Schnitt vs Bubba: A Crazy Friday. There are two aspects of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) defamation suit to report from Friday: First was Michelle Schnitt’s testimony, the second was the circus revolving around Schnitt attorney Charles Philip Campbell, Jr.’s arrest on DUI charges two days prior. On Friday, Michelle Schnitt took the stand while the prosecution played recordings of Bubba calling her a “whore.” She testified that he meant she was sexually promiscuous and unfaithful to her husband and said it was “the most disrespectful thing you could say about somebody.” She told the jury she was very worried about public reaction to the accusations. She stopped practicing law to raise their children but testified that she believes her professional reputation has been harmed. Also at issue is whether Michelle Schnitt is a public figure because she appeared regularly on Schnitt’s MJ Kelli program. She denies making any money from the appearances. She also denied having anything to do with getting Bubba charged with felony animal cruelty while working as an assistant state’s attorney – something Bubba accused her of on the radio and in his defense in court. Meanwhile…Schnitt’s attorney asked for a mistrial and the judge is expected to rule on that request today. Here’s why: According to the Tampa Bay Times, Clem’s lawyers had possession of attorney Charles Campbell, Jr.’s briefcase for almost a day, having access to transcripts, depositions, notes and more. How they got it is straight out of a TV law drama. Campbell and fellow attorney Jonathan Ellis were at a steak house having dinner and drinks when they met a pretty paralegal named Melissa Personius who chatted them up. She said she worked at a firm other than the one she really does, but they didn’t know that at the time. Campbell talked about the case to the young woman. The two left together in Melissa’s car and were pulled over with Campbell behind the wheel. He refused a breathalyzer and was booked. Melissa was set free. The Times reports that an attorney at Adams & Diaco (which represents Bubba and for whom Melissa actually works) called the police to report a man (Campbell) about to the leave the restaurant drunk. In the back of Melissa’s car was Campbell’s briefcase. She later retrieved her car with the briefcase. Adams & Diaco denies ever opening the case before Campbell got it back some 20 hours later. On Friday, Personius took the stand to answer questions by the judge but she pleaded the Fifth to each question. Ironically, Personius’ driver’s license has been suspended for a prior DUI and other moving violations. The obvious conclusion is that Campbell was set up by Melissa Personius, but whether her bosses put her up to it is not known since she pleaded the Fifth.
Cumulus Media’s All-News WYAY, Atlanta Names Jennifer Perry PD. Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.9” announces Jennifer Perry is named program director. Perry most recently worked with Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries on his local WGST, Atlanta afternoon drive program before the station flipped to Spanish sports talk. She has also served as news director at WLAC, Nashville. In announcing the hire, Cumulus corporate PD of news/talk/sports Jim Mahanay says, “We’re fortunate to have someone of Jennifer’s credentials to lead the team at ‘All News 106.7.’ She is one of the most talented people in the news business. She brings vast experience as a journalist, anchor and administrator. She is a great fit for our all news operation in Atlanta.”
If I Were the CEO of YouTube. Media consultant Walter Sabo offers a “modest proposal” about what he would do if he were CEO of YouTube. In this piece, Sabo explains that each medium creates its own stars and pushing them to other media platforms rarely works. In the case of YouTube, web stars have blossomed on the service and Sabo says the key to success and making money on the web involves integrating advertising into the programming these web stars have created. Sabo believes media platforms must not try to be something they are not. Maybe there’s a lesson for radio in this, too. Check out the five things Walter Sabo says he would do if made CEO of YouTube in his piece here.
Talk Host Paul Westcott Moves to WTAG, Worcester for Mornings. Radio personality Paul Westcott has been with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WGIR and WQSO in Manchester, New Hampshire for the past two years. Now, he’s making the move South to take over the morning drive show at the company’s news/talk WTAG, Worcester. Westcott states, “WTAG has a great heritage with unlimited potential to find a younger and broader audience both locally and regionally.” Westcott spent three years at Clear Channel digital headquarters in New York and created a channel called the “White House Brief” which he’ll continue to produce. CC regional programming manager Rob Anthony says. “We couldn’t be happier to have Paul joining the team at WTAG. He has a very strong political background and a wonderful concept of how important it is to be local.” Westcott replaces Jim Polito who left to join Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston.
Dynamic Coast-to-Coast Conversation. The power of issues-oriented talk radio and its unlimited positioning options were amply demonstrated this weekend as two fresh-on-the-scene mavericks hooked up on the phone and showed that there can be more to this medium than predictable partisan polarization. Shown at left, GCN syndicated weekend talent Ethan Bearman, a relative newcomer to the field located in his Northern California studio yesterday, interviewing Jonathan Miller (right) in the Washington, DC offices of No Labels. Miller, a former two-term Kentucky State Treasurer, is co-founder of the DC-based, bi-partisan political organization dedicated to finding common ground between today’s political extremes. Their slogan is, “Stop fighting, start fixing.” Bearman, described recently by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “the Colin Kaepernick of young talk show hosts,” positions his independent brand of politics as “left, right and forward.” His program airs live on Sundays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT. The industry should take note.
