Archive for November, 2011

Lionel for TalkersTV

| November 30, 2011


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

| November 30, 2011

Clear Channel to End Progressive Talker KKGN in San Francisco.  The progressive talk programming currently heard on KKGN, San Francisco – Green 960 – will not go away entirely; it’ll be available online and on the HD-2 channel of sister oldies KKSF-FM, but since so few people have HD radios anyone seeking shows such as Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann and Compass Media NetworksNorman Goldman will have to find them online.  The “death” of Green 960 comes as Clear Channel makes other changes to its Bay Area talk programming.  In the New Year, KKGN flips calls to KNEW, picks up the Fox News Radio affiliation and a new lineup including Glenn Beck in AM drive, followed by Dave Ramsey, then Premiere’s Randi Rhodes (the only holdover from Green 960), and Fox News Radio’s John Gibson.  Back at what is currently KNEW (910 AM), that station will take on new calls KKSF and become “San Francisco’s Talk 910 – KKSF.”  Armstrong & Getty (piped in from Sacramento) remain in mornings with Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan and a local PM drive show yet to be announced.  What does this mean for the progressive format?  Obviously it is a setback for the struggling format, simply because of the loss of a major market.  Some observers will point to this situation as an example of the format’s inherent weakness by saying it can’t even make it in San Francisco – one of the most liberal regions in the nation.  However others will note that it is harder for a radio format targeted to a political orientation to make it in an area heavily populated by like-minded people because it doesn’t serve a unfilled need.  Radio, being a niche medium, often works best in an area where the targeted audience is in the minority and it thus serves to galvanize a critical mass necessary to support a format.  That is likely the case in San Francisco.

Detroit Media Personality John Mason Hosts PM Drive on WCHB-AM/FM.  Longtime Detroit radio and TV personality John Mason is the new PM drive host on Radio One’s urban news/talk WCHB-AM/FM.  Mason most recently hosted the morning drive show on Radio One’s WGPR-FM until late October when the company flipped the format to hip hop.  Mason is known for his work as an R&B disc jockey but tells the Detroit News he’s ready for the challenge, “Talk is different – I’m comfortable with it.  Quite frankly, the timing is in the vibe of the universe.  It’s a progression for me.”  Mason’s program airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

ESPN Affiliation Bumps Local Sports Duo in Denver.  When ESPN programming moves from Lincoln Financial Media’s KEPN to Front Range Sports Network’s KDSP-FM in January, morning hosts Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller will be off the air.  The two KCNC-TV sports anchors currently host the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program but the infusion of ESPN programming that is coming with the new affiliation  will put ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on the station from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  The Denver Post reports the two would like to land another radio sports talk gig in town.  With four sports talk outlets in the market, they may be able to latch on somewhere else.  Stay tuned.

Sean Baligian Returns to Sports Talk in West Michigan.  Sean Baligian exited the Clear Channel sports talk simulcast of WDFN, Detroit and WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids back in October after his show with co-host Ryan Terpstra was cancelled.  Now, Baligian returns to Clear Channel’s WMAX-FM to host the PM drive show.  Terpstra, who had been hosting the PM drive show solo, will not be a co-host with Baligian but remains with the station in a different capacity.  Baligian tells the Grand Rapids Press, “I like the idea of doing my thing again, just doing my show.  I think that’s going to be the biggest difference.  It’s just kind of me.  No disrespect towards Terp, but it was enticing just to do the solo show again.”  Baligian says the show will not be simulcast to Detroit and will focus on West Michigan.

