By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Historically horrible winter weather conditions and the cessation of all-Christmas music are most likely contributing factors to the truly stunning January 2015 performance of all-news outlets.
For the most part, optimum ratings tracking of a radio format requires a sample base of at least 20 stations. Especially given that news is a uniquely major-market format, its universe of viable entries consequently hovers at that roughly 20-station level.
Although not coming anywhere close to possessing the massive volume of talk outlets, the feat all-news stations accomplished in the most recent sweep is nonetheless exceptionally impressive: Not one news station on the panel of properties we tracked regressed (6+) from “Holiday” 2014 to January 2015.
News facilities that rank in the top 20 in a PPM market (6+, January 2015) comprise the following scoreboards.
Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations that subscribe to its services. Owing to that reason, ratings stats in this TALKERS analysis are limited to stations that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.
An asterisk (*) designates genuine news-talk hybrids – stations whose broadcast day is approximately 50% news and 50% talk.
Doug McIntyre Returns to WABC, New York. A change to the afternoon drive programming is made at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York as KABC, Los Angeles morning drive personality Doug McIntyre begins hosting “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” on the station Wednesday, March 4. Cumulus says the new, hour-long talk show will be “focused on the most important stories and personalities in New York. As a native New Yorker, McIntyre brings with him a deep understanding of the Tri-State area’s most pressing issues and how they relate to the national headlines of the day.” McIntyre has appeared on WABC in the past. He created the “Red Eye Radio” show in 2000, first as a one-time post-election recap and then as a local overnight show in Los Angeles, expanding to become a nationally syndicated program in early 2010 with WABC as one of its flagship stations. McIntyre also previously hosted “Talking the News” on WABC in 2009, a weekday morning show that aired before “Imus in the Morning.” McIntyre will continue as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC “TalkRadio 790.” McIntyre says, “This is a real homecoming for me and I am genuinely thrilled to be returning to 77 WABC. There is no more dynamic and insane city on the planet than New York. The Tri-State area is like a nation unto itself, with its own politics, its own culture and its own sense of humor and I look forward to highlighting the city’s unique stories again.” Prompting this programming change at WABC is Rita Cosby’s decision to end her work hosting “The Ride Home with Rita Cosby.” Citing her “various TV commitments and international speaking engagements” that require her to spend more time away from her daily show, Cosby is stepping down from the daily show but will continue to be heard on WABC hosting her new weekend talk show that will debut on March 8. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says she will “continue to secure exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names making headlines in current events, politics and entertainment.”
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of all-news-formatted radio stations based on data from the January 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM survey. Kinosian writes, “Historically horrible winter weather conditions and the cessation of all-Christmas music are most likely contributing factors to the truly stunning January 2015 performance of all-news outlets…Although not coming anywhere close to possessing the massive volume of talk outlets, the feat all-news stations accomplished in the most recent sweep is nonetheless exceptionally impressive: Not one news station on the panel of properties we tracked regressed (6+) from Holiday 2014 to January 2015. Read the entire report here.
Marathon-Man Madison. While understandably “exhausted,” SiriusXM‘s Joe Madison achieved his goal of a 52-hour broadcast during which he raised more than $150,000 for the construction of the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. “When you do something for the right reasons – and you have the support of others – you really can do anything,” Madison states. “I hope our SiriusXM broadcast helps cast a spotlight on the need to raise funds for the much needed [museum to be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC].” The Guinness World Record Organization is reviewing the broadcast as a new record. Madison began the marathon this past Wednesday (2/25) at 6:00 am (ET) and continued un-interrupted until Friday (2/27) at 10:00 am (ET).
KGMZ, Oakland A’s Extend Partnership. The deal between KGMZ “The Game” and MLB‘s Oakland Athletics keeps the AL West team’s broadcasts on the Entercom-owned flagship at least through the 2018 season. Market manager Steve DiNardo comments that “The Game” has, “grown as a brand – experiencing consistent ratings and revenue growth during our partnership with the A’s. We are delighted to continue serving as the destination for Oakland A’s radio broadcasts for the next four seasons.” Oakland A’s vice president of broadcasting & communications Ken Pries remarks, “It has been an amazing partnership so far. We look forward to many more seasons of A’s baseball on 95.7 FM and all of the affiliates across the A’s Radio Network.” The A’s primary broadcast team will again consist of Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo, who are in their 20th year and 10th year, respectively, calling the team’s games. Joining them occasionally will be former MLB catcher Ray Fosse, entering his 30th consecutive season on A’s radio. KGMZ will broadcast all 162 regular-season A’s games and some spring training contests. The A’s and “The Game” first partnered in 2011.
Cumulus Sends The Vibe to Memphis. Score yet another transition to classic hip-hop as Cumulus Media Memphis jettisons talk on WKIM in favor of “98.9 – The Vibe.” Cumulus senior vice president of programming Mike McVay comments “The Vibe” is “designed to capture the spirit and complexity of Memphis. This city has birthed many music types of which this format is one more. ‘The Vibe’ is classic hip hop.” In addition to hosting mid-days on co-owned rocker WXMX “The Max,” Danni Bruns is programming “The Vibe” and she remarks, “Memphis has always been at the forefront of music. Now we have a new ‘Vibe’ – this is our party station.” Late last year, Flinn Broadcasting flipped Memphis alternative outlet WIVG to “throwback hip-hop” as “Bumpin’ 96.” The logo for Memphis’ “Vibe” mirrors that of Indianapolis sibling WRWM, although the latter is using “The Beat” rather than “The Vibe” as its handle. Naughty By Nature‘s “Hip-Hop Hooray” kicked off Friday’s (2/27) noontime launch of Memphis’ “Vibe.” Among persons 6+ in the latest (January 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report for Memphis, WKIM registers a 1.4, ironically tying it at #19 with WIVG. The 1.4 for WKIM is the station’s best (6+) performance in more than two years – it hit 1.8 in November 2012.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
WASHINGTON — No one seems to be neutral over net neutrality. On February 26, the FCC approved new rules to classify and regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility by a vote of 3-2 strictly along party lines with the three Democratic commissioners voting in favor of the new rules and the two Republican commissioners voting against the proposal.
Not that any of the commissioners appeared to be against net neutrality. Net neutrality is the name for the principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally and that Internet Service Providers cannot charge more for higher-speed service and greater access which would limit the most effective use of the Internet to only those large companies that could afford the greater fees. Under net neutrality, the Internet Service Providers could not speed up, slow down or block delivery of any content or service. Those in favor of net neutrality fear giving Internet Service Providers too much power and control over how people surf the net. Internet Service Providers have opposed net neutrality for years, arguing that they should be able to charge higher fees to some companies, such as Netflix to receive faster service. However critics of the Internet Service providers’ proposals for tiered pricing say that it would stifle freedom of speech and equal access that is at the cornerstone of the Internet and, in effect, would result in only big companies that could afford larger fees having effective access to the Internet as a means of communication.
Westwood One Announces: Here’s Johnny! Bona fide Chicago radio cult legend Jonathon Brandmeier takes to the national stage next month when Westwood One commences syndicating his daily three-hour eponymous show-gram. Executive vice president of content and programming for Westwood One’s parent company – Cumulus Media - John Dickey comments, “Jonathon is one of the most versatile performers in radio today. We know audiences will enjoy his lively humor and take on each day’s topics. We are thrilled to add ‘Johnny B’ to the Westwood One roster of relevant and relatable talk programming.” Remarking this is an “extremely exciting” time for all those associated with his show-gram, Brandmeier – who has achieved industry success in Los Angeles (on talk KLSX) and Phoenix (on KZZP) as well as in Chicago – notes, “We look forward to continuing to entertain audiences in Chicago and expanding our reach nationwide. Fasten your seatbelts – it is going to be a wild ride.” Simultaneous with Brandmeier’s addition to the Westwood One roster is the departure from it by the program hosted by Dennis Miller. The former “SNL” cast member states that he is “stepping aside from radio at the moment” and that, “it has been a great run. I have had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience, but with so many other commitments, it is hard to maintain a daily talk show. It is time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities – I wish ‘Johnny B’ lots of luck.” Three top-five market Cumulus-owned AM stations (KABC, Los Angeles, WLS-AM, Chicago, and KLIF-AM, Dallas) have already cleared Brandmeier’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) program. In addition, there are affiliates in Salt Lake City (KKAT), Providence (WPRV), and Albuquerque (KTBL) – all are Cumulus Media AM properties.
Steve McCoy to Host Mornings on ‘News Radio 106.7’ in Atlanta. The Cumulus Media news station is changing morning shows, bringing aboard Atlanta market pro Steve McCoy, effective Monday, March 1. McCoy worked at the old WZGC “Z93” in AM drive where he was the longest-running morning personality in the station’s history. He also worked at “Power 99,” WSTR “Star 94” and WSB-FM “B98.5.” WYAY “News Radio 106.7” program director Greg Tantum says, “Steve has had a personal relationship with millions of Atlanta radio listeners for years. Steve’s deep roots in the community bring a one-of-a-kind perspective and understanding to the daily lives of Atlanta residents. Most important, Steve has proven he is the best at entertaining listeners and making them feel good – even in Atlanta traffic.”
Weisman: The Battle Over Net Neutrality. With yesterday’s passage of the FCC’s proposal to reclassify the Internet as a public utility and regulate it, the battle may have just begun. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a timely column examining the matter, writes that this is sure to bring about court challenges by the ISPs. Weisman notes that even though there was support in both the Democrat and Republican parties for preventing ISPs from creating multi-tiered delivery services, there are other issues that Republicans say are problematic. “Opponents of the FCC’s classifying the Internet as a utility are concerned that, by doing so, the FCC would have increased authority to regulate rates and take other actions that they believe would stifle investment by Internet Service Providers and slow innovation. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he is cognizant of the power that classifying the Internet as a utility would provide the FCC, but that he expects to use a ‘light touch’ in regulating the Internet and would ignore powers that the FCC had that did not relate to broadband. The devil is often in the details and it will be important to see whether a ‘light touch’ is reflected in the specific regulations to implement the vote which will not be published for a few days and will not become effective for a few months.” Read Weisman’s entire column here.
Today Is the Last Day to Receive the Early Bird Discount for Talkers New York 2015. Registrations are already being booked at a rapid pace as Talkers New York 2015 is heading toward being an early sell-out. The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early-bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET this afternoon. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced next week.
Jim Bohannon to Emcee Awards Ceremony at Talkers New York 2015. Talk radio great Jim Bohannon will reprise his stellar performance as Emcee of the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12. The veteran Westwood One syndicated personality (a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award) will preside over the presentation of the honors which include awards for: Freedom of Speech, Lifetime Achievement, Woman of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year. Stay tuned for the names of the award recipients as well as those who will be making the presentations.
Rogers Upped to News Director for Entercom Upstate. Morning news personality Lee Rogers is promoted to news director for Entercom’s Upstate South Carolina station group. Rogers anchors the morning news on news/talk WYRD, Greenville “106.3 WORD” during “The Tara Show.” Entercom Upstate OM Mark Hendrix comments, “Lee brings a wealth of news experience and Upstate knowledge. I look forward to Lee expanding 106.3 WORD’s position as the Upstate’s breaking news leader. Listeners will hear more proprietary content on the news that matters most to them.”
Odds & Sods. With the signing of Jonathon Brandmeier to the Westwood One network and the show being picked up by Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago, the station cuts ties with John Kass and Lauren Cohn, who were co-hosting the late morning daypart, although Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the station is auditioning Lauren Cohn for work on the morning show hosted by Big John Howell. Filling in on the late morning program until Brandmeier starts is talk radio pro Tom Becka, who’s on the air there today through March 6…..American political satirist – and five-time Emmy nominee – Will Durst joins the regular panel of humorous pundits on the weekly podcast “The Koz Effect,” which streams live at 7:00 am ET Saturdays via the Radio Titans podcast network…..San Antonio news/talk KTSA is now heard on the FM dial in the market as Alpha Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K296GK at 107.1 FM…..Powell Broadcasting’s news/talk KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa begins simulcasting its programming on translator K235CA, Sioux City at 94.9 FM…..ABC and PodcastOne are debuting a new, original podcast series which takes an in-depth look at the new television drama “American Crime.” The weekly podcast will be hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Joining Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey, who will air in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. His show is also being added to the evening program schedule at CBS RADIO’s news WNEW-FM, Baltimore/Washington…..The “Good Day” show with host Doug Stephan adds 11 new affiliate stations, including: WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KFTL, Gilbert Arizona…..The “Business Rockstars” show with Ken Rutkowski is added to the program schedule at 18 Rocking M Media outlets in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma…..“The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan joins the program lineup at WXTK-FM, Cape Cod…..WCGO, Chicago adds Bruce DuMont’s “Beyond the Beltway” to its weekend lineup…..BizTalkRadio clears several shows, including the Ray Lucia program, on new business talk outlet WHFS-AM, Tampa and the 11-station “SuperTalk” chain in Mississippi…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete joins the program lineup at WRKO, Boston.
Hannity Visits Chris Stigall Show at CPAC Radio Row. In this photo, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity (right, standing at mic) makes an impromptu stop at the WPHT, Philadelphia booth on the radio row at the CPAC conference. He appeared on the morning show hosted by Chris Stigall (far left, seated). During the broadcast Stigall spoke with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughter Bristol, and potential 2016 candidate Senator Ted Cruz.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Takes Sacramento. Nationally syndicated radio talk star Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money” live event tour continued last night (2/26) in Sacramento as he presented his program about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future at Adventure Church. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate KSTE helped promote the event. KSTE program director Bill White comments, “Dave Ramsey touches, inspires, and helps people every day. He not only provides a healthy perspective in regards to personal and professional finances but has an overall ‘LIFE’ philosophy that resonates with his audience far and wide. His show isn’t just about money; it’s about life. We’re proud to have Dave on “Talk 650” KSTE, a radio show that’s important and matters to listeners and our clients.” Pictured here are (from l-r): KSTE’s Joel Mordhorst, account executive; Darren Mounts, general sales manager; Ramsey; Michelle Alfano, account executive; Jeff Bussani, account executive; and White.
Cool Job Opportunity. Media Advertising & Sponsorship Sales, Ramsey Solutions – The Dave Ramsey Show. This is not a normal job-posting… because this is not a job! We have “one” incredible opportunity available, that will change your life. The only question is “Are you that person?” Ramsey Solutions has an opening for the right person who possesses as a minimum: Proven track-record of closing million dollar deals; Ability to deliver results for your client because you care enough to put together the right solution; Personal integrity that allows your to rise above your competition; Aptitude to hear the word ‘No’ as an opportunity; Fortitude to manage the resources of Radio, Video, Digital, Print, and Event Sponsorships to create unlimited earning potential; Strong working knowledge of what we do and “Why” it works so well every time! This position provides the ability to represent: The Dave Ramsey Show — 3rd Largest Nationally Syndicated Talk Radio Show in the nation; 558 Radio Affiliates nationwide – 8.5 million weekly listeners; 2009 Marconi Award Winner; 2013 NAB Hall of Fame Inductee. Digital Footprint – 1.6 million weekly impressions; Podcast; Online Video Channel/App; Online Audio Stream; iHeartRadio Dedicated Channel. Print Exposure — Two (2) Newsletters with more than 1 million subscribers combined. Live Event Sponsorship — (20) Events each year reaching more than 75,000 in attendance. The opportunity to prove what you can do begins now! If you have what it takes to fill this “one” position then it’s your assignment to get our attention. When we find this person we will commit to providing an incredible work environment, un-paralleled resources with a brand that delivers results, and the ability to control your own earning potential with no corporate imposed ceiling. Apply online at www.daveramsey.com/careers.
Department of Homeland Security Funding Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 23-27. The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was President Obama’s amnesty order tied with the controversial comments made by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Coming in at #3 was the brutality of ISIS tied with the Iran nuclear weapons program, and following at #4 was the allegation of Bill O’Reilly’s violating the journalistic ethics code. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and it published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
BRADENTON, Fla. — There is no simpering, third-rate actor in a silver tuxedo making an ill-informed political statement on the red carpet. There is no cutesy starlet in a besequined gown cut down to her pupick sashaying on the red carpet. In fact, there is no red carpet.
This is not the Emmys, the Oscars, the Clios, the Obies, the Tonys and all those other minor award ceremonies that have, at long last, been swept out of the way to make way for the most important presentation of the year – The Hersky Awards….The Eighth Annual Hersky Awards – honoring achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales.
Sean Hannity to Moderate Major Panel Session, “The State of Radio Ratings,” at Talkers New York 2015. Continuing with an important theme that he has discussed at prior TALKERS conferences, Premiere Radio Networks and Fox News Channel talk icon Sean Hannity will moderate a panel analyzing the changing relationship between talk radio (as well as radio in general) and audience measurement methodology as we move further into the digital age. It is no secret that determining the methodology to properly and fairly balance (and credit) listenership to radio programming on both terrestrial and online platforms has been a bumpy transition creating challenges for radio programmers and sellers alike. Joining Hannity will be a stellar panel including (in alphabetical order): Erica Farber, president/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Phil Boyce, SVP/Spoken Word Format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network, operations VP, New York Region; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations, VP/news-talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group, and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media. The panel will be joined by a yet-to-be-named representative of Nielsen Audio. The session will be held as part of the power-packed, day-long “Talkers New York 2015” on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. This marks the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. It will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of TALKERS magazine which was launched by Michael Harrison in the summer of 1990. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now! More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.
TalkersRadio Back for 2015 after Brief Retooling with Experimental Programs by Alan Colmes and Lionel. TalkersRadio, the experimental internet radio platform launched by TALKERS in 2013, is back online after a two-month “re-tooling” in which several technological improvements were instituted and new ideas sorted out. The platform is designed to serve as a workshop for new shows and concepts being developed as well as an industry showcase for programs about to be marketed. On announcing the re-launch, TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein states, “We are happy to be back up and running with great enthusiasm for the potential of this audio ‘stage.’ All of us at TALKERS are indeed proud of the remarkable success TalkersRadio has had in its first year-and-a-half providing a number of fine broadcasters the opportunity to work out new ideas and techniques, including having launched the terrestrial radio success of the Brent & Meg show and Doug Stephan’s ‘American Family Farmer.’” The platform, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “an audio gymnasium” is re-launching with two on-demand programs hosted by well-known hosts Alan Colmes and Lionel. Colmes – star of Fox News Radio and the Fox News Channel – is continuing to work on a concept titled “Healed Planet” — far removed from his political fare — in which he interviews thought leaders in the human consciousness movement. Lionel – an iconoclastic and legendary veteran of major radio and television stations and networks, currently seen and heard on his own LionelMedia.com, performs an exclusive, experimental program for TalkersRadio simply titled, “Lionel.” In it, he amply displays his remarkable and compelling aptitude for stream of consciousness story-telling and observations of leading-edge issues. According to Bernstein, “TalkersRadio will also be streaming live industry events and inner-industry forums in the coming weeks and months with an exciting ‘new and improved’ system powered by our colleagues at Backbone Networks in Boston.” Bernstein encourages broadcasters with new ideas and concepts that might be of interest to TalkersRadio to get in touch with him at 413-565-5413. To hear TalkersRadio, please click here.
‘Mogul Mom’s Playbook’ Debuts on PodcastOne. Joining the growing stable of star-powered podcasts available via the Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne is “Mogul Mom’s Playbook with Shaunie and Stella.” The new podcast focuses on the increasing commitment of moms to juggle kids, career, parenting and relationships and is hosted by “Basketball Wives” star and executive producer Shaunie O’Neal and famed executive producer and founder of Wikked Entertainment, Stella Bulochnikov. The weekly program features the duo and their celebrity friends “as they share tips, advice, support and lots of laughs to encourage the everyday ‘superwoman.’” Pattiz says, “We are thrilled to welcome Shaunie and Stella to our family of hosts. Their expressive personalities are such a joy to be around and their ability to connect with women has been proven in their personal and professional lives.”
Odds & Sods. The first of three Republican primary debates will be moderated by Salem Media Group talk show host Hugh Hewitt. Salem is working with CNN to produce the RNC-sanctioned debates. According to a press release, Hewitt will also broadcast special editions of his talk show pre- and post-debate. At the conclusion of the debate, candidates will be invited to join Hewitt to talk candidly about the event and the pressing issues facing the nation. Hewitt says, “I am delighted to be included with journalists posing questions as part of one of America’s finest political traditions – the presidential debate.”…..The self-described “metaphysical/biographical” program, “Outer Limits Of Inner Truth,” is airing a special two-hour show on Thursday, February 26 to commemorate its one-year anniversary. The program is distributed via Star Com Radio Networks and airs on more than 24 stations across the country…..SWN Communications, a Memphis-based provider of the “Inside Track” radio show dedicated to horse racing, announces the program – hosted by Charlie Ricks and Bernie Halprin – becomes available on Yahoo! Sports Radio’s national network effective February 28.
Rudy Giuliani Comments Controversy, Obama Amnesty Order Case, DHS Funding Battle, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Ukraine Tensions, Sunday’s Academy Awards, and Frigid Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/23). The controversy over former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Obama’s love of his country; debate over President Obama’s amnesty order and its effects; the congressional battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the civil unrest in Ukraine and Russia’s role in the matter; the 87th Academy Awards; and the frigid weather affecting much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Plain talk: At too many stations – some with once-proud call letters – weekends are an embarrassment. Through utter neglect, stations injure ratings and leave money on the table.
In many cases, management doesn’t even listen on Saturday and Sunday, either because:
a) They don’t dare listen. It’s like a solar eclipse: “Look away!!!” They know their weekend is a wasteland of automation misfires and pay-for-play shows, the audition for which was the check didn’t bounce. Management just shrugs.
b) They can’t listen. There are more stations in the cluster than they can manage, and the one dismissively referred to as “the AM” gets short shrift. No names, but one station I hear airs the same disclaimer copy before and after paid shows. The voice (who was PD two-PDs-ago) says “THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM…” after the show has ended.
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
- Let’s start with a reality check. How much time do you have to reach what ratings level? If you work for Bonneville or Hubbard you probably have more time than if you work for Cumulus or iHeartMedia? If you’re a GM or PD, it doesn’t really matter what you think is reasonable if your boss has other ideas. Find out what the bosses’ realities are. That’s your reality. If you don’t think the bosses’ ratings expectations are reasonable, better let him or her know up front. Matched expectations are good for job security.
Hedgecock Gives Way to Benson on Radio America. After many successful years in national syndication – which followed a long reign as the king of talk radio in San Diego, Rodger Hedgecock is ending his daily long-form radio show to focus on his work as a TV commentator and elections coverage specialist for KFMB-TV, San Diego “CBS 8” and his production of the two daily reports he does for KFMB, San Diego. Radio America COO Mike Paradiso states, “Roger has been a strong leader in Radio America’s lineup for years and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication. He will be missed.” Taking over Hedgecock’s nationally syndicated program is Chad Benson, whom Radio America describes as “a rising star from the Next Generation of talk hosts.” Benson debuts on March 30 from home base at Alpha Media-owned KUFO, Portland “Freedom 970.” About Benson, Radio America says the 44-year-old is “an accomplished talk show host boasting over 22-years-experience in the entertainment industry. He started in music radio in the 1990s at the legendary KRTH, Los Angeles as the executive producer of the Robert W. Morgan show and has also been featured on Los Angeles radio stations such as KZLA-FM and KNCI-FM and KWOD-FM in Sacramento. Chad has also honed his skills as a voice artist for several Hollywood productions, as fans of ‘Droopy the Dog’ hear Chad’s voice as the signature Hanna-Barbera character.” Alpha Media San Antonio OM/PD Greg Martin says, “Chad Benson is not the usual talk host. His entertaining style and passion for talk radio helped develop him into a great talent. He’s not afraid to go places the average talk host will not tread. Very unique.” Benson’s show will air 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.
Weekends: Healing Talk Radio’s Achilles Heel. In a new article posted today in TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke boldly states: “At too many stations – some with once-proud call letters – weekends are an embarrassment. Through utter neglect, stations injure ratings and leave money on the table.” He goes on to offer advice and insights designed to help programmers and management maximize weekends – including brokered programs – to improve station ratings, revenue and image in the community. He also appears on the latest installment of TalkersTV (upper right column box on every page of Talkers.com) with valuable information about how talk stations can make their Saturday and Sunday programming truly “Solid Gold Weekends.” To see TalkersTV, please check out the upper right box on every page of Talkers.com. To read Cooke’s new column, please click here.
McMahon: Determining How Long it Will Take for a Radio Show to Succeed. Just how long to give a new radio show to “take off” has been a debate in the radio business almost since the medium debuted. All parties would love the answer to be, “almost instantaneous,” but that’s not realistic. Bill McMahon, CEO of The Authentic Personality, writes in a column published in TALKERS magazine today that programmers must get realistic expectations from their superiors. But once the timeline is known, there are things that can be done to make success happen as quickly as possible. “Coaching focused on perfecting talents and strengths and highlighting appealing personal traits will significantly speed up the development process. Nothing slowed the development of the superstars of radio, true originals, like Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and Larry Lujack more than bad coaching from PDs and management that didn’t recognize and support their unique talents and strengths. Each was fired multiple times. All were told to fit into some current standardized success model and be anything but themselves. They refused. Each had his own instincts and ideas about the kind of show he wanted to do.” Read the rest of this enlightening piece here.
John Dickey and Michael Harrison to Conduct “Fireside Chat” at Talkers New York 2015. The agenda is being set for Talkers New York 2015 and one of the highlights of what promises to be a power-packed day of relevant discussions, presentations, and addresses will be a conversation between Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The presentation will be conducted in the informal, one-on-one “fireside chat” format. John Dickey is responsible for Cumulus’ sales, programming, marketing, promotion and engineering and will be able to offer comments, opinions and information about a wide variety of issues presently facing talk radio, as well as the entire spectrum of radio formats. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “There are few people as ‘plugged into’ both the day-to-day operations as well as the big picture of commercial radio in America today than John Dickey. He has extensive, first-hand knowledge about what’s happening in the business and plays an enormous role in influencing policy – plus he has a true passion for radio and its position in our society. I look forward to this session with enthusiasm and plan on it providing our attendees with a lot of valuable takeaways.” Save the date and register early. The 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention will take place on Friday, June 12, 2015. It will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.” The all-day event – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm — is again expected to be a quick sellout. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now! Speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.
