  Ohio Media Watch reports that Good Karma’s sports WKNR, Cleveland – unchallenged in sports talk programming until the recent debut of CBS Radio’s WKRK-FM – moves its current PM drive show “Afternoon R&R” with Michael Reghi and Kenny Roda to evenings and prepares to debut a new PM drive show on October 3 hosted by well-known market reporter Bruce Hooley and current WKNR staffers Greg Brinda and Chris Fedor.  Previously, Hooley covered Ohio State Buckeyes football for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and he also worked at RadiOhio’s WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus.

Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo Program Set to Debut.  According to TMZ, former Howard Stern cast member Artie Lange and fellow comedian and one-time WFNY-FM, New York personality Nick DiPaolo have struck a deal with DirecTV to produce a pop culture-style talk show also heavy on sports for DirecTV and for radio in national syndication.  The show is reportedly to begin Monday, October 3 although the story doesn’t cite any affiliate radio stations for the program.  The report does state Lange and DiPaolo are to make $500,000 each per year of the three-year deal.

Buckley’s Joe Bilotta Named to BFoA Board of Directors.  Buckley Broadcasting president and CEO Joe Bilotta has been named to the Broadcasters Foundation of America board of directors.  Bilotta, who rose to president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting after the passing of Rick Buckley this summer, says it’s an honor to serve on the board of an organization that gives back to the industry.  “Whether it’s an emergency grant for a broadcaster whose home was devastated while they stayed on the air during a disaster, or one who experienced a tragic and unforeseen debilitating accident, the Broadcasters Foundation is there to provide aid when there is nowhere else to turn.  I would encourage everyone to support this charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.”

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams and Listeners Attempt Speed Golf World Record.  In the realm of goofy station promotions, this one is up near the top.  WGN midday talk host John Williams has recruited about 100 listeners to assist him in a speed golf relay format in an attempt to break the world record for the fastest round of golf played.  Dubbing it “King John & His Royal Court’s Speed Golf World Record Challenge,” the golfers are assigned locations along the course in accordance with their best club as they hit the ball to each other in progression.  The current world record is seven minutes and 56 seconds.  But Williams says, “It’s not just a world record we’re going after.  It’s a stupid world record, so that’s a natural for us.  I think of this more as an excuse to have a beer by 9:00 am.”

South Bend Broadcaster Turns to Public for Format Suggestions.  Artistic Media Partners has shut down the talk and sports format on WDND, South Bend after it and ESPN could not come to terms on a contract renewal to continue carrying ESPN content.  For now the station at 1620 on the AM dial is simulcasting the company’s FM sister Top 40 format but company president Arthur Angotti says that’s temporary and they’re willing to hear what listeners have to say.  “We’re trying not to make a decision in haste.  We’ve taken a lot of calls from people wanting to know what happened and they’ve had some interesting ideas.”

2012 GOP Candidates, Iran Military Ambitions, and Obama Economic Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28).  The Republican candidates for president including the rise of Herman Cain in the polls, Iran’s military posturing and talk of new cruise missiles plus President Obama’s economic policies were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from Talkers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

| September 28, 2011

Glenn Beck’s Bold Pioneering Media Station Draws Attention and Scrutiny from Consumer Media.  Glenn Beck’s new two-hour live video program that is the lynchpin of his online media initiative is just two weeks old but it is garnering significant attention from the consumer press as talk media and TV practitioners rightfully watch with intense interest.  Two important aspects of this stand out: the concept of a multi-media, specifically themed digital destination – a media station – once given thought as a quaint notion of what the future might hold is being developed by Beck full throttle; and the idea that everything on the internet must be free – because in a post-Napster world no one is willing to pay for any content on the internet – is being turned on its head.  There are obviously others who are crafting media stations that provide video, audio, text and more and Glenn Beck is not necessarily the first talk media personality to pursue this model (Dial Global progressive talk host Thom Hartmann and the maverick Alex Jones have gone down this pioneering path as well, among others).  However no one in the talk world with Beck’s media profile, large loyal following and tendency to get press is pushing this as zealously as he is.  Beck is the subject of a recent piece by McKay Coppins at the Daily Beast that outlines for consumers some of the inside-the-business details that make GBTV a case study to watch.  Since leaving Fox News Channel and launching GBTV, Beck has reportedly convinced some 230,000 P1s to pay $9.95 per year to view his content.  Although that audience is a fraction of his former FNC audience, Beck grosses almost $2.3 million from the venture.  If those subscriber numbers approach 1 million, Beck could be pulling in almost $10 million per year.  As the Daily Beast story reveals, Beck has many more content ideas he’s developing.  How many concepts make it to launch remains to be seen but it is clear that Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company (a purposefully ironic name) is operating with the freedom to take Beck’s unique brand and run wild with it.  And as media professionals debate the future of radio and television as we know it, Beck’s own words to the Daily Beast indicate he believes he’s creating something different.  “What you see in the next 12 months on GBTV will transform the way news and information…is consumed,” Beck proclaims.  It may appear Beck is foretelling the death of cable news/talk TV with that statement but it is more likely that Beck is at the forefront of a wave of content creators who are building a new business model for a medium that will co-exist alongside the older media – radio and television.  And if that happens how long will they co-exist?  Only time will tell.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it, “Talk media practitioners should put their personal opinions about the political and social specifics of Glenn Beck’s content aside and focus on the mechanics and methodology ‘clinic’ that he is demonstrating.  Regardless of whether or not he succeeds, what Beck is doing is a living example of where things are likely heading.”

Young Conservative Talk Up and Comer Andy Dean Joins Roster at Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.  Premiere Networks syndicated newcomer Andy Dean is the latest high-profile talk star to join the stellar roster of more than 30 industry heavyweights set to speak at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum being presented in L.A. by TALKERS in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.  The young Premiere Networks syndicated host will join such luminaries as Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, and dozens of other movers and shakers including the program directors of the region’s top talk radio stations at this groundbreaking event that is being described as a “Who’s Who of Southern California Talk Radio.”  Dean’s remarks will be presented during his introduction of the panel “The State of Talk Radio in Southern California (and Slightly Beyond).”  Although the LARTF is already filled to capacity, unregistered media professionals interested in attending can put their names on an active standby list.  For complete details, click here.

TRN’s Michael Savage Clears in Chicago.  Just two weeks after Joseph J. Gentile-owned WJJG, Chicago announced TRN-FM’s Mancow Muller was returning to the airwaves in the Windy City, the station adds Michael Savage to its lineup.  WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says the new lineup – beginning October 3 – will feature Mancow from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, Savage from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Mancow again from 1:00 pm  to 4:00 pm.  In a release, Dubiel says, “It’s interesting that Dr. Savage has been pigeon-holed as a political talk show host.  Michael is an artist.  He’s a best-selling author and a storyteller who’s as likely to discuss making rigatoni as he is the events of the day.  We paint our radio shows and formats into a corner and then wonder why we struggle.  Chicago listeners enjoy Michael Savage so we’re giving them Michael Savage.  If Michael can sell millions of books, imagine what he can do for local businesses here!”  WJJG is a daytimer with 760 watts at 1530 on the dial.  Savage had aired on Salem Communications’ crosstown WIND but was dropped to make room for local personality Steve Cochran.

WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas General Manager Out as Cumulus Consolidates.  The industry is waiting to see how Lew Dickey follows through on his promise to create “$50 million in synergies” and a first wave of job consolidation is starting.  WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas general manager Keri Korzinewski is reportedly let go leaving Dan Bennett the sole manager for the six Cumulus properties in the Big D that also includes talk KLIF and sports KTCK-AM/FM.

John Gordon Calls Last Twins Game Tonight.  John Gordon has been the voice of the Minnesota Twins for the past 25 years.  At age 72, he’s hanging up his headphones to “see what’s outside the world of baseball” as he tells KARE-TV, Minneapolis.  Gordon and partner Dan Gladden are heard on the Twins baseball network based out of Hubbard Radio’s flagship sports station KSTP.


GOP Presidential Hopefuls, Iran Naval Maneuvers and Obama Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27).  The cast of GOP candidates for president in 2012, Iran’s plan to send warships to the Atlantic Coast of America and President Obama’s jobs bill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

| September 27, 2011

WNYM, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Gives Up Saturday Program.  Sliwa already does the morning drive show at Salem Communications’ WNYM and two hours in the afternoon with Gerson Borrero so it’s no surprise that he’s easing up a bit.  Sliwa officially ends the Saturday morning live show he’s been hosting, according to a report at FishbowlNY.  There’s no word on what will take Sliwa’s place on Saturday mornings but Sliwa tells his audience he’ll be busy along with other Guardian Angels patrolling the streets of New York in response to the recent uptick in crime.

KRLD-FM, Dallas Host Richie Whitt’s Dallas Observer Column Shut Down.  Whitt, who co-hosts the PM drive show at CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM, Dallas with Gregg Williams, says the column he’s been writing for the Dallas Observer since 2005 and his blog “Sportatorium” are ending as the paper’s owner – Village Voice Media – has decided to drop the full-time sports writing post.  Whitt does say CBS may bring the popular blog back on its digital property sometime in the future.

Lincoln Financial Media Names Jeff Dinetz Miami Manager.  With the retirement of longtime market manager Dennis Collins from his post as market manager of LFM’s Miami cluster, the company announces Jeff Dinetz is the new SVP and general manager of the group that includes sports WAXY.  Dinetz most recently served as president and COO of NextMedia Radio/Interactive.


Filling in This Week.  Independently syndicated talk host Leslie Marshall sits in for Bob Beckel on Fox News Channel’s “The Five” at 5:00 pm ET today (9/27) where she’ll go at it with four conservative pundits…..Casey Bartholomew is in for Darla Jaye on the evening show all this week at KMBZ, Kansas City.



Actor Robert Conrad Celebrates 4th Anniversary at CRN Digital Talk.  Iconic American actor Robert Conrad recently celebrated his fourth anniversary hosting his talk show at CRN Digital Talk.  Conrad (l) is pictured here with CRN Digital president Michael Horn (r).  The anniversary was celebrated with a live broadcast from Angelo’s and Vinci’s Festival Italiano in Fullerton, California with special celebrity guest Leslie Ann Warren also appearing on the program.


Ramsey Book Tour Draws Fans.  As you can see by the line of fans waiting to meet talk show host Dave Ramsey at a book signing in Fresno, the tour to promote Ramsey’s latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), is drawing crowds.  Ramsey reports that in the first week of the tour they have packed 1,000 fans into a Barnes & Noble in South Bend, Indiana; more than 1,000 in Phoenix where affiliate KTAR-FM was instrumental in promoting his appearance; and close to 1,000 in Fresno with the help of affiliate KMJ.  Ramsey also brought his “Total Money Makeover Live” event to Los Angeles over the weekend with some 11,000 attending with promotional help from affiliate KFWB.  This week the tour hits stops in Raleigh, Knoxville, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Midland, and Dallas.

Obama Jobs Bill Tour, President Addresses Congressional Black Caucus, ObamaCare Legal Status and Hermain Cain Straw Poll Victory Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26).  President Obama’s West Coast tour to lobby for support of his jobs bill, the president’s address before the congressional black caucus, health care reform’s status in the courts and GOP candidate Hermain Cain’s victory in the Florida straw poll over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 26, 2011

| September 26, 2011

Don Barrett’s “Labor of Love” Closes its Doors after 15 Years. uploaded its final daily news on Saturday – actually the news was a goodbye from publisher Don Barrett.  Barrett started tracking and posting news of Los Angeles Radio People – LARP – in 1996 and his self-described “labor of love” was unique in the American radio scene: a regional radio-only news service for fans, insiders and Southern California radio history freaks.  While the service was appreciated by many current and former LARP and their fans, the times aren’t kind to a subscription-based business model and Barrett was forced to shut the daily news feeds down.  Los Angeles-based personality Doug McIntyre who hosts Cumulus Media’s nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” and WABC, New York’s “Talking the News,” wrote a letter to TALKERS magazine about the end of LA published in the current print edition.  It reads:  “In radio as well as in life, change is the only thing that stays the same.  Shows get the axe, new shows try their luck, formats flip as battalion after battalion of consultants airlift in to fix mornings, tweak afternoons or transform imagining.  In Southern California, the man who kept track of it all wasn’t actually in the radio industry — he’s a movie publicist by trade — but harbored a deep love for the spoken word and those who do the speaking.  Don Barrett’s website was the morning must-read for 15 years in Los Angeles. Sadly, for his small army of fans, the final posting was uploaded on September 24th is no more.  Focusing mostly on the Southern California radio scene, all formats were covered with countless breaking industry stories first reported by Barrett.  ‘ was the glue that held the industry together,’ says KABC Los Angeles’ John Phillips.  ‘In an industry where people don’t get to see each other often, Don’s website created a community.’  And that community could sometimes be contentious, snarky, occasionally nasty, but always 100% real.  Barrett’s forum allowed radio professionals and partisans learn, leak and love the medium that has been sadly and inexplicably ignored by other media, despite the incredible reach and connection to its audience.  There are other great radio writers around America, including David Hinckley of the New York Daily News and Gary Lycan of the Orange County Register, but Barrett’s column went a step beyond reporting, it was in a way a shoulder to cry on; therapy for a community of professionals whose world was shrinking consolidation and recession and the fickle fate of changing tastes and trends.  Broadcasters down on their luck physically or financially always found a sympathetic ear from Barrett and his readers. Increasingly rare job openings were posted. Practical advice for career development or re-invention was offered on a daily basis. Profiles of working pros both on-air and off-air included put a spotlight on the many unheralded craftsmen who rarely got the respect they merited.  Making the ‘ Annual Top 10 Readers Poll’ was always an honor, even though everyone knew Vin Scully would and should win. We were okay with fighting for 2nd place.  And of course, there were always rumors and personal feuds just to keep it fun.  After carrying the torch for a decade and a half, Don is ready to move on.  The Los Angeles radio community will miss our daily dose of Don, but will never forget his love for the art and craft of radio and those who make it happen.”  TALKERS is pleased to present Don Barrett as a special solo speaker at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20. At that time he will be presented with a special TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award for what publisher Michael Harrison describes as “Don Barrett’s years of unique, selfless service and invaluable contributions to the Southern California radio broadcasting community.”  Harrison adds, “All of us at TALKERS appreciate just what intense dedication such a commitment demands.  Thus, we are honored to honor one of our own.”  For complete information about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.