NBC Sports Radio Is in New Orleans for Super Bowl Coverage. Fledgling sports talk network NBC Sports Radio is taking its stars and production to New Orleans to originate from the site of Super Bowl XLVII. The Dial Global and NBC Sports initiative announces it will have a “major presence in New Orleans as the excitement builds for Super Bowl XLVII. There will be live talk, reports, highlights and features throughout the week from Super Bowl Radio Row, Super Bowl Media Day and the NBC Sports Network television set.” NBC and Dial Global report that the Erik Kuselias show will air live every evening from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET. “Amani and Eytan,” featuring former NFL pro Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander, will air live each evening from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. “Speaking of Sports with Rob Simmelkjkaer” will air the morning of Super Bowl Sunday from 8:00 am to 9:00 am in addition to other NBC Sports Radio weekend shows. NBC Sports Radio Update anchor Kay Adams will also contribute interviews during the week.
SiriusXM Broadens Pete Dominick’s Role with AM Drive Show. Comedian Pete Dominick has been hosting a PM drive program on the satcaster’s politically oriented POTUS channel. Beginning February 11, he’ll move to morning drive on the newly re-named Indie channel for a new show called “Stand Up! with Pete Dominick.” With the change in dayparts, Dominick will be allowed to go well beyond political issues to a more broad selection of topics. Dominick began working at Sirius in 2006 on the Raw Dog comedy channel. The new gig will mean he has to give up his daily job warming up the crowd at Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”
WBEZ, Chicago Devises Promotion to Get New P1s (and Have Them Make Some More!). Working with creative partner Xi Chicago, public station WBEZ, Chicago is executing a promotion called “Radio for the Curious Class” designed to gather P1s based on the fact that they are interesting people – and encouraging them to make more interesting people via their “Go Make Babies” campaign. The station says the campaign is being dubbed the “2032 Membership Drive” and inspires interesting people to hook up with interesting people and make more interesting people, thereby creating the next generation of listeners. This campaign aims to populate the curious class with a call to action to visit www.GoMakeBabies.com, where people can take an “Interesting Assessment.” Visitors will then be offered up links to current WBEZ content based on their tastes, along with potential mates who share their interests. The app also features a Future Viewer gallery where people can upload photos of their interesting child/future listener and in return receive a “Future Curious Class Member” onesie. The campaign elements include local print outlets, WBEZ.org promotion and mobile experience; digital banners, Pandora and Facebook ads; contextual out of home, wallscapes, train platforms, bus shelters and street decals, taxi tops and bumper stickers and T-shirts with messaging and taglines such as: Do it. For Chicago; We want listeners tomorrow. Go make babies today; Hey Interesting People, get a room already. And then put a crib in it; To anyone NOT currently running a virtual farm: GoMakeBabies.com; and You’re an interesting person. Pass it on. Like, literally. Through your DNA. Chicago Public Media vice president Daniel Ash says, “We tasked Xi with developing an attention-getting campaign that speaks directly to young adults who’ve never heard of WBEZ and who respond positively to tongue-in-cheek irony and playfulness. Certainly it’s a different approach than what one would expect from a public media station but we hope this will reach, and resonate with, younger news consumers who’ve never heard of us.”
Hubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis Announces “Sportscaster Factor” Contest. Sports talk outlet “101 ESPN” WXOS, St. Louis is conducting a promotion to give a lucky and talented St. Louisan a chance to become a weekend talk host on the station. Unlike some of the other contests for sports talk gigs, auditioning for this one won’t start in a bar or restaurant. The first rounds take place at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Participants who audition will get the chance to present their on-air delivery and show hosting skills alone in a room via a microphone with the judging panel present. During these initial auditions, listeners will be given a “yes” or “no” vote by each of the judges, and those who impress the panel of experts during the preliminaries will be invited back for the Final Round. The Final Round of the “Sportscaster Factor” will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the Main Gym inside the Vadalabene Center on the SIUE’s campus, and the general public is welcome to attend this final set of auditions. During the Final Round, those participants deemed “the best of the bunch” will be given tips and pointers by the 101 ESPN pros, before being given a chance to make their last best impression with the judging panel. After a detailed evaluation of all the finalists conducted at the conclusion of the Final Round of auditions, the “Sportscaster Factor” winner will be named that evening, with a weekend show of their own on 101 ESPN to follow in the near future.
WBAP, Dallas’ Hal Jay and Brian Estridge Credited with Saving a Life. A Dallas-area man is saying information he heard about the signs of a stroke while listening to Hal Jay and Brian Estridge on Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas caused him to go the hospital because he believed he was having a stroke. Turns out he was and he may be alive today as a result of that broadcast. Several weeks earlier Hal and Brian did a broadcast from North Hills Hospital where they discussed the signs of a stroke. The man happened to be listening that morning and it very well may have saved his life.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Star Robert Conrad Attends Hollywood Collectibles Show. Television star and CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Robert Conrad appeared at the recent “The Hollywood Show,” film and TV collectibles event at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Along with Larry Manetti – co-star of the “Magnum P.I.” series and a fellow talk show host with CRN Digital Talk – Conrad greeted hundreds of fans who waited in line to meet him, get autographs and chat about his career. Conrad says, “I’m very honored and excited to be asked to participate in this show and I’m especially happy to see so many fans who came out to give me a wonderful welcome.”