Round Four of January PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Salem Incorporates ‘Media’ into New Corporate Name. As a corporation with multiple media platforms, Salem Communications Corporation decides to change its name to Salem Media Group to better reflect “the dynamic growth” of its multi-media business. Salem CEO Ed Atsinger says, “Salem’s mission has always been to serve our two core audiences – Christian and conservative – with engaging and meaningful content. That mission brought us into radio, and it has guided our growth ever since. As more and more of our audience seek new ways to get information and inspiration, we have added new media platforms to our traditional radio offerings. Now nearly one-third of our total revenue comes from non-broadcast sources. This rebranding of Salem acknowledges our evolution and confirms our commitment to serve our market.” Salem says that in addition to its 106 radio stations and syndicated programs, it “owns several of the most influential brands in the Christian and conservative media space, including Crosswalk.com, GodVine.com, Christianity.com, BibleStudyTools.com, TownHall.com, HotAir.com, RedState.com, Human Events.com, the Conservative Book Club, and Regnery Publishing.
Flores Appointed High Desert Broadcasting LSM. Former Lazer Broadcasting Oxnard-Ventura national and regional sales manager Renee Flores joins High Desert Broadcasting as local sales manager for its seven-station cluster in Lancaster, Palmdale, and the Antelope Valley (Southern California). High Desert president Miles Sexton comments that Flores, “brings a rare combination of experience in both product marketing and broadcast sales to this position, along with proven team leadership accomplishments. We are thrilled to have her join our management team to oversee the sales operation of this dominant radio cluster.” Flores points out that she has lived “in this exciting and growing portion of the Los Angeles metro area. It is great to be returning with such a wonderful opportunity to grow and serve the diverse business community here.” Flores’ prior background includes being general sales manager for Lazer Broadcasting’s three Oxnard-Ventura stations, as well as handling sales for the company’s 25 California and Nevada stations. High Desert’s seven stations are KOSS “NewsTalk 1380″; regional Mexican KCEL “Que Buena 96.1″; hot AC KGMX “K-Mix 106.3″; alternative KKZQ “The Edge”; classic rock KQAV “The Quake”; KMVE “Classic Top 40″; and regional Mexican KUTY “La Mera Mera 1470.”
Johnston Joins Westwood One in EVP Role. Joining the company as executive vice president, Midwest division in the network sales department is Doug Johnston. The company says he’ll “oversee revenue development and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events. Johnston is based in Chicago and reports directly to Westwood One president Steve Shaw.” He comes to WW1 from his most recent post as SVP, sales, central region, for Premiere Networks.
Odds & Sods. Adding another daily show to his current role as afternoon drive personality on iHeartMedia’s legendary WHO, Des Moines, is Simon Conway. Today (2/23), he begins hosting the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids…..Fusion and ESPN Radio are announcing an agreement in principle for the former to simulcast the Dan Le Batard radio program beginning this spring. The three-hour broadcast will air weekday afternoons from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.
Cool Job Opportunties. Several outstanding career opportunities are currently open at Journal Broadcast Group‘s news/talk/sports WTMJ, Milwaukee. WTMJ has taken traffic reporting in-house, after working with an outside vendor, and is building its own 24-hour on-air/digital traffic center. There are opportunities for traffic reporters. The station also has a rare opportunity for a sports anchor/sports talk host. WTMJ is also searching for an experienced digital content producer/morning show producer. In sports marketing, WTMJ is adding another sports account manager position to sell Green Bay Packers football and Milwaukee Brewers baseball. See these and other great opportunities at Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee Operations here.
RAB on 2014: Off-Air and Digital Help Bolster Spot and Network for Flat Revenue Year. The annual report on radio’s revenue for the previous year from the RAB is released and the organization states that radio ended Q4 and full year 2014 with revenue comparable to those reported at year-end in both 2013 and 2012. Radio’s digital and off-air sectors delivered impressive growth rates throughout the year, which also saw slight dips in the spot and network sectors. For all of 2014, spot revenue was down 3% and network revenue dipped 4%. Those decreases were offset by the rise in digital (up 9%) and off-air revenue (up 16%). RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “Radio held its own in 2014 with radio revenue remaining steady despite an economic climate which saw some businesses tightening their spending in Q4 due to reduced consumer confidence. Digital revenue growth indicates that radio is meeting marketers’ growing commitment to reach consumers via all digital ad channels, and this continued growth confirms radio’s position as a true marketing partner.”
ABC News on the Red Carpet at the Oscars. At last night’s 87th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, ABC News was on the red carpet interviewing the stars in advance of the annual awards program. Pictured here is ABC News’ Jason Nathanson (right) speaking with comic, actor and record producer Kevin Hart (left).
Entercom 2014 Q4 Net Revenue Up 2%. That increase over the same period a year ago comes on revenue $101.5 million. For all of 2014, Entercom Communications posted net revenue up 1% over 2013, with total net revenue hitting $379.8 million. Other fourth quarter data includes: station expenses increasing 3% to $63.3 million; station operating income flat at $38.2 million; and free cash flow rising 4% to $23.4 million. For the year 2014, adjusted net income per share was flat at $0.79. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “After finishing 2014 with modest gains in net revenues, adjusted net income and free cash flow, Entercom is looking forward to a promising year of opportunity in 2015. Our recently announced Lincoln Financial Media acquisition will add a number of terrific new markets and brands to our lineup and should be accretive to shareholders with no material impact on our solid balance sheet. And we are well positioned to capitalize on a number of other significant growth opportunities throughout the organization.” If you remember, Entercom is buying Lincoln Financial Media’s 15 stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets for $105 million. It will sell one of its Denver FMs to comply with FCC regulations.
iHeartMedia Q4 Net Revenue Rises 1%. During its 2014 Q4 conference call, iHeartMedia announced that net revenue was up 1% for both the fourth quarter of 2014 and for the year as a whole. iHeartMedia COO Richard Bressler said during the investors conference call that “political dollars, traffic and weather, as well as national broadcast radio, drove higher revenues in a market that was soft across local radio.” Bressler also touted the performance of the iHeartRadio digital platform, saying it has surpassed 60 million registered users and that total listening hours have risen 14% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Round Three of January PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
WTEM, Washington to Launch Local AM Drive Show. Currently, Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington ESPN980 carries ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show. But beginning on March 16, the station will pair up longtime morning drive personality Chris Paul with national sports columnist Jason Reid to host “The Man Cave with Chris Paul and Jason Reid.” Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the show “will be a blend of sports, comedy and entertainment and we are thrilled to welcome these two talented men to ESPN980.” Chris Paul has worked in radio as part of the Donnie Simpson show on crosstown hip hop WPGC for 16 years and, for the last six years, on the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” Jason Reid began his professional journalism career at the Los Angeles Times covering the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Clippers and providing college basketball analysis. He moved to Washington in 2010 as the beat writer for the Washington Redskins for the Washington Post and was promoted to a sports columnist position in January 2011. Reid will continue writing as a NFL columnist for ESPN.com. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean adds, “We have been interested in creating a local morning drive show on ESPN980 for a while. Chris and Jason give us and the Washington, DC sports fan the perfect combination of sports knowledge, humor and personality.”
Odds & Sods. Producer Scott Miller jumps from Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to Hubbard’s classic rock WDRV to serve on the new Dan McNeil and Pete McMurray morning show…..Celebrity cook Paula Deen works out a deal with Compass Media Networks to launch daily radio vignettes called, “Get Cooking with Paula Deen,” and a weekly long-form podcast called, “What’s Cooking with Paula Deen.” They will debut on May 1…..USA Radio Networks adds “Animal Radio” to its weekend lineup, airing on Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, effective March 7…..New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is hosting a special show on Cumulus Media‘s WABC on February 21 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm titled, “The Business of Fashion Week,” focusing on the fashion economy and featuring interviews with leading fashion industry insiders…..Alpha Media announces today that KXTG-AM, Portland “750 The Game” enters into a partnership agreement to continue as the official radio station of the Portland Thunder of the Arena Football League…..At the Fort Lauderdale cluster of iHeartMedia, Shari Gonzalez is named VP of sales…..ABC Radio is providing coverage of the 87th Annual Academy Awards this Sunday. Correspondent Jason Nathanson will be live on the red carpet with interviews from the night’s biggest stars. Starting at 8:20 pm ET, ABC News correspondent David Blaustein will anchor twice-hourly, one minute status reports from New York correspondents Alex Stone and Jason Nathanson reporting from backstage at the main event.
Joe Madison to Attempt Marathon Talk Show Record to Benefit Museum of African American History. Talk radio host Joe Madison, as part of Black History Month, will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for hosting the longest talk radio show on Wednesday and Thursday, February 25-26. The current record is 50 hours and the SiriusXM “Urban View” host plans to concurrently raise funds for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, currently under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The non-profit museum is scheduled to open in 2016.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Kicks Off in Denver. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey began his 2015 Smart Money tour in Denver yesterday (2/19) with a sold-out appearance at the Bellco Theatre. The Smart Money tour presents Ramsey’s philosophy on winning with money, getting out of debt, and investing for the future. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan appeared with Ramsey on stage. Ramsey and affiliate station KKZN “Real Talk 760” worked together to promote the event. Station program director Greg Foster comments, “The Dave Ramsey show connects with listeners like no other. ‘Real Talk 760’ has been in existence for less than a year, but Dave sold out 5,000 seats to his live event in Denver. Dave’s fans are incredibly loyal, and that translates to new revenue for his stations.” Pictured here at the iHeartMedia Denver studios are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Denver director of integrated media and special events Ryan Clune, general sales manager Jessica Farias, Ramsey, and market manager Pat Connor.
Battle Against ISIS/Islam Criticism Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 16-20. The fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the political controversy over associating Islam with the militant organization was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was a Texas court’s stay of the Obama amnesty order. At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects and following at #4 was the rise in European anti-Semitism. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Payola: What Every Broadcaster Should Know. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a piece published today (2/19) that the Payola laws are something all broadcasters should be aware of, regardless of format. While the Payola “scandal” of the late 1950s causes many people to associate Payola with playing records for consideration, any content that’s paid for must be identified. Weisman writes, “The [Federal Communications] Commission has noted that the Sponsorship Identification Laws are ‘grounded in the principle that listeners and viewers are entitled to know who seeks to persuade them.’” Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
McMahon: Listen to Your Creative Voice. Talk radio consultant Bill McMahon says that all of us are born creative. “From a very young age we all have a quiet little voice in our head that comes from somewhere deep inside. It whispers unique and amazing thoughts and ideas to us. In the beginning, we all hear these ideas, get excited, and do something about them. Unfortunately, the bigger and more unusual the ideas, the more resistance we encounter when we try to bring them to life. Eventually, most of us stop listening to that quiet little voice, dismiss its thoughts and ideas, and just try to fit in because it’s too damn hard to do otherwise,” he writes. McMahon believes that the successful content creators are the ones who still, not only listen to that creative voice, but act on some of the ideas it provides us. Read more about his thoughts on creativity here.
Goff Replaces Mannelly at ‘The Score’ in Chicago. The new co-host at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score” is Jason Goff. He’ll be working alongside Matt Spiegel on the 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show. The former producer and reporter has also hosted at the company’s Atlanta sports talker WZGC “92.9 The Game” and SiriusXM. “The Score” operations manager Mitch Rosen says, “I’m excited to have Jason back on our team. I believe the combination of Matt Spiegel and Jason Goff will be a great winning combination that the Chicagoland audience will love. The show will be interactive through all of our digital platforms.” Former Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly worked as co-host with Spiegel after Dan McNeil exited the same position last June after a long career with WSCR. McNeil recently joined crosstown classic rock WDRV “The Drive” as AM drive co-host.
‘Business Rockstars’ to Be Heard on 11-station Mississippi ‘SuperTalk’ Network. The “Business Rockstars” radio show adds to its affiliate roster by being carried across the 11-station TeleSouth Communications-owned SuperTalk Mississippi network. Saying that this new deal pushes its affiliate tally “well past the 100 U.S. radio mark,” Business Rockstars CEO Steve Lehman comments, “Radio is an important part of our multi-media and social platform. We couldn’t be more excited to add SuperTalk.FM to our rapidly growing list of affiliate stations…Business Rockstars is an entrepreneurial business show that brings together some of the world’s biggest and most accomplished CEOs as well as successful small business owners and entrepreneurs. We look forward to adding new listeners in Mississippi that will benefit from Business Rockstars content.” TeleSouth president and COO Kim Dillon states, “‘Business Rockstars’ is a great show and we’re certain the listeners across the SuperTalk Mississippi network will benefit from their insightful commentary and tips. Entrepreneurship is alive and well in our state. We look forward to inspiring current and future business owners throughout our long and prosperous relationship with the Rockstars team.”
Digital Start-Up Whalerock Gets Attention After Inking Howard Stern to Deal. From a piece in The New York Times comes news that Howard Stern has agreed to a deal with Whalerock to have the latter create a “personal network” to handle digital distribution of his content. This is a separate deal from Stern’s SiriusXM contract and Whalerock owner Lloyd Braun tells the paper he is conscious of the existing contracts of his talent and doesn’t want to get into legal disputes. It appears Whalerock will differ from other digital platforms in that it is targeting established celebrities and designing “personal networks” for each as opposed to providing “space” for content creators on a larger, menu-type platform. As usual, terms of all deals are confidential but other celebs reported to be on board are the Kardashian sisters and rapper Tyler, the Creator. In the piece, Braun says celebs are eager to work with Whalerock because it cuts out the “middleman” of traditional media platforms. The Times’ Brooks Barnes astutely points out that there is still a middleman in these deals – that middleman is Whalerock. Still, it certainly appears that Whalerock’s work handling the aspects of distribution, sales, etc., that celebs don’t want to get involved in themselves is what they get in return for some consideration. Read the entire Times piece here.
Round Two of January PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Latest Obama Approval Ratings, Battle Against ISIS, Stay of Obama Amnesty Order, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sunday’s Academy Awards, and Frigid Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). Recent approval ratings for President Obama and the economy; the battle against ISIS and the controversy over publicly connecting violence with Islam; a Texas court’s stay of President Obama’s amnesty order; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the films and actors nominated for this Sunday’s Academy Awards; and the freezing and snowy weather affecting much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news talk radio yesterday.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — For many years it has been a violation of both federal law and FCC regulations for radio stations to neglect to inform the listening audience when someone has provided payment, services or something else of value in return for getting something on the airwaves. This practice of paying for play has come to be known as “Payola” although the term does not specifically appear in any of the laws or regulations.
Payola has a rich and colorful history that includes both Congressional hearings and comments in 1960 by President Dwight Eisenhower who referred to Payola as an issue of public morality and called for laws to make Payola a crime.
Beasley Flips WHFS-AM, Tampa Bay to Money Talk. One of the sports talk outlets Beasley acquired in its swap with CBS RADIO – WHFS-AM – is flipping from sports talk to money talk. The company says “MoneyTalk 1010 AM” will be “the Tampa Bay area’s only exclusively financial talk-formatted radio station…with programming that features valuable and timely information on the financial markets and emerging trends in the economy. Additionally, ‘MoneyTalk 1010’ offers an assortment of health, lifestyle, and general information programs delivered by a wide variety of local and national broadcasters.” Beasley is naming Tampa market radio pro Charlie Ochs general manager of the station. Most recently, Ochs served as a financial professional for Prudential Financial in Tampa. Prior to that, he was an SVP and market manager with CBS RADIO. Beasley Media Group VP and market manager Kent Dunn comments, “The expertise and leadership that Charlie brings to ‘MoneyTalk 1010’ is extremely valuable. This radio station is committed to delivering the most current and up-to-date financial news to the Tampa Bay area.”
If You Think Radio Has Problems with Millennials, TV Faces Immediate 18-34 Crisis – Brings Up Question About Evolution of Radio Ratings. In the New York Post, media columnist Claire Atkinson writes about the dramatic rate at which Millennials are dropping their live television watching habits. She reports that “traditional TV usage — which has been falling among viewers ages 18 to 34 at around 4% a year since 2012 — tumbled 10.6% between September and January.” Read Atkinson’s entire piece here. Radio practitioners are well aware this is not a “sucks to be you” moment; all media are trying to adapt to the changing habits of consumers – especially Millennials and Gen Xers. And tied directly into that is rating all of this consumption so that it can be priced and sold effectively. While radio bemoans the lack of rating non-broadcasting listening, rest assured that while Nielsen hears radio’s cries, it has much more to gain financially by figuring out how to rate non-broadcast video viewing accurately. As Atkinson points out, there is $80 billion in annual TV ad money at stake. In response to this situation, TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is going to be a long time until an accurate system of rating radio audience numbers stabilizes to the point of widespread industry acceptance – if ever. This looming fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants period should inspire radio broadcasters to: 1) value the opportunities available in highly specialized local programming based more on direct relationships with advertisers and obvious customer results; and 2) understand the principle whereby the nature of the programming defines the nature of the audience.” Harrison concludes, “The burden will fall upon sales departments to get out there and communicate directly with potential advertisers on a one-on-one, very human level about their businesses and how radio can directly help them connect with specifically-desired customers.” Harrison’s Principle basically means the genre of the programming has to be so clearly distinct and appealing to an obvious segment of the population that it becomes a given whether or not it will attract significant qualitative or quantitative numbers.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of January 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of January 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The January 2015 survey period covered January 1 – 28. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Envision Networks Debuts Weekend ‘John & Leah Show.’ The duo of John Ziegler and Leah Brandon first worked together at iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles. Now, they are hosting a Sunday evening program – 10:00 pm ET – being syndicated by Envision Networks. The company says the program will focus on “media, politics, sports, and pop culture.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff comments, “John and Leah’s insights, quick wits, and rapport will be a great addition to the stations’ weekends. With entertaining views from a male and female co-host, we are well on our way to offering new content for talk radio.”
Odds & Sods. Joining PodcastOne as sales manager, Western region is digital media and sales pro Dana Senit. The company says that in this new role Senit will “work with local and national advertisers in the Western region to collaborate on digital media initiatives across the network of all-star podcasts to maximize campaign effectiveness through personality-driven strategies.”…..ConnectPal founder and CEO Andy Dean announces his platform has struck a deal with Benztown Radio Networks to bring the latter’s talent to the ConnectPal platform where podcasts featuring such talents as David Tutera, Chris Heben, Dougall Fraser, and A.J. Barrera will be monetized. Benztown has also made an investment – the terms of which have not been revealed – in ConnectPal…..SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive coverage of the 57th running of the Daytona 500, with the live race broadcast, multiple channels carrying in-car audio from some of the sport’s top drivers, and daily coverage from Daytona International Speedway on its NASCAR Radio channel.
A Visit from the Doctor. During a remote broadcast of NBC Sports Radio’s Anita Marks show live from the Harman store on Madison Avenue in New York City, NBA Hall of Fame legend Dr. J, a.k.a. Julius Erving, stopped by to chat with Marks. Dr. J was a special guest during the in-store remote designed to celebrate the exclusive audio partnership between JBL and the NBA. Pictured here are (from l-r): Marks, NBC Sports Radio’s Jon Stashower, Chris Mannix and Erving.
The Battle Against ISIS, The Stay on Amnesty Order, The Cost of ObamaCare for the States, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Rise in European Anti-Semitism, Ukraine Tensions, and Fifty Shades of Grey Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The violence perpetuated by ISIS and debate over how to combat the militant organization; a Texas court’s stay on President Obama’s amnesty order; the financial ramifications of the Affordable Care Act on the states; speculation about the potential candidates for president in 2016; the increase in anti-Semitism across Europe; the military tensions in Ukraine; and controversy over the film Fifty Shades of Grey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WAEB, Allentown Talk Host Named in Defamation Suit. Allentown talk show host Bobby Gunther Walsh – heard in AM drive on iHeartMedia’s WAEB-AM — is named in a defamation and slander suit by the city’s District Attorney Jim Martin. The primary defendant in the case is blogger Bill Villa who has called Martin “crooked” and “corrupt” and alleges he “fixes” cases, according to a report in The Morning Call. Villa lost his 25-year-old daughter in a drunk driving accident and Villa claims Martin bargained a plea deal with the man accused of being responsible for his daughter’s death “in secret,” without ever notifying the family. Villa went on Walsh’s WAEB show to talk about his issues with Martin’s work as DA. Read the story here.
Corporate Promotions at Cherry Creek Radio. At the corporate level, Cherry Creek Radio announces eight promotions that affect its 55 O&O stations in 15 Western U.S. markets. Moving up from regional director of sales to EVP and regional manager are: Kelley Cheatwood, John Craft, and Ron Korb. Group PD Bob Guerra rises to EVP/director of programming. Rita Calvin adds EVP stripes to her controller position. Travis Cronen is now VP/director of operations & IT; Ken Eklund is upped to VP of engineering, and Mary Sims becomes VP/director of accounting. Cherry Creek Radio president and CEO Joe Schwartz comments, “With our new financial structure in place and with the many plans we have to grow the company, I feel it was important to recognize these eight individuals for the outstanding work they have done for the company over their tenure at Cherry Creek Radio. Each of these promotions are for employees who have been with the company for at least eight years or more.”
Celebrating Success. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Joy Browne (standing) speaks at the recent Success Stories Breakfast Series at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey produced by Salem Communications New York and its stations news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA “The Mission.” The event featured numerous speakers telling their stories of success, that also included former NFL star, G-III president and entrepreneur Carl Banks; My Pillow inventor Mike Lindell; Bluerock Energy president and CEO Phil Van Horne; and Bergen Community College director of multicultural affairs Ron McKnight. The program was moderated by WNYM host Kevin McCullough and broadcast live on WNYM by morning show host Joe Piscopo.
Futuri Media Awarded Patents for Instant Alert and Listener Driven Radio. Calling it a “milestone for the company,” Futuri Media CEO Daniel Anstandig announces the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent to him and the company’s chief technical officer Brian Seeders for its “Instant Alert” and Listener Driven Radio (LDR) technology. In a press release, Futuri Media says the patent describes a broad range of methods related to Listener Driven™ programming, including Instant Alerts, where listeners can receive e-mail, SMS text, and tweets moments before their favorite songs play on the air. This is also one of several U.S. and foreign patents and pending patent applications held by the company that describes and protects its unique interactive mobile and social apps. Anstandig comments, “Futuri has invested a significant amount in R&D related to interactive broadcasting as well as social and mobile technology for local broadcasters. The issuance of this patent is a milestone for our company and our many innovative broadcast partners, who have used this and our other technologies to drive ratings and revenue since the company’s launch in 2009.” Futuri CIO Brian Parsons adds, “Protection of our team’s innovations is critical. Our goal is to shape the future of media with social and mobile technology that makes it possible for consumers to embrace and personalize their favorite media brands. Whether it’s an interactive playlist, alerts for your favorite songs, a feature-rich mobile app, or social monitoring, we’re striving to create easy-to-use platforms that deliver innovative and proprietary high value for our partners.”
Odds & Sods. Brooklyn talk host Frankie Russo is crowdfunding to continue to buy time (and hopefully, he says, even more time) on New York’s legendary 77WABC. Russo has been brokering the 1:00 am to 2:00 am Saturday slot for the past year and is now firing up an indiegogo campaign to raise $100,000 to expand his presence on the station…..Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian passed on February 11 and his funeral was on February 16 at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church. GCN-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured here with Tarkanian on the left) tells TALKERS, “It was a beautiful ceremony with laughter and tears honoring a legend. I went to UNLV 89-93 and witnessed one of the most exciting teams year-after-year win and eventually conquer the National Championship under Jerry’s legacy. Our city is going to great lengths to commemorate such an icon. I knew Jerry to be warm and cuddly and I credit his and the Runnin’ Rebel legacy with the start of the Las Vegas boom in the mid-90s. He helped put UNLV on the map from a once considered ‘casino town’ and made us locals proud to be Las Vegans. Thank you Jerry! You will be missed but never forgotten!”…..NBC Sports Group announces it will present live radio coverage of all three Triple Crown races for the first time on NBC Sports Radio. It will produce radio coverage of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes on numerous broadcast and digital platforms.
Scott Walker Presidential Prospects, Court Blocks Obama Immigration Order, Department of Homeland Security Funding Battle, Brian Williams Suspension, Battle Against ISIS, Fifty Shades of Grey Film, and Cindy Crawford Photo Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/16). Analysis of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s chances of receiving the Republican nomination for president in 2016; a Texas court blocks the Obama amnesty order; the battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security; the aftermath of the Brian Williams suspension; the battle against ISIS and the militant movement’s bloody tactics; controversy over the film Fifty Shades of Grey; and the flap over an unretouched photo of 48-year-old Cindy Crawford were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Powers Exits WKZO, Kalamazoo Mornings. It was a four-month stint hosting the morning drive program at Midwest Communications’ WKZO, Kalamazoo for Wayne Powers, who tells the Kalamazoo Gazette that it ended in a contract dispute. Powers, who replaced longtime morning personality Lori Moore back in Otcober, tells the paper he’d been working 70 hours per week on the show and, when asked to handle more responsibilities, sat down with management to discuss his workload, but the two sides were unable to agree. Powers says, “I thought it could be resolved to be completely honest with you. I thought worse comes to worse, that I’d be able to finish out the week and say good-bye to the listeners.” The search for a new morning host has begun. Powers – who’s worked in television, animation and commercials during his career – had been doing part-time and fill-in work at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte before relocating to Kalamazoo to work at WKZO. He says he hopes to remain in Kalamazoo.
Kovas Communications Acquires Global American Broadcasting. Chicago-based Kovas Communications – currently operating ethnic/talk hybrid WCGO – is acquiring Vero Beach, Florida-based Global American Broadcasting. That company has operated a technical ops center for the past 15 years that provides complete board opping, program services, and distribution of programming for radio program producers. It currently serves several syndicated radio programs. The five studios, satellite dishes, and all of the equipment is being relocated to Kovas Communications’ Evanston, Illinois studios. Kovas Communications will also employ the key technicians of GAB. Chicago media pro Tim Disa is consulting Kovas and he says the acquisition of what will now be known as GAB Radio Network will play well into the growth plans of WCGO. He says Kovas plans to operate several nationally syndicated radio programs from its facilities and will develop new programming as well.
