CBS Radio Elevates Chris Oliviero to Executive Vice President, Programming. Sports is the clear cut format winner for today’s headlines. Not only is there the anticipated transition in Detroit that sees former adult contemporary WMGC now taking aim at sports WXYT-FM but there is also word that effective immediately, CBS Radio (WXYT-FM, Detroit’s parent company) is upping four-year senior vice president, programming Chris Oliviero to executive vice president, programming. As part of his new responsibilities, Oliviero will lead programming development and operations for the company’s 126 news, sports, talk and music stations; manage talent relations; explore new business partnerships/acquisitions; and maintain his role overseeing CBS Sports Radio, which debuted the first of this year. According to CBS Radio president/CEO Dan Mason, “Chris has demonstrated a profound understanding of collaboration across our local station management, sales and digital teams to drive growth, and brings a contemporary perspective into the ever changing media landscape. Chris is a true industry leader and a respected colleague to everyone at CBS Radio.” Instrumental in the company’s expansion of sports radio on FM, Oliviero comments, “CBS Radio has afforded me the chance to work with an amazingly talented group of professionals. We have assembled an outstanding line-up of multi-platform assets that not only showcase our unmatched collection of exclusive content, but also provide additional opportunities to introduce our industry leading brands to new audiences. I look forward to continuing these efforts by partnering with senior VP of Programming Greg Strassell along with all our program directors in the years to come.” Oliviero’s CBS Radio career began 17 years ago when the New York University graduate was a “Howard Stern Show” intern. He joined WFAN, New York as producer in 1998. From July 2004 – July 2005, he served as director, Original Programming for CBS Radio before being named VP of Programming.
Greater Media Transitions WMGC, Detroit to Sports. Confirming it was the “worst kept” radio secret in Detroit history, Greater Media, Detroit market manager Steve Chessare unveiled “Detroit Sports 105.1” at an 11:00 am press conference this morning (8/12). The new identity, which officially launches later today at 3:00 pm with former 22-year (rock) WRIF, Detroit morning man Drew Lane – replaces adult contemporary WMGC. “Magic” had been in-place in the Motor City in two different incarnations, the first from 1976-1987 and most recently since June 2001. “Detroit Sports 105.1 will target cross-town CBS Radio-owned WXYT-FM “The Ticket.” According to Chessare, planning the format flip has been in the works “for some time” and he stresses his team “has worked long and hard” to get it right. Detroit, he maintains, is one of America’s five greatest sports cities and the new entity’s approach will be, “entertaining, hip, and smart.” Regarding the station’s 3:00 – 7:00pm personality Drew Lane, Chessare comments, “He is a phenomenal talent and the most creative person in radio today.” Conceding there is “a lot of ground to make up” in terms of catching “The Ticket,” Lane remarks, “The best thing is to do a great show. I’m usually not nervous being in front of a microphone, but I’m excited as hell.” Affiliated with ESPN Radio, “Detroit Sports 105.1” will air “Mike & Mike in the Morning” (6:00 am – 10:00 am) and Colin Cowherd (10:00 am – noon). Among persons 6+ in the last 10 Arbitron PPM monthlies, “The Ticket” has ranged from a high of 7.9 in November to a low of 4.2 (“Holiday”). Its average share in that time (November 2012 – July 2013) is 5.55, which includes July’s 6.1; it typically has ranked sixth, but was #1 in November. By comparison, the (6+) extremes over that period for “Magic” were 2.7 (November) and 6.4 (“Holiday”). It usually produced a 3.8 and finishes with its fourth successive down trend (3.8 – 3.6 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 3.0, #16). Its strongest ranking in the past 10 monthlies was #3 (“Holiday”), but it generally placed 12.5 (6+). Clear Channel‘s WNIC will now have the AC field to itself. Other Detroit sports stations that typically appear in the book are WDFN and WXYT-AM – each with a .3 in July. There was no word regarding a call letter change for WMGC.
