Archive for March, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

| March 30, 2012

Surprise Cuts Across the Board at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  In the past when Clear Channel or other big broadcasters have made sweeping reductions in their workforces there have been hints they were coming.  This one seems to have surprised industry watchers.  Clear Channel vice president Angel Aristone released the following statement about the cuts.  “We are constantly evaluating our organization and structure to make sure we are as well positioned as possible to continue to lead in the evolving marketplace.  We’ve been looking closely at our business to ensure that we are properly staffed and operating as efficiently as possible with the right balance of services and personnel to meet the needs of our listeners/consumers.  Like every successful business, our strategy continues to evolve as we move forward as a company and that creates some new jobs, and unfortunately eliminates others. In the process, some employees were affected.  These are never easy decisions to make; we thank them for their service and wish them all the best for the future.”  This round of cuts affected mostly mid-sized markets including Columbus, Jacksonville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Portland, Louisville, West Palm Beach and Minneapolis.  There was also a restructuring of the company’s Total Traffic operation.  Some of the folks from the news and talk formats ousted include:  WTAM, Cleveland weekend host Bob Becker; WTOK, Oklahoma City news director Jerry Bohnen; WISN, Milwaukee producer Jason Booth; WPOP, Hartford producer Richard Cooke; WTVN, Columbus news staffer Matt Demczyk; KEX, Portland news staffer Jeff Kirsch; KEX, Portland news anchor Mary Loos; WTOK, Oklahoma City talk host Greg Moore; WLAC, Nashville program director Tom Peace; and WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Dan Watson.

Cumulus Media Ousts Michael Damsky from WLS, Chicago President/GM Post.  Cumulus Media COO John Dickey flew into Chicago to deliver the news to Michael Damsky in person that the company is “going in a different direction.”  Damsky was brought on board by Citadel in the fall of 2008 as director of sales and promoted to GM in 2010 and charged with turning around news/talk WLS and sister classic hits WLS-FM.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports he was apparently largely successful but also notes that both sales and ratings have declined over the past six months since Cumulus took over the former Citadel stations.  Damsky is quoted saying, “I’m extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in three-and-a-half years.  When I took over as general manager, WLS-AM was without direction.  We brought in great talent and worked hard to showcase them.  And WLS-FM withstood the attack of a serious competitor a year ago and is stronger now than ever before.”  Cumulus has not named a successor for Damsky.

Former Clear Channel Exec Dave Crowl Hired by Cumulus.  Dave Crowl will be based out of Cumulus’ Chicago offices as he comes aboard to take the regional vice president post in which he’ll oversee operations and sales in the Midwest region.  Crowl served as senior VP of operations with Clear Channel until being let go in a surprise restructuring of executives in May of last year.

Tom Leykis Preps Fans for Monday Return.  Monday, April 2 will mark the return of Tom Leykis to a regularly scheduled talk program for the first time since CBS Radio blew up his home base of hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009.  Since that time, Leykis has been busy creating music programming and other content for the web via his company The New Normal.  He’ll be broadcasting the new Tom Leykis program at 3:00 pm PT on the web on Monday.  Leykis is streaming his show via a number of urls including his blowmeuptom.com.  He’s signed with TuneIn for delivery to smartphones and tablets and will also offer archived and special content to premium subscribers, although he says the live show and repeats of the previous day’s show will remain available for free.

Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Extends Deal with MLB’s Brewers.  The story from the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn’t give a lot of contract details but reports both the baseball club and WTMJ were very interested in continuing their relationship and the team wasn’t even interested in going out to bid when the contract expired.  Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger tells the paper they had meetings with WTMJ management about the direction of the relationship, “The conversations were, I would say, spirited.  We had a lot of thoughts, as they did, about what they wanted to see out of the relationship.  It’s not just economics these days.  There is a whole range of marketing, branding, programming, production and financial arrangements.  From those discussions we found enough common ground that we were able to forge a new extension.  It was somewhat of a different environment than the last time.”

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Giants Posey and Cain for Weekly Appearances.  Entercom’s FM sports talker KGMZ-FM, San Francisco announces the regular weekly appearances of San Francisco Giants players Buster Posey and Matt Cain on the afternoon show “The Drive” with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis.  The Giant Connection will take place every Tuesday at 4:30 pm.  Program director Jason Barrett states, “Buster Posey and Matt Cain will give San Francisco Giants fans the superstar perspective they crave, from the pitcher’s mound to behind home plate and definitely inside the clubhouse.  They’ve made the switch to FM and we’re so proud to be the only radio station in the Bay Area where Giants fans can hear Buster and Matt talking Giants baseball.”

KILT, Houston Adds Texan Arian Foster for Weekly Show This Fall.  Houston Texan Arian Foster will be heard on CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT this fall for his weekly radio show.  He’s jumping from crosstown Yahoo! Sports-affiliated KGOW where he co-hosted the show last year with Bob Berger.  Beginning in September, he’ll appear with Texans director of radio broadcasting Marc Vandermeer.  KILT is the team’s flagship station.  Foster’s Tuesday evening show is one of the media offerings the NFL team is programming and selling since its new deal with KILT in which the team takes its media programming and sales in house.

ObamaCare Supreme Court Arguments Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 26-30.  This week’s Supreme Court hearings of arguments about the constitutionality of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  The issue landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-discussed stories and people on news/talk radio.  At #2 this week was the Trayvon Martin case.  At #3 was the GOP primary and the 2012 presidential campaign and at #4 was rising gas prices tied with President Obama’s attack on big oil.  The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

Support for Captured Soldier.  KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller recently broadcast live from a local Krispy Kreme store where more than 300 listeners stopped by to sign the giant birthday card (pictured here) for Hailey, Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl.  Military authorities believe Bergdahl is still being held by the Taliban in Pakistan and he is believed to be the only POW from the Afghanistan conflict.  Bergdahl made news late last year after reports of his attempted escape from captivity in late August or September of 2011.  He was free for three days but was recaptured.  Bergdahl was taken by the Taliban in June of 2009.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

| March 29, 2012

Beasley Names Alan Stock KDWN, Las Vegas Morning Host.  Longtime Las Vegas media personality Alan Stock is officially named morning drive host at Beasley Broadcasting’s news/talk KDWN.  He takes over the show after the departure of Heidi Harris several weeks ago.  KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “We are extremely excited to have Alan in morning drive on KDWN.  He knows this town and the Las Vegas listeners can relate to him.  Alan has done a great job for us in mid-mornings and we look forward to him leading the KDWN on-air team.”  Stock spent more than a decade at KDWN’s crosstown competitor KXNT-AM/FM – and for several of those years partnered with Heidi Harris.  Of his new gig, Stock says, “I’m happy and grateful to be at the most supportive station I’ve ever worked at since beginning my career in radio over 25 years ago.  The warm environment at KDWN and Beasley makes everyone feel as if they are one big family.  Having worked with Tom Humm for many years, I’m pleased to be back working with him, as well as with program director John Shaffer and director of sales Cory Cuddeback.  Also, I can truthfully say that I’ve never worked for a radio station that allows as much freedom as I’m allowed at KDWN.”