Special Feature: Remembering Gary Owens. The iconic radio and television personality passed away in Los Angeles on Friday, February 13. TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian writes about Gary Owens, “Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness…Not character voices that helped to shape, mold, and define this often-honored broadcaster who passed away at the age of 80, but much more important personal qualities.” Read Mike Kinosian’s account of Owens’ career here.
Odds & Sods. The mayoral candidates in Chicago will appear on Matt McGill morning show on WVON all this week as the special mayoral forum airs at 7:00 am each day through Friday. McGill will speak with each candidate about issues important to the African American community…..Talk radio pro Mike Romigh is named program director for suburban Pittsburgh stations WBVP-AM and WMBA-AM, licensed to Beaver Falls. Romigh, who’s worked at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and WKBN, Youngstown, Ohio during his career, began his career at WBVP in 1976.
George Noory Co-Authors Flight 370 Book. Actor and comic Richard Belzer is the lead author but Premiere Networks personality George Noory and journalist David Wayne are co-authors of the new book investigating the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 titled, Someone Is Hiding Something (Skyhorse Publishing 2015). According to a press release, the book scrutinizes “the theories the media and politicians claim are the ‘most likely’ reasons the plane crashed, Belzer, Noory, and Wayne argue that if a year after a huge Boeing 777 has gone missing, and there’s still no sign of it whatsoever, it’s time to think outside the box. The public needs to stop being misled.”
CMG Houston Nabs Five Star Awards. At the 2015 Media Alliance of Houston Star Awards Gala that took place on Thursday, February 12, Cox Media Group of Houston was honored with five awards by the organization that recognizes outstanding industry professionals while supporting the continuous education of media students. The honors were as follows: Laura Filippone as Local Radio Account Executive of the Year; Cherolyn Johnson as Local Radio Assistant Traffic of the Year; Judy Lakin as Director of Sales of the Year; Mike Murray as National Sales Manager of the Year and Courtney Jenkins as Rising Star of the Year. Pictured here (from l-r) are CMG Houston staffers: Cherolyn Johnson, Kali Gipson, Judy Lakin, Courtney Jenkins, Laura Filippone, Mike Murray, Mark Krieschen, Sheryl Grigsby, Johnny Chiang and Lisa Searcy.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Helps 1,115 Area Families Via 2015 Warmathon. This year’s edition of the “NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Warmathon” to benefit Dollar Energy Fund raised $404,558 during the two-day event, which will help 1,155 Pittsburgh-area families maintain basic utility service. The Warmathon was a live radiothon on CBS RADIO’s KDKA-AM that took place on February 12 and 13. With this year’s contributions, 6,550 local, limited-income families have benefited from the total of $2.25 million that has been raised since the first Warmathon in 2009. KDKA-AM SVP and general manager Michael Young comments, “Helping our community is part of the DNA of KDKA. The kindness of Southwestern Pennsylvanians is overwhelming and continues to impress us at KDKA year after year.”
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — Clients often ask me which of the Fourteen Traits Inherent in the Best Radio Personalities is the most important and predictive of success on the radio. That’s a very difficult question. It’s usually unwise to isolate any of the Fourteen Traits because each tends to modify or reinforce others. Multiple traits contribute to a personality’s appeal to listeners, ability to create content, and perform on the radio.
When it comes to creating distinctive and powerful content, high-level Curiosity is the key driver. The constant urge to ask questions fueled by an insatiable desire to know, generates the raw material necessary to produce truly life-enriching content. Really good questions prompt answers loaded with learning and discovery that can be shared with listeners.
Bill McMahon: Curiosity Enhanced by Awareness, Experience, Imagination and Courage. According to talk radio consultant Bill McMahon, the trait of high-level curiosity is the driving force of his well-known “14 Traits Inherent in the Best Radio Personalities.” In an advice piece posted today (2/12) he writes, “The constant urge to ask questions, fueled by an insatiable desire to know, generates the raw material necessary to produce truly life-enriching content. Really good questions prompt answers loaded with learning and discovery that can be shared with listeners.” McMahon, continues, “It’s also important to note that great questions are often the product of the traits of awareness, imagination, experience, and courage. The more a personality hears not only the words in an answer but the thoughts and feelings behind the words (awareness), recognizes how thoughts and feelings, experiences and ideas connect to new and more interesting subjects and ideas (imagination), has ‘been there and done that’ (experience), and has the courage to ask any question at any time, the better the questions.” The valuable article is enhanced with audio clips extracted from an interview of Bill Murray conducted by Howard Stern highlighting these traits in action. To read the entire piece, please click here.
Masteller To Program WBAL. One week from today (Thursday, 2/19) is when ESPN Radio‘s former senior director of affiliate & syndicated content Scott Masteller will join Hearst Corporation talker WBAL, Baltimore as program director. President and general manager Cary Pahigian declares, “Scott is among the most accomplished news, talk, and sports radio executives. His ESPN experience will be key to WBAL’s role as the radio home of the [NFL‘s] Ravens and unmatched breaking news coverage 24/7. He holds a strong appreciation for the role of this iconic radio station as part of Baltimore’s heritage, and our relationship with listeners and the community.” Prior to his most recent ESPN role, he was the sports radio network’s senior director of radio/audio content. His past programming assignments include sports outlets KESN, Dallas and KFXX, Portland.
Kauffman Named Entercom Sacramento GSM. Inbound from Chicago where she was local sales manager for Hubbard Broadcasting classic rocker WDRV “The Drive,” Stacey Kauffman is appointed general sales manager for Entercom Sacramento. Vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “We are proud to welcome Stacey to our market-leading portfolio of brands. Entercom’s commitment to compelling live and local content continues to pay dividends as we enjoy a dominant position in delivering ratings and results to our advertisers.” Vice president of sales Lance Richard comments, “Stacey was a trailblazer in Chicago media on the integration of radio and digital media. We look forward to putting her expertise immediately to use in the growing Sacramento market.” Kauffman remarks that she is “excited” about the chance to join Entercom’s Sacramento team. “Entercom is a forward-thinking company with outstanding leadership at both the corporate and local market levels. [The company] has a reputation for providing high-quality content to audiences and results-driven solutions to advertisers.” Kauffman started her radio career with Emmis; she previously was a Merck pharmaceutical sales representative. Entercom’s six-station Sacramento cluster consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320,” CHR KDND “The End,” alternative KKDO “Radio 94.7,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” classic rock KSEG “The Eagle,” and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Radio One Reports 2014 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 1.7%. The final quarter of 2014 saw net revenue at $109.7 million for Radio One – a decrease of 1.7% from the same period in 2013. Station operating income was approximately $42.5 million, an increase of 8.6% from the same period a year ago. Net revenue for the entire year of 2014 was $441,387,000 – a decrease of 1.6% over all of 2013. Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III comments, “Our radio business showed sequential improvement from the third quarter, with revenues -2.8%. During the quarter we changed format from news to classic hip hop in our Houston market; excluding Houston our radio revenues for the fourth quarter were +1.1%. Adjusting for a timing difference of our Women’s Empowerment event in Raleigh, Q1 2015 core radio revenues are currently pacing 1.8%, having weakened throughout January. Our Washington, DC cluster continues to underperform the market, and we recently announced a new general manager of the Washington, DC market cluster by expanding the responsibilities of our own Jeff Wilson, senior regional vice president. Excluding our Washington, DC cluster, our core radio revenues are currently pacing up about 1% compared to the same time last year.”
Talk Host Phil Valentine a Finalist in Atlanta Film Festival. Nationally syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine has been delving into other media lately – most notably with production of his documentary challenging the man-made global warming theory titled, An Inconsistent Truth – but now he’s entering the world of screenplays and has submitted one at the Atlanta Film Festival that’s been chosen as a finalist in the competition. The screenplay is for a film titled, Derek Dickens & The Dream, about a man going through a mid-life crisis whose fantasy rock band – much to his surprise – hits it big. He ultimately has to choose between the comfortable life he knows and the fantasy he’s harbored since childhood. Valentine says, “This is my first shot at writing a screenplay. It’s a challenging format but my forte is dialogue. That’s what I do every day on the radio, so it’s really a natural extension of what I do.” The winners will be announced later this month and they will be invited to Atlanta in March for a workshop and awards ceremony.
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles all-news outlet KNX examines the Brian Williams case tomorrow (2/13) as part of its KNX Spotlight series. “The Brian Williams Scandal” will air from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and will “take a comprehensive look at truth in media coverage in the wake of the unfolding controversy facing NBC news anchor Brian Williams.” It will feature special guest experts and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman…..The United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated NASCAR show “Racing Rocks!” hosted by Riki Rachtman, will emanate this season from the radio studio at The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. The program airs on more than 100 affiliate stations and is preparing for the kick-off of the 2015 season in Daytona on February 22…..KDKA, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announces that CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett will serve as the keynote speaker at Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Larry’s Heroes honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things. This year, a Lifetime Hero Award has been added to the awards roster and will be given to Dr. Stanley Marks, medical graduate from the University of Pittsburgh who is focused on finding a cure for cancer.
BFoA Announces Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients. The recipients of the 2015 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards from the Broadcasters Foundation of America have been announced. The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, April 15 at the Foundation’s annual breakfast at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Recipients this year include: David Barrett, director, Hearst Corporation; Don Curtis, chairman & CEO, Curtis Media Group; Herb McCord, president & owner, Granum Communications Corp.; Jane Mago, former EVP & general counsel, National Association of Broadcasters; Al Primo, creator, Eyewitness News, Education Television Fund, Inc.; and Jeff Warshaw, CEO, Connoisseur Media. The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.
The Business of Health. As part of their programming on the 24/7 Business Talk from Wharton channel, SiriusXM and the renowned business college recently presented a half-hour discussion on the Knowledge@Wharton program with DermaMed Solutions’ Mark Pinsley (left) and Ginger Hodulik (center) as they discussed the “Business of Beauty” and their holistic approach to wellness and skincare with host Dan Loney (right). The program was conducted live in the Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM studios on The Wharton School campus in Philadelphia.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Brian Williams Case, Ukraine Violence/Ceasefire, Jon Stewart to Resign from ‘Daily Show,’ NC Muslim Students Murders, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Film, and Bruce Jenner Transformation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of the Brian Williams suspension; the violence in Ukraine and the scheduled cease-fire; Jon Stewart’s announcement he’ll resign from ‘The Daily Show’ later this year; the murder of three North Carolina Muslim grad students by a neighbor; the release of the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey; and Bruce Jenner’s gender transformation were some of the most-talked-stories on news/talk radio this week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jason Barrett to Leave KGMZ, San Francisco for Family Reasons. In an emotional-yet-reasoned blog post, sports talk programmer Jason Barrett explains the reason for his imminent departure from the PD position at Entercom’s KGMZ “95.7 The Game.” Barrett has been travelling from California to Upstate New York every two or three weeks to visit his son who is living with Barrett’s parents. He says the physical and psychological toll on the arrangement is too much and, as much as he loves his gig in San Francisco, he’s moving to New York to be with his son. Read the entire blog post here.
KCBS-AM, San Francisco’s Cavagnaro Sets His Retirement. After spending 37 years at KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Ed Cavagnaro will retire in early-April as the station’s director of news & programming. Senior vice president and market manager Doug Harvill states, “Ed Cavagnaro built and led KCBS-AM into its status as the Bay Area’s number one radio station. He did this by hiring and managing an intelligent and capable news staff and empowering them to do their very best. Personally, I will greatly miss working with Ed. He’s truly an inspirational leader and one of the best news people on the planet.” The 63-year-old Cavagnaro comments, “There is a lot more to do and see – I didn’t want to wait too long to try new things. I have been lucky to work at [KCBS-AM] for so long. It has been an honor to be the news and program director at such a great radio station working with so many talented people.” The San Francisco native has a Masters degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He previously worked for the Medill News Service and he was an aide to a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors before joining KCBS-AM in 1977 as a promotion assistant. Cavagnaro subsequently held a variety of jobs at the station – including managing editor and assistant director of news & programming before being promoted to his present role in 1988.
Sports Talker Steve Czaban Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Sports talk personality Steve Czaban is celebrating his 25th year in the sports talk biz this year. Czaban co-hosts the afternoon drive show on Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington (with Chris Cooley) and also hosts the morning drive show on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network. Czaban comments, “Twenty five years presiding over some of the dumbest arguments in sports has flown by in a blink. I guess that’s what happens when you are just trying to have fun with listeners every day on the radio. I am thankful to Yahoo! Sports Radio and WTEM for letting me do the kind of radio that is fun and engaging, and doesn’t take itself or the sports we cover, too seriously.”
Odds & Sods. Former KOTV-TV, Tulsa anchor/investigative reporter Tami Marler joins Journal Broadcast Group‘s KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio” as executive producer/news director. Elsewhere at the station, part-time technical producer David Prock is boosted to full-time and will handle afternoon news updates…..After a year off terrestrial radio in the wake of the changes at Talk Radio Network, Rusty Humphries announces, via a video at The Washington Times, that he’s beginning a weekly podcast called “The Rusty Humphries Rebellion.”…..According to a story in The Oregonian, iHeartMedia’s sports talk KPOJ will add a local morning drive show to the lineup beginning in March. The paper reports that current KIRO-AM, Seattle evening personalities Justin Myers and Andy Bunker will host the program. Myers tells the paper, “It’s a huge opportunity because Portland doesn’t have a morning show. That’s the biggest thing – having a local morning show that people can listen to on their way to work is huge.” An official announcement is expected in the next week…..Amanda Gifford is promoted to senior director, daytime programming, ESPN Audio. The sports giant says that Gifford will continue to oversee all aspects of “Mike & Mike,” in addition to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “SVP & Russillo,” and the Dan Le Batard show.
The Continuing Evolution of Dr. Joy Browne. The outstanding talk radio career of psychologist Dr. Joy Browne has spanned more than 35 years but the GCN-syndicated, nationally-known personality says her show is not the same as it was at the beginning. “The show has evolved so much in the last 30 years and I would argue that it even evolves on a day-to-day basis. It is never the same.” Having survived a variety of movements and trends within the news/talk genre, including the present one marked by the domination of partisan politics, the Dr. Joy Browne show has remained a mainstay of talk radio programming in New York City as well as across America. “That,” in the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “is a remarkable accomplishment, considering how timid programmers can be about stretching the boundaries of their stationality and a stunning tribute to the universality of this remarkable talent’s appeal.” Now, Dr. Browne is again expanding her horizons with the enormous undertaking of entrepreneurship by assuming ownership of her show and all the responsibilities that such a commitment involves. In the words of TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In an era when so many ‘talent’ are now facing the viable option of being in business for themselves, Dr. Joy Browne is setting an inspirational example of how it can be done.” In a profile piece by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, Browne says that taking on the task of owning her show (as opposed to being an employee of a station or network) in today’s business climate is challenging, but something she’s set out to do because she loves what she does and successfully helping people is not only what makes the show work, but gives her satisfaction. “The only behavior I can help change is yours, but that isn’t what a caller wants to hear. They want me to tell them that the other person is to blame. I have to change their mind but I don’t have a lot of time to do it. We talk about the guts of a person’s life – their job, income, relationship, sex life, kids, or a next-door neighbor. My job is to get through and when I do, there is nothing else like it in the world.” Read the entire piece here.
Matt Patrick Helps Raise $$ for Fisher House Houston. Texas talk show host Matt Patrick (left) accepts a couple of awards from Fisher House manager Frank Kelley (right) on behalf of his listeners who pledged close to $40,000 to Fisher House in Houston last Veteran’s Day weekend during the annual radiothon Patrick spearheads. Patrick is heard on iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston; sister talk station KPRC, Houston and the company’s talk KFXR, Dallas. The funds raised go to the two Fisher Houses in Houston’s Medical Center.
Former Chicago Attorney, Talk Host, Sentenced on Fraud Conviction. Former attorney Kathleen Niew was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison after defrauding a Chicago-area couple of $2.3 million. At one time Niew hosted a brokered, weekend call-in show on Salem Communications-owned WIND. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Niew led the couple to believe their money was being held for closings on commercial real estate deals. Instead, Niew was using their cash for wildly speculative gold mining operation investments around the world. Niew, who lost all of the couple’s money, pleaded guilty last June to the fraud charges.
Brian Williams Suspended, ISIS Violence/Death of Kayla Mueller, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Net Neutrality Proposal, Bobbi Kristina Fate, and Jon Stewart to Leave ‘Daily Show’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The controversy surrounding NBC’s Brian Williams and his suspension from the network’s news department; the violence being waged by ISIS and the death of American missionary Kayla Mueller; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the FCC’s proposal to regulate the internet; the fate of Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina; and Jon Stewart’s announcement he’ll leave the “Daily Show” this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
While most will not admit it, they sense such genuine terms of endearment are really euphemisms that bring their mortality into question and are code for “old.”
In an oftentimes, if not all too customary, flavor-of-the-month industry where the next great star is eaten up and spit out after a 26-week run, it would be disingenuous though not to ascribe “icon/iconic” and “legend/legendary” to a talk host who has been top-of-mind for over three-dozen years.
This particular peerless personality has maintained an impeccable status of excellence while breaking basic (unwritten) talk radio rules.
Exemplary on-air work that is approaching four decades has been done without political bent and her legend of loyal listeners actually have meaningful life-altering changes owing to the unparalleled expertise of the program’s sage host. In a male-dominated spoken-word personality arena, this show’s headliner is one of only 12 women on TALKERS’ renowned “Heavy Hundred” of 2014, checking in at #44. (The new list for 2015 will be published within the next few weeks and this writer would not be surprised if she moves up significantly due to recent developments in her dynamic career.)
Added twist to the progressing journey of this generously genial, uncommonly cordial licensed clinical psychologist is that Dr. Joy Browne has taken proprietorship of her daily three-hour program.
Jason Dixon Exits ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ After a year and a half as the only program director WMCG, Detroit has known since flipping to sports in August of 2013, Jason Dixon announces he’s resigned from the station effective immediately. Greater Media’s “Detroit Sports 105.1” debuted 16 months ago to challenge the sports talk dominance of CBS RADIO’s crosstown WXYT-FM. Dixon tells TALKERS magazine he’s available for new opportunities and can be reached at: 919-999-6096 or via email at JasonDixonPD@Gmail.com.
Vinny G Show Comes to PodcastOne. Former “Jersey Shore” cast member Vinny Guadagnino is hosting a weekly podcast to be made available via PodcastOne. Dubbed, “Get Into It with Vinny G,” the show will feature the host, “alongside his crazy friends and family members, celebrity guests, and other people from all walks of life, as they ‘get into’ every topic imaginable, including sports, pop culture, politics, self-help, food, comedy, dating and relationships, and more. It debuts Thursday (2/12) and features a reunion with The Jersey Shore’s Pauly D. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Though I’ve never been to the Jersey Shore, a heck of a lot of people have, and most of them are Vinny fans. That’s because he’s a unique guy who’s open about who he is and gives back to the community. He’s a really interesting guy with a huge social following, which usually means success when launching a new podcast. We’re delighted to add ‘Get Into It with Vinny G’ to the PodcastOne lineup.”
Western Massachusetts Radio Star Brad Shepard Launching Pioneer Valley Radio. Longtime Springfield, Massachusetts-area talk radio personality, commentator and prominent local arts & entertainment figure, Brad Shepard has announced the launch of Pioneer Valley Radio – an online platform designed to present talk shows and conversations specifically geared to “serving the civic and cultural interests of Western Massachusetts.” Pioneer Valley Radio – located at www.PioneerValleyRadio.com – will serve as a free online home for what Shepard describes as “a wide variety of talk shows and informative conversations about what’s happening here in Western Massachusetts.” According to Shepard, “There are so many things to talk about in the Pioneer Valley that are not being addressed today in contemporary on-air broadcasting. Hot issues like the casino. The economy. Public safety, Education. Race relations. Health services. The arts. Public transportation. The list is endless. This platform will fill a dangerously huge void and be dedicated to serving the public good. We will be doing audio shows (and some video) about politics, civics, health care, high school sports – you name it. The key is localness and the goal is to serve the interests of the people of this region across the board. We will not embrace or ‘target’ any specific political ideology or bias. We can leave that to traditional, on-air talk radio.” Shepard – who was heard the past 12 years in morning drive on iHeartMedia’s heritage outlet, WHYN-AM (and a number of local stations for years before that) will serve as general manager of the new “media station.” He will also personally host a variety of talk shows (available on demand 24/7) that will include interviews with a wide array of prominent local figures and every day folks, as well as his own commentaries — plus calls from listeners. Pioneer Valley Radio will also provide live coverage of special events considered too niche or “small” to be given time on traditional over-the-air stations. The station will also feature a variety of programs produced and hosted by other voices in the community including former radio, television and newspaper personalities who’ve been squeezed out of their jobs for reasons having nothing to do with their talent, skill or performance. Shepard tells TALKERS, “It is no secret that budget cutbacks have forced many of the local traditional media outlets in this area to cut back on programming which has tragically resulted in the loss of jobs for some mighty fine talents, not to mention live and local discussion programs. We will do our best to rectify that unfortunate situation.” Pioneer Valley Radio is being designed and powered by Michael Harrison’s Massachusetts-based, multimedia firm Goodphone Communications, Inc. Pioneer Valley Radio will be free to listeners and funded by local advertising. Shepard says, “Because we are online and not restricted by enormous technical and regulatory burdens, we will make amazingly affordable and effective advertising packages available to local businesses seeking to get their messages out to the public in a manner that won’t clutter up the programming while giving these good businesses clear sailing in really getting their full stories and services valuable exposure. This is the kind of thing to which intelligent, creative use of the internet lends itself.”
Kipper McGee Authors Book on Digital Disruption. Radio pro Kipper McGee is publishing a new book this spring in which the programmer and consultant examines broadcasting’s experience with the “digital disruption.” Titled, Brandwidth: How Big Broadcasting Missed the Mediamorphosis, McGee says the book “offers 7 ways YOUR brand(s) can avoid their mistakes…We live in a time when broadcasters are being attacked in ways not even dreamed about a decade ago. Many operators insist on acting penny wise and PPM foolish.” He says the book “reveals common traits of the biggest winners and losers and offers powerful takeaways for ANY brand planning to thrive in the ever-changing digital world order.”
Snowy Winter Puts New England Stations in Consistent Emergency Mode. Much of the Northeast has been battered by the series of winter storms affecting the region, and broadcast outlets have been in storm coverage mode pretty steadily over the past month. The Connecticut Broadcasters Association reports how some of its member stations have been serving their markets. Some examples from the January 26-27 blizzard, in particular, include: CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC-AM, Hartford made sure its generator was ready for multiple days of service. It arranged for announcers to broadcast from home and for staff to stay in nearby hotels in order to keep the station on the air; in Eastern Connecticut, Hall Communications‘ six radio stations provided storm updates twice an hour, carried the governor’s press conferences, and had the New London mayor and local Emergency Management directors on several times. Staffers stayed overnight at local stations or nearby hotels to remain on the air; WLAD-AM, Danbury put staffers up in a nearby hotel and expanded local programming with live weather and traffic information, and interviews with officials from Danbury, Ridgefield, Bethel and Brookfield; in the Connecticut River Valley, WMRD-AM and WLIS-AM stayed on the air by having someone sleep at the stations. They provided hourly weather updates and interrupted programming with storm-related news and information. Among other stories, they were able to report on a local power outage caused by a snowplow knocking down a power pole; WINY, Putnam gassed up an all-wheel-drive vehicle to get radio personnel to work, contacted local police to serve as potential back-up transportation, tested station generators and fuel levels, and provided meals for staff in nearby hotels. One employee stayed with his grandmother who lives two miles from the station.
Heather Cohen Named to Alliance for Women in Media Board of Directors. Named to the Alliance for Women in Media board of directors for 2015 is The Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen. The 1998 Hofstra University graduate, who also serves on that college’s Herbert School Advisory Council, joins the organization that is dedicated to advancing women in media and entertainment. The group also administers the national Gracie Awards, which recognize and honor excellence in programming by and about women.
Odds & Sods. Tax season is here and ABC News Radio is launching its annual Tax Tips series. The news service says the series tackles “all the tough tax topics to provide listeners with a wide range of helpful information when filing for returns this year.” ABC News correspondent Richard Davies and chief business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis anchor the 30-part series…..Journal Broadcast Group and IMG have entered into a new radio partnership in Omaha that will expand the reach of University of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports, broadcast more games across the university’s entire sports lineup, and increase exposure for all Nebraska sports. Journal says the new, five-year Omaha affiliate agreement with KXSP, KKCD, and KEZO will provide better coverage for Huskers sports through a strong AM signal on an all-sports format radio station and additional new FM affiliates.
Brian Williams Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Battle Against ISIS/Bobby Jindal Flap, Bruce Jenner Saga, Snowy Northeast Winter, Net Neutrality Proposal Controversy, Fighting in Ukraine, and GRAMMY Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/9). The status of Brian Williams at NBC after his apology for fabricating an Iraq War coverage incident; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the fight against ISIS and the flap over comments by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal about radical Islam; the gender transformation of Bruce Jenner and his involvement in a deadly auto accident in Malibu; the record snowfall being experienced by parts of the Northeast; the FCC’s proposal to regulate the internet; the ongoing fighting in Ukraine and Russia’s role in the unrest; and Sunday’s 57th GRAMMY Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WMAL, Washington Tower Site Up for Sale. Perhaps more valuable than the signals and the radio formats themselves, is the real estate upon which sit so many of the towers of America’s heritage AM stations. A report in The Sentinel, says Cumulus Media is now accepting offers on the Bethesda, Maryland site of its WMAL, Washington transmitter through March 12. Local real estate experts tell the paper the 75-acre piece of land in one of the toniest suburbs of DC should fetch “hundreds of millions” of dollars. The brokerage firm CBRE Group, Inc.’s SVP John Sheridan says, “Seventy-five acres in Bethesda. You don’t need to say anything more than that. It is a huge parcel of land with some of the highest income demographics. There’s the potential to build 300 or more homes.” In 2014, Cumulus put the 10-acre parcel of land occupied by KABC and KLOS transmitters in Los Angeles up for sale and that is going to command $125 million.
