Archive for December, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

| December 30, 2011

TALKERS Top News/Talk Stories and People of 2011.  The editors of TALKERS are publishing the annual lists of the most-talked-about stories and people of 2011 as heard on America’s news/talk radio stations.  The year-end lists are compiled from data from TALKERS ongoing research that is used for the weekly charts of news/talk radio’s top stories and people during the year.  It’s important to underscore that many consumer media outlets publish annual lists of top news stories and people and those are often the results of data culled from Western news organizationsTALKERS data is unique in that it reports popular stories and people talked about on American news/talk radio stations.  See the TALKERS year-end charts here.

Penn State Scandal Tops the TALKERS 10 Most Talked About Stories on Sports Talk Radio in 2011.  Like any list, this one comes with qualifications.  What constitutes a major story in New York might get precious little attention in Chicago.  Although we talk in terms of “national pastimes,” the truth is that for the most part, sports interest is local.  With that in mind, the following is the TALKERS list of the most talked about sports stories of 2011.

1. Penn State Scandal. This story dominated sports talk radio throughout the late fall.  A legendary coach is fired and shocking testimony is unveiled — documenting unspeakable acts against minors.  The Syracuse basketball program is rocked in a similar case, but as of this writing, the alleged perpetrator has escaped legal action.   To read Richard Neer’s full list click here.

WAXY, Miami PD Marc Hochman Steps Down from Programming Role to Focus on Dan LeBatard Program.  For the past two years, Marc Hochman has been serving in the dual role as program director for Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami and executive producer and second co-host for the station’s Dan LeBatard PM drive show.  Now Hochman says he’ll leave the PD post to concentrate on his role with the program, “It became obvious to me that I would be serving the radio station and radio show better if I were to focus only on one.  There are many opportunities presenting themselves to ‘The Dan LeBatard Show’ so I’ve decided to focus 100% of my attention on the show and its future.  Lincoln Financial Media has been super supportive of my decision.  They’re thrilled I’m going to remain part of the radio station and they’ve asked me to remain in the PD position until they are able to find a replacement.”  WAXY is beginning a search for a new programmer immediately.

Sports KILT, Houston Debuts New Local Midday Show; Premiere’s Jim Rome Exits.  CBS Radio Houston debuts a new midday show called “Mad Radio” featuring Mike Meltser and Brad Davies in the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot.  Meltser has served as the morning show news anchor on KILT and Brien Straw will take over that position according to the Houston Chronicle.  Brad Davies previously worked at crosstown sports talker KBME-FM.  Premiere NetworksJim Rome was one of the first major market affiliates for the program when it leaped from its Southern California base to national syndication in 1997 and has been a mainstay of KILT for those 14 years.  But program director Gavin Spittle says it’s simply a matter of ratings and Rome’s program is the only one that doesn’t beat its three sports talk radio competitors in the market.  “This is a performance-based business, and we have exhausted our options.  We like Jim and thank him for all he has done for the station.  He has been a huge fan of Sports Radio 610, and we have been huge fans of Jim Rome.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the ratings in Houston have slid to the point where a change is necessary.”

Former Marketing Director Sues CBS Radio Philadelphia for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination.  As reported in the Philadelphia Daily News, former KYW, Philadelphia marketing director Shelley Kanther is suing the company alleging suffering “severe and pervasive” sexual harassment and discrimination and being fired after speaking up about it.  Kanther’s attorney, Samuel First, writes in the suit that work environment at CBS Philadelphia was “toxic” with male co-workers telling Kanther “to wear skirts more often, swat at her butt and considered offering her money to make out with another worker.”  The suit singles out SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield as the “worst offender” and alleges he fired Kanther when she complained.  The suit also says VP and general sales manager David Yadgaroff failed to take action when asked to do so.  CBS Radio is not commenting on the suit.

KQV, Pittsburgh to Air Robert Dickey Retrospective Today.  Calvary senior partner and KQV, Pittsburgh president and general manager Robert Dickey passed away last week at age 84.  KQV anchor PJ Maloney has produced a 50-minute retrospective of the man who dedicated his professional life to radio.  The station says, “This special will include tributes from broadcasters, staff, friends and public officials…people who have known and worked with Bob Dickey during his 60-plus years in broadcasting.”  The special airs this morning (12/30) at 10:10 am on KQV and is being repeated at 11:10 to allow staff to attend this morning’s funeral mass.