Small Business Authority Starts Website to Assist Businesses Hurt by Conservative Talk Radio Assault.  The Small Business Authority is a subsidiary of Newtek Business Services – a publicly traded company that provides services to businesses including insurance and payroll.  It has started a website at defendsmallbusiness.com designed to help companies who’ve been negatively affected by Media Matters’ attack on conservative talk radio – especially those affiliated with the Rush Limbaugh program.  On the site it states, “Well-funded professional activists, led by the left-wing pressure group Media Matters, are waging a campaign across America to hurt small businesses like yours through strong-arm tactics and intimidation…They are actually trying to shut down businesses – tying up phone lines, crashing websites, bombarding Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, and preventing real customers from getting through.”  The site provides quick links to help small businesses and their supporters communicate with Media Matters about its tactics, reach out to legislators about how their businesses are being affected and contact the media with the same concerns.

Heavy Hundred Set for Monday, April 9.  The 2012 edition of the “TALKERS 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred” will be revealed here on Talkers.com on Monday, April 9.  This new installment of the long-running annual feature – also titled “The Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – will be slightly different than those in the past in as much as this will be the first year in which it does not include sports talk show hosts.  Rather, a unique and separate version of the presentation will debut later in June of 2012 totally devoted to sports talk show hosts.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Sports talk radio has become such an important subgenre within the talk radio universe, featuring so many outstanding local and national talents, that the editorial board of TALKERS feels compelled to create an entire Heavy Hundred totally devoted to it.  This serves the dual purpose of opening the door for even more deserving hosts to be included in the traditional Heavy Hundred while allowing so many great sports talkers to finally get the recognition due them as well.”

NPR Accepts Grant from CPB for Foreign News Bureaus.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting recently awarded NPR $500,000 to help fund news bureaus in Beijing, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem and Shanghai.  In a statement announcing the grant, Corporation for Public Broadcasting president and CEO Patricia Harrison states, “Never has public media’s mission of providing the American people with information they need to understand the world around them been more important.  Journalism is a core mission for public media.  We are proud to support NPR’s foreign reporters, many of whom are women, who put themselves in harm’s way to bring us the information we need to understand our world events.”

North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Assists in Presenting Vietnam Veterans Event at Charlotte Speedway.  The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters is calling it “what will be the largest recognition of Vietnam Veterans in history” this Saturday, March 31 when the Victory Management and the Charlotte Speedway hosts the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration.”  The event is the culmination of work by Senator Richard Burr and the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters working with USO North Carolina.  NCAB president John Idler states, “This celebration is the result of a great partnership.  We can’t say enough good things about USO of North Carolina, Victory Management at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and, of course, Senator Burr, the driving force.  Not only is the event itself historic, the state’s radio and TV stations will be broadcasting the event across the state ‘live’ and providing various special broadcasts saluting Vietnam Veterans before and after the broadcast.”  North Carolina television and radio stations contributed over $1,000,000 in public service announcements to promote free tickets for all veterans and their families.

Supreme Court Hears ObamaCare Arguments, Trayvon Martin Case/Bobby Rush Hoodie Speech and GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28).  The Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments on President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, the issues surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin including congressman Bobby Rush’s speech in a hoodie on the House floor, and the GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign were some of the most-talked-about stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Mr. Bernier Goes To Washington.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing Senator John McCain (r) at the Senate Republicans’ radio row in Washington, DC on March 28.  The interview occurred at the same time as the United States Supreme Court was hearing arguments about the legality of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

| March 28, 2012

Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman Addresses Limbaugh Case in AP Interview.  In a far-reaching interview with the Associated Press given at the American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in Los Angeles, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman answered questions about the controversy over the Rush LimbaughSandra Fluke incident and the war being waged against Limbaugh and Premiere Networks by Media Matters for America.  Pittman – who hadn’t commented on the case since it exploded a month ago – told the AP Limbaugh is the “king” of radio and he’s sticking by him and he called the controversy “part of the normal day-to-day of talk radio.”  Pittman also said the resulting campaign by Media Matters and boycotts on sponsors has not had a major impact on the company nor has there been a move by stations to drop the show.  When asked about Cumulus Media Networks’ strategy of using the Limbaugh case to promote soon-to-be-syndicated talk host Mike Huckabee, Pittman stated, “It basically says Rush is the king.  Rush is certainly the leader, and we’re delighted to have him.”

Courtside Entertainment Lands Dr. Drew in Major Markets.   Courtside Entertainment Group announces the “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is picked up in Los Angeles by KFWB; KPTK, Seattle; KEXX, Phoenix; and KDWN, Las Vegas.  The feature is already heard in Chicago and New York on Merlin Media’s two all-news FMs.  Courtside president Bob Moore states, “‘Minute Clinic’ provides listeners with important information on medicine, relationships, and coping with the problems of everyday life.  It’s interesting, informative and entertaining from one of media’s most trusted and reliable experts – Dr. Drew Pinsky.  It’s exactly the kind of specialized programming that we are focusing on at Courtside.”  The feature is repped by Compass Media for ad sales and support.

Election Year Making FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row a Hot Event.  The annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row sponsored by Federation for American Immigration Reform and taking place in Washington, DC on May 8 and 9 is packed with talk radio hosts and stations taking part but election year interest is prompting FAIR to expand the event and allow even more broadcasters to take part.  Event manager Bob Dane says, “The fact that this annual radio row has a history of providing access to A-list guests and includes all equipment, ISDN lines, engineering support and long distance at no charge is really increasing demand to participate.”  For those who think the event is for conservatives only, Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann explains why he’s attended in the past. “I’ve attended because a core part of my show is bringing on people with whom I disagree so we can let listeners and viewers see/hear the issues in sharp relief and make up their own minds.  That said, I also – having lived and worked on several continents, and having had to go through arduous processes to get work permits in Germany and Australia – know how important it is to have a work force that matches the demand for labor, and the best ways to insure that are through rational/sane immigration and trade policies.  We have neither right now.”  WCBM, Baltimore talk host Tom Marr says, “After taking my show to the border twice, ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a chance for invaluable access to the folks on the front line of the problem that I did not see, while at the same time being with those in Washington, DC who make the policy to secure the border and if one desires to get another side.  Capitol Hill is a short walk across the street.  It also gives one the ability in free time to visit the Hill and talk with Members about other problems faced by our nation every day.  Would not miss it for the world.  Hands down the best organized event for people in the talk business if its kind.”  For stations whose P1s care very much about immigration issues, it’s a can’t miss, according to KARN-AM/FM, Little Rock talk host Dave Elswick, “I go every year to ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ because illegal immigration is a hot topic to my listeners but most importantly the issue impacts other important issues.  Welfare reform, importance of protecting each man’s vote, and health care reform to name a few.  Two strong days of experts dealing with all those issues can’t be missed.”  WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale talk host Joyce Kaufman says she’s used the event to connect with her audience and the Congress members serving her listener area.  “I get invited to a lot of ‘radio row’ events each year.  The only event that I participate in year after year is FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ rally.  From the first year when I dumped 5,000 ‘soles’ (shoes with listeners’ messages written on the sole) to subsequent years, my audience supports my effort and some even come along and lobby Congress.”  For information about the event, contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.