Kevin Matthews Podcast Show Now Available Via Steve Dahl’s Internet Station.  Chicago radio fans can now get podcasts from two of its famous (or infamous) broadcasters from one source.  Steve Dahl has been podcasting for a couple of years now and the two tell Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that Kevin Matthews is producing a weekly podcast as part of the $9.85 monthly fee for Dahl’s content.  Matthews – who had an 18-year career on Chicago radio – had been hosting a morning drive show in Grand Rapids until he was recently let go in a budget move.  Now, “Kevheads” need look no further than dahl.com for Matthews’ show.  Matthews tells Feder, “My vision is to provide unique content, my personality.  What is so exciting about this adventure is no rules. A podcast may last 45 minutes, maybe two or three hours.  Content is key.  I know when to exit a program.”  Steve Dahl says he hopes to expand.  “I’m hoping that after we post his first show and he sees the response, he’ll start thinking about making it a daily show.  We are set up to do that technically…This is the future of personality radio and anybody who is delivering good content will sooner or later be charging for it.”  Matthews returned to Grand Rapids – the city where he got his start in radio – after losing his Chicago radio job.  He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and says he prefers to take things more slowly these days.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Does Live Remote Charity Toy Drive.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s ESPN 101 (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis is taking its “Fast Lane” afternoon show on the road to five different locations over the course of five days to solicit toy donations to benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.  WXOS-FM program director Kent Sterling says, “We have some of the best jobs in the world, but the most rewarding part of our work is when we dedicate ourselves to helping those who often do without – especially during the holidays.”  Pictured here are (from l-r) show hosts Bob Ramsey, an unidentified man, Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.

Occupy L.A. Cleared, 2012 Presidential Race, Michael Jackson Doctor Sentenced and European Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29).  The police action to clear the Occupy Los Angeles protesters, the GOP candidates for president in 2012, the sentencing of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray and the ongoing European debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

| November 29, 2011

Controversial Host Tarsha Jones Fired by Clear Channel; Legal Tangle Ensues.  Clear Channel terminated controversial urban radio host Tarsha Jones – known as Jonesy on the air – after a Philadelphia businesswoman accused Jones’ program of misidentifying her and accusing her of criminal acts that she says adversely affected her businesses.  Jonesy hosted the AM drive show on WUSL-FM – Power 99.  In the aftermath of an October incident during which young women from different neighborhoods in Philadelphia had gotten into fights, at least one caller to Jones’ program identified Tracey Parson as having beaten up young girls.  Parson – who runs a group of child care facilities – has filed a suit in Common Pleas Court claiming Jones repeatedly defamed her and her Kiddie Kare businesses and that action led to death threats to her and loss of business.  Police have said Parson was never a suspect and Parson’s suit alleges Jones’ program purposely devised a campaign to “destroy people’s lives, reputations and livelihoods.”  Jones is no stranger to controversy.  She was suspended from WQHT-FM, New York over the “Tsunami Song” that parodied Asians in the wake of the Sri Lanka tsunami.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the rights of stations and hosts to publicly comment are very strong, “The legal threshold for Parson’s claim is challenging.  Her legal team would have to prove Jones acted maliciously or with wanton disregard for the truth and that is harder to do than many people think.”  From the station’s perspective, depending on the language in Jones’ contract, she may be able to collect on any monies due her by Clear Channel even though she’s been let go.  Weisman says a good example of the talent being protected in this regard is that of Don Imus back in 2007.  Although Citadel fired him for the “nappy-headed hos” incident, his contract contained language that forced the company to pay the remainder of this deal.

Talk Host Bill Manders Let Go from KKOH, Reno.  Cumulus-owned KKOH, Reno – known to most without the extra “K” as KOH – drops PM drive host Bill Manders and program director Dan Mason takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.  Manders, who’s been with KOH since 1994, tells KOLO-TV, “It’s part of the business.  It certainly wasn’t shocking, and it wasn’t a surprise.  But it’s caught me a little off guard.”  KOH general manager Andrew Perini declined to comment to the Reno Gazette-Journal calling the situation, “Too complicated.”

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Retires Due to Cancer.  A little more than a month after announcing to his listeners that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Ron Smith does his last radio program and retires to home hospice care.  Despite the grave diagnosis, Smith said he would go ahead with treatment and continue doing his radio program as long as he was well enough.  The 69-year-old Smith recently announced he was ceasing chemotherapy and would continue with palliative care.  He has been a talk host at Hearst’s WBAL since 1984.  He also worked as a columnist for the Baltimore Sun since 2008 and penned his final column on November 17.

