Archive for October, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

| October 31, 2011

Severe Nor’easter Cuts Power to Millions in Northeast; Radio’s Response to Disaster a Mixed Bag.  Many TALKERS readers are aware that the bulk of our editorial staff is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and we are smack dab in the middle of the massive power outages and road closures so many in the Northeast are dealing with in the wake of the Nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of wet snow on the region on Saturday.  As the region digs out, deals with the tremendous amount of downed trees, and utilities crews work to get power back TALKERS editors have been able to do a preliminary analysis of how radio handled the storm and its aftermath.  There were stations that did an exemplary job providing round-the-clock information about road closures, dangerous areas due to fallen trees and power outages.  We must recognize CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford whose morning drive host Ray Dunaway manned the overnight Saturday on the air with meteorologist Joe Furey keeping listeners up to date.  However, there were many stations and station clusters that – due to manpower issues, in many cases caused by previous decisions to cut staff – were able to provide little local content and defaulted to syndicated programming.  It is times like these that it becomes tragically clear that – apart from some shining examples of excellent public service – most radio groups have surrendered radio’s position as the first destination for news and information in exchange for bottom-line efficiency.

WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Exits.  The popular local Asheville, North Carolina talk host may not have been part of the mandated staff cuts Clear Channel handed down last week.  The Asheville Citizen-Times indicates it appears Matt Mittan left of his own accord, citing a statement from CC Asheville to that effect.  Mittan is tight-lipped about his exit but Citizen-Times writer Jason Sandford hints it might have been done in protest of the cuts that affected his show and other co-workers in the cluster.  Sandford goes on to compliment Mittan for the excellent work he’s done in the past handling public emergency situations that affected the station’s listenership.

Rush Limbaugh to Play Town Hall in NYC.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about his disdain for New York City’s politician and public policies but he’s returning to the Big Apple for a live event on November 29 at the historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street.  Dubbed “Rush Live,” tickets go on sale today at 12:00 noon for the 90-minute show.  A press release from Cumulus’ WABC, New York states, “The last time El Rushbo visited his New York audience was in 2005 to a sold out crowd.  While Rush isn’t bashful about criticizing New York politicians and tax policies, he jokes that he’s going ‘behind enemy lines’ because he loves his New York listeners and his flagship station.”

Radio One to Put All-News FM on in Houston.  This is the first time Radio One has programmed an all-news format and they’re doing it with the help of consultant Ed Shane.  Radio One will drop the gospel music on KROI-FM at 92.1 and debut “News 92 FM” around November 14.  The station has reportedly hired a stable of news pros including the former crosstown KTRH morning news team of J.P. Pritchard and Lana HughesDenise Bishop has been tapped to serve as the news director.

WCBS, New York Inks the Yankees to One-Year Extension.  MLB’s New York Yankees will remain on all-news WCBS, New York for the 2012 season.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick speculates that the one-year deal gives the two sides time to explore a long-term deal but he also states that the Yankees’ $14 million-per-season pact has not been profitable.  Whether CBS Radio views Yankees baseball as a cume-building loss leader or a drain on its finances may be answered if and when the two sides agree to a longer extension or the Yankees broadcasts come onto the open market.

WWRL, New York Adds LGBT-Targeted Programming.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York adds programming called “Equality Pride Radio” to serve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community.  The programming airs from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and debuts this evening (10/31) following the Al Sharpton program.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “WWRL 1600 has created ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ a media platform where the LGBT community will convey information and be celebrated for their ideas, energy and accomplishments.  We take great pride in the culturally diverse audience we serve with our current liberal talk line-up.  With the addition of ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ we further reinforce ‘RL’s format of informative and entertaining radio.”

Jim Ladd to Host “Farewell Show” on KFI, Los Angeles.  Southern California radio legend Jim Ladd will get a chance to say goodbye to his many listeners this Saturday afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – although not on Cumulus classic rock KLOS-FM from which he was let go last week.  Ladd tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan that KFI program director Robin Bertolucci asked him to do the show to give him the chance to say goodbye.  Regarding Ladd’s one-time show, Bertolucci says, “Jim is synonymous with great music and Southern California and I know a lot of his friends and fans want to connect with him.  Jim is a legend and it will be an honor to hear him rock KFI.”

Clear Channel Promotes Keriann Worley to Market Manager for Melbourne, Florida and the Keys.  Keriann Worley moves from her general sales manager post at Clear Channel’s West Palm Beach cluster to become market manager for the company’s Melbourne, Florida and Florida Keys markets.  Worley says, “I’m really honored that Hartley Atkins and Sherri Sanchez chose me to lead our Melbourne and Florida Keys markets.  It’s an exciting time to work at Clear Channel, and we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our market share with integrated solutions and iHeartRadio.  I am fortunate to lead a team that will embrace and utilize all our resources for continued growth and development.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

| October 28, 2011

Foreground Nature of Talk Radio and Emotional Intensity of Content Make it Desirable Environment for Advertisers.  Continuing with a fall tradition, the latest numbers have been compiled for TALKERS magazine’s annual release of its Talk Radio Research ProjectTM (TRRP).  Primarily designed as an in-house vehicle to provide the TALKERS editorial staff with intelligence about the national talk radio audience as a resource for general background and to help answer basic FAQs from the press (such as “What kind of people listen to talk radio?”), the publication began honoring requests from radio stations to share this information.  It has proven extremely valuable as a supplemental sales tool that provides a thumbnail qualitative overview of several leading spoken word formats’ audience profiles including demographics, political orientation, income, education and consumer tastes, habits and disposition.  These include the mainstay news/talk format as well as the recent additions of the sports talk and pop culture talk genres.  The latest figures indicate that news/talk radio maintains its historic position as the most reliable attraction to draw adult audiences and inspire them to action in all audio broadcast media.  So do the relatively recent additions of sports talk radio and pop culture talk radio (with several specific differences indigenous to these formats).  These spoken-word genres also deliver attentive and highly desirable audiences that consume foreground radio with passion and attention.  The people who regularly listen to news/talk, sports talk and pop culture talk radio are more than listeners –– they are radio fans!  In a nutshell, the foreground nature of commercial spoken word radio indicates that sponsors receive approximately three times the bang per advertising buck on talk radio than they do on music radio.  Other interesting aspects of this illuminating information include: sports talk listeners are culturally (and ethnically) diverse.  Caucasians constitute only slightly more than half the sports talk audience (51%) followed by African Americans (26%) and Hispanics (19%) making it one of the most multi-ethnic/racial buys in radio.  This is a crucially important aspect/asset of the sports talk audience that for the most part is lost on advertising agencies and radio sales departments which are still glued to selling demos as opposed to mindsets.  The ethnic diversity of sports talk radio’s listenership is a rare and valuable quality of the format that sets it apart from the rest of radio!  And if advertisers wish to reach “younger demos” via the power of spoken word, they simply need to turn to popular culture talk radio (still erroneously referred to as “shock jock” radio) strewn across the FM dial as talkative morning shows on otherwise music-formatted stations.  See the complete data here.

 Clear Channel Announces National Programming Platforms Personnel.  In concert with its latest round of company-wide layoffs of staff at the station level, Clear Channel introduces the corporate staff that is charged with creating programming for multiple platforms for its stations that is ostensibly designed to “improve local programming in smaller markets by using assets and resources in those markets that their competitors don’t have.”  Recently, Tom Poleman and Darren Davis were brought aboard to serve as president of national programming platforms and SVP/GM of national programming platforms, respectively.  They will be joined by the following staff: Guy Zapoleon, vice president of digital music programming; Dennis Clark, vice president of talent development; Zena Burns, VP of digital programming platforms; Darren Pfeffer, VP of music & entertainment marketing; Alissa Pollack, EVP of integrated music marketing at Mediabase, expands her role to include national programming platforms; Marissa Morris is manager, artist relations and promotions; and Melissa Webb, senior director at National Programming Platforms.  Tom Poleman states, “Clear Channel already has unmatched scale and promotional power.  Our competitive advantage is strengthened by our mission to be everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they want and expect.  Now, I’m proud to say that we’ve assembled an equally unmatched group of talent to lead our new National Programming Platforms division.  This division will enable us to be even more relevant and effective for our audiences, partners and advertisers, and build our national scale and reach by putting together products, events and relationships that nobody else can.”

KABC, Los Angeles PD Jack Silver to Program Sister KLOS-FM.  With the recent firing of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles PD Bob Buchmann, KABC PD Jack Silver tells Orange County Register columnist Gary Lycan he’s been named PD of KLOS-FM.  There’s no indication the assignment of duties to Silver is temporary but the rumors are starting in Los Angeles that changes may be coming to the classic rock outlet.  Those kinds of rumors often start after a round of firings but AM drive team Mark & Brian are very successful and although the production directors for both stations were also let go, it may just be that Cumulus has other plans for saving money in the production department at the stations.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish Signs with WYD Media; Renews Distribution and Sales Deal with Dial Global.  The effect on affiliates – as well as listeners – should not be noticed at all as talk host Michael Smerconish’s program is now produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management while Dial Global continues to handle affiliate sales and ad sales for the show.  Smerconish says, “We’re entering the most fascinating election cycle ever.  And yet, despite the intense media coverage, there remains a void when it comes to clear thinking and independent viewpoints.  I’ve been charting a course to fulfill that role.  I know Ron Hartenbaum shares my outlook.  For several months we’ve been speaking about the need to grow the talk radio tent by offering a forum not predicated on ideology or anger, and now we’ve decided to pursue that goal together.  I intend to rely heavily on his vast experience over the span of many years.  Industry-wide he is known for being smart, engaging and personable, and I think big things are about to happen to us both.”

Dave Ramsey Clears 500th Affiliate; KTTH, Seattle.  Independently syndicated financial talker Dave Ramsey announces his national program has hit the 500-affilliate mark with a deal to air on Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily.  Vice president of affiliate relations Suzanne Simms says, “The fact that the Dave Ramsey show now has 500 radio affiliates indicates the staying power that we have and have been touting all along.  The loyalty of our listeners coupled with the growth of our brand on a national level has contributed to this milestone.  The future bodes well for the Dave Ramsey show!”  Ramsey is currently touring the country promoting is latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).

Lars Larson Flips Seattle Affiliates.  Compass Media Networks’ Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson show moves to a new affiliate in Seattle.  As Dave Ramsey takes over the late-night slot at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle, Larson’s program takes up residence in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot at Inspiration Media’s “Freedom 1590” – KLFE, Seattle.  Station general manager Andrew Adams says, “All of us at ‘Freedom 1590’ are excited to have Lars as part of the station. Lars Larson has a larger-than-life persona in Seattle and we are already getting positive listener response to the move.”

On the Campaign Trail.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here to the left of presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich (at center) as he’s interviewed on the campaign trail.  Gallagher is “embedding” with several GOP candidates during the run-up to the primary elections in order to give his listeners a taste of the campaign trail.  Gallagher broadcast “from the road” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday (10/27) and will host Gingrich for a “live-from-the-campaign-trail” interview at High Cotton Restaurant in upstate South Carolina today on his program.  Salem Radio Network VP/news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Mike Gallagher’s unique, up-close-and-personal approach to the candidates will give SRN listeners a better understanding about the people seeking to become the next President of the United States.  This will go beyond sound bites and photo ops and take our audience behind the scenes for a perspective unavailable anywhere else in American broadcasting.”

Alan Stock to Emcee Las Vegas Veteran’s Day Parade.  For the past 12 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has emceed the nation’s second largest Veteran’s Day parade in Sin City and he’ll do it again this year on Friday, November 11.  Stock hosts the late-morning show on Beasley’s news/talk KDWN, a corporate sponsor of the parade.

OWS Movement Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 24-28.  The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is number one on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories heard on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from Talkers.  The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  Coming in at #2 this week is the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 is the Euro Zone stability/financial markets activity and following up at #4 is the Obama Administration’s economic policy.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

| October 27, 2011

Harsh Reality of Today’s Radio Business Forces Clear Channel’s Major “Reduction in Force.”  This latest round of firings is focused on Clear Channel’s small and medium markets and is affecting primarily on-air and programming staff.  Internally, Clear Channel stations are broken down into three categories: the majors, the mids and the small markets – the latter sometimes referred to by insiders humorously as the stations that are for sale.  But in this economy those small stations – many of which were purchased in the late 1990s as the then-Randy Michaels-led radio group was buying stations at an astounding pace – are for all intents and purposes under water.  The company analyzed each station in an hour-by-hour fashion to determine how much it costs to program and execute the product versus how much it is making.  Programs and hosts whose shows are in the black are likely to be retained; those in the red are those about whom you are reading today.  The company is not describing this strategy as cost cutting but leveraging the quality programming it owns and distributing it to the small – or regional – markets.  The reality is that Clear Channel has a lot of debt it must pay off and – not unlike the homeowner who bought before the housing bubble burst and owes more than his house is worth – must make drastic cuts and hope that it can continue to engage listeners and serve advertisers with “Premium Choice” programming from afar and managers doing more jobs within the same work day.  This situation is unique to neither Clear Channel nor the radio business.  The following list of people working in news or at talk stations for CC are reported to have been let go.  This list is not complete and doesn’t include those from music-formatted stations.  Reports indicate several hundred employees will be out when all is said and done.  The list: KFAB, Omaha PM drive host Tom Becka; Clear Channel Hudson Valley news director Cameron Hendrix; WERC, Birmingham, Alabama news director Mark Evans; WHAM, Rochester news anchor Beth Adams; WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Jim Reith; KWTX, Waco, Texas PD and morning host Shane Warner; WJBO, Baton Rouge, Louisiana mid-morning talk host Clarence Buggs; and WGY and WOFX, Albany assistant PD Steve Bleznyk.