KKOB, Albuquerque Charges Local Pol with Slandering Station.  There are no legal charges being filed but Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque feels it’s the victim of a slur by City Councilman Ray Garduno.  Program director Pat Frisch reports that during a council meeting debate over a controversial road project of which KKOB morning host Bob Clark has encouraged listeners to call Garduno’s office about, Garduno referred to the station as K-K-KOB – a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.  In the audio, Garduno quickly corrects himself but Frisch says this isn’t the first time the station has been referred to as K-K-KOB by a local Democratic politician.  Frisch says State Senator Eric Griego did the same last year.  As for Garduno, Frisch states, “His racist remark is an attack on our listeners and to find a true racist, Garduno only needs to look in the mirror.”

JetBlue Pilot Incident Sparks Buzz on Talk Radio.  As talk radio hosts will tell you, one never knows when the next big story will come out of the “blue” and that is exactly the case this morning as talk show hosts of just about every format – political, lifestyle, pop culture, and medical – are feasting on the multi-dimensional aspects of yesterday’s frightening JetBlue pilot incident.  According to PodJockey.com resident psychiatrist Renee Kohanski, MD, “It is not like the experience of going to the airport and flying in today’s environment alone doesn’t foster an atmosphere of stress, yesterday afternoon’s unfortunate outburst by a pilot on the heels of a similar situation two weeks ago involving a flight attendant only serves to increase the level of passenger anxiety building across the nation.  From a medical and psychiatric perspective, this case is rife with questions and all sorts of speculation.  People want to know why things like this happen but the answers are not always immediately apparent!”  Dr. Kohanski is available today for phone interviews to discuss the story from a medical perspective citing the many questions and possible causes of yesterday’s shocking and disturbing story.  She can be reached at 860-334-4576.

Cumulus Media Providence Launches “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work” Campaign.  The cluster of Cumulus Media stations in Providence – including news/talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 – is beginning an on-air campaign titled “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work.”  With the support of sponsor Twin River Casino, the cluster is reaching out to and airing stories about Rhode Island businesses that have recently hired.  General manager Barbara Haynes says, “News Talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 FM, 92 PRO-FM, HOT106, Lite Rock 105 and 790 Business reach hundreds of thousands of listeners every day – we are excited to be able to highlight some of the companies helping refuel our local economy in front of our massive audience.”  The vignettes will also appear on the cluster’s digital properties.

Dial Global Partners with Yamanair Creative Worldwide.  Dial Global subsidiary TM Creative enters into a partnership with Yamanair Creative’s Cash by Creative production and creative service.  In a statement, DG notes TM Creative will serve as a creative arm to Cash by Creative, providing copywriting, commercial production and retail jingles.  This will further enhance Cash by Creative’s ability to offer world-class creative and production to its growing list of clients.  TM Creatvie VP/GM Chris Long says, “We are excited about this kind of creative partnership, as TM continues to expand its reach with both radio stations and advertisers.”

Entercom Portland Names Tim McNamara VP/Market Manager.  Tim McNamara is no stranger to the Portland, Oregon radio market.  He previously managed at Paul Allen’s Rose City Radio there and now he returns with Entercom to serve as VP/Market Manager for the company’s seven-station group that includes sports talk KFXX.

Supreme Court ObamaCare Hearing, Trayvon Martin Case, GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Jet Blue Pilot Incident and Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27).  The Supreme Court arguments over the validity of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act; ongoing scrutiny of the Trayvon Martin shooting; the Republican primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign; the case of the Jet Blue pilot; and soaring gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

| March 27, 2012

Jim Graci Named Program Director at KDKA, Pittsburgh.  CBS Radio announces the new program director for its news/talk KDKA, Pittsburgh several months after it chose not to renew its contract with former PD Marshall AdamsJim Graci – who previously programmed crosstown WEAE – comes north from Cumulus’ KLIF where he’s been serving as PD.  Also at KDKA, longtime KDKA news staffer P.J. Kumanchik is promoted to news director at the station.

WAXY, Miami Announces Tod Castleberry Takes PD Role at Station.  Program director and Dan LeBatard show executive producer and cast member Marc Hochman is probably almost as happy about this hire as Tod Castleberry is.  Hochman’s been handling both roles and agreed with Lincoln Financial Media to continue in both until a successor for his PD position could be found.  Hochman wants to put his total concentration on the Dan LeBatard show and now he can do that.  Tod Castleberry has worked at Red Zebra’s sports WTEM, Washington and most recently has been working as partner and executive producer of the John Riggins internet show.

ABC News Radio to Produce Special Program Sparked by Trayvon Martin Death.  The special one-hour broadcast will take place tomorrow night (3/28) at 7:00 pm ET and will be hosted by “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts.  Titled, “Race and Justice: A National Conversation,” the show will focus on the national dialogue that’s been spurred by the shooting death of Trayvon MartinABC News Radio says the show will feature “Robin Roberts leading a town hall discussion with prominent newsmakers and an audience of high school students and parents. The program will further the national discussion involving all racial and ethnic groups stirred by the circumstances of Trayvon Martin’s death.”  The show is available to ABC News Radio affiliates.

TRN’s Michael Savage to Publish New Non-Fiction Book.  Nationally syndicated talk sensation Michael Savage’s new book hits the bookstore shelves on April 3 – with major booksellers currently taking pre-orders.  In Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama’s Dream of the Socialist States of America (Harper Collins 2012), Savage examines the state of the nation and especially how he believes the Obama Administration is on the wrong path.  He writes, “Obama is actively creating a populace ever more slavishly dependent on the federal government.”  Other topics include punishing success, “The president has openly declared war on those who have worked hard all their lives to achieve the American dream.”  Savage discusses how we treat our enemies and allies, “He treats radical Islamists in the Middle East as friends, then stiffs Israel and our Western European allies.”  He says that the military is used like pawns, “While Obama uses proud Navy SEALs for a publicity stunt, and the overall strength of the military has been decimated.”  Other topics including the Southern border chaos and corporate cronyism are covered in a way that only Michael Savage could reveal.   Savage is the author of 26 books including four New York Times bestsellers.

Arbitron and California Agree to Settlement in PPM Suit.  The State of California and the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco are settling their suit against Arbitron for its practices regarding the Portable People Meter that the entities alleged underrepresented minorities and minority-targeted radio stations.  Arbitron states, “As part of the settlement, Arbitron has agreed to continue a number of measures already an integral part of the company’s current PPM methodology and of its continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter ratings services in all markets.  These measures include the already completed transition to address-based sample frames, cell-phone-only sampling rates, reporting country of origin for Hispanic households and certain other sample performance and demographic information to subscribers by individual zip code, continuing efforts to maintain or achieve specific in-tab rates and Sample Performance Indicators, and continuing the company’s commitment to using all reasonable measures to achieve Media Rating Council accreditation for the data produced by the PPM ratings service in all California markets.  These commitments are generally consistent with the company’s agreements with other states and are in force through December 31, 2014, or until MRC accreditation is granted, whichever comes first.  The Company also agreed to pay a total of $400,000 in settlement of all claims and costs.”  Arbitron states the settlement is not an admission of fault.