Jason Dixon Announced As Greater Media, Detroit‘s PD of “Sports 105.1.” The Tampa native was introduced today (8/12) at a morning press conference that coincided with details about Greater Media adult contemporary WMGC, Detroit’s format transition to sports. For the past three years, Jason Dixon has been operations manager and program director of Capitol Broadcasting, Raleigh properties WCMC “The Fan,” WDNC “The Buzz,” and WCLY “1550 ESPN Deportes.” Greater Media, Detroit market manager Steve Chessare comments, “Jason is the right quarterback to lead our winning team at ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ He lives and breathes the format. His experience, ability, passion and track record made him the perfect choice.” Dixon remarks, “We feel that – with Motor City radio icon Drew Lane anchoring ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ in the afternoon, a commitment to cover local Detroit teams, a partnership with ESPN, and additional local programming that will be announced soon – we are building a great sports station for the incredible and dedicated fans of Detroit.” Dixon’s previous programming credits include WDAE, Tampa and WJXL, Jacksonville. In addition, he was senior director of Broadcasting and Programming for The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and Arena Football’s Tampa Bay Storm.
EMF Acquires Philly’s WWIQ. Speculation regarding the buyer of WWIQ, Philadelphia and what format change, if any, would transpire at the Randy Michaels-headed Merlin Media talk station came to a head late last week when it was announced that Educational Media Foundation had purchased the station for an undisclosed price. Dashed, for example, was any belief that CBS Radio would use it as an FM companion to all-news KYW. Today’s burning question is how the dominoes will fall vis-à-vis the Philly fate of syndicated high-profile hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Mark Levin, whose programs air on WWIQ. Regular programming will be maintained there until the FCC formalizes the sale. With EMF as the buyer though, it would seem highly logical if not inevitable that it would install its “K-LOVE” format on WWIQ. In fact, EMF president-CEO Mike Novak comments, “To be able to share the gospel and work hand-in-hand with listeners in the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas is such a blessing – we can’t wait.” Merlin Media bought Class B WWIQ last year for approximately $23 million from Family Stations. In addition to WWIQ, Michaels’ roughly two-year-old company previously sold WRXP, New York to CBS Radio in October 2012 for $75 million; CBS Radio transitioned WRXP to sports WFAN-FM, simulcasting WFAN-AM. Merlin still has a Chicago trombo – classic rock WLUP “The Loop,” hot AC WIQI, and alternative WKQX. After notching a 2.8 share in May (6+, Arbitron PPM, #16 ) – its best since last November’s 3.6 – WWIQ posts back-to-back 2.1 shares in June (#19) and July (#17).
Sinclair Broadcast Group Closes On Its Fisher Communications Acquisition. Valued at approximately $373.3 million, minus acquired working capital, the deal consists of David Smith-led Sinclair obtaining Fisher‘s four-station Seattle properties – AM-FM news combo KOMO, hot AC KPLZ, and talk KVI, as well as 22 television stations. Fisher shareholders approved the deal last week. Sinclair reportedly will not keep Fisher’s senior management team in place; however, there is no need to feel too sorry for chief executive officer Colleen Brown, chief financial officer Hassan Natha, executive vice president of operations Robert Dunlop, and senior vice president-general counsel Christopher Bellavia though, as they are said to be splitting approximately $7 million in severance.
Former MLB Player is “Out” at WGNU Regarding His PED accusation. It was one week ago today (8/5) when Major League Baseball issued suspensions to 13 players for their use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). In a convoluted situation, we may have the first on-air talent who has lost his job owing to the controversy. On the 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm WGNU, St. Louis program he co-anchored with longtime St. Louis radio personality Kevin Slaten, former MLB player Jack Clark this past Friday (8/9) accused Albert Pujols of using PEDs when the former iconic Cardinal played for St. Louis. Pujols is now in the AL with the Angels. Clark mentioned that he talked to Pujols’ former personal trainer, Chris Mihlfield, and said, “I know for a fact [Pujols] was” using PEDs. The story gets even juicier since Mihlfield claims he has not talked to Clark, known in his playing days (Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, Padres, Red Sox) as “Jack the Ripper,” in over 10 years. Under a time brokerage agreement, InsideSTL Enterprises operates Radio Property Ventures-owned WGNU during the week. Clark and Slaten were independent contractors, but both have been terminated. InsideSTL states, “We want to make it clear that opinions expressed [by Clark and Slaten] do not necessarily reflect the opinions of InsideSTL [which] did not have editorial control over the show’s content.” Meanwhile, Pujols adamantly states, “I have been tested hundreds of times throughout my career and never once have I tested positive. It is irresponsible and reckless for Jack Clark to have falsely accused me of using PEDs. I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers – I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner [as] they have, and get away with it. If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person.” It is hardly that Slaten and Clark were deeply entrenched at WGNU, as they leave after only doing seven shows there. As for Clark, who hit 35 homers for the Cards in 1987, he was driven into bankruptcy in 1992 – one year after a 28-HR season with the Red Sox. Back then, he was paying for 18 cars, including a $700,000 Ferrari and a Rolls Royce. He somehow managed to straighten things around by the late-1990s, but not before losing his $2.5 million home.