Cumulus Los Angeles Cuts Include Legendary Jock Jim Ladd.  So far the cuts at Cumulus’ Los Angeles stations have not affected any air talent at news/talk KABC.  Production directors at both KABC and KLOS-FM – Howard Hoffman and Mike Sherry, respectively – are out as is KLOS-FM program director Bob Buchmann.  But Southern California radio fans are shocked to find legendary jock Jim Ladd – ironically, the subject of Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ” – has been sacked.  The 63-year-old Ladd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

Lionel Expands Role at New York’s WPIX-TV. What began as his doing a short form commentary running once per day on the evening news has expanded to multiple roles and appearances for the iconoclastic talk radio veteran and podcasting pioneer on the Tribune Company-owned Channel 11 in the Big Apple. Lionel has just debuted his weekday “5@5” segment on the daily newscast in addition to being featured on PIX 11 seven nights a week with fresh video commentary on its 10:00 pm newscast. Lionel, an ex-prosecutor and criminal defense trial lawyer, has also inaugurated his “Lionel’s Law School” segment. Plus, he appears weekly as PIX 11’s resident “News Decoder” on its Monday morning news broadcast and at pix11.com. Lionel’s commentaries are also broadcast nationally through Tribune Company’s affiliates including KPLR 11 in St. Louis. Lionel, a regular TALKERS columnist, has gained national attention as a talk “media station” groundbreaker with his lionelmedia.com.

Rusty Humphries Named National Radio Spokesman for Vietnam Memorial Effort.  The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is spearheading a campaign to build a multi-media education center adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.  In addition to his duties as national radio spokesman, Talk Radio Network host Rusty Humphries is leading the “Veterans Day Challenge” to raise funds for the center.  He will also serve as emcee at a gala benefit at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC on November 11 that will feature actor Tom Selleck.  Humphries’ father died in Vietnam in 1969 when Rusty was just three years old.  Humphries says, “Every time I’m in Washington, I visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, gaze up at my father’s name on Panel 34W, Line 84, and wish that I’d have gotten to know the man whose name appears there, my father.  The Education Center at the Wall will provide a living memorial to these heroes – not just the men and women like my dad whose names appear on the Wall, but all veterans, from Bunker Hill to the present day.”

Tom Marr’s Contract at WCBM Extended Again.  Veteran talk show host Tom Marr of WCBM, Baltimore has been given another extension of his unique contract until 2015.  Marr first signed a no-cut deal with the independently owned heritage station in September of 1977.  It was then extended until 2009.  Marr reached an agreement on July 3, 2008 with the late owner of WCBM, Nick Mangione, Sr., to extend through 2012.  Now Marr has signed an extension with WCMB president Mary C. Mangione that will run until 2015.  Upon signing the deal, WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. tells TALKERS, “Ownership is very pleased to have Tom’s commitment to remain on WCBM’s team.  Tom performs a public service that is informative, beneficial, and entertaining for our listeners.”  Marr comments, “I am delighted that my career will end with WCBM and the Mangione Family Enterprises.”  Pictured here at the signing ceremony are: WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. (standing); seated (l-r) are Mangione Family Enterprise attorney Joe LaVerghettaMangione Family Enterprise president Mary Mangione, and host Tom Marr.

Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  The victim this time is urban WXBT-FM at 100.1 and, of course, the entire staff of the music station as CC gives news/talk WVOC an FM presence.

Ric Edelman’s “Truth About Money” Public TV Show Heads into Season Two.  Author, broadcaster and financial advisor Ric Edelman will produce a second season of his public TV show that shares the same name as his nationally syndicated talk radio show – “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman.”  Season one hit public TV stations across the country earlier this spring and season two will be ready for air in April of next year.  Executive producer Russ Hodge says, “Public Television executives and viewers around the country were so taken with the solid financial guidance they received from Ric, they wholeheartedly endorsed the notion of our coming back for another season.  It’s no secret Ric is recognized as one of America’s top financial advisors, and in these uncertain economic times, viewers gravitate to his expertise and know-how.”

USRN Offers Kim Iversen Show in New Format.  “Your Time with Kim Iversen” has been available in syndication via United Stations Radio Networks talk-intensive music show for Hot AC stations since 2007.  Now, after partnering with Entercom – the company that created the show – to bring it into wider syndication earlier this year, USRN announces that show is available as a live feed or a “build your own show” format.  Beginning November 13, the live feed will be a two-hour, personality-driven talk show airing live from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Stations wishing to continue airing music in the show can use the show segments around music to build a five-hour program.  USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark says, “Kim is an amazing talent, but we found that programmers had varied opinions on how they wanted her show to air.  Some wanted strictly a talk block, others were happy with the Hot AC show and still others wanted her content mixed with CHR or alternative music.  Now, every affiliate gets their wish!”

ABC Digital Clients Now Get News from ABC Sports.  Stations subscribing to ABC Digital for news feeds for their websites now can get sports content from ABC Sports, according to ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones.  “By adding sports headlines to our lineup of ABC Digital choices, we’re enhancing our radio customers’ websites at no additional cost to them.  Several of our partners have expressed an interest in adding a recognized sports brand and we’re pleased to make ABC Sports – a name steeped in tradition – a new category they can add to their station’s website with the simple click of a button.”  ABC Digital service was recently launched by ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media Networks.  The ready-to-post online content is produced and updated 24 hours a day and includes breaking news, exclusive stories, photos and graphics. Stations also have the option to brand the service locally, monetizing the content through local sponsorships.

Barb Yoder Moves into GM Seat at Salem Communications’ Tampa Cluster.  A series of management promotions at Salem Communications means a promotion for Tampa and Sarasota cluster general sales manager Barb Yoder and an open GSM post at the stations.  Yoder moves into the GM post as former GM Chris Gould moves to the corporate level in the vice president of program development position based in Camarillo, California.  Gould replaces Ron Walters who is promoted to senior vice president, ministry relations.

Affiliate Relations Pro Rich Rapiti Victim of Dial Global-Westwood One Merger.  New York-based affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti lost his position as part of the consolidation of Dial Global and Westwood One.  He’s available for his next challenge and can be reached at rapiti@comcast.net or 973-809-3049.

Former Cap Cities/ABC COO Dan Burke Passes Away at 82.  Dan Burke and partner Tom Murphy are credited with building Cap Cities into a major broadcasting force and buying ABC to create Cap Cities/ABC.  The two ran the company for a decade before selling it to Disney in 1996.  Salem Radio Network VP of news/talk programming Tom Tradup remembers working for Burke when he was GM of WLS, Chicago.  “I will always remember Burke’s steely eyes and his tough questioning (especially at this time of the year during budgeting!) as we s-l-o-w-l-y turned WLS from the 23rd station in Chicago and put it on track to become a top-five news/talk giant.  He was firm but fair, and if people in Chicago enjoy WLS in 2011…they probably can thank Dan Burke more than anyone else for showing patience and for keeping others within the company from panicking as WLS grew and ultimately prospered in the #3 radio market in America.”

Talk Radio Research Project

| October 27, 2011

2013 TRRP rev.

Norm Pattiz Describes the Beginnings of Westwood One

| October 26, 2011

Westwood One Founder Norm Pattiz Describes Beginnings of Westwood One. During his special remarks at last week’s historic Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20), Westwood One founder (and current CEO of Courtside Entertainment) Norm Pattiz shared the story of the early days of the ground breaking syndication firm that he started in one office in Westwood back in the late 1970s. Telling the packed house of talk media professionals that he launched the company with “$10,000 and a working wife,” Pattiz describes how his background as a well-connected former L.A. television sales manager served to bring sponsorships to packaged radio programs — thus shifting the network radio business model from a direct cash to barter system and opening the door to the tremendous growth that followed. He talks about Westwood One’s first show being an urban radio cross-over Motown special stating, “Being a television guy and not a radio guy, I didn’t know the rules of radio and if you don’t know the rules, you can’t be limited by them.” Pattiz’s speech can be seen exclusively below on TALKERS TV.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

| October 26, 2011

Westwood One Founder Norm Pattiz Describes Beginnings of Westwood One. During his special remarks at last week’s historic Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20), Westwood One founder (and current CEO of Courtside Entertainment) Norm Pattiz shared the story of the early days of the ground breaking syndication firm that he started in one office in Westwood back in the late 1970s.  Telling the packed house of talk media professionals that he launched the company with “$10,000 and a working wife,” Pattiz describes how his background as a well-connected former L.A. television sales manager served to bring sponsorships to packaged radio programs — thus shifting the network radio business model from a direct cash to barter system and opening the door to the tremendous growth that followed.  He talks about Westwood One’s first show being an urban radio cross-over Motown special stating, “Being a television guy and not a radio guy, I didn’t know the rules of radio and if you don’t know the rules, you can’t be limited by them.”  Pattiz’s speech can be seen exclusively on TALKERS TV. If you are using a mobile device, click here to view the video.

Cumulus Budget Ax Chops Through Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Cumulus corporate dictates have taken a toll on the producer staff at news/talk WLS, Chicago and the programming and airstaff at sister oldies WLS-FM.  Afternoon drive “Roe & Roeper” executive producer Jock Hedblade and “Don Wade & Roma” morning drive show producer Zack Christenson both have been let go along with WLS-FM program director Michael LaCrosse and Chris Papendick, producer of the Greg Brown PM drive show on WLS-FM.  The other change includes operations director Drew Hayes remaining solely responsible for WLS and no longer overseeing WMAL, Washington as he has for the past several years.  Bill Hess was recently promoted to PD at WMAL.  Hayes’ oversight began when WMAL was without a programmer.

Q3 Reports:  Arbitron Up; Journal’s Radio Bright Spot in Down Quarter.  Arbitron reports third quarter revenue up 6.1% over the same period one year ago and states it expects revenue for the entire year to be up somewhere between 6% and 8%.  During a conference call, Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr noted that the company’s completion of the rollout of the Portable People Meter in the 48 top radio markets helped the company achieve its goals.  He also gave an update on the status of its Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement-sponsored project to develop a “single-source panel” for measuring TV, internet and mobile usage.  Kerr says they expect to present their work to CIMM during the fourth quarter.  At Journal Communications, while TV and publishing are languishing, radio has been pretty good to the Milwaukee-based company.  Radio was up 2.7% year-over-year while the company posted a 4.4% loss overall for the quarter.  Flagship news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee posted record ratings under the PPM as the station benefitted from the success of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, MLB’s Brewers and the recall elections across the state that brought in political dollars in a non-election year.

Michigan Sports Talker Sean Baligian Exits Clear Channel.  The “Sean and Terp Show” aired in PM drive on Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and was simulcast to Grand Rapids on WMAX-FM.  With Baligian’s departure from the company, Ryan Terpstra continues to host the afternoon show on WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids and WDFN will feature a series of guest hosts as the station seeks its next permanent host for the daypart.  Via Facebook, Baligian says farewell to fans and hopes to announce a new gig soon.  The program was originally “Sean, Terp and Killer” and recently lost co-host Tom “Killer” Kowalski who died unexpectedly in August of heart failure at age 51.

Journal Names J. Pat Miller Promotion and Marketing Manager in Milwaukee.  Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations announces classic hits WLWK-FM midday host and program director J. Pat Miller moves to a new position as promotion and marketing manager for the company’s WLWK-FM and news/talk WTMJ.  Journal states Miller “will work with the radio sales departments and programming teams to coordinate promotions, events and interactive platforms and will assume day-to-day oversight of the stations’ promotions department, as well.”  Programmer John Roberts joins Journal to handle programming at WLWK-FM.

Town Hall Takes on Los Angeles.  KRLA, Los Angeles’ sold out NTR event on Saturday evening (10/22) pulled a crowd of 1,400 into the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.  The Salem Communications station produced the annual “Town Hall” event that featured Salem Radio Network talk show hosts plus special guests.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: SRN’s Mike Gallagher, columnist, author and pundit Ann Coulter, SRN’s Dennis Prager, KDWN, Las Vegas AM drive host Heidi Harris (who served as moderator for the program), and SRN personality Michael Medved.  The panelists batted around the current hot news stories including the 2012 presidential race.  They also fielded questions from the audience.

‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 Presidential Race, Libya/Middle East Stability and Euro Zone Economic Tension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25).  The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the GOP candidates for president, political strife in Libya and the Middle East and the shaky state of the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

| October 25, 2011

Downsizing at Dial Global/Westwood One; Rumors of Cuts at Clear Channel.  The merger of Dial Global and Westwood One was bound to come with the elimination of some positions as both companies do pretty much the same thing: produce, affiliate and rep radio programs.  There are no confirmed firings but the word on the street is that about 40 of the now-combined companies’ 600 employees were let go from its New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices.  Meanwhile at Clear Channel, the grapevine is producing chatter that layoffs in medium and small markets are coming based on the company’s hour-by-hour breakout of cost-versus-revenue in the programming departments of its stations.  This could mean some local talent getting pink-slipped in favor of the company’s “Premium Content” – a euphemism for in-house syndication.

NPR’s Michele Norris Takes Leave from “All Things Considered” So Husband Can Work for Obama Campaign.  After a couple of high-profile PR gaffes, NPR is out front on this one.  Michele Norris’ husband Broderick Johnson accepted a senior advisory role with President Obama’s re-election campaign and in a quick response, Norris and NPR are agreeing that Norris will take leave from her co-host role on “All Things Considered” after Friday’s broadcast.  Norris will continue to work for NPR producing segments and features but will not be involved in any type of election coverage.  In a statement, Norris says, “This has all happened very quickly, but working closely with NPR management, we’ve been able to make a plan that serves the show, honors the integrity of our news organization and is best for me professionally and personally.  I will certainly miss hosting, but I will remain part of the ATC team and I look forward to contributing to our show and NPR in new and exciting ways.”

