Archive for January, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

| January 31, 2012

Talk Radio at the Epicenter of Today’s Florida Primary Coverage.  The race to secure the GOP nomination to face off against President Obama crosses another hurdle today as Florida Republicans go to the polls.  Numerous talk radio hosts and programmers tell TALKERS the coverage on their shows or stations will be intense but, as for the candidates making themselves available to talk radio, it’s been a mixed bag.  Oh, and then there’s the money spent by campaigns, Super PACS and others.  Media Monitors reports more than 6,800 spots aired in the state during the month of January.  Read the whole story here.

Compass Media Marketing and Courtside Entertainment Group Connect for Ad Sales Marketing Deal.  The new ads sales firm initiated by Peter Kosann will be repping the products of Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group.   Under a recently consummated deal, Compass Media Marketing, led by president Paul Gregery, will handle national sales and manage distribution for “Talking Points” with Bill O’Reilly, Bill O’Reilly’s Radio Specials, “Loveline” with Dr. Drew, Mike and Simone, and “One Minute Clinic” with Dr. Drew.  Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “Courtside Entertainment has a portfolio of the biggest names and brands in each of their respective categories.  Our goal is to create incredible sponsorship opportunities for our clients leveraging these incredible assets.  We are appreciative of this opportunity and look forward to working with Norm and his organization.”

Bill O’Reilly’s “Talking Points” Feature to Be Syndicated by Courtside Entertainment.  The two-minute daily feature from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly continued after O’Reilly ended his daily syndicated talk show.  Beginning March 1, the feature will be syndicated by Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment.  Pattiz states, “After our hugely successful association with Bill last November with his national ‘Radio Town Hall Election’ special, we decided to join forces on ‘Talking Points.’  We’re delighted to continue working with Bill and the hundreds of stations that currently carry his commentary.  There’s only one Bill O’Reilly and he’s exactly the kind of superstar personality we want here at Courtside.  We will of course continue to provide stations with Bill O’Reilly specials over the course of the year.”  The O’Reilly feature has been distributed by Dial Global since its merger with Westwood One, the original syndicator of the program.

Changing of the Guard at Greater Media Boston.  After more than 40 years in the broadcasting industry with the last two spent as VP and market manager at Greater Media’s Boston cluster, Tom Baker is retiring.  Chairman and CEO Peter Smyth says, “Tom’s contributions to the team have been immeasurable since he joined the organization in January of 2009.  We wish him the very best as he begins the next chapter in his life.  I consider it a privilege to call him my friend.”  The company names Rob Willams to the VP/MM post in Boston.  Williams most recently served as CEO of Digital Brand Connections – a company he co-founded.  He’s worked with Clear Channel and AMFM before that.  He served as president and market manager for CC’s New York stations which includes Z100 and WLTW-FM.  Williams says, “I have long admired Peter Smyth and Greater Media.  I am excited to lead the Boston team, which has a well-deserved reputation in the market for the strength of its people and stations.  I can’t wait to start!”

Progressive Talk Radio Stars Alan Colmes and Leslie Marshall at Live Event in Chicago Tonight.  Fox News Radio talk host Alan Colmes and independently syndicated talk host Leslie Marshall visit the Windy City for a live appearance sponsored by affiliate WCPT-AM/FM, Chicago.  Colmes and Marshall will appear at Pensiero Ristorante in the suburb of Evanston from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm where they’ll speak and participate in a Q&A with attendees.

Former Philadelphia Eagle Brian Westbrook Joins Greater Media’s Philadelphia Air Staff.  Football great Brian Westbrook becomes part of the air staff at 97.5 The Fanatic (WPEN-FM) for the station’s year-round football coverage.  The station says he’ll be heavily involved with its coverage of the NFL Draft, training camp and throughout the season starting in September.  Program director Matt Nahigian says of Westbrook, “Brian is one of those rare athletes who combined not only on-field excellence but also that ability to connect with Philly fans in a very meaningful way.  We all know Philadelphia lives and breathes football, so to have Brian with us year round will enhance our football coverage.”  Westbrook joins 97.5 The Fanatic’s stable of football experts and insiders that includes: Jeremiah Trotter, Ron Jaworski, Sal Paolantonio, Chris Mortenson, Cris Carter, John Clayton and Mike Ditka as regular contributors.

Florida Primary Election, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, Middle East Violence, and bin Laden Raid Analysis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30).  Today’s Florida GOP primary election, ongoing concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the uptick in violence in Middle Eastern nations and the Obama Administration’s analysis of the raid that killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 30, 2012

| January 30, 2012

KTRS, St. Louis Talk Show Host JC Corcoran Responds to TALKERS Feature Story.  St. Louis talk show host JC Corcoran’s Twitter exchange that got him suspended from talk station KTRS last fall was an example cited in the TALKERS feature piece, “Social Media: Handle with Care,” published on Friday.  Corcoran responded with an insightful letter to the editors that adds new levels to the story and the larger issue of social media use by talk and sports radio broadcasters.  Read the piece and Corcoran’s response here.

Talent Shake-Up at WLW, Cincinnati; Eddie Fingers Returns.  Today sees a revamped talk host lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s “Big One” WLW, Cincinnati highlighted by what Queen City media observers are calling the bizarre return of Eddie Fingers to the PM drive show 15 months after he was fired from the same show.  According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, Fingers will rejoin co-host Tracy Jones for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Jones’ partner since October of 2010 – former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Scott Sloan – moves to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  That means late morning host Doc Thompson is the odd man out.  Kiesewetter reports Thompson was fired last week while on his honeymoon with WHIO-TV, Dayton reporter Yuna Lee.  Thompson still works for Clear Channel hosting the PM drive show at the company’s WRVA, Richmond.  Back to Cincy, Fingers has been a personality in town since the early 1980s.  He moves from rock WEBN-FM to WLW in 2007.  Kiesewetter reports Fingers has no animosity toward the station for his October 2010 firing, stating, “I never had a problem with anyone in the building all along.  The decision on firing me came from corporate, and I get the impression some of them have moved along.  I loved it there.  I loved those guys.  This is unprecedented.  This is a load off my shoulders.”

Programmer Jack Landreth Named KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City PD.  Entercom Kansas City announces talk radio programmer Jack Landreth takes over the PD position at news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM beginning Monday, January 30.  Landreth most recently held the PD post at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas.  During his career he has also programmed KTSA, San Antonio; KNST, Tucson; and WWTN-FM, Nashville.  Landreth says, “KMBZ is the premiere radio station in Kansas City and I could not be more honored to work with such a great team of local, top-notch broadcasters.  My sincere gratitude goes out to Pat Paxton, Ken Beck and, of course, Dave Alpert.  My family and I look forward to coming back to the Midwest and calling Kansas City our true home.”

“Loveline” Tweaking Format to Appeal to Talk Stations as Courtside Offering.  The former Westwood One talk show, now in Norm Pattiz’s growing Courtside Entertainment stable, has been a nighttime music radio mainstay for almost 30 years. It is heard on more than 50 alternative rock, classic rock and CHR stations with a strong base in the top 25 markets.  Hosted by noted medical authority Dr. Drew Pinsky and well-known LA-based pop culture broadcaster Mike Catherwood with the recent addition of British radio and TV personality (and sex therapist) Simone Bienne, the nightly program which airs live 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT has evolved and adapted over the years from a free form Sunday night KROQ, Los Angeles show, appealing to a very young audience, to a formatted, highly-planned and targeted production designed to deliver a more mature, diverse 18-54 audience. Along the course of its colorful history, Loveline’s hosts included such figures as Adam Corolla, deejays Jim “Poorman” Trenton and Swedish Egil (Egil Aalvik) and former MTV veejay Riki Rachtman.   Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “Unlike many talk shows on music radio, this program does not play music and never did.  However, it does include well-known music personalities among its diverse guests a la Jay Leno and David Letterman.” Pattiz unequivocally states, “Yes we are now going after talkers… the growing number that think a talk show with equal parts information, entertainment and advice is right at night. This show attracts a loyal audience.  Current stations really like what we are doing with Loveline as we have phased it in this new direction over the past six months.  It has a distinct format which is very important in a PPM world.  Every quarter hour is planned with calls, subject, host features and guests. Master programmer Bert Kleinman oversees this aspect of the production on a daily basis.  It is a unique product that has stood the test of time by continuously adapting.”

Clear Channel Gives Hartford an FM Sports Talker.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment puts into effect the changes that had been brewing with its Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts stations last spring.  The “Kix” country format leaves WPKX-FM as the station becomes an FM simulcast of CC’s sports talk WPOP, Hartford and moves its city of license from Enfield, Connecticut closer to Hartford in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  That leaves the country format on the former AAA WRNX-FM, Amherst, Massachusetts serving the Springfield market.  The new 97.9 ESPN obviously uses programming from ESPN Radio but it’s being reported that CC Hartford is looking to put a local PM drive show on the station.

WGDJ, Albany’s Paul Vandenburgh to Host Daily Afternoon TV Show.  WGDJ, Albany is co-owned by president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh.  He also hosts the morning drive show on the station.  Beginning Monday, Vandenburgh will host the Paul Vandenburgh Show on Albany’s MyNetworkTV affiliate My 4 Albany from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.  My 4 TV’s Chuck Hunt says, “Vandenburgh has long been the premiere talk show host in the Capital District and adding his expertise to television increases the reach, visibility and credibility of MY 4 Albany.  His show will be topical each day, keeping people up to date with the major news stories of the Capital District.  Live callers will also be included in the program.  We are thrilled to have Paul on the MY 4 Albany team.”  Prior to his endeavor with WGDJ, Vandenburgh hosted the morning drive show on crosstown WROW.  He also hosted at WQBK, Albany.

Sirius XM Adds Two High-Profile Talk Shows.  Former Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian becomes part of the satcaster’s NFL Radio channel with his debut tonight on the “Late Hits” program from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  He’ll appear again for shows on Wednesday and Friday prior to the Super Bowl and will host regular shows throughout the year.  Polian says, “I’ve been a guest on SiriusXM NFL Radio many times and it is an outstanding source for league news and information.  Now I get to be the one asking the questions.  I’m excited to get on the air to talk shop with players, executives and coaches around the league and interact daily with many of the great fans who have helped make the NFL the most successful sports league in the world.”  In other Sirius XM news, former New York City police chief Howard Safir is hosting a limited run program called, “The Badge with Howard Safir,” focusing on the “drama, heroism and challenges facing law enforcement today.”  The series will air Sunday evenings and run for six weeks.

Northeast Ohio Sports Media Figure Joe Pete Dies at 45.  Joseph J. Pete, Jr. broadcast the “Sports Report with Joe Pete” on WFUN, Ashtabula, Ohio.  He was a play-by-play announcer for prep athletics in the region and wrote about sports in the region for numerous publications.  He passed away on Thursday, January 26 at the Cleveland Clinic.

Suddenly, Your Blackberry is a Radio

| January 27, 2012

By Holland Cooke
MCVAY/COOK & ASSOCIATES
News/Talk Specialist

LAS VEGAS –– They hadn’t even cut the ribbon to open CES2012 when the biggest radio story broke.  Research In Motion admitted to something Apple won’t: There’s a sleeper chip in phones already in use –– RIM’s Blackberry Curve 9360 and 9380.  Just download an app, and you activate the FM receiver you didn’t know you were walking around with.

Why this is big:

• Suddenly, there are millions of new radios.  Researchers presenting at CES told us that half of all Americans now tote a smartphone.

• Radio is back in the pocket, for the first time since the 1960s.

• You can hear local stations’ over-the-air signals, which don’t consume your wireless data ration the way streaming does.

• Blackberry’s move should nudge Apple to respond.

Why this is a win-win-win-win-win:

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Dealing with Habitual Callers

| January 27, 2012

By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host

 

NEW YORK –– Consider the fate of the habitual sportstalk caller –– those who phone in on a regular basis, often several times daily.

They develop a sense of entitlement over time, as if they are featured players on the show.  Indeed, some may harbor beliefs that they are more important contributors than the host.  They bristle when they are placed on hold for long periods awaiting their turn at bat, and complain about how they are treated if they don’t feel they are accorded sufficient time to make their point.  Frequent callers believe they have a personal relationship with you and feel betrayed if you don’t reciprocate.

A sports talk host can have ambivalent notions toward regulars.  One one hand, you are thankful for their devotion when calls are slow, yet resentful when they pose an obstacle to continuity if they attempt to muscle in ahead of those more worthy.

Certainly there are regulars who consistently add value to the program –– they may represent a contrarian point of view that spurs heated response or even offer greater expertise than the host on a given subject due to their singular devotion to a particular sport or team.  But for every one of these assets, there are those who merely love the sound of their own voice on the radio and/or whose opinions contribute nothing to the program’s entertainment value.

The sports talker is also a managing editor.  Your main charge is to entertain a (hopefully) vast  audience, not to kow-tow to a small coterie of regular callers.

As a human being, it is hard not to empathize with these callers.  Consider how frustrating it is to call a merchant with a vital issue and have to wade through 10 minutes of menus before being placed on hold to speak to a living person.  You then are dispatched summarily if you don’t have your order number handy.  Calling a popular program can be a similarly unnerving experience, especially if the respondent feels a kinship with the host.

A good producer should help.  If a regular wants to talk tennis in the middle of a heated NFL debate, a kindly request to call in at another time may suffice.  Or the familiar, “We’re experiencing a heavy volume of calls,” when the point they are trying to make is better expressed by others.  It’s a delicate balancing act to keep the steady callers satisfied while not compromising the quality of the program.  To quote Nick Lowe, your producer may need to be “cruel to be kind,” and not accede them air time whenever they choose to pick up the phone.

Perhaps you can judiciously wean out the sense of entitlement and still remain on good terms.  In some cases however, a clean break is the best solution.  It will cause hurt feelings, but your first priority must be to the greater audience.

Richard Neer is a sports talk host at WFAN, New York, an anchor on A Touch of Grey, and sports editor of TALKERS magazine. He can be e-mailed at info@talkers.com

Derryn Hinch’s Return Tops News from
Down Under

| January 27, 2012

By Trevor Smith
Australia Bureau Chief

BYRON BAY, NSW –– Further to our October article about Derryn Hinch “The Human Headline,” Derryn triumphantly returned to the airwaves on Melbourne’s 3AW on December 22 last year.  Hinch’s switchboard on the first program back was packed with well wishers and supporters.

Opening with the words, “As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted,” Hinch told his audience, “I handled it; I didn’t get bored.”  But being under house arrest was tough he said. “I was made a non-person.”  Was five months punishment worth it to try and change what Hinch regards as a bad law? “My bloody oath it was.  And if necessary, if an obscenely bad law does not change, I would do it again,” he said.

Hinch was unrepentant about naming pedophiles, telling listeners in his opening editorial: “In my weekly sessions with case managers from the Department of Corrections, they did their job and tried to get me to pledge that I would never do such a thing again.  I pointed out, with respect, if seven High Court Judges, and other judges from the Supreme Court and Magistrates’ Court hadn’t convinced me that what I did was wrong then they didn’t have much of a show.”

He argued that the toll on the victims of pedophiles is worse than the excuses used by courts to protect their identities.  “One judge talked about the ‘emotional and psychological effect on the respondent if material is published.’  What about the victims –– and future victims?  What about the emotional and psychological effects on them…whenever released on parole they must be on such a short leash they could well attack again.”

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Friday, January 27, 2011

| January 27, 2012

Social Media: Handle with Care.  Using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to promote one’s radio program, the station brand or to interact with P1s is what most talk radio practitioners are expected to do these days.  After all, used properly, most digital experts agree the explosive nature of social media can reach people –– including potential new listeners –– in a way other media can’t.  But are there damaging aspects to social media?  Is there a potential downside? Does the ability to have a “personal” conversation with a big-time media personality (whether local or national) damage the mystique of being a larger-than-life commentator?  Does it provide an ease of access that has a downside that’s not being considered?  Is the propensity of tweets to get nasty a looming pitfall for opinionated and sensitive talk hosts in a way that taking calls on the air is not?  Does the revealing nature of social media put too much inadvertent control over the program’s and station’s image in the hands of staff –– hosts or others –– who wouldn’t ordinarily be authorized to execute that image promotion? TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey and special features correspondent Mike Kinosian speak with talk media industry practitioners about these questions and more here.