Bart Ritner, Pioneering North Carolina Radio Talker, Dies at 76.  According to reports, the 39-year veteran of WPTF, Raleigh died on Wednesday (12/28) after a long battle with abdominal cancer.  He was a regional pioneer of the call-in style of talk radio famous for impartiality and tremendous interviewing skills.  According to the Greensboro News and Record, his interviews covered the gamut including President Lyndon Johnson, arsenic killer Velma Barfield and North Carolina Ku Klux Klan leaders.  His reputation for even-handedness led to him serving as a mediator who helped resolve a dangerous standoff at Raleigh’s maximum-security Central prison.

 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

| December 29, 2011

TALKERS Top Talk Media Industry Stories for 2011. 

TALKERS looks back at the top talk radio/media stories of 2011. It was a year marked by financial stress, corporate shuffling, format flips and the relentless march of technological change.

1.  Radio Faces Continued Economic Hardship.  Mired in debt and hampered by soft advertising sales, most radio broadcasting companies found 2011 to be challenging.  Marked by cutbacks, limited budgets and job insecurity, talk radio – as well as all commercial radio – was a tough business in which to work.

2.  Big Deals: Cumulus Closes Deal Buying Citadel.  This was an enormous deal by any year’s standards with far ranging impact and implications on station formats and personnel — highlighted by serious material changes in format and personnel at KGO, San Francisco.  Another significant deal of the year — Bonneville sells 17 Midwest/east major/large market stations to Hubbard Radio.

3.  The Invasion of FM by Talk.  2011 was the year that the long-awaited migration of talk to the FM dial actually could be called a “trend” with numerous AM bastions picking up accompanying FM outlets for their programming.  All signs point to this continuing in 2012 and beyond.  Read the entire story here.

Geraldo Rivera Still a Possibility at KABC, Los Angeles?  KABC, Los Angles talk host John Phillips’ recent e-mail to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan once again fires up the rumor mill leaving open the possibility that Geraldo Rivera – soon to be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – will also be heard on the company’s KABC.  KABC management released the new program schedule on December 23 with Phillips listed as the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host but now Phillips states he’ll do that shift through January 27.  After that?  No one’s saying.  So read into that what you will but if Cumulus is spending good money to develop a Geraldo radio show, why not put it on in the nation’s second largest market to give the sales team more to work with?  As for Phillips and his show that will follow Doug McIntyre’s morning program beginning next week, he tells Lycan, “The thought is your morning commute doesn’t end at 9:00 am, so neither will we.  McIntyre and I are good friends, and by that I mean he’s yet to run me over in the KABC parking lot with his car, so we’ll share the same ethos and won’t stop beating the drum about L.A. and OC issues that directly impact our listeners’ lives.”

WHAM, Rochester Adds More Bob Lonsberry and More Local News to Schedule.  Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester announces a new program schedule to begin in 2012 that adds another half hour of popular Rochester personality Bob Lonsberry to the schedule.  In addition to Lonsberry’s solo 9:00 am to 1:00 pm program, he’ll join the WHAM Morning News crew – Chet Walker, Shari Smith, Randy Gorbman and John DiTullio – for the new “1180 WHAM Free for All” show from 8:30 am to 9:00 am.  Additionally, the station expands the “WHAM Afternoon News” to a two-hour format from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Speaking to the changes, CC Rochester VP/GM Kevin LeGrett states, “We are very excited about this new 1180 WHAM lineup, which features 12 hours of local Rochester programming daily.  When it comes to Rochester’s adults, 1180 WHAM owns the franchise and consistently achieves excellent results for our listeners, community and advertisers.”

Brian Michel New Operations Manager at Clear Channel Atlanta.  The five-station Clear Channel cluster that includes news/talk WGST has a new operations manager.  Brian Michel comes to Atlanta from Salt Lake City where he was OM at Simmons’ stations there.  While he’ll serve as program director for country WUBL-FM, OM for the entire Atlanta cluster and  he’ll also be acting program director for WGST, which as reported earlier this week, may be getting an FM simulcast in the near future according to local rumors.

Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race, Iran’s Saber Rattling, 2011 Retrospective, Kim Jong Il Funeral Parade and Preliminary Holiday Retail Sales Figures Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday.  The fast-approaching Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the year of 2011 in retrospect, the funeral parade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and positive preliminary holiday retail sales reports were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

| December 28, 2011

Iowa Political Ad Money a Sign of Things to Come?  Radio and television broadcasters sure hope so as the Republican candidates for president spent some $10 million in Iowa this month in advance of the state’s caucuses next month.  Jennifer Jacobs’ article in the Des Moines Register doesn’t give a complete breakout of TV and radio ad spending so it’s difficult to know exactly how much radio has benefitted from the blitz, but here are some of the totals:  Rick Perry spent $2.86 million on TV; the super PAC pushing Mitt Romney spent $2.85 million on radio and TV; Ron Paulspent $1.37 million; a pro-Perry PAC spent $1.33 million; and Romney’s campaign spent $1.1 million.  That tally is not a complete total of all money spent but keep in mind that more cash will come to radio and TV in the days leading up to January 3.  The photo of Mitt Romney reading TALKERS in New Hampshire depicted above appeared on the February 2008 cover of TALKERS magazine’s print edition reflecting polticians’ strong interest in the election-charged medium of talk radio.  Let us hope that 2012 brings even more such interest as talk radio looks to precious campaign money as a form of relief from the financial struggles still facing most advertising-based media.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for continuing coverage and analysis of the advertising/financial component of Election 2012 all the way through November.

Walter Sabo Honors Lynn Samuels with Exclusive TALKERS Tribute.  Noted spoken-word programmer, radio executive and broadcast consultant Walter Sabo played a significant role in the discovery and career of the late Lynn Samuels filling in some of the information missing in most of the press coverage of her untimely death and further analyzing her unique talent.  He writes, “Lynn Samuels died and you will never hear anyone like her. That’s why she was a star…You could pull ANY part of her show and make a promo.  You know how long you have to hunt for a quote for a promo from most airchecks?  No trouble with Lynn; pick a random minute and you’d have a promo…”  Read the entire Walter Sabo tribute to Lynn Samuels here.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Adjust Weekend Schedule in the New Year.  Chicagoans will hear more of WGN’s daily stars on the weekends in 2012.  Program director Bill White tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that, when the station is not airing sports, highlights of Jonathon Brandmeier’s and Garry Meier’s programs will air on Saturday afternoons while Sunday afternoons will feature the week’s best of John Williams and Mike McConnell.  “We think it will be a great alternative to the infomercials and paid programs that air on Chicago’s other talk stations.  Of course we continue to provide live and local news, weather and traffic reports 24/7,” White tells TOC.  Other new weekend fare includes a 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday program hosted by Brian Noonan and “WGN Weekend Late Night” featuring weekly highlights from Bill Leff’s overnight program.  “Legally Speaking,” hosted by attorney Karen Conti, is one casualty and has already aired its last program.  White says Conti will still contribute to the station but her show has ended at WGN.  Conti hosted the program with her late husband Greg Adamski for years.  Adamski passed away suddenly last February.  Conti tells Feder she’s disappointed but is exploring other local media opportunities.

Cumulus Des Moines Swaps Morning Shows; Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside to FM News/Talk.  The current AM drive shows at Cumulus Media’s classic rock KGGO-FM and news/talk KWQW-FM are trading places on January 2.  Premiere NetworksBob & Tom move to KGGO-FM while Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside move across the hall to the company’s news/talk “98.3 Wow FM” (KWQW) to host “The Des Moines Morning News with Lou and Heather.”  Cumulus Media SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re excited to be able to bring 20-plus years of morning success to our news/talk station and can completely eliminate the music on their show in favor of more of why Des Moines-area listeners want to listen to Lou and Heather.  It’s for them and what they have to say.”

CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington, DC Airs Rock History Prior to All-News Flip.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes notes CBS Radio Washington began airing the special “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” after the Christmas music ended.  Just when the all-news format debuts is not known, but it’s expected to hit the air in mid- to late-January.   Hughes also reports the rumor that WJLA-TV, Washington senior assignment editor Gregg Micklos is taking the position of assistant news director at the soon-to-be FM news outlet.