Clear Channel Names John Ivey Senior VP of Programming; Robin Bertolucci Extends PD Responsibilities.  Vice president of programming for the Los Angeles cluster John Ivey is promoted to SVP of programming for Clear Channel radio.  Ivey has been PD at CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles since 2001 and in his new position he’ll assist with CHR programming and talent development across the entire CC Radio operation.  At the same time, KFI program director  Robin Bertolucci re-signs with the company to continue leading the mega-successful news/talk station and its sister progressive talk outlet KTLK into the future.  Prior to joining Clear Channel Los Angeles, Bertolucci programmed the AM stations at Clear Channel’s Denver cluster.  CC Radio CEO John Hogan says, “For the past two decades, John has made innumerable contributions to our company’s success, especially over the last 10 years in Los Angeles at KIIS-FM, and Robin has led the iconic KFI brand to unprecedented audience growth and engagement.  As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers and we are pleased to have great programming management talent like John and Robin renew their commitment to the Clear Channel team.”

Syndicated Lex & Terry Morning Hosts Sue Seven Bridges WJXL, Jacksonville.  This one’s a contract dispute.  United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated morning hosts Lex Staley and Terry Jaymes were brought aboard Seven Bridges’ sports talk WJXL, Jacksonville in April of this year with what Lex & Terry say was a three-year deal.  Their show was pulled from the air on October 10.  The details of the contract aren’t clear but the duo have hired Jacksonville attorney John M. Phillips to handle the dispute.  Ironically, Phillips hosted a legal call-in show on WJXL called “Sports & Courts.”  Phillips states, “For months I have preached accountability on my radio show.  Whether someone is injured at the hands of another…or someone wants to simply get out of a contract because of personal preference, the law enforces accountability.  WJXL is accountable to Lex & Terry and hopefully this matter will be resolved soon.”  Syndication contracts are usually pretty clear in stating the terms for ending the deal so it’ll be interesting to see what transpires in this case.

Clear Channel Promotes American Express’ Second Annual “Small Business Saturday” Initiative.  The “Small Business Saturday” initiative is a campaign spearheaded by American Express to promote shopping at local, independent stores and businesses on Saturday, November 26.  A six-point promotional campaign begins tomorrow and runs through November 26 that includes: a public interest campaign across Clear Channel’s 850 radio stations, on-air advocacy by popular station personalities, the telling of local small business success stories, promotion via social media and digital integration, local advisory board activities and community events in local markets along with initiative partner Women Impacting Public Policy.  Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan states, “Our goal is to stimulate small business sales on the biggest shopping weekend of the year by reminding listeners of the impact on their communities.  The campaign is also intended to give a bigger voice to small business owners.”

Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 and WJLK-FM, Asbury Park Host “Home Cooking” NTR Event.  The two Townsquare Media stations are presenting the “Taste of Home Cooking Show” in conjunction with the popular food and entertaining magazine Taste of Home at Branches Catering in West Long Branch, New Jersey on November 1.  Listeners can buy tickets – including a VIP ticket for $50 per person – to sample dishes and get cooking tips from the magazine’s culinary specialist Eric Villegas who will demonstrate 10 new recipes.  VIP ticket holders will get a meet and greet with Villegas and an autographed copy of his new book, Taste of Home Christmas Cookies & Candy.

WWJ, Detroit Hosts “Resurrecting Detroit” Business Breakfast.  This one’s not an NTR event but a community goodwill promotion.  CBS Radio’s WWJ, Detroit produces the Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report written by the station’s technology editor Matt Roush.  The station has developed a program called the WWJ/GLITR UnWIRED coffee series and this particular breakfast is part of that.  The event will be held at Lawrence Technological University’s ULTC Gallery on Thursday, October 27.  Roush will moderate a panel discussion by local business leaders on ways to improve the city of Detroit and strengthen its business core.  WWJ station manager Pete Kowalski says, “WWJ remains committed to Detroit and we’re proud to present another great business breakfast.  This panel, with such stellar business leaders, will be discussing some truly innovative and transforming ideas for the city.  It promises to be a very exciting and inspiring event.”

WTVN, Columbus “Morning Monarch” Bob Conners to Retire.  Bob Conners has hosted the morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTVN, Columbus since 1978 – he began working at the station in 1964.  Now, Conners announces he’ll retire on November 30.  He tells his listeners he’s honored and humbled to have been able to do what he loves for so long.  WTVN program director Mike Elliott tells WBNS-TV, “Bob Conners has been a staple in Columbus radio for a very long time; consider the mold broken.  Bob always said, ‘Radio has been good to me,’ but Bob Conners was good for radio.”  Connors has been at it in AM drive so long his colleagues nicknamed him the “morning monarch.”  WTVN Saturday morning host Joel Riley will take over the AM drive show on an interim basis in December.

Monday, October 24, 2011

| October 24, 2011

Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects.  In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future.  Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project.  He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.  He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.”  He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting.  He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting.  He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.”  King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future.  To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.  Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.

Dial Global Completes Merger with Westwood One.  Friday, Dial Global announced it has completed its merger with Westwood One in a stock-for-stock transaction that sees the WON ticker symbol go away and, beginning today (10/24), the company is listed on the NASDAQ as DIAL.  Dial Global is being led by the management team of Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams.  The newly formed company includes all of the sports programming Westwood One has been known for over the years as well as the original talk content plus the entertainment programming and 24/7 music formats.  It also includes the Dial Global sales rep department and continues to partner with the now separate company Triton DigitalNeal Schore serves as chairman of the newly constituted board of directors and states, “Dial Global has always been focused on serving the ever-evolving needs of the radio industry and this transaction will expand the programming and service offerings sought by both radio stations and advertisers.  On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rod Sherwood and the entire Westwood One team, whose tremendous efforts have helped make this transaction possible.”  Dial Global’s majority ownership is Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and The Gores Group, LLC which own 44% and 31% of the common shares, respectively.

Cumulus Hammer Falls in New York.  News of the corporate dictate hit the industry grapevine late Friday that there have reportedly been about 15 job cuts at New York stations WABC and WPLJ-FM, though at this time only a few are known for sure.  Mancow Muller’s New York-only weekend show on news/talk WABC is gone from the lineup.  It’s believed that a number of the positions cut were administrative posts but it’s also reported that Jill Vitale (a.k.a Flirty Flipper – former Sean Hannity producer) was let go from her digital media post.  So far Cumulus corporate officers have visited Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as they undertake the process of determining where duplicative positions exit and where money is being spent that they believe is just not necessary.

Deepak Chopra Launches Online Radio Show with Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio.  Cinchcast, a company that provides solutions for businesses and consumers to create, share, measure and monetize audio content, today announced that Deepak Chopra has launched a new online radio show leveraging Cinchcast’s audio publishing and management platform and its online radio network, BlogTalkRadio.com. Deepak Chopra, a leading expert in the fields of spirituality and alternative medicine and New York Times best-selling author in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, has created Deepak Chopra Radio to provide an online forum for compelling and thought provoking conversations on success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being and spirituality.  According to Chopra, “Cinchcast’s technology and the BlogTalkRadio network are enabling me to create my own media platform.  The simplicity of broadcasting using only a phone enables me to bring together thought leaders from across the globe from the worlds of spirituality, science and politics to create and share a dialogue on today’s most important topics.”  Alan Levy, CEO of Cinchcast and founder of BlogTalkRadio tells TALKERS, “That’s the beauty of our technology, it turns the phone into a publishing platform making it easy for individuals and businesses to bring important conversations to life. We’re thrilled to have Deepak Chopra on the BlogTalkRadio network.”  Deepak Chopra Radio is now available at BlogTalkRadio.com, DeepakChopra.com and on iTunes. Cinchcast was developed by BlogTalkRadio to enable businesses with a simple and powerful solution to produce and share original audio content.  Headquartered in New York City, Cinchcast powers audio creation and publishing for companies such as United Business Media, Business Insider, SAP and Sears, and is the technology behind BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit www.cinchcast.com.

KGMZ, San Francisco Names Mitch Moss Producer.  Entercom’s 95.7 The Game – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces former KBAD, Las Vegas program director Mitch Moss is the new producer for its midday “The Wheelhouse with John Lund” program.

Timing Is Everything. On the night following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) presented Fox News national security correspondent and author Catherine Herridge (r) in a live town hall-style event to discuss the next threats against the U.S. and her new book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits (Crown Forum 2011).  Bernier tells TALKERS this was the 67th event in the long-running interview series.  It featured a book signing as well.

Paul Finebaum and Staff Visit Iowa Fan.  Birmingham, Alabama-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum – in the news a lot recently for his legal battle with the former Citadel Broadcasting and WJOX-FM – and some of his staff visited 33-year-old Robert Fisher on Friday, October 21.  Fisher, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a huge college football fan and a regular caller to Finebaum’s show that he’s able to hear via Sirius XM.  Finebaum, call screener Tammy Hethcox, and frequent Finebaum guest and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak flew from Alabama to Iowa in Lemak’s private plane to surprise Fisher at his parent’s home.  Finebaum tells the Cedar Rapids Courier that though a few hateful callers have taken issue with him putting Fisher on the air, most of the show’s fans have embraced Fisher.  Hethcox and Fisher have struck up a friendship as a result of his calls and Fisher was thrilled to meet Hethcox and argue in person over their respective love of college football rivals Alabama and Auburn.  Finebaum says, “Everybody loves the guy on the show.  He’s known from coast to coast.”

 

Bill Moran interviews Larry King

| October 24, 2011

Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects.  In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future.  Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project.  He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.  He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.”  He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting.  He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting.  He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.”  King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future.  To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.  Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

| October 21, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum Rallies So Cal Talk Media Industry.  Some 150 attendees and 30 speakers gathered yesterday (10/20) at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood to participate in the highly anticipated first-time event to discuss the state and future of talk broadcasting in Southern California.  Presented by TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, the power-packed, free event drew representatives from leading stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Ventura, Fresno and even markets outside the region including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and more.  Formats represented included news/talk, sports talk, all news, public radio, pop culture talk and a number of music radio personalities stopped by as well, adding to the color of a dynamic event described by many as a “grand slam home run.”  Solo speakers included Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, Holland Cooke, Michael Harrison and a wide variety of leading program directors, operations managers, and air personalities discussing the gamut of issues facing the region specifically and industry in general.  There were technical displays presented by Comrex Corporation and C. Crane Company and a lavish breakfast and lunch for the attendees provided by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “There has never been a radio conference quite like this — geared to a specific region, short and to the point, and absolutely free ­­– perfectly suited to these challenging times.  All of us at TALKERS are extremely gratified by the outstanding turnout and positive response generated by this memorable six hour event.”  There will be extensive coverage of this historic talk industry happening in the form of stories, pictures and video coming to Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.  Stay tuned!

Former KABC GM Bob Moore Launches Sales Consultancy.  Former KABC/KLOS-FM, Los Angeles president and general manager Bob Moore, who recently left his longtime position at the heritage Citadel outlets as a result of the company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media, attended the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum yesterday where he announced the launch of his new sales consultancy, Moore Money, LLC as well as TheVoicesNetwork.com.  Moore, a highly respected talk media management figure in Los Angeles for years, can be contacted at bobmoore27@gmail.com or 213-219-9856.

NPR Blamed for Firing of Documentary Program Host Over Protest Activities.  The problem is, according to NPR, it had nothing to do with the firing of “Soundprint” host Lisa Simeone.  Simeone was a freelancer for Soundprint Media Company which produces the “Soundprint” documentary program.  Simeone also hosts the WDAV-FM, Charlotte, North Carolina-produced “World of Opera” program from which she has not been let go.  That station states it has no problem with Simeone’s activities and her work with its opera program.  However, Soundprint Media distributes the “Soundprint” show to about 35 public radio stations via NPR and the company says it adopted NPR’s employee code for journalists because people associate it with NPR.  Simeone’s work with the Washington, DC-based protest group “October 2011” apparently violated that code.  NPR is making it a point to state that it had no contact with Soundprint management over Simeone’s relationship with the company.  Clearly, NPR wants to avoid another Juan Williams-like public relations problem.

Carl Anderson Named Clear Channel SVP of Programming for West Region.  Carl Anderson was most recently the senior vice president for programming and distribution at Citadel Media. He first joined Citadel as vice president of music programming in 2006.  Now he’s in charge of the programming for Clear Channel’s West Region stations and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have Carl join the Clear Channel team.  He joins a growing number of the best and brightest programmers, on-air talent and researchers on Clear Channel’s incredible team.”

WWJ, Detroit Presents “Michigan Money Summit” Live Event.  CBS Radio’s all-news WWJ, Detroit is presenting a free program on Saturday, October 29 moderated by WWJ-TV business editor Murray Feldman titled “Michigan Money Summit.”  The program consists of three panel discussions featuring local financial and real estate experts designed to answer tough financial questions to which Detroit-area listeners are seeking answers.  WWJ program director Robert Davidek says, “The stock market has had some of its worst and best weeks lately and we feel this is a great opportunity for people to gain valuable insight from experts about what to do.  And we’ll also be talking about the economy for the coming year.”

Talkers Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Neal Boortz picks up WCNF, Dothan, Alabama…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski” adds KMZQ, Las Vegas…..Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann’s program is added to KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard is now heard on WNDA, Louisville and KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish picks up KROF, Lafayette, Louisiana…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall is added to the program schedule at KFRM, Salina, Kansas.