SCBA To Offer Comprehensive Ten-Week Sales Course. The Southern California Broadcasters Association’s fall Southern California Broadcasters University (SCBU) radio sales training classes will begin next month (9/23) in Los Angeles. SCBA president Thom Callahan is “thrilled” with the “innovative and interactive series of radio sales training courses” the organization has planned for all new sellers to Southern California radio. “Our goal is to elevate the level of radio sales professionalism in Southern California for people new to our industry, and that starts with solid, relevant content,” Callahan remarks. CBS Radio-owned classic hits KRTH “K-Earth 101” general sales manager Amber Perry is a graduate of these sales training classes and she comments, “SCBU sales training courses are a must for any new seller to our business, or someone who needs a refresher course in selling their radio and digital platforms.” Courses will focus on new business development, the art of cold calling, and understanding radio. Upon graduation, sellers will receive the professional designation “SCBU-Certified.” According to the SCBA, it is the only regional radio association offering such sales training courses for its member stations.
There’s a Lesson in Branding for All of Us in the A-Rod Case. In a new article posted today (8/12) by branding consultant (and WVOX, Westchester talk show host) Dr. John Tantillo, radio broadcasters can learn a thing or two about the nuances of branding by observing and measuring fan reaction to beleaguered Alex Rodriguez‘s return this week before the home town fans at Yankee Stadium. “Basically, it’s all about performance,” says Tantillo as he explains the differences between “fans” and “customers” in the marketplace of images and commerce. To read the informative piece, please click here.
Cumulus’ KCFX and the Kansas City Chiefs Extend Their Broadcast Partnership. This will be the 24th consecutive season that Kansas City’s KCFX “The Fox” will be the flagship of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. The Cumulus-owned classic rocker will remain the key station of the Chiefs Fox Football Radio Network through (at least) 2019. Cumulus chairman-president-CEO Lew Dickey comments, “Sports is a key focus for Cumulus. We could not be more pleased to announce this long-term extension with our partners at the Chiefs organization. They are consummate professionals and share our deep passion to create a compelling broadcast experience for the enormous base of Chiefs fans.” Chiefs president Mark Donovan notes, “In more than two decades serving as our FM flagship radio station, KCFX has been a valuable partner and more importantly, a remarkable resource for our fan base.” Chiefs Radio Network executive director Dan Israel adds, “Each Sunday, we go to painstaking efforts to capture every nuance of actually being in the stadium.” KCFX will broadcast all Chiefs preseason, regular season, and (if applicable) postseason games throughout a seven-state region. A second adjacent satellite channel will provide stereo and surround sound to all affiliates. The third largest in the NFL, the Chiefs Radio Network covers 6.5 million people in almost 230,000 square miles and more than 147 million acres.
Odds & Sods. The president of Entercom Radio, Weezie Kramer has been named recipient of the 5th Annual MIW (Mentoring and Inspiring Women) Radio Group Frances Preston Trailblazer Award. Kramer will be recognized on stage on Wednesday, 9/18 during the Opening Remarks and Keynote session at the 2013 Radio Show in Orlando, Florida. The Trailblazer Award is presented each year to a woman who has “blazed new trails” for women in the radio industry. It was renamed in 2012 the “Frances Preston Trailblazer Award” in honor BMI’s late longtime president, CEO and member of the MIWs…..Veteran meteorologist Ted Keller is joining the KTTS. Springfield, MO, Storm Team as the radio station’s first meteorologist. Beginning 9/9, he will forecast weather on all of the Journal Broadcast Group stations in Springfield, MO, provide extensive coverage on each of the station’s websites, and be the “voice behind the radar” in cases of severe weather.