TRN Issues Response to Reports of Financial Problems at the Company. TALKERS magazine has received a press release from Talk Radio Network and CEO Mark Masters in response to reports of financial problems at the company. Below is the full press statement as received from TRN at 2:30 pm ET on 9/9:
ARE YOU DIAL GLOBAL’S (WESTWOOD ONE’S) NEXT VICTIM?
The truth about the proposed merger between Dial Global/Westwood One and Cumulus is a dark one for our industry. Dial Global/Westwood One’s market power in programming and sales representation, combined with Cumulus Network’s programming and distribution power in the top 100 U.S. markets, will have a devastating effect on most every area of the radio industry. Our previous experience with Dial Global/Westwood consists of improper, illegal, and/or unethical conduct that is set forth in the second amended complaint http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf in our pending antitrust action against Dial Global/Westwood One and others. If this merger is allowed to occur, the results of our previous experiences with Dial Global/Westwood One will be magnified tenfold to radio stations and content producers, which will be at the mercy of the newly empowered Dial (Westwood One)/Cumulus and the leverage that can be brought to bear by this new behemoth.
If this merger is allowed to occur, the culture of corruption at Dial/Westwood, as described in our second amended complaint, and other filings, will surely infect and spread within the new behemoth entity and victimize the rest of the industry, resulting in a super monopoly.
Sadly, the actions described in the second amended complaint are forcing the TRN companies to cut back to the basic operating essentials pending resolution of the multiple issues raised in their legal actions against Dial Global/Westwood One. We had hoped that the change in management at Dial Global/Westwood One would bring about a new paradigm focused on correcting the prior harms in a manner which would be helpful to our companies and the industry as a whole. Sadly, recent events have shown that the opposite is true and that the behaviors that gave rise to the lawsuits against Dial/Westwood One are endemic throughout the Dial/Westwood One monopoly. The ruthless and unethical behaviors that have continued through multiple executive teams at Dial/Westwood are breathtaking in their scope and arrogance.
We encourage the rest of our industry to stand together, and with us, now. We have been in business for 20 years, and have had excellent relationships with the other companies in our industry during that time. But this is a horse of a different color. Please contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (email@example.com or (202) 307-2040), your state’s Attorney General, and your local member of Congress about the dangers of this proposed merger and its threat to your First Amendment rights, business and products. As for us, we will continue to pursue Dial Global/Westwood One in federal court and other appropriate forums, for monopoly and other improper behaviors, expose the behaviors described in the second amended complaint, and achieve ultimate victory from the tragedy that Dial Global/Westwood One have imposed upon our companies and others within the industry.
DIAL/WESTWOOD ONE SCORES INITIAL VICTORY WITH ARNN
The actions described in the second amended complaint with respect to America’s Radio News Network (“ARNN”), and additional actions which will be the subject of future filings, have now succeeded on an interim basis with respect to ARNN. Specifically, ARNN has been forced to suspend its broadcast operations, effective at the close of its broadcast day on Friday, September 6, 2013, pending the successful outcome of its actions against Dial Global/Westwood. ARNN has arranged for appropriate feeds to be provided to its affiliates for a reasonable period of time to enable them to secure alternate programming.
AS TO RUMORS OF OTHER ONGOING OPERATIONS
All of the TRN companies have been severely damaged by the Dial Global/Westwood One conduct addressed above and also addressed in the various legal actions which the TRN companies have brought, or will bring, against Dial Global/Westwood. That conduct has forced all of these companies to make wrenching internal decisions and to take painful internal actions. As Dial Global/Westwood One has been collecting our advertising revenues, but refusing to pay them over to us or to account for them, these companies have now been forced to reduce as many operating costs as possible. However, the current rumors of an alleged shutdown of broadcasting operations for non-ARNN programming are unfounded. Broadcasts of the other programs are continuing without interruption.
CALL TO ACTION!
If Dial/Westwood can do this to us, they certainly can do this to you – so you need to join together, and with us, in opposing this dangerous merger, with as much force as you can muster, so that you can have a future that is not controlled by a monopoly http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf
Don Wade Passes at 72. Longtime WLS, Chicago morning personality Don Wade – who hosted the program with his beloved wife Roma – died on Friday at the couple’s Florida home. It was almost a year ago that Wade suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He underwent an operation but never returned to the air at WLS. Roma Wade posted the following statement on the WLS website (in part): “Last Friday morning, my hero, my best friend, my soulmate left this mortal coil behind and entered the realm of spirit while wrapped in my loving arms. God blessed us with almost an entire year since Don’s surgery to embrace life, love, family, and adventure, all while knowing that his time on this beautiful earth was drawing to a close. What a gift! What a joy to be entrusted with my magnificent man’s care for that precious time.” Wade began his work at WLS in 1985 with Roma by his side, remaining with the station as it transitioned to talk in 1989 and moving to AM drive. Current Salem Radio Network VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup was VP and GM of the station and charged with flipping it to talk including firing some of the most beloved DJs in Chicago history. He says Wade stayed with the newly formatted station, “Don’s infectious good humor, intelligent grasp of the issues, and his uncanny ability to connect one-on-one with men and women throughout Chicagoland convinced me he had to stay. He and Roma (in those days they kept their marriage a secret) were the very first ‘hires’ I made at the new WLS Talkradio 890. Over the years, Don’s popularity—and our ratings and revenue—soared as he and Roma woke up countless hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans.” Chicago media writer Robert Feder has more on Wade’s passing here.