Mark Plotkin Exits WTOP, Washington; Media Reports Suggest Plotkin’s Temper Flare-Ups to Blame.  Mark Plotkin has been a commentator and political analyst at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington for the past decade but the station confirms to the Washington Post that he is no longer working there.  The Post story goes on to paint a picture of a passionate, extremely knowledgeable broadcaster whose numerous “shouting matches” with fellow employees may have been his downfall.  For his part, Plotkin tells the Post, “We just parted ways.  Things happened along the way and this was an appropriate time to move on.  All I have is good feeling for WTOP.”

Jeff Cameron Lands at Horizon Broadcasting in Tallahassee.  After exiting Clear Channel’s sports talk WNLS, Tallahassee just last week, Jeff Cameron goes across town where he’ll work as a consultant for Horizon Broadcasting’s adult hits WBYW-FM, Panama City until starting his own sports talk show on the company’s sports talker WTSM-FM, Tallahassee (licensed to Woodville, Florida) on August 1.  The release from Horizon doesn’t say so but we’re assuming Cameron’ sitting out a non-compete on the sports talk work until August.  Horizon’s North Florida regional manager Barry Kaye says, “For over thirteen years, Jeff has been a radio icon in Tallahassee.  Even beyond that, Jeff Cameron represents the voice of Seminole fans from coast to coast.  We look forward to welcoming Jeff’s large fan base to our operation.”

Chris Duel Gone from Sports KZDC, San Antonio.  Numerous reports indicate Chris Duel has left Border Media Partners’ sports talker KZDC – The Zone ESPN 1250 where he co-hosted the PM drive show with Jason Minnix.  There’s no official word from Border Media but Duel’s name has been removed from the station’s website.  Duel is a San Antonio broadcast veteran having worked at Clear Channel’s WOAI and Border Media’s KTSA as well.

Mitt Romney-Newt Gingrich Battle the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of January 23-27.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine, the battle between GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM weekly chart.  Coming in at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race – including all of the attendant issues and criticisms of the Obama Administration.  At #3 was President Obama’s State of the Union Address followed by the spat between President Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To see the entire chart, click here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Sports USA Radio’s Joe Morgan Program adds: KTCK, Dallas; WTDY, Madison; WIBZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; KNEB, Scottsbluff, Nebraska; and WHOP, Hopkinsville, Kentucky…..GCN’s Dr. Daliah Wachs is added to KCAA, Loma Linda, California…..“America’s Health Care Advocate” with Cary Hall picks up WKYX-AM/FM, Paducah, Kentucky…..Thom Hartmann’s radio program is added to four public radio stations: KSOW-LPFM, Cottage Grove, Oregon; KDKO-FM, Lake Andes, South Dakota; WHAV, Ward Hill, Massachusetts; and WACC-LPFM, Enfield, Connecticut…..Clear Channel brings 14 college stations aboard its iHeartRadio application: WASU-FM, Boone, North Carolina; WCNI-FM, New London, Connecticut; WFRD-FM, Hanover, New Hampshire; WDUB-FM, Granville, Ohio; Radio DePaul; WERS-FM, Boston; WFCF-FM, St. Augustine; KGRG-FM, Auburn, Washington; WICB-FM, Ithaca; Rice Radio; WSOU-FM, South Orange, New Jersey; KZSU, Stanford, California; Temple University’s WHIP; WCWS-FM, Wooster, Ohio.

Social Media: Handle with Care

| January 27, 2012

Since this story was published on the morning of Friday, January 27, KTRS, St. Louis talk host JC Corcoran has responded with illuminating details that add even more to the fascinating subject of social media use by talk broadcasters.  Read his letter here.

By Kevin Casey
and Mike Kinosian

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –– Using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to promote one’s radio program, the station brand or to interact with P1s is what most talk radio practitioners are expected to do these days.  After all, used properly, most digital experts agree the explosive nature of social media can reach people –– including potential new listeners –– in a way other media can’t.  But are there damaging aspects to social media?  Is there a potential downside?

Consider the cases of KTRS, St. Louis talk show host JC Corcoran and Current TV (and former MSNBC and ESPN) personality Keith Olbermann.

Corcoran is a very successful, longtime St. Louis radio personality.  Last fall he got into a back-and-forth argument via Twitter with a listener –– complete with salty language –– about his prediction the Cardinals would re-sign slugger Albert Pujols.  Management at KTRS suspended Corcoran briefly for how he handled the exchange.  The theory being that although the FCC’s jurisdiction is limited to only what goes out over the airwaves, a host’s general public image is the concern of station ownership regardless of the venue upon which it is conveyed –– licensed or unlicensed.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

| January 26, 2012

WLS, Chicago Puts Local TV News Brothers Together for Weekend Show.  WLS, Chicago operations director Drew Hayes announces the debut of a new Sunday afternoon talk show co-hosted by local TV reporters Dan and Anthony Ponce.  Anthony Ponce works at NBC O&O WMAQ-TV as a general assignment reporter while Dan Ponce is a general assignment reporter at Tribune’s WGN-TV.  Dan also co-founded the nationally recognized a capella singing group Straight No Chaser.  Together they will recap the top national and local stories and give listeners a chance to grade the media.  “There’s always so much more to report beyond the time we have on TV.  This is the perfect opportunity to tell the story behind the story,” says Dan.  “We’re hoping to give listeners a peek into the world of Chicago journalism and hear their opinions about the week’s biggest stories and how they’re covered,” adds Anthony.  Drew Hayes states, “Dan and Anthony have enormous energy, contacts and hands-on experience with Chicago’s biggest news stories which they combine with an organic sense of entertainment.  More importantly, the Ponce Brothers bring an enthusiastic thirst for feedback giving WLS listeners a unique opportunity to talk back to the ‘news media.’”

CBS Radio Closes on Purchase from Family Stations Inc.  Less than a week after firing up its all-news format on WNEW-FM, Washington, DC at 99.1 (licensed to Bowie, Maryland), CBS Radio closes on the station that made the format shift possible.  CBS Radio bought WLWL-FM, Annapolis at 107.9 from Family Stations, Inc for a reported $8.5 million (CBS has not officially stated the purchase price) in November of last year.  That allowed CBS to move its Spanish “El Zol” format to the 107.9 frequency and debut the all-news WNEW-FM on the 99.1 frequency.

Carolyn Polke Promoted to SVP of Digital at Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts.  Glenn Beck’s production company, Mercury Radio Arts, announces Carolyn Polke is promoted to senior vice president of digital for the company she’s been with since 2006.  She is responsible for the continued development and marketing of GBTV, GlennBeck.com and Mercury’s other e-commerce initiatives.  Mercury president and COO Christopher Balfe says, “Mercury is leading the way in developing innovative digital platforms to connect with readers, viewers, and listeners around the globe.  Carolyn is an incredibly talented leader and I’m thrilled to have her in charge of building and managing our most important products.”  Polke works out of Mercury’s New York City headquarters.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Host Talk Show on RT Network.  He’s reviled in some quarters and hailed as a hero of transparency in others and soon Australian national Julian Assange will be talking with “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” on a planned 10-program series produced and aired by the former Russia Today cable channel known as RT.  The network boasts a worldwide audience of 430 million people.  There is no announced start date for the program but Assange is currently under house arrest in Great Britain as he fights extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges.

Urban, Female-Targeted “Café Mocha” Program Inks Ads Sales Rep Agreement with Cumulus Media Networks.  The two-year-old, weekend syndicated variety program is currently heard in 20 markets across the country.  It’s co-hosted by Grammy-nominated artist MC Lyte, actress/comedienne Loni Love and broadcast pro Angelique Perrin.  The show was created and is produced by Sheila Eldridge who says, “It’s an exciting time for us as we grow our various brand extensions and answer the requests of our listeners to be everywhere and to go mobile.  Our new ‘Café Mocha To Go’ on-demand app has been a huge success, offering listeners’ uncut content, exclusive celebrity interviews, social commentary, on-demand music mixes by MC Lyte, and inspirational messages.  Our goal is to expand the on-air experience for listeners and increase our global presence!”  The show is a blend of urban music, interviews with celebrities and newsmakers, conversations and advice.  It’s produced by Miles Ahead Broadcasting.

Clarification.  Yesterday’s piece on Santita Jackson’s program at WVON, Chicago needs a bit of clarification.  According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, Jackson’s late morning program has been off the station since December and she is working on developing a nationally syndicated program.  Midway Broadcasting chairman and WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “Santita’s goal is to have a national platform and I need some time to get over a little [financial] slump.  When she rolls out on a national level, I will clear this market for her, let her use our studios and give her all the support I can give her.”

Gingrich-Romney Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Aftermath and Euro Zone Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25).  The fierce battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for votes in next week’s Florida primary, analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address and revived concerns about the economic stability of the Euro Zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

| January 25, 2012

Study: More than 22 Million Americans Tuned in to NFL Championship Games.  A study by Edison Research and commissioned by Dial Global indicates 22.9 million people tuned in to either the Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship or the Giants-49ers NFC Championship game – or both – and most did it via AM or FM radio.  The data comes from a telephone poll conducted by Edison Research on Monday, January 23.  Obviously, the result is an estimate extrapolated from a sample but as a sales tool for sports on the radio – especially the red-hot NFL – could be very effective.  It’s also good news for the affiliate department as more and more sports talk outlets – not to mention other formats that carry sports as a specialty – are being convinced by these types of studies and by PPM data that play-by-play is a high-cume programming event.  The study reported that some respondents reported listening to the games via Sirius XM or the Verizon smartphone app but it indicates the bulk of listening was done via terrestrial radio.

Santita Jackson Leaves WVON, Chicago Midday Show.  According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, the eldest daughter of Jesse Jackson is leaving the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show at Midway Broadcasting’s WVON after more than five years.   She became a full-time talk show host after producing TV and radio shows for her father.  This was a budget issue as WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “I have encouraged her to pursue a national platform, which she desires and so deserves.  It is my hope that she will rejoin us in a more visible capacity.”

Sports Talk Host Jeff Cameron Exits WNLS, Tallahassee.  PM drive sports talk host Jeff Cameron exits his role at the Clear Channel-owned sports talk outlet to “pursue other opportunities” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.  Cameron has been with the station for the past 12 years.  CC has not commented on Cameron’s exit nor has it outlined its plans to fill his shoes at the station.

Packing ‘em in in Atlanta.  Nationally syndicated money talker Dave Ramsey took his “Total Money Makeover Live” event to the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia in the Atlanta metro on Saturday, January 21 and delivered his message to a crowd of some 8,000.  The event was in conjunction with Cox Media Group-owned affiliate WSB-AM/FM. Program director Pete Spriggs comments, “The WSB team and Atlanta saw the power of Dave Ramsey and his team. TWO sold-out events in TWO days, and thousands of listeners – and POTENTIAL listeners – who were perfectly in our target audience.  WSB is proud to have Dave Ramsey as part of our team and family!”

Passings.  Several talk and sports personalities passed away in the last few days:  Albany market talk pioneer Steve Fitz died on January 22 after a brief illness at age 84.  Fitz began his career at what was WSNY, Schenectady (currently WVKZ) and started the talk show “Party Line” in 1952.  He also worked at WGY, Albany and WQBK, Albany (currently WGDJ…..Longtime Philadelphia sportscaster Andy Musser died on January 22 at age 74 after suffering from a heart ailment.  He broadcast live coverage of numerous Philadelphia sports teams including a 26-year stint as color analyst alongside Harry Kalas for Phillies games…..Milwaukee sportscaster Jim Irwin died from kidney cancer on January 23.  Irwin covered Wisconsin sports for his entire career but is remembered most for his work as the voice of Green Bay Packers football on flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee from 1975 until 1998.

Cathy Carnegie Passes Away After Brief Illness.  The wife and business partner of radio and TV trade publisher Jim Carnegie died on January 19 while in hospice care after suffering a brain aneurysm on January 14.  She was 59.  Cathy and Jim met in 1984 while she was working for American Airlines and he was flying to Las Vegas for the NAB Show.  Less than five months later they married.  Cathy worked as vice president of the publications and helped Jim build them into what they are today.  Memorial gifts can be sent to: LifePath Hospice, 12973 North Telecom Parkway, Suite 100, Temple Terrace, FL 33637.

Romney-Gingrich Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Speech, Paterno Funeral and Iran Nuclear Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/24).  The heated battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney to capture the GOP nomination, President Obama’s State of the Union Speech, the death and funeral of Joe Paterno and Iran’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

| January 24, 2012

Merlin Media’s All-Newsers Making Headlines.  Although not for winning the radio news ratings wars – at least not yet.  First, from New York, Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels is not going quietly in his hand-to-hand combat with CBS Radio.  As you recall, CBS Radio lawyers sent Merlin a cease and desist for using permutations of WINS, New York’s “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan.  Merlin’s was, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world.”  That difference is important, according to Michaels, who responds that his station is not infringing or misleading consumers but accurately comparing WEMP-FM’s service to WINS’s.  Still, Merlin agrees to stop using the phrase saying it’s not really important to its marketing plans.  The biggie is Merlin is threatening action if CBS does not stop declaring that WINS is “New York’s One and Only News Station,” something Merlin states is “patently false” and comes under the category of a false advertising claim.  In other Merlin Media news, its Chicago operation – WIQI-FM – is quietly testing a news partnership with NBC TV O&O WMAQ-TV, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  CBS’ WBBM-TV and WBBM-AM/FM have a working news relationship and now Michaels may have created a partnership with another of CBS’ news competitors in Chicago – namely NBC.  Feder writes that the deal could mean FM News 101.1 would use NBC 5 audio on its newscasts, FM News 101.1 reporters could appear on NBC 5 newscasts or they could share assignments and online content.  Feder reports the NBC brass is downplaying it as “very informal” as this point and “more of a test to see if we both can benefit.”  Stay tuned.

Lionel Adds New York’s FM News to His Expanding Media Footprint.  Iconoclastic talk show host and personality Lionel has been added to the programming menu at Merlin Media’s all-news outlet in New York (FM News 101.9) as the station’s resident “News Decoder” and legal analyst.  The star of LionelMedia.com appears on the air 12 times-per-day with one-minute commentaries at :32 between 5:00 am to 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Lionel also performs a similar role at Tribune’s New York TV outlet WPIX Channel 11 with 13 nightly news commentaries per week as well as appearances on the station’s Monday morning news program.  Tribune has begun syndicating these Lionel features to its other television stations around the country.

Michele Tafoya to End PM Drive show on WCCO, Minneapolis.  Working for CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis and doing her sports work for NBC TV has been too much for Michele Tafoya so she’s giving up the radio talk show.  CBS Minneapolis market manager Mick Anselmo tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “She just runs out of gas.  She’s coming out of 20 consecutive weeks of working seven days a week.  We’ve had ongoing conversations about this.  We’d hoped to find kind of a natural break.  The Super Bowl is it.”  Tafoya will work the Super Bowl for NBC and then take on the Olympics this summer.  As for WCCO, the station moves late-morning host John Williams (who does the show from WGN studios in Chicago) to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and John Hines takes over the late-morning shift for now.

Dial Global Partners with CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis to Syndicate “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”  The number of quality nationally syndicated overnight talk radio programs grows by one as Dial Global works out a deal with CBS Radio and KMOX, St. Louis to make “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” available nationally.  Grayson’s program has been heard on CBS’ KDKA, Pittsburgh and WCCO, Minneapolis as well.  Dial Global SVP of news/talk Amy Bolton states, “Programmers across the country know that a solid overnight show is critical to strong morning drive ratings.  Overnight America brings strong audiences to daybreak.”  The overnight daypart is getting crowded with syndicated offerings that already include Premiere Network’s “Coast to Coast AM”; Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon; Cumulus Media Network’s “Red Eye Radio”; and Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney, to name a few.

