TALKERS Spotlight on Michael Berry: Gaining Traction in Self-Syndication. With tongue in cheek, KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry calls himself “The Czar of Talk Radio” – an apt title that reflects both his dab of self-deprecating irreverence and the fact that his self-syndicated show has been somewhat of an empire-in-the-making as it spreads now to 10 formidable talk stations across the country with no end to its growth in sight. Berry was a high jumper on this year’s TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” (2013) rocketing from #95 last year to #67. Michael Harrison calls this former Mayor pro tem of Houston-turned-talk radio host “one of the most promising and intriguing up-and-comers in the business today” and often cites his name when asked from where the next wave of talk radio superstars is coming. Interested in learning more about this 42-year-old rising star? Read TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s in-depth profile of Michael Berry posted today (5/15) by clicking here.
Department Store Chain in Middle of Talk Radio Ad Storm. The Charlotte-based department store chain Belk found itself in the eye of a partisan politics storm after an ad for one of its vendors that mentions Belk found its way onto a local station airing the Rush Limbaugh program. Activist groups monitoring conservative talk radio with the goal of harassing advertisers into deserting the format quickly began targeting Belk with requests to end the campaign. However, Belk spokesperson Jessica Graham told the Charlotte Observer it doesn’t advertise on talk radio and the ad was through a vendor. She also explained the vendor was being made aware of the company’s policy. But the fire had already been started with conservative Belk shoppers and those sympathetic to the anti-talk radio crusade squaring off on social media and communicating with Belk about their feelings. Graham told the paper in the aftermath of the flap, “This is why we don’t advertise on talk radio.”
JVC Media to Buy Asterisk Communications’ Florida Stations. Long Island-based JVC Media announces it has entered into an agreement to purchase five Florida FM stations from Asterisk Communications. The stations include: country WTRS, Dunnellon (Gainesville/Ocala market); hot AC WMFQ, Ocala “Q92”; smooth jazz WXJZ, Gainesville; news/talk WBXY, Gainesville; and sports talk WYGC, High Springs (Gainesville market) “104.9 The Game.” JVC Media CEO John Caracciolo says, “We are honored and privileged to welcome these top-performing radio stations into the JVC family. The prior owner of these stations was committed to community service, high-quality broadcasting and creating an excellent work environment for its staff, and we are proud to be able to continue the tradition that Asterisk started in this great market.” JVC chief operating officer Victor Canales adds, “We love this radio market, and we are excited to continue the trend of fun, local radio in North Central Florida. We plan on adding staff in Florida and New York and to make a big splash with marketing and programming when we begin operating the stations.” JVC Media owns four FM radio stations on Long Island, dance music WPTY, Spanish WBON, country WJVC, and rock WRCN and operates Long Island Events, which manages the 7,000 seat outdoor entertainment venue known as the Pennysaver Amphitheater. JVC was formed by broadcasting veterans John Caracciolo and Victor Canales and is backed by Northwood Ventures.
Christina Albee Named Chief Marketing Officer at Dial Global. Dial Global brings Christina Albee to the company from Condé Nast where she was most recently managing The Studio at Condé Nast, a division producing a wide range of digital campaigns. She also supervised event marketing, strategic alliances, and operations at the Condé Nast Media Group. In Albee’s new role as chief marketing officer at Dial Global, she’ll be responsible for the company’s positioning and branding. On her new position, Albee states, “I am thrilled to assume the chief marketing officer role at Dial Global. I look forward to working closely with Paul Caine to innovate and advance our marketing initiatives surrounding Dial Global’s premium programming and unique assets. There’s an incredible amount of opportunity to redefine the category and I’m happy to be a part of Dial Global’s extremely smart team at the forefront of this industry.” Prior to Albee’s work with Condé Nast, she held associate publisher positions at Style.com, and Time Inc.’s In Style Weddings and TEEN PEOPLE. She was also part of multiple successful brand launches, including PEOPLE en Español, In Style, TEEN PEOPLE and All You.
Former Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle to Host Show on WSYR, Syracuse. The Clear Channel news/talk station is bringing former U.S. Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle aboard to host a one-hour Saturday program airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon. The one-term rep made the announcement about her new program on the station’s Bob Lonsberry program and said it will debut on Saturday, May 25 – Memorial Day weekend. She says given the holiday, her program will be dedicated to the nation’s military.
Odds & Sods. Former Jacksonville Jaguars great and current Dial Global football analyst Tony Boselli moves into the radio broadcast booth for Jaguars play-by-play alongside Brian Sexton and Jeff Lageman. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM serves as the flagship for Jaguars broadcasts…..It’s a busy week for talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who, in addition to his daily show on home base WOAI, San Antonio, is sitting in on the AM drive show on KTRH, Houston. Next week, Pags does double duty on WOAI filling on for Charlie Parker who’s out on medical leave…..Monday, May 20 will be a full one for ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith as he sits in with Mike Greenberg on the “Mike & Mike” AM drive show on the radio and on ESPN2. Immediately following, Smith will take his regular turn on ESPN2’s “First Take with Skip Bayless and Cari Champion” and, to further meld the two shows that day, Bayless will join Mike & Mike at 9:30 am for a group discussion on the events of the day. Greenberg will then join “First Take” for a segment at 10:15 am. Whew!…..Viacom’s Comedy Central inks a pact with SiriusXM to begin airing content on the satellite service under its brand. And to kick off the launch of Comedy Central Radio, the cable channel will go dark and simulcast the audio feed of the historic launch, which goes live at 12:00 midnight ET on Sunday, May 19. Virgin Mobile and Monster DNA headphones will sponsor the opening minute of Comedy Central Radio, which marks only the second time that the channel has gone dark in its illustrious history, the first being May 22, 1992 when it did so for the entirety of Johnny Carson’s final broadcast of “The Tonight Show.”
Three Old Movies for New Radio Managers. Noted radio consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke says, “Forget those boring management training videos!” and recommends three old flix to today’s upcoming crop of radio managers for a valuable bit of advice and inspiration. He suggests viewing “Disclsoure” for input of sexual harassment, “Bridge on the River Kwai” for leadership training, and “Glengarry Glen Ross” for sales do’s and don’ts. To read more, click here.
Donald Rumsfeld Visits Steve Malzberg. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was Steve Malzberg’s guest on Wednesday (5/15) on his Newsmax Media-produced and syndicated talk show. Rumsfeld is promoting his new book Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life (Broadside Books 2013). In addition to promoting the new book, Rumsfeld and Malzberg talked about the big issues of the day – responsibility for the Benghazi attacks, the IRS scandal and the tensions in the Middle East. Malzberg’s program airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Industry Mourns Fred White. The broadcasting industry and Major League Baseball is mourning the passing of Kansas City Royals director of broadcast services (and long-time Royals play-by-play voice) Fred White, who passed away after a battle with cancer one day after retiring from the organization. White worked in the broadcast booth with Denny Matthews from 1973 through 1998 before he left that role to move into managing the broadcasting services.
IRS Scandal, Benghazi Attack Probe, Justice Department AP Phone Records Audit and Israel-Syria Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/15). The scandal involving the IRS and conservative groups; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; the Justice Department’s audit of AP phone records and Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee; and Israel-Syria tensions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.