Ronn Owens Goes Public with Parkinson’s Diagnosis. Longtime KGO, San Francisco talk personality Ronn Owens recently went public with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease that he received in 2001. He tells the San Francisco Chronicle he held off on announcing his condition because he didn’t want people feeling sorry for him and didn’t want to be identified by his illness. Owens tells the Chronicle’s David Wiegand he’s been managing the disease with medications since his diagnosis but felt the time was right for letting his listeners know about it. “I felt it was important to tell people that you can have it like I have for 12 ½ years and not be severely impacted by it. It’s possible, and it’s not a death sentence.” The 68-year-old Owens sounds as though he has no plans to retire from radio if the station still wants him. Read the entire piece here.
CBS RADIO and Townsquare Media Partner on new Michigan News Network. The new venture will roll out September 2 on 20 affiliate stations. Both companies announce that the new Michigan News Network will provide affiliated stations across the state with news, sports and other local content produced by CBS RADIO stations WWJ, Detroit “Newsradio 950” and WXYT-FM, “97.1 The Ticket.” The service offered will include top-of-the-hour broadcasts weekdays from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm and 60-second sports updates three times per day during the same time period. Townsquare Media will serve as the exclusive syndication partner and manage affiliate relationships. CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS RADIO’s Detroit stations have served as the authoritative voice of the community for many years, establishing themselves among the market’s most credible brands and news sources. We are excited to be working with Townsquare to distribute our award-winning programming to listeners across the entire state of Michigan, while also realizing the highest value for our content.”
Martha Zoller to Leave Talk Radio Biz for Political Campaign Gig. After stepping away from the talk radio business a couple of years ago to run for office herself (an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Congress), Georgia talk radio personality Martha Zoller is again leaving the radio industry to join David Perdue’s U.S. Senate campaign. She tells TALKERS that she’s been offered a post in which she’ll be doing surrogate work, training surrogates and messaging as well as focusing on engagement of women and minorities for Perdue’s campaign. Zoller has been co-hosting the “Zoller & Bryant” morning drive show (with news director Tim Bryant) on WGAU, Athens, Georgia as well as in other parts of the state via the Georgia News Network. She says she will continue to write for her zpolitics.com site while working for Perdue’s campaign.
Jason Wolfe Named to Executive Post with Financial Exchange Radio Network. Longtime WEEI and WRKO, Boston programmer Jason Wolfe joins The Financial Exchange Radio Network as chief media and marketing strategist. The network syndicates the WRKO, Boston-based program “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong (pictured below at right) and Kim Carrigan (left)” heard on eight other affiliate stations around New England. Armstrong is president and CEO of the network. In this new role, Wolfe will be in charge of building the brand and expanding the reach of the program in addition to developing new marketing and business partnerships that expose the show to a much larger audience. Wolfe has also been working with former WEEI personality Glenn Ordway as chief content officer for Ordway’s Sportstalkboston.com and will continue in that position. Wolfe comments, “I’m thrilled to be able to work more directly with Barry, to build on what is already a very successful show. I’m privileged to have developed strong relationships with all of the major radio operators across the country and I’m extremely confident that as our discussions continue we’ll be able to expand the reach of this program.” Armstrong adds, “Jason has been working with us as a consultant for several months and has been doing a great job in getting ‘The Financial Exchange’ on additional radio stations. I know that he will build on that success in his new role as our new chief media and marketing strategist.”
Lesson from Napa: Be Prepared for that 3:00 am Telephone Call and Avoid Nasty Pranks While at It. No doubt you remember “it’s three am – and the phone rings…” from a 2008 Clinton for President political ad – arguably the most enduring line from that campaign. And it’s a question broadcasters need to answer BEFORE bad things happen…because bad things tend to happen at the worst possible time. Like 3:20 am PT this past Sunday…when the earth in and around Napa County, California shook like it hadn’t shaken in almost 25 years. At 3:20 am at most stations outside the largest markets – and even at some of the bigs, too – the programming likely is automated, or live via satellite. If anyone actually IS home, they are likely to be the lowest-paid, least-experienced people on the payroll. And that’s OK…we’ve all been there. But it’s only OK if plans are in place to help those folks deal with breaking news when senior managers, more experienced hands – and a full crew – aren’t around to help. If you’re a California station manager, you’ve got a quake plan that takes your staff step-by-step through operations and internal notification, programming and commercial adjustments, and continuous coverage ground rules. You’ve built comprehensive lists of key contacts in local, regional and state government; public and private disaster response groups; academic experts. And you’ve got a network news affiliation to back you up. Because at the end of the day, you’ve got to be fast. You have to be comprehensive. And most of all, you have to be right. In a must-read, informative new piece posted today (8/25) in TALKERS, ABC Television Network director of business continuity and industry expert on emergency preparedness Howard B. Price outlines everything a radio station should do to be ready for an earthquake such as the one that rocked Napa. He also lists things to help you avoid those horrific and embarrassing “pranks” that often accompany fast-breaking news events whereby imposters claiming to be officials get on the air and disrupt the decorum with nasty “gotcha” outbursts. To read the entire article, please click here.