Mad Social Networking Skills. Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller tackles the question, “So what is it that differentiates ‘mad’ social networking skills from ‘casual’ skills, or just plain competency?” Does it involve video shooting and editing, coding, HTML, or actual IT knowledge? In a new column posted today (9/9) Miller writes, “There’s more to being a good jock than listening to yourself talk. There’s more to being a good sales manager than just knowing a lot of clients. And, there’s more to having ‘mad’ social networking skills than being passionate about posting a ton of stuff!” He goes through five levels to which truly effective social networking skills must rise to be truly effective. They are: 1) Know your target; 2) Know how to talk and listen to your target; 3) Learn how to write well and with style; 4) Understand what fits and doesn’t fit in terms of actual content; and 5) Actively remain engaged to know if your message is reaching the target. To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.
Clear Channel Launched Update App for iHeartRadio Talk. The beta version of iHeartRadio Talk was released in July was done with what president of digital Brian Lakamp admits is “very limited mobile functionality.” But now the company is offering new updates for iOS and Android apps to allow users to access more talk content. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment states, “The updated apps will feature a directory for talk that now allows users the ability to browse and select from hundreds of programs. For the first time ever, segments from ‘The View’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ will be available to coincide with ABC‘s new season.” CC believes that iHeartRadio Talk is “the first audio platform offering on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment audiosodes…The service is trending to be a more popular feature for men than women, though iHeartRadio’s demographic has traditionally skewed more female, allowing the digital service to attract a burgeoning audience.”
Boomer Esiason Debuts on Boston’s ‘Sports Hub.’ The ever-busy Boomer Esiason – co-host of the ‘Boomer & Carton’ morning drive show on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York, sports TV personality and color man for WestwoodOne’s Monday Night Football broadcasts – is debuting on CBS O&O WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” today. For the past couple of years, Esiason made a Monday morning appearance on crosstown WEEI, Boston with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. The segment was recorded before Esiason went on the air on WFAN. Now, Esiason continues reaching Boston sports fans with his expertise with WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich.
Sean Salisbury Teams with John Harris for Midday Show on Yahoo! Sports Radio. Former NFL quarterback and sports talk media pro Sean Salisbury becomes part of the Yahoo! Sports Radio network lineup as co-host of “The War Room” with John Harris airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET daily. Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Sean is a big-time addition to our lineup. He does his homework, he is insightful and he is not afraid to voice his opinions. And the combination of Harris and Salisbury provides some of the strongest football coverage in sports – we are delighted to announce his addition at the start of the NFL season.” Salisbury adds, “I am excited to join Yahoo! Sports Radio and to work with John Harris. I really look forward to working with the entire team there and creating great shows. During his media career, Salisbury has worked for ESPN and CBS Radio. He is currently on the Dallas Cowboys pre-game show for Fox Sports TV in Dallas.
Executive Changes and Promotions at SiriusXM. An internal memo from SiriusXM president and content officer Scott Greenstein informs staff of some new management changes and congratulates those who’ve been promoted. First, Jeremy Coleman, head of talk and entertainment for much of the past 10 years is named senior vice president, Howard Stern channels. Greenstein notes that Coleman “worked closely on the initial development of the channels before Howard’s official launch on SiriusXM in 2006, and is now excited to move over to work with Howard and his team on further growth.” Also, Tim Sabean is named senior vice president, entertainment and comedy. He’ll oversee the comedy channels, as well as a variety of other key entertainment assets including: Opie & Anthony, Piolín Radio, Jason Ellis, Ron & Fez, Covino & Rich, and Dino Costa, as well as the Radio Sex channel. Dave Gorab is promoted to vice president and general manager, talk programming. Greenstein says Gorab has been instrumental in building the news and political talk channels and will expand his oversight to include politics, news, women’s, family, health, educational, religious and specialty talk programming.
Cumulus Sports Talk “105 FM The Ticket” in Minneapolis Adds Local Talk with Help from Tom Barnard. The Twin Cities sports talk tri-mulcast of WGVX (105.1), WGVZ (105.7), and 105.3 FM – up ‘til now relying on content from CBS Sports Radio Network – is adding a local PM drive program beginning today featuring Mike Morris (left) and Bob Sansevere (right) from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Tom Barnard – morning institution who’s heard on the company’s rock KQRS – will also be heard on the station as the third hour of Barnard’s podcast will be aired from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the sports station. The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Neal Justin reports Barnard is bringing former WCCO personality Don Shelby aboard his three-hour podcast as his sidekick and he’ll also be part of the third hour sports talk segment. KQRS operations manager Scott Jameson tells the paper, “We’ve got two well-performing rock stations and it’s smart to leverage those brands to help our baby brother grow up.”
Veteran Journalist Mike Murillo Joins WTOP, Washington. Mike Murillo becomes part of the WTOP, Washington staff as an anchor and reporter beginning today (9/9). Most recently, Murillo worked at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia as anchor/reporter, studio technician and web and social media manager. Prior to his stint in Philly, Murillo was a reporter at “FM News 101.9” in New York. Murillo says, “Like many in this business, for years I have admired WTOP from afar. I am truly excited to now become a member of this amazing news team.” WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo adds, “Mike does it all. Not only is he a seasoned anchor and street reporter, he’s a skilled web designer and broadcast technician. We’re excited to have him join WTOP’s team of broadcast and digital journalists.”
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio freelance reporter Donna Francavilla tells TALKERS magazine she is returning to TV for the first time in 15 years. Though she will continue her freelance for CBS Radio, Francavilla has accepted a temporary, part-time on-air position at WBMA-TV, Birmingham, Alabama. She recently won first, second and third place national communication awards from the National Federation of Press Women, serves as an Edward R. Murrow judge, freelances occasionally for Oprah’s OWN Network, and established a consulting company called Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton is the local affiliate for Cleveland Browns football.