The GOP Debate/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21.  The GOP candidates debate in Las Vegas and the 2012 presidential race landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM chart for this week.  Coming in at #2 on the chart is the ‘Occupy’ movement followed by the death of Moammar Qaddafi at #3.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio during the course of the week according to ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click on the banner below.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

| October 20, 2011

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Moves to the 8:00 pm Hour.  MSNBC brass are stirring up the pot in an attempt to boost its ratings by flipping “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show.”  Schultz will air at 8:00 pm ET and O’Donnell at 10:00 pm.  MSNBC president Phil Griffin believes Schultz’s style is a better fit for the 8:00 pm hour and a better lead-in to its highest-rated show, “The Rachel Maddow Show.”  Although O’Donnell’s program has more than doubled the ratings over CNN competitor Anderson Cooper, O’Donnell’s ratings in the 25-54 demo have dropped over the last month while Schultz’s have increased.  Griffin states, “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping up the day’s political dialogue.  Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick-off to primetime at 8:00 pm.”  The changes take place Monday, October 24.

KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Gets ‘Best of Tucson’ Honors.  This is the second year in a row that morning drive host Jon Justice has been honored with the ‘Best Radio Personality’ award and the third that he’s nabbed the ‘Best Talk Show Host’ award in the readers poll from Tucson Weekly.  KQTH-FM program director Ryan McCreddan says of the honors, “Congratulations to Jon Justice on his wins in the Tucson Weekly’s 2011 Best of Tucson!  Jon and ‘104.1 The Truth’ have some of the most loyal listeners in town and it shows over and over again with accolades like this.”

Fox Business Network Receives Orders to Differentiate from Fox News Channel.  It appears that Fox Business Network programming has been drifting toward the same appearance as its sister cable news/talker Fox News Channel.  So much so that EVP of programming Kevin Magee issued a memo to FBN staff to stop imitating FNC, according to Reuters.  Magee confirmed the memo to Reuters and told the news service that Fox Business has to continue to focus its programming on business-related issues and find its own voice.  In the memo Magee wrote, “The more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves.  If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.  Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.”  Fox Business has not fared well in the ratings compared to its closest competitor CNBC.

KOA, Denver Adds Broncos QB Tim Tebow to its Football Coverage.  The newest Denver Broncos starting quarterback will make four weekly appearances on KOA during this football season.  Tim Tebow will be heard on the station’s Broncos coverage Monday mornings, Friday afternoons (with former Bronco Dave Logan) on the game day pre-game show (taped, obviously) and live from the locker room after each game.

WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts Annual Breast Cancer Special.  For the past 14 years, WGN-TV entertainment reporter and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards has been hosting a special breast cancer program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’ll do it again on Saturday, October 23 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  The live, three-hour special will examine where we are in the fight against breast cancer and feature a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.

What Happens in Vegas…  The GOP primary race has been a boon for news/talk radio with all of the colorful characters and talk radio’s unique relationship with the candidates.  For Dial Global syndicated talk host Neal Boortz, his relationship with candidate Newt Gingrich is personal – Gingrich has subbed as a host of his program (as has candidate Hermain Cain).  Pictured here is Boortz (r) and Gingrich (l) at the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.

 

2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Aftermath, ‘Occupy’ Movement, Obama Jobs Bill and Exotic Animal Owner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19).  The aftermath of the Tuesday evening GOP candidates debate and the 2012 presidential election , the ‘Occupy’ movement, the battle over the Obama Administration’s jobs bill and the bizarre case of the Ohio exotic animal owner’s suicide and unleashing of dozens of wild animals were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Qualitative aspects of the talk radio audiences

| October 20, 2011

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Publisher

NEW YORK –– Continuing with a fall tradition, the latest numbers have been compiled for TALKERS magazine’s annual release of its Talk Radio Research ProjectTM (TRRP).  Primarily designed as an in-house vehicle to provide the TALKERS editorial staff with intelligence about the national talk radio audience as a resource for general background and to help answer basic questions from the press (such as “What kind of people listen to talk radio?”), the publication began honoring requests from radio stations to share this information.  It has proven extremely valuable as a supplemental sales tool that provides a thumbnail qualitative overview of several leading spoken word formats’ audience profiles including demographics, political orientation, income, education and consumer tastes, habits and disposition.  These include the mainstay news/talk format as well as the recent additions of the sports talk and pop culture talk genres.

The latest figures indicate that news/talk radio maintains its historic position as the most reliable attraction to draw adult audiences and inspire them to action in all audio broadcast media.  At present, the news/talk format predominantly focuses on discussion about politics, but it does reserve room within its scheduling for specialty programs about relationships, finance, health, technology and home improvement, among others which are taken into consideration when compiling these percentages.

News/talk radio is not alone in displaying these attributes.  So do the relatively recent additions of sports talk radio and pop culture talk radio (with several specific differences indigenous to these formats).  These spoken-word genres also deliver attentive and highly desirable audiences that consume foreground radio with passion and attention.  The people who regularly listen to news/talk, sports talk and pop culture talk radio are more than listeners –– they are radio fans!

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The era of intellectual property law

| October 19, 2011

By Matthew B. Harrison
Senior Partner
Harrison Strategies

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –– In a recent article, Michael Harrison predicted that Intellectual Property Law would dominate talk radio’s legal concerns in the era that is unfolding.  (It is filed at www.talkers.com under Michael Harrison and is titled “The Ticking of the Clock.”)

As talk programming evolves into new means of digital distribution through advances in technology, so does our need to understand intellectual property.  While evolutionary, the nature of the rights themselves –– to control and exploit the products of one’s creativity and innovation –– remains consistent, the manner by which they are expressed and exchanged is constantly attempting to adapt to advances in technology.

The invention of, in turn, the printing press, the phonograph, radio and television broadcasting, cable, transmission from satellite, VCRs, CDs, DVDs, and now the internet has affected both the form and the substance in the interpretation of intellectual property rights.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

| October 19, 2011

Clear Channel Partners with LivingSocial for Discount Services.  Using the power of its vast array of radio stations, Clear Channel and LivingSocial enter into an exclusive agreement for LivingSocial be the sole daily deal provider on 500 stations in some 90 markets.  CC says it has more than 80 million listeners each week who stand to benefit from the great local values LivingSocial can let them know about.  Each day, local radio personalities will chat up the LivingSocial daily bargain for their market which can be accessed via the station’s website.  LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy says, “Radio stations are a primary means for people to find entertainment and learn what’s going on in their communities.  This matches perfectly with LivingSocial’s mission to help people find great deals and values around them.”  LivingSocial has about 46 million members and is a competitor of Groupon, the market leader at this point with about 115 million members.

Compass Media Networks Announces Expanded College Basketball Schedule.  Adding to its already hefty offering of play-by-play sports that includes NFL and college football games, Compass Media Networks says it will offer a slate of 15 high-profile college basketball games plus the three-day Big Ten Conference tournament in early March.  Compass’ games include some of college basketball’s highly ranked schools in the pre-season including: North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse and Duke.  It’s worth noting that college basketball may be the only option for hoops fans this winter if the labor issues plaguing the NBA continue.  The growing number of sports talk stations in the country is bringing about an increased demand for play-by-play product.  Compass CEO Peter Kosann says, “Kudos to our team for landing these incredible games.  We are thrilled to provide our affiliates access to these incredible broadcasts and appreciate all of the support from our participating conferences and schools.”

CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Produces Social Media Summit for Businesses.  “Social: The Now Media” will take place November 16 at the Hollywood Palladium and will be co-hosted by KFWB’s Phil Hulett and KNX’s Frank Mottek.  It promises to bring together leading experts on the use of social media to foster the growth of business.  “Featured speakers will outline best practices and present case studies to help business owners strategize and monetize using ubiquitous social media platforms.  ‘The Art of Online Reviews and Referrals,’ ‘How Social Media Impacts Consumers’ and ‘How People are Finding Your Business’ are some of the topics that will be addressed to help entrepreneurs understand how to generate customer loyalty and revenue.”  Speakers include Jim Lanzone, president of CBS Interactive; Kara Nortman, senior vice president of publishing for CityGrid Media; Steve Rubel, executive vice president of global strategy and insights for Edelman Public Relations and Hooman Radfar, CEO and co-founder of Clearspring.  CBS Radio attracted a sell-out crowd of 600 to its first social media summit last February.

Wisconsin Station Owner and Former Legislator Arrested on DUI Charge.  Randy Hopper owns news/talk WFIZ, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and a sister music station.  He also was a Wisconsin State Senator until he lost a recall election in the spring (his estranged wife signed the petition and helped stir the pot as part of a contentious and rather public divorce).  Hopper was arrested on Sunday after reports of a car driving erratically reached police.  According to the Fond du Lac Reporter, Hopper failed field tests but refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate, Hillary Clinton in Libya, ‘Occupy’ Movement and Global Financial Jitters Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/18).  The 2012 presidential race and last night’s GOP debate in Las Vegas, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Libya and her comment that Moammar Gadhafi should be caught or killed, the continuing ‘Occupy’ movement and the precarious state of the world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

| October 18, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talk Seminar Set For Thursday.  It is being described as “a new kind of industry gathering” — accessible, short and free (including breakfast and lunch) with a power-packed line up of speakers and agenda that could rival the largest of national conferences.  Set for Thursday, October 20th between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the one-day event, being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, promises to bring together a diverse variety of factions, formats and companies comprising the Southern California talk radio community and tackle a number of the hottest issues facing the industry today.  Filled to capacity within two weeks of being announced, the event will feature 30 leading industry speakers including solo presentations by the legendary Larry King of CNN; Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz of Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett of LARadio.com; consultant Holland Cooke of McVay/Cook Media; and a special guest appearance by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  The keynote speaker is KFI morning titan Bill Handel.  Eight major Southern California talk radio station programmers will be on panels including Cliff Albert of KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci of KFI, Los Angeles; Skip Essick of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Don Martin of KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio;  John McMullen of Dessert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Jack Silver of KABC, Los Angeles; David Sniff of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles.   Some of the radio personalities speaking will include Andy Dean of Premiere Networks; LaFern Cusack of SCBA and ESPN, Los Angeles; Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Tom Leykis of the New Normal;  Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Cumulus Media;  Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio;  John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia.  Rounding out the line-up of presenters and moderators are Jason Insalaco of KFI, Los Angeles; Bill Moran of Bill Moran and Associates; and Kevin Casey, Mike Kinosian and Michael Harrison of TALKERS.  There will be displays of the latest remote broadcasting equipment by Comrex Corporation and the latest radios by C. Crane Company.  Although the event has reached maximum registration capacity there will be ample opportunity for broadcasters around the country to see and hear much of the event’s activities in the form of stories, photos and videos at Talkers.com shortly after the event.  For the complete LARTF agenda, click here.

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Distribute WNYC, New York Programs.  Hot on the heels of the launch of its new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel announces it will begin making three of the more popular public radio talk programs from WNYC, New York available to users of the mobile phone app.  “WNYC News and Conversation” will feature “The Brian Lehrer Show,” “The Leonard Lopate Show” and the WNYC-Public Radio International production “The Takeaway.”  New York Public Radio vice president and chief digital officer Thomas Hjelm says, “We are delighted that Clear Channel will offer a selection of programming from WNYC on iHeartRadio.  We are committed to making our programming available to the widest possible audience.  Given iHeartRadio’s affinity with talk radio fans, it is an effective platform to extend the reach of our programming among news/talk listeners across the country.”

Sean Hannity Announces Holiday Concert Series to Benefit Troops.  Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is hosting an exclusive four-city concert series to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.  “Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops” includes three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, Oliver North and John Ondrasik of the group Five for Fighting, and more.  Concerts will take place at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom on November 27; Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on December 2; Washington, D.C.’s Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on December 3; and Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre on December 18.  Hannity says, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we also take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country.  These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.”  The concert series is being produced by Townsquare Media and benefits Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which goes to the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident.

Chicago Legend Steve Dahl Returns to Windy City Airwaves on WJJG.  Since exiting CBS Radio’s WJMK-FM, Chicago, Steve Dahl has been producing podcasts available at his own dahl.com website.  Now, the “Dahlcast” will be part of the lineup at WJJG, Chicago.  WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “Steve Dahl is a radio genius and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him and his team.  This is a huge victory for Chicago radio listeners.  These are Steve’s listeners.  I’d be delighted if 1530 WJJG reacquaints Dahl fans with Steve and perhaps introduces new fans.  That’s what radio is supposed to do!  And if you like Steve on 1530, you’ll LOVE getting the Dahlcast Daily.”  WJJG recently added Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Mancow to its daily program schedule.

WBAL, Baltimore Midday Host Rom Smith Has Cancer.  Ron Smith announced to his listeners today (10/17) that he went to the doctor after experiencing abdominal pain about two weeks ago and tests revealed a tumor on his pancreas.  His doctor said the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs.  When Smith asked his doctor if it was worth trying to fight, he replied that is was and he’s seen worse cases successfully treated.  Smith will undergo chemotherapy and will remain on the air as long as he is able.  The 69-year-old Smith has been at WBAL for more than a quarter century.

Cumulus Promotes Two.  Stu Gorlick moves from his post as vice president of sales at the company’s Poughkeepsie-based Hudson Valley station group to VP/market manager for the Danbury market.  Aaron Hyland leaves his position as VP/market manger at the company’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida to become vice president and market manager at the Hudson Valley station group.