Elite Broadcast Panel Discusses Social Media at SMW Panel in Chicago.  Social Media Week – last week’s international four-day, nine-city conference devoted to discussing the big-picture impact of social media – included activities in Los Angeles and Chicago.  These cities represented the U.S. among concurrent activities also taking place in Beruit, Berlin, Bogata, Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Milan, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, San Paulo and Vancouver.  The week closed in Chicago this past Friday evening with an insightful and often hilarious panel titled, “Reinventing a Media Career on Alternative Platforms.”  Panel participants included Emmy winning WGN-TV reporter, Nancy Loo; Robert Feder, the authority on the Chicago radio and television community for 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times, and now with his daily blog through Time Out Chicago; Richard Roeper, co-host of Roe/Roeper on WLS-AM, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, and former co-host of Ebert & Roeper “At the Movies.”  Completing the quartet was very-longtime Chicago talk radio host Steve Dahl who currently produces and hosts a subscription-based podcast.  Bill Adee, VP digital for the Chicago Tribune moderated the event and kept things rolling along quite effectively in spite of all the jokes and jabs among the panelists.  Some of the notable comments from this quartet of traditional media pros who have reinvented themselves to be received on alternative digital platforms include Steve Dahl stating, “CBS paid me to not work for two and a half years.  I started podcasting out of boredom for something to do.  It was either that or drinking.  I bought in 1995 and paid a lot for it.  As a comparison, the Chicago Tribune bought their domain in 1998.  I can do my complete show in ninety minutes, vs. Roe (Conn at WLS) who takes a whole shift because of all of the commercials.  What is your time worth?  The podcast model does not support advertising because no one will sit there and listen to twenty minutes of commercials.  Content has always been king, even more so now.  Talent will win out.”  Robert Feder said, “There was a time when I had no cell phone and didn’t know how to text.  After 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times I had to learn a lot or call it a day.  I had to see media as part of the real world, get educated or get ready to take tickets at Disney World.  The Sun Times was happy with the way things were for 30 years.  You can’t depend on big media anymore.  They’re like the old Hollywood Studios that did everything.  Now we’re all independents.  Journalists have to find out where the audience is – where people are receiving their information.  Quality of content is what matters.”  Nancy Loo added, “Web metrics are as important as broadcast ratings.  Generation Z has never picked up a newspaper…all their info is from tablets and phones.” Loo then raised the question, “17% Twitter vs. 80% on Facebook — are twitterers the more influential crowd, the media elite, those with the ability to get their point across in a concise, clear fashion?”  Roeper shared his perspective: “I acquired the domain in the late 90’s after a series of frustrating conversations with Disney who was reluctant to do original content on their website.  I activated it when I left “Ebert & Roeper” and in 2008 started tweeting from the Oscars.” Regarding people who comment, he asked, “How much time do these people have on their hands?  My favorite is YouTube because you get the global idiocy like the kid from Finland who wants to kill you because you gave ‘The Green Lantern’ a bad review.”  (Story covered for TALKERS by Beverly Padratzik)

Report:  Sports Talk War in Boston Hits WEEI’s Glenn Ordway in the Wallet.  A report in the Boston Globe states WEEI, Boston “Big Show” co-host Glenn Ordway took a big hit in the paycheck recently after a clause in his contract was exercised by Entercom that allows it to reduce his compensation based on the program’s ratings.  According to the piece, Ordway’s salary has been almost halved from its $1 million annual level.  Many programmers and talent are paid bonuses for hitting certain ratings goals but, according to the Globe report, sources say Ordway’s contract had a clause that allows the company to cut his pay if the show’s ratings dropped out of the top three in the Men 25-54 demographic in the Boston PPM.  It’s not clear how often the ratings are calculated for this purpose as Boston gets PPM ratings monthly, but the Globe’s report appears based on the seasonal Arbitron “books.”  It states “The Big Show” was #5 in that demo in the Spring Book.  CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM has given WEEI competition in the sports talk format in which it previously enjoyed a monopoly since signing on in August of 2009.  Ordway’s contract was signed in January of that year.

YouSendIt to Launch Half Million Dollar Talk Radio Advertising Campaign.   YouSendIt, Inc. – a leading business content collaboration service – has announced it is embarking upon its first national radio advertising campaign designed to reach professionals who listen to a wide range of talk radio programs while they commute.  The campaign utilizes five leading talk personalities who will share their own personal experiences using YouSendIt and recommend it to their listeners.  The campaign will run from today until the end of the year.  Participating hosts include Howard Stern, Sirius Satellite Radio; Jim Rome, Premiere Networks; Mark Levin, Cumulus Media; Neal Boortz, Dial Global; and Stephanie Miller, Dial Global. Sandra Vaughan, chief marketing officer of YouSendIt, tells TALKERS, “YouSendIt is well known for its file transfer service, but today we offer much more. By leveraging a proven medium such as radio, we are able to introduce our business content collaboration services and mobile application to a broader audience. Listeners will enjoy hearing how these radio personalities are using our new services.”

Westwood One Gets into the Web Content Game.  With its new, the syndicator begins competing directly in the consumer content business with a website that offers sports fans network exclusive radio audio.  The company states the new site “features pregame interviews with coaches and players, exclusive online commentary from Westwood One broadcasters, including Boomer Esiason, Jim Gray, James Lofton, Terry Donahue, Eddie George, Mark Malone, Tony Boselli and more. In addition, features broadcast schedules, announcer bios and a station finder to help fans locate local stations airing Westwood One Sports broadcasts.”  Other attractions include Tom Brady’s Monday Night Football pre-game conversation with Jim Gray, 1995 Heisman Trophy-winner Eddie George’s “Heisman Watch,” Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton’s interview with a fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer on “Legend to Legend,” and College Football Hall of Famer Terry Donahue’s coach’s perspective on NCAA Football in “T.D.’s Extra Point.”

Michael Savage’s Abuse of Power Debuts at #4 on NYTimes Bestseller List.  Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s new fiction thriller debuted at #4 on the New York Times Bestseller List this weekend. Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “smeared network journalist who uncovers a terrorist plot” — is Savage’s first novel.  He’s written 26 books over the course of his career with eight bestsellers to his name.  The book’s protagonist – Jack Hatfield – is a hardened war correspondent who’s “smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group, he ultimately loses his job and finds himself working in obscurity as a freelance news producer in San Francisco.”  It is there he uncovers a terrorist plot that sets the story in motion.  Savage has said he used his experience being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith as a catalyst for his book.

CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia Deals Programming to Atlantic City Outlet.  Longport Media’s WBSS, Atlantic City and CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM Philadelphia have a deal in which the former is airing WIP’s programming 24/7 as the station flips from news/talk to sports.  The change took place on Friday (9/23).  There are no details on the financial structure of the deal.

Orlando’s Shannon Burke Goes “Internet Only.”  The former WTKS-FM, Orlando talk host – who served time on a weapons charge that cost him his job at the Clear Channel hot talk outlet – is leaving his current terrestrial radio job at Star Over Orlando-owned WEUS, Orlando to host the PM drive time slot on RadioIO.  He’ll be on the “Bubba’s Army” video channel, the same on which Bubba the Love Sponge’s program is distributed in morning drive.

Sage Analysis.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) covers the Fox News/Google GOP candidates debate with expert analysis from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol (r) on his afternoon drive program.  Bernier was part of the radio row at the event held in Orlando, Florida.


Friday, September 23, 2011

| September 23, 2011

Target: Spanish Language Talk Radio Market.  Personal finance talk radio mega-star Dave Ramsey has worked very hard to become a household name through his popular daily talk radio show, television efforts, bestselling books and live event programs.  Now his Lampo Group organization is targeting the Spanish-speaking segment of the American population with the national launch of a daily talk show hosted by Andres Gutierrez.  Gutierrez is a successful entrepreneur; small-business owner and radio show host with the goal of helping the Hispanic community win with money.  Ramsey’s organization says “Andres’ successes have come from his passion and his simple, direct way of communicating hope to the hopeless.  His drive for excellence in everything he does enabled his business to prosper.”  Businesses all across America are developing plans to market to the Hispanic community and Ramsey says he’s long been interested in serving this segment of the nation’s population and says he sees the perfect messenger in Gutierrez.  “Andres joined Dave’s team in 2009 and is now helping to spread the message of ‘Paz Financiera’ all over the country — or as Andres would say it, ‘Teaching people how to make their money behave.’”  Ramsey’s organization is launching the Andres Gutierrez daily radio show in national syndication on October 17.

WBZ-FM, Boston Sports Talkers Felger & Massarotti to Simulcast on Comcast SportsNet.  Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti host the PM drive show on CBS Radio’s 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.  There’s no official start date announced, but this fall the duo’s PM drive show will be simulcast on cable TV on Comcast SportsNet.  Comcast SportsNet EVP and general manager Bill Bridgen says, “Felger, Mazz and the Sports Hub have taken over Boston radio with a rocket launch to the top of the ratings.  Adding Felger’s acerbic nature for four more hours to our lineup and Mazz’s credentials are huge pluses for Comcast SportsNet as we continue to build out our programming which features local, entertaining sports programming from 6:00 am to 1:30 am.”

Tyler Moody Promoted at CNN Radio.  Eight-year CNN Radio veteran Tyler Moody is promoted from executive director to vice president of CNN Radio.  The company says Moody will “oversee the editorial and operations teams, including affiliate services and CNN Radio’s more than 30 anchors, correspondents, producers and staff.  He will also lead the business in strategy, product development and execution.”  CNN lauds Moody for his work guiding the network through award-winning coverage of recent events including the earthquake in Haiti for which CNN won a Sigma Delta Chi award for breaking news coverage.  Moody takes over for Victor Kong who returns to Miami to be near his extended family.

Smith/Sabatino Show Debuts on WNYM, New York.  Emmy Award-winning news anchor and journalist Rolland G. Smith and veteran broadcaster Carl J. Sabatino are teaming up for a Sunday evening talk radio program to air on WNYM, New York called “Smith/Sabatino.”  The new program is described as one that “focuses on what we’re all exposed to in the news and why it’s there.  Smith and Sabatino face issues with a practical slant to events and everyday problems.  Their message is one of a common approach and an understanding of those issues and interests that address our lives in the most significant ways.  The program also presents a light and entertaining side, one that balances the hard issues with conversation and talk about the diversions and distractions of life.”  Smith is well known for his work at WCBS-TV and WWOR-TV in New York.  Sabatino is a former CEO of World Television, senior consultant for CNN Radio, WTFM, and WNEW in New York and broadcast executive for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Television.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Saga Communications stations WTAX, Springfield, Illinois; KGMI, Bellingham, Washington; WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; and WHMP/WHNP/WHNQ, Northampton, Massachusetts.  KICD, Spencer, Iowa and the Northampton, Massachusetts stations also add “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” to their lineups…..America’s Radio News Network gets its news block programming added to Renda’s WMNY, Pittsburgh as the station flips from business talk to a news/talk format.