Clear Channel Names Kevin Dorsey President of Traffic, Navigation and Mobility.  Kevin Dorsey has been with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment since September as SVP of national advertising platforms.  Now he’s upped to president of traffic, navigation and mobility where according to CC, he’ll “oversee the continued integration of Metro Networks with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Total Traffic Networks and will manage and further develop innovative programs including broadcast traffic reporting, online traffic mapping, custom routes and personalized mobile navigation.  His responsibilities will also include building integrated connections with ‘consumers on the go’ over the air, online and via mobile.”

Broadcaster’s Foundation of America Mourns Passing of James Delmonico.  It was James J. Delmonico who is credited with taking over the Broadcast Pioneers organization in 1991, changing its name and setting it on the course that would increase its treasury, profile and ability to assist those in need.  Delmonico passed away Saturday at age 91 in Syracuse.  BFoA chairman Philip J. Lombardo says, “Jim was a tireless leader for the organization, inspiring the appointment of many notables to the board of directors with new focus, determination, and purpose.  Jim was known for challenging his fellow board members to be supportive both financially and by encouraging others to do so.  Under his chairmanship, Jim brought new strengths to the organization in those early and important bedrock years.  He will be missed.”  The organization says that Delmonico “inherited an organization with a treasury of less than $30,000 and few grant recipients in 1991.  Through Delmonico’s leadership and inspiration, and that of his successors – Ward L. Quaal, Edward F. McLaughlin and chairman Philip J. Lombardo – the organization today has an outreach that will exceed $700,000 in grants this year.”

Gingrich Wins SC Primary, President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Iran Oil Embargo, Joe Paterno Passes Away and Super Bowl Matchup Set Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23).  Newt Gingrich’s South Carolina victory keeps GOP primary going; President Obama prepares to deliver the State of the Union address this evening; Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo; Joe Paterno dies and adds a twist to the Penn State sex abuse case; plus the Super Bowl is set for a rematch between the Patriots and Giants.  These were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Southern California Radio Host LaFern Cusack and Partners Take “Broad Topics” Program to TV.  LaFern Cusack is well known in Southern California for her weekly program on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles and Radio Disney’s “Playground.”  She and co-hosts Laura Nickerson and Lauren Kelley have also been producing and hosting the internet radio show “Broad Topics” since 2008.  Now, the trio is bringing the program to local television via cable TV in Santa Monica through a partnership that has been made possible by the Commission on the Status of Women in an effort to bring the woman’s voice to current issues.  The program was the brainchild of Nickerson who says she wanted “to create a forum for honest discussion of what’s going on in the world from an actual woman’s perspective.  Aren’t we all sick of the male media voice telling us all what to think?  Besides that, my kids were sick to death of hearing me go on about social policy during ‘Sesame Street.’”  Taping of the show will begin in late March.

Doc Ties the Knot.  WLW, Cincinnati late morning talk host Doc Thompson (r) is pictured here at his wedding with his lovely bride Yuna Lee (c) and WRVA, Richmond morning host and program director Jimmy Barrett (l).  Thompson and Lee met at WRVA where Thompson still hosts the PM drive show from Cincinnati.  Yuna Lee is a news anchor at WHIO-TV, Dayton.

 

Monday, January, 23, 2012

| January 23, 2012

Lou Dobbs Syndicated Radio Show to End in February.  Word has emerged from inside sources at United Stations Radio Networks that the syndicator has sent letters to the affiliates of the Lou Dobbs Show informing them that the four-year-old program is coming to an end in February.  Citing a decision reached with Dobbs by “mutual agreement,” the sources close to the program state that the veteran newsman/commentator wants to devote more of his busy schedule to his nightly program on the Fox Business Network, one of that cable operation’s top-rated shows.  United Stations will also cease production and distribution of Dobbs’ syndicated short-form features but sources close to Dobbs indicate that the former CNN icon might continue that enterprise independently.

Two More Pubcasters Join iHeartRadio Platform.  Popular Southern California public radio outlets KCRW-FM, Santa Monica and KUSC-FM, Los Angeles begin streaming their audio via Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio app.  KCRW-FM is a hybrid news, talk and music outlet while KUSC-FM is a classical station.  KCRW-FM, general manager Jennifer Ferro states, “KCRW is always looking for exciting partnership opportunities knowing that even among hundreds of radio stations, what we offer is entirely unique.  By combining our compelling content and iHeartRadio’s vast reach, we’re inviting a new audience to discover and engage with KCRW.”  CC Digital president Brian Lekamp says, “We want to be everywhere our listeners are with a variety of programming options to appeal to the widest possible audience, and adding these public radio stations to iHeartRadio offers listeners an even more interesting and diverse listening experience.”

Missouri Authorities Consider Charges Against Man for Threatening Language on the Radio.  Police in Arnold, Missouri spoke with a local man who made what could be considered threats against St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke while calling into the McGraw Milhaven show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis.  The discussion surrounded Kroenke’s announcement of Jeff Fisher as new head coach of the Rams and Kroenke’s apparent refusal to state he would not consider moving the Rams out of St. Louis.  The caller reportedly stated, “I, I ain’t gonna say nothin’, but the only thing I could put into it other than jack is lead like the dude in Kirkwood.  I don’t blame him a bit for what he did.”  The caller was referencing the killing of six people at the Kirkwood, Missouri town hall in 2008.  KTRS alerted police who’ve interviewed the man.  No charges have been filed yet but prosecutors are considering charges.

Cumulus Media Erie Sports Talk Host Exits; Cites Compensation Issues.  Until Friday, Mike “Chico” Boorman hosted a popular sports talk show on Cumulus Media’s WRIE, Erie – ESPN 1260.  But Boorman tells the Erie Times – News that recent pay cuts and management’s unwillingness to negotiate his salary left him no option.  Boorman is quoted in the paper saying, “They weren’t going to pay me what I felt I needed to continue doing what I was doing.  I was making $40 a day.  As I told a buddy of mine, that’s a nice name for a show on The Food Network, but it’s tough to make a living that way.”  Cumulus Media Erie management declined to comment specifically on Boorman’s contract but GM Jim Riley told the paper, “We regret his decision to depart.  We think we had a very popular show with him and we had a good response from listeners.”

CBS Radio Launches WNEW-FM, Washington on Sunday Afternoon.  CBS Radio took the opportunity of a Sunday afternoon with bad weather approaching to launch its new all-news FM outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  The company moved the hard launch from Thursday, January 19 to this morning (1/23) due to some engineering issues but opted to test the new equipment with staffers yesterday afternoon.

KOGO, San Diego Adds Lynda Martin as News Anchor.  The former XETV-TV and KSWB-TV, San Diego reporter and anchor Lynda Martin becomes part of the news staff at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego morning drive show hosted by Chip Franklin.

Smerconish Book Club Plays Hardball.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (l) interviews author and MSNBC personality Chris Matthews (r) during one of the Smerconish Book Club live events before some 1,000 attendees at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey on January 19.  The event, in which Smerconish interviewed Matthews about his recent book Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero (Simon & Schuster 2011) was co-presented by affiliate WPHT, Philadelphia.

 

Radio Rows Have Talk Hosts Focused on Hot-Button Issues.  Talk show hosts from around the nation converged on South Carolina prior to the state’s primary election on Saturday for a two-day radio row organized by Talk Radio News Service and SupportPopularVote.com.  In South Carolina, talk hosts including Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries, Radio America’s Rodger Hedgecock, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill, Clear Channel Texas host Michael Berry, North Dakota-based talker Scott Hennen and others brought the primary race and 2012 presidential election issues home to their listeners through interviews with people such as former senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson, tax policy expert Grover Norquist, former candidate Herman Cain and GOP candidate Rick Santorum.  Earlier in the week, more than 20 talk show hosts from around the country took part in the Families USA Radio Row in Washington, DC from the organization’s Health Action Conference.   Hosts including Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann; WWRL, New York’s Mark Riley; “America Tonight” host Kate Delaney; independently syndicated Leslie Marshall; nationally syndicated “Good Day” host Doug Stephan; and nationally syndicated host Carole Marks from “A Touch of Grey” talked health care issues.  The event offered radio hosts a unique opportunity to interview key administration officials, numerous members of Congress, health care advocates from across the country, and leaders within the progressive community while broadcasting live from Families USA’s Health Action Conference.

Friday, January 20, 2012

| January 20, 2012

Herman Cain Returns to WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – in Commentator Role.  Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and recent GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain returns to Cox Media Group’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – the station at which he was hosting the evening program before leaving to run for office.  Cain isn’t back on evenings.  Program director Pete Spriggs tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution Cain’s busy schedule won’t allow him to return to that slot.  Instead, Cain is filing a daily two-minute commentary that airs twice daily – 8:45 am during Neal Boortz’s show and at 6:45 pm during Erick Erickson’s program.  He’ll also join Boortz live at 10:35 am every Monday and Friday.  Although it is clear that Cain is still heavily involved in the thick of this year’s presidential race as an event speaker and potential campaigner, his significantly heightened status as a political media celebrity in the aftermath of his formidable candidacy increases his stock as a potential radio and television talk show host.  Industry speculation grows about his next moves as a media personality after the dust of the election settles.

Geraldo to Do Local Show on KABC, Los Angeles.  Since it was announced that Geraldo Rivera was taking over the late-morning show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York there’s been speculation that he would also be imported west to the company’s KABC, Los Angeles.  Now Geraldo tells the Los Angeles TimesSteve Carney that not only will he be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KABC beginning January 30, but he’ll be doing a separate, live show for Southern California.  Geraldo tells Carney that he represents the larger middle portion of America that isn’t necessarily being heard from on talk radio today, “That agenda is extremely partisan.  It’s carving up the country, it has a strong racial undertone, and I don’t think that’s good for anybody.”  As a result of the move, KABC’s John Phillips’ program will be heard from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.

Merlin Media-CBS Radio Update.  The all-news war in New York is making the consumer press as the New York Daily NewsJohn Hinckley writes about the cease-and-desist Merlin Media received from CBS Radio lawyers for using a version of the famous WINS, New York slogan “Give us 22 minutes; we’ll give you the world” to promote its all-news “FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM).  As we reported yesterday, Merlin has been engaging in a bit of old-fashioned radio battle strategy by twisting the WINS slogan to “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world” for WEMP-FM.  Lawyers for CBS say the tactic has no purpose but to get publicity and say it’s trademark infringement.  That’s one way of looking at it.  Though the strategy could be derided by some as an old-school radio technique that won’t work in the modern era, others will argue that Merlin’s point is a good one; it underscores the perception that most people don’t have 22 minutes these days and FM News 101.9 is current and hip by doing it in 10 minutes.  Merlin certainly has an uphill battle ahead of it in terms of catching the New York all-newsers in the ratings.  It’s possible that in order to grab some of the audience share of the news-consuming public, Merlin is going to have to get attention by doing more than just putting out a good product.  Another way of looking at it, however, is that if Merlin put out a good product, the Randy Michaels-led company wouldn’t have to resort to the kind of competitive stunting popularized during the heyday of top 40 in the 1960s and 1970s.

Todd Schnitt to End MJ Kelli AM Show; Focus on Talk Show.  For years now, Todd Schnitt has been doing double duty – morning drive on Clear Channel’s CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa and PM drive on CC’s WFLA from which he’s syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks.  Now he will focus on the talk show aspect of his career as he shuts down his MJ Kelli morning show persona with his last broadcast on WFLZ-FM on February 17.

Clear Channel Promotes Two Executives.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment bumps Hartley Adkins from his SVP of operations for the Southeast market to executive vice president of operations for its Mid-Major markets.  Taking over for Adkins in the SVP of operations for the Southeast market is John Rohm who moves up from the market manager post for the Philadelphia market.  Although not mentioned in the press release, Adkins takes over for Mark Kopelman who exits the company with no comment from corporate.  Both Adkins and Rohm  will report to John Hogan who states, “With their proven performance, leadership and exerience, Hartley and John will help ensure our local markets operate effectively and efficiently and provide our company with real opportunities for growth.”  Additionally, Brad Hardin, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Adkins in the Mid-Major markets; and Jon Zellner, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Tom McConnell, senior vice president of operations for the Northeast regional markets.

WWNC, Asheville Names Pete Kaliner PM Drive Host.  The former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte evening host lands the afternoon drive program at Clear Channel’s Asheville, North Carolina news/talk outlet.  Pete Kaliner hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show at WBT for two years until the show was eliminated for budgetary reasons in March of last year.  WWNC program director Brian Hall says, “Pete filled in for us last summer and I was blown away by his dedication to show prep and how the listeners engaged with him on the air.  After talking with great candidates from all over the country and other professionals in the industry, it was clear that Pete was the perfect fit for this position and for the community of Western North Carolina.”

Former Florida Radio and TV Financial Host Gets Four Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors.  U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley sentenced Anthony F. Cutaia to 51 months in prison for running a ponzi scheme in which he misappropriated some $1.5 million that affected between 10 and 50 investors (court documents don’t specify the number of victims).  Cutaia operated a commercial real estate business and hosted a program on Beasley Broadcasting’s WSBR, Boca Raton as well as a television show on the PAX TV network.  Cutaia was charged with nine counts of mail fraud in June of 2011 and pleaded guilty to one charge in hopes of getting a lighter sentence but the judge gave him a longer sentence than federal prosecutors recommended.

South Carolina Primary/ 2012 Presidential Race Most-Talked-About Story on News/Talk Radio During Week of January 16-20.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the South Carolina GOP primary election and the 2012 presidential race.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio stations across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  Coming in at #2 this week is the denial of the permit for the Keystone XL Canada to Texas oil pipeline.  At #3 is the internet anti-piracy bills and the associated Wikipedia blackout and at #4 is the Euro Zone jitters and rising gas prices.  View the entire Talkers TenTM chart here.

“Troublemaker” Visits Florida.  Christine O’Donnell, former U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware and author of the best-seller Troublemaker (St. Martin’s Press 2011), kicked off her Florida speaking tour by sitting in on “The President’s Speakers Series” at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach broadcast live on WNDB, Daytona Beach and hosted by talk host Marc Bernier.  O’Donnell says she is reaching out to college students to engage them in the political process for the upcoming election.  This event was the 72nd in the series started by Marc Bernier in the mid-1990s.  Pictured here during the event are Bernier (l) and O’Donnell (r).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

| January 19, 2012

Genesis Communications Creates Central Florida News-Intensive Trimulcast.  Genesis Communications Multi-Media Broadcast Group is flipping WAMT, Pine Castle Sky Lake, Florida (Orlando market) from ESPN Deportes and WIXC, Titusville, Florida (on the East coast) from sports to simulcasts of the company’s news/talk WWBA, Tampa Bay as it takes on more all-news content.  The stations are picking up the TRN/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News” plus news blocks from TRN-owned America’s Radio News Network.  Genesis CEO Bruce Maduri states, “We intend to provide central Floridians with the ability to access all-news, traffic and weather content anywhere, across the all-important I-4 corridor from Tampa Bay through Orlando, to the Space Coast and north and south along the Eastern Seaboard.  Local, state and national coverage of the day’s breaking news is now accessible to the six million people who reside in this area of the state and up and down the east coast.”  TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “We are proud to provide a complete support system to Bruce as he delivers to Central Florida the most powerful 15 hours per day of syndicated long-form radio news rooms, along with heavy news localization for his growing news empire.  America’s Radio News Network provides a clock that not only gives nine to 10 stories and four to six audio actualities every quarter hour, but also allows for an amazing level of localization and customization so that you can go highly local or regional at the top and bottom of the hours, quarter hours, and even cut into entire segments for another layer of localization.”

CBS Radio and Merlin Media Butting Heads Over News Slogans.  CBS Radio is notifying Merlin Media of what it deems trademark infringement for Merlin’s use of phrases like, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world,” on its all-news WEMP-FM, New York, according to Radio Ink.  The report indicates lawyers for CBS are giving Merlin until the end of the day today (1/19) to stop using the phrase (and others) stating it is “intentionally confusingly similar” to CBS’ “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan used on WINS, New York.

Consultant Bob Cohen Joins Board at Gow Broadcasting.  The company brought Bob Cohen, through his Bob Cohen Strategies consulting firm, in to assist as Gow began working with Yahoo! to transform its Sporting News Radio into Yahoo! Sports.  Now, Cohen joins Gow’s board of directors.  CEO David Gow states in the San Antonio Business Journal, “Bob played a significant role in our strategic search and eventual exciting new partnership with Yahoo! Sports Radio.  He has a depth of knowledge and experience in radio, sports radio networks and sports in general and has a track record of adding value and growth to the businesses with which he’s been involved.  He has been active in our business, as a consultant and will also continue in that role along with the board seat.”