Dennis Miller Celebrates His 5th Anniversary Week with Special Guests.  Dial Global talk show host Dennis Miller is celebrating his 5th anniversary hosting his nationally syndicated talk show this week and he’s scheduled some high-profile guests for the event.  GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney joins the show today (3/27).  Other guests this week include: AMC’s “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, National Review editor Rich Lowry and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. On Thursday’s special anniversary show, good friend and “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Jimmy Fallon of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” will join Miller. Also coming on the show that day will be actor/comedian David Spade, who’s currently on CBS’s “Rules of Engagement” and Adam Carolla, who’s on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”  Dial Global EVP of news and talk programming Bart Tessler states, “Dennis consistently brings together such an eclectic and interesting group of guests.  Only he could seamlessly switch from a compelling political conversation with a presidential candidate to tapping into the zeitgeist with a late night comic.”

Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Medical Feature with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  The vignettes to begin distribution in May through Cumulus Media Networks are broken into two target demos: one style for news/talk stations and another for a younger audience on music and entertainment stations.  Two features per day for each variety will be available.  Cumulus chairman, president and CEO Lew Dickey says, “Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a unique and profoundly talented individual.  His insights and experience will bring compelling content to our affiliates and create powerful new vehicles for our advertisers.  We look for Dr. Gupta to be an important component in our overall content strategy.”  Dr. Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon and serves as chief medical correspondent for CNN.

WOR, New York’s Former Governor David Paterson to Host Political Roundtable Event.  Afternoon drive host former Governor David Paterson will moderate a special roundtable discussion from the famous Russian Tea Room broadcast live on WOR, New York on April 5.  Taking part in this “State of the Tri-State” three-hour expanded edition (to be broadcast from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on WOR) of the Governor’s show are: former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, New Jersey Association of School Administrators executive director Dr. Richard Bozza, Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), national security expert K.T. McFarland, and Abdur-Rashid, religious and spiritual leader of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “There is no one more uniquely qualified than Governor Paterson to bring together these top names on one radio broadcast to discuss the issues that are most important to our listeners and our community.  Headlines are sure to be made during this very special program.”  The broadcast is open to members of the press but not to the public.

Salem Communications Buys Detroit-Area Translator for News/Talk WDTK.  Salem Communications is paying $250,000 for the FM translator currently at 97.5 and licensed to Harrison, Michigan.  The seller is Tim Martz’s Radio Power and there’s currently a construction permit to move the translator to Detroit proper and to the 92.7 frequency.  Salem intends to use the FM signal to assist its news/talk WDTK, Detroit.

ObamaCare Goes Before Supreme Court, Pressure Heightens for Charges in Trayvon Martin Case, GOP Primary Race and Obama-Medvedev Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  The first day of arguments at the Supreme Court over aspects of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act; the growing pressure on authorities to arrest George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; the GOP primary race; and the flap over President Obama’s remarks to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 26, 2012

| March 26, 2012

Cumulus Makes Changes at KLIF, Dallas.  The move toward more news in commercial spoken-word radio continues.  Cumulus Media Group announces talk station KLIF, Dallas will add morning and afternoon drive news blocks and changes its slogan to “News & Information 570 KLIF.”  The AM drive news block begins today (3/26) and features Amy Chodroff (from sister WBAP) and Dave Williams co-anchoring the program.  Williams most recently worked at Merlin Media’s all-newser in Chicago.  The PM drive news block is expected to begin on April 2.  The changes mean morning drive talk host Jeff Bolton is out and PM drive talk host Chris Krok will move to sister WBAP-AM/FM for an evening talk show.

Current TV’s Bill Press and Stephanie Miller Simulcasts Debut Today.  The new one-two punch of progressive radio talk stars hitting the air at Al Gore-founded Current TV begins this morning (3/26) as Dial Global syndicated talk hosts Bill Press and Stephanie Miller air TV simulcasts of their morning drive radio programs on Current TV.  “Full Court Press: The Bill Press Show” airs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and “Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show” follows from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET.  The network announces that Senator Chris Coons, (D-DE); Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post; Faiz Shakir of Think Progress; and Lara Setrakian of ABC News and Bloomberg are all scheduled to appear during the premiere week of “Full Court Press.”  The first week of “Talking Liberally” will feature Senator Byron Dorgan (ND – Former U.S. Senator and Chairman of The Senate Committee on Energy), as well as comedienne Kathleen Madigan.

Hubbard Broadcasting Names Emily Kopp WFED Morning Anchor.  Hubbard Broadcasting announces a permanent addition to the morning drive show on WFED, Washington – the station dedicated to serving the many federal government workers living in the region.  Emily Kopp joins host Tom Temin on the morning drive program.  Kopp joined Federal News Radio in 2011 after living in the Netherlands where she reported on a freelance basis for various radio network and print outlets.  Prior to her promotion, Kopp served Federal News Radio as a federal workforce reporter.  Since July 2011, Kopp has produced several compelling series that focused on key human aspects of working for the federal government.  WFED program director Lisa Wolfe states, “Emily had been filling in as co-anchor while we’ve been conducting our talent search for the next morning anchor.  Her talents were obvious and when we got together to discuss the possibility of making it permanent, it just made sense.  I look forward to Emily bringing her well-crafted interview style to mornings.  I think she will uncover a lot of news.”

WTEM, Washington Launches New Afternoon Sports Talk Show Today.  Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington announces the debut of “Inside the Locker Room with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell” today (3/26).  The show teams up former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with broadcast pro Scott Jackson.  Walker continues with the station after 15 years, most recently serving as co-host of the John Thompson show.  Both Mitchell and Jackson return to WTEM after several years’ absence.  VP of programming Chuck Sapienza states, “With Doc and B-Mitch, ESPN 980’s lineup includes the two most prominent former players in Washington, DC media today.  Listeners of the show will receive opinions and insight from professional athletes that is rarely offered on local radio.  In addition, Jackson gives the show a ‘point guard’ that every successful program needs.”  The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

KXTG, Portland Re-Signs John Canzano.  “The Bald Faced Truth” host re-ups with Alpha Broadcasting’s sports KXTG on a multi-year deal to remain with the station.  John Canzano also writes a column for the Daily Oregonian and is a commentator for KGW-TV, Portland.  Upon announcing the deal, Canzano commented, “Sports talk listeners of ‘The Bald Faced Truth’ radio show are smart, educated, good looking, influential and relevant.  I love my audience, my sponsors and this station.  I’m staying right here because ‘The Game’ is the place to be. Period.”