2012 Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Run-up, al-Qaeda Iraq Attacks, Kim Jong Il Funeral and Bill Maher Tebow Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/27).  The run-up to the Iowa Caucuses for the GOP candidates for president, the Christmas Day bombings in Iraq whose responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda, the funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the flap over Bill Maher’s criticism of Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio

| December 27, 2011

A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

| December 27, 2011

Radio Talk Host Lynn Samuels Dies at Age 69.  Longtime New York talk radio host Lynn Samuels passed away at her home in Queens on December 24 of apparent natural causes.  Samuels, who had been working at Sirius XM, was found by police after she failed to show up for her radio show earlier on Saturday.  There was no sign of foul play and friends tell authorities e-mails sent Friday indicate she didn’t appear troubled.  Samuels broke into commercial talk radio in the 1980s after working at Pacifica’s hard-left non-com WBAI, New York.  She hosted the Saturday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Buckley Broadcasting‘s WOR, New York for a period of time.  Then-PD John Mainelli was overhauling the programming at WABC, New York in 1988 when he brought her aboard.  He tells TALKERS she was working for nothing at WBAI when he found her, “She used to say that WBAI considered her ‘too conservative’ for them but she pulled in more money than anybody during the fund-raisers so they kept her on.  She was back-to-back with Rush Limbaugh on WABC for the first few years and their ratings grew precisely in tandem.”  Mainelli says subsequent management moved Samuels around the WABC schedule, eventually to weekends, before letting her go.  She held a daily show at Sirius XM for a number of years before being moved to the weekend.  Mainelli says that, like many other talk hosts, she cut her teeth calling in to talk shows, “In Lynn’s case, she frequently called Bob Grant and always got him so mad that he would ultimately hang up on her with his trademark, ‘Get off my phooooooooone!’  She was a grenade-armed sweetheart and steel-clad softie, incredibly mentally alert and curious about everything.  Endearingly quirky and funny as hell.  Listeners could never predict how she’d approach brand new topics, which is so unlike the knee-jerk partisan predictables of 2011.”  SiriusXM is honoring Samuels on a special edition of The Alex Bennett Program this morning (12/27), live from 7:00 am to10:00 am ET on SiriusXM Left/ch.127.  Veteran broadcaster Richard Bey, a longtime friend and colleague of Samuels, is filling as guest host of the show December 27-29 while Bennett is on vacation.  On Wednesday (12/28), they will join forces — with Bey continuing to serve as guest host and Bennett returning from vacation for one day to join him in studio — to salute Samuels’ life, ideas and legendary broadcasting career, throughout which, according to a SiriusXM spokesperson, “She spoke without a filter and with honesty, humor and passion.”

Kevin McCullough Appears on TALKERS TV.  Kevin McCullough, host of the daily nationally syndicated “Kevin McCullough Show” and co-host of the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough Show” with Stephen Baldwin, is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey on TALKERS TV.  The conversation took place at the recent “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row presented by TALKERS in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and Liz Claiborne, Inc. to raise awareness about the widespread societal problem of domestic violence.  The seventh annual installment of this major talk media event took place in the fashion showroom at Liz Claiborne, Inc.’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.  McCullough shows Casey and the TALKERS TV audience his fascinating array of portable remote equipment conveniently set up to allow him to communicate with his audience via several venues – radio and television – utilizing audio, video and digital elements, all operable by the host himself.  This informative must-see video can be viewed on the right side of this page.

Rumor:  Strong FM Signal Coming for WGST, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho is reporting that Clear Channel may be moving toward a new FM simulcast situation for news/talk WGST, Atlanta.  The station is currently simulcasting on a translator at 92.3 but the signal does not penetrate the northern suburbs of Atlanta.  Ho reports Clear Channel is quietly cutting the staffing at Regional Mexican “El Patron” – WBZY-FM at 105.3 – possibly with plans to move the station to a different signal and simulcast WGST on the 105.3 frequency.  Ho notes that WGST had an FM simulcast at 105.7 in the 1990s but that ended in 1999.

Clear Channel Combines Two FMs with AM in Mansfield, Ohio for WMAN-AM/FM.  Gone are classic hits FMs WXXR-FM and WSWR-FM as Clear Channel combines them with existing AM WMAN (1400) to create WMAN-AM/FM.  Market manager Bill Clark tells the Mansfield News Journal, “The motivation to make these changes is simple.  Younger radio listeners, those under 35, rarely visit the AM band.  Most were raised never having been aware that the AM band existed.  This gives us the opportunity to expose younger listeners to the spoken word format.”  In addition to Premiere Networks programs Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, the station also airs local morning drive host Rusty Cates and the early evening sports talk show “Sports Grill” with Aaron Hines.