 

Monday, October 17, 2011

| October 17, 2011

KGO and KSFO, San Francisco VP of Programming Jack Swanson and KSFO PD Ken Berry Exit Posts.  In an e-mail to his staff, longtime KGO and KSFO, San Francisco programmer Jack Swanson bids adieu to the stations he’s worked at for as long as most people can remember.  In the memo, Swanson – one of the most decorated talk programming veterans in the industry — praises his staff saying, “This has been a tremendous run.  Cumulus is inheriting the greatest staff in the radio industry.  To a person, they are all rock stars.”  Ken Berry served as news director at KGO until taking the KSFO PD post in December of last year.  Both are obviously victims of the Cumulus/Citadel consolidation ax.  Swanson says he plans to take some time off and come back to the industry refreshed and recharged ready for his next opportunity.  Meanwhile, the anxiety continues to grow among former Citadel employees currently on the Cumulus payroll as whispers of the dreaded word “bloodbath” grow louder in the hallways of the company.  Last week, longtime KABC/KLOS, Los Angeles president/general manager Bob Moore was let go in similar fashion feeding into the mounting fear.  Whenever there is consolidation between two recently merged companies there are going to be duplicative positions that common business sense indicates will require job cuts.  However, it’s also obvious to many observers that some people are being ousted primarily because they are making more money than their new employer deems practical to pay.  As the folding of Citadel into Cumulus takes place, TALKERS hears reports that some former Citadel station staffers find themselves meeting with Cumulus managers to basically “interview” for the positions they currently hold.  Obviously, this is the downside of what can happen in business – especially during tough economic times and is basically unavoidable. However, because of the size of this recent acquisition and the number of stations and personnel it involves, the present state of affairs at Cumulus is significantly contributing to the jitters being felt throughout the radio industry.  Stay tuned.

Liberal Activist Group Goes After Baseball for its Affiliation with Glenn Beck.  The group Americans United for Change is firing up a campaign to convince Major League Baseball to stop providing Glenn Beck with the video streaming platform to bring his GBTV to the internet.  It’s not common knowledge that Major League Baseball Advanced Media provides backend infrastructure, white label services, mobile app services and operational support to not only Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts but to ESPN3, March Madness on Demand, Tiger Woods.com among others and, of course, its own MLB.com.  Through its “Strike Out Beck” campaign, AUFC hopes to convince MLB Advanced Media to drop its affiliation with the talk media personality it claims is a purveyor of “unhinged anti-government conspiracies, fear mongering for personal gain, sexist remarks, and race baiting.”

Doug McIntyre Ruffles Political Feathers in Hard Hitting LA Op-Ed Piece.  Nationally syndicated Cumulus Media radio talk show host Doug McIntyre – also a regular columnist in L.A.’s second largest daily, the Daily News — wrote a page one editorial in yesterday’s Sunday edition blasting the Los Angeles city government as being “occupied by corruption.”  Tying into his premise that the protestors participating in the “Occupy Los Angeles” demonstrations are naively being “duped” by local politicians that he claims are merely acting like supporters of the movement but actually embody all the negative qualities against which the demonstrators are protesting.  McIntyre writes, “The Los Angeles City Council embodies everything that’s wrong with government in modern America. Our city is Exhibit A when it comes to special interest money tainting good government.”  Read McIntyre’s full column here.  McIntyre, whose “Red Eye Radio” late night program emanates from KABC, Los Angeles, will be a member of the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions” at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum this Thursday, October 20.  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison the panel also includes Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; investigative reporter Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles; and LaFern Cusack of the Southern California Broadcasters Association and ESPN, Los Angeles.  Considering the volatile nature of the issues facing the region which include immigration, economics, transportation, the environment and a slew of others, and the diversity of the panelists participating – the sparks will really fly!  For complete details about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.

Entercom’s WMC, Memphis Flips to Sports.  Speculation about the company’s plans for “Country Legends” WMC began last week when Entercom announced Premiere NetworksJim Rome show would move from sister sports WMFS-AM/FM to WMC.  Now, Entercom will manage two sports talk stations in the market it calls the Memphis Entercom Sports Network – WMFS-AM/FM affiliated with ESPN Radio and producing live and local programming in the afternoons (Eric Hasseltine followed by the Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins) and WMC affiliated with Fox Sports Radio Network and carrying Jim Rome.

Actress Janine Turner Begins Daily Syndicated Talk Show.  The Texas-born actress has been hosting a two-hour weekend talk show on Cumulus’ KLIF, Dallas since 2010.  Now, Janine Turner announces she’s beginning a daily program – “The Janine Turner Show – Where is Reason?” – that airs live at 2:00 pm ET and is available in national syndication via her eponymous radio network.  The show can also be heard online at janineturner.com.  Turner says, “I’m thrilled that the Janine Turner show has received such a positive response both from the critics and the listeners.  I think what makes my show really unique is that it features thought-provoking analysis about ‘Where is Reason?’ in our country, plus an inquisitive and conversational forum with a great lineup of guests – everyone from presidential candidates and authors to actors and constitutional scholars. And I absolutely love the opportunity to include callers from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and across the nation into the ‘Where is Reason’ dialogue.”

 

Friday, October 14, 2011

| October 14, 2011

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Arrested on Drunken Driving Charge.  In Ohio it’s called OVI – operating a vehicle impaired – and that’s the charge Middletown, Ohio police are filing against Randy Michaels after he was found by police in his car stuck in mud and water in a construction zone around 2:00 am on Friday (10/14).  Authorities noticed the smell of alcohol on Michael’s breath and administered field tests which authorities say he failed.  Michaels refused a Breathalyzer test.  He is expected to be in Middletown Court today.  Middletown is about 35 miles north of the Cincinnati area where Michaels reportedly maintains a residence.  The unconventional – some have called it “frat house” – workplace culture Michaels encourages is not surprising to many Clear Channel employees whom Michaels led for many years as president of that company’s radio division, but it ruffled the feathers of many Tribune Company employees when Michaels served as its CEO.  It remains to be seen if this incident will affect Michaels’ relationship with Merlin Media’s investors, especially in light of the mounting criticism facing the recent launch of the FM news operations in New York and Chicago and their disappointing early ratings.

Hispanic Group Pickets KFI, Los Angeles in Protest of John & Ken.  The National Hispanic Media Coalition held a press conference and peaceful protest outside the studios of Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles yesterday.  About 35 people picketed the station’s Olive Street facilities in Burbank.  The group tells L.A. Weekly that “at least three major advertisers are pulling out of the John & Ken show” and though the advertisers were not named there, the Los Angeles Times reports the activists say Verizon and AT&T have pulled advertising from the show and grocery chains Vons and Ralphs have agreed not to advertise on the show in the future.  The protest and boycott were triggered after immigrant advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera claimed to have received some 400 phone calls from John & Ken listeners after the duo gave out Cabrera’s cell number and asked listeners to tell him what they think of his support for the Dream Act which provides tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants.  Initially, Clear Channel Los Angeles management agreed to meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss the issue but the meeting was canceled after one leader demanded that John & Ken be taken off the air and CC market manager Greg Ashlock refused to acquiesce to an ultimatum.  Clear Channel did not address the issue of advertisers leaving the show but issued the following written statement, “Expressing your opinion is not a firing offense.  KFI stands behind John and Ken and their right to speak their minds — opinions shared, incidentally, by over a million California listeners each week and protected by the First Amendment.”  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This situation being faced by KFI in Los Angeles is a quintessential example of a whole slew of core news/talk radio concerns — special interest pressure, advertising boycotts, free speech rights, political correctness, and management resolve — all crashing together in one escalating story.  It warrants the industry’s undivided attention.”   The heated debate over illegal immigration as well as the managing of controversy in news/talk radio will be among the topics discussed at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20.

CBS Radio Reportedly Interested in Annapolis FM for All-Newser.  Rumors continue to swirl about CBS Radio’s interest in acquiring a DC-area FM – specifically Christian WFSI-FM, Annapolis – in order to put on its own FM all-news outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  WFSI-FM is owned by evangelist Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  The presence of CBS Radio Washington market manager Steve Swenson, who has a ton of experience in news having worked for years in various capacities at the company’s New York news stations WCBS and WINS, is lending credence to the rumor.

Clear Channel Promotes Brian Lekamp to President of CC Digital.   Brian Lekamp moves up from his post as EVP of digital media to the newly created position.  Lekamp’s duties include his responsibility for Clear Channel’s digital strategy – with its iHeartRadio service at the top of that — as well as the infrastructure, tools and social media integration for its local stations’ branded Internet properties.  He will also continue to work with key partners to develop cutting-edge tools and products for all of Clear Channel’s radio, media and entertainment properties.  Lekamp states, “At Clear Channel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business – they are smart, dedicated and focused on innovation.  The development of the new iHeartRadio was supercharged with our acquisition of Thumbplay in March and our strong integrated digital team will continue to develop new digital music products and experiences that support the iHeartRadio platform and Clear Channel’s network of radio station websites.  This is a team effort that I am honored to lead.”

CBS Radio Ups Mike Thomas to VP of Programming in Boston.  Mike Thomas has been PD at classic rock WZLX, Boston since 2006 and has programmed WBZ-FM – 98.5 The Sports Hub – since its debut in 2009.  Now, CBS Radio ups Thomas to vice president of programming for the cluster that also includes hot AC WBMX-FM, oldies WODS-FM and news WBZ.  SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “Since Mike’s arrival at WZLX in 2006, he has built the station into a consistent ratings powerhouse.  His launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009 has been one of the most successful in recent radio history, and the station being named ‘Sports Station of the Year’ at the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards was a tremendous accomplishment.  I look forward to using his strategic approach and programming insights to impact the overall CBS Radio stable of stations in Boston.”

CC Denver Produces Successful “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” Live Event.  The 2nd annual “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” was produced on Thursday, October 6 by Clear Channel Denver and entertained a sold-out house at the Comedy Works Landmark in Denver.  Personalities from the three Denver talk stations – KOA, KHOW and KKZN – batted around the hot issues of the day before the live audience.  Taking part were: Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, Mike Rosen, Dave Logan, Michael Brown, John Caldara and Rick Barber from KOA; Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman from KHOW; and David Sirota and Thom Hartmann from KKZN.  The event was heavily sponsored by local businesses and admission was charged.  Pictured here are progressive talk KKZN morning host David Sirota (l) and KOA midday host Mike Rosen (r).

Buckley Broadcasting’s Jennifer Buckley Named to RAB Board.  The daughter of the late Rick Buckley (once chair of the RAB board) is elected to the Radio Advertising Bureau board.  Jennifer Buckley is vice president and director of sales for WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” adds WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana for its brand new live Sunday evening show hosted by Mark Edge and Stephanie…..“The Career Clinic” with Maureen Anderson picks up affiliates WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky; KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; and KTUI, Sullivan Missouri.

2012 Presidential Race/999 Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 10-14.  The GOP race for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan’ topped the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  At #2 was the Iran assassination plot allegation.  Close behind at #3 was the ‘Occupy’ protest movement and at #4 was President Obama’s Jobs Bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click the banner below.

 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

| October 13, 2011

WOR Looking to Launch New Evening Show in 2012.  Pardon the mixed fruit metaphor, but plum talk show jobs like this don’t come up that often in the Big Apple as WOR tips TALKERS to its plans to fill 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm with a new show at the beginning of the year.  According to program director Scott Lakefield, the legendary station is completely open to all ideas as it looks to bring in someone or something new to fill that cool two-hour slice of its evening schedule.  Lakefield tells TALKERS that the timing of the move is being designed to coincide with forthcoming changes at the end of the year in the business relationship between Dial Global and Philadelphia-based talker Michael Smerconish whose syndicated program is currently in that slot. Lakefield points out that in keeping with the station’s present direction of focusing on locally-originated talent with a broad-based political/social agenda, the station would most-likely hire a non-syndicated talent such as it offers in morning drive with John Gambling and the recent addition of former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons.  “We are very encouraged by the response we are getting with these shows and feel that the station is filling a real programming void in New York news/talk radio programming.” Meantime, in light of this development, TALKERS checked with Dial Global to ascertain the status of the syndicated Michael Smerconish program learning that the changes ahead will simply pertain to the production and ownership of the successful show and not to its continuation as a syndicated offering in the new year.  According to Dial Global vice president Amy Bolton, “It’s moving from a Dial Global-owned product to being a repped product owned by an outside producer. We hope to announce the details shortly.  But it is all good.  In essence, nothing changes as we would still handle ad sales, affiliate sales and distribution.”  Michael Smerconish is a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and generally recognized as not only being the leading news/talk talent in Philadelphia but one of the hottest rising stars on the national talk media scene.

Clear Channel to Restructure Management in Medium and Small Markets.  Scuttlebutt in the industry that Clear Channel’s regional managers meetings in Atlanta would reveal some sort of management reorganization plan appears to be true and, though concrete details are still few, it appears the company will be employing more regional market managers to oversee its medium and small markets.  Sources close to the story indicate that each regional market manager will oversee anywhere between 10 and 15 markets in order to give each manager less to focus on than the current system which has fewer regional vice presidents responsible for many stations.  The new setup reportedly also includes a programmer to assist each regional market manager.  What this means for local talent and local programmers remains to be seen however, it would not be unusual to see some sort of programming consolidation where management feels it can contain costs without harming the on-air product.

