Talkers New York 2014 on Verge of Sell Out – Only 50 Seats Left. As of 12:00 noon ET today (6/9) only 50 registrations remain available for Talkers New York 2014, the 17th annual installment of the talk radio and media industry’s longest running and most important national convention. This year’s event covers the existential issues facing not only talk radio – but radio in general – as both a business and iconic piece of the broader pop cultural picture. According to its director, Michael Harrison, the gathering will “connect the future of talk radio with its past.” Harrison says, “This conference was way ahead of the curve when it was first launched in the late 90s as ‘The New Media Seminar’ in pointing the way toward radio’s inevitable entry into the digital era. While most other conferences are now acting as if the digital age were something new and obsess on the technical aspects of the medium as if we just discovered websites and social media, this year’s conference will accept the internet, apps, and multi-platform options as a given and concentrate on how we can get back to the basics of what makes ‘radio’ special, important, financially viable and culturally indispensable — regardless of the technology via which it is distributed.” Harrison also points out, “Everyone knows how difficult it is to be a professional in this industry these days between layoffs and economic uncertainty. The movers and shakers – both established giants and up-and-coming prospects – that attend this great event create an infinite set of relationships upon which careers and businesses are built. In other words, not only does this convention offer information and inspiration, it also provides its attendees one of the industry’s most potent annual networking environments and opportunities.” There will be more than 65 industry leaders in speaking roles at the conference which takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District. Registration is only open to professionals (and broadcasting students) working in radio and related media. They are neither transferable nor refundable. The cost is $249 per person which includes all sessions, receptions, exhibits, food and refreshments. Registrations can only be booked over the phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. Again, a sellout is expected today or tomorrow. For up-to-the-minute agenda information and further details please click here.
KQTH, Tucson’s Jon Justice Breaks Immigrant Children Story. By now you’re well aware of the story of hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border and being rounded up and processed in Nogales, Arizona. The story was broken last Wednesday by KQTH, Tucson morning drive personality Jon Justice whose sources inside the Border Patrol sent photos (one of which is seen here) of the conditions at the Nogales center where the youths are being temporarily held. See the other pictures sent to Justice in an AZCentral news piece here. The story notes that the children – some as young as one and others as old as 17 – were apprehended crossing the border in Texas and bused to the Nogales center. Justice was out front covering this story that led to the subsequent international story.
Ugly Scene at KFNS and KXFN in St. Louis Plays Out in Local Media; KXFN Host Brian McKenna Fired. An unfortunate scene that took place at Grand Slam Sports-operated KFNS and KXFN in St. Louis was played out for St. Louis Post-Dispatch readers after KXFN morning host Brian McKenna allegedly assaulted Grand Slam Sports president Dan Marshall. As the paper reports, McKenna was upset about comments KFNS host Nick Trupiano was making on his afternoon drive show about McKenna, KFNS host Charlie “Tuna” Edwards and McKenna’s girlfriend. McKenna entered the station offices extremely angry and encountered Marshall. After words were exchanged, McKenna allegedly attacked Marshall physically, sending him to the hospital. St. Louis police were called and, according to the paper, the incident is being reviewed to determine if charges will be brought. Read the story here. The whole episode began when Trupiano was talking about a Post-Dispatch piece recently published that detailed some of the recent trials and tribulations of Grand Slam Sports and Marshall’s leadership of the sports talk stations. That piece is found here.
Cumulus Sets Managers in Mobile, Melbourne and Pensacola. In market #97 (Mobile), Cumulus Media promotes its vice president of sales in that Alabama cluster – Angel Brown – to vice president and market manager. Cumulus senior vice president Gary Pizzati comments, “When we recruited Angel into the company several years ago, we knew she had the core talent, drive, and ability to go much further in our company. Last year, Angel single-handedly turned [Mobile into] a material contributor to our success.” Brown remarks, “I have the privilege of managing four powerhouse stations, alongside an exceptional team of people within an amazing organization. I could not be happier.” Before becoming vice president of sales for Cumulus Mobile, Brown was sales manager for the company’s Albany, Georgia cluster; an account executive in Albany for WALB-TV; and she was an IKON Southwest Georgia/East Alabama account executive. Cumulus Mobile consists of urban contemporary WBLX “The Big Station,” urban AC WDLT, CHR WABD, and AM gospel simulcast WGOK & WXQW. Meanwhile, the company transfers Pensacola, Florida vice president and market manager Hugh McPherson to similar duties in the Sunshine State at its Melbourne-Titusville-Cocoa cluster (market #102). Regional vice president Pete DeSimone notes, “Hugh is a very talented manger with a proven track record for successfully developing and leading great teams. He understands the value of people, our systems, and delivering consistent results for customers.” Senior vice president Gary Pizzati comments, “Hugh took Pensacola to new heights under his leadership. We look forward to the same performance in Melbourne. We are fortunate to have the solid bench strength to be able to promote from within.” McPherson states that leaving Pensacola is “bittersweet, considering the staff’s hard work, dedication, and success. I am honored and excited to lead the charge in Melbourne and work with another very talented team.” McPherson previously was vice president and chief operating officer of Great Plains Media Cookeville, Tennessee; general sales manager at Atlanta’s WBZY and Greenville, South Carolina’s WTPT; and he held that title at Cumulus clusters in Toledo and Savannah, Georgia. The company’s Melbourne stations are CHR WAOA “The Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station,” WHKR “Today’s Best Country,” and WSJZ “Sports Radio 95.9.” Finally, replacing McPherson in Pensacola is VP of sales JJ Waters who is upped to VP and market manager. Pizzati says, “This was a natural move for JJ within Cumulus. Her 20-year tenure in Pensacola as a sales manager has been very advantageous for us. Now at the helm of our newly assembled cluster, JJ will take us to the next level. We’re proud to have her on our team.”