Beers Becomes Equity Partner, Board Member at Business Rockstars. Saying that his arrival will “bring the attention of the television and media community to the company’s broadcast, mobile and social platforms,” Business Rockstars announces multimedia CEO Thom Beers joins the board of directors for the company as well as making an equity investment in it. Beers is CEO of FremantleMedia North America. He’s a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer who brings 25 years of experience and success to Business Rockstars, producing some of the most recognizable TV shows such as: “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud,” plus multiple shows on the Discovery Channel and the A&E family of networks. Beers joins Steve Lehman, chairman of Business Rockstars and former CEO of Premiere Networks, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, as well as their recent addition, Andy Schuon, co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV. Beers comments, “People like to follow ‘smart money,’ and my investment is a strong endorsement and recognition of the platform, and partners of Business Rockstars. By leveraging television content and major media relationships, Business Rockstars will surely continue to grow and reach their goals. I’m glad to be part of their bright future.” The company says that Beers’ investment presents much opportunity to Business Rockstars as it plans to align with a major TV company for possible future content. Steve Lehman adds, “Thom Beers is a Rockstar. He is one of the brightest guys in TV today. He’s intuitive, smart and will be a huge asset in helping to expand our TV and Over-the-Top content platform.”
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Served Divorce Papers on the Air. The “Monsters in the Morning” program heard on iHeartMedia’s WTKS “Real Radio 104.1” has been headed by ringmaster Russ Rollins since its inception and the show’s cast members have always “lived their lives on the air.” A classic example of that was when Rollins was recently served divorce papers while on the air. Whether Rollins knew about the coming papers or not is in question – the process server indicates Rollins chose the time and place to receive the papers – but the show has posted video of the papers being served on its website and Rollins appears surprised. Although Rollins’ estranged wife claims in the papers that Rollins physically abused her, his attorney tells WFTV-TV, Orlando that the police were called to Rollins’ home at one point but they investigated and have filed no charges.
Triplett Named DOS at Beasley Tampa Bay Cluster. The newly acquired Beasley Media Group Tampa Bay cluster names Steve Triplett director of sales. The cluster consists of: WYUU “92.5 MAX!MA”; WBRN, “BUBBA 98.7”; WQYK, “Tampa Bay’s Country Station 99.5”; WRBQ “Q105”; WLLD “WiLD 94.1”; and WHFS-AM, “Money Talk 1010.” Triplett comes to Beasley from his most recent gig as president and founder of the marketing firm Contact Media Inc.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s Des Moines sports talker KXNO, a realignment of personalities takes place with Chris Williams and Ross Peterson being named the afternoon drive team. The new “Morning Rush” show will consist of Heather Burnside and Travis Justice…..Meanwhile, across town at Cumulus Media’s sports talker KBGG “The Champ,” Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller – as has been reported in recent weeks – will reunite to host the afternoon drive program beginning today (2/9). Tirrell and Miller first began working as a team at KXNO in the mid-1990s…..Mark Grote is named host of the pre- and post-game shows for Chicago Cubs broadcasts on all-news WBBM-AM. Grote, who has been with the CBS RADIO Chicago station group since 2002 and is sports anchor on WSCR’s “Mully & Hanley” program, is also expected to appear on sports talk WSCR regularly as a Cubs reporter, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.
KFYI, Phoenix Names Rob Hunter News Host. Moving to iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI, Phoenix from Bonneville’s crosstown KTAR-FM is news pro Rob Hunter who will become part of the morning drive Mike Broomhead program. The station says Hunter will serve as news anchor during Broomhead’s show and host the 5:00 am to 6:00 am “KFYI Download” program. Hunter has worked in news/talk for the past 15 years but also has radio experience in the AC, hip hop, rock and sports talk formats. KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “Rob is a great addition to KFYI mornings. He is smart, versatile and a solid professional. As soon as we heard he was available, we had to snatch him up.” Hunter comments, “I’m beyond thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career at KFYI, one of the country’s great news/talk stations and to becoming part of the vast iHeartMedia family. I’m looking forward to working closely with KFYI’s award winning newsroom, with talk show host Mike Broomhead and with the Valley’s early morning risers.”
Pat Kiernan Exits WABC, New York’s ‘The Ride Home.’ Big Apple media personality Pat Kiernan leaves his gig with Cumulus Media at news/talk WABC to focus on his morning news program that airs on Time Warner Cable’s NY1 channel. Kiernan had been co-hosting “The Ride Home” with television and radio news pro Rita Cosby. Now, with Kiernan out, Cosby is hosting the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program solo.
Otstot Named KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Morning News Anchor. The new morning news anchor at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno is Matt Otstot, who joins “Fresno’s Morning News” host Blake Taylor for daily broadcasts later this month. Taylor says of Otstot, “Matt is an enormous talent with a wealth of experience on air. But it’s his work off-air, in the community, which is invaluable. I can’t wait for Matt to bring his energy to the massive KMJ audience.” Otstot has worked at local television outlets KGPE-TV and KSEE-TV as an anchor and reporter. Most recently he was community engagement coordinator at Valley Children’s Hospital. Otstot says, “Working at Valley Children’s was an honor. But, when you’re offered the chance to work for a place with the reputation and success of KMJ, you jump at it. And I hope my passion and energy for morning news resonates with Valley listeners.”
World’s Best Radio Programs Advisory Board Adds Critchlow, Geller. Those competing for New York Festivals’ “World’s Best Radio Programs” will have to impress TBI Media founding director Phil Critchlow and Geller Media president Valerie Geller: Both are named to the international radio program awards advisory board and grand jury. Executive director of the NYF radio program awards Rose Anderson states, “These two thought leaders bring creative expertise and deep knowledge of today’s radio industry. Phil Critchlow and Valerie Geller will add tremendous vision and valuable insights as we engage the worldwide radio community and are responsive to what matters to them.” Critchlow comments, “We at TBI have been lucky enough to win a number of New York Festivals awards, which always means a great deal to the team. I am delighted to become part of the NYF advisory board.” Geller remarks that, “It is stunning and so satisfying on every level to have the opportunity and honor to have the chance to hear the amazing work that news, documentary, and program teams throughout the world are producing/creating. It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as a judge for the NYF awards entries.” BBC-trained Critchlow joined Unique Broadcasting in 1994 and launched The Big Idea 12 years later. He formerly was chair of the UK Radio Independents Group (RIG) and is a fellow of the Radio Academy. Geller has coached radio, television, and internet broadcasters in 35 countries. The former WABC, New York program director and KIOI, San Francisco news director received the Conclave‘s Rockwell lifetime achievement award. Deadline for entering this year’s competition is in approximately six weeks (Thursday, 3/19). A New York City awards ceremony will be held (Monday) June 22.
Odds & Sods. Joining digital podcasting platform BlogTalkRadio is digital media pro Denise Oliver who is named programming consultant and strategist for the organization. Oliver is widely recognized within the industry as a bright programming and consulting mind…..Yahoo! Sports Radio personality John Granato is pictured below (far right) celebrating his son J.T. (John Tyler) Granato’s (second from right) signing to the Rice University football team as starting quarterback this National Signing Day. As a longtime radio and television sports analyst, the Houston-based host has been grooming his son in the sports industry, and even invited J.T. to intern on his national show, “Prime Cut,” with former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury this year. John Granato comments, “This is a great day for our family. We couldn’t be more proud. Thank God J.T. has his mother’s brains – there’s no other explanation for him getting into Rice.”…..Westwood One syndicated talk host Phil Valentine is headed for the big screen. Valentine has a supporting role in the upcoming film, The Secret Handshake, scheduled for release this spring. Handshake is written and directed by Howie Klausner, who wrote the screenplay for the Clint Eastwood movie, Space Cowboys…..SiriusXM is launching a three-week series of live, call-in shows titled, “African Ancestry Radio,” in which hosts will try to help listeners and celebrities of African descent in their quest to reconnect with their heritage. African Ancestry’s Gina Paige and award-winning producer Shirley Neal will host the program on February 8 with Louis Gossett, Jr. and Aunjanue Ellis as their first celebrity guests.
That’s Entertainment! The photo you see here is a full-stage shot of a live production of KIRO-FM, Seattle’s “Tom & Curley” show that happened at The Triple Door on Friday, January 30. The sold-out program was a live reenactment of the duo’s radio show done in the vein of an old-time variety show, complete with their weekly and daily features and guests, a local high school jazz band, as well as a certain degree of audience interaction and…one pet chicken. The station billed the event featuring hosts John Curley and Tom Tangney as “a night of the best conversation you will ever listen in on as Tom and John bring their entertaining take on the news of the day to a select live audience.”
Longtime Buffalo Radio Newsman Ray Marks Dies. Radio news pro Ray Marks (Markiewicz) died on February 4 after a two-and-a-half year battle with leukemia. During his career, Marks served as news director at WJTN, Jamestown, New York and at heritage Buffalo AM signals WGR and WBEN. WGRZ-TV, Buffalo reports that Marks also taught as an adjunct professor at St. Bonaventure University, Buffalo State College, and Medaille College.
Hometown Hero Sets Balloon Records. After Albuquerque resident and expert balloon pilot Troy Bradley set six new world records by flying across the Pacific Ocean with Russian co-pilot Leonid Tiukhtyaev, Cumulus Media news/talk KKOB got one of the first radio interviews. Pictured here, KKOB PM drive personality Scott Stiegler (right) poses for a shot with Two Eagles pilot Bradley (left) at the radio station. Bradley and Tiukhtyaev landed in the ocean about four miles from the California Baja last Saturday.
The Brutality of ISIS and Jordan’s Vow of Retaliation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 2-6. The increasingly cruel and violent tactics of ISIS and Jordan’s statement it will seek retaliation for the immolation death of its captured pilot were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the anti-vaccine controversy. Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the Obama tax hike proposal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Scorpio Selected as iHM’s California Regional PM. Riverside, Fresno, Bakersfield, Monterey, Stockton, and Modesto are the Golden State markets Rob Scorpio will oversee as iHeartMedia‘s regional programming manager. The company’s senior vice president of programming Tony Coles states, “Rob is a proven leader with a great track record. We are thrilled to be able to expand his role within the company.” Scorpio comments, “One of the many great things about iHeartMedia is their commitment to promote within the company. I would like to thank Tony Coles [among other iHM executives] for this opportunity.” Scorpio moves into his new role after being operations manager for iHeartMedia’s Riverside cluster. His past programming credits include KKBT, Los Angeles; KREV, San Francisco; KBXX, Houston; WPGC-FM, Washington, DC; and KFRH, Las Vegas.
Grant Nielsen Stepping Down from Daily KSL, Salt Lake City Wake-Up Duties. After almost 22 years waking up the Salt Lake City market on Bonneville’s news/talk KSL “NewsRadio,” Grant Nielsen announces he’s retiring from his daily co-host of “Utah’s Morning News” gig. He’ll still be a voice on the station in various dayparts. KSL staffer Brian Martin will take over morning host duties alongside Amanda Dickson, effective March 23. Martin currently anchors KSL’s national news with Nielsen and Dickson and is the host of “Utah’s Noon News.” Prior to joining KSL in 2010, he spent 15 years anchoring and reporting television news in Texas, New Mexico, New York, and Utah. Martin says, “I realize I have enormous shoes to fill, but I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to help grow the institution that Grant and Amanda have created. To work with Amanda to deliver news to Utahns driving into work each morning is something I will never take for granted.”
Odds & Sods. The film An Inconsistent Truth – produced by Westwood One talk host Phil Valentine’s film production company ExtryGood Productions – is being picked up by NewsmaxTV. The two-year deal means the film will air regularly throughout the contract period, beginning with its debut on NewsmaxTV tomorrow night (2/6) at 9:00 pm ET…..Trevor Carey is named afternoon drive host at iHeartMedia news/talk simulcast KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California “Power Talk 1360/1280.” He most recently was afternoon host at Townsquare Media’s hot AC WJYE, Buffalo (now WMSX)…..Former Fox 29 Philadelphia weatherman John Bolaris will begin hosting a weekly radio show on WTEL, Philadelphia, debuting this Saturday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. According to a story at Philly.com, the “CenterStage with John Bolaris” program will feature high-profile guests. Joining him for the premiere show will by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and “Mob Wives” star Natalie Didonato…..ESPN is launching “Hometown” – a new division of its customer marketing and sales group that will focus on serving national brands looking to connect with fans in specific markets at their greatest passion point – their love of their favorite teams.
‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio’ to Air in Philly. The two-hour weekend show “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” – which emanates live from Tel Aviv each Sunday from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET – is now heard on Salem Communications’ WNTP, Philadelphia “NewsTalk 990” as well as on the company’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Klein is a Philly native who now works and lives in the Middle East. WNTP program director Mark Daniels says, “‘NewsTalk 990’ couldn’t be more pumped about adding ‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.’ There’s nothing else like it, especially on the weekends! If you watch the Sunday talking heads on TV, then listen to Aaron Sunday evening, and you’ll appreciate the difference his global perspective brings.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Federated Media’s heritage WOWO, Fort Wayne is seeking a news director. Fort Wayne, Indiana’s #1 radio station, a 50,000-watt news, weather and talk service station has a rare opening for a full-time news director/anchor to join our Marconi winning team. If you’re hard working, have a dynamic personality, strong news delivery, ability to command attention through storytelling, have successful interactions with on-air partners and want to work for a station the community adores and loves, we’re looking for you. We’re one of Indiana’s premiere news stations celebrating 90 years in the community — and with a 50,000 watt AM signal with a FM simulcast, we’re the most-listened-to station in our market. Responsibilities include news anchoring, reporting breaking news, attending sporting events and other paid appearances, leading a fully staffed newsroom as someone who leads by example and possibly fill-in hosting duties. An ideal candidate is energetic, efficient and capable of multi-tasking in a lively, fast-paced environment. This sometimes requires weekend and evening hours, both on the street and in the radio station. WOWO is also unique because of a local TV partnership. We simulcast one hour every weekday morning on our local NBC affiliate, as well as live TV traffic updates in the afternoon. This means future candidates must be comfortable with frequent TV exposure. You’ll also be working with one of the best crews in the business, along with a great company to back a positive environment. To be considered, please send a resume via e-mail to operations manager Ryan Wrecker at: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your stuff to Ryan Wrecker, WOWO Radio, 2915 Maples Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46816. No phone calls please. Federated Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Getting Ready for Love. There is no doubt, with Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, love is in the air and as far as nationally syndicated talk duo Brent & Meg are concerned, it will be ON the air as well. The husband/wife midday talk team (syndicated by GCN) were spotted by a Studio City, California Walgreens manager with a smartphone camera as they were doing some shopping in preparation for the big holiday coming up at the end of next week. Brent Seltzer tells TALKERS, “Meg and I are in a constant state of simply being in-love and Valentine’s Day week gives us just another excuse to express, demonstrate, explore, discuss and play with it on the air.” Meg McDonald adds, “Being a married couple approaching 30 years together opens the door to so many conversations and aspects about life that make great content for the kind of free-spirited talk radio that we have the opportunity to do every day. Although our show tackles all the issues of the day and is not what you would call a ‘relationships show’ per se, the fact that we have such an established, real relationship as the baseline of our act really comes in handy in bringing a dimension of utter reality to what we do on the air. Valentine’s Day was made for us!”
The Brutality of ISIS/Jordan Threatens Retaliation, Anti-Vaccine Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, GOP’s ObamaCare Replacement Plan, and Brian Williams Recants Helicopter RPG Attack Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The world’s reaction to ISIS’ burning a Jordanian pilot alive and that country’s vow to retaliate; the controversy over anti-vaccine comments made by Chris Christie and Rand Paul; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the plan by congressional Republicans to replace ObamaCare; the response to NBC anchor Brian Williams’ admission that he was not aboard a helicopter hit by a RPG in Iraq in 2004 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Tony Bruno and Josh Innes to Afternoons on WIP-FM, Philadelphia. Rumor becomes reality as CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia announces that it is bringing Philly sports talk radio pro Tony Bruno back to the market to partner with current evening host Josh Innes for the 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm show titled, “Innes & Bruno.” Bruno began his sports talk career as part of the morning show on WIP with Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti back in 1991. Most recently, he worked in the market at Greater Media’s crosstown WPEN-FM, but left last June after failing to come to terms on a new deal with that station. Josh Innes moved from the company’s KILT, Houston in 2014. Replacing him in the evening slot will be current PM drive co-host Rob Ellis. Anthony Gargano was Ellis’ partner on the show and he exited the station back in December. WIP-FM and WPHT operations manager Andy Bloom says, “We’re excited about the partnership of ‘Innes & Bruno’ in afternoons on WIP. Josh clearly understands what makes WIP the legendary station that it is and brings his unabashed approach to covering sports each and every day. Tony is a Philadelphia legend with roots going back to the earliest days of WIP. Together the two build a bridge that will allow listeners who have been listening to WIP for 25 years and those just finding us today to enjoy entertaining sports talk on the ride home each day.”
Steven Portnoy Joins CBS Radio News. The new congressional correspondent for CBS Radio News is Steven Portnoy, whom CBS News vice president for radio Harvey Nagler calls, “one of the finest broadcasters in our industry who has distinguished himself time and time again by reporting on many important stories for ABC Radio News during the last 13 years.” Nagler goes on to say that Portnoy “truly understands the needs of our affiliates and the importance of the role in servicing them.” On joining CBS Radio News, Portnoy comments, “Under the leadership of Harvey Nagler, who has maintained a standard of excellence first established by Paul White, journalists at CBS Radio News are at the top of our craft. As a lifelong listener and fan, I am honored and humbled to be joining the extraordinarily talented members of the CBS Radio News team.” Portnoy is an award-winning journalist who, in addition to his network radio accomplishments, served for three years as a reporter for WMAL, Washington. He begins with CBS Radio News on February 23.
New Name for LDR Interactive: Futuri Media. In a two-pronged press release, LDR Interactive announces it becomes Futuri Media and names two new executives to the company’s staff. Media and technology industry pro Brian Parsons joins Futuri Media as chief information officer. He has served as an EVP for iHeartMedia and Triton Digital Media. Veteran broadcast engineer Craig Bowman also joins the company as vice president/support, overseeing client services. Futuri says Parsons and current chief technology officer Brian Seeders – a founding team member – will lead product innovation and software development. The newly named company brings several media technology assets under its banner including the LDR (Listener Driven Radio) interactive programming platforms: LDR1™ voting window technology and Takeover®, which is on the air at more than 400 radio stations and networks in 11 countries; TopicPulse®, a real-time social media measurement system for newsrooms and content producers; as well as Futuri Mobile™, which designs custom mobile features and apps for broadcasters, with more than 150 iPhone, Android, and tablet apps in the marketplace. Futuri CEO and Co-Founder Daniel Anstandig explains the changes, “We rebranded as Futuri Media and expanded our leadership team to reinforce our commitment to innovation. The future of media is in leveraging social and mobile technology for broadcasters. That’s why five years ago we started developing custom interactive broadcast, mobile and web technologies to drive ratings, revenue and digital engagement. Technology changes overnight and we are passionate about staying ahead of the curve to help broadcast operators connect with their audiences and develop new revenue. Brian Parsons and Craig Bowman bring tremendous experience and talent to enhance our products and services from day one. They, Brian Seeders and everyone else on our leadership team have worked as a manager, engineer, programmer or seller at local broadcast. By strengthening our senior information and support tiers, we are bringing our ‘high-tech, high-touch’ approach to every client.” Pictured here is the Futuri team surrounding Anstandig at center.
Westwood One Extends CNBC Business Radio Partnership. Expanded content includes addition of a second hourly CNBC Business Radio report. Westwood One will offer hourly reports to stations at :20 and :50, with re-feeds at :25 and :55. Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green comments, “Westwood One is delighted to expand the content that we offer affiliates in the business space. CNBC is the best-in-class brand that listeners have grown to trust for many years and it is evident by the number of new stations that are signing up.” CNBC Business News senior vice president and editor-in-chief Nikhil Deogun remarks, “We are thrilled to be able to broaden our partnership with Westwood One. This will allow CNBC to bring its unparalleled global business content and insight to new audiences across the country. In these volatile times, listeners need to know what is happening with their money during the market day.” CNBC Business Reports currently air on more than 140 stations, including in nine of the top 10 DMA markets and 22 of the top 25.
Former Carolina Panthers GM Partner in Management of Asheville Sports Talker. The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is partnering with WZGV, Asheville general manager Lanny Ford to lease the station from owner HRN Broadcasting. Hurney was let go from his post with the NFL club in 2012 and has since reinvented himself as a sports media personality. He’s been a guest analyst on ESPN’s “NFL Insiders” and, since June of 2014 has been a personality on WZGV “ESPN 730.” Now, Hurney and Ford will lease and manage both WZGV and sister station news/talk WZGM for the next three years. Prior to his stint with the Panthers, Hurney was a sports writer for the Washington Times. Read Washburn’s column here.
iHeartMedia Names New Corporate Talk Brand Management Team. In a memo to staff, EVP and general manager of national programming platforms Clay Hunnicutt announces the new talk brand management team for iHeartMedia, to be led by EVP of programming Midwest Carl Anderson. He’ll remain in that role in addition to his new talk brand manager title. Joining him on the team as brand coordinators are: Grace Blazer, who will continue in her role as director of talk programming in Miami; Greg Foster adds to his duties as vice president of programming in Denver; and longtime Louisville-based programmer Kelly Carls, who will continue as regional programming manager. Hunnicutt comments, “Together under Carl’s leadership, the new talk brand management team will be a vital resource to our programming operations, working with our talented local programmers to deliver the best programming to our listeners.” Carls takes over the talk brand manager position from longtime company talk PD Ken Charles who exited the company late last year.
Odds & Sods. The syndicated “Café Mocha” radio show is kicking off Black History Month with a series honoring women titled, #CelebrateHer. The radio vignettes recognize African American women from the Civil Rights movement to today’s female trailblazers. Featured in the series are actress, dancer, choreographer, director Debbie Allen, Ebony Fashion Fair founder and director the late Eunice Johnson, musical prodigy Janelle Monae, NBC “Today Show” co-anchor Tamron Hall, first-ever African American “Cinderella” on Broadway, KeKe Palmer, Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant, leader and strategist of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee featured in the movie “Selma,” Diane Nash and well-known civil rights activist and mentor to Rosa Parks, Ella Baker (deceased). “Café Mocha” is hosted by MC Lyte, Loni Love, Angelique Perrin, and Nicole Ari Parker…..There’s a new multi-year deal between MSG Networks and ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” that will ensure the station continues as the exclusive radio broadcaster of New York Knicks and New York Rangers games. “ESPN Radio New York 98.7” has broadcast Knicks and Rangers games since 2004…..The PGA and SiriusXM extend their agreement to program and air PGA TOUR Radio for the next three years…..Media and marketing agency pro John M. Zamoiski joins AdLarge Media as chief opportunity officer. In this post he’ll support the company’s continued expansion into new content acquisitions, while also working on cross-platform, integrated marketing partnerships.
Westwood One Names Super Bowl Sound Award Winner. The second annual Super Bowl Sound Award from Westwood One celebrates “excellence in audio creativity” for the ads aired on the Westwood One radio play-by-play broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX, as voted by fans. The 2015 Champion of Sound is the brand Poo-Pourri, with a humorous spot about the Super Bowl. The spot was custom made for the big game and “it represents a great example of a smaller brand using the power of audio to reach consumers through huge cultural moments such as the Super Bowl.” The other brands rounding out the top five most votes of the Super Bowl Sound Awards: Motel 6 (with two commercials), Subway, and Exergen.
Renewed Vaccine Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, New Saudi Arabia-9/11 Allegations, Carter Defense Secretary Testimony, Three-Parent Baby Controversy, Gallup Challenges 5.6% Unemployment Figure, Inter-GOP Immigration Battle, and Super Bowl XLIX Aftermath Among Top Stories Yesterday (2/3). The controversy over mandatory vaccines and Chris Christie’s and Rand Paul’s relative comments; the potential candidates for president in 2016; new testimony from Zacharias Moussaoui about the connection between prominent Saudis and the funding of 9/11; Ashton Carter says ISIS a priority in Defense Secretary nomination testimony; the flap over using DNA from three people for in vitro fertilization; Gallup CEO challenges 5.6% unemployment figure; the battle among Republicans over immigration legislation; and the aftermath of Super Bowl XLIX were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
iHeartMedia Expands with SoundBoard Initiative. The company is calling iHeartMedia SoundBoard a “one-of-a-kind audio-centric branded entertainment studio” that will allow its talent to work with advertisers to “produce original long- and short-form audio, video and experiential content that moves seamlessly across radio, apps, and events, creating the next generation of brand storytelling.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “As the number one creators of live, daily content, brands have been asking us for more ability to craft original stories that leverage the power of sound to reach consumers when they’re ready to be entertained. We’re launching the first branded audio studio for the digital era to prove the power of radio, the power of live content, and the power of cross-platform programming designed for a media world without walls.” In addition to using national talent such as Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran, the company says it will use “the many local personalities who resonate in their communities — and its unique access to the most innovative thinkers in music and entertainment — to develop new original productions that combine the power of live radio with richer storytelling across platforms.” The iHeartMedia SoundBoard Studio will be led by John Sykes, president of iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises Group; Gayle Troberman, EVP and chief marketing officer of iHeartMedia; and Vanessa Adamo, senior vice president of Entertainment Enterprises.
Bob Bruce to Host Afternoons on KOIL, Omaha. The new local afternoon program on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha is announced and Bob Bruce is returning to the Omaha market after a 10-year absence to host “The Bob Bruce Radio Experience” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective February 23. Bruce comes to KOIL from his most recent gig at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WMT, Cedar Rapids. Bruce replaces talk pro Tom Becka who exited the afternoon show at KOIL late last year. About his new gig, Bruce says, “I am thrilled to be a part of a legendary station like KOIL and delighted to be back in Omaha. I love this community and all it has to offer and I will make this show educational and fun for listeners.”