KQV, Pittsburgh President and GM Robert Dickey, Sr. Dies at 84.  All-news KQV, Pittsburgh was purchased by Robert Dickey, Sr. and Richard Mellon Scaife in 1982 when they formed Calvary, Inc. to operate the station they believed they were saving from extinction.  Calvary has operated the station ever since with many of the station’s employees having worked there for decades.  Dickey died at his home in Oakland, Pennsylvania on December 24 after suffering a brief illness.  Dickey started in radio at KDKA, Pittsburgh in 1954.  He worked his way up in the business and eventually became general manager of WINS, New York and earned his place as part of the management team that created the “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” news format.  Dickey moved back to Pittsburgh in 1976 to manage Taft’s WDVE-FM and KQV.  When KQV’s all-news format appeared to be in trouble, he and Scaife formed Calvary and bought the station.

Friday, December 23, 2011

| December 23, 2011

WTMM-FM, Albany Host Bruce Jacobs Apologizes After Making Gay Joke.  Talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs finds himself  apologizing to the public (and probably fighting for his job) after referring to the WNBA teams the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury as the “Los Angeles Lesbians” and the “Phoenix Dyke-ury.”  Jacbos said in an on-air apology, “My comments yesterday were ridiculous, stupid and amateurish.  I apologize for even uttering the comments, whether you heard them or not, whether you were offended or not.”  He told the Albany Times-Union he doesn’t believe he should be fired for the remarks.  “We live in a society today where no matter what you say, you’re a bigot or you’re a racist.  I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory.  So obviously I think that’s ridiculous.”  Brian Noe, program director of the Townsquare Media sports talk station, e-mailed the paper saying, “Bruce’s insensitive statement is a serious matter that is being dealt with internally.”  The station is no doubt feeling pressure from LGBT advocacy groups and others to terminate Jacobs for the misstep.

KABC, Los Angeles Announces New Program Schedule.  Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles officially announces its new program lineup and, contrary to earlier reports, it will not include a simulcast of WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera.  Instead, evening host John Phillips moves from his evening slot to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He follows Doug McIntyre and Terri Rae Elmer in the morning drive position.  The rest of the day is: Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; current morning drive host Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show; and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara in the overnight slot.  Program director Jack Silver states, “The revamped schedule is a great way for KABC to start the new year.  The new lineup puts all of KABC’s incredibly talented hosts into time slots that highlight their strengths.”

WOR, New York Clears Dave Ramsey.  Beginning January 2, the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show will air on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York in the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “In these rocky economic times, New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions.  We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio, Dave Ramsey, to our award-winning lineup in 2012.”

Rush Limbaugh May Be Moving to Clear Channel San Francisco Talk Outlet.  Liners promoting Clear Channel’s newly realigned KKSF, San Francisco are reportedly hinting “America’s anchorman” is coming to the station along with the other changes in programming and the new call letters.  You may have noticed that Clear Channel left a “to be determined” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot in its announcement of the new schedule that we reported earlier this week.  Currently, Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO has the rights to the Premiere Networks program but it makes sense Clear Channel would want to bring the show into the company fold as it has done in some other markets.

ESPN Radio’s Dan Davis Retires.  He’s been one of the primary voices of ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter since 1999.  Now, Dan Davis – who began his radio career in 1962 at WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire – announces he’s hanging up the headphones to work on his golf game in Florida.  Davis joined ESPN’s radio network when it launched in 1992 and became its primary SportsCenter update reporter in 1999.

 

Talk Pro Tom Donahue Signs with Oracle Broadcasting.  Tom Donahue has been self producing webcasts and podcasts for the past six months but announced he’s joined Oracle Broadcasting as of this week (Dec. 19) hosting the live 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program.  Donahue tells TALKERS Oracle  “is a bastion of free speech and offers a full spectrum of talk shows.  Additionally, Oracle Broadcasting Network has a consistently solid, confirmable loyal listener base!  I intend to cultivate my ties with radio stations and really grow my affiliate base.”  Oracle is an internet-based network that Donahue says has the fidelity, transmission capabilities and sub-audible tone technology necessary to accommodate station automation.

