Archive for October, 2011

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.

 

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