Southern California Public Radio Names Melanie Sill Executive Editor.  The former editor at the Sacramento Bee and the Raleigh News and Observer takes over the executive editor role at Southern California Public Radio.  Her duties include overseeing the daily news gathering operations across KPCC, Pasadena’s broadcast, digital and social media platforms.  KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton states, “Sill brings a wealth of news and managerial experience to this new position.  Most importantly, she has been a force of change in two newsrooms, leading efforts to restructure staffs to better compete in the digital age.”  The Southern California Public Radio website announces the non-profit is aggressively working to build out its online news service with ambitions to become the region’s pre-eminent source for information across multiple media.

Jacksonville Gets FM Simulcast for Sports WJXL.  Seven Bridges Radio LLC buys the former Gospel WFJO-FM, Jacksonville (a class A FM signal at 92.5) from receiver Scott Savage for $1.95 million and begins an LMA immediately simulcasting its sports station 1010 XL (WJXL).  The station was formerly owned by Tama Broadcasting.

Smerconish Visits Boston.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (center, standing) chats with WTKK-FM, Boston listeners at a private meet & greet on March 20 prior to the national screening of his movie, “Book Club with Michael Smerconish Featuring Chris MatthewsJack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.”  In addition to the meet & greet, Smerconish conducted a curtain call speech before the showing of the film at the Cinema De Lux in Dedham, Massachusetts before a sold out theater.  The film appeared at more than 100 theaters across the country on that evening.

Friday, March 23, 2012

| March 23, 2012

Media Matters Begins Paid Ad Campaign in Eight Markets Against Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Talk Radio.  The Associated Press is reporting that Media Matters for America will spend some $100,000 on an ad campaign in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Macon, Georgia and Cedar Rapids, Iowa asking people who hear the ad to call the Rush Limbaugh affiliate in their market and say, “We don’t talk to women like that in our city.”  Clearly, Media Matters is not backing off its attack on conservative talk media and any success it can claim for harming Limbaugh’s program – or conservative talk radio in general – will help bring in more donations to its cause.  And, according to Premiere Networks spokesperson Rachel Nelson, therein lays the rub.  “This is not about women.  It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse.  It’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech.  It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation.”  As this ideological and tactical war escalates, more important voices are entering the fray with a variety of takes on the issue.  For example, leading progressive talker of radio, television and live performances, Stephanie Miller tells TALKERS, “I, for one, as someone in radio for over 25 years, know that advertiser boycotts can cut both ways and hurt everyone in the radio business.  The other side can just as easily take something I said, or Ed Schultz said, and goes after our advertisers and stations, and then where does it end?  ‘You send one of ours to the hospital; we send one of yours to the morgue’?  If advertisers decide that talk radio in general is too controversial, we all lose!”  Miller tells TALKERS that she intends to extend invitations to both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to appear as guests on her nationally syndicated morning radio program (simulcast beginning Monday on Al Gore’s progressive Current TV) to present their side of the story in a non-confrontational  setting.  Dial Global-syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann is also bothered by the anti-Limbaugh campaign.  “The Limbaugh boycott is bad for all talk radio; it’s harming progressive talk radio by shrinking the pool of companies willing to advertise on any type of talk radio.  If people want to be activists “against” or “for” a show, they should call station management, not advertisers.”

America’s Radio News Network Gives CNN Radio Affiliates Free Trial of its 24-Hour News Service.  With the CNN Radio news service going away after April 1, Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters says his company is offering the more than 1,100 CNN Radio affiliates the chance to take the America’s Radio News Network 24-hour top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service for 45 days contract and inventory free so they can make up their minds about their new news service without having to make a “snap decision.”  Masters says, “This is a simple courtesy extended to those former CNN stations giving them a six week ‘pressure relief valve’ where they could sample our fine product inventory free without pressure, giving them extra time to make the best decision.  Obviously we think that we are the best choice, but this offer was meant as a thoughtful courtesy to those stations that have not yet made up their minds – we don’t want them to be ‘high and dry’ on April 2.”  Masters says because of the growth of America’s Radio News Network’s long-form programming and the demand for short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news brought on by CNN’s sudden departure from radio news ARNN recently announced that it had moved up its schedule for the launch of its second news network to accommodate the needs of radio stations looking for “agenda free” short-form news.  ARNN EVP John McCaslin says, “We’re so confident that this is the best top- and bottom-of-the-hour news product on the air, we are willing to allow stations to air it, without inventory requirement contract free through May 15.  So, all you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I going to do with over 700 extra minutes of local inventory, if I take ARNN up on its free sample offer?’”

All-News KROI-FM, Houston Fires Morning Anchor Scott Braddock.  It’s an unusual case but not unheard of and certainly becoming more relevant as intellectual property issues become more common in the industry.  Radio One’s KROI-FM, Houston recently dismissed morning drive news anchor Scott Braddock after he appeared on crosstown, non-commercial outlet KPFT-FM to discuss the Texas sonogram law and play audio of an interview that also had previously aired on his employer’s station.  He tells the Houston Chronicle he did so without asking permission and believes he had the right to air the audio, equating it with a reporter’s notes.  Radio One disagreed, stating it violated the terms of his contract – a contract Braddock says he had not signed – and it had no choice but to let him go.  Braddock says Radio One is overreacting and wonders why a station that worked hard to get him to come to Houston from Austin for the job would let one of its prime talent go as it works to get the nascent all-news outlet off the ground.

Denver Woman Charged with Felonies After Telling Tale of Escaping Jury Duty on KOA.  Last October Susan Cole appeared on KOA, Denver’s Dave Logan program and told the story of how she got out of jury duty by dressing bizarrely and pretending to suffer from mental illness.  Unfortunately, Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield was listening and, due in part to Cole’s memorable performance in court, investigators were able to figure out who she was.  According to the Denver Post, Cole used the name “Char from Denver” on the radio program and investigators linked her to her pen name Char Cole. She published a book that details her struggles with domestic abuse under the name and offered it to investigators to prove her life story and the mental illness claim, but she was unable to show she suffers from PTSD which she claimed at her jury appearance.  It’s unclear what penalty, if convicted, the 57-year-old Cole faces.

Sales: H&H Communications’ Al Herskovitz Announces the Winners of His 2012 Hersky Awards for Talk Radio Sales Excellence.  For the fifth year running, sales and marketing pro and TALKERS columnist Al Herskovitz recognizes some of the industry’s shining stars in the sales, commercial and ad copy arenas.  Read Al’s humorous yet insightful piece here.

KILT, Houston AM Drive Co-Host Marc Vandermeer to Leave Radio Show.  The NFL’s Houston Texans are taking their broadcasts in-house and current KILT morning drive co-host Marc Vandermeer will leave the CBS Radio sports outlet to become director of radio broadcasting for the team.  KILT serves as the flagship for the Texans and Vandermeer tells the Houston Chronicle he’ll still be affiliated with the station.  “It’s awesome to be able to work for an NFL team and to be involved in all aspects of their radio programming.  I’m not saying goodbye to Sports Radio 610, so I will still maintain my relationships there.  It’s the best of everything for me.”  Program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper Vandermeer will exit in late May or early June and he will begin looking for a replacement to work alongside co-host John Lopez.