WTKK-FM, Boston Expands Morning Simulcast with Regional Cable News Channel.  Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston shaves an hour off the Jim Braude and Margery Eagan-hosted morning drive show and adds another hour of its audio simulcast of New England Cable Network’s “NECN Morning News” program to the schedule.  The Braude and Eagan show now begins at 7:00 am.  WTKK-FM has been airing NECN’s “First Thing in the Morning” starting at 4:30 am followed by the “NECN Morning News” show from 5:00 am to 6:00 am.  Program director Grace Blazer says they added the additional hour due to positive listener response.  “Commuting New Englanders now have found a whole new way to start the day. 96.9 FM’s expanding commitment to local and breaking news, traffic, and weather followed by Jim and Margery’s perspective, live audience interaction, and real time attention to topical issues creates a listening experience not available anywhere else.  This seamless integration of content created by NECN and 96.9 FM represents the next generation of news and information delivered over multiple platforms for the benefit of listeners in a ‘right now’ world.  Greater Media Boston is proud to be a part of this innovation that will benefit its advertisers, listeners and the communities we serve.”

Monticello Media Helps Bring Concert to Region for Earthquake Benefit.  WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia PD and morning drive host Joe Thomas tells TALKERS his station and sister country outlet WCYK-FM spearheaded a drive that culminated with the town of Louisa, Virginia winning a nationwide competition for a free Alan Jackson concert to benefit families whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the August 28 earthquake.  Thomas says, “It was an overwhelming response.  Since FEMA turned Governor McDonnell down, I’m glad Louisa and all of Central Virginia was able to do something to help our own.”

GOP Debate/Cain’s 999 Plan, Iran Assassination Plot Allegations, ‘Occupy’ Protests, and Obama’s Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12).  The GOP candidates debate and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan,’ the allegations of an Iran-sponsored assassination plot, the ‘Occupy’ protests and the status of President Obama’s jobs creation legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey’s Book Tour/Live Events Continue to Draw.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey’s continuing bus tour of the country to promote his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), drew 750 fans to this book signing in Katy, Texas on October 7 with metro affiliate KSEV, Houston a partner in the event.  The next day, Ramsey attracted about 8,000 listeners to his “Total Money Makeover Live” program at Houston’s Reliant Arena in Houston.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

| October 12, 2011

Sirius XM Delay Broadcasts Audio Version of Rosie O’Donnell’s OWN Talk Show.  Rosie O’Donnell began a new talk show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Monday (10/10).  Sirius XM announces it will air “The Rosie Show” the day after it airs on OWN at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm on its Stars channel.  Winfrey relaunched the Oprah Winfrey Network on Monday and reports on the ratings for O’Donnell’s program indicate it averaged less than half a million viewers.  The New York TimesBrian Stelter writes that in her heyday hosting a talk show a decade prior, O’Donnell’s show reached “millions.”  OWN is a project of Winfrey’s and Discovery Networks and Stelter reports O’Donnell’s program must grow in order to become profitable.

WJXL, Jacksonville Goes Local in AM Drive.  Seven Bridges-owned sports WJXL, Jacksonville bumps United Stations Radio NetworksLex & Terry from the AM drive slot and moves local hosts Jeff Prosser and Dan Hicken to the morning slot.  The station airs “XL Primetime” with Joe C and Hacker in the midday time slot previously occupied by Prosser’s and Hicken’s “Sports Final Radio.”  Syndicated Lex & Terry were once based out of Jacksonville.  Their program now emanates from Dallas.

WGN, Chicago to Air Live Remote Chicago Blackhawks Shows.  The station – flagship for Chicago Blackhawks hockey – is producing six live remote broadcasts called “Chicago Blackhawks Live” with the first one taking place at Harry Caray’s Legendary Italian Steakhouse on October 24 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  “Sportsnight” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas host the show that is open to the public.  Special guests will be Blackhawks greats Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita as statues of the two are being unveiled outside the United Center just two days prior.

Chicagoland Station Owner Joe Gentile Passes Away.  Joseph J. Gentile was a car dealer who bought AM daytimer WKDC — licensed to suburban Elmhurst – in 1994 and changed the call letters to his initials (WJJG) in order to help promote his car business.  He found out he liked broadcasting and became the station’s morning host – a hobby he continued for years after retiring from the car business in 2003.  Gentile died Monday at age 87 of natural causes.  WJJG is operated by Chicago radio pro Matt DuBiel who serves as general manager.  The station recently announced it is adding Talk Radio Network’s “Mancow Experience” and Michael Savage shows to its lineup.

Iran Terror Plot, Obama Jobs Bill, 2012 GOP Presidential Candidates and ‘Occupy’ Protest Movement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11).  The Saudi ambassador assassination plot allegedly sponsored by Iran, the failure of the Obama jobs bill in the Senate, the Republican candidates for president and the ‘Occupy’ protests movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Running for a Good Cause.  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive hosts Brian Nehman (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (not pictured) ran the 2011 Army Ten Miler on Monday (10/10) to benefit the Fisher House Foundation.  Nehman is pictured here with Fisher House vice president Brian Gawne (r) after finishing the race.  The Fisher House Foundation provides housing for the family of military personnel so they can be near their loved ones while they are being treated for injuries suffered in combat.  To date, WMAL has raised nearly $3 million for Fisher House since 2004.

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

| October 11, 2011

WWWN-FM, Chicago Midday Anchor Dave Williams Exits Merlin Station.  The first high-profile firing at Merlin Media’s Chicago all-newser claims veteran news and talk radio pro Dave Williams.  Numerous reports indicate Williams was let go after a station visit from Merlin Media management that included CEO Randy Michaels but not COO Walter Sabo.  Industry watchers note that there’s been near constant tweaking of the on-air sound at Merlin’s WWWN-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York but the departure of Williams has triggered a change that appears to be taking the stations away from the “lifestylish” approach to news and toward a much more traditional all-news direction.  This, according to widespread street buzz, could put Walter Sabo’s future with Merlin in doubt as he is generally recognized as the architect of the innovative direction that has marked the company’s questionable starts in both Chicago and New York.  As pointed out here last week, although industry conventional wisdom indicates that it takes time – as much as a year or more – for spoken-word upstarts to gain ratings traction (especially groundbreaking ones), today’s economically stressed environment and “ADD/PPM world” pressure for instantaneous results would likely contribute to nervous investors and the knee jerk response to make changes…especially at an extremely high-profile operation as Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media.  Thus, the “big tweak” might be morphing into a significant format change.  Meanwhile, Williams, who spent most of his career working in news and talk radio in California at such stations as KNX, KABC and KFWB in Los Angeles and KFBK in Sacramento, is looking for his next opportunity after moving from California three months ago to become part of the new Merlin station.

Westwood One’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Partner for Live Shows.  The last time Bill O’Reilly did a series of live events, then-FNC employed Glenn Beck was his partner.  This time Dennis Miller – a man who is no stranger to the live stage – joins O’Reilly for the “Bolder and Fresher” tour with stops at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut; the Landmark Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City; and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.  It’s billed as “Bill O’Reilly, godfather of ‘no spin’ and in-your-face television, and Dennis Miller, the king of references and rants, are teaming up to take the country by storm!”  Tickets are not cheap for this event.  The cheap seats are $95 and the VIP tix are $500 but include a meet-and-greet, photos with O’Reilly and Miller and autographs.

Premiere Networks’ George Noory Publishes New Book Talking to the Dead.  The host of Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM” joins forces with paranormal experts and co-author Rosemary Ellen Guiley to author Talking to the Dead (Forge Books 2011) – the third book for George Noory.  According to Noory, the book “explores the colorful history and personalities behind spirit communications, weaving together spirituality, metaphysics, science and technology.”  Billed as a high-tech guide to spiritual communications, “Noory and Guiley use historical research to explore the science behind radio wave production and how radios carry supernatural voices; examples of successful spiritual communication around the globe; the possible existence of parallel universes from which we hear voices; the history of electromagnetic communication methods, including work by scientific giants like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla; and much more.”

Peak Broadcasting Goes Sports Full Time on KFXD, Boise.  KFXD has been positioned as KIDO 630 in the past as a sister sports and talk outlet to news/talk KIDO 580.  Dan Patrick’s DirecTV-produced show has been part of the lineup for years.  Now, Peak Broadcasting gives the station a separate identity and takes it sports full time as SportsRadio 630 The Fan.  The station keeps Dan Patrick in AM drive and uses content from Fox Sports Radio throughout the day except for the local Riley Corcoran show from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm and the Tester and Riley show (in which Dave Tester joins Corcoran) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

TRN’s Michael Savage Gains Clearance in Phoenix.  Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage is back in the Phoenix market on Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX in the afternoon drive slot airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Savage’s program was last cleared in the market on Clear Channel’s KFYI.

Obama Jobs Bill, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 GOP Candidates and Euro Zone Instability Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10).  The fate of President Obama’s jobs bill, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the battle for the Republican nomination for president and the policies to stabilize the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

 

Monday, October 10, 2011

| October 10, 2011

Civil Disobedience Nets Host Jail Sentence.  TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Ian Freeman, co-host of the nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live,” didn’t set out to spend 59 days in jail — but he believes so strongly in what he talks about on the air and how he lives his life that that’s exactly what he did.  Freeman served 59 days of a 90-day jail sentence (he got early release for good behavior) for obstructing a police officer who was arresting a young woman for an open container violation in Keene, New Hampshire.  Many talk show hosts have strong beliefs and “walk the walk,” but as someone who believes the government is too invasive in people’s lives (and positions his show as a reflection of that philosophy), Freeman makes a habit out of protesting police enforcement of victimless crimes.  He says the authorities in the New England community in which the national show is based see him as “a leader of people with such beliefs” and that’s why he believes a judge gave him a 360-day sentence with 270 days suspended.  Facing the consequences of his commitment was not only personally challenging, but professionally as well.  Freeman tells TALKERS being away from the show for 58 programs left co-host Mark Edge to handle the nightly broadcast with the help of guest co-hosts.  Most programs would be in trouble if their lead personality were gone for that period of time.  Freeman, who created the program, says the unique nature of “Free Talk Live” is that it’s not the “Mark and Ian” show.  He explains, “I didn’t want it to be a show about the personalities as much as it is about the ideas and the concept of open phones and a pro-liberty discussion forum…the idea of the show has always been to have it be able to continue in my or Mark’s absence.”  Freeman says that they have a great crew of friends and volunteers who helped Mark Edge during his time in jail and even though it was Edge’s first time sitting in the “first chair,” he’s heard nothing but good things about how the show went in his absence.  “We didn’t lose any affiliates while I was gone.”  In fact, Freeman says he had the opportunity to hear the show from jail on a local affiliate and had his first real opportunity to hear it as a program director instead of as a part of the show.  He even phoned in on the hotline from jail once or twice with programming advice!  Freeman tells TALKERS he certainly does not want to spend more time in jail but that won’t change how he handles the show or his own life.  “I still firmly believe that more people need to practice civil disobedience and non-cooperation.  I agree with the oft-cited statement that ‘all that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’  I just can’t sit idly by and watch as my peaceful neighbors continue to be caged for all manner of nonsense – whether it be an RV being parked in their yard, smoking a marijuana cigarette, drinking a little bit of beer – whatever…I can’t get on the air with listeners and advocate non-cooperation with the government if I’m not willing to do it myself.  That would make me feel like a hypocrite.”  “Free Talk Live” is a formidable independently syndicated national show with an impressive growth trend heard on 109 affiliates across the country on stations as disparate as conservative news/talk WSPD, Toledo and progressive talk outlet WXXM-FM, Madison.  In these days of both civil disobedience and peaceful demonstrations erupting on the streets of America and the fracturing of the rigid left/right political categories prevalent within the news/talk radio landscape, it stands out as an important emerging talk media industry entity.

WWRL, New York Broadcasts from ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protest.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York is broadcasting from the heart of the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest in Manhattan.  WWRL morning drive host Mark Riley is broadcasting his program this morning (10/10) from 6:00 am to 9:00 am from Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street between Trinity Place and Broadway.  Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated program will also broadcast from the same location from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm today.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “We feel it is particularly important to expand the platform for ‘RL’s culturally diverse audience by being on site of this historic movement.”  The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement began on September 17 and continues to be a major story on talk radio.

Cumulus Promotes WJR, Detroit GM to Market Manager.  Tom O’Brien is upped from his GM post at news/talk WJR, Detroit to market manager for the Cumulus properties in the Motor City that include music FMs WDVD and WDRQ.  Regional vice president of Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier says, “Tom has absolutely earned this promotion!  He’s led WJR to a new standard and has embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System with a vision of incremental growth.”  O’Brien has served as GM of WJR since February of this year.

Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) Partners with eBay Motors for Expanded Online Distribution.  In what is being described as “the first of many new programming and distribution opportunities” that the company is identifying for 2012 and beyond, Entertainment Radio Network, the Oregon-based syndicator of specialty shows covering primarily automotive, consumer electronics, popular science and technology subjects, announces its distribution partnership with eBay Motors, one of the internet’s leading automotive destinations.  Effective immediately, all ERN shows will be distributed through the modJOBS site on the eBayMotors.com landing page to 14 million unique visitors per month.  modJOBS is also supported via social media links to Facebook and Twitter.  ERN president (and former ABC Radio Networks EVP) John McConnell tells TALKERS, “eBay Motors has an extraordinary audience – nearly one billion page views per month.  I believe this kind of distribution is very much a part of radio’s future and we are thrilled that Entertainment Radio Network is the first to be working with eBay Motors new audio programming initiative.  We are all accustomed to talking about TSL (time spent listening), but now get ready to consider stickiness as well – eBay Motors’ average shopper spends 35 minutes per day online, often with credit cards at the ready.”  McConnell recently joined ERN CEO (and on air personality) Alan Taylor as president and a partner in the company.

CBS Radio and NFL’s Houston Texans Sign Long-Term Extension.  CBS Radio’s sports KILT, Houston and country KILT-FM will remain the flagship stations for Houston Texans football for many years to come as the team and CBS agree to a long-term extension of their deal.  Texans football has been affiliated with KILT for the past 10 seasons.