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Helps Get Dick Gregory Star on Walk of Fame. From a piece by George Curry published in BlackPressUSA comes the story of how talk show host Joe Madison helped get pioneering black comedian Dick Gregory a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Curry writes that after working on the campaign to get The Four Tops a star on the walk, he noticed that Dick Gregory was not on the walk and set out to do something about it. After two failed campaigns, the third time (with help from others) he was able to convince the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to grant him the star. But the hard part was just ahead. Getting a star requires paying $30,000 for construction and maintenance. Madison set out to raise the money and says he appealed to his listeners for $30 contributions and soon the money was in hand. Read Curry’s story here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime San Diego sports talk personality Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is joining XETV, San Diego “San Diego 6” to serve on the 10:00 pm news on Saturdays and Sundays. News director Don Shafer says, “Lee will bring his unique perspective and knowledge of local, state and national sports to San Diego 6 News.” Lee will bring his signature “Hacksaw’s Headlines” to the sportscast, with his take on the biggest stories of the day…..Cumulus Media sports talker WSKO, Syracuse inks a deal to broadcast Syracuse Chiefs minor league baseball for the next two seasons. Kevin Brown and Eric Gallanty will be in the broadcast booth for play-by-play duties…..According to PennLive, Cumulus Media’s sports talk simulcast WHGB-AM and W243BR, Harrisburg “Sportsradio 96.5” will be carrying Washington Nationals baseball this season instead of Philadelphia Phillies games.
Patriots Win Super Bowl XLIX, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Politicians’ Vaccine Remarks Flap, Battle Against ISIS, Obama Tax Hike Proposal, Suge Knight Charged with Murder, and Bobbi Kristina Brown in Coma Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). Patriots win game that is most-watched TV broadcast in U.S. history; the potential candidates for president in 2016; comments by Chris Christie and Rand Paul questioning safety and efficacy of vaccines; the fight against ISIS; the tax hikes proposed by President Obama; rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with murder and more in hit-and-run death; and Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown in a coma were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bubba the Love Sponge ‘Programming’ Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa. Those new calls are for the old WHFS-FM (most recently sports talker “The Fan”) in Tampa at which Bubba the Love Sponge has set up camp as his new flagship station. And with the call letter change comes news from Beasley Media Group that the station is airing a new format called “Bubba 98/7, No Rules Radio.” Carl Harris serves as the station’s program director but Beasley reports that the station – which will include musical artists such as AC/DC, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Stone Temple Pilots, Linkin Park, Green Day and Foo Fighters – will also include songs chosen by Bubba himself. Those range from artists like Eminem, Notorious B.I.G., Dr. DRE, Jerry Reed, Public Enemy, C.W. McCall, LL Cool J and many others. Additionally, “Bubba 98/7, No Rules Radio” features parody bits from the legendary Bubba The Love Sponge archives. Beasley EVP of operations Brian Beasley says, “Beasley has entered new territory with today’s announcement. The music, personalities and bits will all be the creative responsibility of the station’s morning show host, Bubba the Love Sponge. We hope the listeners will be thoroughly entertained by the new direction of the station.”
Bohannon, Westwood One Agree to Multi-Year Pact. Owing to a Westwood One contract extension, Radio Hall of Famer Jim Bohannon will continue hosting both his nightly eponymous program and “America in the Morning” for the Cumulus Media-owned syndicator. Westwood One executive vice president of news and talk Bart Tessler comments, “Jim may be in the Radio Hall of Fame, but he is just getting started. With new show resources and his contagious energy and enthusiasm, Westwood One and our affiliates and clients can look forward to many more years of Jim hosting his franchise programs.” Bohannon remarks, “I am so pleased to have the honor of continuing my career with Westwood One – my home for over half my time in radio. Now that we have added reports from Westwood One News correspondents, ‘The Jim Bohannon Show’ and our news magazine ‘America in the Morning’ are about to enter their best days yet. With all the challenges of the day, from partisan battles inside the Beltway to the war on terror, I’m eager to keep the discussion going.” Self-described “militant moderate, voice of reason” Bohannon appears at #20 of TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” of 2014.
Medved Takes Hiatus To Fight Throat Cancer. In 18 years as a syndicated talk host, Salem Radio Network‘s Michael Medved has not missed more than four consecutive days of regularly scheduled broadcasts. This past Friday though (1/30), he revealed that in mid-December he was diagnosed with stage three throat cancer. Owing to that reason, Medved is taking a medical leave. “I always knew it would take something serious to keep me away from the microphone I cherish for an extended period of time,” he comments. “My prognosis for full recovery is very good. In the great majority of cases, this is a highly-curable form of cancer.” Medved broadcast every day while completing more than half of his daily radiation and weekly chemotherapy treatments. He will receive his last scheduled radiation treatment in just over three weeks (2/26). “Shortly thereafter, I hope to return to regular broadcasting,” he remarks. “The exact time of my return will be determined by my medical progress, but I will be straining to get back to work as soon as humanly possible. I know how fortunate I am with my loyal and marvelous audience, so I wanted to provide full transparency and direct explanations – you’ll be hearing from me soon.” KSKY, Dallas morning talent Mark Davis will be Medved’s primary fill-in; Davis hosts the Friday edition of Salem Radio Network’s “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America.” Other guest hosts for Medved will include KTTH, Seattle’s morning drive personality David Boze, and American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks. Listed at #25 of TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” of 2014, 66-year-old Seattle-based Medved was chief film critic for The New York Post in the mid-1990s.
Patrick Mannelly Reportedly Exiting WSCR, Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, midday personality – and former Chicago Bears long snapper – Patrick Mannelly will announce his exit as midday co-host on today’s program. Mannelly joined co-host Matt Speigel back in September after the CBS RADIO sports talker could not come to terms with Dan McNeil to stay with “The Score.” It’s believed that Mannelly will remain a part of Bears pre-game shows on the station. Once again there is an opening at WSCR and already there are rumors this could open the door for Dan McNeil’s return or, as DaWindyCity reports, David Kaplan and David Haugh might be candidates since they exited Tribune Media with the shutdown of crosstown sports talk WGWG-LP “87.7 The Game.”
Tony Bruno and Josh Innes to Host Afternoons on WIP-FM, Philadelphia. As reported by Molly Eichel in the Philadelphia News, Tony Bruno will return to the airwaves in Philly on CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM alongside current WIP personality Josh Innes for the afternoon daypart formerly occupied by Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis. Gargano exited the station but Ellis remains under contract and it’s not known what role Ellis might play at the station. Bruno was heard in middays on Greater Media’s crosstown WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” until he resigned from the station last June. He’s been podcasting via BlogTalkRadio recently. At one time, Bruno worked on the WIP morning show hosted by Angelo Cataldi.
Odds & Sods. Just named the new White House correspondent for CBS News Radio is Pam Coulter, who replaces the recently retired Peter Maer. Coulter rejoined CBS in 2011 after working as a correspondent for NPR and ABC Radio News for 12 years where she covered, among other things, the White House, Congress and the Pentagon…..Longtime Sioux Falls radio newsman Gene Hetland retired from Townsquare Media’s news/talk KSOO after a career that spanned 38 years. The Associated Press reports that the 63-year-old Hetland started at KSOO in August of 1976 and retired on January 30…..The new morning news anchor at Midwest Communications-owned news/talk WHTC, Holland, Michigan is Mary Ellen Murphy…..San Antonio Magazine is out with its “Best of the City 2015” and it names former San Antonio Spurs point guard Antonio Daniels “Radio Personality of the Year.” Daniels hosts “The Hardline” on Alpha Media’s KZDC “ESPN San Antonio.”
Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ Clears WRKO, Boston. The Entercom Boston news/talker adds Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” to the program schedule airing Sunday evenings at 8:00 pm. Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary says, “Over the last few years, Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ has emerged as the definitive voice of rational, responsible gun owners across America. It just makes sense that his program be heard on one of the most powerful radio signals here in the cradle of the American Revolution.” Gresham comments, “Massachusetts is full of gun owners who continue to fight for gun rights. I’m proud to lend my voice to those who preserve the tradition of freedom in Boston and the entire area.”
Business Rockstars Hits 100 Affiliate Mark. With the addition of KTLR, Oklahoma City, the nationally syndicated “Business Rockstars” show arrives at the 100 affiliate plateau. The programming is hosted by Ken Rutkowski. Business Rockstars chairman Steve Lehman says, “Radio is an important part of our multi-media and social platform. We couldn’t be more excited to add KTLR to our consistently growing list of affiliate stations. The rock stars of today no longer play guitar and blast through your speakers. The new Rockstars are Business Rockstars: the Mark Zuckerbergs, Elon Musks and Mark Cubans of the world.” In describing its programming, the company says “entrepreneurship is on fire. It’s not political, it’s not controversial, it’s all about empowering listeners with the right tools and information so that they become Rockstars too. Business Rockstars is the only daily, long-form show on the air that drills into the core of starting, growing, and funding a business. The show is attracting a younger audience to AM radio. There are 30 million hungry ‘Wantrepreneurs’ in the US and Business Rockstars is here to feed them.”
DreX to Host New KGO, San Francisco Talk Show. Music radio personality DreX crosses into the news/talk realm with his new gig as evening host at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco. The station notes that DreX worked in the market in the past at KSJO, San Jose – now “NASH FM 92.3.” DreX crafted successful CHR night shows in markets including San Antonio, Dallas and Philadelphia. He then shifted to mornings at signals such as WHYT, Detroit and WKSC, Chicago “Kiss FM.” Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay comments, “Drex brings a unique perspective to the news/talk format and an uncanny ability to entertain and inform in his own engaging style.” San Francisco VP/market manager Justin Wittmayer adds, “DreX brings his unique voice to KGO nights for a highly compelling program that is fresh, live and local. The Bay Area is in for quite an experience with DreX.”
Malzberg and Newsmax TV Extend Relationship. The new three-year deal keeps talk media pro Steve Malzberg hosting his Newsmax TV daily news and talk program that currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. Newsmax says in a statement that Malzberg is “a veteran TV and radio personality, [who] attracts a star-studded roster of news-breaking guests and delivers insightful commentary around topical, often-contentious issues that connect with audiences.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Steve Malzberg is a key member of our on-air team who brings a fearless and informed approach to news/talk programming. Our growing audience is truly responding to him and he will no doubt continue to deliver provocative talk and engagement with his guests as we enter into the pivotal, upcoming presidential election period.”
Mark Levin Show to Air on KRLA, Los Angeles. The Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin show is moving to a prime spot in Los Angeles, airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KRLA, effective February 3. With the change, Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt will move to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm timeslot. Salem SVP of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Rarely do you have the chance to add somebody of Mark’s quality in market #2, and we decided it was an opportunity we could not pass up. Hugh Hewitt is also a class act, so running these two back-to-back makes this lineup even stronger.” Levin states, “It’s an honor to join the wonderful lineup at KRLA. I know my great listeners, who include two of my biggest fans in the LA area (my kids, who live and work there!) will appreciate hearing the show LIVE, too!”
WNDB, Daytona Beach Producer Arrested on Child Porn Charges. According to a story by WKMG-TV, Orlando, WNDB, Daytona Beach executive producer Chand Worob has been taken into custody by Daytona Beach police on charges of receiving and distributing child pornography. The story reports police had been investigating the 25-year-old radio station staffer since October. They arrested him at the radio station where he works on the Marc Bernier morning show and served a warrant at his home where they reported finding a laptop with some 500 images on it.
CBS RADIO Ups Zeise at ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. The new evening personality at CBS RADIO sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” is Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter Paul Zeise. He’s been hosting programs at the station on a part-time basis since 2011. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Paul has truly developed as a personality and we’re happy we could make him a larger member of our on-air team. Paul has strong ties within the local sports community and will provide unique insight and hard-hitting opinions that will resonate with our listeners.”
Fifth Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Happens on February 9. On Monday, February 9, New York radio legend and WABC morning drive personality Don Imus will present the fifth annual “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. Ticket sales from the one-night only performance will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel will join Imus as emcee. The evening will showcase live performances from some of Broadway’s top musicals including: Kinky Boots, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, It Shoulda Been You, Honeymoon In Vegas, The Lion King, Cabaret, Into The Woods, Les Miserables, Chicago and more!
WFAN, New York to Begin 5th ‘Fantasy Phenom Challenge.’ Next Sunday (2/8), CBS RADIO sports talker WFAN, New York kicks off the 5th “Fantasy Phenom Challenge” at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, New York in which contestants will have the chance to earn on-air shifts on “The Fan.” The station will register the first 100 contestants online and those will audition before a panel of judges at area shopping malls around the region. A change in this year’s competition will allow for finalists to receive personal coaching from one of WFAN’s on-air hosts! Up to 12 participants will move on to round two, where online voting will determine the top six contestants for the final. The finalists will be part of a special St. Patrick’s Day remote broadcast featuring WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show and simulcast on CBS Network. The Finals will be held in late March or early April on Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive show. “Fantasy Phenom” year 4 winner, Dimitri Adrahtas, is completing his one-year stint with the station broadcasting his show to Tri-State area listeners.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Los Angeles talk radio personality Marc Germain, formerly “Mr. KABC,” will host the evening show on CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas all next week, February 2-6. Germain has been making his home in Sin City for the past five years and has been hosting a nightly live show and podcast from his TalkRadioOne.com base…..A new, four-year renewal between USC and ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” means the station will continue to serve as the flagship radio outlet for Trojan football through the 2018-19 season. The deal also means approximately one-half of USC’s men’s basketball games will also air on “ESPNLA.”…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York begins its inaugural year of broadcasting the New York City Football Club with Tom Kolker, Glenn Crooks and Roberto Abramowitz handling the announcing duties. For English-language broadcasts, Tom Kolker is the new play-by-play voice and Glenn Crooks will provide in-game analysis. For Spanish-language broadcasts airing on WADO, they will be led by Roberto Abramowitz. A Spanish-language analyst will be named at a later date.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed nationally by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program schedule at: WPTF, Raleigh; WDXR, Paducah, Kentucky; and WVFT, Tallahassee…..As noted earlier in the week, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity joins the program schedule at Beasley Media Group’s KDWN, Las Vegas while Dave Ramsey moves to a live airing at CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas…..The Kim Komando weekend “digital lifestyle” program is now airing on: Entercom’s WRKO, Boston; Townsquare Media’s simulcast KCHH and KBUL-AM, Billings, Montana; and WNBF, Binghamton, New York.
Northeast Blizzard Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 26-30. Winter storm Juno and the criticism of forecasters and government officials anticipating the event was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the 2016 presidential race followed by ISIS threats tied with Taliban 5 developments at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Senate Commerce Committee Chair Thune Seeks Communications Act Overhaul. Speaking before an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-SD) said he will kick-start the process of reviewing and updating the country’s communications laws, last done in 1996. From a story at The Hill, Thune admits his efforts will require support from Democrats but says it’s very early in the process. He told the crowd the very legal framework that could allow broadband internet to be classified a utility is obsolete. He criticized the FCC’s rulemaking process with regard to “net neutrality” and said its agenda is being nudged by “an increasingly imperious president.” He said, “With the FCC poised to reclassify broadband due to a lack of clear statutory authority, we can readily see the consequences of that obsolescence and the need for action.” Getting support from Democrats prior to the 2016 election may be all but impossible but Thune says trying to update the Act that was last modernized when the Internet was in its infancy is necessary.”
Westwood One Locks-In Levin. A contract extension between Westwood One and Mark Levin will keep the talk show host with the Cumulus Media-owned syndicator through 2020. Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey states, “Mark has established himself as a pillar in talk radio with his sharp and witty commentary. We look forward to expanding his program’s reach.” Levin comments, “I am delighted to continue working with Cumulus and Westwood One. I look forward to further developing the show over the next five years. I am passionate about challenging the mainstream media and educating the public on the most pressing political and legal issues of our time and maintain my commitment to doing so.” Flagship WABC, New York launched Levin’s 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm show in 2003; a third hour was added six years later (2009). Previously an advisor/administrator to several members of president Ronald Reagan‘s cabinet, Levin is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, a non-profit Washington, DC-based advocacy group.
LeBon Named to Co-Host ‘America Continues’ on USA Radio Networks. Joining host Jim Sharpe on his “America Continues” program – to be syndicated live nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2 – is Cherylyn Harley LeBon. She is president and CEO of public relations firm KLAR Strategies and is national co-chair of the leadership network, Project 21. On joining USA Radio and working with Sharpe, LeBon says, “It is a wonderful opportunity to co-host with Jim Sharpe on ‘America Continues’ to share with our audience the unique stories happening around our country. We want to talk about the stories that are not being told and highlight reasons why America is still so great.” LeBon previously served as a political appointee in the George W. Bush Administration; as a spokesman at the Republican National Committee; and as senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She is also a contributor to BlogHer, TheBlaze, and She Owns It.
WEEI.com Benefits from DeflateGate Controversy. Fans of the New England Patriots may be sick to death of the “deflategate” flap but the story has been a boon for Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and its digital destination, WEEI.com. The station reports that the story has “crushed all previous engagement records for ‘Sports Radio WEEI’ and its digital assets. Between January 19, the day the allegations of tampering with some of the AFC Championship footballs were first announced, and January 25, WEEI.com racked up the following eye-popping statistics: Over 1 million unique users to WEEI.com; over 4.3 million page views in that same time frame; The WEEI Facebook page reached more than 6.1 million people in one week with more than 1 million of those engaging and participating in a WEEI post; on Thursday, January 22, more than 280,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views were tallied for the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick press conferences, the largest day in site history; and those press conferences peaked at over 22,000 users on the WEEI audio stream. The station’s previous record-setting day for streaming was a peak of 15,000 for a Tom Brady interview last fall. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham comments that “you don’t post numbers like that unless sports fans know you’re the digital destination for timely and credible information. I’m very proud of the combined efforts from our on-air and digital content teams in reporting this ever-changing story. We have been at the forefront of coverage from the beginning and been the go-to station for national media outlets such as ESPN, The CBS Evening News, FOX News and CNN, to name a few.”
Odds & Sods. At non-commercial triple A and news/talk hybrid KCRW, Santa Monica, California, Matt Miller puts the wraps on his “Left, Right & Center” program, producing the last episode on Friday, January 30…..This evening is the official “weigh-in” broadcast on WIP-FM, Philadelphia prior to Friday’s Wing Bowl 23 – the annual chicken wing eating contest, this year being held at the Wells Fargo Center. The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm broadcast today takes place at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station’s Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes are hosting the broadcast…..WGN, Chicago will air the memorial service for Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks on Saturday, January 31 from 10:00 am until its conclusion. Sports director Dave Eanet will host the broadcast. The station will make the Kathy & Judy show available via wgnplus.com and will join that show in progress after the Banks memorial service…..The medical talk show “Mayo Clinic Radio” is now being represented for national syndication by Chicago-based Syndication Networks Corp. The program is a weekly, one-hour show hosted by physician and longtime broadcaster Dr. Tom Shives with veteran radio host Tracy McCray.
Talk Personality Ethan Bearman Co-Founds Government Watchdog Site. The new organization and its website – Community Action for Government Efficiency, or CAGE – is a Santa Cruz, California-based one that seeks to help keep politicians accountable, according to co-founder and talk radio personality Ethan Bearman. He’s pictured here (center) appearing on KSCO, Santa Cruz’s “Good Morning Monterey Bay” program with host Rosemary Chalmers (right) and CAGE co-founder Vincent Perez (left) to announce the debut of the site Cagesc.org. Bearman says, “Our goal is to provide a clear and simple pathway of information to the people and business community of Santa Cruz County. CAGE provides a forum for a common-sense approach to impacting change in economic, political and social issues.” He says, “Users of the site can find information on relevant topics that impact our business community; share concerns that impact our community; participate in the discussion forums related to these issues; and influence positive behavior from our local politicians by holding them accountable.” Bearman is host of the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program on KSFO, San Francisco on Saturdays and Sundays.
ISIS Captives/Threat to President Obama, Obamas Saudi Visit, Obama Administration Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Immigration Reform/Amnesty Issues, and Super Bowl Hype/DeflateGate Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The potential swap of captives between Jordan and ISIS and the group’s threat to President Obama in beheading video; Barack and Michelle Obama’s visit with the Saudi royals; the administration plan to hike taxes on top earners; the potential candidates for president in 2016; immigration reform proposals and the amnesty policy championed by President Obama; and the build-up to Super Bowl XLIX and the deflategate flap were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sean Hannity Show to Air on KDWN, Las Vegas. Moving across the street from CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas to Beasley Media Group’s KDWN is Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity. The change takes effect on Monday, February 2. KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “We are very excited that Sean Hannity is joining our lineup at KDWN. His show will help solidify our position as the news and talk leader in Las Vegas.” Hannity’s show will air live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot, replacing the “Live in Las Vegas” show hosted by Dave Carney and Chad Forster. Back at KXNT, the station moves financial talk star Dave Ramsey from a delayed broadcast in the evening to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart.
O’Malley Upped to Westwood One Senior VP, Strategic Sales Partnerships. Trading in the title of Cumulus vice president of brand solutions, Paul O’Malley becomes Westwood One’s senior vice president of strategic sales partnerships. According to Westwood One president Steve Shaw, “Bringing Paul over to run our new strategic sales division was a no-brainer. His wealth of experience in new business development, world-class reputation among agencies, and vast knowledge of our assets make him the prefect partner to lead this new team. We are building an impressive and outstanding sales force and Paul is a top-tier player on the team.” O’Malley comments that he is “excited by the opportunity” to “deliver experiential solutions which will encompass national scale and local engagement. The best brands in the U.S. are asking for new, innovative, and measured programs. Westwood One and Cumulus have assets and capabilities that are unparalleled in the industry and that deliver results for advertisers. I look forward to growing our client base and driving revenue across our platforms.” Atlanta-based O’Malley previously (2004 – 2011) was Citadel’s regional president of sales.
Westwood One to Vacate Montfort Drive Offices in Dallas. With the looming expiration of Westwood One’s lease at the Dallas offices – located at 13725 Montfort Drive – later this year, the company announces it will move those operations to other facilities. Westwood One will build out some new broadcast facilities at the TM Studios operations on Academy Lane in Dallas, and will move programming, production and affiliate sales there. The company reports that back-office functions (traffic and affiliate service/affidavit management) will be relocated to an existing Cumulus facility in nearby Arlington. “Other than some duplicated facility support positions, there will be no other changes to staffing related to the relocations.”
WW1 at Media Week for Super Bowl XLIX. Broadcasting from the annual media week at the Super Bowl here is Westwood One NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of famer James Lofton (right) as he interviews Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (left).
‘Juno’ Storm Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Tax Plan/529 Plans, ISIS Prisoner Swap Issue, ObamaCare Repeal Vote, ‘American Sniper’ Flap, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). Winter storm Juno and the chatter about overblown predictions and mandatory shutdowns; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the Obama Administration’s plan to hike taxes on top earners and its backing off the elimination of the 529 college savings plan; the possible ISIS deal to swap prisoners; the GOP’s plans to vote on repeal of the Affordable Care Act; lower oil process and the activity on the world’s financial markets; and the looming Super Bowl and talk about the DeflateGate issue were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Carolyn Fox
Whimsical Fox, LTD
I’ve known many of you since my days as music director at WBRU, Providence. Ok, so we all have a little less hair where we want it and too many pounds of blubber where we don’t. You’re basically the same and so are the basic tenets of good radio.
Let me remind you of why I had over 50% of the available radio audience at any given time listening to me for over 20 years. I’m going keep this short because I know we all have the attention spans of gnats, which is why we ended up in this biz to begin with!
By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity
“It’s YOUR fault, you know. YOUR fault a huge, powerful storm system hundreds of miles wide had the temerity to jog just 50 miles farther east, turning a forecast blizzard for many into a whimpering flurry.”
“Oh, and it’s YOUR fault, too – you emergency managers and business continuity pros – YOUR fault government and businesses took decisions that inconvenienced many and cost untold dollars in lost revenue or extra expense.”
Yeah, well – speaking as both a broadcaster and a certified emergency planning professional – to that I say simply and with strong resolve: “Good for us.”
Getting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right. Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared. For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature. Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.” Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds. Read more from Price here.
Carolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success. Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era. In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners. “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.” Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.
Tom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit. It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC. Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187. He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).” Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report. Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.” TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit. Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture. “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day. I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds. I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever. This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”
Westwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect. Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).
XEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090″ and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team’s] vision for the future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).
Odds & Sods. Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow. In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy. Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades. The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.
Johnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.
Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One. Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX. Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL. From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.
Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26). The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Longtime Rush Limbaugh Staffer Kit Carson Dies After Battle with Cancer. TALKERS magazine has learned from Sound Mind LLC principal Kraig Kitchin that longtime Rush Limbaugh staffer Christopher “Kit” Carson passed away this morning (1/26), in New Jersey. The cause was brain cancer. Kitchin says Carson had suffered a bout of cancer four years ago but found his way to recovery two years later and was given a clean bill of health. In the last several months, the cancer returned. Kit Carson was the “chief of staff” of Limbaugh’s program since the early 1990s. He became part of the program’s staff in 1989. Kitchin says Carson wanted to be an actor, but fell in love with his work on the program. He screened calls, opened and answered the mail, and he took every opportunity to be invaluable. And he became invaluable. Later, he was nicknamed “H.R.” with Limbaugh naming him after Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman. A clearly shaken, tearful Rush Limbaugh announced the news at the top of his radio program today (1/26). He said, “We are all experiencing a huge void in all of our hearts here today.” Limbaugh praised Carson as never having a bad word to say about anyone and was always a mediating force for good and harmony among the staff. Limbaugh said that Carson was the longest-running employee of the show and quickly proved himself to be the new program’s number one defender, champion and evangelist. Limbaugh also credited Carson with coming up with many ideas and angles that he used as his own on the air—and was also a tremendous force for Rush maintaining optimism and positivity in his work and attitude about life. Clearly he was the one guy who Limbaugh never once doubted – “I had total trust in him.” Limbaugh said, “Even at 58 he had an innocent exuberance about him.” Carson is survived by his wife, Theresa, and two sons.
