Merlin Sells WRXP, New York 101.9 to CBS Radio; Signal to Become WFAN-FM. Not too long after the rumors of Merlin Media stations being put on the block by private equity backer GTCR, CBS Radio announces it has purchased WRXP, New York – currently operating as alternative “New Rock 101.9” – for $75 million. The signal will become the FM signal for sports talk WFAN later in the fall when CBS assumes control under an LMA. CBS will also change the call letters to WFAN-FM. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason says, “This is an extremely exciting opportunity to expand our radio presence in the nation’s largest market. Sports is a very popular format and a huge growth category for our business. As a result of this new asset, we look forward to ‘The Fan’ building on its position as the leading sports radio franchise in the country.” In a memo to staffers, Merlin Media chief Randy Michaels says the inroads the rock format is making on WRXP are impressive but the need to reduce the company’s debt forced his hand in the sale. Michaels also beseeches his staffers at the Philadelphia and Chicago properties to continue focusing on the job at hand, appearing to imply those stations are not for sale. However, it’s unknown if those stations are off the block or not. Last week, we reported rumors of CBS’ interest in both the New York signal (which turned out to be true) and the Philadelphia FM (ostensibly as a boost for all-news KYW). About a dozen staffers work in the New York Merlin offices servicing the Philly station’s news and traffic operations and will remain there for at least the next 30 days. Besides giving WFAN an FM signal, CBS hasn’t stated publicly what it will do with the 660 AM signal but it’s a safe bet that with the debut of CBS Sports Radio Network after the first of the year, WFAN-AM will carry the network programming and other New York sports play-by-play including remaining the flagship for New York Mets baseball. CBS has the rights to New York Yankees baseball for WCBS-AM through next season.
Talk Radio Network Moves Rusty Humphries to PM Drive in Eastern Time. With TRN’s Jerry Doyle being aired live by the network in the slot formerly occupied by Michael Savage, the company moves Rusty Humphries to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET live slot beginning Monday, October 15. TRN states, “The 8th largest syndicated talk show in America replaces what was the 6th largest show, and in so doing, stations will get a highly entertaining, powerful and proven show that they can sell locally with pride – a show that will also bring massive audience, with a host that will ‘superserve’ his affiliate’s needs.” TRN CEO Mark Masters says, “Rusty Humphries is a critical part of the future of talk radio, he is a proven performer of extraordinary ability. He is a master storyteller who balances humor with hardship, while never crossing the line. He knows this is about business.” TRN promotes Humphries’ expertise on foreign policy and military affairs with an “A-list” of contacts. Humphries says of his new time slot, “Even though I will be live in afternoon drive, Monday through Friday 15 hours a week, when news breaks, something important happens or any other occurrences that will require my presence live in the re-feed slot at night, I will be happy to jump in there as well and do a second shift – I will not let any of my affiliates down.”
The “Talk Rumble” Is on Talkers TV. As talk radio pros from around the country prepare to descend upon Los Angeles for the October 11 edition of the TALKERS New Media Seminar at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, the editors of Talkers.com are providing a glimpse back to the New York edition of the New Media Seminar that took place on June 7 of this year. The video now appearing on Talkers TV is of the “Talk Rumble” featuring talk personalities batting around the hot issues of the day. Taking part in this panel were: WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano; Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes; Talk Radio Networks’ Rusty Humphries; Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt; WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann; Ian Freeman of “Free Talk Live”; WOLB, Baltimore’s Larry Young; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean; and WWRL, New York’s Mark Riley. See the video in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.
WDBO-FM, Orlando Officially Announces Programming Changes; AM 580 to Become Sports Talk. With Clark Howard being bumped out of middays on Cox Media’s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – Howard’s longtime flagship – the new home base for Howard will be Cox’s WDBO with his return to live in middays. As we reported last week, after being moved out of the midday slot into evenings earlier this year to accommodate the Mel Robbins program, Howard’s show now returns to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. WDBO program director Drew Anderssen says, “All of our daytime programming will now be live, not tape delayed, allowing Central Floridians the opportunity to call in and hear perspective and information on breaking news as it happens.” Following Jim Turner’s “Central Florida’s Morning News” program is Neal Boortz from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Mel Robbins from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; Howard; Premiere’s Sean Hannity from 3:00pm to 6:00 pm; “Central Florida’s Evening News” with Scott Anez from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. As for the AM 580 signal WDBO had broadcast on for all these years, it appears Cox has struck a deal with ESPN Radio to put sports talk on the AM signal. Genesis Communications’ WHOO recently gave up its affiliation with the sports giant and that clears the way for ESPN to continue in the Orlando market on WDBO-AM.