Andy Greenberg Begins Local TV Segment Based on Radio Feature.  KFAB, Omaha-based motivational radio personality Andy Greenberg – host of “Your Weekend HIgh with Andy Greenberg” – is now appearing on KPTM-TV, Omaha on the Sunday evening broadcast beginning October 16.  Greenberg transitioned to his current role as a speaker, trainer and broadcaster after 35 years in the sales and marketing business.  He says, “I am thrilled to be part of the Fox 42 Sunday Night News broadcasts that continue the Fox tradition of broadcasting innovations and have been the forefront and hallmark of the network and its affiliates.”

Salem Radio Network Celebrates Talk Format with “SRN Talk-Tober Month” Promotion.  Rock radio fans certainly remember the “rocktober” moniker assigned to the 10th month of the year on many AOR stations back in the day.  Now, Salem Radio Network honors the talk radio format in its own way declaring it “SRN Talk-Tober Month” and Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne joins the celebration by issuing a proclamation in honor of the Irving-based syndicator and all talk radio serving the metro area.  As part of the proclamation, Van Duyne states, “The talk radio industry in North Texas includes a number of talk radio stations including KSKY; WBAP-AM/FM; KRLD; and KLIF which strive to promote a free and open exchange of opinions on the premise that City of Irving residents and others throughout the area have the right to exercise free speech.”

Friday, October 7, 2011

| October 7, 2011

KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group.  Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired.  The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens.  Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language.  KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.”  Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.

Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show.  Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI.  That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.”  The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell.  Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January.  Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station.  Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM.  Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts.  They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences.  This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.”  The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day.  It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”

Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville.  Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program.  Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits.  The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career.  The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish.  Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”

Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.”  The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks.  DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.”  The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio.  However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network.  FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy.  The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.

NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team.  NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN.  Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area.  They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business.  They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”

TALKERS Affiliation Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio NetworksLex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.

Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7.  President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week.  The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com.  To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

| October 6, 2011

iHeartRadio to Invade American Living Rooms.  In an innovative development that significantly bolsters traditional radio programming’s digital distribution potential, Clear Channel’s expanded deal with Microsoft to include its iHeartRadio in the Xbox LIVE service could put CC stations into the homes of millions of Americans.  Clear Channel says this is an expansion of its multi-year deal with Microsoft that integrates iHeartRadio on Windows Phone 7 and brought the recent two-day iHeartRadio music festival into homes exclusively on the Xbox 360.  Beginning this winter it will work this way: The New iHeartRadio will be available for free to Xbox LIVE Gold members.  Through this new agreement, Gold members who have Kinect for Xbox 360 can use the product’s revolutionary sensor to experience an entertainment first: the ability to control digital radio in their living room using their voice and body.  Gold members who have Xbox 360, but do not have Kinect, can operate the New iHeartRadio using their controller.  Regardless of whether they have Kinect or not, all Xbox 360 Gold members will have access to the New iHeartRadio’s features, including more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus custom stations with more songs, better music intelligence and more user control.  The deal will also give users access to social features through CC’s deal with Facebook.  Clear Channel CEO John Hogan tells TALKERS, “Clear Channel is committed to innovation and deep social integration.  We want to continually deliver new experiences that consumers have never seen before – like the recent launch of the New iHeartRadio, which combines broadcast and digital-only stations and user-created stations in one service for the first time.  The New iHeartRadio’s integration with the Xbox 360 enables Kinect users to control digital radio in their living room using just their voice and body.  There is nothing else like it on the market and it’s another example of how we are committed to being wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect.”

Financial Expert Charles Payne to Launch National Radio Show Via Sun Broadcast Group.  Charles Payne is well known to viewers of Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel as well as to KFI, Los Angeles where he’s hosted a Saturday afternoon program.  Now, Payne partners with Sun Broadcast Group to begin a nationally syndicated two-hour financial talk show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily starting October 17.  “Payne Nation with Charles Payne” will emanate from Fox studios in New York.  Chad Wilkinson is named executive producer, Gabe Hobbs and Jim Robinson are aboard in a consulting capacity and the show will feature the voice talents of Edd Hall.  Sun CEO and founder Jay Bailey states, “We’re very excited to welcome Charles to the Sun Broadcast lineup.  We believe the industry is ready for an uplifting, positive financial show that will provide real answers for real people in this turbulent time in our nation.”  Payne says, “Everyone asks me how I am going to be different from other hosts out there, and I tell them that I am simply going to be real.  No scare tactics.  I’m not going to sugarcoat anything in fact I go right at the issues by digging beneath the surface, seeking facts, relying on history and connecting all the dots for real assessments and real solutions.”

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Scores Exclusive Perspective of Airline Passenger Arrest.  WJIM, Lansing-based talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels happened to be returning from Amsterdam to Detroit when a man on the Delta plane began ranting about a hijacking.  The man was quickly restrained by air marshals.  Shiels tells TALKERS, “While observing from up close, I discreetly used the e-mail function of Delta’s in-flight entertainment system to send e-mails and texts to my producer and other media outlets.  The result was an exclusive story for my radio network and a press gaggle waiting for me when I emerged from the aircraft, resulting in national publicity on the major TV networks.”  Shiels says the man appeared to be American and in his 30s.  He says many passengers became agitated since it was an Amsterdam to Detroit flight that the infamous “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up on Christmas Day 2009.

Paul Finebaum Gets Favorable Ruling in Legal Tussle with Cumulus.  Regionally syndicated and WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum was successful in getting his civil suit against Citadel – now Cumulus – returned to state court in Alabama.  Federal judge L. Scott Coogler ruled Cumulus was not able to prove the dispute went above the $75,000 threshold to make it a federal civil suit.  Legal experts say Finebaum stands a better chance in state court due to the legal standards.  Finebaum has two suits filed against Cumulus: one in which Citadel agreed to bankruptcy reorganization without his consent and the other that he was coerced into amending his contract and that Citadel violated its deal with him by manipulating revenue for his program away from him.

KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Comes Out with Parkinson’s Diagnosis.  In a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, KNBR sports talk host Ralph Barbieri – co-host of “The Razor and Mr. T” alongside Tom Tolbert – confesses to having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2002 and telling no one except Tolbert until now.  Barbieri tells the paper he decided to reveal his diagnosis now since he is coming to the end of his contract and wanted to be honest as he and Cumulus negotiate a new deal.  He tells the paper, “If I am to continue at KNBR, I’d like to start with all our cards on the table, face-up.  I’ve gotten to know Lew Dickey a little bit, and my gut feeling was that he could deal with my situation at an honorable level, so I gave him a call and told him everything.  He let me know that KNBR wants me back.  He didn’t say on what terms, but the fact that he didn’t view the Parkinson’s as a red flag, that was a huge relief to me.”

Premiere Networks Scores Large Market Add for Glenn Beck: Phoenix.  Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix agrees to add the Glenn Beck show to its daily program schedule in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot bumping Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage from the slot.  Clear Channel Phoenix director of programming and operations Smokey Rivers states, “Glenn has a sizeable and loyal local following.   His unique and stimulating perspectives will be a welcome addition to the station.”

WROK, Rockford-Based Michael Koolidge Show Names New Producer.  Michael Koolidge’s regionally and independently syndicated talk show is based out of Cumulus-owned WROK, Rockford, Illinois and syndicated to WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois.  Koolidge announces he brings on Natalie Zee Fenwick as his program’s first full-time producer.  “Thanks specifically to our outstanding advertiser support over the last year, we can afford to officially create our first bona fide job.  Even though it’s just a single job, we’re proud to join the ranks of ‘job creators’ of America.  I’ve had a rotation of great part-time producers and interns over the years, but we’re finally in a position where we’re ready to hire a regular producer.  And we’re thrilled that we found Natalie.”  Koolidge’s business model – serving as an independent contractor to regional radio stations – is one the industry is likely to see more of as companies and stations seek quality local or regional talent without taking on the expenses of traditional employees.  Koolidge’s highly rated program is one industry watchers are keeping an eye on.

Talk Host Jim Walsh and KFYR, Bismarck Part Company.  It’s only been two weeks since talk personality Jim Walsh returned to Clear Channel’s KFYR, Bismarck – a station he worked at in 2003 and 2004 – to host the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program formerly held by Scott Bachmeier.  Not sure what happened there but Walsh cryptically tells TALKERS, “I have stepped down from the afternoon talk show at KFYR, Bismarck by mutual consent.  I’m still there part-time, at least for the time being.  I’m currently exploring my options and can be reached at 701-226-8449.”  Bachmeier had exited the full-time shift to concentrate on non-radio work but the station lists him as host of the time slot – at least for now.

Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs Passes, 2012 GOP Candidates and Obama Jobs Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5).  The growing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the death of Apple innovator Steve Jobs, the Republican candidates for president in 2012 and President Obama’s job creation plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

| October 5, 2011

 

Merlin Faces Pressure after Disappointing Arbitrons.  The upside of having a high-profile roll out for the launch of a new format is gaining the thrust of free publicity generated by lots of consumer press and enjoying the accompanying media/advertising buzz that generates early believers and revenue.  The downside is facing the instantaneous criticism that comes with unrealistic expectations when they are not fulfilled – an insidious process that can quickly erode the confidence of investors, advertisers and employees, setting in motion the radio equivalent of an unharmonious locker room in sports and frightened ownership.  That is the price Merlin Media and its colorful, controversial CEO Randy Michaels are facing in the wake of two early but extremely disappointing report cards issued by Arbitron reflecting the anemic initial audience numbers of their innovative all-news properties, FM News 101.1 in Chicago (0.2, 6-plus) and FM News 101.9 in New York (0.5, 6-plus).  The “ouch factor” is especially biting in Chicago where FM News 101.1 is being measured against CBS Radio O&O WBBM’s 105.9 FM simulcast which launched a pre-emptive competing all news format on FM and garnered a solid 1.0, 6-plus share on top of its big AM numbers for the same period.  Whereas much of this “chatter” has remained contained within under-the-radar industry conversations and media blogs, the hard facts surfaced big-time publicly this morning in an all-too-blunt article by reporter Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune headlined “FM News 101 finds meager audience, early ratings show” describing what happened in the following terms: “The first full month of ratings for Chicago’s two FM news stations didn’t bring good news for Merlin Media. Its FM News 101.1 (WWWN-FM) ranked 48th, with a minuscule 0.2 share for September, according to Arbitron results released Tuesday. The station was trounced by CBS Radio’s simulcast of WBBM-AM 780 on sister station 105.9 FM, which garnered an additional 1.0 share. The combined AM-FM listenership for WBBM Newsradio was 6.4, topping the Chicago market. The survey covered Aug. 18 to Sept. 14.”  The article goes on to quote a confident Michaels as stating, “It’s a work in progress; it’s very, very early.” Michaels adds, “You’re looking at the very first couple of weeks after we blew up a rock station, and I can’t think that too many people who were listening to (Q101.1) would be listening to spoken word.”  The story reports that Michaels is urging patience in assessing the Chicago station’s success offering the revealing explanation, “I think that we’re still in the process of revamping and finding the right approach.”   Seasoned talk media industry professionals know that Michaels is correct in his ongoing assertion that it takes time for a spoken word format to gain ratings traction.  However a larger question spawned of the times looms – in today’s PPM world in which listener loyalty and station image take a back seat to instantaneous, real-time listening, set against the backdrop of a very uncertain economy, and exacerbated by an impatient media’s hunger for the instantaneous results of a high-profile business launch, does Michaels have the time to bring his ambitious endeavor to fruition before his nervous investors start pressing the panic button?

Cumulus Watch: Bob Moore Out in Los Angeles.  KABC and KLOS-FM, Los Angeles general manager Bob Moore is out at the Cumulus stations and former Spanish Broadcasting System chief revenue officer Marko Radlovic rejoins the company he worked for almost a decade ago.  Radlovic resigned from his post at SBS on September 28 where he also served as senior vice president and general manager at the company’s two Los Angeles stations.

Townsquare Media Steals One from Cumulus.  Townsquare Media hires Matt Hanlon for the newly created position of vice president of sales in which he’ll oversee all aspects of the company’s sales efforts.  Hanlon leaves his Michigan-based position as regional vice president for Cumulus to join Townsquare.  He was an RVP for Citadel – now Cumulus – in charge of some 85 markets in the Midwest.

Beck, Ingraham, Levin and Bennett Featured Speakers at DC Summit.  The Values Voters Summit takes place this weekend at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC and joining numerous conservative speakers, Republican officeholders and most of the GOP presidential candidates are Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin and Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett.  The event is co-sponsored by a number of conservative action groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association  as well as conservative think tanks including The Heritage Foundation.

Bell Media Launches TSN Radio in Montreal and Winnipeg.  With a continued focus on local sports, The Team 990 in Montreal (CKGM) is being rebranded as TSN Radio 990 and Sports Radio 1290 in Winnipeg (CFRW) becomes TSN Radio 1290.  The stations debut just in time for the launch of the NHL season.  Both TSN stations promise to feature extensive live NHL hockey coverage with TSN Radio 990 airing Montreal Canadiens games and TSN Radio 1290 the home of the Winnipeg Jets.  Both stations are available nationally online at TSN.ca and on TSN Mobile.  The newly re-branded TSN Radio stations will work closely with Bell Media‘s market-leading all-sports radio stations in Vancouver and Ottawa.