Morning Drive Host Jon Justice Re-Ups with Journal’s KTTH-FM, Tucson. Citing his success hosting the AM drive talk show at Journal Broadcasting’s KTTH-FM – “104.1 The Truth” – VP/GM Julie Brinks announces the company has signed Jon Justice to a contract extension to continue in that role.  “This move demonstrates our renewed commitment to Jon, and to the listeners of 104.1 The Truth.  The station continues to be a venue where points of view can be expressed in Tucson.  Whether you agree or disagree, Jon will continue to stimulate the conversation for years to come!”  The station notes Justice’s program has become one of the highest-ranked shows in the Tucson market with both men 25–54 and adults 25–54.  Justice comments on his new deal, “I’m really excited to continue growing the show here in Southern Arizona, building off of the success I have had on ‘104.1 The Truth.’”

News Pro Steve Ray Named News Anchor at America’s Radio News Network.  Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network announces news pro Steve Ray joins the company to serve as co-anchor for the network’s news blocks.  Ray has worked at such esteemed news outlets as WTOP-FM, Washington; WMAL, Washington; Westwood One; Metro Networks; and Radio Free Asia.  Ray states, “I not only believe in Mark’s vision for the quality and scope of our news content, but his forward thinking vision of delivering ARNN across multiple platforms.  At a time of great change in radio, Masters is once again in the right place at the perfect time.”

CBS Radio Ups Sarah Frazier to SVP/Market Manager in Houston.  The cluster that includes sports KILT is now being managed by Sarah Frazier who is promoted from her VP/director of sales role to senior vice president and market manager for the group.  Frazier takes over for Brian Purdy who is market manager for the Dallas cluster.  Previously he had been responsible for both the Dallas and Houston markets.

Restraining Order Issued in Dispute Among Former WCAP, Lowell Owners.  The talk station is north of Boston and since 2007 was operated by partners Clark Smidt and Sam Poulten until recently when the two agreed to part with Poulten buying out Smidt over a period of time, according to court records.  But a Middlesex County Superior Court judge has issued a restraining order against Smidt after he showed up at the station attempting to take control from the operators.  The order also forbids Smidt from destroying any of the financial records relative to the ownership and operation of the station.  According to the Valley Patriot, Smidt had been negligent in paying the station’s taxes prior to the agreement for Poulten to buy out Smidt’s share and take over operation of the station.  The FCC approved transfer of the WCAP broadcast license to Poulten on October 31.

Looming South Carolina GOP Primary, Obama Kills Oil Pipeline Permit, Wahlberg Flight 93 Flap, and Italian Cruise Ship Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18).  The GOP race to take Saturday’s South Carolina primary, the Obama Administration’s denying of a permit for Keystone XL’s Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, Mark Wahlberg’s controversial statement about preventing the downing of Flight 93, and the Italian cruise ship disaster were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

| January 18, 2012

Clear Channel Forges into Future of Entertainment; Names John Sykes President of Entertainment Enterprises.  If there comes a time in the future when radio companies are forced to address why their business plans failed as technology and media tastes were changing all around them, for Clear Channel it certainly won’t be for lack of trying to use its enormous radio station base from which to move forward.  On the heels of last week’s announcement of the name change – jettisoning the “radio” part and tacking “media” and “entertainment” onto its name – the company announces it is bringing entertainment pro John Sykes aboard to serve as president of entertainment enterprises.  In announcing the hire, CC states, “Sykes will use the unparalleled assets of Clear Channel –  including its 238 million monthly broadcast radio listeners, the 141 million people it reaches with Outdoor in the United States and the 374 million internationally, as well as the more than 75 million monthly listening hours for its digital properties – to develop new businesses for the company across a range of media, including television and live events, as well as create value for Clear Channel advertisers and key partners.”  Sykes has served as president of VH1, president of network development for MTV, CEO of the old Infinity Broadcasting, president of Champion Entertainment, president of Chrysalis Records, and an agent for Creative Artists Agency.  Most recently he was with the private equity firm Pilot Group – the connection to Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman.  Pittman says of Sykes, “John’s experience and relationships in so many sectors of the entertainment and media business make him the perfect choice to lead this new initiative.”  Clear Channel doesn’t have a lot of time.  It has some $20 billion in debt hanging around its neck that comes due in chunks over the next four years and the pace at which media and technology is changing is faster than anyone can anticipate – including those new-tech operators who say they’re ahead of the game.  But, in so many words, Clear Channel is making the statement it is bound and determined to use its large base of radio listeners to build something that will exist – and hopefully make money – in the future.  And bringing in connected players from outside the traditional radio business could be the strategy that helps it survive.

CBS Radio Detroit Brings Bob Wojnowski and Jamie Samuelsen Back to the Airwaves on “The Ticket.”  Detroit sports media pros Bob “Wojo” Wojnowski and Jamie Samuelsen are being paired up for a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on WXYT-FM “The Ticket.”  Both have worked on sports talk radio in the market previously on Clear Channel’s WDFN.  WXYT-FM program director Jimmy Powers says, “We are extremely pleased to have Jamie and Wojo join our line-up. They are a natural fit. They have been dialed into the Detroit sports scene for many years, giving fans information on their favorite teams. Jamie and Wojo will continue to entertain listeners on their way home from work or to the stadium.”  Wojnowski is also currently a columnist for the Detroit News and Samuelson is a regular blogger for the Detroit Free Press.

KMBZ, Kansas City Makes PM Drive Changes.  Mike Shanin leaves his role on the “Shanin and Parks” afternoon show at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City and takes the business editor role at the station.  The station says it will continue to rely on Shanin’s “expertise and knowledge for political commentary.”  Filling his seat alongside Scott Parks is KCTV-TV investigative reporter Dana Wright.  She says of her new radio role, “This is really a dream opportunity for me.  Journalism is my passion and I look forward to this exciting new step in my career.”

When Radio Was Insanely Fun.  Beleaguered by the contemporary world of corporate radio?  Pining for the days when radio stations were inhabited by creative and (quite possibly) unstable personalities?  Talk radio host, WPIX-TV, New York commentator and LionelMedia.com “podcast titan” Lionel re-lives a bit of crazy radio history from his uniquely skewed perspective and personal experience.  Prepare to laugh your tuchus off and click here.

CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington Launch Delayed.  Various trade and consumer reports indicate the launch of CBS Radio’s new all-newser in Washington, DC will be Monday, January 23 and not tomorrow as had been planned.  The cause is being reported as engineering issues related to the new studios.

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington, DC Adds College Hoops Expert.  ESPN 980 (WTEM) announces former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams joins the station to serve as its college basketball insider.  Williams takes the temporary post through the NCAA finals during which he’ll join the station’s “Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro and “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban for weekly college basketball reports.  PD Chuck Sapienza says, “Adding Gary to our team solidifies our dominance in the area of college basketball coverage.  He is ‘must listen-to radio’ and adding his expertise on the entire sport of college hoops is a big win for ESPN 980’s listeners.”

ESPN Audio Re-Aligns Management.  At ESPN, Jim Roberts moves from his senior director, affiliate sales to senior director, Deportes local radio group.  He’ll continue to lead the Deportes Dallas Radio station and in addition be responsible for the on-going relationship with all Deportes Radio affiliates.  Patrick Polking, senior director audio national accounts, will transition to senior director II, distribution and business development.  Polking will oversee the development and execution of strategies to further monetize ESPN Audio’s products.  The company also says that because of the growth in usage of ESPN Audio properties, Scott Masteller, senior director II, radio content, will collaborate with Dave Austin, who was recently promoted to manager, ESPN Digital Audio Group, to ensure ESPN Audio is aligned in the production of its digital audio.

GOP Primary Race, Internet Anti-Piracy Bills, European Debt Crisis and Italian Cruise Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17).  The battle to win the GOP presidential primary race, the internet anti-piracy bills being debated in Washington, the continuing European debt problems and the Italian cruise ship disaster were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Doesn’t Anyone Remember the Creative and Exciting Insanity of Talk Radio?

| January 18, 2012

by LIONEL
Talk Radio Insanity Historian & Authority

 NEW YORK – As I’ve written before, talk radio was fun as a caller and even more so as a caller who got to “commit radio” himself.  I know, I realize that there’s the romanticization part of memory and recall in general that may and might certainly contaminate my recollection(s), but screw it.  It’s my memory and I’m sticking to it.

 The Prolegomenon

 I read every day of one dour story after another about my beloved radio and granted, there’s good reason for it. And it’s sad because at the rate things are devolving, I’m not sure if there will be new generations of talk radio folks in mainstream, conventional, terrestrial stick radio.  Or talk radio stations.  Or radio stations.  Period.  But I’m talking about the WKRP-esque environment that all of us who had the privilege of working in remember so fondly.

And simply put, there was an unregulated fun about the industry that went the way of the turntable.  I can’t remember any other time when I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of my “job.”  Where folks were crazy, and I mean whacked. There was no HR department.  And, granted, there were at times no civility, comportment or maturity.  But too bad, Sparky, those were the breaks.  Folks were raunchy, very un-PC, crude, brash and unapologetic.  There was instead an unbridled creativity that I loved thoroughly.  And enough can’t be said about fun.  This crazy idea of fun that has been interpreted today as unprofessional.  And, there may be something to that . . . but I digress.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

| January 17, 2012

Radio Personality Tom Joyner Honors Tuskegee Airmen.  As part of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, nationally syndicated “fly jock” Tom Joyner presented the Martin Luther King Jr. Day convocation at his alma mater Tuskegee University where he also saluted the Tuskegee Airmen, of which his father was one.  Pictured here is Joyner (l), his son Oscar (r) and photos of Joyner’s father and the Tuskegee Airmen program.  Joyner then joined others in a discussion about the Tuskegee Airmen as portrayed in George Lucas’ new film “Red Tails.”  Joyner’s father was a flyer and his mother worked in the office at the program.

“Free Talk Live” Donates to St. Jude’s After Dare Offered to Michael Savage and Mark Levin.  TALKERS readers may remember that in response to Talk Radio Network host Michael Savage’s offer of $1 million to Newt Gingrich to drop out of the race and of Cumulus Media Network host Mark Levin’s offer of $100,000 to Savage to end his radio show, “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman offered to donate $1,000 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital if either Savage or Levin would have lunch with a Muslim or  undocumented worker, do less than 40% of the talking and document the event with video.  Freeman tells TALKERS, “As expected, neither Mark Levin nor Michael Savage took us up on our offer…they failed.  Of course, why should they bother?  If they actually listened to the people they appear to hate, they might learn something and discover they actually have the capability to empathize with other people.”  Freeman says “Free Talk Live” held up its end of the bargain and is donating $1066 to St. Jude’s “in the name of peace, freedom, and compassion for other humans.”

WRKO, Boson Talk Host Howie Carr Publishes Crime Novel.  Longtime Boston Herald columnist and Boston talk radio institution Howie Carr publishes another book, but this time, instead of being about real criminals like his previous tomes about famous Boston crime figures, this one is a fictional work in the spirit of the noir novels he consumed as a youngster.  The WRKO, PM drive host appeared at a Boston-area Barnes & Noble over the weekend to promote Hard Knocks (Forge Books 2012) and chat with his fans about Boston crime legends.  Carr tells the Hingham Patch, “I’ve been reading these things since I was a kid so I’ve always wanted to write something like this.  I wrote it a while back but it was before I had anything published.  Then I wrote the non-fiction books and they did really well.  It’s easier when you’ve had some success, even in non-fiction, to get fiction published so I took advantage of my opportunity.”

Spike Eskin Returns to the CBS Philadelphia Operation.  The son of Philadelphia sports talk legend Howard Eskin was a jock at CBS Radio’s rock WYSP-FM, Philadelphia until it met its fate as the FM simulcast of sports WIP in the fall of last year.  Now, Spike Eskin returns to the CBS Philly operations as editor of the CBSPhilly.com sports section.  He’ll also handle some sports duties for the company’s all-news KYW.

Connecticut AMs Strike Deal to Carry Hartford TV News Content.  Two Crossroads Communications AM stations in Connecticut have agreed to a deal to broadcast Meredith Corporation’s WFSB-TV’s 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm newscasts.  WFSB-TV is a CBS affiliate and the two stations to carry the programming are WMRD, Middletown, Connecticut and WLIS, Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

GOP Primary Race/Huntsman Drops Out, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, Rising Gas Prices and Italian Cruise Liner Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday.  Jon Huntsman drops out of the GOP primary race prior to last night’s South Carolina debate, Iran’s military and nuclear ambitions, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, prices continue to rise at the pumps as many experts predict high gas prices for some time and divers continue to search for missing people in the grounding of an Italian cruise liner.  These were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 16, 2012

| January 16, 2012

Clear Channel Drops the “Radio”; Becomes Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings chief executive officer Bob Pittman announces the “radio division” of the company is changing its name to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to reflect its mission to deliver content via means beyond just terrestrial radio.  “Over the last few years, I’ve watched as Clear Channel Radio has pushed beyond the traditional boundaries of radio to reach more Americans every month than any other media company through an unmatched combination of broadcast, satellite, online and mobile assets,” states Pittman.  “Under John Hogan’s continued strong leadership, the new Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brand underscores that we are taking our brands and content wherever our listeners expect to find it.  And, in the future, as new places emerge where people want to access our powerful brands and content, we’ll be there, too.”  At the center of Clear Channel’s initiatives to move beyond radio station transmitters is the iHeartRadio website and app that delivers audio from its O&O radio stations of all formats, offers user-customizable stations plus audio from Cumulus Media, and soon, Greater Media radio stations as well.  The company is clearly putting forth the iHeartRadio internet site and mobile and tablet application as its primary weapon in the battle for ears being waged by Pandora, Slacker, Spotify and others.  John Hogan states, “Radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward.  That will not change.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers.  We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities with the best content – music, news, emergency information, and public service – wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities that reach, activate and engage target audiences like no one else.”  It clearly appears that this move on the part of the largest owner/operator of terrestrial radio station licenses crystallizes the reality of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison‘s forecast originally published in 2007 that the entity known as the “radio station” would evolve into something more aptly described as the “media station” — a multi-tiered broadcasting entity the ranks of which are comprised of both licensed and unlicensed outlets operating on the even playing field of the internet.  According to Harrison, “Hogan’s statement that ‘radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward’ is quite revealing and says it all… basically that a ‘radio’ station that defines itself as being just that — a ‘radio’ station – is behind the times.  An audio-only media brand in this new era is as incomplete as a newspaper without photographs or a motion picture without sound and as limited in its accessibility as the old yellow pages.”  Harrison goes on to comment, “Stick owners should beware of this inevitable development.  Although strategic use of the internet and digital distribution expands the radio station’s brand and evolves it into the media station, it also serves as a catalyst for non-licensed media stations to share the same space and compete for the same audience while unencumbered by the debt of stick ownership.”

Boston Herald Blasts Entercom Chief David Field’s Memo.  This is one of those motivational missives that some will think is right on and others will shake their heads at, but the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam pulls no punches in criticizing a memo from Entercom CEO David Field in which he uses his recent African safari vacation as a backdrop and the animal kingdom as a metaphor for the working world.  Field writes about the need for all employees – including himself – to bring their “A-game” to work because the tough business world is a survival-of-the-fittest place just like the African savannah he witnessed on his trip.  He alludes to American society as pampering us and not always holding us accountable as the wild of Africa does to its inhabitants.  He beckons the reader to strive for greatness at every moment of each workday generously stating his belief in everyone’s “untapped potential.”  Critics of this memo will point to Field’s elitist use of a transcontinental holiday as the basis of his memo, an unwitting comparison of his employees as animals, the assumption that they are not “giving it their all” in the first place, and that they are quick to blame others for any lack of success.  Some might go so far as to point to Field’s naiveté in needing to witness the wild close up to be reminded that life and the business world are both challenging and unforgiving.  Still, supporters of Field’s action will state that he’s only trying to point out that harnessing our talents and pushing ourselves to succeed is what makes great companies great, and that whining about tough circumstances will achieve nothing.  Heslam’s criticism could also cause managers and employees alike to debate – either internally or out loud – whether this type of motivational memo is truly effective.  How do the majority of employees see it?  As a thought-provoking pep talk…or an insulting memo from “corporate?”  See Heslam’s story and the entire memo here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Impact Talk Radio Conversation.  Most Federal holidays cause slow-downs in the normal processes of running live radio in the form of fill-in hosts, repeats and a diversion from the serious issues of the day.  However, MLK, Jr. Day has a history of doing just the opposite.  Although Federal agencies and a number of private business offices close today – it is even more than “business as usual” on the radio talk show airwaves of America as the holiday inspires discussion of a wide variety of compelling issues including civil rights, social justice, race relations and more.