More Holiday Fill-Ins.  CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York takes advantage of its summer promotion/talent search “Fantasy Phenom II” and gives two-hour shows to the runners-up from the contest next week.  Neeraj Joshi, Patrick Creighton, Mike McMaster and Pat Totaro will host a 1:00 am to 3:00 am shift during the week…..Nicole Sandler is filling in for Premiere Networks talk star Randi Rhodes through December 30.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Motley Fool Money” with Chris Hill is added to Radio One’s soon-to-be “News 92 FM” (KROI) in Houston…..“The Costa Report” with Rebecca Costa is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle as it returns to talk in January.

Payroll Tax Cut Issue/Congress Adjourns Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 19-23.  The failure of Congress to agree on an extension of the payroll tax cut before adjourning for the holidays landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was post-Kim Jong Il North Korea followed by the euro zone debt crisis and financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View the entire chart, including the most-talked-about people of the week, here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

| December 22, 2011

Dial Global Co-CEOs New Employment Contracts Revealed.  The three co-CEOs of Dial Global have signed four-year employment contracts with the now publicly traded company that pay each a base salary of $600,000 per year.  Spencer Brown, David Landau and Kenneth Williams will each get a bonus of $250,000 for this year with future discretionary bonuses based on half their annual salaries.  In addition, each is entitled to two years salary if he leaves the company.  There are other components such as $15,000 each for an annual country club allowance and a $1,250 per month parking allowance.

Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller to Publish New Book in 2013; Comedy Album Tops iTunes Download Chart.  Progressive talk host Stephanie Miller has a deal with Grand Central Publishing – a division of Hachette Book Group – to publish a book titled Sexy Liberal! to hit stores in 2013.  In a release from syndicator Dial Global, the book is described as follows: “Mixing the personal and the political, she takes on the politicians, the media, and the issues, with her own unique blend of fearless humor and optimism.”  Concurrent with the book announcement, iTunes reports Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, Volume 1 is the #1-selling comedy album in the iTunes store.  The album features comedy bits from Miller’s live stage show of the same name with comedians John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks and Miller herself.  WYD Media Management president Ron Hartenbaum says, “Today’s audience response shows how powerful and impactful marketing on radio can be.  We have a vibrant medium, we have an effective medium and we all need to remind advertisers how effective radio is in moving product.”  Hartenbaum notes it was announced the album was for sale on Friday, December 16 at 10:00 am and by 10:45 it had reached the #1 spot.

Clear Channel Names Steven Cutler to VP/Corporate Strategy Post.  The newly created position is created by CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman as he brings Steven Cutler into the company fold to “execute key initiatives and strategies as determined by the CEO and operating division leadership.”  Cutler worked with Pittman at the private investment firm Pilot Group.  He has worked in the investment banking industry and also has worked as a financial analyst.

Dave Ramsey Rewards Listeners in “Giving Challenge.”  Nationally syndicated financial talk host Dave Ramsey rewards three listeners with $5,000 each for charity work inspired by his Giving Challenge.  In early November, Ramsey encouraged listeners to “give like no one else” during the holidays, resulting in some 7,500 stories of how listeners had given of their time and money throughout the year and especially as the holidays approached.  Ramsey calculates more than $9 million and some 68,000 hours were donated by listeners reporting their charity work.  He then surprised three of the winners of The Giving Challenge with cash rewards of $5,000.  Those recognized were: Rayme Dorsey of Champaign, Illinois who organizes an annual golf tournament benefiting Crisis Nursery in honor of her best friend killed in a car accident two years ago at Christmas.  Crisis Nursery is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect;  JV Cotterell of Durham, North Carolina.  Cotterell founded Triangle Special Hockey to eliminate barriers that keep special needs kids from getting involved in hockey; and Alisha Ballinger of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Ballinger works for Knoxville Inner-City Kids Outreach which provides after school programs and service projects for inner city children ages K through 12.

Three New Talk Programs Debut on CRN Digital Talk Radio.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the debut of “The Pet Project” program hosted by well-known Los Angeles radio personality Tammy Trujillo; the current events-themed Mark Larson show and the Christian-themed Janet Mefferd show.  CRN describes Trujillo’s new weekly program stating the “award-winning newscaster and pet lover will talk with experts about the latest news on pet products, pet adoption, medical issues and much more about the amazing world of pets.”  Larson’s program will air daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and Mefferd’s show airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily.