Pittman’s Clear Channel Investment Highlighted in Financial Times Piece. The financial aspect of Clear Channel’s operations and CEO Bob Pittman’s investment of $5 million of his own money in the company are features of a piece in the Financial Times. In the piece, Pittman says “every investment banker in the world” has suggested that Clear Channel spin off its digital platform, iHeartRadio, in order to pay down some of its $20 billion in debt, but Pittman remains steadfast that the multiple platform reach of Clear Channel makes it more valuable. In the piece, Pittman (who was recently resigned to a new contract through 2019) says owners Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee are “patient” but it also underscores that if Pittman is not successful in turning Clear Channel around, he loses his $5 million. Read the story here.
WSCR’s Holmes to Host Morning Show on ‘120 Sports.’ As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WSCR, Chicago evening sports talk personality Laurence Holmes will begin hosting a daily, two-hour morning sports morning show on the soon-to-launch 120 Sports live streaming-video network project from Time Inc./Sports Illustrated, the NHL, MLB.com, and Jerry Reinsdorf-owned Silver Chalice. Feder’s story describes the show as a “national sports roundup” that will air live from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and will feature Chicago comedy actor Dylan McGorty, who also hosts a weekend show at Tribune’s WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7 FM.” WGWG’s Meghan Kluth will oversee social media for the program. Read the full story here.
National Marijuana News Launches Today. Changes in marijuana laws across the country are spurring changes in the way the media reports on marijuana. Case in point is today’s debut of “The National Marijuana News” which launches on Live365, Blog Talk Radio, YouTube and Vimeo, “with terrestrial, satellite and television, in all its forms, to follow.” The program is hosted by industry pro Bruce Kelly and executive produced by Martin Wagmaister, who’s worked with Rick Dees, Ryan Seacrest, and Tom Rounds‘ Radio Express.” Kelly and Wagmaister are calling it “the nation’s first unbiased news-talk radio/TV show that focuses on the political, economic, medicinal and social implications of the rapidly evolving medical and recreational marijuana industry.” Kelly says, “TNM News takes a deep dive beyond the headlines to explore breaking cannabis news with network-news-quality, in-studio and field segments with industry leaders and celebrity guests. It’s no longer a game ‘for’ or ‘against’ marijuana in this country. We are here to educate, inform and entertain Americans so they can accurately decide for themselves.” Wagmaister adds, “Program content is everywhere. The problem we had to overcome is that the content was all extremely biased — either for or against marijuana legislation. We feel it’s imperative to create a news product that presents both sides of the issues.”
Dr. Mickey Barber Joins ‘Late Night Health Radio.’ Joining “Late Night Health Radio” host Mark Alyn as a regular contributor is Michale “Mickey” Barber, MD. Alyn and producer “Insane” Darrell Wayne tell TALKERS Dr. Barber is an age management board certified doctor based in Charleston, South Carolina. She offers tips on feeling and looking younger, while improving general health. “From weight loss to what to eat, Dr. Barber keeps boomer listeners up to date on maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.” The two-hour show airs on KABC, Los Angeles; KTHO, Lake Tahoe; WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida; KMYN, Albuquerque; KUHL, Santa Maria and on RadioActive Internet Radio.
Odds & Sods. News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle names local high school student Sophie Knudsen the winner of its “Standout Student of the Year” award that comes with $10,000 in scholarship money. The station, in conjunction with Comprehensive Wealth Management and the Rotary Club of Lynnwood, awarded nine students – including Knudsen — $1,000 each during the school year with the opportunity to win the grand prize…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association in the categories of Best Newscast for the “KYW Reporters Roundup” and Continuing Coverage for “Changes at The Vatican: A Philadelphia Perspective.” KYW director of news and programming Steve Butler comments, “The work that ‘Reporters Roundup’ host Steve Nikazy puts into the program is unmatched in our industry. The three shows per day contain the highest production values and are extremely informative for the KYW listeners.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS and classic hits WLS-FM will have their sales staffs move to Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart building (from which classic rock WLUP-FM and alternative WKQX also operate) by the middle of this month. Feder also reports that although there is no timetable for moving the studios of WLS-AM and WLS-FM to the Mart, that is something the company plans to do eventually.
Talk Radio Pros Cover D-Day Ceremonies in Normandy. A number of talk radio personnel covered President Obama’s participation in ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy (D-Day) this past Friday (6/9) sending reports back to their respective networks and shows. Pictured at the Normandy Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-su-mer, in Normandy, France, that honors American Troops who died in Europe during WWII are (l-r): David Webb, host, Sirius XM Satellite Radio; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Carole Marks, host, “A Touch of Grey;” and Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service. Ratner tells TALKERS, “Being there was an extremely emotional experience.”