Former New Jersey 101.5 Host Tommy G Launches Internet Show.  As a growing number of terrestrial broadcasters who find themselves off the air are doing, former WKXW-FM, Trenton overnight host Tommy G (Tom Gordon) is taking his talk host talents to the internet.  Gordon says he wants to cut out the “middleman” and bring his programming straight to the listener digitally.  In an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine, Tommy G explains his mission and how he’s making it happen.  Read it here.

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Beats OVI Rap.  Media executive Randy Michaels pled guilty to driving improperly in a construction zone and the prosecutor agreed to drop the charge of operating a vehicle while impaired after Michaels’ attorney Steve Adams argued successfully that the officer had filled out the citation incorrectly and failed to fix it within the allotted 90-day period.  Michaels was charged in October of 2011 after Middletown, Ohio police found his car disabled in a road construction area during a rain storm.  The officer recorded that Michaels smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests although he declined to take a breathalyzer.

Talk Radio Network Names Dave Nourie National Affiliate Consultant.  TRN CEO Mark Masters makes the announcement that Dave Nourie is joining his team to grow Talk Radio Network programs that include Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Rusty Humphries, Jerry Doyle, Phil Hendrie, Mancow and the America’s Radio News Network news blocks.  “We are all very happy to have Dave join the Talk Radio Network family of companies, with the incredible growth of the news network, we needed someone with his skills and expertise to help serve our ever-growing list of affiliated stations.”

KOA, Denver Talk Host Dave Logan Loses High School Football Coaching Job.  The former Denver Broncos great and current Broncos radio play-by-play voice and PM drive host on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver is out of his football coaching gig after independent Catholic high school Mullen High chose to take a different road.  It wasn’t for lack of victories or Dave Logan’s popularity with the students and team – in nine years at Mullen, Logan’s teams won four state titles with a record of 110 – 12.  School CEO Ryan Clement tells the Denver Post that the issue was Logan’s celebrity combined with the school’s desire to have a full-time staff member serve as coach.  Logan worked the gig with no pay.  But the Post reports Clement said Logan “had become the face of the school and that’s not what the new administration wanted, especially from someone who didn’t work at the school full time.”  Some students protested the firing and the paper notes Logan may surface to coach somewhere else as other schools are already seeking to talk to him about coaching.

Newsman Kevin Patrick Leaves Chicago for Washington, DC.  Chicago Radio and Media is reporting that Kevin Patrick is leaving Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago – FM News 101.1 – to take a position with CBS Radio’s new all-news outlet WNEW-FM, Washington.  Though the move hasn’t been officially announced by either CBS or Merlin, the site reports WIQI-FM overnight anchor Mike Wilson will move onto the daytime schedule to fill Patrick’s role.  It’s unclear exactly what Patrick’s new position at WNEW-FM will be.

Arizona Broadcasters Hold Two-Hour Tribute to Bill Heywood.  A little more than two weeks after Phoenix-market radio legend Bill Heywood and his wife Susan took their lives in a Scottsdale hotel room, numerous Arizona broadcasters who knew and worked with Heywood took part in a two-hour tribute broadcast to him on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.  Hosts and jocks taking part in the Friday afternoon broadcast included: Pat McMahon, Preston Westmoreland, Bruce Kelly, Tim Hattrick, Jeff Scott and Michael Dixon.  Susan Heywood had been ill for some time and friends say the couple had been beset by financial troubles.  A memorial service was held on Saturday for Heywood and his wife.

Birth of an Online Media Station

| January 16, 2012

By Tom Gordon

MANALAPAN, NJ – Over the years, I have read many great articles in TALKERS that, as a talk show host, gave me countless ideas.  Some of my talk radio peers have been asking about the launch of my live, internet-based, New Jersey-oriented, drive time talk show.  So, I figured: what better place to answer those questions than right here, in TALKERS?

In April, 2004, I was hired to do a four-hour, late-night show at the nation’s number one FM talk station, New Jersey 101.5.  The hardest part of the job was getting used to the hours (11:00 pm – 3:00 am Sunday through Thursday) and the lack of calls. It was rough during those first three months, but, eventually, I was able to tap into Jersey’s busy late-night culture and build an extremely loyal following able to jam the phone lines for all four hours each night.  As the years flew by, I started to do more events with the wildly popular Jersey Guys, Craig Carton (currently doing mornings on WFAN, New York) and Ray Rossi, which boosted my name recognition and exposure by leaps and bounds.

Fast-forward to 2009: the show was as busy and popular as ever. I had even won multiple awards for helping the police in Old Bridge, New Jersey save a lost, elderly man on a freezing night when one of my listeners managed to spot him.  Yet, shortly after walking my daughter down the aisle that July, I was told that, because of financial difficulties, the live, late-night show was being cancelled; my position was eliminated.  After sending out resume after resume and talking with radio executives who explained to me that local talk radio is an expensive format, it became apparent that live and local talk radio was going the way of the dinosaur — toward extinction. So, after more than five years of working at least eight hours a day in order to build such a loyal audience, it was over.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

| January 13, 2012

Norm Pattiz’ Courtside Entertainment Names Bob Moore President.  Forty-year broadcast management pro Bob Moore rejoins Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz, this time as president of Pattiz’ Courtside Entertainment.  Moore most recently was market manager of Cumulus Media’s Los Angeles stations.  Prior to that he managed the CBS Radio Los Angeles cluster.  Pattiz says he and Moore go back a long way in the business.  “Bob Moore is a one of a kind guy.  I’ve known him since the 70s when he followed me as the sales manager of KCOP-TV in Los Angeles.  I hired him at Westwood One because I thought anybody who could sell KCOP in the 70s could sell anything.  He ran my station group in the 90s when we launched Pirate Radio in Los Angeles and bought WNEW and WYNY-FM in New York.  I have no doubt that Bob will make a huge contribution to Courtside, the radio business and platforms yet to be discovered.  They are all going to need programming.  Bob will be joining Katie Walsh and me as our executive team.”  On his new position with Courtside, Moore states, “I am extremely excited to be working with Norm Pattiz again.  Norm has been a mentor of mine for many years.  Working together at Courtside is a great opportunity to use my broadcast experience at stations and working with advertisers in a way that I find extremely appealing.”

KTLK, Los Angeles Adds Local Talk to PM Drive on Progressive Outlet.  Tapping former KNBC-TV anchor David Cruz for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm talk show gives Clear Channel’s progressive talk outlet KTLK a high-profile Hispanic broadcaster on the staff and the ability to address Los Angeles issues in drive time.  CC Los Angeles president Greg Ashlock states, “This is a fresh new look at Southern California through the eyes of a well-known, veteran network television and radio journalist very familiar with the Latino community in the nation’s second largest market.”  Local Hispanic organizations are quick to praise the move.  Approval from two such organizations – Latino Institute for Corporate Inclusion and the Latin Business Association – is included in Clear Channel’s release announcing the move.  Cruz’ program bumps WSJRN’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” from the PM drive slot.

WGN, Chicago’s Judy Pielach Adds Coordinator Duties.  Reporter/anchor Judy Pielach takes on the added responsibilities of news room coordinator in the WGN, Chicago news room.  She’ll work closely with program director Bill White on scheduling and assignments in addition to her reporting and anchoring work.

 

 

CBS Radio Promotes Two in Local Sales in Los Angeles and Chicago.  Peter Bowen has been the director of sales at CBS Radio’s Chicago cluster for the past six years.  He moves to the Los Angeles operations in the same role where he’ll work with SVP and market manager Steve Carver.  In Chicago, CBS ups all-news WBBM general sales manager Mark Day to director of sales for the entire Chicago cluster under SVP and market manager Rod Zimmerman.

Another Public Radio Station Drops Music for News and Information.  Cal State Sacramento-owned KXJZ-FM, Sacramento announces it’s dropping the daily jazz programming on the station – known as Capital Public Radio – to focus on news and info and is moving the jazz to other frequencies.  The station will still feature some music shows on the weekend but is opting for more programming from NPR such as “Talk of the Nation” and “Fresh Air” plus the local “Insight” show and programming from PRI and BBC.

Dr. Evelyn Higgins Show Adds Sunday Program.  The Main Street Radio Network-syndicated and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network-distributed Dr. Evelyn Higgins show is now producing a Sunday program.  The show airs live Saturday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm and now will be heard on Sunday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am as well.  The program was launched nationally in November and is heard in more than 22 markets.

Michigan Radio Creates Mid-State News Bureau.  Pubcaster Michigan Radio – operating stations in Ann Arbor, Flint and West Michigan – announces the establishment of a Mid-Michigan news bureau based in Jackson and headed by Steve Carmody.  News director Vincent Duffy states, “We’ve long had daily coverage of Southeast and Western Michigan from our bureaus in Detroit and Grand Rapids, but there are many equally important stories taking place in mid-Michigan that are of interest to our audience.  Our hope is that this bureau will assist us in covering important Michigan issues and events that take place in the cities of Lansing, Jackson and Battle Creek and their surrounding communities.”

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Most-Talked-About Story on News/Talk Radio for Week of January 9-13.  Fresh off the New Hampshire Primary election with the South Carolina Primary looming, the GOP race and the larger 2012 presidential contest landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was the growing concern over Iran’s military ambitions and its nuclear weapons development coupled with the assassination of one of its top nuclear scientists this week.  At #3 was Iran’s sentencing a former U.S. Marine to death after accusing him of being a spy.  Coming in at #4 was the tepid U.S. economic data.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research by TALKERS.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Compass Media Networks“Free Beer & HotWings” show featuring Gregg Daniels, Chris Michaels and Eric Zane adds KXRX-FM, Tri-Cities, Washington and WBSX-FM, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” picks up KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KHOW, Denver; and KEX, Portland…..The DIRECTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed “Nick & Artie” sports-centric show – hosted by comics Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange – adds KILT, Houston; KHTK, Sacramento; KTCT, San Francisco; and WMTI-FM, New Orleans…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall adds KDKD-FM, Clinton, Missouri.

Talk Hosts Sound Off on TALKERS TV About the Importance of the Election

| January 12, 2012

14 diverse talk radio personalities from industry superstars to college hosts share their candid views about the impact Election 2012 is having on their shows and talk radio in general in a new montage recorded directly on the floor of the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row produced by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service earlier this week. They also discuss the growing importance and sophistication of social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook in the talk broadcasting communications process. Participants include syndicated national hosts Neal Boortz, Roger Hedgecock, Kate Delaney, Scott Hennen and Jeff Santos; local hosts Dan Mitchell, George Russell, Paul Westcott, Steve West, Brian Tilden, Phil Paleologos, and Lee Davis; and college radio up-and-comers Joe Horigan and Emma Bisogo. According to Neal Boortz, “We have to convince people out there that politics is as important to them as Dancing with the Stars.”

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

| January 12, 2012

Talk Hosts Sound Off on TALKERS TV About the Importance of the Election.   14 diverse talk radio personalities from industry superstars to college hosts share their candid views about the impact Election 2012 is having on their shows and talk radio in general in a new montage recorded directly on the floor of the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row produced by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service earlier this week.  They also discuss the growing importance and sophistication of social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook in the talk broadcasting communications process.  Participants include syndicated national hosts Neal Boortz, Roger Hedgecock, Kate Delaney, Scott Hennen and Jeff Santos; local hosts Dan Mitchell, George Russell, Paul Westcott, Steve West, Brian Tilden, Phil Paleologos, and Lee Davis; and college radio up-and-comers Joe Horigan and Emma Bisogo. According to Neal Boortz, “We have to convince people out there that politics is as important to them as Dancing with the Stars.”  See this TALKERS TV exclusive video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.

Peak Broadcasting Enters into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization.  Peak Broadcasting – owner of 11 radio stations in Fresno, California and Boise, Idaho – is entering into voluntary Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization after coming to terms with senior lenders. The original financing was led by GE Capital Markets.  Peak lists assets of between $50 million and $100 million and debt of a similar amount.  The good news for staffers is there appears to be no signs the company needs to take drastic steps from an operational standpoint in order to turn the company around.  In a statement, CEO Todd Lawley says, “Operationally, Peak has improved its position in the markets it serves during one of the most difficult periods in radio broadcasting history.  I am confident that Peak will emerge from the restructuring with a stronger financial foundation which complements our market-leading radio positions and allows us to continue to provide premier radio programming in the communities we serve together with the uninterrupted support of our customers, employees, and vendors.”  Peak operates news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; news/talk KIDO, Boise; and sports KFXD, Boise in addition to seven music-formatted stations in the two markets.  Upon approval of the plan, Peak Broadcasting will be owned by senior lenders that could include Oaktree Captial and Rabobank.

Rachel Crowson Named Co-Anchor at ARNN.  America’s Radio News Network announces news pro Rachel Crowson becomes part of the news network’s on-air staff as a co-anchor.  Crowson is a 20-year news pro who’s worked mostly in the Washington, DC market at operations including Metro Networks, Voice of America and ABC News Radio.  ARNN CEO Mark Masters says, “We welcome Rachel into our exclusive news organization.  Her background and demeanor are a perfect match for our non-partisan, long-form news programming.  Stations continue to tell us they love the long-form news blocks so much they want more.  We have been stunned by the high demand!”

WGN, Chicago’s Studio Moves Up in Tribune Tower.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that Tribune Company is relocating WGN’s offices and studios – all except the showcase studio that faces Michigan Avenue – from the ground floor to the 7th floor.  WGN has been on the ground floor of Tribune Tower since the station moved there in 1986 from the West Bradley Place studios it shared with WGN-TV since 1961.  VP/GM Tom Langmyer tells Feder, “Our new location in the building will include a fresher and brighter workspace (as the relocated offices, sales area, news department and studios will have windows as well) and the technical operation and new studios will be fully digital, replacing the current analog equipment, much of which has been in service since WGN moved to the Tower 25 years ago.”  Tribune Company plans to lease the current space to a new restaurant to be opened in 2013.  The showcase studio that faces Michigan Avenue will still be the place from which personalities such as AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier broadcast their shows.

Talk Host Phil Valentine Premiers New Film Attacking Global Warming Theory.  Nashville-based nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine announces the premier of “An Inconsistent Truth” – the film he and Rocky Mountain Pictures produced to take on the theory of anthropogenic global warming.  The film will receive a special showing on January 26 at the Regal Hollywood 27 Theatres in Nashville and opens to the public on the following day.  Valentine stars in the film as he sets off in his bio-fueled car Bennie the BioBenz to discover why “a record number of Americans are now skeptical of man-made global warming.”  Valentine says that, while making the film, “What I found is the belief in anthropogenic global warming is wide but shallow.  People who believe in it have no idea why they do.  It’s just what they’ve been spoon‐fed.”  The documentary features noted scientists such as Dr. John Christy, a lead author of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global warming.  Valentine also talks with Dr. Roy Spencer, the lead scientist on NASA’s Aqua Satellite which measures surface temperatures around the globe.  Other scientists in the film include Dr. Fred Singer and Dr. Ken Green.  Valentine also explores the economic ramifications of cap‐and‐trade legislation with current and former policymakers including Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator James Inhofe, Senator Jim DeMint and U.S. Rep. Greg Walden.  For information on the film or to speak with Phil Valentine, contact Brian Wilson at 615-312-3481.

