Merlin Media Enters the Philly Market. The Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is not deterred by slow starts in New York and Chicago and will bring what many suspect is an all-news FM outlet to Philadelphia after agreeing to buy Family Stations Inc.’s class B WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey. Merlin announces in a release that it is searching for radio pros with the line – “Merlin Media is now actively looking for staff that can pronounce Schuylkill, Wissahickon, Manayunk, Tredyffrin, Gwynedd, Pennsauken and Bryn Mawr.” If Merlin does go with a news format, CBS Radio’s KYW is currently news leader in Philly topping the recent Arbitron PPM for November with a cume of more than 1 million and a 7.4 AQH (persons 6+). The sale price has not been announced. Harold Camping’s Family Stations Inc. recently agreed to sell WBGR-FM, Annapolis, Maryland to CBS Radio which will debut an FM news station there in the New Year. The price for that station was $8.5 million and although there’s no official word on the price Merlin is paying for WKDN, reports are circulating it’s in the $22 million neighborhood.
Cumulus Media Networks Names Gary McNamara and Eric Harley New Co-Hosts for “Red Eye Radio.” This is a consolidation of two late-night radio shows owned by Cumulus Media: the “Red Eye Radio” show founded by talk host Doug McIntyre and the WBAP, Dallas-based “Midnight Radio Network” (known to many fans over the years as the “Midnight Trucking Radio Network”) program hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara. Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Adding Eric and Gary to our versatile lineup of talk programming is a fantastic opportunity for the network and provides two dynamic personalities to our affiliates. This is another daypart where we can offer high-quality solutions to stations looking for relevant content that connects with local audiences. We truly appreciate the road map Doug has created for delivering overnight listener engagement with ‘Red Eye Radio’ and we’re proud that he will continue to be part of our company.” The company isn’t prepared to say what McIntyre’s new duties will be but reiterates he will remain with Cumulus. He also hosts the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour on WABC, New York. The combined affiliate bases will put the new “Red Eye Radio” program on about 150 affiliates and airs live from 1:00 am to 6:00 am Monday through Sunday beginning January 3, 2012.
Courtside Entertainment Group/Dial Global’s “Loveline” Adds Simone Bienne to Show. The long-running “Loveline” late-night radio show co-hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood adds British sex and relationship therapist Simone Bienne to the program. Bienne works with Pinsky on the CW Network program “Life Changers.” Courtside Entertainment Group managing partner Norm Pattiz says of the addition, “Since taking over the program six months ago, we have committed ourselves to increasing its audience and broadening its appeal while maintaining its edgy, entertaining and irreverent approach. ‘Loveline’ is an advice show like no other and the addition of Simone will help us reach more stations, more advertisers and more audience.” Courtside produces the program and Dial Global is the exclusive distributor and national ad sales rep. It airs live Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.
NBC O&O TV Stations to Partner with Non-Profit News Organizations. According to the Los Angeles Times, in an effort for Comcast to show federal regulators it is committed to strengthening local and public-interest programming after its acquisition of NBCUniversal, some 10 major market NBC TV O&Os will partner with non-profit news organizations for enterprise and analytical reporting. One example is KNBC-TV, Los Angeles working with Southern California Public Radio to use stories produced by each other and, in some cases, working with each other on stories. A similar arrangement is being started between WCAU-TV, Philadelphia and WHYY, Philadelphia. The Times story notes the model for this is a relationship between KNSD-TV, San Diego and the internet news organization Voice of San Diego which have been sharing content for some time. KNSD-TV pays Voice of San Diego $3,700 per month. It’s not clear how much money will change hands – if any – in the new deals described above.
Southern California Talkers Invited to Attend Nathan Pacheco Performance. Those who attended the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum were treated to a surprise appearance by Disney Pearl Records rising international superstar Nathan Pacheco, whose lunchtime performance of “Nessun Dorma” was received with a thunderous standing ovation. The young opera singer has been gathering worldwide attention and acclaim with the current release of a single, “O Holy Night,” performed with British star Katherine Jenkins, a forthcoming album release produced by Leo-Z (Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli), and numerous concert and television appearances. TALKERS has just learned that this exciting artist will be performing a concert titled “Home for the Holidays” at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles on the evening of Sunday, December 18 and Disney Pearl Records would like to make tickets to this special event available to attendees of the recent LARTF. The first five LARTF attendees who contact Larry Harris at 360-417-8138 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org will each receive a pair of free tickets to this wonderful concert. This offer is only appearing this morning (12/7) on this TALKERS headlines report — so act quickly. If you did not see Nathan Pacheco at the Talkers event check out a video of “The Making of Nessun Dorma” at http://nathanpacheco.com/videos.php.
2012 GOP Candidates, Trump-Moderated Debate, President Obama’s Kansas Address and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/6). The field of Republican candidates for president, the proposed Donald Trump-moderated GOP debate, President Obama’s national address from Kansas and the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.