The Fed’s Bleak Economic Outlook Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 19-23.  The bleak economic outlook announced by the Fed this week was the #1 topic on news/talk radio and landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart.  At #2 is President Obama’s debt reduction plan.  Following at #3 is the 2012 presidential race and the Thursday evening GOP debate and at #4 is the global financial markets activity.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart published weekly at that shows the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

| September 22, 2011

Tara Servatius and Dave Priest New Morning Duo at WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach.  The Myrtle Beach Sun News reports former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host Tara Servatius and radio pro Dave Priest replace Steve Porter as host of the station’s morning drive show.  NextMedia Radio market manager Barry Brown says in a release that the station is making changes to better serve the full-time residents of Myrtle Beach.  “WRNN is offering a fresh, new, unique voice to entertain and inform and a new conversation for Myrtle Beach from 6:00 to 10:00 weekday mornings.  WRNN extends a welcome to those who may not regularly listen with the addition of Tara Servatius.”  Porter, who would only say he wishes the station well and is moving on, invested in the station back in 1995 and has been involved in the programming since that time.

GHB Broadcasting’s Sports WIST, New Orleans Adds New Morning Host.  Former Times Picayune Saints beat writer Brian Allee Walsh hosts the morning drive show from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  WIST general manager Dan Frazier says the show is followed by the Dan Patrick program with the rest of the day featuring local programs:  Larry Holder and New Orleans Hornets studio personality Gus Kattengell host the locally produced “Sports Hangover” show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm followed by local host Eric Asher from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and local legend Kaare Johnson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  The station – the flagship for Tulane University athletics – features a rotating cast of local sports experts and personalities for its weeknight evening programming.

Current TV Names Jason Odell EVP, Technology.  The commentary and information-intensive cable channel announces it brings aboard Jason Odell to oversee IT, web engineering and broadcast engineering.  The company states that Odell “brings two decades of experience in media systems management and broadcast engineering on a number of platforms to Current as the network ramps up its TV and digital programming with a focus on news analysis and political commentary.  Most recently, he consulted for CNN, and helped the network introduce innovations such as augmented reality, and the use of immersive graphics driven by election data, for use in election coverage.”  Odell reports to Current president David Bohrman and says of his new position, “I’m very excited to be a part of Current.  This network has innovation in its DNA.  With the election fast approaching, we have our work cut out for us, but I am confident that with this team and with David Bohrman at the wheel we can get this thing up to ramming speed, and provide viewers with the truth, and a unique, much-needed perspective on politics.”

Genesis Communications Network Adds Two Shows to its Lineup.  GCN begins syndicating the “Common Sense Club” hosted by Scott Hennen airing daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and the Mike Siegel show that airs daily from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  GCN says of Siegel, “He applies real world expertise delivering solutions to everyday problems.  Mike hails from Brooklyn, and is a communications consultant, a media giant, a big-mouth lawyer, a liberal-turned-conservative and an advocate of business.”  It notes that Hennen, “has been a guest host for Sean Hannity and Jason Lewis.  Named ‘The Rush Limbaugh of the Prairie’ by The Wall Street Journal, Scott has also authored a new book titled, Grassroots: A Common Sense Action Agenda for America about the game-changing force in American politics — the Tea Party movement.”

Media Matters Produces Weekly Show on Sirius XM.  The six-week, two-hour weekly program will air on Sirius XM’s Left channel live Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (with replays on Sunday) beginning September 24.  “Media Matters Radio” will be hosted by Media Matters EVP Ari Rabin-Hart and executive producer Bradley Herring.  The program promises to “systematically analyze a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation and alert listeners to take action.”

GOP Candidates to Debate, Palestinian-U.N. Statehood Bid, Stock Market Activity and Obama Debt Reduction Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21).  The 2012 presidential GOP candidates and their debate scheduled for this evening, the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, Dow drops in trading and President Obama’s plan to reduce the nation’s debt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research by TALKERS.

Bob & Tom Comedy Bus Tour Kicks Off.  The Premiere Networks syndicated Bob & Tom show kicked off the Bob & Tom Comedy All-Stars Bus Tour this week with an appearance at Cracker’s Comedy Club in Bob Kevoian’s and Tom Griswold’s home base market of Indianapolis.  The tour – now in its sixth year – features a rotating ensemble of comedians appearing on stages all across America.  This tour will hit cities including: South Bend, Indiana; Dubuque, Iowa; Colorado Springs; Salt Lake City; Boise; Richland, Washington; and more.  Pictured here are (from l-r):  Chick McGee, Dan Cummins, Kristi Lee, Bob Kevoian, Tom Griswold, April Macie, Donnie Baker and Shane Mauss.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

| September 21, 2011

WABC, New York’s Joe Crummey Gets NY Radio Pro Patty Steele for Producer/Sidekick.  Late morning talk show host Joe Crummey has a well-known New York radio personality in the producer/sidekick role for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning Monday, September 26.  Patty Steele most recently worked in the Big Apple at Cumulus sister FM WPLJ as news director alongside Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill.  She’s also worked with Elvis Duran at crosstown WHTZ-FM, with Danny Bonaduce at New York’s former Big 105 and as a news anchor at WCBS, New York.  WABC program director Laurie Cantillo says, “Patty is smart, warm, funny and she gets what our listeners care about.  We’re thrilled about the strong news background and big ideas that she’ll bring to 77WABC.”

Internet Talk Radio Company Stitcher Raises $10 Million in New Funding.  Stitcher reports it has closed a Series C round of venture capital financing, led by New Enterprise Associates (whose general partner Ravi Viswanathan joins Stitcher’s board of directors) that allows the company to “fuel growth, build out a direct sales team and drive product development including enhancing its platform for content partners.”  Stitcher offers more than 6,000 different shows encompassing news, sports, entertainment, comedy and more from such personalities as Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, NPR’s Terri Gross, Adam Carolla and many more.  Stitcher is available on the internet, via smartphone apps and in cars via the Ford SYNC platform and the Buick IntelliLink in-car connectivity system.  Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok tells TALKERS he expects the company to make more announcements about in-car availability in the near future.  He also states that for talk content providers, his service is about the ability to be everywhere.  “In the near term, one of the benefits that the internet provides is the ability to be where the audience is.  As you grow and build a listenership you want to be effectively where it’s most convenient for them.”  Battles between providers to grab headline-making deals for unique content may come down the road, according to Shanok, but for now, “it’s about getting users used to the same benefits they have in their home and on the internet – such as on-demand and personal information – that are now extending to the radio industry and content providers are taking advantage of.”  Shanok acknowledges that, especially for talk, the car is a crucial listening location and his company’s primary goal is to make using the technology as painless as possible for seamless integration into the car.  “We’ve been able to stay ahead and differentiate ourselves by having laser focus on product and technology by focusing on just talk.”  Shanok says content partners benefit greatly by the feedback they get from Stitcher in the form of audience metrics and other data to assist in sales.

Cenk Uygur’s “Young Turks” Lands at Current TV; Leads in to Olbermann.  Talk show host Cenk Uygur, who filled in extensively at MSNBC earlier this year and had hopes of landing a permanent gig there (Al Sharpton got it instead), takes his “Young Turks” progressive talk show to Current TV.  Uygur’s program will air at 7:00 pm ET and leads in to Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” at 8:00 pm ET.  In a statement, Uygur says, “Current is the perfect home for our show.  We wanted to be in a place that is both independent and truly progressive — not owned and encumbered by a media conglomerate.  Does it get any better for a progressive than working where Al Gore and Joel Hyatt are your bosses and Keith Olbermann is your colleague?  It’s an honor to be the lead-in program for Keith Olbermann.  Add to that we will work with David Bohrman, who has been creating unique and great television programming for decades.  His vision for Current is exactly in line with ours.” The show will debut later this year, according to TVNewser.

ESPN Partners with Slacker for Customizable Listening.  ESPN Audio’s deal with the Slacker personal radio service gives users options for listening to ESPN-created content depending on which Slacker service they subscribe to.  Listeners using the free Slacker Basic Radio service now have access to an interactive, programmed ESPN station.  Slacker Radio Plus and Slacker Premium Radio subscribers have unlimited access to the ESPN Radio integration, including an ad-free programmed station with unlimited skips and the ability to create highly personalized, myESPN Radio sports stations based on favorite sports, teams or ESPN programs. Subscribers also have the option to add hourly “SportsCenter” updates to any Slacker station.

Hubbard Radio’s Federal News Radio in Washington Revamps Web Presence.  Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington and announces a complete overhaul of its website that it says makes information “more accessible and interactive for information seekers and decision makers of the federal government.”  The radio station and web destination serve the large number of DC-area residents who work for or contract to the federal government.  Program director Lisa Wolfe says, “Our new website is the next step in Federal News Radio’s continuing process to meet the news and information needs of our busy and time-crunched audience.  Our site is better organized, more searchable and has a nice aesthetic.”

KIRO, Seattle Inks MLB’s Mariners to New Play-By-Play Deal.  The length of the contract and the financial terms are not being disclosed but Bonneville Seattle crows its 710 ESPN KIRO will continue to be the place for Seattle Mariners baseball on the radio in the Emerald City for years to come.  Station general manager Dave Pridemore says, “It has been a pleasure working with the Seattle Mariners for the past three years and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come.  Combined with our additional coverage of the team on, we are striving to maintain our status as the number one place for fans to find Mariners news and information.”

Canadian Specialty Sport TV Channel The Score Reportedly for Sale.  Sources say owner Score Media wants as much as $200 million (Canadian) for a business that earned less than $8 million dollars last year.  By the numbers The Score is Canada’s number three cable sports station.  It doesn’t have the deep pockets of rivals TSN and SPORTSNET.  Rather than carry hockey, Major League Baseball and football, The Score generally reports on sports and carries live sports talk programming.  It does broadcast some events including NBA games, WWE wrestling and pro poker tournaments.

Obama Debt Reduction Plan, 2012 GOP Candidates, European Economic Tensions and U.N.-Palestinian Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20).  President Obama’s debt reduction plan, the field of GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential election, the instability of the European economy as Greece teeters on default and the Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

WTOP-FM, Washington Entertainment Editor Joe Barber Dies at 53.  Barber was found dead at his home in Washington, DC on Monday (9/19) and no cause of death has been made public.  Barber served as entertainment editor at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM since 1997.  The Washington Post reports that Barber suffered from diabetes and had been in failing health.

On Tour with Dave Ramsey.  This beautiful custom-wrapped tour bus is carrying nationally syndicated talk star and bestselling author Dave Ramsey around the country as he promotes his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).  Ramsey and company started in New York yesterday (9/20) with an appearance on CBS TV’s “The Early Show” and winds across the country through early November hitting such markets as Phoenix, Los Angeles, Knoxville, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta and more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

| September 20, 2011

WGN Informal Tour Now Playing on TALKERS TV.  While TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was in Chicago last week attending the NAB/RAB Radio Show, he ducked out briefly and headed across the street to the headquarters of the Tribune Company to pay a visit to his friends at WGN.  With video camera in hand, and upon extremely short notice, Harrison was graciously given an informal, off-the-cuff, tour of the facility by the station’s program director Bill White.  The video of that tour makes its TALKERS TV debut today.  Although it offers just a quick and limited slice of the rich world that is WGN – a radio station with a historic pedigree stretching back to the early 1920s – it does capture a provocative glimpse of the heritage station’s unique specialness.  Bill White takes us into the locked and almost forgotten — but still intact – record album and 45 rpm singles library, a fascinating reminder of big time radio as it was back in the day.  We visit the green room where today’s news/talk radio air guests are greeted, seated and offered beverages…a room that has hosted an endless list of the powerful and famous including heads of state.  We watch Leslie Keiling of WGN Traffic Central doing traffic reports and share a few words with her.  We talk with Jackie Paulus, WGN director of marketing & digital strategies about the station’s digital sales initiatives.  We meet assistant program director Alex Quigley in the WGN radio newsroom — situated against the dynamic backdrop of the main newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, located in the same building.  We peek in on the huge main studios of the iconic radio station.  A highlight of the visit is chatting with John Williams during a break during his midday show in the WGN street level Showcase Studio and barging in on the staff prep meeting conducted by afternoon drive star Garry Meier. View this must-see video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.

It’s Official: George Plaster Exits WGFX-FM, Nashville.  Speculation over whether sports talk host George Plaster would stay with the company he sued for his freedom eight years ago (Cumulus) when it became owner of WGFX-FM is over.  Plaster tells The Tennessean he made the decision on Friday, “It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in radio.  It was very emotional for me because of the people that I’ve worked with.  The people at 104.5 The Zone are as professional as any radio station that I have ever dealt with.  These are friends and we’ve had unbelievable success at this station.”  The new crosstown sports talk station owned by Cromwell Group – WPRT-FM – is a possible destination for Plaster but he says he’ll take some time to decide what he’s going to do next.  There is probably a non-compete that Plaster will have to wait out before going back to radio in Nashville.  At WGFX-FM, “The Allstate Sports Zone” continues on with Willy Daunic and Chad Withrow.