Payroll Tax Cut Battle/Congress Adjourns, Iowa Caucuses and Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21).  The congressional impasse over extending the payrolls tax cut, the coming Iowa caucuses in the GOP race for president in 2012 and the implications of the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

| December 21, 2011

A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.  One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.”  In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s.  He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life.  To see this not-to-be-missed exclusive video presentation, click here.

Former KGO, San Francisco Hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem to Join Clear Channel Bay Area Station; New Lineups for KNEW and KKSF Announced.  The program schedules for Clear Channel’s Bay Area talk stations are official a month after the company announced it would swap calls, and change the image of progressive talk station KKGN.  As previously reported, the 960 AM frequency becomes KNEW and 910 AM will take the new call letters KKSF.  What’s new is that former crosstown KGO talk hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem will become part of the lineup at the new Newstalk 910 (KKSF).  The program schedules for the revamped stations are as follows:  KNEW – Premiere Networks‘ Glenn Beck, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dave Ramsey, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Premiere‘s Randi Rhodes, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Compass Media Networks‘ Norman Goldman, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Market Wrap, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Stephanie Miller, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Thom Hartmann, 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.  KKSF – Armstrong & Getty, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; to be announced, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Fox News Radio‘s Tom Sullivan, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Len Tillem, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and Gene Burns, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Regarding the changes, Clear Channel San Francisco director of operations Don Parker states, “Recent changes in the talk radio market gave us the opportunity to adjust our plans for 960 KNEW.  We are excited to broaden 960 KNEW’s position to appeal to a wider variety of Bay Area listeners…We are moving Newstalk 910 into the forefront of the talk genre in the Bay Area.  With the addition of Bay Area legend Gene Burns and ‘Radio Lawyer’ Len Tillem to the line-up, we are very excited about the future.”

Rumor:  Cumulus Planning FM Talk Flip in Twin Cities.  There’s no official word from the company but the talk is hot and heavy in the Minneapolis –St. Paul market that Cumulus Media will flip one of its music FMs to talk in 2012.  Cumulus owns classic rock KQRS-FM, active rock KXXR-FM and the classic hits trimulcast of WGVX-FM, WGVY-FM and WGVZ-FM which surround the market.  Both the rock stations have done pretty well in the latest Arbitron PPMs so a lot of the chatter has the lower-rated classic hits “Love 105FM” making the switch.  Stay tuned.

Wisconsin Public Radio Talk Host Jean Feraca to Retire.  The 28-year veteran of Wisconsin Public Radio announces she’ll retire in March from the organization she’s worked at since 1983.  Jean Feraca tells the Wisconsin State Journal, “It’s just time.”  Speaking to the paper, she hinted at job cuts that clearly have affected her work environment.  “I lost everybody in my team earlier this year, and it’s been difficult.  This is sensitive stuff and I have to think it through.”

Unresolved Payroll Tax Issue/Congress Recesses, Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, 2012 Presidential Race and Uncertain Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20).  Congress’ failure to extend the payroll tax cut and its leaving for holiday break, concern over a post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, the GOP race for president in 2012 and the down year for stocks and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing TALKERS magazine research.

Dr. Joy Browne

| December 20, 2011

She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America. WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc. The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company. Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

| December 20, 2011

WQAM, Miami Host Sid Rosenberg Serving Unpaid Suspension.  Sid Rosenberg’s been off the air at WQAM, Miami for several weeks now with a lot of speculation as to why.  Now, according to Jose Lambiet’s Gossip Extra, the Beasley Broadcasting sports talk host is serving a six-week unpaid suspension for a plugola deal to pay off a gambling debt.  Lambiet cites a source connected to the station reporting that Rosenberg had a debt of about $100,000 to a sports betting organization and he was going to pay off the debt by plugging the operation on his program.  The details of the arrangement were spelled out in a fax to Rosenberg at the WQAM offices that the source says Rosenberg accidently left on the fax machine.  It was discovered “before he did any damage,” according to the source.  Rosenberg is scheduled to return to the air on January 2.

Phil Tower Returns to Program Director Post at WOOD-AM/FM and WTKG, Grand Rapids.  Clear Channel has been looking for a new program director for its Grand Rapids, Michigan news/talk duo of WOOD-AM/FM and WTKG since Paul Cashin left in August.  Now a familiar face returns to the building as Phil Tower takes over the PD post he held for so many years.  Tower was most recently general manager of publications/multimedia at Stafford Media Solutions.  Prior to that he was general manager of the nationally syndicated Allen Hunt show.