Fox News Radio Names Emily Wither Jerusalem Correspondent.  Fox News Radio announces it brings former freelance multi-media journalist Emily Wither aboard as Jerusalem correspondent.  Wither has worked for numerous news organizations including ABC, NBC, Sky News, CNN, ITN and the BBC.  In her new position, Wither will file daily reports on the Middle East region for Fox News Radio.  She takes over for Courtney Kealy who moved to Fox News’ New York headquarters as a national correspondent for Fox News Radio.

KPAM, Portland’s Bob Miller Begins “Operation Santa Claus.”  For the 9th year in a row, KPAM, Portland morning drive host Bob Miller is spending this week raising funds for military families hurt by loss of income due to deployment.  The station notes “Operation Santa Claus” has raised more than $1 million over the past nine years and is setting a goal of $135,000 for this year to aid the market’s military families in need.  Working with the Salvation Army, Miller says 100% of the proceeds go to area families.  “The need for ‘Operation Santa Claus’ funds for families of our troops has increased exponentially.  I am thrilled and gratified every year to see how generous our listeners are, no matter what the economy is doing.”

KNX, Los Angeles Begins Remote Series.  Following on the lead of former sister news/talk KFWB (now in a trust and for sale), CBS Radio’s KNX debuts “KNX on Your Corner” – a series of remote, daylong broadcasts designed to take an in-depth look at different communities throughout Southern California.  The first stop is Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley on December 9.  The station states, “From Studio City to Woodland Hills, the day’s programming will focus on the rich history and variety of businesses along Ventura Boulevard. Community leaders and local residents will be featured guests and KNX will broadcast live much of the day from Jerry’s Restaurant & Deli (16650 Ventura Boulevard) in Encino, a longtime favorite on the boulevard.”  KNX will broadcast live from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Rep. Barney Frank to Retire, NATO’s Deadly Pakistan Strike, Holiday Shopping Figures, European Debt Crisis and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/28).  Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank’s announcement of retirement from Congress, the NATO friendly fire strike that killed Pakistani troops, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reports, the building tension over the Euro Zone debt crisis and the GOP field for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 28, 2011

| November 28, 2011

Randy Michaels Gets $650,000 Settlement from Tribune Co.  Former Tribune Company CEO – and current Merlin Media LLC CEO – Randy Michaels is getting a $650,000 settlement from Tribune after being ousted from the company this past fall.  Michaels sought the pro-rated portion of his 2010 management incentive bonus — $900,000 – arguing he was terminated without cause.  Tribune considered challenging the assertion with which it disagreed but decided to settle to avoid a drawn out legal battle.  Michaels will also get $50,000 to cover his legal fees.  According to the Chicago Tribune, part of the settlement includes a non-disparagement clause, provisions to protect Tribune’s intellectual property and a limit of its future liability to claims brought by Michaels.

Report: NBC Still Negotiating with Howard Stern to Judge “America’s Got Talent.”  The New York Post is reporting that NBC is still in talks with Howard Stern to bring the Sirius/XM personality aboard its “America’s Got Talent” program to take the place of Piers Morgan who’s exiting to concentrate on his CNN duties.  Some industry watchers are skeptical that NBC would pay Stern $20 million and move the show from Los Angeles to New York to have Stern join the show but the Post says some sources close to the process say creator and executive producer Simon Cowell really wants Stern for the role.  Neither NBC nor Cowell are commenting stating their policy of not addressing ongoing negotiations in the media.

KTAR-FM, Phoenix Adds Two Local Programs to Weekend Schedule.  Bonneville’s KTAR-Phoenix announces the addition of two new local programs to the Saturday schedule.  Author and business owner Steve Henry hosts his eponymous program from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm focusing on small business and the role it plays in the country’s economy.  Henry states, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our show to one of the best news stations in the country.  It’s time to take back control of our financial future by starting our own small businesses and investing in ourselves.”  Henry’s program is followed by current KTAR producer and on-air contributor Rob Hunter paired up with Phoenix market radio pro Mark Devine for the Rob and Mark show.  Hunter says, “Mark and I come from different perspectives in life as he’s a dad raising two kids and I’m recently married.  This dynamic will provide a fun, interesting and relatable Saturday afternoon show for the KTAR audience.”  KTAR-FM vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the additions, “Unfortunately in our business, most media companies are filling weekends with more syndicated shows and less local programming to save money.  At KTAR, we see the world differently and believe strongly that weekends provide the perfect opportunity to develop new, engaging local content for our audiences regardless of expense.”