Premiere Networks Announces Goldline Exclusive Precious Metals Dealer Sponsor of Sean Hannity Show.  Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show – heard on more than 500 affiliate stations – reaches an extremely dedicated core group of conservative talk radio listeners.  That target demo must be exactly what Goldline International Inc. is looking for as it announces it is the exclusive precious metals sponsor of the Sean Hannity show.  Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, “Sean Hannity clearly represents the pinnacle of talk radio with millions of loyal listeners following Sean’s unique take on politics, culture and current events.  Goldline is thrilled to be a sponsor of the Sean Hannity show and help Americans across the country learn more about diversifying with precious metals.”  Speaking about the exclusive advertising deal, Sean Hannity says,I am looking forward to working closely with a gold company that has such a stellar reputation in the industry.  For those who are thinking about investing in gold, the place I highly recommend is Goldline.”

KIRO, Seattle Extends Contracts of Kevin Calabro and Jim Moore.  Bonneville’s 710 ESPN Seattle (KIRO) adds an hour to the Kevin Calabro show – now airing from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily – and gives contract extensions to host Kevin Calabro and co-host Jim Moore.  Station GM Dave Pridemore notes the program is currently the #1-rated show in the Men 25-54 demo and says, “We are thrilled to have Kevin and Jim continue to anchor our afternoon drive into the future.  Kevin’s connection to the Seattle sports audience, dedication to the craft and loyalty make him a true professional and advocate for this entire region.”

WTKK-FM, Boston Adds Pollster Scott Rasmussen for Weekly AM Drive Appearance.  Rasmussen is the founder of Rasmussen Reports – the public opinion polling firm – and a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV shows as well as a talk show host in his own right.  Now, Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Rasmussen will make a weekly appearance on its AM drive show with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan every Wednesday at 7:45.  Braude says, “Scott Rasmussen is as good as they come, his insight on topics that Bostonians and New Englanders care about is unmatchable.”  Eagan notes, “He knows what Americans are thinking about, everything from politics to laundry detergent.”

Pop Culture AM Drive Hosts Chaz and AJ Simulcast in New Haven and Norwalk, Connecticut.  Cox Media Group gives talk-intensive rock WPLR, New Haven morning drive hosts Chaz and AJ another market as the duo’s program begins a simulcast on the company’s classic rock WFOX, Norwalk, Connecticut.  The show is described as a mix of humor, politics and water cooler talk.  Keith Dakin, who programs both stations, says, “This move just makes sense.  I am extremely excited to extend the reach of Chaz and AJ to the residents of Fairfield County who have never been able to hear the show.  These guys really deliver for Connecticut and I expect big things from them on WFOX.”

Marty Basch Joins CBS Radio Las Vegas as VP/Director of Sales.  Basch has worked for CBS Radio in the recent past.  He left two years ago to take the EVP/GM position with Kemp Broadcasting.  Now he returns to the company as vice president and director of sales for the six-station cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.

Obama Deficit Reduction Plan, Palestinian-U.N. Issue, European Economic Jitters and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  President Obama’s plan to cut the nation’s deficit, the Palestinian plea to the U.N. for statehood, continued jitters in Europe over Greek debt and the GOP contenders for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Talkers TV visits WGN

| September 20, 2011

WGN Informal Tour Now Playing on TALKERS TV. While TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was in Chicago last week attending the NAB/RAB Radio Show, he ducked out briefly and headed across the street to the headquarters of the Tribune Company to pay a visit to his friends at WGN. With video camera in hand, and upon extremely short notice, Harrison was graciously given an informal, off-the-cuff, tour of the facility by the station’s program director Bill White. The video of that tour makes its TALKERS TV debut today. Although it offers just a quick and limited slice of the rich world that is WGN – a radio station with a historic pedigree stretching back to the early 1920s – it does capture a provocative glimpse of the heritage station’s unique specialness. Bill White takes us into the locked and almost forgotten — but still intact – record album and 45 rpm singles library, a fascinating reminder of big time radio as it was back in the day. We visit the green room where today’s news/talk radio air guests are greeted, seated and offered beverages…a room that has hosted an endless list of the powerful and famous including heads of state. We watch Leslie Keiling of WGN Traffic Central doing traffic reports and share a few words with her. We talk with Jackie Paulus, WGN director of marketing & digital strategies about the station’s digital sales initiatives. We meet assistant program director Alex Quigley in the WGN radio newsroom — situated against the dynamic backdrop of the main newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, located in the same building. We peek in on the huge main studios of the iconic radio station. A highlight of the visit is chatting with John Williams during a break during his midday show in the WGN street level Showcase Studio and barging in on the staff prep meeting conducted by afternoon drive star Garry Meier.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

| September 19, 2011

WBZ, Boston Celebrates 90 Years on the Air Today.  Yes, the building with its twin radio towers in the photo at the top of this page is the site of the original broadcast studios but you might be surprised to know it’s not in the Boston area.  The CBS Radio station’s history as the first “commercial license” radio station in the country began 80 miles west in Springfield, Massachusetts at the old Westinghouse plant.  Many of the nation’s oldest radio stations moved around the dial and WBZ was no exception.  It broadcast at 830 on the dial when it first went on the air from this location on September 19, 1921.  Read more about WBZ’s history here.

Cumulus Gives WMAL, Washington an FM Boost Today.  The victim is classic rock WVRX-FM at 105.9 as WMAL will simulcast beginning at 12:00 noon today in time for Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh to be heard in the Nation’s Capital on FM.  WMAL clearly has its sights set on some of the dollars crosstown competitor WTOP has been raking in on the FM band.  WMAL president and general manager Jeff Boden states, “By expanding our successful brand to the FM dial, we will be a viable listening and advertising option for many more people in the Washington, DC area.  There are many potential listeners who never listen on AM, and we are now making programs of wide interest available to the largest possible audience.”

George Plaster’s Status in Nashville Unknown.  Nashville sports talk host George Plaster was off the air at WGFX-FM on Friday and he tells the Tennessean, “There’s been a lot of rumors about where we’re going to end up.  At this point no decision has been made.  I want to do not only what’s good for my group, but I want to end up doing something good for our listeners.”  WGFX-FM was a Citadel station until the closing of the merger between Cumulus and Citadel.  Eight years prior, Plaster sued Cumulus to get away from that company and join Citadel’s WGFX-FM.  If there’s bad blood between the two parties, the question is will they be able to get over it and work together again?  Plaster’s show rakes in a reported $2 million annually for WGFX.  The complicating factor is the new crosstown FM sports talk station WPRT-FM “The Game,” operated by the Cromwell Group, which would no doubt love to bring Plaster over to get its new format off the ground with a popular, money-making talent.  Expect some decisions to be made soon.

Bill Cunningham Debuts on Daytime TV Today.  WLW, Cincinnati and Premiere Networks talk show host Bill Cunningham’s nationally syndicated eponymous TV show debuts today.  Cunningham tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that this is a completely different program than his radio show.  Cunningham has been taping shows since late July and the content is very much the stuff of daytime TV talk shows – dysfunctional families, pot parties and other such fare.  Cunningham says they’ve remade his image with spray-on tans and expensive suits but producers of the program say they want his image as a father, family man and the guy-next-door to shine through.  Cunningham’s program debuts on 22 stations across the country, including in his home town of Cincinnati.

WTMM-FM, Albany Brings Bruce Jacobs in for PM Drive.  Sports talk and talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs is named the new PM drive host at Townsquare Media’s Albany/Schenectady FM sports talk outlet 104.5 The Team.  Jacobs has worked most recently in the Phoenix market.  Jacobs begins his new program Tuesday, September 20.  The Long Island native says, “After 20 years of being away, it’s so great to be home again.  It’s great to be back with the most passionate, hardcore fans in the world.”

John Olsen Named PD at Sports WZZN-FM, Birmingham.  Cox Media Group announces John Olsen is the program director at its new FM sports talk outlet Sports Radio 97.7 The Zone.  Olsen has been with Cox since 2001 in various capacities.  He says, “Thanks to Ben Reed, David DuBose, Ray Nelson and Justin Case for their vision to bring 97.3 The Zone to the air.  We have a terrific, unique station that will give sports fans a true sports station.”  Also at the CMG in Birmingham, programmer Justin Case is named operations manager for the cluster.

Eleanor Mondale Dies at 51.  Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale and former WCCO, Minneapolis talk show host, passed away on Saturday at age 51 after her second bout with brain cancer.  Mondale left her show on WCCO in March of 2009 after the brain cancer returned a second time.  She had surgery later that year to remove the tumor and it was reported at the time that the surgery was successful.  Mondale began her broadcasting career in 1989 as the entertainment reporter for WCCO-TV, Minneapolis.  She went on to network television gigs but returned to Minnesota and co-hosted a radio talk show on WCCO with Susie Jones in 2006.

KYW, Philadelphia’s Jack O’Rourke Passes Away at 80.  Shortly after covering the Phillies-Cardinals game Friday night, the KYW sports reporter collapsed and passed away.  O’Rourke began his career with KYW in 1966.  He worked with NBC Radio in New York for more than 20 years before returning to KYW.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean is added to the program schedule at Cox Media Group’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is now heard on WWNZ, Bangor…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory is picked up by CBS Radio’s new news/talk outlet WXYT for the 1:00 am to 5:00 am timeslot…..The talk-intensive, Premiere Networks-syndicated Elvis Duran morning show adds new affiliate WMXZ-FM, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida…..The “Health Insurance Advocate” show with Cary Hall joins the lineup at KBMV-FM, West Plains, Missouri…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds KFLO-FM, Shreveport, Louisiana; KWKC, Abilene, Texas; KBMV-FM, West Pains, Missouri; and WBFD, Bedford, Pennsylvania…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is cleared on KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

| September 15, 2011

Cumulus-Citadel Merger Gets DOJ and FCC Approval; Shareholder Vote Takes Place Today.  The merger of radio companies Citadel and Cumulus has passed federal muster as both the FCC and the Department of Justice give their approval and the creation of the new radio company rests on shareholder votes today (9/15).  To make the deal happen, Cumulus is forced to put three stations in a trust.  Those are: Citadel’s country WCAT-FM, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Cumulus’ CHR WWKL-FM, Palmyra, Pennsylvania and classic rock WRSR-FM, Owosso, Michigan in the Flint market.  WRSR-FM goes into the Potential Broadcasting trust and must be programmed by the trust’s operators.  WCAT-FM and WWKL-FM were being moved to the Volt Radio trust and will be reassigned to the Potential trust and also must be programmed by that trust’s operators.

Bloomberg and ESPN Join in Partnership for New York Morning Sports Reports.  At first blush it seems like an unlikely pairing but many of the men Bloomberg’s flagship station business news WBBR, New York reaches are sports fans as well.  ESPN’s WEPN, New York will provide WBBR with live reports specifically targeted to the New York market by WEPN’s Jared Max beginning at 5:00 am on “The First Word” hosted by Ken Prewitt and “Bloomberg Surveillance” with hosts Prewitt and Tom Keene.  Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers states, “”We’re pleased to offer our listeners in the New York City metro area with morning sports coverage by ESPN’s flagship station.  In partnering with ESPN, we’re combining the best brand in business with the best brand in sports.”

“Troubleshooter” Tom Martino Files for Personal Bankruptcy Protection.  Martino’s consumer advocate show is heard daily on KHOW, Denver.  The filing lists assets of $1.37 million against liabilities of $78.6 million.  Martino tells the Denver Post that his financial issues center on his real estate investments that have been affected by the economy.  “There are so many people in this same boat.  You’ve got millions of dollars in lost value and all of a sudden you can’t refinance your loans and you are just upside down.  I just don’t know what I could have done.”  Martino says his debt comes from taking on additional loans over the past few years to save his real estate investments and that his Troubleshooter Network, consulting business and the radio show are not affected by the bankruptcy filing.

Leslie Marshall Show Contracts with AdLarge for Sales Representation.  The independently syndicated Leslie Marshall show signs a deal with AdLarge for the company to be the exclusive national marketing rep firm.  AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Shonfeld states, “Leslie is a highly renowned pundit who knows how to engage both the left and the right.  We are thrilled to have her show on our growing content platform and to represent her with the biggest national advertisers in the country.”  Marshall, whose program is fed live nightly from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET, says of the new deal, “Gary has done this before and very successfully.  At AdLarge, I’m not just another show in a large roster of programs.   My show is given personalized attention and the AdLarge team seems to have my best interest at heart.  They work hard for me.”

Bill Press Show Adds Video Component.  Bill Press’ Dial Global-syndicated radio show begins a video stream today (9/15) from his Capitol Hill studios.  Press tells TALKERS the video will stream live via Ustream and then key excerpts will be posted on YouTube but he’s quick to note they are still doing a radio show, not a TV show.  As a credentialed Washington correspondent and a nationally syndicated columnist (Tribune), Bill Press brings a unique level of journalistic credibility to his radio show that makes it stand out from most talk shows on either the left or the right.