Dan Patrick Celebrates 5th Anniversary with Fox Sports Radio Network. Sports talk icon Dan Patrick celebrates his fifth anniversary of his sports talk radio show with Fox Sports Radio Network. The DirecTV-produced program is available to DirecTV’s subscribers and the radio program has some 270 affiliates. Premiere Networks SVP of programming Don Martin states, “We are very excited to share in this celebration with Dan. The Dan Patrick Show is an integral part of the Fox Sports Radio lineup and we are proud to congratulate him on this special milestone. We look forward to another five great years!” Pictured here is Dan Patrick high-fiving his commemorative cake.
CRN Digital Talk Seeks Co-Host for “LA LA Land” Show. Here’s an interesting gig for a Southern California radio person: CRN Digital Talk Radio is actively seek the next co-host for its for its hit show biz series, “LA LA Land,” for work alongside Brett Chapin. The program airs live on Saturdays from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm PT and features “actors, filmmakers, musicians and many talented artists who help make Los Angeles the entertainment capital of the world. The show also features some timely advice and perspective on the entertainment industry for all budding artists and those already in the know.” Co-host Brett Chapin states, “Over the last two years we’ve been lucky enough to have two amazing co-hosts who have found a way to connect with our viewers in very specific ways. We’re looking for a co-host who can connect with our listeners and viewers in similar fashion. One of the most important things we’re looking for in a co-host is honesty. The hosts that I respect the most are the ones who can be genuine and honest with their audience. This is key.” Prospective co-hosts may submit their video demos by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries must be received by Oct. 19 to be considered. Five finalists will be selected to co-host shows from Oct. 24 to Nov. 16. Viewers will be asked to vote on the finalists and the winner will be announced on the air on Nov. 24. For more details go to www.CRNTalk.com/LALALand or go to www.facebook.com/lalalandtalk.
Odds & Sods. KYNO, Fresno drops the news/talk format and goes sports using ESPN content and branded 940 ESPN Radio…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway begins his “2012 Simon Conway Show College Tour.” Conway took his show on the road last week, broadcasting from Iowa State University. Today he broadcasts his program from Drake University. “We’ll have College Republicans and Democrats around the table and a live audience. Not only are these students our future leaders, they are also the future audience of talk radio, which is why we have chosen to engage them at their schools.”…..TALKERS hears nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs – whose program is based out of Las Vegas and distributed by Genesis Communications Network – will be seen on Showtime’s “Giglio’s” this month. Next year she appears on an episode of History Channel’s “Pawn Stars.”…..This Thursday, Ronna Romney, Governor Mitt Romney’s former sister-in-law (who is also a former talk show host and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate) will co-host host “Michigan’s Big Show” starring Michael Patrick Shiels. The syndicated morning radio and TV show originates from the AT&T storefront studio at Grand Traverse Pie Company in Downtown Lansing and airs on radio stations across Michigan and on Fox 47 TV in Lansing. Shiels says, “Ronna was always bright and positive when she hosted her radio show. Political talk radio could use more people with her demeanor and attitude.”…..The Orlando Magic’s games will not be heard in Spanish on religion-formatted WRLZ, Orlando. Magic CEO Alex Martins tells the Orlando Sentinel the team was unable to get ratings data on the broadcasts in order to sell it so the team will move the broadcasts to the internet.
New Presidential Race Polls, Romney-Obama Debate Aftermath, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Turkey-Syria Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8). The latest polls of independents and undecided in the presidential race; the continuing analysis of last week’s Romney-Obama debate; concern in the Middle East over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program; and the growing tensions between Turkey and Syria in the wake of recent violence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.