Mike Salk Returns to KIRO-AM as Program Director. The year-long return to his hometown and the afternoon drive co-host slot on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston didn’t pan out and now sports talker Mike Salk is returning to Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle “ESPN 710” to serve as the program director. He’s also expected to pick up an air shift that will be announced in the future. Salk worked with Brock Huard on the station before exiting last spring to partner up with Michael Holley at WEEI. In a statement, Salk says, “I could not be more excited about this unique opportunity and the new challenge of running the programming at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’ Even though I left Seattle last year, it never ceased being home. ‘710 ESPN Seattle’ is a nationally renowned sports station and this opportunity to lead it is an honor. The people in that building are special and I can’t wait to reconnect with all of them.” Station VP/GM David Pridemore adds, “It is gratifying to have Mike return to ‘710 ESPN Seattle’ and 710Sports.com as the program director and eventually as an on-air host. Mike knows the market, our people, the sports talk format, the art and business of radio, and the power and influence of digital media. We are privileged to have Mike at the helm of ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’”
KFYI’s Barry Young Announces Retirement. Talk radio pro Barry Young has been a host at Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix for much of the past 27 years but he’s announcing that he’ll retire from the station in November. Young has held down the mid-morning slot at the station for more than a decade. Young served as the station’s program director from 1988 to 1998. It was during that time he met his future wife, computer expert and talk host Kim Komando. In addition to his work with KFYI, Young is also president and CEO of WestStar TalkRadio Network which syndicates the weekend program hosted by Komando, as well as other radio programs. Young started his career at WGAC, Augusta, Georgia at the age of 14. He went on to work at WRNG, Atlanta; WFAA, Dallas; WNWS, Miami; and WJNO, West Palm Beach before arriving at KFYI in 1987.
RAB: Radio Revenue Flat in 2013. The Radio Advertising Bureau is releasing its report on revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole and on revenue of $17.6 billion for 2013, the radio business was essentially flat compared to 2012. Spot revenue dipped 3% in the fourth quarter of 2013 but the industry was lifted by digital (up 18%), off-air (up 11%) and network comp (up 7%). For the total of 2013, spot revenue was down 1% but buoyed by digital (up 16%) and off-air (up 5%). The source of the figures is accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase based on a pool of more than 100 markets extrapolated for the entire nation. RAB CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to gain momentum among advertisers looking to maximize their use of all radio platforms. Based on the recent Borrell Associates forecast of a 22% rise in digital spending on radio in 2014, this category is poised to surpass the $1 billion mark.” Automotive remained the number one ad category. Ad sectors that gained during 2013 were professional services (up 23%), communications (up 18%), and concerts/theatre/movies (up 12%).
Talking Point: Edison’s Larry Rosin Explores ‘Nationalization’ of Radio. The question of just how far Clear Channel and Cumulus Media will go in eliminating the costly local programming elements from their O&O stations to be replaced by nationally syndicated programs (which they own) is one that’s been discussed much by people in the industry as well as written about in such publications as this. Edison Research president Larry Rosin spoke about it openly at the recent CRS in Nashville and follows that up with a blog piece on the Edison site. Rosin suggests that Clear Channel’s full-steam-ahead move to brand its stations iHeartRadio and Cumulus’ stratagem in the country realm with “NASH FM” are manifestations of the “nationalization” of radio programming by those companies and, while that may save some money and give corporate a monolithic control over programming, ultimately, he believes it’s not going to work. Rosin says the results of his research lead him to that conclusion particularly with regard to younger people and the use of AM/FM radio. “We pretty much hear the same things over and over – they do and will continue to go to radio for unique compelling content – and to be in-the-know on what is happening locally. Young listeners talk to us about the chance to actually meet the personality they hear on the radio and the announcements of local events or concerts. They understand their local radio stations are providing them with something that Pandora and Spotify don’t. So the question is: Will the nationalized radio content be so great, so amazing, so compelling, that the consumers of tomorrow will stay loyal to FM?” So the argument about local versus national programming continues. Perhaps Clear Channel and Cumulus are banking on their reach and relationships with labels and artists to deliver what they consider the best content. Other operators are going the “live and local” route. Time will tell who wins this one. But the cost could be heavy. Read Rosin’s entire piece here.
Cubs Broadcasts Could Leave WGN After 2014 Season. The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman writes that sources indicate Tribune’s WGN, Chicago – broadcaster of Chicago Cubs play-by-play since 1925 – put the rights to carry the games after this season on the market and that CBS RADIO appears to be the most interested. According to the Tribune, CBS is putting together a package that would include airing games on news WBBM and include coverage on its other radio properties. The Cubs reportedly have a current deal that pays the team $10 million per season – per perennially losing season, that is – and the story reports WGN is losing money on the broadcasts. Interestingly, local industry sources in Chicago tell Sherman someone will eventually fork over a lot of cash for Cubs rights. Just which company that is remains to be seen.
Odds & Sods. When the NCAA Division I Men’s tournament begins on Tuesday, March 18, WeswoodOne will offer play-by-play action from 67 games, including the First Four, games from all eight second-round and third-round sites, four regional semifinals and finals venues, and all three games from the NCAA Men’s Final Four at AT&T Stadium in North Texas…..SiriusXM is also presenting coverage of the March Madness tourney and says it’s providing “uninterrupted access to live play-by-play” of all the games. Additionally, On Selection Sunday, the satcaster will provide up-to-the-moment coverage as tournament teams and first round match-ups are announced. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and Steve Torre will host live from 5:00 to 9:00 pm ET on March 16…..Midwest Communications-owned news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo is honored with five Excellence in Broadcasting awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The station won Best in Category awards for Community Involvement and Promotional Materials. In addition, Merit Awards were achieved for Play-by-Play from a hockey game that featured Western Michigan University as well as for Best Morning Personality for an interview conducted on “Kalamazoo’s Morning News.” Another highlight for the station was a win of the Best in New Media Award for the coverage of the 2013 Kalamazoo Marathon.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Salem Radio Network-syndicated Mike Gallagher show is added to the program schedule at KLO, Salt Lake City…..Two new affiliates in Arkansas join the Yahoo! Sports Radio network: KVRC, Arkadelphia and KBOK, Malvern are carrying the full schedule of programming…..KNOX, Grand Forks is the newest affiliate station for GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs.
ObamaCare Criticism Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. Scrutiny of the rollout and the effects of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of March 10-14. Coming in at #2 this week was the 2016 presidential race tied with the Republican special election victory in Florida. At #3 was Obama vs. Putin and the political tensions brought about by the Ukraine and Crimea instabilities. Following at #4 was the lower job approval ratings for President Obama. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.