KIRO, Seattle Debuts New Football Show.  710 ESPN (KIRO), Bonneville’s Seattle sports talk station debuts a new live football show tonight (9/15).  The new weekly show airs live tonight from Joey Restaurant in Bellevue, Washington from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by ESPN football expert John Clayton and co-hosted by former Seattle Seahawk players Dave Wyman and Mack Strong.  Joining the trio on tonight’s show is current Seahawks player John Moffitt.

CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM Gets Pirates Baseball Back.  That’s what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting.  After five years at Clear Channel’s FM talk WPGB, the paper says sources close to the deal indicate Pirates baseball, which aired for so many years on heritage news/talk KDKA, will come back to CBS but this time on its KDKA-FM sports outlet, “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan.”

WBZ, Boston Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary.  CBS Radio’s venerable WBZ, Boston will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Monday, September 19 and will commemorate its place in broadcasting history as the first commercially licensed radio station in America.  The station will air a number of 15-minute vignettes that chronicle and honor the station’s history.  The station will also host a WBZ Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon states, “For nine decades WBZ NewsRadio has led the way in reporting historic news events on both a national and local stage, and the station has offered a forum for the community to discuss the news of the day and evaluate what it means to them.  We are extremely proud of the staff’s reporting and programming over the years, as well as the station’s community outreach, and we look forward to being a positive influence in the market for many years to come.”

Early Ratings for Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Show Soft.  The new, daytime TV talk show “Anderson” is not yet a week old but analysis of the early ratings is inevitable and so far the critics are not impressed.  The Los Angeles Times reports the Monday premiere garnered a 1.1 household rating that put it behind the pack of such shows as “Regis & Kelly,” “Ellen,” “Dr, Oz,” and “The Talk.”  But the syndicated show is expected to take time to build and Telepictures – the Warner Bros. arm syndicating the show – says the program was pre-empted in some markets and had to compete with coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Insurgent Attack in Kabul, Obama’s Green Jobs Controversy, 2012 GOP Presidential Field and European Financial Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14).  The violent attack on American interests in Afghanistan, the investigation into the Obama Administration’s support of a solar power company, the GOP field of candidates for president in 2012 and the tenuous state of the European economy were some of the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio yesterday.

KDKA Feeds Pittsburgh.  Well, at least several thousand Pittsburghers.  That’s how many residents station officials say enjoyed the 28th KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast held recently in the Steel City.  Pictured here are KDKA talk host Johnna Pro (l) and traffic reporter Kathy Berggren (r) as they prepare to feed the masses.  This year, the station honored the late KDKA talk personality John Cigna who is credited with starting the popular local tradition as a station promotion 28 years ago.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

| September 14, 2011

Big Eddie: Walkin’ the Walk.  MSNBC and Dial Global progressive talk star Ed Schultz sits down with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison and says he’s committed to the causes he talks about on his programs in a very hands-on way.  He’s personally worked to assist Katrina victims, stood behind the public union workers in Wisconsin and is organizing free health care clinics in New Orleans.  Schultz also tells Harrison he’s not afraid to criticize President Obama and often takes guff from fellow progressives when he does.  On his media experiences Schultz says he knows the life span of a cable TV talk host can be very short but he makes no excuses for being himself — both on the radio and on TV — and is very proud of his “upstream swim” to success.  Read the interview here.

Don’t Miss Michael Harrison at the Radio Show!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison delivers his annual “State of Talk Media” address at the NAB/RAB-produced event in Chicago today (9/14) from 10:30 am to 11:45 am at the Hyatt Regency Chicago C/D.  Today Harrison will discuss the current state and immediate future of talk radio and its related venues and presents his “10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio” right now.

Talk Radio Programming Pro Len Weiner Heads Florida Cluster.  The Genesis Communications-owned stations in the Tampa market – all-news WWBA, news/talk WMGG and sports WHBO – have a new programmer in radio pro Len Weiner.  His programming resume includes WGN, Chicago; WMVP, Chicago; KMPC, Los Angeles and a decade spent at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.  Now he heads south to take the official title market program manager at the Genesis cluster.

TRN’s Michael Savage Releases New Fiction Thriller.  Savage is no stranger to bestselling books – he’s penned eight of them.  Now he’s out with a fast-paced fiction thriller titled, Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “hardened former war correspondent… smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group…who uncovers a chilling terrorist plot.”  A release states that Savage’s own experiences – including being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – influenced this work.

Citadel Media Very High on Hot ABC Digital Product.  Citadel Media says the ABC Digital service from ABC News Radio is one of the network’s fastest-growing products with 350 affiliations to date.  The service that delivers customized, format-specific news and music/entertainment feeds directly to radio station websites has inked affiliation deals with several broadcast companies in the past month including Midwest Communications, Merlin Media, Three Eagles Communications, Journal Broadcast Group, Next Media, Times-Shamrock Communications, and JVC Broadcasting.  ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says, “When we break news, we alert our key radio station contacts so they can promote their leadership position on-air and drive listeners to their station’s site.  This is a strong engagement feature that helps our customers increase their digital audience while seamlessly linking the on-air and online experiences.”  ABC Digital offers brief stories from news categories such as World, National, Politics, Business, Entertainment and Health/Lifestyle, which are produced and updated 24 hours a day. Photos, slides and graphics accompany each story.  The service can also be tailored for music-formatted stations to focus on stories about key artists for the major radio music formats.

Tea Party GOP Debate, Obama’s Sinking Approval Ratings, Jobs Bill and Race for Weiner Seat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13).  The performances of the GOP contenders for president at the Tea Party Debate, President Obama’s low approval ratings, the jobs bill Obama is presenting to Congress and Republican Bob Turner’s victory for the New York Congressional seat held by disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Dancing Cheek to Cheek.  That’s Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cutting the rug with Minnesota Congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in Tampa.  The photo was taken at the presidential debate “Watching Party” sponsored by Salem Communications news/talk outlet WGUL, Tampa that catered to an “overflow crowd.”  Several candidates stopped by the party — emceed by Gallagher — after the debate.  Salem Radio Network VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Anytime you can herd hundreds of WGUL listeners together with a half dozen presidential candidates and everyone leaves smiling, I’d call that a successful station event!”

The TALKERS Interview:
A conversation with MSNBC and Dial Global
progressive talk star Ed Schultz

| September 14, 2011

Ed Schultz is one of the most-listened-to progressive radio talk show hosts on the air in America today and a burgeoning presence in the cable news/talk television scene.  His daily radio show syndicated by Dial Global Radio Networks –– now in its eighth year –– broadcasts live weekdays from New York City 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on more than 100 affiliates across the country.  In addition, he hosts a prime time 10:00 pm ET weekday cable television program (Monday through Thursday) on MSNBC.  The Talkers Interview with Ed Schultz was conducted by Michael Harrison.

TALKERS: On behalf of all of us at TALKERS who’ve been watching your career for years, all the way back to Fargo, congratulations on all the multi-media success that you’ve been having.  How’s life going for you these days?

ES:  Well, it’s pretty intense, Michael, and it’s been a long run.  We start our ninth year in January and we’re awfully excited about the fact that we were able to go through one of the toughest economic times in the history of the country.  I have all the same team members –– nobody lost their benefits, nobody lost their wages.  And we have survived and I’m very proud of that because it’s all about the business model.  When we started back in 2004, Twitter wasn’t around.  Facebook wasn’t around.  I think the internet interaction presence wasn’t anywhere near what it is today.  Podcasting wasn’t around.  So there’s been so many changes since we started and I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to do all the things we need to do to make sure our sponsors get the kind of response they’re looking for.  And that really is the name of the game.  At the end of the day, we’re selling a commercial.  At the end of the day we have to put a product out there that people are going to be proud of and also desirable to be a part of.  Obviously, I never would have gotten the opportunity on MSNBC had I not done a syndicated radio show.  It’s tough doing three hours of radio a day, then of course doing the television show at 10:00 at night Eastern Time.  You know, Michael, it’s proven that you can do it.  It’s a funny instinct that’s inside us as broadcasters that you don’t give up; you can’t give up.  You accept every challenge you can and you make the most of it.  It’s been a great ride.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

TALKERS:  Let’s go back a bit for those who are new to Ed Schultz.  You weren’t always a “liberal,” were you?

Read More

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

| September 13, 2011

Atlanta Drops Two Positions in Arbitron Market Rank to #9; Philly and DC Move Up.  Arbitron announced the Fall 2011 update of its market ranks based on populations changes compared to the Fall 2010 survey.  Atlanta’s loss of population drops it to #9 with Philadelphia and Washington, DC moving up one position to market numbers 7 and 8 respectively.  Other market moves of note include: San Antonio moves up three positions to market #28;  San Jose drops three positions to market #37; and Jacksonville loses four positions to end up at market #50.  Arbitron created a brand new metro called the Hudson Valley consisting of several counties just north of New York City that ranks #39.  It also added additional counties to a number of metros causing big jumps.  Markets benefitting from those additions (with their new rank) are: New Orleans, #47; Des Moines, #73; Portland, Maine, #90; Corpus Christi, #111; Fort Smith, Arkansas, #160; Amarillo, Texas, #169; Bryan-College Station, Texas, #198; Jonesboro, Arkansas, #229; and Albany, Georgia, #241.

More Local Sports Talk at WXOS-FM, St. Louis.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves “The Late Shift” with Cliff Saunders to an earlier 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm airing and debuts a new 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm program on October 3 featuring former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan and station Cardinal’s insider Brian Stull.  According to the station, the addition of the “Stully & Duncan” show means the station offers 13 consecutive hours of live and local sports talk programming.  The new program and the time change of “The Late Shift” bumps ESPN Radio’s Brian Kenny show from the program schedule.  Program director Kent Sterling says, “This is a dynamic pairing of a respected sports radio host/journalist Brian Stull and the former professional athlete Chris Duncan, who until six months ago was known only as a former Cardinal.  Now, Chris Duncan is a radio host who has become a valuable member of the 101 ESPN team.  His analysis of all sports – not just baseball – has been a boon for us over the past Cardinals season and he has demonstrated a work ethic and sense of fun that has been a great addition to the 101 ESPN brand.”

Troy Aikman Adds Radio Appearances to His Duties.  The Fox Sports NFL broadcaster and Hall of Fame player begins weekly appearances on three major market sports talk stations through Fox Sports Radio.  Aikman appears on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York with Mike Francesa in the 5:00 pm hour each Friday; on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago with Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley during the 8:00 am hour each Monday; and on Fox Sports Radio’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money program during the 5:00 pm hour each Tuesday.  Petros & Money is part of Fox Sports Radio’s lineup and is heard on some 245 affiliate stations across the country.

Harry Hurley Takes Morning Show to WENJ, Atlantic City.  Yes, WENJ is Townsquare Media’s ESPN-affiliated sports talk simulcast (WENJ-AM/FM) but Harry Hurley’s local news/talk show will air in morning drive on the AM side (1450) beginning in October after five years at crosstown WIBG.  Hurley tells The Press of Atlantic City, “The reasons I’m moving are because of the people I’ll be working with and the company I’ll be working for.”  Still, Hurley thanks WIBG owner Rick Brancadora for his time there and says, “I’ve learned to take nothing for granted.  You always earn it.  I’ve been lucky to have the most fiercely loyal listenership in radio. I’m confident they will move with me.”

Jim Walsh Returns to KFYR, Bismarck.  Walsh worked at the station in 2003 and 2004 and then went on to host programs at WILM, Wilmington and WASK, Lafayette, Indiana.  He takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at the Clear Channel station full time beginning September 19.  He replaces Scott Bachmeier who leaves his full-time gig at the station to focus on non-radio work but maintains his syndicated “Dakota Prairie Outdoors” program as well as the Friday afternoon “Energy Matters” program on KFYR.