Now Showing on TalkersTV: Writing Commercial Copy That Produces RESULTS. Just try not to flinch when you hear The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Radio Sales: “We tried radio, it didn’t work.” Even when the retail business and the station fit-like-a-glove — AND the client buys enough frequency — the campaign can flop, and the disappointed advertiser gives up on radio entirely. WHY? Consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke explains, “Too often, it’s because the commercial copy was ineffective. Not surprisingly, this can happen because cutbacks have cost the station a creative department and reps are writing their own spots… too often banging out scripts quickly, so they can get back on the street to close new business — which they’re under pressure to do, because of churn. Why does this often happen? You guessed it: Because clients cancel…because they didn’t get results…because the copy didn’t work. It’s a vicious cycle.” Cooke adds, “Ironically, the same problem is common at stations that HAVE a creative person or department.” And he cites three reasons:
1. The conveyor belt is out of control. With four, five or six stations under one roof, the writer gets overwhelmed.
2. ESPECIALLY this time of year, when stations stage the annual first quarter “one day sale,” piling even more work on the writer; in many cases spots that will air long-term (or until the disappointed client cancels).
3. The writer, back at the station, didn’t share the rep’s in-person contact with the prospect during the important Needs Assessment step. Cooke figures that “account executives are, potentially, better writers than…writers, because they know clients’ stories first-hand.”
“Potentially,” Cooke stipulates, “because account executives need to speak to the listener (the advertiser’s client) the same way they approached the advertiser. Reps are natural sellers, but don’t always apply their persuasive talent to copy writing.” In a video now showing on TalkersTV, Cooke outlines what he calls “the dance steps of a 60-second commercial script,” based on his work helping client station reps craft copy for local retailers. See Cooke relate what he terms “The Five Steps of Selling Anything to Anybody” (how reps got the order) to the copy-writing process. See the TalkersTV box at the top right-hand column of this page and every page of Talkers.com.
KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names Musson Co-Host. The new late morning show at Cumulus Media’s Fresno news/talker KMJ-AM/FM launches today as “Broeske & Musson.” KMJ program director Blake Taylor announces the station promotes Christina Musson from station executive producer to co-host of the program alongside John Broeske. Taylor says, “We tried out dozens of potential co-hosts for John, but we only needed to look down the hall for the perfect answer. ‘Broeske & Musson’ is going to be a dynamic show with tons of energy. They’ll continue to deliver the hard-hitting and fun topics of the day that our listeners expect.” Musson has been executive producer the past six years. Her resume also includes production and reporting work at Fresno’s KMPH-TV KGPE-TV as well as KAPP-TV in Yakima, Washington. She says, “I’m excited to take the next step in my career at such an amazing station and to partner with John Broeske – someone I admire and respect. I grew up listening to KMJ, so it’s a dream come true.”
Radio & Television News Association of Southern California Presents Awards. The 65th annual Golden Mike awards were presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California (RTNA) on Saturday evening (1/24) in Universal City. The awards are presented annually for excellence in radio, TV and Internet broadcast journalism. CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recognized with seven Golden Mike awards in the following categories: Best New Broadcast Over 15 Minutes – “KNX Morning News”; Best Live Coverage of a News Story – “LAX Shooting”; Best News Reporting – “Nanny Nightmare” by Charles Feldman; Best Spot News Reporting – “The Great UCLA Flood of 2014” by Desmond Shaw, Ed Mertz, and Pete Demetriou; Best News Public Affairs Program – “Ask the Mayor”; Best Traffic Report – KNX Traffic at 6:15 am; and Best Sports Reporting – “Watts Bears” by Ed Mertz. Pictured above left are (from l-r) KNX staffers Ron Kilgore, Frank Mottek, Kathy Kiernan, James Tuck, Ric Schroeder, Wendy Thermos, and Pete Demetriou accepting the award for Best Live Coverage of a News Story. iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KFI and reporter Steve Gregory also took home seven Golden Mike awards (see photo at right) in the following categories: Best Radio News Special – “Breaking Down The Border Crisis” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Investigative Reporting – “Mold School” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Light Feature (less than a minute) – “Valentine’s Day Flower Inspection” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Serious Feature (less than a minute) – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Hard News Series – “Trial Of Jailed Marine In Mexico”; Best Radio Internet News Reporting – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory and David Perez; and Best Radio Newscast (under 15 minutes). KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “We have the best news team here at KFI, these folks rock and Steve is a prime example of the caliber of talent that makes us so proud!”
Round Four of Holiday PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
New York Talk Legend Joe Franklin Dies at 88. The New York talk television and talk radio icon who was famously parodied by Billy Crystal on “Saturday Night Live,” died after a long battle with cancer on Saturday (1/24). Joe Franklin hosted a television program interviewing celebrities and offbeat characters beginning in the early 1950s. He worked in radio later in his career at such stations as WOR, New York and most recently on the Bloomberg Radio Network. Franklin ranked 71st in the 2010 TALKERS magazine 20th Anniversary Heaviest Hundred list (which ranks “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time”) and appeared a number of times as a special guest speaker at the annual TALKERS Convention in New York City. Publisher Michael Harrison would introduce him to the attendees from out of town as a famous New York City “tourist attraction as legendary as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park.” Franklin juggled so many careers in the media that it’s a good thing he stopped to write a book every few years – in fact, 23 in all — to capture his amazingly colorful life. His autobiography Up Late With Joe Franklin (Scribner, 1995) is jam-packed with celebrity-rich-anecdotes — from Eddie Cantor and Rudy Vallee to Howard Stern, for example. According to the Library Journal, “He actually knew those early entertainers and knew many of those currently entertaining.” What originally made him a household name — even before the highly touted “Saturday Night Live” parodies by Billy Crystal — was Franklin’s late night variety program “The Joe Franklin Show,” which ran from 1950 through 1993. The Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the longest running TV talk show in history manned by one host. And what a show it was! Much like visiting your favorite neighborhood hardware store, you never knew what unexpected gems would pop up among the variety and clutter. A sample show would feature a sculptor, belly dancer, an up-and-coming comic, a podiatrist and then maybe a famous actor or singer. According to Publisher’s Weekly (1994), his program’s “total guest list ran between 200,000 and 300,000.” and included such names as Frank Sinatra Jr., Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Vincent Price, Howard Stern, Buddy Hackett, — as well as first TV exposure for eventual stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand and Julia Roberts. “It would be easier to list the few who did not appear than to catalogue those who did,” PW says. Franklin started and ended his long show business career in radio. His first job, at 16, was working behind the scenes at WNEW, New York where he became “the record librarian,” (or really “the record picker”) for Martin Block’s popular “Make Believe Ballroom” radio program. Once station management recognized his unique expertise in vaudeville and entertainment trivia, they offered him a 15-minute program dedicated to nostalgia. Eventually that became his calling card and part of the schtick he’d weave into shows, whether radio or television. The self- proclaimed “King of Entertainment” had an encyclopedic knowledge of “all things entertainment” from the first half of the 20th Century: silent films, Broadway stage shows, musicians and singers. With that, he also earned the title the “king of nostalgia.” After his television show ended, Franklin focused on his long-running “Memory Lane” radio program, which ran on WOR on weekend overnights. He’d tell stories about many of the entertainers whose records he would play. In recent years, up until the time of his death, he hosted a weekends-only series of six-minute segments on Bloomberg Radio Network called ‘The Business of Show Business.’ Audio podcasts are still available at Bloomberg.com. Throughout his career, the round-faced, jovial Franklin was commonly called back to television to do guest spots on the big late night and daytime talk shows such as those hosted by Regis Philbin and David Letterman. Considered a good luck charm for the start of a new talk show due to the length of his show’s run, Franklin often kicked off day one of a show – and did so on the first broadcasts of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “This American Life.” Though Franklin may never have wanted to act in movies – like his childhood friend Tony Curtis – he did appear as himself in “Ghostbusters” and “Broadway Danny Rose,” just to name two of the 34 titles that IMDb lists. Franklin was born in 1926 in the Bronx, New York. He met his model/actress wife when she was a secretary and he was “a kid of 24 just doing radio… and we were married on the TV show called ‘Bride and Groom,’” where real-life couples tied the knot after being quizzed about their relationship on national television. Perhaps what sums Joe Franklin up best is his favorite personal quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s even more important to be nice.”
Odds & Sods. Former “Regular Guys” personality Eric Von Haessler begins hosting his “The Von Haessler Doctrine” show on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB, Atlanta airing Sundays at 1:00 pm. Since exiting his “Regular Guys” co-host position at Cumulus Media’s crosstown rock WNNX “96 Rock” in June of 2014, Von Haessler has been doing fill-in work at WSB and podcasting…..Boston sports talk personality Danny Picard launches his new eponymous podcast at the same time he debuts his new website and celebrates the opening of his new studio inside Beantown Athletics in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Picard is a weekend personality on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and is part of the “Patriots Pre-game and Post-Game Live” shows on Comcast SportsNet New England…..Westwood One is announcing some of the details of its Super Bowl programming as the official network radio partner for the National Football League. It will feature a full schedule of game day programming leading up to kickoff. Westwood One’s live game coverage features Kevin Harlan, handling the play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the fifth straight year, and Boomer Esiason, serving as the color analyst. Hall of Famer James Lofton and Mark Malone will once again report from the sidelines. Emmy Award-winning host Jim Gray will anchor the pregame and halftime coverage…..FOX Sports Radio is also on the scene in Glendale, Arizona this week leading up to the Super Bowl. FSRN announces that as part of its continuous coverage “Jay Mohr Sports” news anchor Dan Beyer and J.T. The Brick will broadcast live from radio row while the Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show will broadcast from the DIRECTV Super Fan Festival at the Pendergrast Family Farm in Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District across from Phoenix Stadium. Also, former NFL player Lincoln Kennedy will broadcast a special edition of the network’s Saturday morning program Gargano & Kennedy…..CBS Sports Radio’s plans for coverage of the big game include live-from-Glendale broadcasts all week by the network’s Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and the Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney program.
Fredericksburg Stations to Join Alpha Media Portfolio. Still in acquisition mode, Portland, Oregon-based Alpha Media announces it will acquire the four-station Free Lance-Star Radio group. The stations include: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia. Alpha chairman Larry Wilson comments on the deal, “Around 50 miles from Washington D.C., Fredericksburg is a thriving place that continues to grow. It will be a nice addition to our East Coast footprint. I feel privileged to be able to get into that market and work with the great people there.” The stations were acquired by Sandton Capital in a bankruptcy auction and the firm must divest of the signals to comply with cross-ownership regulations. Free Lance-Star operates print and digital publications in the market. George Reed of Media Services Group is the broker for Free Lance-Star Radio.
Jim Sumpter Show Renewed on USA Radio Networks. The midday Jim Sumpter program will continue to be syndicated via the USA Radio Networks after the two parties agreed to a renewal deal. The Jim Sumpter show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET Monday through Friday and from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Saturdays. In a press statement USA Radio Networks says, “Jim brings a powerfully unique presentation of storytelling and interpretation of current events from a constitutional perspective that translates to compelling radio that draws listeners in as few other hosts can.” Sumpter comments, “The content of my show challenges establishment elites – especially politicians who say one thing, but do another and media organizations who shirk away from truthful reporting – that it takes a special group of courageous patriots who both get it and are committed to supporting it. I’m grateful for this opportunity from Sam Hassell, Sherrie Roberts, and Tim Maranville to give me the venue and support to make a lot of noise, stir up a lot of trouble, and do a lot of good. This is going to be fun.”
Newsmax Signs Deal with NCTC Adding Nearly 12 Million Subscribers. A new deal between Newsmax TV and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), will provide Newsmax TV access to 900-plus member cable systems, encompassing nearly 12 million MVPD subscribers. Newsmax Media founder Christopher Ruddy says, “This NCTC agreement further accelerates our focus on securing carriage with independent cable operators country wide and is an important component of our goal to reach 50 million-plus subscribers for our first year on-air anniversary. Initial meetings with many NCTC members indicate a widespread reception that we anticipate will lead to notable launches in 2015.” Newsmax TV, which the company says targets the underserved baby boomer audience, is already carried by DISH and DIRECTV in approximately 35 million cable/satellite homes.
Round Three of Holiday PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Ninth Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Event Scheduled for April 15 and 16. The annual Washington, DC radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform will take place on Monday and Tuesday, April 15 and 16 at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. As in the eight years prior, the event will consist of talk hosts from across the country broadcasting live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event will focus on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” Event general manager and FAIR spokesman Bob Dane comments, “Politicians fear and respect the amplitude of talk radio. Hold Their Feet to the Fire speaks for millions of radio listeners and, this year, will prove that the mic is mightier than Obama’s pen.” For talk show hosts wishing to take part in this year’s radio row, reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and ISDN lines are provided by Silver Lake Audio of New York, the official engineering firm for Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Contact Bob Dane or Anna Giaritelli for more information at 202-328-7004 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds & Sods. The new American General Media sports talker in Bakersfield – KGEO “1230 AM ESPN” – is adding a live and local program beginning Monday (1/26) as the Greg Kerr show debuts. The local sports media pro will take to the air from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm daily for the station that launched late last year…..Baseball broadcaster Jeff Levering is moving up to the big leagues from his gig with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox to the Milwaukee Brewers Radio Network broadcast team. Levering is going to be the play-by-play voice for select road games this season as he joins Bob Uecker and Joe Block. He’ll also contribute content for the Brewers’ digital platform…..ESPN Audio announces its new weekend program lineup. Eight new shows are being added, including the two-hour “espnW Presents: Spain & Prim on ESPN Radio,” co-hosted by espnW’s and ESPN Chicago 1000 Radio’s Sarah Spain and ESPN anchor and analyst Prim Siripipat. Additional shows debuting in the new lineup are: Marty & McGee, Dave Rothenberg Show, Dickerson & Hood, Robin Lundberg, Coachman & Bretos, Ian Fitzsimmons and “NBA Lockdown: Insiders.”
KKOB, Albuquerque’s Terrie Q. Sayre Passes Unexpectedly. KKOB, Albuquerque program director Pat Frisch informs TALKERS that station weekend personality Terrie Q. Sayre died unexpectedly at the age of 54. Frisch says, “It is with deep sadness that I tell you we lost a true friend, a bright lite in the 770 KKOB family.” Frisch says Sayre handled weekend mornings for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOH, Reno for several years before moving to Albuquerque and doing weekends for KKOB for the past seven years. Sayre was a former show girl for Harrah’s and Caesars Lake Tahoe and was Mrs. Nevada 1998. She was married to Skip Sayre and is survived by a brother.
State of the Union and Obama Tax Plan Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The State of the Union Address and President Obama’s tax plan tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the “no-go zones” controversy and the related militant Islam issues. Coming in at #3 was ISIS’ holding of two Japanese nationals for ransom and following at #4 was the 2016 presidential prospects. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
Dave Ramsey Surpasses 550 Affiliate Mark. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey announces his program is now heard on more than 550 AM/FM affiliate stations and, according to the Ramsey organization, is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners weekly. “‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is clearly positioned as the third largest talk radio show in the country behind only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.” Vice president of Ramsey Media Brian Mayfield comments, “‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ continues to grow and make a difference in the radio world, as well as in the lives of our listeners.” Recently, the Dave Ramsey show experienced upgrades in a few major markets including moving to a live timeslot from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm on KTAR-FM, Phoenix and expanding the timeslot to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm KEIB, Los Angeles. Beginning in February, the show will move to a live timeslot from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on KXNT, Las Vegas.
New AM Host and Talent Shuffle at KCMO, Kansas City. Talent moves will take effect on February 2 at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO, Kansas City. Current morning drive personality Greg Knapp is moving to afternoon drive and new in the morning slot will be Rob Carson. At the same time, WMAL, Washington personality Chris Plante will also air on Kansas City on KCMO in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The rest of the schedule will be: Dave Ramsey from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Michael Savage from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm; Mark Levin following Knapp from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and John Batchelor airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Cumulus Kansas City SVP and general manager Mark Sullivan says, “I’m thrilled to have two of the industry’s best joining our lineup. I’m anxious to hear Rob Carson and Chris Plante on our airwaves and I’m sure that Kansas City is going to feel as strongly about their talent to entertain and inform as I am. I’m also pleased to have Greg Knapp hosting our afternoons, as his dynamic and in-depth discussions keep me glued to the radio and I know that the local presence that he brings will be outstanding. These are exciting times here at the broadcast center!” Carson comments, “This is a real homecoming for me and my family. We’ve been away from Missouri too long, and it’s a real blessing to get a spot on one of the country’s premiere talkers, KCMO. I’m excited to join John Dickey, Mike McVay and Mark and [PD] Gary Nolan at Cumulus.”
Round Two of Holiday PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
WTOP, Washington’s Dave McConnell Celebrates 50 Years with Station. WTOP, Washington reporter Dave McConnell began his career with the station on January 18, 1965. McConnell spent most of his career serving as Capitol Hill correspondent – a title he holds today that makes him the only full-time congressional correspondent for a local radio outlet in the country. WTOP news director Mike McMearty relates, “It is part of WTOP lore that while other kids were skipping school to see the Washington Senators play at Griffith Stadium, Dave was skipping school to hear the real Senators debate on Capitol Hill.” McMearty adds, “Dave McConnell is a class act. He’s a mixture of hustle, honesty and humbleness. Dave lets the members of congress express their point-of-view without inserting opinion or commentary. He is, and has always been known as, an honest broker. I consider it an honor to have worked with him for more than 20 years of his illustrious career.” Even after 50 years, McConnell has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Odds & Sods. Financial talker Ray Lucia inks a deal with BizTV and BizTalkRadio for the companies to exclusively produce and syndicate his programs. As part of the new agreement, the national radio show expands to two hours airing live from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET…..In addition to the almost 400 AM/FM affiliate stations that aired ESPN Audio’s broadcast of the College Football Playoff Championship on January 12, the sports giant reports that the game averaged 69,000 listeners in the average minute across network and affiliate streams. The ESPN Audio Streaming Network audience (including the ESPN Radio website and mobile app, the SportsCenter mobile app, Tune In Radio, Slacker Radio, and Apple iTunes Radio) grew 103% from last year’s BCS National Championship game. The 69,000 listeners is the third-highest network stream in history, trailing only two 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
Cool Job Opportunity. Legendary KFBK, Sacramento has an immediate opening for a full-time morning news co-anchor and writer. Our ideal candidate has strong news broadcasting experience and is able to multi-task and take direction well. You will work alongside Amy Lewis, our long-term KFBK co-anchor, in a fast-paced, challenging and friendly environment. Must be an aggressive self-starter who can hit the ground running, cut up sound on the fly, report live from the street or in-house, love big breaking news, write conversationally, and stay on top of social media – all while creating and contributing daily content to the web and Facebook. You will need to be able to write short, tight copy, adlib well, anchor short-form newscasts or long-form event coverage when necessary, and understand news coverage in the digital/social media age. Conversational and credible on-air news delivery, creative broadcast news writing skills and the ability to communicate effectively are prerequisites for this position. You must be able to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines, have a strong knowledge of current events and work positively as part of a team. For more information and to apply, click here.
Covering the State of the State. WKZO, Kalamazoo broadcast its Wayne Powers morning drive show live from the office of State Rep. Aric Nesbitt at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing yesterday (1/21) the morning after Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State Address. The Midwest Communications news/talk station reports that it was able to talk with Michigan lawmakers and leaders from both parties throughout the morning, including Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter as well as local senators and representatives including Senators Margaret O’Brien, Tonya Schuitmaker and John Proos and Representatives Aric Nesbitt, Jon Hoadley, Brandt Iden and Dave Maturen. WKZO brand manager Jeremy Lawrence comments, “It is such a pleasure to be able to serve our listeners by talking with our leaders at the Capitol. Being that we are the eyes and ears of the listener, we value our ability to let them know what is happening in our government.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Nesbitt, Maturen, O’Brien, Schuitmaker, Cotter, Lawrence, Midwest Communications VP/Market manager Mike Klein, and (seated) Powers.
State of the Union Address/Obama Tax Plan, ISIS Holds Japanese Men for Ransom, Abortion Legislation Debate, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘American Sniper’ Film Criticism, and the NFL’s Deflategate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). Tuesday’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s tax proposal; the case of the Japanese nationals being held for ransom by ISIS; the GOP’s decision to drop new abortion legislation; the potential candidates for president in 2016; continuing criticism of the film “American Sniper”; and the controversy over deflated footballs used by the New England Patriots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Two Talk Radio Pros Take Their Craft to the Internet. Longtime KABC, Los Angeles talk radio personality Larry Elder debuts his new Internet-only talk show emanating from his website, LarryElder.com. The program streams live Monday through Friday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT. In addition to the live stream, Elder offers fans an “Elderado” premium subscription tier that includes access to commercial-free podcasts and more. Elder exited KABC late last year as the station was tweaking its news/talk format. Albuquerque media personality Larry Ahrens – a longtime news/talk KKOB host – is leaving his current gig at uPublic TV’s “The Morning Brew” program to begin an Internet radio endeavor focusing on healthy living. According to Albuquerque Business Journals, Ahrens is joining the Phoenix-based Doublewide Networkout operated by Arizona radio personality Dave Pratt. The show is being titled, “Smart Living with Larry Ahrens” and is expected to launch later this month.
Townsquare Media Teases Positive Q4 2014 Growth. In an 8-K filing with the SEC, Townsquare Media – which went public back in July of last year – announces pretty good 2014 fourth quarter financial numbers. In issuing the preliminary financial results, the company says its fourth quarter pro forma net revenue jumped 9% to 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Further, pro forma adjusted EBITDA rose 5% to 9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. For the year of 2014 as a whole, Townsquare expects to report revenue of about $385 million – an increase of about 8% compared to 2013.
Round One of Holiday PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
New York Broadcasters Honor Barry Farber. Talk radio pioneer Barry Farber (right) was honored with induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall, but his New York colleagues wanted to throw a special NYC bash for him as the cherry on the cake, and did so recently at The Statler Grill in Midtown Manhattan. Among the more than 100 media pros and friends to attend was WABC, New York personality Curtis Sliwa (left) who, during his remarks, cited Farber as one of the talk show hosts who gave the Guardian Angels, and its predecessor organization The Magnificent 13, early publicity and support. He also stated that it was because of Barry Farber, Barry Gray and Bob Grant that he was able to have a career in talk radio at all. Farber is still heard on the radio via CRN Digital Talk Radio weeknights at 8:00 ET.
Timely Live Event. Just before President Obama delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday (1/20), WNDB, Daytona Beach afternoon talk show host Marc Bernier moderated a discussion with Fox News political analyst and author Charles Krauthammer at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as the latest in the school’s President’s Speakers Series. Krauthammer recently published his latest book, Things That Matter (2013 Crown Forum). Bernier tells TALKERS magazine that this event was the 117th in the series that dates back to 1993.
State of the Union Speech, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Paris Mayor Vows to Sue Fox News/‘No-Go Zones’ Controversy, Collapsing Oil Prices/World Financial Markets Activity, ISIS Holds Japanese Men for Ransom, Huckabee’s Beyonce Criticism, and NFL Deflated Balls Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). Tuesday’s State of the Union address and President Obama’s pledge to tackle income inequality; the controversy over assertions of Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s threat to sue Fox News; the continuing collapse of oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; ISIS violence in the Middle East and the holding of two Japanese men for ransom; potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s criticism of Beyonce; and the controversy over deflated footballs used in the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman to Host Mornings on WOR, New York. Legendary New York news/talk station WOR announces it will debut the new morning program, “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning,” effective January 26. iHeartMedia says the program will “focus on New York and feature interactive programming, showcasing what local listeners are talking about in news, sports, entertainment and pop culture.” Both Berman and Schnitt are native New Yorkers. Schnitt has been based in Tampa and currently hosts his nationally syndicated, eponymous talk show via Compass Media Networks, which he’ll continue to do in addition to the New York morning show. Berman is an “Emmy-Award winning sportscaster and New York Times best-selling author who has covered just about every major sports event including multiple Super Bowls, World Series and Olympics during his 40-year career in broadcasting. He was a long-time sports anchor for WNBC-TV, New York.” Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Schnitt, in addition to his syndicated talk show, hosted the “MJ Morning Show” on CHR WFLA-FM, Tampa for many years. iHeartMedia market president Joe Puglise says, “Len is a well-known sports reporter and this opportunity will also showcase his other skills and personality. Listeners will immediately engage with Todd’s quick wit and creative take on the things that impact New Yorkers.” Schnitt adds, “Len Berman is the perfect co-host, he is a well-known New Yorker and brings a ton of wit, wisdom and street smarts to the microphone. Together we are very excited to construct a new local, engaging and entertaining morning show for New York.” iHeartMedia tried simulcasting WWDC, Washington “DC 101” morning personality Elliot Segal on WOR after parting company with longtime morning host John Gambling, but that lasted only a month, ending in February of 2014. Regarding his move to NYC, Schnitt adds, “Locating our [Compass syndicated] show in the heart of New York City will be a huge benefit to our national listeners and help drive ratings for our affiliates. I look forward to continuing to work with Compass Media Networks, our affiliates and sponsors.”
Premiere Names Shapiro VP – Sports Programming. Former ESPN Radio program director Scott Shapiro joins Premiere Networks in a newly created position of vice president of sports programming. His duties will include overseeing daily execution of sports content, including the Fox Sports Radio Network. Premiere Networks senior vice president of sports programming Don Martin comments, “Scott’s experience producing some of the most successful, multi-platform sports programming speaks for itself. I am excited for the opportunity to team up with such a class act. His addition reaffirms our commitment to providing the best sports entertainment content the industry has to offer, along with unique and valuable opportunities for our partners.” Shapiro remarks, “I greatly look forward to working with the talented team in place. There is tremendous growth potential and a real opportunity to develop outstanding sports content. The sky is the limit in terms of the talent, infrastructure, and resources available.” In addition to programming ESPN Radio, Shapiro’s resume includes being producer of that sports network’s “Mike & Mike” morning show; he previously was assistant program director/executive producer of WQXI “The Zone,” Atlanta.