Compass Media Networks’ “Free Beer & Hot Wings” Morning Show Adds Saturday Program.  The younger, male-demo-targeted “Free Beer & Hot Wings” AM drive show syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks adds a Saturday morning program to the daily offering for affiliate stations.  The WGRD-FM, Grand Rapids-based program is co-hosted by Gregg Daniels and Chris Michaels along with cast members Eric Zane and producers Joe and Steve and airs on more than 35 affiliate stations across the country.  The program also announces it will be broadcasting live from the Super Bowl radio row in Indianapolis in February.

Florida Syndicated Talk Host Burnie Thompson Hosts “Freedom Rally.”  Florida talk show host Burnie Thompson – who is independently syndicated throughout the state on nine stations – is hosting a “Freedom Rally” in Jacksonville on January 19 he says “is intended to galvanize voters to participate in the upcoming January 31 state primary, and to focus on true limited government and the protection of civil liberties.”  Thompson’s event is co-sponsored by affiliates WBOB, Jacksonville and WYOO-FM, Panama City.  The rally is being held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Jacksonville and will feature country artist Todd Allen Herendeen, WYOO-FM morning host Darrel Day and Fox News Channel contributor Dan Arias.

Compass Media Marketing Announces New Rep Deal with Point-of-Purchase Radio.  The marketing firm newly founded by Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann and managed by president of sales & marketing Paul Gregery lands a deal to exclusively rep POP Radio – a leading in-store audio platform.  Gregery says, “Tens of millions of Americans hear POP Radio’s advertisements every day and it is our mission to leverage the reach of POP Radio for the benefit of our sponsors.”  Compass says it commissioned Edison Research to calculate audience exposure.  “Through actual store visits and face-to-face interviews, Edison Research’s methodology has very accurately measured POP Radio’s listenership by including time spent shopping (a network radio TSL equivalent) and physically counting the shoppers present when the messages air.”  Peter Kosann states, “POP Radio has a huge audience, unique platform and strong brand with national advertisers.  We are appreciative and grateful that POP Radio has joined our growing company.”

Hutchinson Newsmaker Network Launches to Syndicate Weekly Program.  Founded by “Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour” host Earl Ofari Hutchinson to syndicate the weekly news program, the new network says it is the first “African-American, West Coast-operated national broadcast network.”  Hutchinson describes his weekly program as featuring “in-depth conversations with the nation’s top elected officials, political leaders and opinion makers in the White House, on Capitol Hill, as well as the nation’s leading political and social issue writers and commentators across the political spectrum. They fully air their views on controversial, topical, and crucial public policy issues, initiatives and legislation.”  The program is heard on affiliates across the country including: KTYM, Los Angeles; WWNL, Pittsburgh; KCNW, Kansas City; WVTJ, Pensacola; and KXKS, Albuquerque.

Southern California Talk Host Given Local Honor.  Captain Mike Whitehead, host of “The Boathouse Radio Show” on the CRN Digital Talk Radio Network, is honored by the Costa Mesa Daily Pilot by being included on its annual “103 Most Influential People of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.”  Whitehead is a fixture in the community and a boating columnist for the Newport Beach Independent.  CRN Digital Talk CEO Mike Horn says, “Captain Mike has been a big part of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa for many years and we’re thrilled to see him receive this outstanding honor.”

GOP Primary Race, Iran’s Military Ambitions and U.S.-Taliban Talks Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11).  The race to secure the GOP nomination for president, Iran’s military ambitions and nuclear weapons program and talk of discussions between the U.S. and the Taliban were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

| January 11, 2012

SCOTUS Hears Broadcast Indecency Arguments; Sweeping Changes Unlikely.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says although Attorney Carter Phillips – representing Fox Television – argued convincingly that broadcasters are responsible to their audiences and advertisers and would not, therefore, engage in a “race to the bottom” with regard to indecency, he believes the Supreme Court will not throw out the current indecency rules as some broadcasters might hope it would.  Attorneys representing the Federal Communications Commission, Fox Television and ABC Television argued before the Court yesterday for the first time since the Pacifica case in 1978.  Read Attorney Weisman’s analysis here.

TRN Entertainment Syndicates Former KGO Weekender Dr. Bill Wattenburg.  Bill Wattenburg was one of the KGO, San Francisco talk show hosts let go by Cumulus Media in December.  Now, TRN Entertainment begins offering Dr. Wattenburg in national syndication Sunday evenings from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am ET beginning January 22.  TRN Entertainment CEO Mark Masters says, “We are ecstatic to have a person of Dr. Bill Wattenburg’s caliber join our network.  His vast knowledge of science and physics will enlighten all of his listeners.  We believe he will quickly develop legions of dedicated fans that want to improve their personal knowledge and way of life.”  Bay Area talk radio listeners are aware of Dr. Wattenburg’s credentials but the rest of the nation may not know that he is a senior research scientist at the Research Foundation, California State University, Chico; and a scientific consultant for the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and many other institutions.  He is a former nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; a former member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; and a former UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering.  TRN Entertainment describes Dr. Wattenburg’s show as “mostly an open-line, listener-driven call-in show in which he answers questions ranging from fixing cars to physics, and everything in between.  His combination of experiences and scientific background give him a great wealth of knowledge that he applies to entertain and inform his audience.”

Clear Channel Takes Another Step Toward Making iHeartRadio a Ubiquitous Media Application.  The broadcast giant announces it is making its application programming interface (API) and affiliate program available to third parties and developers so they can integrate its content and services into their own products, web pages and apps.  Clear Channel states, “Developers will have the opportunity to create their own innovative versions of iHeartRadio on their platforms.  The iHeartRadio API includes access to many of the service’s features, including its live broadcast and digital-only stations and Custom Stations as well as a deep social media integration.”  Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “Opening our API will unlock exciting opportunities to enrich the unique, combined live and custom radio experience that only iHeartRadio provides.  This move also builds on our commitment to be everywhere our listeners expect us to be, with the best products and services.”  The company is clearly moving full-speed-ahead to compete in digital media distribution device race and this is another smart move to try to enhance iHeartRadio’s useage.

CBS Radio Names Two More to WNEW-FM, Washington Staff.  When CBS Radio’s all-newser WNEW-FM, Washington debuts on January 19, Lisa Baden will be handling the traffic reporting in one of the nation’s most congested commuter markets and Jill Schlesinger joins the station for twice-hourly business reports.  Baden has been broadcasting traffic reports in the DC market for two decades, most notably with crosstown WTOP-FM and Metro Traffic before that.  Schlesinger is editor-at-large of CBS Moneywatch and also hosts her own nationally syndicated weekend financial talk program syndicated by Dial Global.

Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Hits 50-Affiliate Mark.  Nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean, host of “America Now,” marks the 50-affilliate plateau.  Premiere Networks SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi says, “The rapid growth we’ve experienced with this program is a testament to Andy’s talent, dedication and hard work.  We look forward to reaching many more milestones together.”  Dean’s program is heard on talk outlets across America including WSB, Atlanta; KSTE, Sacramento; WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.

National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Announces Honorees.  It’s the time of year when the NSSA announces winners of its best-of honors for their accomplishments in 2011.  Here are just a few of those just announced:  WGN, Chicago morning sports anchor and Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball play-by-play announcer Dave Eanet is named the 2011 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year.  WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “Dave Eanet is a tremendous broadcaster and a class act.  His passion, integrity and professionalism are apparent in everything that he does and we’re proud to have him on the WGN radio team.”…..Drew Deener of Sports Radio 790 WKRD, Louisville is named Sportscaster of the Year in the State of Kentucky.  Deener hosts “The Early Birds Morning Show” and “The Cardinal Insider” on WKRD.  He also serves as the TV play-by-play voice of University of Louisville football and basketball on WHAS-TV…..KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler, host of the popular sports talk program “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” and play-by-play host of the College World Series, earns the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year award for the eighth year.  KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “It truly is remarkable that someone this early on his career would be recognized at this level and at this frequency.  It just goes to show how much talent Kevin has behind the mic and in the world of sportscasting.”

Former St. Louis PM Drive Team Thom and Jeff Begin Internet Initiative.  The longtime PM drive team at Emmis’ alternative KPNT, St. Louis, Thom West and Jeff Burton, are producing an internet talk show available via iTunes or their website.  Thom and Jeff were “downsized” in August and began producing podcasts in September.  They say they are now averaging 40,000 downloads per day.  The team has grown to include Scottie “Boom Boom,” Coach, and Kara the Lesbian.  Daily guests add to the non-stop entertainment including comedians, visits from bands, athletes, and local and national celebrities.  Jeff Burton says, “I really enjoyed the old radio show but with the added people and no FCC regulations we are free to do and say whatever we want…and we do!”

Longtime WMAL, Washington Personality Bill Trumball Dies at 77.  Bill Trumball retired from WMAL, Washington in 1996 after spending more than 35 years with the station.  He was partnered with Chris Core on the “Core and Trumball” show for many of those years.  He passed away on January 10 from respiratory failure.

New Hampshire Primary, Iran Saber-Rattling and World Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10).  The GOP race to take the nation’s first primary election of the 2012 presidential campaign, the ongoing saber-rattling by Iran and speculation about its drive to develop nuclear weapons and the state of the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

| January 10, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Feature Greater Media Stations.  First it was Cumulus Media striking at deal with Clear Channel to have its radio stations available nationwide via the iHeartRadio digital radio platform, now Greater Media climbs aboard.  Beginning in April, Greater Media’s 22 stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey and Charlotte will be available via the iHeartRadio app.  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth states, “We are thrilled to be able to provide our listeners with even greater access to our stations  anywhere they may be listening throughout the country with this exciting platform.”  Clear Channel president and CEO John Hogan says, “Adding Greater Media to iHeartRadio only improves our leading digital destination for consumers, expanding their ability to find the best and most complete online radio experience anywhere.  Clear Channel Radio and Greater Media understand that radio connects local businesses to consumers like no other medium can, and this agreement offers more choices for our listeners which is what they want.”

Don Martin Promoted to Senior Vice President, Sports Programming for Premiere Networks.  This is a promotion from his role as vice president and general manager for Fox Sports Radio Network which has been a division of Premiere Networks since it began collaborating on sports programming with Fox Sports more than 10 years ago.  In this new role, Martin oversees all sports programming and operations for Premiere.  Martin reports to Premiere president of content and affiliations Julie Talbott who says, “This is a well-deserved promotion, as Don’s leadership has been instrumental in the growth and strength of the Fox Sports Radio Network.  His expertise, as well as his passion and dedication to this industry, make him a tremendous asset as we expand in the sports arena.  With Don at the helm, I’m confident we will continue to see the positive impact and success of our programming.”  Under Martin’s watch, FSRN has reached an all-time high of 400-plus affiliates.  He continues in his role as general manager and program director of Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles.  TALKERS magazine’s Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Don Martin about his work with Fox Sports Radio and KLAC.  See the video in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds More Local Talk;  Expanded Shows for Dana Loesch and Dave Glover.  Emmis Communications’ news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis is adding more live and local programming to its daily schedule with the expansion of the Dana Loesch and Dave Glover shows.  Loesch moves from the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning January 30.  Dave Glover, the station’s longtime PM drive host, adds an hour to make his show live from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Program director Jeff Allen says, “Now with more Dana and Dave we can better cover the issues that matter to our St. Louis listeners.  This is just another step in our commitment to respond to the local audience and to better cover breaking news anytime it happens.”  The expansion of the two shows means TRN’s Laura Ingraham program will exit the station.  Dana Loesch also does a live hour on Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Allen says that will continue.

Compass Media Marketing Announces Executive Staff.  The newly formed advertising representation firm being organized by Compass Media Networks founder and CEO Peter Kosann announces Paul Gregery is installed as president of sales & marketing; Mary Giesen is named VP of sales planning; and Laura Peyer is New York account manager.  The appointments are effective immediately and Peter Kosann says, “We are extremely fortunate to have these executives join us.  This is a tremendous first step for our sales organization.”  Paul Gregery served at Westwood One for more than eight years in a variety of capacities, including president of sales.  Before that, he managed West Coast sales for the AMFM Radio Networks prior to its being acquired by Premiere Networks.  Gregery also worked for more than a decade at the ABC Radio Network in a variety of sales positions.  He will work out of Compass’ Los Angeles offices.  Mary Giesen also worked at Westwood One where she quickly rose through the sales management ranks, ultimately serving as VP of sales planning, traffic & continuity, managing the sales planning staff and overseeing the management of the commercial inventory.  She will work out of Compass’ New York offices.  Laura Peyer previously served as the sports network sales executive at Skyview Networks, managing advertising relationships with clients throughout the New York, New England and the Midwest markets.  Prior to Skyview, she held positions as national broadcast supervisor at MPG and sales planner at Westwood One.  She also will work out of Compass’ New York offices.

Glenn Beck’s GBTV to Debut New Roundtable Show.  In association with Glenn Beck’s internet news site The Blaze, GBTV will feature “Real News from The Blaze” airing weeknights from 7:00 to 8:00 beginning January 18.  GBTV personality Amy Holmes will moderate the roundtable discussion of the day’s news.  Participants will include Blaze editor-in-chief Scott Baker, Buck Sexton, Will Cain and S.E. Cupp.  GBTV president of programming Joel Cheatwood says, “While GBTV is and will remain an information and entertainment network, we saw a real opportunity to provide the news that our audience is looking for and is too often ignored by the mainstream media.  We are passionate about offering our audience a deeply reported and engaging look at the news and are excited to be able to draw on the incredible editorial resources at The Blaze.”

WIP, Philadelphia Brings Brian Haddad Aboard for Creative Services Director Post.  The former KDKB-FM, Phoenix morning drive host is named creative services director and part-time host at the CBS Radio sports talk station.  Operations manager Andy Bloom says, “We embarked on a three-plus month search to find the person who would make WIP the best-produced station in the country.  There is no question we found the most creative mind and talented person to help us accomplish that goal.  We view Brian as our new secret weapon.”  Brian “Sludge” Haddad joined Sandusky’s rock KDKB-FM in June of 2010 to host the morning show.  Previously, he’d worked at Cox Media’s WDYL-FM, Richmond.

KFNS, St. Louis Host Kevin Slaten Goes Solo After Ashlee Feldman Exits.  The PM drive show on Grand Slam Sports’ KFNS, St. Louis will go with Kevin Slaten solo for a while after former MTV reality show star Ashlee Feldman exited the program.  STLToday.com reports Feldman – a former college basketball player and star of MTV’s “Real World New Orleans” – missed her family in the East and decided to leave the program after a year.  Slaten tells the site he’s not certain if he’ll remain solo or be paired up with another partner.

Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle Loses PD Travis Box to Home Life.  Program director and producer Travis Box announces he’s leaving Fisher Communications to begin the most difficult job he’ll ever undertake – stay-at-home dad!  Box has been producing the KOMO-AM/FM “Newsline” program and programmed KVI as it made the recent transition from oldies back to talk.  KVI talk host Scott Carty will serve as interim PD.

New Hampshire Primary, Iran Nuclear Ambitions/American Sentenced to Death, Obama Chief of Staff to Exit and Tebow Rallies Boncos Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9).  The GOP New Hampshire Primary race, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its sentencing to death  American Amir Mirzaie Hekmati on charges of being a spy, the Obama Administration’s chief of staff Bill Daley to exit and Tim Tebow’s rallying the Broncos to victory over the Steelers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 9, 2012

| January 9, 2012

Talk Radio Hosts Invade New Hampshire.  The New Hampshire Primary election is tomorrow (1/10) and in what has become a talk radio tradition – the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row – is putting the candidates and the issues on the air for local listeners and national audiences alike.  The radio row event is organized by TALKERS magazine and the Talk Radio News Service and includes more than 45 programs broadcasting live from the Manchester Radisson.  National programs include: Dial Global’s Neal Boortz, Thom Hartmann and Michael Smerconish; Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock; Genesis Communications Network’s Kate Delaney; Syndication One’s Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine; Main Street Radio Network’s Alan Nathan; “A Touch of Grey” with Carole Marks; Michael Skoda; Dr. Gina Loudon; and Ed Morrissey.  Local talk hosts include: WOR, New York’s John Gambling; WTKK-FM, Boston’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan; WTKK’s Michael Graham; Stephen K. Bannon of KABC, Los Angeles; Marc Bernier of WNDB, Daytona Beach; Michael Berry of KTRH, Houston; Lee Davis of WYDE-FM, Birmingham; Scott Hennen of KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Mark Skoda of WMPS, Memphis; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, New York; Ken Pittman and Phil Paleologos of WBSM, New Bedford; Richard Girard of WGAM, Manchester; Paul Westcott of WGIR, Manchester; Dan Mitchell of WKBK, Keene; George Russell of WSMN, Nashua; Mark Johnson of WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont; Steve West of WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; John Harper of WUVR, Dartmouth, New Hampshire; Tony Lopes of WVBF, Taunton, Massachusetts; and Jeff Santos of WWZN, Boston.