Obama Jobs Bill, 9/11 Anniversary, and 2012 GOP Candidates Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12).  Criticism and analysis of President Obama’s jobs creation bill, the 9/11 anniversary and the 2012 GOP candidates for president – including anticipation of last night’s debate on CNN – were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Mohawk Valley Talk Host Publishes History Book.  This is not a boring treatise on the history of a region.  Instead, WVTL, Amsterdam, New York morning host Bob Cudmore has taken more than 40 of the most interesting and unusual stories about people and places in the Mohawk Valley he’s culled over the years for his weekly column in the Daily Gazette and put them together in this new book, Stories from the Mohawk Valley: The Painted Rocks, the Good Benedict Arnold and More (Nero Publishing 2011).  Cudmore’s book includes tales about psychedelic philosopher Benjamin Paul Blood, actor Kirk Douglas, Fonda’s Queen Libby, “The Daiquiris” bandleader Alex Torres, controversial Amsterdam mayor Theron Akin, singer Arlene Fontana, banker Pasquale DiMezza and the unofficial Polish mayor of Amsterdam Michael J. Wytrwal.  Cudmore has a book signing scheduled for this Saturday.  Check out his website

Monday, September 12, 2011

| September 12, 2011

TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Says Talk Radio’s Future is Significantly Tied into its Relationship with the Automobile.  In a newly published article that outlines the tenets of his “Annual State of Talk Radio Address” to be delivered at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Chicago on Wednesday morning, Harrison writes, “Now, more than ever, talk radio’s relationship with the automobile is vital and must be carefully protected.  The PPM is forcing radio to be programmed to precisely where people are, what people are doing, and how people are feeling during the potential listening process.  Group listening is out, solo listening is in.  Activity and mindset of the listeners are now all important considerations.  The automobile plays and will continue to play a growing role in determining talk radio’s future.”  The article titled “The Clock is Ticking,” which appears in the September print issue of TALKERS as well as on, covers the 10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio at this very moment.  In it Harrison covers a wide array of brewing industry trends among which he states intellectual property (IP) will increasingly dominate talk radio’s legal concerns, radio station values will continue to depreciate, there are lessons to be learned from sports talk radio, news/talk “stationality’ is rapidly evolving beyond the extreme left and right options, the invasion of FM will intensify, the PPM is increasing the need for top notch weekend and part-time talent, and the internet is rewiring the human nervous system.  The address is scheduled for Wednesday morning between 10:30 am and 11:45 am and is open to all attendees of the conference.  Harrison will be introduced by McVay/Cook & Associates consultant Holland Cooke who will be making a presentation of his own about talk radio’s relationship with the automobile at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011 on October 20 – Southern California being a place where the importance of automobile listening habits is most pronounced.  To read the full Michael Harrison article, click here.

Glenn Beck’s GBTV Two-Hour Broadcast Debuts This Afternoon.  From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET this afternoon Glenn Beck’s P1s will be viewing the webcast that, for all intents and purposes, replaces Beck’s popular Fox News Channel show in their minds.  The Wall Street Journal published a piece on Beck’s debut and reports that GBTV now has some 230,000 subscribers at $9.95.  It also projects that Beck could take in some $20 million in revenue its first year.  Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts is developing more programming for GBTV including children’s shows to come later this fall.  Beck tells the paper the goal is to reach younger people, “I don’t know anybody under 30 who is watching television the way I watched television. Technology has allowed people to change the way they consume the news, and we want to be where people are going.”

Saul Levine Loses at FCC in KFWB Trust Case.  The Mt. Wilson Broadcasting owner has been vocal in his criticism of CBS Radio’s KFWB, Los Angeles continuing to be operated in a trust stating that, basically, nothing has changed and CBS still owns and operates the station that is technically for sale in violation of a number of FCC precedents and that the FCC erred in granting the Divestiture Application.  On Friday the commission ruled against Mt. Wilson stating the station needs to be operated so as to get the best possible price in a sale.  It rules “the trust agreements require the Trustee to: ‘use all commercially reasonable efforts to preserve intact the present business organization of the Station and the Station’s relationships with its customers, suppliers and others having business dealings with it.’”

WTOP-FM, Washington Takes Ownership of Public Opinion Poll Feature.  Television networks and news organizations – usually associated with heritage newspapers – have long joined forces with polling organizations to jointly present poll results.  Now Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP  Radio begins working with the non-partisan, Virginia-based Heart and Mind Strategies research consultancy to present the polling data on issues relevant to the greater Washington, DC metro.  The first WTOP Beltway Poll presents public opinion on issues including terrorism and national security, the economic climate and voter confidence.  WTOP VP of news and programming Jim Farley says, “This is the first of a series of WTOP Beltway polls comparing and contrasting the views of voters in Virginia, Maryland and DC with voters nationally in partnership with the respected Heart and Mind Strategies.  This one reveals some surprising findings and interesting insights into public opinion of residents across the Washington metropolitan area ten years after 9/11.  We will be digging deeper into the issues raised and examining them more closely through a series of stories on WTOP and ranging from national terror alerts to looking at how prepared area residents and workplaces are in the case of a major disaster, to their lack of confidence with the present leadership in Congress and the White House.”

CMG Promotes Charlsie Moore to GSM.  Cox Media Group Atlanta Radio ups Charlsie Moore to general sales manager in charge of the account executives representing the group’s FM stations – including news/talk WSB-FM.  CMG Atlanta VP of sales Rob Babin says, “Charlsie is a proven sales coach and has done an incredible job of developing sales talent.  I’m confident that she will continue to lead our sales team to higher levels and ensure that our stations are among the top billing stations in the country.”

Filling in This Week.  Michael Bower (former Sirius XM Maxim Radio host) sits in at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas today and tomorrow from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Mike on Broadway!  Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher wrapped up a week in a cameo role as a disc jockey in the Broadway production “Memphis” yesterday (9/11).  Gallagher has been acting with various regional theatre companies for the past several years.  He says the thrill of making it to Broadway in the Tony-winning musical was the dream of a lifetime.  “This was a culmination of a lifelong dream to appear on Broadway, and the cast — although politically liberal for the most part — welcomed me with open arms.  I’ll never forget this week!”

The Ticking of the Clock

| September 10, 2011

By Michael Harrison

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –– Here are 10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio at this very moment, working our way from #10 to #1 in order of importance:

10) Industry conferences need to be downsized and regionalized.  Although there are still some good ones –– including TALKERS’ long-running New Media Seminar –– the day of the three-day, high-cost, national radio convention is clearly coming to an end –– at least for the foreseeable future.  The average broadcaster cannot afford the high cost of registration and travel to these events, nor the commitment of time that they demand.  Sadly, nor can most players in the sponsor pool.  Regional conferences that take place within a single day (eliminating the need for hotel lodging) and are affordable to the industry’s workforce –– exposed nationally by digital audio and video –– will and should be the wave of the future.  The forthcoming “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum” being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club set for October 20 is an example of this new kind of industry gathering.  We are putting our money where our mouth is.  This event is free.

  Read More

Rasmussen Reports comes to talk radio in DC and Chicago

| September 10, 2011

By Ellen Ratner
Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON –– Rasmussen Reports president Scott Rasmussen is famous for his polling and understanding trends and people’s views.  However, not everyone knows that he has a background in media and just began a radio show heard on weekends in Washington, DC and Chicago.  I met up with Scott in the green room at Fox News Channel where he was doing one of his many media appearances.

First, a little history.  Rasmussen Reports began as an opinion polling firm that published its results.  Back in the mid-1990s Rasmussen began putting the results of his polling on the internet and he says he found “there was a tremendous appetite because people cared about the topics we polled about and wanted to know what their friends and neighbors were thinking.”

Rasmussen says these polls are scientific surveys.  Most of the interviews are conducted via the phone and since growing numbers of people are abandoning land lines, they are reaching them in different ways as well.  They collect a random group of people all around the country and make sure the sample they get reflects the nation’s population in terms of gender, age, race, political party and geographic location.  Rasmussen tells TALKERS, “One of the things that is important in any kind of scientific survey is being a randomly selected group.  That’s the way you get the results.  The way you test to see if the poll works is to see in the real world what things the poll predicted actually happened.  The most obvious example is comparing poll results to election results.”

Read More

Friday, September 9, 2011

| September 9, 2011

How Is Talk Radio Handling the 9/11 Anniversary?  The 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011 is Sunday and – indicative of the important role those attacks and their aftermath have played in the programming of American news/talk stations over the past decade – many of these stations are treating this Sunday as if it were a weekday, with their top talent broadcasting live and special programming pre-empting the usual Sunday schedule.  Read on as talk radio programmers, content providers and talent express what this tragedy means to, not only the broadcast outlets, but to talk media’s P1’s and the genre’s practitioners.  More here.

Talk Media Mega-Star Sean Hannity Celebrates 10 Years in National Syndication.  Hannity began his foray into national syndication the day before September 11, 2001 and he went on to become an extremely important media figure broadcasting to a newly expanded audience in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that would consume the American consciousness in the weeks and months that followed.  Initially syndicated via the old ABC Radio Networks and now by Premiere Networks, 10 years later Hannity’s show is heard on more than 500 stations across the country by more than 14 million listeners each week, according to the most recent ratings research from TALKERS (see that data here.).  In a statement, Sean Hannity says, “After 10 years in syndication and nearly 25 years on air, my love for radio continues to grow.  I’m grateful to be working with some of the best people in the business — from my staff, to affiliates, to my radio partners and sponsors; I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together.  Thank you to the listeners and fans who join me on this radio journey each day and help make this one of the best jobs in the world.”

Fox Sports Radio’s Pat O’Brien Featured in 9/11 TV Documentary.  The program is titled The Love We Make” and airs tomorrow (9/10) at 9:00 pm ET on Showtime.  It is a collaboration between Paul McCartney and filmmaker Albert Maysles.  Maysles followed McCartney around New York a month after the horrific attacks on the city, and Pat O’Brien interviews McCartney as part of the documentary.  McCartney was on a plane on the tarmac at LaGuardia preparing to take off when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.  O’Brien is co-host of FSR’s midday program “Loose Cannons” alongside Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs.

WAXY, Miami Host Dan LeBatard’s TV Show Set at ESPN2.  The half-hour TV show that has been in development titled, “Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable,” finds its home from 4:00 to 4:30 pm ET on ESPN2 beginning Monday (9/12).  The development of a TV show for LeBatard – who is a regular fill-in host on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” – was announced earlier this summer.  According to ESPN VP of production Marcia Keegan, LeBatard’s 72-year-old father Gonzalo LeBatard will also be part of the program.  She states, “Given the popularity of our afternoon lineup of discussion and debate shows, we know that our audience is drawn to accessible and engaging personalities so we expect Dan’s smart-yet-irreverent take on sports combined with the often diverting and occasionally thoroughly pointless interaction with his father to make for an oddly compelling program.  If nothing else, don’t say we never take chances.”  In addition to his radio and TV work, Le Batard is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

Tony Bruno Exits FSR; Mike North and Rob Dibble to Fill In.  Sports talk host Tony Bruno is leaving his “Into the Night” nationally syndicated sports talk show produced by DirectTV and airing on Fox Sports Radio Network to return to the air at Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia in middays.  Filling in that shift on the network are Chicago-based sports talker Mike North and former Cincinnati Reds “nasty boy” Rob Dibble for the show “FSR Evenings” airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  North has been hosting a weekend show for FSR and Dibble has worked for ESPN and the Washington Nationals on the TV side.

WTKK-FM, Boston’s Doug Meehan Begins Segment Honoring First Responders.  Doug Meehan is debuting a new weekly segment on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston called “First Responder Friday” that acknowledges the efforts of first responders in New England.  This segment – airing its debut at a time when first responders involved (and in too many cases killed) in the 9/11 attacks are being honored – according to the station “is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the firefighters, police officers and emergency medical responders who make the necessary sacrifices to put other’s needs above their own.”  Meehan states, “I feel this is a unique opportunity to recognize those in our community who often go unrecognized for their service to the community on a daily basis.”  The first recipient of the First Responders Award will be today on Meehan’s program.  Then beginning October 7, Meehan’s show will honor an individual or group of first responders in the region.  Nominations are accepted by their community or chosen based on an event that affected the lives of individuals.

ESPN Combines TV Simulcasts of Radio Shows.  ESPN moves the “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Scott Van Pelt Show” from The U and ESPN2 respectively to its ESPNews where they’ll air back-to-back from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

President Obama’s Jobs Speech Most-Talked-About Topic on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 5-9.  President Obama’s much-anticipated speech to a joint session of Congress and the nation was #1 on the Talkers Ten™ chart of the top talk topics this week.  At #2 was Wednesday’s GOP candidate’s debate and the 2012 presidential election.   Following at #3 was financial markets activity and severe weather across the nation and its financial implications came in at #4.  The Talkers Ten™ is published every Friday at  View all 10 topics and the 10 most-talked-about people by clicking the banner below.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

| September 8, 2011

WEEI Goes FM in Beantown; FM Sports Talk War Begins.  Two years ago CBS Radio made major changes to its FM properties in Boston and created WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” to challenge Entercom’s WEEI, even hiring away some of the younger staff that had been working at WEEI.  A strong, quick climb in the ratings by WBZ-FM – especially in younger demos – showed that station to be a worthy competitor to WEEI.  Now, Entercom fires back by dumping the classic hits format on WMKK-FM “Mike FM” and simulcasting WEEI on FM, beginning Monday, September 12.  Entercom will make the announcement official today (9/8) at 8:00 am ET on the Dennis & Callahan morning show.  WMKK-FM is licensed to Lawrence – north of Boston – and that will certainly help with coverage.  WEEI, although a 50k directional station at 850 AM, has a notoriously sketchy signal.  In fact, one of the amazing things about WEEI’s success over the past 20 years has been its ability to thrive with the poor signal.  Now, though, Entercom hopes to gain younger demos by being on FM along with its new, improved FM home in the sports-crazy Boston market.