Daunais, Walker Get Westwood One EVP – Regional Sales Stripes. Atlanta-based Jim Daunais and Dallas-based Tim Walker are appointed executive vice presidents in Westwood One‘s network sales division. Daunais’ responsibilities are in the southeast region – Walker’s duties are in the southwest. Westwood One president Steve Shaw comments, “Hot off the heels of promoting Kim Bryant to lead west coast sales, we are on an accelerated path to building an exceptional, preeminent sales organization. Jim and Tim are uniquely qualified to lead our southeast and southwest regions. Their respective abilities to manage, strategize, and effectively deliver client solutions will drive more revenue success across our platforms.” Daunais is “excited for the opportunity to continue” his more than 10-year Westwood One career, where he works “alongside Steve and the rest of our incredibly talented management team, and to build upon the company’s rich history as the leader of all things audio.” Walker states he is looking forward “to leading the southwest region and bringing integrated solutions to our clients and agencies.” It is a promotion for Daunais, who joined the company in 2004. Most recently, he was Westwood One’s senior vice president, sales and vice president of southeast sales. His prior background includes being an account executive for MLB‘s New York Mets. Walker is rejoining Westwood One. He spent the last three years as Cumulus Media‘s director of national sales for the southwest region. Prior to that, Walker was national sales manager for Cumulus-owned stations in Dallas and Houston; he had a similar title for CBS Radio Dallas; and he was a Westwood One account executive (2000 – 2002) in the company’s Dallas office.
John McConnell Named EVP at Workhouse Media. Radio management pro John McConnell is named executive vice president for talent and content management company Workhouse Media. In this role, McConnell will oversee Workhouse Media’s East Coast offices and he will serve in a new senior management role for the company. A longtime ABC Radio executive, McConnell has been managing his own firm for the past six years. Workhouse Media principal and CEO Paul B. Anderson comments, “John comes to Workhouse Media with a powerful combined background in programming, syndication and strategy. His track record is both broad and deep, and the industry recognizes his impeccable reputation for integrity and results.”
Odds & Sods. Today (1/20) begins Steve Deace‘s relationship with the USA Radio Networks. With the move from Genesis Communications Network, Deace’s program moves from an evening live airing (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight) to live in afternoon drive, Eastern Time…..Following the path of New York’s Christian talk WMCA, New York, Salem Communications-owned KKMS, Minneapolis takes on “The Mission” brand. Salem rolled out “The Answer” as the brand for its news/talk stations and it appears likely most if not all of the company’s Christian talk stations will become “The Mission.”…..Tomorrow (1/21) marks the fifth anniversary of the internet program the Nicole Sandler show at radioornot.com. Sandler began her digital program after the demise of Air America Radio in 2010.
Non-Comms Rocking the Boat. For those interested in bold, new developments in music radio, check out Jeff McKay’s piece in our sister publication, RadioInfo, exploring the non-comm stations creating targeted-yet-daring rock and pop formats for hungry audiences. Many listeners still see public radio as either left-leaning news/talk or jazz- and classic music-oriented. But stations such as KCSN, Los Angeles; WXPN, Philadelphia; KCMP, Minneapolis; and KKXT, Dallas are bucking that trend and drawing in younger audiences. Read more here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Resonates Throughout News/Talk Radio. As reported yesterday (1/19), news/talk radio hosts, programs, stations and networks buzzed with conversation inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – memorializing the birthdate of the slain civil rights leader of the turbulent 1960s. Shows covering the spectrum of political and ideological approaches including urban, progressive and conservative positions all found pertinent subject matter for discussion to commemorate the annual Federal holiday, lifting race relations to the most-talked-about topic of the day. Pictured here is WOLB, Baltimore morning legend Larry Young (third from right) at a ceremony in Baltimore held last week on the actual birthdate of the historic activist. Young – a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – tells TALKERS,“One of my proudest moments was to have planted in 1985 the only MLK Jr. tree on state house property in the USA. On his actual birthdate on January 15 we did a re-dedication and I said, ‘King put before us a serious vision that we would be one nation under God and indivisibly one America.’ And I want to believe that even today I can still believe in his vision.”
State of the Union/Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film, MLK Jr. Day/‘Selma’ Film, ISIS Violence/Two Japanese Hostages Held, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). This week’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s expected announcement of his tax proposal; the political arguments surrounding the film “American Sniper”; the observation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and the concurrent release of the film “Selma”; the ongoing violence perpetrated by ISIS and its threat to execute two Japanese hostages; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the weekend’s NFL conference championships were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Although an official federal holiday, most talk radio personnel are working today and many are honoring or simply acknowledging the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his work leading the civil rights movement of the 1960s. For example, the first hour of iHeartMedia superstar Sean Hannity’s national radio show is devoted to talking about the historic civil rights leader’s legacy and relevance to today’s headlines. Given the racial tensions brought about by recent high-profile cases involving fatal confrontations between police and African American men, this year’s observance of Dr. King’s birthday is even more relevant than in recent years. Sirius XM Satellite Radio “Urban View” host Karen Hunter says, “Every day I honor the legacy of Dr. King on my show. So every day we do something special to honor him. Today I will be playing snippets from a speech he gave at UCLA in 1965. I will also be talking about Selma. And I have already spoken to someone who marched today in New York to the UN.” African American news/talk hosts have a variety of perspectives on Dr. King. Charles Butler who hosts a daily syndicated show on Genesis Communications Network writes on his daily blog, “Today is the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and since 2008 I have conducted a show called ‘The Other Side of MLK,’ and on this eighth show I added several new perspectives. Dr. King evolved over the period he was actively involved in the civil rights movement…I have a very difficult time listening to people that use the sanitized and domesticated version of Dr. King, ‘my children would be judged by the content of their character…,’ while ignoring his call on America to end racism. Today, the prevalence of black high unemployment, income and health disparity, poor schools and environments, criminalization of black Americans, institutional racism, and systematic undermining of the attainment of the American Dream.” At Salem Communications’ secular news/talk stations, many hosts are devoting a segment or two to Martin Luther King. Salem SVP/spoken word format and Salem Radio Network Phil Boyce tells TALKERS magazine, “‘The Morning Answer’ in Los Angeles [KRLA] presented a great segment discussing the difference in the language and rhetoric of MLK vs the race baiters of today. I think conservative hosts are generally more appreciative of Dr. King now, as we have seen what others have said and done who are attempting to take his place.” Much of the commentary planned by hosts has been designed to specifically address their criticism of “so-called” civil rights leaders who have come after the late Dr. King – described to TALKERS by Cumulus heavyweight host Mark Levin as “people who exploit race by putting forth their own attitudes and wrongly use Dr. King’s good name to back up their own take and self-interests.” WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami afternoon star Joyce Kaufman tells TALKERS, “I will be spending today’s show listening to excerpts of his speeches…asking listeners to weigh in on when and why the relations between the black community and the white community fell apart. Jews, for instance, natural allies, now arch enemies. Black pastors who have stopped preaching the gospel to preserve the first black President’s relationship. Would Dr. King have embraced Kwanzaa? I think not. He was a Baptist preacher.” Westwood One/WYD Media syndicated progressive opinion leader Thom Hartmann reports, “We did three hours on it today. The movie ‘Selma’ was perfectly timed, and clearly demonstrates the importance of citizens’ movements. From the Tea Party pushing Republicans to Occupy pushing Democrats; from John Quincy Adams leading the anti-slavery movement in the House to the Suffrage movement nationwide; from the labor movement (with the Ludlow massacre and the Flint Sit Down Strikes) to the gay rights movement – every time America has moved, it’s moved because of an informed, motivated, and activated populace. And the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest teachers of that in modern times.” Fox News Radio syndicated liberal icon Alan Colmes tells TALKERS, “Today’s news cycle proves how prescient Martin Luther King, Jr. was. King, in his most controversial speech, ‘Beyond Vietnam,’ delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, spoke these words:
‘This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind… I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another (Yes), for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.’”
Colmes concludes, “On our show, we’re are talking about the relationship between the Bible and the Koran, to show that no one religion is superior to another, that there are more similarities than differences, and that tolerance is a key tenet of our republic. That is how we are honoring the legacy of this revolutionary.” Joe Madison of Sirius XM Satellite Radio – consistently one of the most influential thought-leaders in talk radio on the subject of race relations and civil rights — shares, “We aired the results of an essay contest that asked young high school students to assess the political climate in the world today, analyzing the racial challenges that exist and to compare to Dr. King’s life and deeds.” Madison adds, “I actually spoke this morning in Tampa, Florida at the 35 annual Tampa Organization of Black Affairs Breakfast (I was their first speaker 35 years ago). I addressed the three-year gap between the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 and his assassination in 1968. I asked the question: ‘How would talk radio portray Dr. King?’ His last three years on earth, he alienated many of his allies and antagonized his enemies further. He was portrayed as an extremist and an arsonist as he waged war on poverty, racism and militarism. I suspect most talk radio would not be very supportive of Martin Luther King, Jr.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison responds to Madison’s last statement by telling him that “a number of conservative hosts interviewed for this story say they have been increasingly appreciating and respecting Dr. King as the years go by – especially when compared to some of his high-profile successors in the civil rights movement.” Madison fires back, “I wonder which King they respect? Certainly not the MLK that encouraged the redistribution of wealth, affirmative action and voting rights, especially Sections 4 and 5 which were recently struck down by the SCOTUS.”
Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg Sets New Roles for Hendrix, Stone, McLain. Several noteworthy personnel moves take place at Entercom-owned stations in Greenville-Spartanburg, a South Carolina cluster the company refers to as “Entercom Upstate.” For openers, rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” and WROQ “Classic Rock 101.1″ operations manager/program director Mark Hendrix takes on additional duties as operations manager for talk WYRD-FM “Word 106.3,” as well as the sports simulcast of WORD-AM and WYRD-AM. He will continue to program WORD-AM and WYRD-AM, both branded as “ESPN Upstate.” He succeeds Bob McLain as OM for “Word 106.3″; however, McLain carries on as the station’s 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent and is named operations manager emeritus. Meanwhile, “Classic Rock 101.1″ assistant program director Jay D. Stone is boosted to program director. Stone continues as APD of “The Planet” and maintains his “Classic Rock 101.1″ 12:00 noon – 6:00 pm “The Stoneman” on-air shift. According to Entercom Greenville vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi, “Mark Hendrix has done an outstanding job programming ‘Classic Rock 101.1′ and ‘93.3 The Planet/WTPT-FM.’ He has coached ‘The Rise Guys’ on ‘The Planet’ to the top of many key morning demos. Hendrix will build on Bob McLain’s excellent work on ‘Word 106.3,’ developing stimulating local talk. I am also pleased that Bob will continue his very popular show. I am happy Jay D. Stone has been elevated to the well-deserved position of program director at ‘Classic Rock 101.1.’ He is the heart and soul of that station.” Hendrix comments, “I am thankful for the great opportunities that Entercom has afforded me over the years. I look forward to working with our talented staffs to deliver exceptional, locally focused programs to our upstate audiences.” McLain remarks, “Entercom Upstate has given me great opportunities to engage with listeners, discuss controversial and important issues, and establish a thought provoking radio brand.” Stone declares that, “Having the opportunity to head up the legendary call letters of WROQ is a big deal. All I can say is that, after working with the top-shelf staff at Entercom Upstate for the past 12 years, the winning tradition will continue at ‘Classic Rock 101.'” Hendrix has been with the company since August 2001, when he became program director of WTPT. McLain began his career at Winston-Salem’s WTOB. Stone was named music director of “Classic Rock 101.1″ in 2003, after holding similar duties at Des Moines classic rocker KGGO.
Marshall’s Multiple Roles with MacDonald Garber. Simultaneous with being named operations director for all MacDonald Garber Broadcasting AM stations, Greg Marshall is appointed general manager for the company’s Cadillac, Michigan cluster. President and chief executive officer Trish MacDonald Garber comments, “Greg’s vast experience with broadcasting and his great passion for it can only contribute to our continued success. As the current acting general manager in Cadillac, I am leaving Greg in capable hands with an upward trajectory that I know he and the team will capitalize on.” Marshall states, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the great staff at the Cadillac stations and the AM radio stations in the company. I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity.” Among the stations in the Cadillac group are hot AC WLXV “Mix 96,” sports WKAD “93.7 FM The Ticket,” and talk WATT “Rush Radio 1240.” Over and above these two new duties, Marshall will continue doing his daily 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm talk show on the company’s WMKT “The Talk Station,” Traverse City-Petoskey, Michigan; the program will soon be simulcast on WATT as well.
Salem Re-Brands Christian Talk WMCA. As had been predicted based upon some recent domain name acquisitions by Salem Communications, Christian talk WMCA, New York – for the past 25 years called “New York’s Christian Talk” – takes on the new slogan “AM 570 The Mission.” The company put together a short video to highlight the charitable work done by the station and its listeners that underscores the reason for taking on the “Mission” moniker. You can view the video here.
Odds & Sods. A report in the Boston Globe by Chad Finn indicates current WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” midday personality Andy Gresh will exit the station soon. He co-hosts the program on the sports talk outlet with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak and hosts the pre- and post-game shows for Patriots football, for which WBZ-FM serves as flagship. Finn reports that Marc Bertrand of the PM drive “Felger and Massarotti” show will join Zolak on the midday show…..CBS RADIO’s Los Angeles all-newser KNX is presenting special programming this week surrounding the State of the Union Address. In addition to airing the address live at 6:00 pm PT, the station will present a special program on Wednesday (1/21) titled, “Healthcare Uncovered,” from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The show will examine “the state of Obamacare as the Affordable Care Act enters its second year,” hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
Bob Wilson: Former Bruins’ Radio Voice Passes. Rabid New England sports fans are known for embracing their professional sports franchises, as well as developing a fondness for those who call the games on radio. For well over two decades – including a 1971 – 1972 Stanley Cup-winning campaign – Bob Wilson was behind the radio microphone for the Boston Bruins. The Arlington, Massachusetts native, who retired in 1995, has passed away. Boston Bruins president – and former Bruins’ star player – Cam Neely comments, “For a generation of New England hockey fans, Bob’s legendary voice was synonymous with the Bruins. He will always be a part of our club’s history. Our thoughts are with [Wilson’s widow] Nancy and their children during this difficult time.” Jack Edwards is the club’s play-by-play announcer on cable television’s NESN and he remarks that Wilson was “my greatest inspiration.” Entercom sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality/NESN Bruins host Dale Arnold states that Wilson was “one of the iconic sports voices of our time. He was a kind and classy gentleman – my hero.”Dave Goucher has been the team’s radio voice the past 15 seasons, but Goucher insists that Wilson “is the radio voice of the Bruins.” In 1987, Wilson received the Foster Hewitt memorial award, earning him a place in the broadcasters’ wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007. Wilson was at the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and the NBA‘s Boston Celtics) nearly four years ago (March 26, 2011) when the Bruins officially named the home radio facility “The Bob Wilson Radio Booth.” Bob Castellon (his real name) was 85.
Your Note to “Radio’s Best Friend” Couldn’t Hurt. One of the genuinely great people in the industry isn’t doing well. Just like giving a bowl of chicken soup to someone with a cold or the flu, sending a get-well wish to Art Vuolo certainly couldn’t hurt, and based on a message he posted today (Sunday, 1/18) on his Facebook page, it might go a long way in boosting the spirits of the man widely-regarded as “Radio’s Best Friend.” Coming off organizing yet another wildly successful Los Angeles radio get together, Vuolo underwent knee replacement surgery this past Tuesday (1/13), but he admits, “I hurt a lot. It is difficult for me to sit up in bed to type these words. Hoping I will feel better soon, but right now, my pain level is elevated. All prayers are welcomed.” One of radio’s greatest ambassadors and a countless times videographer of record, Vuolo is in room #154 of the Maple Manor Rehabilitation Center,31215 Novi Road, Novi, Michigan 48377.
Beasley Broadcast Group Bumps Up Monahan to CRO. Seven-year executive vice president of sales Heather Monahan is elevated to chief revenue officer – a newly created Beasley Broadcast Group position, where she will oversee all sales of BBG’s core radio, digital, and non-traditional revenue opportunities. President and chief operating officer Bruce Beasley remarks, “As the radio broadcasting industry continues to offer a wider variety of ways in which we service advertisers, it became evident that having one person at corporate oversee and coordinate these various facets would be beneficial. Heather has proven her loyalty to Beasley over the years and has further shown us her ability to manage the sales process.” According to Miami resident Monahan, “What most excites me is the opportunity to define a holistic strategy that optimizes and unites our entertainment brands, engaged consumers, and marketing partners. At Beasley, our local market teams strive to create a dynamic local presence through our on-air and digital brands. Our continued evolution enables us to further maximize the collective power of our radio brands and connect consumers with marketing partners in an enhanced and more significant way. I am looking forward to delivering improved results for our partners through this new role.” Before joining Beasley Broadcast Group in 2003 as director of sales for the company’s Fort Myers-Naples cluster, Monahan held general manager and sales manager positions for a number of Michigan and Massachusetts stations. The Worcester native is a graduate of Clark University in that Massachusetts city.
DeRoxtra Joins SRN News. Dallas-Ft Worth news pro Ron DeRoxtra joins the Salem Radio Network as an anchor/reporter in the SRN News Dallas bureau. DeRoxtra has served as a news anchor, editor and producer at a number of broadcast operations including at KVIL, Dallas; KLIV, San Jose and KLIF, Dallas. The move to SRN News reunites DeRoxtra with Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup, who was DeRoxtra’s boss when both worked at KRLD, Dallas in the 1980s. Tradup comments, “Ron is a stellar on-air talent and a solid, award-winning journalist. We are pumped to have him as part of our Dallas bureau and having Ron cover Southwestern stories for SRN News in Washington, as well.”
Delay Arises in Entercom’s Deal to Acquire Lincoln Financial Media Stations. The acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media’s 15 radio stations operating in four markets for $105 million will be delayed as Entercom notes in an 8-K filing with the SEC. The company “voluntarily withdrew its notification and report forms filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended…Entercom notified the DOJ that it intends to resubmit the HSR Filing within two days after the date of withdrawal. Entercom’s resubmission of the HSR Filing will have the effect of providing the FTC and the DOJ an additional 30 days from the date of resubmission to review the transactions contemplated by the Stock Purchase Agreement.” After the deal is consummated, Entercom will take ownership of Atlanta outlets hot AC WSTR and sports talk WQXI; Denver stations country KYGO, rhythmic CHR KQKS, oldies KRWZ, sports talk KEPN and KKFN, and comedy-formatted translator K276FK; San Diego signals alternative KZBT, country KSON and KSOQ, and adult contemporary KIFM; and Miami outlets AC WLYF, classic hits WMXJ, and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM.
Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller Team up for PodcastOne Program. Veteran comics and radio personalities Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller – both of whom already produce podcasts distributed by PodcastOne – are now collaborating on a new podcast for the platform titled, “PO’d with Dennis Miller and Adam Carolla.” The new show will be a one-hour, weekly show that will feature the pair as they “entertain with comedic rants on current events, pop culture and life in general, and invite celebrity friends to join the conversation.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “I’ve worked with both of these guys for years and it’s just great to put the two of them together to do something that’s totally different as a podcast… Excuse me a PO’d cast. They’re both incredibly talented, extremely well-known, each with a huge fan following, and yes, as the title of the show would imply, they’re often po’d about one thing or another. We think this is gonna be the latest big hit coming from PodcastOne and there’s a lot of smiles around the office.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is again being heard on WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on Sunday mornings. Also, current affiliate KIVA, Albuquerque expands its carriage of the program to weeknights…..The Bubba the Love Sponge show is added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s recently acquired country WOTW, Orlando “103.2 The Wolf.” This is the second JVC country station to add the show – it also airs on WTRS, Gainesville “102.3 MyCountry.”…..Talk personality Kevin McCullough reports that his feature, “News That Makes You Think,” has surpassed the 200 affiliate mark and that his eponymous long-form talk show is now heard on WBRG, Lynchburg, Virginia.
Charlie Hebdo Aftermath Top News/Talk Story This Week. Talk about the massacre at Parisian newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the political and social ramifications of the assault were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the related topics of Islamic extremism and the ISIS and Boko Haram violence in Syria and Africa. Coming in at #3 was the ISIS hack of the Pentagon and Centcom social media followed by President Obama’s immigration policy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Deutsch to Portray Daytime Talk Show Host. Premiering later this year, USA Network‘s “soft-scripted” comedy “Donny!” takes a satirical view at the media, wealth, and romance through the life of its lead star – advertising mogul/former host of CNBC‘s “The Big Idea” (2004 – 2008) – Donny Deutsch. Some radio talkers might relate to the character Deutsch portrays, described as a fictionalized version of himself “as a daytime talk show host with all the answers.” Elaborating on the cable television program “Donny!,” USA Network president Chris McCumber comments it is a, “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’-style series, centered on the hyper-imagined real-life of Donny Deutsch. The juxtaposition of how Donny portrays his public and personal life in this series is hilarious. Storylines are a real wink for the viewers, showing that despite anyone’s profile or success, we all deal with the same issues.” Deutsch is chairman of advertising agency Deutsch Inc., and he is a regular on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” USA Network has ordered six episodes of the half-hour show.
WGN Makes it Official: Roe Conn to PM Drive. Thanks to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the arrival of longtime, former WLS-AM personality Roe Conn to the afternoon drive daypart at Tribune Media’s news/talk WGN is not a surprise – Feder broke the news last week. But now, the company officially announces Conn will move into PM drive and bump Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder to late mornings with John Williams leaving that daypart and being featured as part of WGN’s Saturday programming. Williams also hosts a daily show at CBS RADIO’s WCCO, Minneapolis and had been doing double duty. The changes take effect on January 26. WGN Radio VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Roe craves what’s behind the curtain of breaking news. He’s a master of investigative conversation, so you’ll learn and you’ll laugh.” WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling and news anchor Mark Supplesa will be regulars on Conn’s program. Manley adds, “We’re building an even stronger bridge between our radio journalists at the Tribune Tower and the incomparable newsroom at WGN-TV.” Regarding the new Saturday programming, Manley says a Saturday edition of “The Business Lunch” with host Steve Bertrand will follow the Kathy & Judy show from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. “The World of John Williams” will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and will integrate with mobile app urVibe, a news-polling social platform that he developed. Sports talk show “The Beat,” with hosts Jarrett Payton, Connor McKnight and Adam Hoge, will air from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
USA Radio Networks Adds Late Night Show. Soon to air in the 12:00 midnight to 3:00 am ET slot on USA Radio Networks is “The Real Side Radio Show with Joe Messina.” USA Radio Networks says, “Research reveals a growing number of workers are clocking in for the graveyard shift. Once reserved for blue-color workers, there are now a significantly increasing number of white-collar employees working evenings or nights.” Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA Radio Networks’ parent company Cross Platform Media Group. He says, “Now second and third shifters can continue a live engaging conversation about America with Joe Messina’s ‘The Real Side.’ They deserve a straight shooter like Joe.” Cross Platform CEO Sam Hassell adds, “Joe is a tremendous asset to our expanding platform of programs. Overnights is a significantly under served time period for live national content. Another win for our affiliate and sponsorship partners.”
Beasley Modifies Corporate Name for Radio Group. In a move that the company says reflects “the broad and expansive reach of on-air, digital and collateral radio products that are available to Beasley’s listeners and advertisers,” Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. reports that the various entities that previously held the company’s portfolio of 53 radio stations in 12 markets now become Beasley Media Group. The publicly traded parent company, headquartered in Naples, Florida, remains Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. and continues to trade as “BBGI” on NASDAQ.
WEEI, Boston Rewards Dale Arnold with New Contract. Longtime Boston sports media figure Dale Arnold – sometimes criticized for being stodgy and “old school” – assumed the afternoon drive co-host slot alongside Michael Holley last spring and was told if he helped bring the ratings up in the daypart, he’d get a new deal. Today, Entercom announces that after 10 months on WEEI in afternoons, “ratings are up 59% with WEEI’s target audience of Men 25-to-54, and their program routinely ranks in the top three, up from sixth place last winter.” So the company is signing Arnold to a new contract. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham says, “Dale Arnold has one of the most complete and diverse sports resumes in Boston broadcast history. He is the only person to have done play-by-play for the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Revolution in addition to having called college football, basketball and hockey. Most importantly, Dale’s name is synonymous with class and character, and the impact he’s made since returning full time is undeniable.”
Sabo: The Lessons of Lowell Bud Paxson. Media consultant Walter Sabo worked with Lowell Bud Paxson – the founder of the Home Shopping Network – who died earlier this week. In a column published recently, Sabo relates some of the media lessons he learned from working with Paxson and observing his operation. While Paxson was better known for his creation of the Home Shopping Network and Pax TV, Paxson owned radio stations during his career. Flying in the face of convention and trusting one’s instincts are two of the character traits Paxson had. Read more from Walter Sabo about what radio operators can take away from the life and legacy of Lowell Bud Paxson here.
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is in the hot seat today as he appears on all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ “Ask the Mayor” program airing at 10:00 am PT. KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman will co-host the program and listeners are invited to call or Tweet questions. Topics to be discussed include: the city’s crime rate, the mayor’s agenda for the New Year, safety at LAX, Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat and the city’s preparedness for a terrorist attack…..Glimmerglass Radio – which bills itself as “the only green living talk radio station in America” – marks its one-year anniversary in business and says it has completed its programming lineup of 54 radio programs dedicated to news and information related to all things green. John Kosmer founded the Upstate New York-based digital station “to meet the rising interest in energy, the environment and healthy lifestyles.”…..Basketball legend Oscar Robertson will host a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day program on SiriusXM’s NBA Radio channel on Monday. The hour-long program will be co-hosted by SiriusXM’s Jason Jackson during which Robertson will share his experiences in the civil rights struggle and discuss what Dr. King’s legacy has meant to players of his era as well as those in today’s NBA…..Yahoo! Sports Radio will be part of the media mayhem that leads up to the NFL’s Super Bowl this year. The network will broadcast 17 hours daily from Glendale, Arizona including the Steve Czaban, Travis Rodgers, “Prime Cut with Sean Salisbury and John Granato,” “Sports X Radio” shows plus a special weekday series of “Talk of Fame.”…..Westwood One Sports continues its broadcast coverage of the NFL postseason with broadcasts of this weekend’s NFC and AFC Conference Championship games.