SCOTUS Hears Indecency Arguments Tomorrow.  This day seems like a long time coming but tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments about the FCC’s handling of broadcast indecency.  The case comes to the Court with regard to television violations but the rules are the same for radio.  Recent fines against ABC and Fox were overturned by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after the court ruled the regulations are vague and unevenly applied – especially concerning the difference between how the rules are applied to over-the-air broadcast versus cable and satellite.  That’s what ABC and Fox will argue tomorrow.  The FCC will argue that even in the current era, most Americans expect broadcast TV (and radio by extension) to be “relatively safe” media for family consumption.  Many legal observers believe that the likely ruling from the Supreme Court will be the request that the FCC make the indecency rules very clear and that its method of enforcement be just as clear.  Interestingly, former FCC chairman Michael Powell – who now works for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association – is quoted by Bloomberg saying if he were voting on the cases in question again, he would dissent this time.  “I’ve always been deeply troubled by the way the First Amendment changes when you change channels.”

Programmer Neil Larrimore Lands KFYI/KGME, Phoenix PD Position.  Clear Channel Phoenix names former KMBZ, Kansas City program director Neil Larrimore PD for news/talk KFYI and sports talker Xtra Sports 910 (KGME).  CC Phoenix director of operations and programming Smokey Rivers states, “Neil is the perfect complement to our Phoenix programming team.   He is totally immersed in the flow of news and sports.  In this ‘that’s so thirty seconds ago’ age, having a quality programmer focused solely on the output of our information products is essential to maintaining our quality edge.”  Larrimore, who recently exited Entercom’s Kansas City news/talk outlet, says, “Information is the lifeblood of all media, now more than ever.  The opportunity to work with these powerful brands and continue to evolve them on-air, on-site and online, is extraordinary!  I can’t wait to get started!”

Rick Barber Retires from KOA, Denver.  After 30 years on the air in Denver, Rick Barber retires from his late-night talk show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver.  The Clear Channel station is filling the time with Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”

Drew Steele Takes Over AM Drive on WFSX-FM, Fort Myers; Trey Radel Exits to Run for Congress.  Trey Radel announces his candidacy for Florida’s 14th Congressional District seat and exits the morning drive show at Meridian’s “92.5 Fox News” (WFSX-FM) in the Ft. Myers/Naples market.  Meridian hands the reins of the morning drive show over to Drew Steele.  Radel is a longtime media figure in the market serving as anchor on WINK-TV for years before joining “92.5 Fox News.”  Radel is running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Connie Mack who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

ESPN Radio Celebrates 20 Years in Operation.  Once just a small part of the ESPN cable television-focused broadcasting company, ESPN Audio is now a major component of the ESPN brand.  In January of 1992, ESPN Radio consisted of weekday drive-time commentaries on about 100 affiliates.  The network now has 300 full-time affiliates and ESPN owns four stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.  SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport states, “In 20 years, we’ve gone from airing only weekday, drive-time commentaries on 104 radio stations, to the amazing success of “Mike & Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Scott Van Pelt, Doug Gottlieb, and having ESPN Radio become the most-listened-to sports stream on the planet.  Additionally, our local markets give fans the local angle on air and online. It is a tribute to our listeners and our team, which pushes us forward to greater success in serving the sports fan.”

Jim Rome Takes TV Show to CBS Sports Network.  There’s no official confirmation from ESPN or Jim Rome’s camp but Big Lead Sports is reporting that Jim Rome’s “Rome is Burning” show will soon disappear from ESPN2 and Rome will begin a TV presence on the new CBS Sports Network.  The site reports that Rome was offered a multi-year deal to remain with ESPN but he’s choosing to begin TV life anew with CBS’ new cable initiative.  There would appear to be no affect on Rome’s radio program with Premiere Networks as a result of this.

KNX, Los Angeles Business Series Offers “The Business of Going Green.”  The next event in all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ Business Breakfast Series is titled, “The Business of Going Green” and takes place Friday, January 20 at 8:00 am at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  CBS Radio Los Angeles says “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will moderate a discussion that will explore how a sustainability strategy can be good for generating revenue and why being socially responsible doesn’t have to mean being fiscally irresponsible.  The free event will include a resource expo, continental breakfast and expert panelists H. David Nahai and Paul Polizzotto.  Nahai was senior advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative and is president of David Nahai Consulting Services which advises and assists public and private entities involved in the environmental sector.  Polizzotto is president of EcoMedia, a division of CBS Corporation, whose mission is to raise public awareness about environmental issues.

KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts New Local Food Show.  Hosted by local restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau and produced by Tina Cole, “Seattle Kitchen” airs Saturday mornings at 8:00 and Sundays at 10:00 am.  As you’d expect, the program will feature restaurant reviews of Puget Sound eateries as well as recipes and, of course, fielding listeners’ questions.  Program director Larry Gifford says, “Tom and Thierry are a natural fit and great addition.  For the weekend chef, who better to learn from, laugh with and relax to than these guys?”

Friday, January 6, 2012

| January 6, 2012

2012:  Talk Media Industry Forecast.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison presents eight leading trends and factors facing talk media as we head into 2012.  As is usually the case, we have a mixture of the good, the bad and the in-between.  The challenges are indeed daunting – but the opportunities are great.  Read the story here.

 

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans’ Bob DelGiorno to Retire.  Morning drive host Bob DelGiorno is retiring from radio after 34 years on the air in the Big Easy – most of it spent at Entercom‘s WWL-AM/FM.  DelGiorno says, “This place, this station has been very good to me…But, now it’s time to get off the road, to give up the daily responsibility and just enjoy waking up later and enjoying life.”  The station’s Tommy Tucker is being eased into the morning slot to succeed DelGiorno.

New Jersey 101.5 Ends Evening Relationship Show Hosted by Michelle Jerson.  The Townsquare Media station has been airing Michelle Jerson’s “After Hours” relationship program for a number of years but New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) program director Eric Johnson says, “Through audience research, our listeners made it very clear to us that they would like to hear the entertaining and informative Jersey-based topics that we discuss all day, in the evenings as well.  New Jersey 101.5 would like to thank Michelle Jerson for her service to the station and we wish her well going forward.”  Johnson says the station will be looking for a permanent host for the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm show.  In the meantime, part-time host and Monmouth County native Steve Trevelise, who is also a candidate for the full-time position, will be hosting the evening show.  As for Jerson, she tells TALKERS, “I was at New Jersey 101.5 for three and a half years as the number one evening show in New Jersey (had been at the station twice before over the years).  My background includes hosting lifestyle talk shows on 106.7 WJFK, Washington and Sirius Satellite Radio, co-hosting morning shows on talk and top 40 stations, reporting for Howard Stern‘s news team – Howard 100 News – and working as a television travel correspondent for Travelzoo.com.  I am ready for my next big adventure and can be reached at michelle@michellejerson.com.”

Main Street Radio Network’s “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Third Hour; Nathan Takes Commentator Role with TalkSport Network.  Main Street Radio Network announces “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” adds a third hour to its program airing live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  The first two hours of the show are distributed on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network, the new third hour is distributed on sister Business TalkRadio Network.  Main Street president Jane Silk states, “Main Street is very excited with the addition of Battle Line on BTRN.  The team at BTRN is truly a professional group and we look forward to the continued relationship and the expansion of Main Street programs.”  Meanwhile, London-based TalkSport Network adds Alan Nathan as international commentator after regular requests to offer color commentary with TalkSport hosts Matt Forde and Mike Graham during which he offers listeners across the United Kingdom a view of American politics from the perspective American radio’s “aggressive centrist.”  Jane Silk says of Nathan’s new role, “Alan is truly someone who can succinctly and efficiently dispel someone’s misconceptions with an amazing grasp of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and, most importantly, logic and fact!  How wonderful to have “the Colonies” experience a true and gifted host and show!”

Dial Global Drops Westwood One Name from NFL Play-By-Play.  With the merger Westwood One and Dial Global now four months old, Dial Global is re-branding its NFL play-by-play product as the Dial Global Radio Network.  Dial Global has exclusive national radio rights to the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl.  Dial Global sports executive producer Howard Deneroff states, “Listeners will hear the same standard of play-by-play commentary and overall production that they’ve come to expect from Westwood One on the Dial Global Radio Network. We are extremely excited about the merger, our broader platform and the future opportunities it might provide.”

KPAM, Portland Parent Pamplin Media Group Partners with Local CBS TV Affiliate for News Content Sharing.  The deal between Pamplin Media Group and KOIN-TV (“LOCAL 6”) allows for sharing of content on its combined television, radio and print properties, as well as websites and mobile apps.  The agreement includes shared editorial access, opportunities for exclusive interviews, news support, cross-collaboration for specific marketing activities and the ability to promote exclusive media on a variety of platforms.  KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow states, “This is a watershed moment for the Pamplin Media Group that simply and clearly defines our group as the local news leaders in Portland.  There’s not one other media partnership in our city that can lay claim to the winning trifecta that is AM 860, The Portland Tribune and KOIN Local 6.”  KOIN-TV president and GM Tim Perry says, “We are very enthusiastic about entering this strategic partnership with such a talented group of media executives and committed journalists.  We look forward to deepening our tenured relationship with this community.”  Pamplin had been in a partnership deal with Fox affiliate KPTV-TV, Portland.  That deal ends today (1/6).

Goldline International and Leslie Marshall Enter into Advertising Partnership.  Renowned gold dealer Goldline International, Inc. and independently syndicated progressive talk host Leslie Marshall announce Goldline is becoming the exclusive precious metals sponsor of Marshall’s national radio talk program.  Marshall says, “I am looking forward to helping my listeners learn about diversifying their portfolios with gold.  I’ve met personally with Goldline’s senior management and visited their offices in Santa Monica, so I can confidently recommend Goldline to my listeners who are considering physical gold and precious metals.”  The consumer press has often wrongly associated precious metals dealers only with conservative news/talk programming but as Marshall’s new deal illustrates, that’s a misconception.  Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, Leslie’s longevity on the airwaves speaks to her ability to engage listeners across the political spectrum.  Goldline is proud to be a sponsor of the Leslie Marshall show.”

ESPN Radio Adds “Hill & Schlereth” Show to Evening Lineup.  The new evening program from ESPN Radio begins on January 10 airing Monday through Thursday through the Super Bowl and then five nights per week after the game.  Former NFL Pro-Bowler Mark Schlereth has been with ESPN since 2001 and Mike Hill is a current SportsCenter anchor.  The duo will host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program.  SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport says, “Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth are already fan favorites.  Their ability to expand on their friendship, their experiences, and their knowledge of sports, combined with our listeners’ passion, equals great content that can be enjoyed on multiple platforms.”

Sports Talker Cliff Saunders Out at WXOS-FM, St. Louis.  As a result of the recent talent shuffle at Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis, evening host Cliff Saunders is out and seeking his next opportunity.  Saunders co-hosted the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm show at the station.  He previously worked for Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee.  He can be e-mailed at cliff_saunders2000@yahoo.com.

 

KTRS, St Louis to Host U.S. Senate Primary Debate with Live Audio and Video Feeds on Facebook.  Morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS magazine he and St. Louis Beacon political writer Joe Mannies will co-moderate the January 10 GOP primary debate for candidates vying for the Republican ticket to face off against Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill in November for her U.S. Senate seat.  The debate will take place in front of a live audience at the Missouri Athletic Club, be broadcast live on KTRS, KTRS.com and KTRS’ Facebook page at 9:00 am.  Milhaven says, “It is the first time ever that a radio station is airing anything on Facebook with both audio and video.”  Congressman Todd Akin and former Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman are taking part in the debate.

Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson to Broadcast from Israel.  Portland, Oregon-based regional and nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson heads to Israel to broadcast his program from Jerusalem during the week of January 16.  Stating that America’s relationship with Israel will be a topic of debate in the 2012 presidential election, Larson comments, “This trip is sure to be an eye opener to my listeners who never imagined all the ways that their lives are impacted by conflicts in the Middle East.”  Larson plans to speak on his program with an array of diplomats, Palestinians, Israeli citizens, journalists and ambassadors.

Thom Hartmann Show Goes on the Road to Iceland and Sweden.  Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann takes his talk radio program across the Atlantic next week where he’ll broadcast live from Rekyavik, Iceland on January 9 and Stockholm, Sweden on January 12.  Hartmann says,We’ve booked a number of pundits, politicians and reporters, and are looking forward to hearing directly from the people involved how the Icelanders told the banksters to take a hike, and how the Swedes dealt with their bank failures 15 years ago and why their economy is doing so well now.”  Hartmann is keynoting a conference in Sweden on Psychiatry and ADHD – he’s published several books on the subject including The Edison Gene (Park Street Press 2003).

Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco to Host Show on WWBA, Tampa.  Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa announces former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco joins the station’s programming department to host a weekly “business, public affairs and non-partisan political talk program beginning with a live debut from Malio’s Restaurant on January 9.  In a statement, VP of programming Len Weiner says, “We are thrilled to have Tampa’s former mayor Dick Greco join our news team.  His amazing background in politics and business will be an asset to our listeners.  This station has a powerful 50,000-watt signal that will carry Dick’s program throughout the state of Florida.”  Greco’s first guest will be current Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Chart of Biggest Talk Radio Stories During Week of January 2-6.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the Iowa Caucuses and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was Iran’s military ambitions.  At #3 was the world financial markets activity followed by euro zone instability at #4.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  See the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” program picks up KBYR, Anchorage; KWMO, Washington, Missouri; KBJT-KQEW, Fordyce, Arkansas; and KMMS, Bozeman, Montana…..Doug Stephan’s weekend “Talk Radio Countdown Show” is  added to WGDJ, Albany; KBYR, Anchorage…..Genesis Communications Network-distributed “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney picks up WLOB-AM/FM, Portland…..The Dr. Dahlia Wachs show is added to the lineup at KSIS, Sedalia, Missouri…..“Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds KBRA-FM, Freer, Texas.

 

2012: Talk Media Industry Forecast

| January 6, 2012

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Publisher

The bubble of optimism that envelops the industry during the first week of a new year received a stinging pinprick with the news of veteran Phoenix radio personality Bill Heywood and his wife Susan carrying out a death pact in a Scottsdale, Arizona motel room.  Heywood was deeply depressed.  His beloved wife suffered declining health.  They faced serious financial difficulties.  And he struggled with life as one of the radio homeless in the sad aftermath of an illustrious career as an elite local talent.

Hopefully, the Heywood’s grisly solution will not mark the beginning of an industry trend.  However, it does serve as a sobering reminder that the number one concern in this business will continue to be the dismal economy.  As the U2 song aptly puts it, “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day” – a poetic exaggeration of an esoteric truth.

Here are the eight leading trends and factors facing talk media as we head into 2012.  As is usually the case, we have a mixture of the good, the bad and the in-between.  The challenges are indeed daunting – but the opportunities are great:

Read More

Thursday, January 5, 2012

| January 5, 2012

Compass Media Networks to Open New Marketing Division; Continues Relationship with Dial Global.  In a major, two-pronged announcement Compass Media Networks announces it is launching a national ad sales firm called Compass Media Marketing – an advertising representation firm for the audio industry.  CEO and founder Peter Kosann built Compass Media Networks three years ago as a programming and distribution company.  He says they now see a similar opportunity for a sales rep firm “leveraging on our brand, relationships, and expertise.”  Kosann continues, “We are extremely excited to build a focused advertising sales organization that can work hand-and-glove with program suppliers to help them maximize their advertising sales by, in turn, super-serving the advertiser.”  Kosann says they will announce a full roster of programs and networks shortly and they have signed an agreement with Dial Global under which Dial Global will provide Compass Media Marketing with support systems and marketing services.  At the same time, Compass enters into a long-term relationship with Dial Global to continue representing the company’s programming – including entertainment-talk shows “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” the Lars Larson show, Norman Goldman and Schnitt Show plus services and short-form reports as well as Compass’ sports play-by-play that includes college basketball, college football, NFL Doubleheaders and Compass’ presentation of the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders Radio Networks.  Kosann says, “Dial Global has done a tremendous job for us and we are extremely appreciative of their hard work and support.”