KKFN, Denver Re-Ups with Talk Host Alfred Williams.  Lincoln Financial Media sports talk host (and former Denver Bronco star) Alfred Williams signs a contract renewal to remain in the co-host seat alongside Darren “D-Mac” McKee on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  In a statement, Williams says, “I am excited to continue to be a part of ‘The Fan.’  I love getting to interact locally with the Denver sports fans everyday and am happy to know I’ll be able to do it for many years to come.”

WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach Host Tara Servatius Exits Blog Position After Controversial Image Draws Criticism.  Morning drive co-host Tara Servatius has left her position as a blogger for the non-profit John Locke Foundation after she used a doctored photo of President Obama in drag with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in front of him to accompany the piece about the president’s opposition to the North Carolina marriage amendment.  Servatius apologized for the photo stating, “I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation.  If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that.  That was certainly not my intention.  It was meant to illustrate Obama’s southern political strategy, nothing more.  An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.”  WRNN-AM/FM owner Next Media Group says the issue will not affect Servatius’ status with the station.

Los Angeles Sports Talk Personalities Joe McDonnell and Doug Krikorian to Host Daily Internet Show.  Southern California sports talk personality Joe McDonnell, who’s been doing sports update work at KNX, Los Angeles, will begin a daily internet sports talk show with former radio partner Doug Krikorian, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.  The McDonnell-Douglas show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on a yet-to-be announced URL.  McDonnell was a major presence in the Los Angeles sports media scene going back to the 1980s but he disappeared from sports talk radio after leaving KLAC in 2008.  He made the local news after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and losing some 400 pounds several years ago.  The new show debuts on April 9 with a live broadcast from Legends Sports Bar in Long Beach.

Republican Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign Again Tops Talkers TenTM News/Talk Chart.  The GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign again tied for the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio during the week of March 19-23 landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for another straight week .  Coming in at #2 was Iran’s nuclear weapons program tied with U.S.-Israel relations.  At #3 was soaring gas prices tied with President Obama’s approval ratings and at #4 was the controversy over the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the most-talked-about stories and people of the week as heard on news/talk radio across American based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge picks up major market affiliate WWRL, New York…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish adds Boise affiliate KYWN.

The 2012 Hersky Awards

| March 23, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. — Those minor, frivolous awards shows – the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, etc. – have come and gone and are mostly forgotten.  Can anyone tell me who won the sound editing award for the best foreign language documentary?  Who won what for what is but a dim memory, if that.  All of this has been swept out of the way to make room for the most important of all: The 2012 Hersky Awards!

These are honors given to the very best in sales orientation in the talk format.  Keep in mind there is no fancy ceremony with the ripping open of envelopes followed by the inevitable pregnant pause.  No need to bring back Billy Crystal to salvage the event.  There is no red carpet to walk in fancy, designer clothes where focus is put on how much “pupick” you can expose. There is no need to hire some expensive accounting firm to verify the honesty, authenticity, secrecy of the judging.

The process is very simple.  There is only one judge.  (See name above.)  The judge reviews as much talk radio as he can hear and peruses as many talk station websites as he can view over the preceding 12 months.  Keep in mind that the awards go only to national entities since it would be impossible to assess all the local ones, many of whom would be quite worthy in their own markets.  There is one exception: local station website.

Read More

Thursday, March 22, 2012

| March 22, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Camp Fires Back at Media Matters with Scathing Statement.  Embattled Premiere Networks talk radio star Rush Limbaugh, via his spokesperson Brian Glicklich in a commentary in Politico, yesterday afternoon issued an official response to the campaign being waged against the show by Media Matters.  This is the first lengthy, official statement made about the advertising issue by Limbaugh’s organization since the controversy began and it has the industry buzzing.  In Glicklich’s scathing attack on Media Matters’ tactics he writes the end result of the campaign hurts more people than Rush Limbaugh.  “By putting small business in the crosshairs of their war on expression, Media Matters is causing real harm.  They are hurting these businesses, their employees and their families.  As a business owner, imagine waking up one morning and being assaulted by hundreds of coordinated attacks from operatives who never were or will be your customers.”  Read Glicklich’s entire commentary here.

Los Angeles City Council Passes Resolution to “End Racist and Sexist Language” on Radio.  On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council – by a vote of 13 to 2 – passed a resolution that read: “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that by adoption of this Resolution, the City Council urges all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.”  The wording of the resolution was broadened with an amendment.  The original intent and much of the discussion was targeted at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KFI.  Though language on the radio was discussed by the council, other discussion involved accusations by critics that lack of diversity in staffing – too few minorities and women in on-air roles, specifically – is to blame for occurrences of what they call racist and sexist slurs.

WTOP, Washington VP News and Programming Jim Farley Named 2012 Recipient of Freedom of Speech Award.  The TALKERS editorial board has selected legendary radio news director Jim Farley as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award.  The award will be presented to Farley at the New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Farley, recently interviewed by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (see Talkers TV at right and story below), will address “the renaissance of journalism in the new digital broadcasting era” following the presentation of the award.  In a statement released Wednesday, March 21 Michael Harrison states, “We are witnessing the rebirth of committed journalism in America on the radio airwaves and its associated digital platforms.  WTOP proudly shines as the inspirational example of this positive movement, and Jim Farley’s visionary leadership in bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis would make even Thomas Jefferson proud.  The First Amendment is alive and well at WTOP.  Jim Farley is a remarkable broadcaster.”  The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor that has been presented to a wide variety of talk media figures since 1990 whose work has demonstrated the First Amendment in action and raised awareness of its principles.  Past recipients have included Brian Lamb, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Jack Anderson, Norm Pattiz, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Bob Grant, Alan Dershowitz, Bill O’ Reilly, Gene Burns, G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Stern and more.  Last year’s recipient was Juan Williams.

Scarborough Research Releases Study of Entertainment Spending by Baby Boomers.  It’s probably not too surprising that the favorite radio formats of the Baby Boom generation are, in order, AC (30%), news/talk (28%), and classic hits (25%).  The study includes statistics about how Boomers like to spend their free time – a nod to the types of ad clients likely to benefit from being heard on their favorite stations.  It notes, “In the past 12 months Baby Boomers have attended a professional sporting event (36%), attended live theater (22%), visited an art museum (14%), attended a rock concert (12%) and gone to the symphony or opera (9%).  And Baby Boomers don’t just have a hunger for entertainment – they are 11% more likely than all American adults to have eaten at a seafood restaurant or steakhouse in the past 30 days.”  EVP of commercial development Brian Condon says, “Baby Boomers remain an essential demographic since they reap the rewards of having had long careers and no longer have young children to care for.  Baby Boomers represent a segment of the American population that has a thirst for adventure, and the financial freedom to explore that passion.”

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Billy Beane and Bob Melvin to A’s Coverage.  Entercom’s sports talk “95.7 The Game” – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces the addition of A’s general manager Bill Beane and manager Bob Melvin to the station’s coverage of the team.  Beane will become part of the Thursday PM drive show with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis and Melvin will join “Rise Guys” Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler and Dan Dibley every Monday morning.  PD Jason Barrett states, “Bill Beane is one of the smartest baseball minds in America and has a unique perspective about the game that Bay Area baseball fans won’t want to miss.  Bob Melvin has his pulse on the finger of the Athletics and he’ll give Bay Area baseball fans a weekly glimpse inside the clubhouse like no one else.”

