Charlotte’s WBT-AM/FM Extends Carolina Panthers Partnership. The Greater Media talk combo has been the flagship for 13 of the NFL team’s 18-year history, and a just-signed three-year extension will keep them partners through 2015. “The first touchdown in Panther history was heard on WBT – that tradition will continue into the foreseeable future,” observes WBT AM/FM and Greater Media, Charlotte vice president-station manager Trip Savery. “The Panthers are a significant part of our 90-year history of serving the greater Charlotte region – we look forward to many more years working together.” Executive radio producer David Langton notes that, “With such a long and successful history between our two organizations, we are excited about continuing to look for new ways to improve our broadcasts.” The Panthers’ three-person radio announcing team consists of Mick Mixon (play-by-play); WBT sports director Jim Szoke (color analyst); and former Panther Eugene Robinson.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Art Holt of Holt Media Group. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Art Holt of Holt Media Group in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Holt’s long career in radio goes back to being an air talent and engineer in Texas at a variety of stations and markets across the state where he moved his way up to working in Dallas with radio broadcasting legend Gordon McLendon. He eventually wound up owning and operating a 20 station medium market station group for more than three decades and then went on to become a broker. Holt agrees with this publication’s contention that the time is right for good broadcast managers who have been squeezed out of their positions by consolidation and market conditions to get into first-time ownership on a local level. He says, “Times have never been better for a buyer to go into medium and small market radio ownership! The big corporations continue to ignore true localism; they’re focused on cost cutting to service their huge debt hangovers from their spending sprees in the last decade. The local newspaper is no longer the formidable presence or strong advertising competitor it was in the past. This is a great opportunity for a local owner! The conglomerates’ problems have become the local operator’s opportunity! There are strong opportunities for station turn-around and format changes at neglected stations for the new DIY operator. In selected markets, brokers can offer strong cash flow deals at workable multiples to qualified buyers. Good and talented radio people are being made redundant daily by the giant corporations, and as a result, localism in radio is now pretty much just a memory except when a local owner comes in to take over and super-serve the community. And, it’s a fact that the best and most advertiser-effective radio is local radio. For displaced radio executives, this is definitely a golden age of radio ownership… with wide open opportunities to fill the need for good local radio, both on the air and on the street. Local radio markets welcome local owners who become involved in the community and who know the local advertisers on a first name basis.” Holt offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KFWB, Los Angeles To Debut “Trojans Live.” Produced by Fox Sports West and USC Sports Properties, the weekly, hour-long KFWB, Los Angeles broadcasts will be devoted to University of Southern California sports. Men’s football coach Lane Kiffin, men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield, student-athletes, and other coaches from all USC sports will be featured. There will be game previews, insights and breaking news on “Trojans Live,” which will be done before a live audience from a pub located across the street from the USC campus. According to KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn, “Coaches, players, and staff will break stories to the legions of passionate USC fans here in Los Angeles and across the country. Fans will hear exclusive news regularly from the people most in the know.” USC athletic director and renowned former quarterback Pat Haden comments, “We are excited to partner with KFWB in this new venture. This comprehensive radio show will highlight not only our football and basketball programs, but all of our men’s and women’s sports. The show’s content will be compelling, up-to-the-minute and something fans won’t be able to get anywhere else.” Former NFL wide receiver and two-sport USC Academic All-American John Jackson hosts the program with USC Athletics director of social media Jordan Moore; Trojans’ radio announcer Pete Arbogast will be a frequent guest contributor. The first broadcast is next Thursday (8/22) at 7:00 pm, with the show moving to 6:00 pm during the basketball season.
KYZZ Trades Sports for Classical. Silent since July 31, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz’s sports-formatted KYZZ (formerly “ESPN 97.9”) becomes classical “k-Mozart 97.9″ under new owner Saul Levine. Buckley Broadcasting purchased KYZZ eight years ago from Wolfhouse Broadcasting and over the years it had been CHR and rhythmic CHR. Levine – whose Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters owns classical KMZT-AM, Los Angeles (as well as country KKGO there) acquired “Mozart 97.9” about three months ago. The market had been without a classical station since 2011, when Mapleton transitioned KBOQ out of the format. Under the sports umbrella for approximately one year, KYZZ is currently airing commercial-free as “k-Mozart.”
CBS-Less Time Warner Customers Are Beginning to Get Antsy. It has been less than two weeks (8/2) since Time Warner Cable yanked CBS-TV programming in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas in a carriage dispute. Disappearance of The Eye Network is affecting 3.2 million customers and many of them are starting to lose their patience. Interim FCC chair Mignon Clyburn says she will take “appropriate action” if CBS-TV and TWC cannot settle their quarrel, although an FCC spokesperson would not comment further on what that might entail. In a statement, TWC notes, “We agree with the chairwoman that consumers are being adversely affected. We hope that CBS soon will come to a reasonable agreement with us that is fair to our customers and their viewers.” According to CBS, its primetime audience is off by roughly 46,000 viewers, compared with the previous week. It seems that, while programming fees are a principal roadblock, there is a larger issue with digital. TWC reportedly will agree to increase its fee, but wants to keep the same bundle of digital rights it held under the old pact. CBS though wants to be able to sell shows to entities such as Amazon and Netflix. Now that the NFL pre-season is underway and with the fall TV schedule looming, viewer frustrations are bound to heighten even more. According to an Ad Age report, RadioShack has enjoyed “a double-digit spike in high-definition antennas” in those three markets. The Ad Age article states, “It is unclear exactly how many antennas sold that translates into” since RadioShack declined to share “concrete numbers.” In New York, there is a month-long free trial of Aereo, which transmits CBS signals to laptops, mobile devices and computers for $8 a month. CBS programming is free on the CBS mobile app and CBS.com the day after airing; however, CBS is blocking video to those using a TWC IP address. In a separate fee battle that has been going on since July 25, TWC has blacked out Journal Communications‘ NBC affiliate, WTMJ, Milwaukee, to southeastern Wisconsin cable subscribers.