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast speaking with a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse.  This year’s participants include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Curtis Sliwa of WNYM (The Apple), New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;”  John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;”  Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of “The Lisa Wexler Show;”  Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; Dan Patterson of KoPoint and  Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service who will be broadcasting throughout the day to several hundred of the news service’s affiliates.  Joining the lineup this year will be representatives of college talk radio with WRHU, Hempstead of Hofstra University; WLIU, Brooklyn of Long Island University and WNEK, Springfield, MA of Western New England University in attendance. Included among those who will be taking live and recorded feeds from the event are Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” with several more to be announced.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”  Talkers.com will provide full coverage of the event.

Connecticut Talk Host Lisa Wexler Joins WFAS, White Plains, New York; Station to Flip to Talk.  Cumulus’ WFAS, White Plains currently airs soft AC but will flip to talk soon and former WSTC, Stamford/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Wexler exited WSTC and WNLK when Cox Media Group agreed to sell the two stations to Sacred Heart University which is taking them non-commercial.  Wexler will broadcast live from the “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row in New York City on December 8.  The event is designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and is produced by TALKERS magazine in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Back to WFAS, the Westchester County station will reportedly also air Dial Global’s Clark Howard as part of the talk lineup.

WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Brings Former Flyers Lindros and LeClair Together to Benefit Children’s Hospital.  Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet “97.5 The Fanatic” is bringing former Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros and John LeClair back together for a series of events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with sponsor TD Bank.  Lindros and LeClair will appear on Mike Missanelli’s PM drive program from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14; they’ll be part of a charity luncheon at Morton’s The Steakhouse the following day; and will appear at a public signing at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania on Friday, December 16.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events will benefit the hospital.  WPEN-AM/FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “It’s really going to be great.  For Eric and John to partner with the station and to do so for a terrific cause such as CHOP is really tremendous.  I know the listeners will enjoy the opportunity to attend these events.  We’re very excited.”

Milwaukee Media Writer Tim Cuprisin Passes Away at 53.  Tim Cuprisin covered radio and TV for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 23 years before accepting a buyout from Journal Communications in 2009.  Since exiting Journal, he’d been continuing to cover the Milwaukee radio and TV beat via the blog OnMilwaukee.com.  The Chicago native died on November 23 after complications from advanced melanoma.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

| November 23, 2011


Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester.  Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties.  Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role.  He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse.  Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.

Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather.  Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage.  Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever.  This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.”  WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC.  They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.

Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield.  The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial.  Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM.  The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.”  To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.

WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent.  Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.

 

 

KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday.  It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday.  Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  But wait there’s more!  Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22).  The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

| November 22, 2011

October Northeast Storm Knocks Two Weeks Out of November PPM in Hartford.  Arbitron delivers the news to the Hartford market that the November 2011 PPM report – consisting of the time period October 13 through November 9 – will not include the two weeks of October 27 through November 9 during which a substantial portion of the market was without power.  In a message to clients, Arbitron writes, “Arbitron has carefully monitored Average Daily In-Tab and other performance metrics throughout this interval.  Based on these metrics, Arbitron will be releasing a November 2011 Hartford-New Britain-Middletown report based exclusively on November Weeks 1 and 2 (October 13-October 26).”  It is painfully ironic that radio – relied upon during times of emergencies such as these and often lauded for its tremendous dedication to keeping listeners in the market informed under difficult circumstances – is at the mercy of a ratings system that relies upon electricity at a time when stations in the market should get credit for the huge number of people who used it during that period.

CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Kevin Wall PM Drive Host.  Several months after parting ways with longtime station personality Alan Stock, CBS Radio Las Vegas announces the new permanent PM drive host at FM News Radio 100.5 KXNT is Kevin Wall.  Most recently at Border Media Partners’ KTSA, San Antonio, Wall has also served as a fill-in host for Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett and Fox News Radio.  KXNT program director Andrew Paul states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Kevin join our team.  Kevin is talented, bright, articulate and an excellent communicator.  Heading into next year’s general election, we face a critical juncture in our nation’s future.  Kevin will be able to relate the important issues to Southern Nevada through his informative and entertaining style.”  Also from KXNT, Jason Pothier is named the new producer for Kevin Wall’s “Live and Local” program.  Pothier spent eight years in Boston as a producer at WEEI, WRKO and WXKS.  Samantha Stone joins the station as the new morning news anchor.  She worked for many years in Reno as a reporter/producer for Nevada Newsmakers and a reporter for Vegas PBS and Cumulus’ KKOH.  Trevor Smith also joins KXNT as a news reporter after spending the past four years as news director at KZBI-FM in Elko, Nevada.

Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to KNST, Tucson; Drops Spanish Music on 97.1.  Beginning Monday, November 28 the Spanish language music format at KTZR-FM ends and a simulcast of KNST begins.  Clear Channel Tucson market manager Shanna McCoy states, “Bringing our heritage News Talk KNST 790 to 97.1 FM will help us deliver the most powerful programming lineup in the market.  We’re committed to bringing our listeners the absolute best programming.”  Market operations manager Chris Pickett says, “KNST will join the growing movement of great news/talk programming moving to FM.  This is an important time for listeners to tune in with a presidential primary coming in February, and I can’t think of a better time to make the change.”  Journal Broadcast Group has been operating news/talk KQTH-FM in the market since April of 2007.

MSNBC Names Meghan McCain Contributor.  The daughter of Senator John McCain has been a media figure for some time now and has been a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV.  Now MSNBC puts her on the payroll as a contributor.  In a statement, Meghan McCain says, “I couldn’t more be more excited to be joining the MSNBC family.  It’s a unique opportunity to share my perspective as a Republican on a network I respect and have built a relationship with over the past two years.”

Jim Bohannon Recognized by RTDNA.  Dial Global talk personality Jim Bohannon – host of the “America in the Morning” news program and his eponymous overnight talk show – is being honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a Special Recognition First Amendment Award.  Bohannon and three other journalists will be honored at the RTDNA’s 22nd annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 15 in Washington, DC.  The RTDNA states, “Bohannon is the originator of National Freedom of Information Day, a concept he first presented to the national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists at their 1979 convention in New York City.  Bohannon has broadcast dozens of programs about freedom of information issues.”

BookMarc from Miami. Sirius/XM talk host Bob Edwards (l) chats with WNDB, Daytona Beach talk personality Marc Bernier (r) about Edwards being forced out of NPR.  Bernier took his special program about books to the Miami Book Fair International where he interviewed 43 authors over the course of the weekend.  Broadcasting live from Miami-Dade College, the site of the nation’s largest book fair, it was Bernier’s seventh visit to the annual event as he conducted 10 hours of interviews on Saturday and Sunday live on WNDB and produced streaming video of the event on kenneytv.com.

Super Committee Fails, Markets Tumble, 2012 Presidential Race, Egypt Unrest, and Freeh to Head Penn State Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21).  The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to come to terms on federal spending cuts, the financial markets’ reactions to Euro Zone debt and the Super Committee’s failure, the 2012 presidential race, new political unrest in Egypt and Louis Freeh’s appointment to lead the Penn State sex abuse scandal investigation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

| November 21, 2011

Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined.  An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station.  After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.”  The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.”  In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4.  TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.

Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article.  A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections.  The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush LimbaughSean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation.  The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal.  Read the Politico story here.

RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3.  That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%.  The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.

“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened.  It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit.  The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football.  With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax.  However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness.  “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault.  We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years.  They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.”  The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.

Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.  The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years.  On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy.  Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986.  He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects.  Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties.  Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades.  It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.  Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”

Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio.  According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company.  Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello.  According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.

Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios.  Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center.  The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.

Friday, November 18, 2011

| November 18, 2011

A Complex Web of Debt.  There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings.  According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million.  AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas.  AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.”  Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt.  It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy.  Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.