Canada’s Radio Regulator Rules Broadcasters Must Identify Repeat Programs.  Acting after a complaint about a 2010 edition of the CFRB, Toronto program “Friendly Fire,” the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently ruled that repeat broadcasts of call-in shows must be identified as such.  The CFRB show in question was a repeat of a program that encouraged listeners to call in or text questions to program participants.  In its ruling, the CBSC wrote, in part: “At the very least, it would be courteous to the audience’s sensibilities to advise them that a program or an episode of a program is being repeated…Where, however, it is a part of the original broadcast that persons were invited to contact the station, as in any call-in show, the lack of courtesy in failing to advise listeners not to call becomes an inconvenience if not an annoyance.  Where, as in the matter at hand, listeners are invited, not just to call, but also to text the station, the inconvenience turns to expense.”

2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ U.N. Syria Resolution and Bernanke Testimony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4).  The GOP candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012 – including Herman Cain’s rise in the polls, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, Russia and China’s veto of a U.N. resolution against Syria and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Old Friends.  Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett (r) and his producer Chris Beach (c) bump into presidential candidate Herman Cain (l) outside the Fox News Channel studios in New York City.  Cain, who hosted a talk radio program on WSB, Atlanta before giving up the show to run for office, had been a regular fill-in host for Bennett’s show.  Bennett told Cain he’s welcome back on the show anytime if his presidential campaign doesn’t end up victorious and Cain replied Bennett is welcome to visit him in the White House if he wins.

 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

| October 4, 2011

Program Host Amy Goodman and Staff Settle in 2008 RNC Arrest Case.  Amy Goodman hosts the New York-based radio and TV program “Democracy Now” and it was in that capacity that she and her crew were covering the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota when violent protests broke out.  While filming the action, her crew was arrested by police insisting they were part of the disturbance.  Goodman was also arrested when she came to their defense.  Goodman and crew sued the City of St. Paul and the U.S. Secret Service with the assistance of the Center for Constitutional Rights.  The settlement includes $100,000 and the promise of police training.

It’s Official:  Dodgers Move to KLAC, Los Angeles.  After four seasons at Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, Clear Channel’s KLAC will be the flagship station for Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play for at least the next three seasons.  In a joint statement from the team and Clear Channel Los Angeles, market manager Greg Ashlock says, “The Dodgers are synonymous with Los Angeles.  The team has the ability to connect people regardless of age, gender or race.  Our Clear Channel stations have multi-demo and multi-cultural appeal that nicely complements the Dodgers brand and will provide unique marketing opportunities.  We’re also humbled to have Vin Scully, the greatest play-by-play announcer – period, lead our broadcast team.”

Cumulus Promotes Matt Spaulding to VP/Market Manager for Ann Arbor Cluster.  General sales manager at the cluster since 2009, Matt Spaulding is promoted to VP/ market manager by regional vice president Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier who states, “Matt has absolutely earned this ‘battlefield promotion’!  He’s embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System and developed a solid organization operating at double digit growth.”  Cumulus Media operates two music FMs and news/talk WTKA and progressive talk WLBY in the Ann Arbor market.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More than $150,000 at Celebrity Golf Tournament.  The BFoA’s Celebrity Golf Tournament 2011 pulled in more than $150,000 from the event held September 26 at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, New York.  Broadcasters and celebrities taking part included: actor Michael J. Fox; Fox Business Network and USRN personality Lou Dobbs; WOR, New York host John Gambling; ABC and ESPN sports broadcaster Sean McDonough; MSG and ABC play-by-play announcer Mike Breen; actress and “Bond” girl Rachel Grant; NHL All-Stars Rod Gilbert, Brian Leetch and Bob Nystrom; ESPN Radio’s Stephen A. Smith and CJ Papa; Super Bowl winner Amani Toomer; CBS-TV’s Maurice Dubois, Don Dahler and Dr. Max Gomez; ESPN SportsCenter hosts John Anderson and Jay Harris; WNYW-TV, New York’s Duke Castiglione; WNBC-TV, New York’s Bruce Beck; actor Gianni Russo; and more.  The foundation expects to grant $600,000 in aid this year – an increase of more than 20% over last year and BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “The Celebrity Golf Fundraiser makes it possible for the Foundation to continue its mission of helping broadcasters in need.  Our thanks to Greater Media president and CEO Peter Smyth and Katz Television Group president Jim Beloyianis who served as this year’s co-chairs and helped us present a successful event that provided attendees with an opportunity to give back to broadcasters who have nowhere else to turn.”

TRNS Bureau Chief Ellen Ratner Saves Young Blind South Sudanese Boy.  In a remarkable display of the power of talk radio when focused on humanitarian projects, a young Christian South Sudan boy, Ker Deng will be shedding light on the horror befalling his homeland and people before a Congressional Committee today.  This comes as the result of tireless work on the part of Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and the Washington, DC-based news agency Talk Radio News Service (TRNS) whose years of missions to the region bringing talk show hosts and relief have resulted in the feeding of starving people, the freeing of slaves and the reporting of news mostly ignored by the mainstream press.  Ker Deng was just a toddler when Arab slave traders took him and his mother from their village in South Sudan.  After burning Ker’s village and stealing everything of value, the raiders massacred most of the men.  Ker and his mother were tied to a camel and dragged to a life in captivity. He grew up eating the same grains that his slave master fed his horses.  One day, as punishment for letting a goat escape, Ker was hung upside-down from a tree as his master rubbed chili peppers into his eyes.  When he was finally cut down, his eyes were so badly damaged that he slowly went blind.  After being freed by CSI, Ker is now in the United States at the Wills Eye Institute, where he recently underwent cornea surgery (he’s seen being prepared for surgery in the photo here) that will hopefully restore the sight he lost while tortured at the hands of his captors.  Ker is learning English and has started piano lessons at Lighthouse Music School.  Ker will share his remarkable story today at 2200 Rayburn House Office Building at a press conference and during a hearing at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.  His mother – along with thousands of other slaves from South Sudan – remains in bondage.  Ker, through his interpreter, will tell his story.  Ker was brought to the U.S. thanks to CSI CEO John Eibner and Ellen Ratner, the White House correspondent and bureau chief for TRNS and a news analyst on the Fox News Channel (as well as Washington editor for TALKERS). Ratner has traveled multiple times to South Sudan since 2008, just returning on Saturday from another mission.

2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ Knox Conviction Overturned and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3).  The Republicans vying for the nomination to face President Obama in 2012, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest movement, the overturning of American Amanda Knox’s murder conviction in Italy and the volatile financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

TRN’s Rusty Humphries Shoots Role in “Flicka” Movie.  Talk Radio Network personality Rusty Humphries has been spending time in Canada recently on the set of a remake of the classic horse film, “Flicka.”  Humphries plays the role of an announcer at a critical horse show in the film.  The film stars actor and country music star Clint Black and his wife Lisa Hartman Black.  Speaking about his on-set experience, Humphries says, “I am very excited to be shooting ‘Flicka 3’ on location in Canada this week with director Michael Damian, the star of ‘The Young and The Restless’ and songwriter of the hit ‘Rock On’.  The shoot went great and Michael Damian could not be nicer.  He’s a really good director too.”  Humphries is seen here (l) on the set with Damian (r).

Monday, October 3, 2011

| October 3, 2011

Bob Pittman Named CEO of Clear Channel Media Holdings.  Acting on the faith it has in Bob Pittman to take Clear Channel into the future, the company’s board of directors announces it is naming him chief executive officer of CC Media Holdings which includes Clear Channel Radio and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.  He came aboard last November as an investor and chairman of media and entertainment platforms.  Pittman’s career includes his visionary work as co-founder of the MTV Network, CEO of AOL Networks, Six Flags Theme Parks, Quantum Media, Century 21 Real Estate, and Time Warner Enterprises.  In his new role he’ll join the board of directors of CC Media Holdings, Inc. and Clear Channel Communications, Inc.  In addition, he will join the board of directors of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., as its executive chairman.  Bain Capital managing director John Connaughton says, “I’m thrilled we were able recruit Bob into the CEO role at Clear Channel.  He is the perfect fit to lead this incredibly powerful media platform.  He embraces creativity and has given employees the motivation and freedom to innovate, take risks and succeed.  He thinks big, is not afraid of change and is intensely focused on driving new businesses, expanding our creative talent and maximizing the full value of Clear Channel’s extraordinary assets, ideas and people.”

NPR Announces Gary Knell CEO.  He doesn’t start until December 1 but the chief of Sesame Workshop will take over the CEO post at NPR left vacant after the spring firing of former CEO Vivian Schiller.  Knell’s experience in politics (working in both the California legislature and in Washington, DC as counsel) and in broadcasting make him an appealing candidate to take NPR past the controversy that has dogged it recently.  NPR board chairman Dave Edwards calls Knell, “an extraordinary leader with extensive experience in public media, programming and education.”  Knell tells NPR’s David Folkenflick he intends to depoliticize the company.  “It’s not about liberal or conservative — it’s about fairness.  We’ve got to make the case we’re delivering a fair service, not only in the way we do our jobs, but in the way we disseminate the news.”

AURN Cancels the Bev Smith Show.  American Urban Radio Networks announces the Bev Smith show will cease being offered by the network after October 28.  It was reported recently that Smith would wrap up production of her show due in part to illness but Smith denies that, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the cancellation is “about being a certain age and gender.”  AURN president of program operations and affiliations Jerry Lopes tells the Post-Gazette that the audience for Smith’s show made it difficult to sell due to it being much older than the 25-54 demographic.  “Her audience numbers were, frankly, skewing a lot older than that, which made the show less attractive to advertisers.  We were forced to make some changes, and her show, unfortunately, was one of the casualties.”  Smith says she is working on getting another company to support her show so it can continue.  She says, “I’m the town crier. I’m the voice of people who never get a chance to express their voice. I believe in this show.”

Entercom Buffalo Names Allan Davis Program Director.  Davis becomes program director at Entercom’s sports WGR, Buffalo.  Davis most recently served as programmer for Genesis Communications’ stations in Tampa.  He has programmed sports talk at KCSP, Kansas City; KFXX, Portland; CJCL, Toronto and more.

Katerina Perez Named Market Manager for CC Norfolk.  Clear Channel announces Katerina Perez moves from her post as vice president and market manager at the company’s Melbourne, Florida cluster to the market manager position at its Norfolk, Virginia cluster.

Ian Punnett Writes Children’s Book for Halloween.  Multifaceted talk show host Ian Punnett is known as somewhat of a renaissance man, between co-hosting a daily morning show in the Twin Cities with his wife of 27 years, Marge, on Hubbard Radio’s myTalk107.1FM, serving as the regular Saturday night host of Premiere Networks’ Coast to Coast AM, in addition to being  the associate producer for two HD-DVD commercial productions of Minnesota Opera, an ordained pastor, a father of two sons, and a loving owner to a very peculiar dog that dreams of catching squirrels.  Punnett has now immortalized his Boston Terrier, Jack, (adopted from a local rescue) in a children’s book specifically designed for the coming Halloween holiday and what he describes as today’s “edgier” young readers.  Written with a “note of menace,” the book is titled, Jackula the Vampire Dog.  Punnett is donating all profits generated by the sale of the book in support of children’s and animal charities nationwide.  Published by Beaver’s Pond Press, the hardcover book is available for $16.95 at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell’s Books, Booktopia, and local boutique book stores.  Punnett tells TALKERS, “It’s important to me to do creative work for a greater purpose.  Children’s books can make kids laugh, bring families together and raise money at the same time.”  No stranger to things that go bump in the night, Jackula is the story of a little girl suffering from bad dreams who takes comfort in a stray dog that watches over her while she sleeps.  But the dog has a secret – a secret that’s good news for lonely little girls and bad news for the neighborhood squirrels.  The book’s dark humor has earned Punnett the honor of being called “Shel Silverstein-esque.”

KGO, San Francisco Raises $200,000-Plus for Bay Area Food Banks.  During a 14-hour broadcast on September 16, KGO and its listeners helped raise more than $200,000 for the Bay Area Food Banks.  The KGO Fights Hunger Day Radio-thon consisted of special programming about the realities of hunger from both the KGO air staff and directly from families in the area affected by the struggle to provide healthy food even though they are employed.  KGO operations director Jack Swanson says, “I am so proud of what our listeners and staff were able to accomplish in just 14 hours.  This was an eye-opening experience for all of us and we all now know how much these vital services are needed in our community.”  As part of the programming, KGO personalities Jennifer Jones Lee, Ronn Owens, Gil Gross kept the focus on hunger throughout the day and KGO reporters Jeffrey Schaub and Rob Artigo aired interviews and poignant profiles of food bank clients from all walks of life.

31 Survivors in 31 Days.  That’s what KFBK, Sacramento morning news anchor Amy Lewis and the station are calling the breast cancer awareness campaign they are airing this month.  In conjunction with the local Albie Carson Breast Cancer Foundation, Lewis is airing her interviews with 31 breast cancer survivors – one on each day this month – during morning and afternoon news.  Lewis states, “Many of my friends and family are survivors of breast cancer.  It was my goal to interview 31 survivors for the 31 days of October to remind people who are currently fighting it that they are not alone.  No matter how long and difficult the battle might be, they’re not fighting it by themselves.  Because, to fight the battle against breast cancer, to help in the research, and to someday find a cure, we have to fight it – together.”

WGN, Chicago Engineer Ed Wilk Passes Away.  Longtime WGN, Chicago engineer Ed Wilk passed away last week.  WGN general manager Tom Langmyer posted the following statement on his Facebook page over the weekend: “Ed was an incredible broadcast engineer and a tremendous man. He was positive, resourceful, dedicated and a man of great character & integrity. Ed worked at WGN for more than 30 years. He was a WGN family member who will be sorely missed.  Condolences to Adrienne, the rest of his family and many friends.”