The Best Talk Station Ever: What the Radio Industry Can Learn from a Truly Special News/Talk Operation. Seasoned radio business pro, Bill Brady, president/CEO of South Florida-based media investment firm, Futures & Options, Inc., serves up a fascinating look at one specific radio station that he says should be studied as the “best news/talk radio station, ever.” Wonder what it is? Hint: It existed in the past and proved there can be a lot more to news/talk radio than just one political point of view. Another hint: It had conservative, liberal, lifestyle, consumer advice, sports and art & entertainment elements delivered by legendary hosts who were at the top of their game and it sounded like no other station in the nation. Oh yes, by today’s standards, it also had extraordinarily high ratings Want to find out more? Read Brady’s entire piece by clicking here.
Host Rick Tryon Ends Political Show on KINX, Great Falls. According to a story in the Great Falls Tribune, Rick Tryon is ending his daily one-hour political talk show, citing the difficulty of making it financially feasible. Tryon brokers the “Politics Montana with Rick Tryon” program which consists of him interviewing opinion leaders about political issues. Tryon tells the paper the listeners have been good to the show but it’s time consuming and he’s ready to dedicate energy to other interests. Tryon’s last program will be Wednesday (8/27).
More TALKERS Career Moves. After being unceremoniously let go by longtime employer NPR back in 2004, former “Morning Edition” host Bob Edwards landed at Sirius. Now, 10 years later Edwards is leaving SiriusXM as the satcaster is cancelling his program. SiriusXM has not commented publicly on the move but Politico’s Dylan Byers reports the last show will air September 26…..Louisiana talk show host Jim Engster is taking his eponymous talk show from public outlet WRKF, Baton Rouge to Guaranty Broadcasting’s commercial outlet WBRP, Baton Rouge beginning in November. Engster will move from a one-hour morning program to a two-hour afternoon drive show.
Your Podcast Format. Are you serious about making your podcast stand out from the literally millions of podcasts available on the Internet? As a professional talk show host you probably are already doing some type of on-demand programming, but are you conscious of the program’s format? Media consultant Holland Cooke writes that basic radio formatics apply but there is a difference between an AM/FM talk show and a podcast and your execution should reflect the difference. Cooke says you need to understand how users are consuming your podcast and design the show accordingly. Read his entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Entertainment pro Gary Alan is currently available to handle fill-in work. Alan, a South Florida native who’s worked at such signals as WAXY, Miami, says his unique style easily allows him to navigate through politics, sports, entertainment, and today’s social issues with wit and a sense of humor. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phoned at 407-960-3663…..The regularly scheduled “Ask the Mayor” show on CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles returns Thursday (8/28) as LA Mayor Eric Garcetti spends an hour with KNX listeners from 10:00 am to 11:00 am fielding calls and answering emailed and Tweeted questions. KNX anchor Tom Haule hosts the program that airs about every six weeks…..Yahoo! Sports Radio adds “Sports Kings’ NFL Weekly Countdown” to its weekend lineup. The show debuts Saturday at 7:00 am ET featuring MeanGene “The Sports Machine” and sports host Ronnie Brooks.
Wachs and Smiley on Vegas TV. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right), poses for a selfie with fellow syndicated radio personality and comic Rickey Smiley (left) at the studios of KVVU-TV, Las Vegas “FOX 5.” Dr. Wachs appeared on the “MORE” program to discuss nurse practitioners taking over doctors’ duties and Smiley was there to promote his show at the Orleans Theater in Las Vegas last Friday night.
Ferguson Fallout/Michael Brown Funeral, Obama’s Relationship with Fellow Democrats/Mid Term Elections, Napa Earthquake, U.S. Iraq and Syria Military Policy, Ice Bucket Challenge, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, and VMA Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25). The funeral of Michael Brown and the fallout from his death at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri police; the looming mid-term elections and chatter about the strained relationships between President Obama and fellow Democrats; the Napa, California earthquake and talk of the future “big one” for California; the military policy of the Obama Administration with regard to military involvement in Iraq and Syria; the ice bucket challenge phenomenon; the military tensions between Russia and Ukraine; and Sunday’s VMA Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/25).