From the Broadcast Booth to the Campaign Trail: Martha Zoller to Run for Congress.  What was reported by TALKERS earlier comes to pass as Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller announces she will run as a Republican for the newly created congressional seat in North Georgia next year.  Zoller’s camp states she has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission .  Zoller is based out of Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville and the company’s legal counsel advises her that she may remain on the air until she becomes a “qualified candidate” with Georgia officials next spring, according to an Associated Press report.  Zoller states, “I have been involved in radio for 15 years now, not just giving my opinion, but helping my listeners analyze the critical issues of the day.  Most importantly, I have given people a chance to be heard.”  Zoller is a popular conservative talk host, not only in the North Georgia region, but nationally due to her work on cable news/talk TV and other high-profile appearances.  However, she is not the only Republican to be interested in running for the seat representing the new district.  Georgia Republican State Representative Doug Collins – a former U.S. Air Force chaplain and floor leader for Georgian Governor Nathan Deal – is also seeking the seat.

CBS Radio Names Rona Danziger WXYT, Detroit PD.  CBS Radio is splitting off WXYT-AM from the current AM/FM simulcast of sports talk “The Ticket” and debuts Talk Radio 1270 AM WXYT on September 12.  The company announces it is bringing Detroit programming pro Rona Danziger aboard to manage the station’s shows.  Danziger – who most recently programmed Clear Channel’s crosstown sports WDFN – begins her duties immediately.  She says, “I’m thrilled to be part of the launch of Talk Radio 1270.  I can’t wait to work with Charlie Langton and the terrific staff at CBS Radio.  I’m excited to program a radio station that will bring edgy, opinionated and highly entertaining conservative talk radio to Detroit.”  The station also features Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck and “Coast to Coast” with George Noory; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham and Rusty Humphries; Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis; and Compass Media NetworksTodd Schnitt.

Tom Leykis on TALKERS TV.  In what can be described as the “Dance of the Lifestyle Hosts” or talk radio’s version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the legendary Tom Leykis is caught on video in a rare conversation recorded at the recent New Media Seminar 2011 in which he shows his charming (yet provocative) side.  He is interviewed by New Jersey 101.5 evening relationships show star Michelle Jerson and the two quickly become engaged in a good-spirited, but somewhat sparky, verbal battle of the sexes.  This is not to be missed.  Check it out on TALKERS TV on this page.

“America’s Morning News” Now Heard on More Than 135 Affiliate Stations.  The Talk Radio Network Entertainment and Washington Times collaborative morning news radio program “America’s Morning News” has added some 45 new affiliate stations this year alone to surpass the 135-affiliate mark.  The program, based at The Washington Times’ DC studios and anchored by John McCaslin and Dana Mills, is touted by its developers as “the leading source for breaking news coverage on radio, features an innovative long-form news format aimed at showcasing investigative reporting, and accountability journalism directly from the nation’s capital.”  The program is heard in 23 of the top 50 metros, according to TRNE CEO Mark Masters who says, “‘America’s Morning News’ is the direct result of a close relationship with Talk Radio Network Entertainment, The Washington Times and all of our valued syndication partners.  Working together, we’ve developed the next generation news radio programming that is rapidly gaining national audience share with over 135 affiliates secured to date.”

O’Connell and Moran Promoted at WSJRN.  Susan O’Connell is promoted to senior director of affiliate sales and Susan Moran is upped to director of affiliate marketing at The Wall Street Journal Radio Network.  WSJRN executive director Nancy Abramson says in a release, “Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran are both my mentors in the radio network business and it is a privilege to have them on my team.  Their accomplished careers and knowledge of the industry will help ensure our continued success.”  O’Connell is responsible for affiliate relations and marketing for the company’s “Wall Street Journal Report,” “Dow Jones Money Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning, “The Wall Street Journal This Weekend,” and “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner.”  Moran continues to be responsible for affiliating radio stations and overseeing the marketing and advertising for WSJRN and its affiliates.

Beth Sugrue Joins Merlin Media as Director of Integrated Programs.  Sugrue comes from CBS Radio Chicago where she was director of new business development for the past nine years.  In her new position with Merlin Media she’ll be responsible for managing the non-traditional revenue of the company’s three stations as well as the digital, non-spot and interactive sales operations.  Sugrue will report from EVP of revenue Greg Janoff who states, “Beth is a true talent who recognizes the essence of the integrated approach in the radio industry.  She has the keen ability to really understand the needs of a company and create a specialized program to solve those needs.”

Rick Buckley Memorial Service to Be Held Today.  A memorial service for Buckley Broadcasting president Rick Buckley will be held today (9/8) at 11:00 am at Christ Church Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut.  Buckley died unexpectedly on July 31 after suffering a brain embolism.  He had served as the president of the family broadcasting business since 1972.


GOP Debate, 9/11 Anniversary and Obama Jobs Speech Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/7).  The GOP presidential debate in held in Simi Valley, California last night, the approaching anniversary of 9/11 and President Obama’s scheduled address before a joint session of Congress and the nation on his jobs creations plan were three of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

| September 7, 2011

Larry King to Address Breakfast at “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.”  Some of the most important names in American talk radio will be assembling for six power-packed hours of give and take at what is aptly being described as a “new kind of industry gathering.”  Now the addition of one of the most legendary of the legends brings the roster of heavyweights over the top as Larry King signs on as the special breakfast speaker for “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.”  The first of its kind event is being presented by TALKERS in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Organizers report that as of 4:00 pm ET yesterday the free (including continental breakfast and lunch) mega-regional event has reached capacity for reservations.  However names of attendees will still be taken for a standby list on a first-come basis.  (The event is open only to members of the working media and press.)  Some 30 speakers have been recruited including keynoter Bill Handel, morning host of KFI, Los Angeles; and special guest solo speakers Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett, publisher,; and Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media.  Moderators, panelists, presenters and introducers include (in alphabetical order):  Cliff Albert, KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci, KFI, Los Angeles; Kevin Casey, TALKERS; Chris Crump, Comrex Corporation; Skip Essick, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Charles Feldman, KNX, Los Angeles; Jessica Gillette, C. Crane Company; Michael Harrison, TALKERS; Roger Hedgecock, KOGO, San Diego/Radio America; Jason Insalaco, KFI, Los Angeles; Mike Kinosian, TALKERS; Tom Leykis, The New Normal; Don Martin, KLAC, Los Angeles/Fox Sports Radio; Doug McIntyre, KABC, Los Angeles/Citadel Media; John McMullen, Desert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Stephanie Miller, KTLK, Los Angeles/Dial Global; Bill Moran, Bill Moran & Associates; Patt Morrison, KPCC-FM, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips, KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas, Hot 92.3, Los Angeles; Jack Silver, KABC, Los Angeles; Dave Sniff, KFMB, San Diego; Doug Stephan, Stephan Multimedia; H. Leighton Steward, Plants Need CO2; Chuck Tyler, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Jeff Wasserman, Life Coach Media.  TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey states, “This event has taken off like a rocket. It is extremely gratifying to see so much interest in this new concept. Part of its charm and appeal is its intimacy.  That being said, if we don’t cut off registrations at this point we’ll have to move it from the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater to the Staples Center.”  For further information, click here.

Cox Media Group Birmingham Makes Offer to Paul Finebaum.  Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s legal action against employer Citadel probably won’t be settled in the very near future, especially since recent attempts to settle the dispute out of court appear to have failed, but he may have a place to go if he leaves Citadel’s WJOX-FM.  The Birmingham Business Journal reports CMG Birmingham GM David DuBose has made an offer to Finebaum to join his new sports talk WZNN-FM should his separation from Citadel be legally executed.  Finebaum is in a battle with Citadel over compensation and contract language.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman recently wrote about the case and you can read that here.  DuBose tells the Journal of the conditional offer, “Cox certainly is interested in Mr. Finebaum, but it is all contingent on his release from his existing contract or from a court order that his contract is no longer valid.”

Governor David Paterson Hits Ground Running on WOR, New York.  If local is the goal with the hiring of former New York Governor David Paterson on Buckley’s WOR, New York, he accomplished that yesterday.  He hosted the two candidates for former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s job on his first program after taking over for Steve Malzberg in the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.  Bob Turner and David Weprin appeared for an in-studio debate.  Former Governor Eliot Spitzer and former NYPD and Los Angeles Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton also joined Paterson yesterday.

Salem Communications Announces October 3 Start for Steve Cochran on WIND, Chicago.  Longtime WGN, Chicago talk show host Steve Cochran – let go from the Tribune station in June of 2010 — will begin his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm air shift on Salem’s crosstown WIND on October 3, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  Cochran’s joining the station was announced last month but a start date was not announced.  Cochran currently holds two air shifts at CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – and Cochran says he’ll continue both but, obviously, something has to give with the 6:00 pm hour at KTRS.

Steve Gill Show Adds Local Hour to WLAC, Nashville Program.  The Steve Gill show is nationally syndicated via Radio America from its base at Clear Channel’s WLAC, Nashville from 5:00 am to 8:00 am.  Beginning Monday, September 12, the program adds the 8:00 am to 9:00 am hour on WLAC only.  Gill says, “We are thrilled to add an extra hour in morning drive that allows us to provide more local talk and listener interaction.   Additionally, we will continue to provide the A-list guests, commentary and remote broadcasts that we always have.  The combination of national impact and local availability to our affiliates is what sets us apart from other syndicated shows and we will provide more local emphasis in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee areas with the additional hour.”

Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Gains Major Market Clearance.  Premiere’s “America Now” with Andy Dean clears WSB, Atlanta and 95.5 FM.  Prior to gaining national syndication through Premiere Networks, Dean hosted the nightly overnight program on the Cox Media Group station.  WSB, program director Pete Spriggs says, “Andy just breaks through.  He’s extremely smart and informed, but there’s also a great flippant sense of humor to go with all the incredible content.  You can’t stop listening.  His potential is really unlimited.”

Tony Bruno Returns to WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Bruno left the midday show he co-hosted with Harry Mayes back in June to concentrate on his Fox Sports Radio syndicated late-night “Into the Night” show.  Now, WPEN-AM/FM announces Bruno returns to his place alongside Mayes (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) on October 3.


Westwood One Snags Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald for National Broadcasts.  Westwood One spices up its pre-game show broadcasts with commitments from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald to appear for weekly interview segments with Jim Gray during NFL games.  Brady will appear weekly during Monday Night Football pre-game broadcasts and Fitzgerald will also make weekly appearances during broadcasts of select games.  Gray says, “We have the best quarterback and the best wide receiver in the NFL joining us now every week.  In fact, they could be the best two players in the league, period, and we will be the only ones to have them both on a regular basis.  I am looking forward to a great season.”

Arbitron Promotes Two.  Jon Miller is upped from his post as an embedded account manager for CBS Radio to director of programming services where he’ll be the primary resource for radio programmers.  Jenny Tsao moves from PPM market manager to programming and marketing operations manager where she’ll develop training content, presentations and studies to help Arbitron’s clients better understand and utilize the company’s services to make programming decisions.

Obama Jobs Plan, European Economic Turmoil and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/6).  President Obama’s plan to announce his jobs creation package before a joint session of Congress tomorrow, the uncertainty over European economic stability and the effect on U.S. financial markets were three of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

“Ay Dios Mio, FIU!” That’s former CNN personality Rick Sanchez in the booth as color analyst for Florida International University’s football broadcasts (from video posted on the Chicago Tribune’s website).  Sanchez is working the broadcasts without compensation (his two sons attend the school) but reviews of his initial performance were largely positive.  Some say he was a bit too exuberant in his praise of the home team but his knowledge of the game and professional broadcaster technique added to the broadcast.  He even came with his own catch-phrase for the game, “Ay dios mio, FIU,” which translates to, “Oh, my God, FIU!”  FIU has a large number of students of Hispanic heritage.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

| September 6, 2011

On Any Given Monday.  In a PPM world, holidays such as Labor Day cannot be considered a programming throw away.  In a special feature story written by associate editor Alan Linder, published yesterday, radio execs tell TALKERS that although star hosts are still usually given time off for three and four day weekends, holidays must receive the same level of programming attention as regular weekdays.  This is generally accomplished by upgrading the production value invested in creating “best-of” shows or, in the case of stations using the “live-and-local” element as a signature asset, being sure that the station’s talent bench of fill-in hosts is up to the task of keeping the audience satisfied.  No longer are “best-of” shows just “okay” recent shows kept in the can for repeats on holidays.  They are special montages of outstanding elements culled from a variety of shows supplemented by previously unheard features and interviews prerecorded especially for such occasions.  For the live-and-local stations, careful thought and care is given to the selection and nurturing of fill-ins.  In today’s competitive talk radio, bench and weekend talent (including the emergence of “super part-timers”) are as important to the line-up as designated hitters and relief pitchers are in baseball.  Then there’s the dedicated syndicated morning star who loves what he does so much that he never misses a live show regardless of whether it is a holiday.  Read all about it here.