“Free Talk Live” Gets Major Market Clear on WWRL, New York.  The independently syndicated evening and weekend program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge enters the New York City market with a Sunday morning clearance on Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk WWRL.  Freeman says of the addition, “There aren’t many issues-oriented talk shows that can cross talk platforms.  However, we’ve been doing it for years with conservative, progressive, business talk and hot talk stations all airing ‘Free Talk Live.’  I’m excited to announce that ‘Free Talk Live’ welcomes our newest affiliate in America’s largest market: WWRL 1600 in New York City.  Thanks to program director Rennie Bishop for allowing us the opportunity to entertain the people of NYC on the country’s most prominent progressive station.”

Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno Celebrates 90th Anniversary Tomorrow.  1922 was a big year for the U.S. government granting radio station licenses and another heritage station is celebrating its 90th year on the air this week.  KMJ, Fresno is the 38th oldest licensed continuously operating radio station in the country.  It was originally licensed to San Joaquin Power and Light Corporation but was sold to McClatchey Newspapers in 1925.  CBS Radio bought KMJ in 1987 and then sold it to Peak Broadcasting in 2006.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “Monsters in the Morning” Sponsor Habitat for Humanity House.  The morning drive crew at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WTKS-FM, Orlando led by Russ Rollins is kicking off its First Annual Monster House project in conjunction with the Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka and the City of Sanford.  Rollins and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, who on behalf of the City of Sanford, donated the property for the project made the recent announcement.  Rollins says, “This is a huge project with our national radio program teaming up with local government and Habitat for Humanity to benefit the community.  For every $1 spent on construction, $7 will go back into the local economy.  ‘The Monsters’ are looking forward to helping a local family fulfill their dream of home ownership with the First Annual Monster House.  We hope to make The Monster House an annual project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.”

Romney Wins Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Program, Saints Staff Penalized for Bounty Program/Tebow Traded to Jets and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/21).  Mitt Romney’s decisive win in Illinois on Tuesday and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 presidential race; uncertainty over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the NFL’s Saints, coaches and former coach penalized severely for ‘bounty program’; Tim Tebow is traded to the Jets; and continuing tensions in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

| March 21, 2012

WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley: “We’re Engaged Across All Platforms.”  Hubbard Broadcasting’s Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, speaks with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in this TalkersTV video interview.  Farley tells Harrison that although WTOP is a heritage radio station, they think of it differently, “We don’t think of it as a radio station; we think of it as a digital news organization…we compete with everybody who does news.”  Farley praises WTOP ownership – both current and past – for having the foresight to invest in staff and equipment to compete in the 21st century news game.  Farley says they recently added a digital editor for the overnight shift so the organization has a radio and digital editor on the clock at all times.  “Whenever there is a story – middle of the night or on weekends – we’ll be engaged across all platforms.”  See the TalkersTV video in the box on this page.

Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Don Shelby Joins BringMeTheNews.  Longtime Twin Cities TV and radio personality Don Shelby (pictured at left) begins a new position as morning drive news anchor at BringMeTheNews – the radio news network and online news site for Minnesota founded by Twin Cities news pro Rick Kupchella (pictured at right) in 2009.  Shelby, a longtime WCCO-TV newsman who retired from his midday talk show at WCCO radio in 2010, will be morning anchor for the service heard on some 30 stations around the state.  He’ll also handle original news reporting.  Shelby states, “I am so pleased that I’ll be back in the game – not just to be back in the game, but to satisfy the needs of people who, for 32 years, trusted me to tell them the truth.  I miss them and I miss the opportunity to do that.”

Sports Talk Talent Moves in San Diego; Rosenberg and Williams to XEPRS.  Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams jump from KLSD, San Diego “Xtra Sports 1360” to crosstown (actually, cross-border) XEPRS XX 1090 for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift beginning Monday, March 26.  The move pushes Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot, Darren Smith to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm shift and John “The Coach” Kentera to the 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm show when Padres baseball is not airing.  KLSD has not announced who will replace Rosenberg and Williams in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm shift.

Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Returns to Air in the Market.  Talk show host Matt Mittan left Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville five months ago.  Now, after continuing to produce his program along with co-host and producer Agnes Cheek online and self-syndicating it in various formats to a number of stations in the region, the program returns to Asheville on gospel WZGM.  More than that, Mittan and Cheek have taken operational control over the HRN Broadcasting-owned station.  Mittan tells the Asheville Citizen-Times the station will still air gospel music in the morning plus Dial Global’s Clark Howard, his program from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Dial Global’s Neal Boortz from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Eventually, he’d like to add more local talk to the station.

Beasley Broadcasting Names Rafe D’Amico NSM for Las Vegas Cluster.  Rafe D’Amico already serves as national sales manager for Beasley stations on Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware.  Now he’s named NSM for the entire Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN.  Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Cory Cuddeback says, “I’m thrilled that Rafe is joining our Vegas team.  Rafe has an impeccable reputation along with a solid background in the industry and will be a tremendous asset for our cluster moving forward.”

Promotions at Clear Channel Toledo.  A number of staffers at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster are being promoted including news/talk WSPD executive producer Katie Hileman who is named assistant program director for the station.  Sports WCWA program director Tom Riggs also takes on the cluster’s digital content director responsibilities.

WLW, Cincinnati Celebrates 90th Anniversary This Week.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s venerable WLW, Cincinnati is celebrating its 90th year in operation this week.  The station was put on the air on March 23, 1922 by Powel Crosley, Jr.  In 1934 WLW would receive permission to broadcast at 500,000 watts – the only station to do so – and for the next five years earned the nickname “The Nation’s Station.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter details a very cool, quick history of WLW in his column here.

KABC, Los Angeles To Give Away New Sidewalk in “Sidewalk Insanity” Promotion.  In an affectionate nod to Los Angeles’ notoriously decrepit sidewalks, Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is running a “bracket-like” contest in which one lucky winner gets a new sidewalk courtesy of sponsor Capital Construction.  The station says, “L.A. is world famous for having the world’s worst sidewalks – more than 4,000 miles of jagged cliffs of cracked and tree-root-raised barricades – making walking, skateboarding or wheelchair access virtually impossible.”  Contestants are encouraged to send a photo of their lousy sidewalk to AM drive host Doug McIntyre (pictured here holding a chunk of broken concrete) for their chance to enter the bracket and have listeners vote on the worst of the worst.

KOIN-TV, Portland News Anchors to Fill In on KPAM Radio.  Pamplin Media Group program director Dennis Glasgow reports KOIN-TV, Portland news anchors Jeff Gianola and Kelly Day will fill in for talk host Bob Miller on the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show today.  Glasgow states, “Not only is this going to be great radio, but this is a great example of sharing talent and resources.  We value this important and exclusive local partnership with KOIN and look forward to having Jeff and Kelly grace our airwaves, I know our listeners will feel the same way.”

Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Federal Budget Debate, Florida Youth Slaying, Iran Nuke Ambitions and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20).  The GOP primary election in Illinois and the larger 2012 presidential campaign issues, the ongoing debate over cuts to the federal budget, the controversial killing of an unarmed Florida teen, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and continuing tensions for U.S. troops in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

| March 20, 2012

Peak Broadcasting Emerges from Chapter 11.  The pre-packaged Chapter 11 restructuring plan Peak Broadcasting entered into in January has been executed and the company comes out of it with new owners: Oaktree Capital Management and GE Capital.  CEO Todd Lawley and CFO Tim Lyons remain in their management positions.  In a statement, Lawley says, “By significantly reducing the amount of debt outstanding on our balance sheet, this transaction provides Peak with the flexibility to invest in our business to ensure that we continue to provide best-in-market audio programming to our consumers and marketing solutions to our clients.”

New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards Extends Entries Deadline.  The world-renowned New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards is extending the deadline for entry submissions for the 2012 contest through April 2.  The 30-year-old competition honors the most innovative work in radio broadcasting, with entries from radio stations, networks and independent producers from around the globe.  Executive director Rose Anderson says, “Even as distribution platforms multiply across the airwave spectrum, one thing remains constant: the power of the individual voice.  Just this past year, winners in our talk categories – a diverse group from Howard Stern to Marvin Kalb in the U.S. to Radio Pasfarda (Iran) and Writers & Company (Canada) – engaged their audiences’ curiosity with intensity.  We here at New York Festivals are very proud to recognize the creativity, innovation and quality exhibited around the world in radio today.”  Categories in the talk radio realm include: Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Program, Best Talk/Interview Special, Best Radio Personality: Local Market, Best Radio Personality: Network/Syndicated, Best Talk Show Host, Best Information/News Talk Show (AM drive), Best Two-Way Telephone Talk/Interview Show (AM drive), Best Online Talk Program, Best Satellite Talk Program, Best Satellite Radio Personality, Best Radio Personality (student), Best Artist Interview/Performance (student), Editorial or Viewpoint Program, plus numerous awards in the radio news and sports categories.  Find complete information about the awards, categories and how to enter by visiting http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/.  New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards Grand Jury enlists jurists from all over the world, representing some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry.  Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity and use of the medium.  The International Radio Program & Promotion Awards will honor 2012’s winning entries on June 18 at an awards ceremony at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.

Michael Smerconish Visits Boston Affiliate WTKK-FM for Movie Premiere.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is bringing his ‘Book Club’ live event series to the silver screen and he’s in Boston today for a premiere screening for Greater Media affiliate WTKK-FM.  “Book Club with Michael Smerconish featuring Chris MatthewsJack Kennedy: Elusive Hero” premieres at the Showcase Cinema De Lux in suburban Dedham.  Smerconish will welcome the crowd and conduct a curtain call speech prior to the movie.  Smerconish states, “Over the last several years, I have hosted many A-list authors for live gatherings of what I call my ‘Book Club.’  Never have any of these made it to the big screen.  My interview with Chris Matthews concerning his New York Times bestseller Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero was recorded in High-Def and I am thrilled it will be shown on screens all across the country on March 20.  Where can you find me that night?  Boston!”

CCME Names Radha Subramanyam EVP of Sales and Marketing ResearchClear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says Radha Subramanyam is “recognized as an industry leader in consumer insights and research and I am excited to have her on our team.”  She previously served as senior vice president of media and advertiser insights and analytics as a thought leader across media forms for The Nielsen Company.  In her new role with CCME, Subramanyam will be responsible for “developing, aggregating and analyzing consumer data to help illustrate and support the unique ability Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has to provide advertisers with national reach and local activation.”

WHAS, Louisville Talk Host Terry Meiners Sued by Local Cop for Slander.  Longtime Louisville talk radio personality Terry Meiners is facing a civil suit for slander by the Louisville Metro Police officer who gave him a speeding ticket in March of last year.  Meiners contested the ticket and was found not guilty in October.  The officer, Sam Cromity, alleges Meiner took to the airwaves where he called him “Black Barney,” he played belittling songs about the highway patrol and called him a liar at least 15 times.  Meiners says Cromity was threatening during the traffic stop – something Cromity denies.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHAS is also named in the suit.

C-SPAN Founder and CEO Brian Lamb Steps Down from CEO Post.  The man who founded C-SPAN 33 years ago is stepping down from his day-to-day role as chief executive officer of the cable TV federal government news channel that reaches some 100 million homes.  Brian Lamb, who was honored with TALKERS’ Freedom of Speech Award, will become executive chairman of the board at C-SPAN and will still host the weekly “Q&A” interview show.  He will hand over the CEO reigns to Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain effective April 1.

KWTX, Waco, Texas Hosts Debates for Local Races.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned KWTX, Waco reports the recent debates it sponsored and broadcast drew some 450 citizens to the University High School auditorium on March 7.  The races were the GOP primaries for McLennan County Sheriff and the Texas House of Representatives, District 56.  Morning drive host Shane Warner moderated the debates and states, “To have this many people show up in the middle of the week to hear some local politicians talk about local issues is quite an accomplishment.  We were hoping for a good turnout but the interest from the community was beyond anything we could have imagined – and this was just for a primary election!  As the only local talk show in the Waco market, I felt this was the kind of event that only News Talk 1230 and talk radio could pull off.  This illustrates the power of local talk radio to help inform the community about what’s going on in their own backyard and bring voters and listeners access they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Dave Ramsey Live in Orlando…and Beyond.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is pictured here at the University of Central Florida arena delivering his “Total Money Makeover Live” program before 7,500 people on March 17.  This was also simulcast to 200 other locations.  Ramsey spent the weekend in Orlando and presented his “EntreLeadership 1-Day Event” to nearly 1,000 business leaders.  He also met with sponsors of the event and affiliate WFLA staff.  Clear Channel Orlando market manager Linda Byrd says, “The personal attention and customer service we get from Dave Ramsey and his team is nothing short of stellar.  It’s amazing that in spite of having 500+ affiliates he makes us feel so special. Truly feels like he’s a member of our local team.  Dave does syndication the right way.”

Phil Hendrie Distributes Content Via Pandora.  Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated radio personality Phil Hendrie can now be heard on Pandora.  Hendrie’s bits, including characters Jay Santos, Chris Norton, Bobbie Dooley, David G. Hall and Ted Bell, are now available on the content distribution service.  Hendrie joins Premiere NetworksBob & Tom, Steve Harvey’s Nephew Tommy and The Jerky Boys, all of whom rotate in the user-created “Phil Hendrie Radio” station.  Hendrie’s tracks will also come up on user-created stations for morning radio artists, comics and political satirists.

GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Tensions, Iran Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence, and Peyton Manning to Denver Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19).  The GOP primary race and the issues in the 2012 presidential race, the continuing tensions in Afghanistan after a U.S. soldier is charged with killing 16 civilians, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, continuing Syrian violence and Peyton Manning’s joining the Denver Broncos were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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