The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case.  When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber.  RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law.  The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues.  There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.”  It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.

Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts.  Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman.  Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up.  Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation.  What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech.  The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter.  One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.”  The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.

Catching Up with Regis!  ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program.  Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!

‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18.  The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

| November 17, 2011

The D.C. All-News Battle is On.  CBS Radio will take on Hubbard Broadcasting’s stranglehold on all-news in the Nation’s Capital in January when it unveils a brand new FM news station at 99.1 on the dial.  CBS is moving its “El Zol” Spanish station from 99.1 to the recently acquired WFSI-FM, Annapolis, Maryland signal at 107.9 it purchased from Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  Hubbard’s WTOP brand (which includes its tremendous digital initiatives) has been dominant in the news game in D.C. and nowhere is that more evident than in its first-place finish in the revenue race among all American radio stations as it billed $57 million in 2010.  Now, CBS Radio brings its years of all-news experience to town.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Radio’s history in all-news is rich in tradition and recognized nationwide for its excellence.  There is no one more regarded in this field, nor anyone with the journalistic expertise and capability to put forth a product with such instant credibility.  We have perfected this format over many decades and we’re thrilled to expand the options for the D.C. community who have a distinct passion for news.”  CBS moves WCBS, New York assistant director of news and programming Robert Sanchez to DC to program the station and brings Michelle Komes-Dolge aboard to serve as news director.  Komes-Dolge is a veteran D.C. news person who served with WTOP-FM in the past.  CBS Radio operates successful all-news operations in New York (WCBS, WINS), Los Angeles (KNX), Chicago (WBBM-AM/FM), San Francisco (KCBS), Philadelphia (KYW), Detroit (WWJ), and Boston (WBZ).  The growth of all-news and the emergence of head-to-head competitive major market battles promises to focus a new level of industry attention on the competitive elements that make a difference in determining success in the format.  Stay tuned!

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy. Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced today that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  Smith delivered the news to his listeners earlier today (11/17).

America’s Radio News Network Adds Daily Election Feature.  “Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda” is the name of ARNN’s new 90-second feature that airs four times daily during all four of ARNN’s news programs.  Billed as providing “listeners with all the latest on the 2012 presidential campaign schedules, media events, policy issues, latest polling numbers and debate coverage along with other election details and information,” the feature will be heard on ARNN’s 215-plus affiliate stations.  ARNN executive vice president John McCaslin says, “We trust that the ‘Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda’ will keep ARNN’s listeners well informed on the latest news and the whereabouts of their favorite 2012 presidential candidates, whether it is President Obama or one in the large field of GOP White House hopefuls.  Given the dismal U.S. economy and continuing recession, plus other hot-button issues such as national security, we are already experiencing unprecedented interest in the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign.”

KYW, Philadelphia Adds Three to its Newsradio Hall of Fame.  CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia announces the induction of Bob Kelly, and the late Karin Phillips and Jack O’Rourke into its KYW Newsradio Hall of Fame.  Director of news and programming Steve Butler and director of sales David Yadgaroff gave the awards to Kelly, who served as an account executive for 20 years and to relatives of Phillips and O’Rourke, who died within days of each other in September.

Former WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Host Matt Mittan Announces Digital Effort and Terrestrial Affiliate.  Matt Mittan hosted the “Take a Stand” show on Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville until a few weeks ago when he left the station after personnel cuts at the cluster cost him producer/sidekick Agnes Cheek.  Now, Mittan and Cheek, who’ve been producing a podcast, will begin streaming their show and have announced WHKP, Hendersonville, North Carolina (south of Asheville) will pick up the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hour of the show.  Mittan says that although the program is produced in their downtown Asheville studio, they plan to take it on the road across Western North Carolina.