Today Is the First Official Day on FM for WIP, Philadelphia.  The changeover actually began Friday as rock WYSP-FM, Philadelphia played its last song (“Fade to Black” by Metallica) and flipped to a simulcast of sports WIP.  The station is now positioned as “94 SportsRadio WIP.”  The first day of WIP on FM was also the last day of the regular afternoon program for Philadelphia sports talk legend Howard Eskin.  He signed off his regular program after a 25-year career hosting a sports talk show in Philly.  Eskin remains with the station to host Eagles game day programming and will continue to work with WIP on part-time projects while exploring other media options.   The station’s new schedule premiers today with Angelo Cataldi remaining in AM drive, Comcast SportsNet host Michael Barkann joining Eskin’s former partner Ike Reese for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show and Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow in the 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  On Friday, Sirius XM’s Howard Stern appeared on WYSP-FM with Spike Eskin (Howard Eskin’s son who stayed on the air with his dad for his last show) to talk about his love for Philadelphia and bid adieu to the rock station.  WYSP-FM was the first station to pick up Stern’s program as it began its move into syndication from New York’s WXRK-FM.  On a side note, Longport Media’s WBSS, Atlantic City, New Jersey will begin simulcasting WIP soon.  Longport Media president David Coskey tells the Press of Atlantic City Philadelphia sports is an important part of his market’s interest so the move makes sense.  By the way, if you haven’t read TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian’s excellent piece on CBS Radio’s FM sports talk stations, check it out here.

Emmis Communications Receives Delisting Notice.  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was not surprised by the NASDAQ notice that it has until February 27, 2012 to get its stock price above $1 for 10 consecutive business days or be delisted.  The notice came just a day before Emmis closed on the sale of WWWN-FM and WLUP-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York to Merlin Media for $120 million.  Emmis is using the influx of cash to pay down debt while retaining an interest in the Merlin properties.

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Talk Host Garland Robinette Cited in Bribery Probe.  Robinette’s attorney tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune that his client – the WWL-AM/FM “Think Tank” host – has been told he is not a target of the investigation.  But federal authorities have spoken with Robinette numerous times after the investigation showed Robinette received $250,000 from local landfill owner Fred Heebe.  The issue here is Heebe’s campaign to shut down two other competing landfills in the area, theoretically so that his facility could accept more of the post-Katrina waste needing to be dumped.  Robinette enters the picture due to the money he received and his addressing the landfill issue regularly on his radio program in which he stated he believed the two competing landfills were not safe.  Robinette, through his attorney, states the money he received from his friend Heebe was a personal loan that he expects to pay back.  Meanwhile, Heebe allegedly paid $460,000 in bribes to a former state official to lobby to close one of the competing landfills.

Atlantic Coast Radio Splits WLOB-AM/FM, Portland Talk Simulcast.  WLOB-AM remains news/talk but the FM side picks up the sports programming signal from WPEI-FM and begins simulcasting it.  WLOB-FM is licensed to Topsham, Maine near Brunswick and gives Atlantic Coast coverage for the northern side of the newly expanded metro while WPEI-FM is licensed to Saco, Maine to the south of Portland, thereby covering that side of the market.

Jobs Creation, 2012 GOP Candidates, Post Office Financial Woes and Texas Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5).  President Obama’s and Congress’ plans for jobs creation, the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the looming threat of the USPS shutdown and the wildfires affecting Texas were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

| September 2, 2011

Steve Malzberg Out; Former Governor David Paterson Named WOR, New York PM Drive Host.  Citing a desire to be locally focused, WOR, New York ousts Steve Malzberg from the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program and brings former Governor David Paterson in to host the show.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “During his frequent stints as a fill-in host on WOR, Governor David Paterson proved to be a favorite with our listeners throughout the tri-state area.  He was the obvious choice to be the man behind the microphone as we extend our locally focused drive-time programming to the afternoon.”  Paterson is a confessed “radio junkie” states WOR program director Scott Lakefield.  “He is truly a fan of the medium.”  Malzberg is the second conservative talk show host to leave the station within the past year.  Premiere Networks host Glenn Beck exited the station at the beginning of the year.  But Lakefield tells TALKERS that from a positioning standpoint, there’s nothing to read into this move.  “This is all about our belief in David Paterson.”  He says of Malzberg, “Steve is a fine broadcaster and we have the utmost respect for him.”  Since leaving the governor’s mansion, Paterson has done some fill in work at sports WFAN among other New York radio outlets.  He begins his new show Tuesday, September 6.   As for Steve Malzberg, he writes on his website, “I am extremely proud of the four years in PM drive there.  I could not have imagined the great success, which came very quickly. (Not entirely true, I knew we would rock!) I wish my successor David Paterson all the best.  Please understand that this is not the end of the Steve Malzberg show, just a detour on the road to a better and bigger forum for all of us.”  Malzberg is available for fill-in work.  Contact Frank Murphy at 732-741-5456.

Norm Pattiz Set as Special Guest Speaker at “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.”   What began as a “Who’s Who” of talk radio people in Southern California has blossomed into a “Who’s Who of Broadcasters in America” as Norman J. Pattiz, CEO of Courtside Entertainment and legendary founder of Westwood One joins the amazing roster of speakers set for the forthcoming “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.” The first-time groundbreaking event, described as a “new kind of broadcast industry gathering” is being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club in the City of Angels on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.  Conference director (and TALKERS publisher) Michael Harrison states, “Having Norm Pattiz speak at this conference really ties it all together in a very special way.  Norm is one of the major figures of the modern era of radio of all formats.  I had the privilege of working with him in the late 1970s and early 1980s during the dawn of Westwood One when my ‘Great American Radio Show’ was one of the then-fledgling firm’s earliest offerings and I have personally witnessed how this great man embodies the very essence of Southern California radio and its connection to the entire globe.”  Pattiz’s address is aptly titled “From Westwood to the World, a View from Courtside.”  The Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011 features a line-up of more than 30 leading talk broadcasters including keynote speaker Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles and most of the top program directors from the major talk stations in Southern California.  For the complete up-to-the-minute agenda and registration information, please click here.

KPAM, Portland Drops News Block; Adds Terry Boyd in PM Drive.  Pamplin’s KPAM, Portland brings market media personality Terry Boyd aboard to host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program called “Terry Boyd’s World” beginning Tuesday (9/6).  Program director Dennis Glasgow says, “I’ve known Terry for several years and he has a loyal following of listeners that are going to be elated that he’s back on the air here in Portland.  He brings a unique brand of energy, enthusiasm and entertaining talk that our listeners are definitely going to enjoy.”  Matt Wilcox is named executive producer for the new program.  KPAM is dropping the afternoon news block it began in late May but VP/GM Dave Saxe notes the station remains live and local, “Terry Boyd is a great addition to Portland’s only live and local talk station.  Terry will be the most entertaining local afternoon show in Portland radio and will round out the AM 860 live and local talk line up from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.”

KSL’s Jay Mcfarland Releases New iPad App.  Mcfarland co-hosts KSL, Salt Lake City’s unique mid-afternoon show “The Browser” with Amy Iverson.  He also creates iPhone and Android apps and now he releases an iPad version of his popular iPhone app Pocket Politician that he says is “a fun and easy to use sound board of all the best political gaffes of our recent history.  From President Bush’s ‘recruitaments,’ to Obama’s ‘57 states,’ to Palin’s ‘I can see Russia,’ all of your favorites are ready to play at the press of a button.”  Check out all of Mcfarland’s games and app at his website

Curtis Media Group Changes Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point AM Management.  Tom Hamilton exits the general manager post at Curtis Media’s AM stations in the Triad market – news/talk WSJS and the three-station Triad Sports Network – and Ken Salyer takes his place.  Curtis Media president and COO Phil Zachary says of Salyer’s hiring, “Ken Salyer has successfully managed in three different rated markets in the Carolinas and I’m just thrilled at our good fortune.  Ken’s years of experience, colloquial knowledge of the regional marketplace and proven leadership skills can only build upon the strong foundation and outstanding team already in place with our Triad stations.”  Salyer will also manage the sales effort at talk WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina – “North Carolina’s Superstation.”

Obama Economic Policy/Jobs Speech Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 29 – September 2.  President Obama’s handling of the economy and his planned jobs program speech before a joint session of Congress and the nation was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 on the Talkers Ten was the 2012 presidential race.  Following at #3 was Libya turmoil and the U.S. policy there followed by financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers Ten is published every Friday at  Click on the banner below to view the entire chart.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Citadel Media’s “Red Eye Radio” hosted by Doug McIntyre adds KFMB, San Diego…..Fox Sports Radio’s J.T. the Brick and Ben Maller pick up WKRK-FM, Cleveland…..“Watchdog on Wall Street” host Chris Markowski get his “Money Minutes” feature added to WNRR, North Augusta, South Carolina.

WEEI in the Spotlight.  That’s Entercom Boston director of AM programming Jason Wolfe on the big screen at Fenway Park accepting the Boston Red Sox Jimmy Fund Award on Wednesday night (8/31).  The award was presented at a pre-game ceremony to Wolfe, WEEI and (regional cable network) NESN in recognition of the 10th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that took place on August 30-31.  The effort raised some $3.3 million dollars for Dana Farber – topping last year’s $3.1 million – to put the radio-telethon’s 10-year fundraising total at more than $28 million.  Wolfe said, “I am incredibly honored to receive this award…I’m very lucky to have played a part in its success, and I want to thank the WEEI listeners and the NESN viewers for their amazing support over the last nine years. It’s their donations that have helped make such a difference and have saved so many lives.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

| September 1, 2011

Speculation Abounds Over New Role for Former Gov. David Paterson at WOR, New York.  While he might not have accrued the most impressive ratings as chief executive of the Empire State after ascending from the lieutenant governorship upon Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s scandal-driven resignation, the New York broadcasting community is basically unanimous in its recognition of David Paterson as a skilled and engaging talk show personality.  While in office, he was known to be extremely talk radio friendly – accessible and open – and made regular appearances on the airwaves as a guest newsmaker.  Since leaving the governor’s mansion, Paterson has become a welcome fill-in host on a number of Big Apple radio stations, covering everything from current events to sports.  Today, his transition from politician to broadcaster will likely be official, as Buckley-owned WOR has called a major 12:00 noon ET press conference at posh Midtown Manhattan eatery Ben Benson’s Steakhouse to make “a major announcement” regarding the station and Paterson.  Stay tuned.

WBAL, Baltimore Brings TV News Veteran in for PM Drive.  The Hearst news/talk station chose not to renew the contract of PM drive host Shari Elliker, who’d been there since July of 2010, and brings aboard award-winning TV news personality Mary Beth Marsden to host the “Afternoon News Journal” program.  Marsden worked in the market for 20 years, spending much of that time as news anchor at WMAR-TV.  WBAL news director Merrie Street tells the Baltimore Sun, “Mary Beth has been a respected journalist in the market for over 20 years.  Her news judgment and her genuine commitment to her audience make Mary Beth a great fit for WBAL.”

WTOP-AM/FM, Washington Adds Mike Causey Column to its Media Station.  Washington, DC journalist Mike Causey is now producing a weekly column covering humorous insights on daily life and the news for, the Hubbard Broadcasting station’s award winning multi-media website.  WTOP SVP and general manager Joel Oxley says, “We are excited to debut this new weekly column at  Mike has a well-earned reputation as a leading correspondent in covering federal news for many years.  However, in addition to his wealth of industry and life experience, Mike is a master humorist and story teller.  We look forward to sharing that side of Mike, which promises to be very entertaining and should spark lively conversation and debate.  Mike may be known for his federal knowledge, but is loved for his general knowledge and one-of-a-kind insight on life.”

KDWN, Las Vegas Host Alan Stock Adds Hour to Show.  Las Vegas talk host Alan Stock, who recently exited crosstown KXNT-AM/FM and was added to the midday program schedule at KDWN, expands his program to two hours.  Originally brought on for the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program, Stock now begins his show at 10:00 am starting on September 6.


Filling in this Week.  WSTC/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler sits in for Joe Crummey at 77WABC, New York on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show tomorrow (9/2)…..Former KTSA, San Antonio talk host Kevin Wall fills in for Brian Kilmeade today (9/1) through Monday on Fox News Radio.



Obama Jobs Plan, 2012 Presidential Election and Middle East Turmoil Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31).  President Obama’s planned address to Congress and the nation on September 8, the GOP candidates for president in 2012 and the social and political turmoil in the Middle East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Moonlighting.  WAXY, Miami program director and on-air personality Marc Hochman is pictured here performing at The Improv comedy club in Fort Lauderdale recently.  Hochman, who is a cast member on WAXY’s PM drive Dan LeBatard program, was invited to perform his “sports comic” character at the club before a sellout crowd.  Apparently he “killed” because the club has invited him to come back and perform again.