Tom Leykis to Begin Internet Talk Show in April.  Radio personality Tom Leykis is being paid by CBS Radio not to do a talk show since the company blew up hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009.  Now, with that agreement to end in April, Leykis tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’s set to debut his new talk program on April 2.  But, as Leykis tells Lycan, it seems unlikely he will appear on any terrestrial stations – the show will be available only through digital means.  He says, “I’ve had my tires kicked over the last few months and I am having a hard time getting excited about joining in on the non-stop ‘Obamacare’ or all-politics talk formats that currently exist.”  TALKERS readers know Leykis has not been idle during his talk show exile.  He’s told TALKERS TV and New Media Seminar attendees about his New Normal venture that’s currently distributing music and other talk via the internet.  New Normal will be the company that owns and operates his new talk program as well.  Leykis says, “There will be a 24/7 stream devoted to the show.  We will do it live for anywhere from 2 to 5 hours every weekday, followed by continuous replays until the next show.  Apps such as TuneIn, Windows Media Player, Winamp, WunderRadio, even iTunes will receive the show.  PCs, Macs, iPads and all Android tablets, all smartphones and WiFi enabled vehicles.  All you need to listen will be found at www.blowmeuptom.com.”

Analysis: Holland Cooke on Social Media Research, Radio and the Auto, and Multi-Platform Use.  McVay/Cook & Associates news/talk specialist Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from the recent Arbitron Client Conference on several topics: He cites recent research into effective ways radio stations can use social media – and pitfalls to avoid; plus how one of the most important demographics – women running households with children – use Facebook and other social media.  He reports significant data on media use in the automobile and explains how multi-platform media usage is a boon for those who do it right.  Cooke distills the info-packed Abritron event in this easy-to-read piece here.

Rob “T-Man” Tepper Named Fox Sports Radio Evening Co-Host.  Longtime Seattle radio personality Rob “T-Man” Tepper begins co-hosting Fox Sports Radio Network’s 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Fox Sports Tonight” program alongside former baseball great Rob Dibble on January 9.  Tepper says, “Being on the air in more than 200 cities across the country on ‘Fox Sports Tonight’ is very exciting.  I’m hoping my crazy personality can add to what Rob Dibble is starting to build.  I can’t wait to get started.”  Tepper hosted the AM drive show on CHR KUBE-FM, Seattle for 14 years.  Recently he’s been doing fill-in work at Fox Sports Radio.

Clear Channel Houston Tweaks AM Talk Lineups; Matt Patrick Adds More Air Time.  Beginning Monday, January 9, talk host Michael Berry will be heard exclusively on KTRH, Houston while KTRH morning co-host Matt Patrick will also do a show on sister crosstown talker KPRC.  Berry keeps his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on KTRH but drops his 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm KPRC show and instead will host the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on KTRH.  He replaces Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck who moves over to KPRC in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  Meanwhile, “KTRH Morning News” co-host Matt Patrick adds the KPRC 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm show to his duties.  To make room for Beck on KPRC, Dave Garfield moves his show to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot which knocks Outlaw Dave to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot.  Whew!

Entercom’s WGR, Buffalo Grabs Bills Play-by-Play.  The NFL’s Buffalo Bills have been heard on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM and active rock WDGE-FM for the past several years.  After Cumulus exited the negotiating table Entercom swooped in and is nabbing Bills play-by-play for sports WGR as well as the Rochester market’s sports WROC and classic rock WCMF-FM.  Entercom Buffalo VP/GM Greg Ried says, “With our 24/7 WGR 550 AM Sports station, partnering with the Bills and adding them to our lineup complements our other programming, enhances the experience for loyal fans and attracts new listeners.  Big-time sports on a big-time sports station is what listeners expect and the Bills certainly help provide all of that.”

Former KTAR, Phoenix Host and Wife Found Dead in Apparent Double Suicide.  Bill Heywood and his wife Susan were found dead in a motel room in Scottsdale, Arizona yesterday (1/4) in what authorities say is a double suicide.  A note was found in the room and although police are not stating the specific content of the note, it points to suicide.  KTAR is reporting that longtime market personality Pat McMahon saw Heywood at a recent holiday party and learned of Susan’s illness which he said was more serious than he had previously realized.  Reports in local media indicate the couple had been dealing with financial problems as well.  Heywood hosted the morning show on KTAR and crosstown KFYI for many years.

Bubba the Love Sponge Re-Signs with Cox to Remain on Terrestrial Radio.  After pursuing other options – including talking to Clear Channel, the company that fired him in 2005 – Bubba the Love Sponge inks a three-year deal to stick with Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa Bay – “The Bone” – as his home base.  The show is regionally syndicated to stations in Fort Myers, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.  In a statement, Bubba says, “After weighing my options and much consideration, I am happy to return to The Bone.  Cox believed in me when no one else did and I am excited to return the love.  I have a great relationship with local management and The Bone will remain my home in Tampa Bay.”

Cumulus Media Names Two to Affiliate Sales Positions.  Cumulus Media announces Marcella Turk is the new VP of affiliate sales in the Dallas offices where she’ll manage affiliate sales for the entertainment products and the company’s 24/7 formats.  In New York, Nick DeGregorio is appointed affiliate sales director where he’ll be in charge of affiliations for production libraries as well as special projects.  Both Turk and DeGregorio most recently worked at Westwood One/Dial Global.

Santorum Surge and Bachman Suspends, Obama Administration Defense Strategy, L.A. Arson Case and Iran Military Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4).  The surge of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and the suspension of Michele Bachmann’s campaign, the Obama Administration’s soon-to-be announced new U.S. defense strategy, the bizarre Los Angeles arson case and Iran’s continued military saber-rattling were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

| January 4, 2012

Don Martin Interviewed on TALKERS TV.  He is one of the most influential management figures in sports talk radio.  Don Martin wears both national and local feathers in his sports cap serving as vice president/general manager of Fox Sports Radio and general manager/program director of sports talk KLAC, Los AngelesTALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian caught up with Martin at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20/11) and interviewed him about the state of sports talk radio including the local and national perspectives, where to find new talent and the importance of stations having play-by-play associations with a popular sports franchise.  Martin also discusses the impact that the PPM is having on the sports talk genre saying that it is showing the format in a positive light.  According to Martin, sports talk radio is one area of the talk media world that is less impacted by these difficult times than most.  He credits the fact that so many talented hosts are out of work as providing a vibrant talent pool from which to pick when openings come and points to the continual crop of retiring athletes as being another source of potential sports talk broadcasters.   Check out this must see video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

KSFO, San Francisco Makes Program Changes; Melanie Morgan Returns to AM Drive and J.D. Hayworth Takes Over Late Mornings.  Almost four years after exiting the AM drive show she co-hosted with Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan is back on the Cumulus Media station alongside morning host Brian Sussman.  KSFO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to have Melanie back on KSFO.  She’s very popular with listeners and we’re looking forward to her many contributions on the revamped morning show.”  Cumulus fills the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot vacated by Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks star moved across town to Clear Channel’s new KKSF with former Arizona congressman KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth.  Hayworth says of his new gig, “As a ‘recovering’ Congressman, I’ll ‘pull back the curtains’ and explain why politicians do the things they do.  With the help of KSFO listeners, we’ll endeavor to provide common sense and clarity in these challenging and confusing times.”

Bob Lonsberry to Host Local Show for Clear Channel’s WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Bob Lonsberry tells the Syracuse Post-Standard he’ll make his new show local for Syracuse listeners even though he’ll be a commuter from his home market of Rochester where he hosts the midday show on WHAM.  Lonsberry takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program beginning January 9.  The shift was formerly held by Jim Reith who exited the station at the end of October.  Lonsberry tells the paper, “I want something that literally speaks to a Syracuse listener, is representative of them and is a service to them.”  Lonsberry will lead into WSYR-AM/FM’s 5:00 pm news-oriented  “Daily Wrap with Joe Galuski and Kevin Schenk.”

Gene Burns to Begin KKSF, San Francisco Show Next Week After Apparent Health Issues.  The new lineup at Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco began this week but former KGO talk host Gene Burns was missing in action.  Numerous reports in the media trades cite a mini-stroke suffered by Burns as the reason he’s not on the air.  However, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman reports that Burns did not suffer a stroke of any kind, that he has another unspecified medical condition and is expected to be on the radio next week.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Tweaks Lineup; Former Cardinal Chris Duncan Moves to PM Drive.  Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan from his role on the evening show to “The Fast Lane” PM drive program where he’ll work alongside Randy Karraker and D’Marco FarrBob Ramsey, who had been part of the “Fast Lane” show, moves to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with co-host Brian Stull for the newly named “Stully & Rammer” show.  Ramsey also maintains his role as voice of the St. Louis Billikens calling St. Louis University men’s basketball games on the station.  Program director Kent Sterling states, “We are excited to put Chris Duncan on ‘The Fast Lane.’  He is a unique communicator with an incredible work ethic, and a great guy.  He has lived a life in the eye of the sports hurricane and he speaks with an authority that is captivating.  Media is all about finding great communicators and Chris is one of the most gifted in America.”

CBS Radio Announces Debut of DC All-News Outlet.  CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will hit the airwaves on January 19 and will feature the following talent lineup: Bill Rehkopf and Amy Morris in AM drive, Jenny Glick and Chas Henry in middays, Evan Haning and Nancy Lyons in PM drive, and Sarah Jacobs and Cheryl Simone in evenings.  Program director Robert Sanchez says of the new station, “We are very excited to have put together such a great group of professionals who have spent many years covering local and national news.  Each brings a specialty to WNEW creating a great team which will deliver important and compelling news that matters to local residents.  When Washington needs to know, this team will have them covered.”

Rob Williams New OM/PD at WQRT, Cincinnati; New PM Drive Show Debuts.  The Florence, Kentucky-licensed talk station owned by Christian Broadcasting System Ltd. names former Clear Channel programmer Rob Williams operations manager and program director for “Real Talk 1160” – WQRT.  Williams replaces Cary Pall.  At the same time, as talk host Andy Furman begins his new position hosting morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio Network, he leaves WQRT and makes way for “The Other Guys” afternoon sports talk show featuring Fox Sports Ohio’s Jeff Piecoro, former producer and co-host of the Furman show Rick “the Brick” Wall, and Metro NetworksJeremy “J-Lance” Lance.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Fracking-Related Earthquakes and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3).  The GOP Iowa Caucuses held yesterday, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and warnings to the U.S. about carriers in the region, reports of earthquakes in Northeastern Ohio thought to be related to oil and gas fracking and the first financial markets activity of the new year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Mona Lipschitz Debuts New Column.  Full of gossip, rumors, personal asides and unbridled opinion about the industry and the people in it, Mona Lipschitz debuts her new column “Straight from The Lip” today at Talkers.com.  In it she offers some keen insights about recent changes at Merlin Media and Cumulus Media as well as some pointed advice for Anderson Cooper.  Mona has been the news editor of TALKERS magazine for the past 21 years and she knows where all the bodies are buried in this business.  Let the dishing begin!  To read the first installment of “Straight from The Lip,” click here.

Straight from The Lip

| January 4, 2012

By Mona Lipschitz
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Columnist

Happy New Year everyone…..Finally after 21 years of gathering and writing “NewsNotes” for the print version of TALKERS magazine, the powers here finally recognized that I am intimately aware of what’s happening in this industry and know how it works.  So, they gave me my own column here at Talkers.com (in lieu of a raise) and said, “Knock yourself out, Mona.”  I plan to take them up on it and promise to make the most of this opportunity.  Look out Talkers Nation!  The Lip is loose!  Okay, enough with the posturing crap. Let’s go…..There are huge lessons to be learned from the “Walter Sabo Exits Merlin” saga.  An idea guy like Walter should not be “operating” anything.  His job title at Merlin was COO — chief OPERATING officer.  Wrong role!  Walter should be giving ideas, advice, encouragement and inspiration to people who do the operating and the executing.  As a consultant, he’s done that quite well for more than two decades.  I am glad he’s back where he belongs and where the industry needs him.  I’ve never met Randy Michaels but my impression from tons of first-hand sources is he isn’t that much better suited to be an operator than Walter.  Look at his track record.  Seems to me Randy is kind of an idea guy himself.  Maybe the best idea he had was to hire Walter and tap into some of his ideas.  But I question if Randy and Walter were the right guys to pull it off with the people in the programming trenches — the PDs, anchors, producers, writers — and actually produce an on-air product worthy of the concept.  Before Randy capitulated to the instantaneous naysayers and nervous investors (blowing Walter out of the loop in the process) and turned Merlin’s New York and Chicago properties into half-baked versions of their CBS all-news competition, he and Walter were on the right path regardless of the ridicule and poor numbers faced in the early going.  Some of the greatest human success stories begin by facing these obstacles.  The ridicule was deserved because they rushed the format onto the air before it was ready.  The poor numbers followed because the product wasn’t quite right and it takes time to get good numbers even when the product is good in spoken word.  Heck – this ain’t disco in the late eighties!  The idea of targeting an all-news station to women 25-54 on FM is brilliant and extremely do-able if done properly. The FM dial is a great place to pick up women!  They are already there listening to many of the music stations (as well as public radio) and of course today’s working woman is interested in the “news.”  You just can’t cater to the stereotypes of what women want – obvious superficial stuff like shopping, fashion, parenting and gossip.  True, these are things of interest to women.  But you must go much deeper to actually get them to change their habits and flock to a new address on the radio dial — especially within the space of one or two rating periods.  Women want to feel emotionally connected to like-minded souls.  They want to feel that they are not alone.  They want to feel that they are part of a community and enjoy the comfort and camaraderie of other women who are sharing the same experiences, joys and fears.  THAT’S how you get women to listen to talk on the radio.  With all due respect to Randy and Walter, they don’t strike me as the kind of guys whose minds work in that direction.  Forgive the cliché, but we seem to throw the baby out with the bathwater way too much in this business when great ideas fail to be executed properly…..Speaking of poor execution; someone should jump in – let’s call it intervention — and help CNN “personality” Anderson Cooper avoid destroying his career by trying to wear too many hats in an effort to boost ratings and be a media star.  He should stick to one thing and do it well instead of becoming CNN’s in-house clown.  I found his situation co-hosting New Year’s Eve from Times Square with goofball Kathy Griffin to be a painfully poor pairing and I had to turn it off and switch over to Ryan Seacrest who seemed like Walter Cronkite compared to Anderson if you can imagine that…..Congratulations to JD Hayworth and Melanie Morgan for being put on the air full time at KSFO, San Francisco.  It is a relief to finally see Cumulus putting good people on the air instead of just throwing them off…..Our condolences goe out to the family of one of the smartest and nicest people in talk radio programming, David Bernstein of Bernstein Talent, who lost his dad Charlie Bernstein to cancer over the holidays.  David described his dad as his “hero.”…..Hey, if you hear of anything interesting, let me know.  Send your tips to mona@talkers.com  To go to the main news page, click here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

| January 3, 2012

Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media.  Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market.  Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic.  The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format.  Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5).  When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach.  He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM).  With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure.  Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now.  Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit.  However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete.  The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best.  Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company.  GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium.  FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater.  Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon.  More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays.  That’s the news.”  Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.

Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins.  Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins.  Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati.  Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network.  Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue.  Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program.  The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.”  Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.

Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk.  The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere NetworksJim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.

New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock.  Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.”  The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.

Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus.  The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications.  The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.

Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program.  The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office.  He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon.  Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue.  “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.”  The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.

Sam Malone in Israel.  KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel.  Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.  Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2).  Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.