Clear Channel Raises More than $700,000 for Fisher House.  Capping a week-long fundraising effort November 7-11 culminating on Veterans Day, Clear Channel Radio put its 850 radio stations to work to bring in more than $700,000 for the Fisher House Foundation.  Ken Fisher is chairman of the foundation and he comments, “We’re grateful for Clear Channel’s support of our military families again this year.  Clear Channel’s remarkable reach and continued support is an amazing force for our military families that will continue to help veterans and their families across the United States.”  Fisher House provides housing close to hospitals for families of military personnel who are receiving treatment for injuries suffered in battle so they can be near their loved ones during that time without incurring huge expenses.  CC has helped raise more than $1.2 million for Fisher House in the last two years.

2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Shutdown, European Debt Threatens U.S., and Marines in Australia Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16).  The 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the shutdown of the Zurcotti Park encampment in New York City and what it means to the ‘Occupy’ movement, the continuing threat to the U.S. and world economies by the European debt crisis and President Obama’s plan to station U.S. Marines in Australia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

| November 16, 2011

It’s a Jungle Out There.  Tight money, a stressed-out population and aging listeners are creating burgeoning sales opportunities for talk media in financial services, crime control, medical and health services industries.  Even as traditionally strong radio advertising categories such as restaurants, retailers and auto dealers are becoming a tougher sell than they used to be, smart and aggressive sales departments are re-evaluating their sales targets.  Although the mantra in talk is “lower the demos” – the truth is the older folks have a significant percentage of the money and they are the ones listening to talk radio.  Rather than apologize for this handy little fact, perhaps talk account executives should be trumpeting it loudly.  Read more here.

Phil Boyce Out at TRN.  After a three-year stint as president of programming at Talk Radio Network, Phil Boyce has announced his departure effective immediately.  Boyce released the following statement to TRN employees:  “I want to wish every member of the TRN family best wishes. I have enjoyed my three years getting to know and work with all of you.  This is a great team and I know more success is forthcoming.  Wherever I go you will always be in my heart and I am sure we will stay in touch.”  Boyce joined TRN in November of 2008 after a 14-year run programming WABC in New York where he also served as VP of newstalk programming for Citadel and ABC Radio.  In that capacity he established himself as a major national news/talk radio programming force playing a significant role in the careers of a number of top talents including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.   Prior to that Boyce programmed WJR in Detroit.  Boyce tells TALKERS, “I hope to announce my future adventure shortly.  In the meantime I want to spend a little time on that ‘secret island’ Jack Swanson recommended to me.”  The island to which Boyce refers is the geographical euphemism to which the former KGO, San Francisco operations manager joked he was headed upon recently departing his long-held position at that heritage station.  Boyce can be reached at philboyce1022@gmail.com.

Jake Russell to Head Up Davis Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina Cluster.  Tom DavisDavis Media, LLC is the buyer for Sea-Comm Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster of four stations: news/talk simulcast WNTB-FM/WLTT-FM plus three music FM outlets.  Davis brings aboard former Take on the Day, LLC exec Jake Russell to become what he calls “our local owner-operator” for the cluster.  Davis also owns two music FMs in Williamsburg, Virginia and has built a strong internet presence he cross-promotes with the radio stations combining for a media company philosophy that he calls “Hometown Driver.”  Davis says the Williamsburg operation has been very successful and he believes the Wilmington stations will be the perfect radio cluster to drive his local media company model.  The FM news/talk simulcast features local morning drive host Chad Adams plus syndicated Dial Global hosts Neal Boortz and Clark Howard, Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, Cumulus Media’s Mark Levin, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.  Davis Media begins operating the stations under an LMA prior to closing.

Neil Larrimore Exits KMBZ, Kansas City.  Program director Neil Larrimore leaves his position at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City – a job he’s held for the past eight years.  Prior to joining KMBZ, Larrimore served as APD at Cox Media’s WHIO, Dayton.

Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Debut TV Show.  KDWN, Las Vegas mid-morning talk host Alan Stock tells TALKERS he’ll begin a daily interview program on local cable channel Vegas TV (channel 14) beginning January 17.  More details to come as the program gets closer to launch but Stock compliments employer Beasley Broadcasting for allowing him to work in another medium that will help him to build on and promote his daily radio program at KDWN.

2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Eviction, Obama Australian Trip, Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yestereday (11/15).  The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the eviction of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protestors, President Obama’s trip to Australia and his plan to expand the U.S. military presence there, and Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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