WBAL, Baltimore Talk Host Ron Smith Dies at 70.  It’s only been two months since WBAL talk host Ron Smith announced he’d been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.  He passed away on December 19 at his home in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania after several weeks in hospice care.  Smith spent more than 25 years at WBAL and was an institution in the market as a talk radio host and, in later years, as a columnist with the Baltimore Sun as well.

Rumor: WMAL, Washington Talk Host Chris Plante to Be Syndicated.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports rumors of a plan by Cumulus Media to syndicate Chris Plante’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk show to other stations on some sort of limited basis.  It could be that Cumulus is taking a page from Clear Channel’s playbook and is planning to distribute programming to smaller regional markets emanating from large markets like DC.  Hughes also reports talk of more job cuts coming to the Cumulus cluster in Washington.

Dave Ramsey to Buy Nashville Office Building.  The Tennesseean is reporting that nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey – through a company called Andy’s Union, LLC – is buying a four-story office building in downtown Nashville for $1.6 million.  The building is known locally as the Jackson law office since it sits on the site of what is believed to have been the law office of Andrew Jackson.  The current building was built in 1996.  Ramsey’s plans for the building are unknown.

“The Costa Report” Clears Seattle on Fisher’s KVI, Seattle.  When KVI returns to a talk format in January, it’ll air the weekly “Costa Report” program being distributed by Broadcast Affiliate Sales.  The program is described as “a weekly news talk program which features a one-hour interview with a world leader or expert, followed by a second hour of call-ins from listeners.”  It’s hosted by Rebecca Costa who states, “Americans are sick and tired of the rage-a-holics who have hijacked talk radio, hosts who, day after day, spew hateful, divisive rhetoric which has torn the country apart.  ‘The Costa Report’ is the voice of the ‘rational center of America’ – citizens who don’t care if a solution comes from the left or the right as long as it really works.”  Costa is a sociobiologist and author of The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction (Vanguard Press 2010).

Wrappin’ With Jack!  This mass of people you see here are gathered at Northside Ford in San Antonio for the 13th annual Wrappin’ With Jack event in which listeners gather to wrap donated gift items for children and adults through the Family Services Association of San Antonio.  KTSA’s Jack Riccardi proudly notes that some 600 people showed up to volunteer their services.  “We set new records for participants, gifts donated, and for the first time in our 13 years, we managed to ‘adopt’ 100% of the families FSA was hoping to serve.  I think our growth is largely due to the unique call-to-action: You don’t have to donate money or a toy to participate (although many people do) – all we ask is that you show up and help us wrap, while enjoying live Christmas music performed by local musicians and treats served by local restaurants.  Although the radio station gets behind ‘WWJ’ logistically, it’s mainly a talk show host appealing to his listeners for help in a worthy cause, and people responding to the intimacy and immediacy of that.”  The event took place on December 13 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Steve Gill Launches “Generous Hearts” Charitable Program.  Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill recently created the Generous Hearts charitable organization in conjunction with local charities Nashville Wraps and A Generous Heart.  Since November, it has raised $20,000 in cash for the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, 750 turkeys delivered to the Nashville Rescue Mission and has offered aid to six homeless Sumner County families to bring Christmas to life this season.  Gill says Generous Hearts is aligning with a regional food bank’s mobile pantry to help feed Middle Tennessee’s hungry families.  Gill states, “The ‘Generous Hearts’ project initiative, throughout 2012, is to raise funds as well as provide increased visibility to people and organizations in need.  As an active community member, ‘friend-raising’ is as vital as fundraising.”

NRG Media’s KKAR, Omaha Raises Funds for Child Saving Institute.  On Friday, December 16, news/talk KKAR, Omaha held a radiothon to raise funds for the Child Saving Institute that provides a safe haven and healing for thousands of innocent young victims of family crisis, neglect and abuse.  Program director Neil Nelkin says the event raised $60,000 for the institute.  “The listeners of KKAR delivered again this year.  Despite the economy, the listeners opened their hearts and their wallets to make a difference for a wonderful cause that will brighten the holidays of hundreds of children in need throughout Omaha.”

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