SRN’s Bill Bennett Addresses Idaho Legislature. Pictured here with Idaho Governor Butch Otter (left) is Salem Radio Network personality and former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett (right). Bennett, who hosts the “Morning in America” program, spoke before the Idaho legislature on the topic of education, commending the station on its education program and encouraging lawmakers to “provide more and better STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum in the state’s schools.”
Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Islamic Extremists, ISIS Syria Strikes/Boko Haram Violence in Africa, Obama Immigration Policy, Boehner Floor Speech Rips Obama, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Plummeting Oil Prices/World Financial Markets Activity, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The aftermath of the deadly assault on Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo and the greater topic of violent Islamic extremists; the ISIS strikes in Syria and the deadly assaults in Africa at the hands of Boko Haram; the immigration reform policy of the Obama Administration; House Speaker John Boehner’s floor speech criticizing President Obama’s policies; potential GOP candidates for president in 2016 including Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and Rick Santorum; falling oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; and this weekend’s NFL conference championships were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Savage and Westwood One Renew Deal; College Scholarships to Be Awarded. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage and syndicator Westwood One are announcing the two sides have come to terms on a new, multi-year contract to keep “The Savage Nation” with the company. In a press release, Savage and WW1 say he is “ushering in a new era of talk radio with his groundbreaking ‘Unprotected Talk’ format that he will use to interact with listeners on topical current events and lifestyle issues – with politics of course remaining an important part of the show. Savage is challenging the talk radio industry with his one-of-a-kind program by combining timely political content with the real-life issues that his millions of listeners are talking about every day, including topics such as health, science, religion, culture and more.” At the same time, Savage says he’s set up a $100,000 scholarship fund “for conservative college students,” that will grant five recipients two-year awards totaling $10,000 annually. The scholarship winners will be selected through an essay contest opening January 15 titled, “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” with “the intention of promoting traditional American values.” Savage comments, “I am uniquely positioned to discuss a wide range of topics while maintaining an authentic, unapologetic voice because of my academic background. While others focus on Obamacare, I discuss health issues. I’m not shying away from politics and I’m not running for office like others in the media. Cumulus has allowed me to expand my reach, but my goal has remained the same – to deliver the best, most comprehensive commentary on radio and ‘edutain’ the world in the process. With my new scholarship fund I can now help inspire the next generation by encouraging education and conservative values.”
Ed Crane Exits KFBK, Sacramento as Morning Host. From a story in the Sacramento Bee, morning personality Ed Crane is out at the iHeartMedia news/talk outlet after serving in the post since 2008. The station recently announced it hired talk programming pro Bill White – most recently with Journal Broadcast Group’s Tucson stations – who assumes his new position on Tuesday, January 20. What the station’s plans for AM drive might be is pure speculation at this point. White handled mornings at KQTH, Tucson. Whether he’s headed for the morning show at KFBK or the station wants him to lead the search for a new morning host is unknown. Back to Crane, he tells the Bee that he’s not happy with how his departure was handled saying, “Some untrue things were said that weren’t nice. I don’t get it. We were number 1.”
Whither Christian Talk WMCA, New York? The Salem Communications Christian talk outlet is airing promos on the station promising a change of some sort, but what the legendary NYC signal might morph into is unknown. The promos state, “Beginning Monday, January 19th, WMCA New York’s Christian talk, will be no more. Find out what we will become, Monday, January 19th.” It’s likely that there will be no real format change, just a re-branding of the Christian talk format since ratings are not usually a concern for such a station. Salem already serves the market with secular news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”
Documentary Film Debaters to Include Prager, Father Morris. This coming Monday (1/19), Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager will join archdiocese of New York’s Father Jonathan Morris; Eric Metaxas; and Anne Graham Lotz to discuss “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus.” Their panel discussion will be shown in 650 U.S. theaters through Fathom Events’ digital broadcast network and is slated to follow the theatrical premiere of the Timothy Mahoney award-winning documentary, which chronicles an in-depth archaeological investigation in Egypt as his team attempts to corroborate the biblical text. Twelve years in the making, the film explores the fundamental question if there is any evidence the Exodus story actually happened. Prager has been broadcasting on Los Angeles radio since 1982; his 9:00 am – 12:00 noon (PT) program has been in syndication since 1999. Father Morris is currently the program director of “The Catholic Channel” on SiriusXM Radio. The daughter of Billy Graham, Christian evangelist Lotz founded AnGeL Ministries. Metaxas co-hosts the syndicated weekly Sunday morning program “100 Huntley Street.” Prager’s SRN colleague Michael Medved appears on-camera in the documentary. Fox News Channel‘s Gretchen Carlson will moderate next Monday’s debate.
Rabid Mobile Media Consumption Drives SNL Kagan $9 Billion 2014 Revenue Estimate. The research firm SNL Kagan is reporting that its estimate for 2014 revenue for the mobile entertainment sector is $9.14 billion – up from $2.71 billion just three years ago. The frenetic growth of the mobile media industry is well documented in the radio trades and shouldn’t surprise anyone in this industry, but the figures that SNL Kagan breaks out are interesting, nonetheless. It reports that the mobile music segment was the third largest, contributing 19% to the entertainment sector’s revenue. However, the games category was tops – delivering 59% of the entertainment sector’s revenue in 2014 – with video in second place bringing in 20% of the sector’s revenue. SNL Kagan estimates that the mobile music biz – led by players such as Pandora, Spotify, iTunes and others – accounted for $1.76 billion of the $9 billion total.
Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Islamic Extremism, ISIS Hack of Pentagon and Centcom, Obama Cyber Security Speech, Bartender Accused in Plot to Kill Boehner, Romney Promises 2016 Run, and Ohio State Wins National Football Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The political aftermath of the deadly attack on Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo and the larger topic of Islamic extremism; the hacking of the Pentagon’s and Centcom’s social media; the cyber-security speech delivered by President Obama; the plot by an Ohio bartender to kill House Speaker John Boehner; the promise by Mitt Romney to run for president in 2016; and Ohio State’s run to the National Championship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Founder of the Home Shopping Club, Bud Paxson, died this week. His lessons and legacy are not to be ignored. Here’s what I learned from him while serving as a content and management consultant to him and his company, Pax Net.
“Bad live television is better than any recorded television.” The thrill of live TV is unbeatable. That’s why NBC goes through the horror of producing annual musicals live when elaborate productions are better suited to pre-recorded. “Live” is why, whether you love it or not, you respect “Saturday Night Live.”
Do It Yourself, or Bureaucracy Is Bad
In the beginning, the Home Shopping Club was mass, mass appeal. The products were cheap, often grey-market electronic items, cheesy porcelain and fake pearls. I watched it for thousands of hours. I asked Bud who bought the merchandise for the Club? “I bought everything.”
Cumulus Names Big John Howell Morning Host at WLS-AM, Chicago. The arrival of longtime Chicago market personality Big John Howell at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago had been rumored for some time and now it becomes official as Howell will assume the morning show duties effective next Monday (1/19). Most recently, Howell was morning host at Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” He also was a jock at CBS RADIO’s country WUSN for many years as well as morning personality on CBS’ WCKG. For seven years he hosted the Westwood One-syndicated “Country Gold” request show. Howell comments, “I’m looking forward to joining WLS-AM. It has been a longtime professional, as well as personal, goal. Growing up in West Michigan and listening to WLS influenced my initial decision to give the radio business a try. Now, all these years later, and on the heels of many WLS broadcast legends, including Larry Lujack and Don Wade, it is truly an honor and a privilege. I’m also looking forward to sharing the WLS airwaves with Steve Dahl, who taught all of us to ignore management and hate disco.” Howell takes over for the team of Dan Proft and Bruce Wolf.
Roe Conn to PM Drive at WGN, Chicago. There’s no official word from Tribune Media on this…yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former longtime WLS-AM afternoon host Roe Conn will take over the afternoon drive show on WGN, Chicago from Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – both of whom have been in the post since last May. Conn even appeared on WGN’s Steve Cochran show this morning (1/12), but chatted about issues and there was no mention of his joining the station. The hiring of Leff and Snyder was part of the makeover of the station orchestrated by president Jimmy de Castro. Feder reports that it’s expected that Leff and Snyder will stay on in some capacity.
Dr. Laurie Roth Show Joins USA Radio Networks. As part of a series of program rollouts, the USA Radio Networks announces Dr. Laurie Roth becomes part of the syndicated lineup, airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET effective February 2. USA Radio Networks describes the show as an “issues-driven program known to tackle politics, crime and corruption. Dr. Roth often visits with survivors and family members affected by crimes and conspiracies. How do they survive and come back after losing a family member, being smeared or a being a victim of crime in some way? Listeners learn the answers to such questions. Roth says, “I expose the bad guys, stand for the good guys and don’t get caught in-between.” Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA’a parent company – Cross Platform Media Group – and he comments, “Dr. Roth covers the issues driving the conversation in America like no other radio host. Her life experience brings a realness to the radio that, sadly, is uncommon in the network industry. She is a welcome breath of fresh air.” Recently, USA Radio Networks announced the launch of new shows including “AMERICA CONTINUES with Jim Sharpe,” and the syndication of the Steve Deace show, “DAYBREAK USA with Angie Austin,” and the hourly USA Radio News.
Brooks Promoted at WTMJ, Milwaukee. At the Journal Broadcast Group-owned news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee, Eric Brooks is upped to assistant program director. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Eric has grown tremendously as a leader at WTMJ. As producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,’ Eric has helped the program leapfrog into the top news/talk position with both listeners 6+ and 25-54. Eric has also deftly handled many day-to-day responsibilities in the programming department in his role as executive producer of WTMJ programming.” Brooks joined WTMJ in 2011 as a news anchor and producer before being elevated to executive producer, WTMJ programming in 2013.
Odds & Sods. This Friday (1/16), New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella will sit in for morning drive personality Harry Hurley on Townsquare Media’s Atlantic City, New Jersey news/talker WPGG…..Here’s an interesting show, now available to radio stations across the country that draws on Americans’ interest in the Old West: Dakota Livesay’s “Chronicle of the Old West.” It’s both a three-and-a-half minute show delivered five days per week and a weekly, one-hour show that features friends, authors and experts who chat with host Livesay about this romanticized period of American history. Check out OldWestRadio.com…..The WYD Media-syndicated “Huckabee Report” with Mike Huckabee and the Stephanie Miller program are both joining the lineup at CRN Digital Talk Radio. CRN states that “The Huckabee Report” will air throughout the day on CRN effective today (1/12) and CRN 4 channel will broadcast encore presentations of the Stephanie Miller show Tuesday through Saturday, beginning January 13.
Talk Pro Tom Becka Does ‘Friday Night Live.’ Longtime Omaha (not to mention Kansas City and Fargo) talk radio personality Tom Becka rhetorically asks TALKERS magazine, “What does a talk show host do when he’s on the beach? He keeps talking…” And that’s what you see in this photo. Recently let go from KOIL, Omaha in a cost-cutting move, Becka reports on his latest venture – a live version of the Tom Becka Radio Show. He says, “We set up a stage at a local watering hole, charged admission, and did an interactive audience participation show just like it was on the radio. A sold-out crowd came to talk about the hot issues of the day with ‘Honesty, Integrity, and a Sense of Humor.’ It was spirited, entertaining, and profitable. I used social media and my daily podcasts to promote the event and it turned out great. I’ll be doing these on a regular basis.” Becka can be reached at: 402-321-9590 or via Tom@TomBecka.com.
Remembering Nick (Bazoo) Ferrara. Word and condolences spread throughout social media on Saturday, January 10 about the passing of noted CHR programmer Nick Ferrara. Conspicuously absent though were specific details of when, where, or even if Ferrara had indeed passed. The Harrison County (Mississippi) coroner though has unfortunately confirmed that 59-year-old Gulfport resident Ferrara was killed Friday (1/9) in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 10. According to officials, Ferrara was not wearing a seatbelt while driving his 2013 Honda Accord sedan; he died at the scene from blunt-force trauma. According to a report in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald, police responded at 6:05 pm to a report of a crash with injuries. Ferrara’s car apparently rear-ended another vehicle. The Gulfport Fire Department and American Medical Response were at the crash scene. Eerily, a Friday Facebook posting ostensibly made by Ferrara – known to many from his earlier top 40 programming days as Nick Bazoo indicated simply that at approximately 5:30 pm, he was at Biloxi’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The previous day (Thursday, 1/8), Ferrara made 17 original Facebook posts. Tony Gray had the most succinct – yet possibly the most powerful comment on Ferrara’s home page, with the noted consultant simply writing, “B-97 New Orleans.” Specifically, WEZB “B-97″ is the New Orleans station (then owned by EZ Communications) at which operations manager Ferrara (Bazoo) rose to prominence in the early-1980s. He was famously linked to that Louisiana metro. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver though first met Ferrara in Mill Valley, California in 1984. “He was coming in to flip KMEL from rock to top 40,” Silver recalls. “He and Keith Naftalyhad the vision – I was in the right place to help them as well. Heaven is full of great program directors who touched us all – God rest your soul.” Media Monitors music manager Anita Bonita writes, “Godspeed Mr. Bazoo – you will be missed.” Renowned talk radio consultant Valerie Geller is “so sorry to hear this news – RIP.” According to Giant Records vice president Jean Johnson, Ferrara was, “The consummate Facebook poster. I shared many of your hilarious posts. Rest in peace Mr. Bazoo – taken way too soon.” Legendary voiceover/imaging talent Howard Hoffman sums it up perfectly by stating, “This hurts. Selfless, strong, and just a real honor to work with you, Nick. One of the best field marshals ever and you deserved so much better. I am glad you knew that before leaving us way too soon. Godspeed, friend – thanks for everything.” Longtime industry executive Rob Sisco laments, “Oh my dear sweet Bazoo. I am so profoundly sad to hear this news. You were one of the true good guys. I am proud and honored to have called you friend. You will be missed forever. Rest in peace, Nick.” Former New Orleans programmer Pat Matthews recalls, “Met you when you were just 18 and starting out at WIXO. A funny, talented, caring guy – wow, this is so unbelievable.” Veteran programmer Joel Burke remarks, “You were one of the smartest radio people I knew and had such a contagious laugh – RIP.” Consultant Dan Vallie comments, “Good man – good heart. Rest in peace my friend. Heaven is going to enjoy your sense of humor and big smile.” Yet another twist: A “Life Event” posted on Ferrara’s Facebook page less than two weeks ago – New Year’s Eve (12/31) – states he “started working at retired.” Commencing in 2001 and lasting approximately through 2013, Ferrara was an operations manager in State College, Pennsylvania at Forever Broadcasting and then doing similar duties at cross-town Results Radio (2006 – 2013). In addition to WEZB “B-97,” Ferrara (Bazoo) held the operations manager title at several other New Orleans outlets, including WLMG, WLTS, and WWL. In the mid- and late-1980s, he spent time in California as an OM for KMEL, San Francisco and then Gannett Broadcasting‘s properties in San Diego. Sandwiched between those stops was a two-year stint as operations manager in Pittsburgh for EZ’s WBZZ “B-94.” Information is not yet available regarding Ferrara’s funeral arrangements.
TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show coverage by radio consultant Holland Cooke
By Holland Cooke
Wide-angle shot: The innovation mojo here is damn refreshing, especially for broadcasters, whose industry is mature, yet so well positioned for the future.
Close-up shot: Handiest accessory I saw for radio talkers and podcasters: Wear your gear like a gun slinger with Techslinger. Pack your iPad, smartphone, microphone, and other go-kit gear in this double shoulder holster, designed by a defense contractor. See photos and diagrams on the CES page at HollandCooke.com
Michael Berry Show Now Heard in PM Drive on WRNO, New Orleans. Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry – the “Czar of Talk Radio” – adds another affiliate to his growing affiliate base this week as his show begins airing on iHeartMedia’s New Orleans news/talker WRNO. Berry’s program – emanating from flagship KTRH, Houston – replaces the show hosted by John Osterlind, who exits the company. Other stations around the country airing Berry’s program include: KEX, Portland; WGY, Albany; WGST, Atlanta; WJBO, Baton Rouge; and KFXR, Dallas.
KKOB, Albuquerque Again Rises to the Top. Program director Pat Frisch checks in to report that after having the station’s 55-book streak of #1 Nielsen Audio ratings finishes (persons 12+) ended in the spring and summer surveys in which it finished #2, Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque returns to #1 in the Fall 2014 survey. Frisch reports that morning host Bob Clark is #1 in the market (12+), beating the next closest morning show by more than three full shares, while Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage finished in first place in the 12+, persons 25-54, and men 25-54 demos. The station finished #6 in the market in the persons 25-54 demo with a 3.6 share.
Mitch ‘Thunder’ Nelles Joins Sports WOKY, Milwaukee. The iHeartMedia sports talker announces that Mitch “Thunder” Nelles becomes part of sports talk WOKY “The Big 920” to serve as sports account executive and serve as an on-air contributor. Nelles most recently was with crosstown sports talk WAUK in the sales department. Until last spring, Nelles also worked on air with Steve “The Homer” True on WAUK’s “Homer & Thunder” program before he exited his on-air duties to focus on sales. Nelles joins WOKY on Monday, January 12. Program director Tim Scott states, “We are VERY excited that Mitch is joining our team. The addition of ‘Thunder’ just deepens our local commitment to Milwaukee sports fans.” Nelles will also contribute a blog and podcasts.
Sound Bites from CES 2015. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files another report from Las Vegas as he covers the International Consumer Electronics Show for TALKERS magazine. Today’s report delivers the takeaways from the numerous sessions Cooke has attended during the week that have something relevant for radio practitioners. Issues such as the importance of understanding the ways different platforms are used, the challenges of being creative in different media spaces, and effective use of YouTube are all covered in Holland Cooke’s report which you can read here.
Emmis Q3 Radio Revenue Rises 29%. Actual comparative figures are $34.8 million to $44.9 million. This includes reported revenue from New York City urban AC WBLS and gospel cluster-mate WLIB; Emmis started operating those two facilities under a Local Marketing Agreement about 10 months ago. In crediting his company’s employees, Emmis president/chief executive officer/chair Jeff Smulyan states that, owing to them, “Emmis’ stations again dramatically outperformed our markets, marking the 12th consecutive month of share gains.” Smulyan points out that Los Angeles rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106″ is “up 18% in a flat market. Our New York cluster was up for the quarter and is now significantly outperforming the market. With an improving labor market and lower energy prices helping to put more money into the hands of consumers, we are excited about the economic backdrop as we head into 2015.” In October, Emmis-led industry initiative NextRadio launched a new version with “LiveGuide” and Smulyan explains, “NextRadio is pre-loaded in 33 Smartphone models and we’ve had more than 1.4 million activations. All major radio companies support the effort. I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort and the momentum we have.” Emmis’ Q3 operating income increases from $8.7 million to $13.1 million, while station operating income advances year-to-year by $4 million to $18.1 million.
Odds & Sods. Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM programming is being aired on Mapleton-owned KGA, Spokane. A deal between KIRO-AM owner Bonneville and Mapleton has KIRO-AM’s 7:00 am to 4:00 pm programming – including Brock & Salk, Michael Gray, and Bob & Groz – airing on the station. KIRO-AM also recently struck a deal to air the same programming on Ingstad Radio’s KJOX in the Tri-Cities, Washington market…..Noted broadcaster Pat O’Brien is debuting a new radio program to go into national syndication. Beginning early this year, O’Brien will host KLEAN Radio, a new, weekend mental health radio show broadcasting out of KABC, Los Angeles. A companion TV show – Klean Daily – is launching as well…..KXNO, Des Moines personality Ken Miller exits the station to pursue a yet-to-be-announced gig with former partner Marty Tirrell in the market. The two first worked together in Des Moines doing sports talk back in 1996.
Bubba’s Army Turns Up for ‘Bury the Bone’ Stunt. The image you see here is of a long line of what Bubba the Love Sponge estimates was the 650-plus cars (with some 1,000 loyal listeners) who showed up for his “Bury the Bone” stunt. Bubba and his staff – Manson, Ned, and 25 Cent – promised “Bury the Bone” tee-shirts to all who drove through the GoodFellas Pizza parking lot that sits just a few hundred yards from his old flagship station, Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.” WHPT dropped Bubba’s show from its lineup in September and filled the morning daypart with former Bubba intern and then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta. Bubba’s show began airing on Beasley Broadcast Group’s crosstown WHFS-FM earlier this week and Bubba has begun a “radio war” vowing to “bury” Calta in the ratings. Bubba and staff ran out of tee-shirts and bumper stickers so they took the names of those who didn’t get any and promised to print more and ship them to the listeners. Commenting on the stunt, Bubba says, “This is one of the proudest days of my broadcasting career. I am humbled; it’s more than we expected.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program lineup at WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island to air in the midday slot…..“Gun Talk” with host Tom Gresham joins the programming at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as well as on KWSW, Eureka, California…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show is added to the program schedule at WSLA, Slidell, Louisiana (New Orleans market) and current weekend affiliate WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi begins airing the show daily…..The wine-centric radio show “Grape Encounters Radio” becomes part of the lineup at KTSA, San Antonio.
Charlie Hebdo Massacre/Radical Islam Top News/Talk Story for the Week of January 5-9. The deadly assault on the Parisian satire paper Charlie Hebdo and the larger topic of radical Islam were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the new GOP-controlled Congress. Coming in at #3 was sinking oil prices and their effect on the world financial markets followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show coverage by radio consultant Holland Cooke
You might already have a Slingbox. I do and I love it. I can watch whatever’s on my TV or DVR back home, anywhere, on my computer, iPad or iPhone. DVR is timeshifting, Slingbox is place-shifting. It’s not a service with a recurring fee. It’s a small box.
New here this week? Sling TV, in-cahoots-with Dish Network. It’s an internet TV service, and it includes ESPN, TBS, TNT, CNN, and other networks. $20 per month, no contract, cancel any time. This is just the newest streaming video system, so-called “Over the top TV.” The biggest one is Roku, which I also have; an inexpensive box or dongle with no recurring fee. Others are Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
Howard B. Price: Preparedness, Vigilance and Training Important in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack. The horrific assault on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo serves as a sad reminder that attacks on media outlets are not only possible, they happen on an all-too-frequent basis. In a piece published in TALKERS magazine, ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes that “even with the best security resources and procedures in place, no broadcast facility is immune from criminal acts or terrorism. And being in a small place doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk. But, there are common sense things we all can do to help deter such incidents, mitigate their impact and help assure an investigative trail in the event one takes place.” Read Price’s very important piece here.
Bill White Named KFBK and KSTE, Sacramento Program Director. It’s official: news/talk programming pro Bill White is the new PD at iHeartMedia’s KFBK and KSTE in Sacramento, effective January 20. White – who’s programmed such storied talk outlets as WGN, Chicago; KDKA, Pittsburgh; and WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte – most recently served as PD at Journal Broadcast Group’s KQTH and KFFN in Tucson. White comments, “These legendary stations inform and touch listeners in the Sacramento area every day. I’m honored to be joining the talented team at KFBK/KSTE and look forward to building on their successes.”
Bob Frantz Adds Cleveland News/Talk Duties. Longtime WTAM, Cleveland personality Bob Frantz exited that station in July of last year and in October began hosting an afternoon sports talk show for Cumulus Media on WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket.” Now, Frantz is adding a daily news/talk program on Salem Communications-owned WHK, Cleveland “AM 1420 The Answer” to his responsibilities. Frantz has been producing commentaries for the Salem station and now begins the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program. Salem Cleveland GM Mark Jaycox comments, “There has been a very loud cry from Clevelanders to hear Bob Frantz on the air once more, since his mic went silent five months ago. His straightforward, honest approach to news, sports and politics has earned him a strong following among conservatively minded listeners who want more in-depth perspective on news stories that affect our daily lives.”
Ken Charles Exits iHeartMedia. News/talk pro Ken Charles – after a long career with iHeartMedia programming stations in Houston, Miami and Sacramento, to name a few – exits the company. Charles had been serving as the company’s national brand manager for news/talk and sports before his sudden exit. iHeartMedia has been very quiet about this and has, so far, not announced any plans to fill Charles’ corporate post.
HollywoodLife Signs with PodcastOne. What it calls “another, in a series of previously announced partnerships, merging editorial and audio media,” PodcastOne unveils the arrival of the HollywoodLife podcast to its roster of advertiser-supported, on-demand digital audio programs. The weekly podcast is hosted by HollywoodLife.com’s renowned president and editor-in-chief Bonnie Fuller and delivers “discussion, debate and the inside scoop on all the biggest, breaking celebrity news.” It will also feature candid conversations with top TV, music and movie stars. PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Bonnie’s track record of success in editorial content and audience engagement is extraordinary, and we are excited to expand that from the website to the podcast. Providing the best in entertainment and celebrity news, she knows how to connect with the female demographic and affect lifestyle interests in ways no one else can.”
CES 2015: Is Your Station Merely ‘the Linear Feed?’ Radio consultant Holland Cooke continues his reporting for TALKERS magazine from the giant Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas and today (1/8) he focuses on the disruption TV is feeling at the hands of technology that has made about half of television program viewing delayed or on demand. “The linear feed” means live programming in the order that it’s broadcast and Cooke writes that as consumption of media continues to change, radio must address that “the linear feed” only isn’t going to be good enough. Read his piece here to find two ways radio stations can deal with this conundrum.
Aaron Flint Continues to Build State-Wide Montana Talk Show. Thirty-four-year-old Montana National Guard officer Aaron Flint began hosting Northern Broadcasting System’s “Voices of Montana” radio talk show five years ago. Since then the KYYA, Billings-based program has expanded from 10 signals to more than 20 with KLTZ, Glasgow being the latest station to begin airing the program. Flint states, “It’s pretty clear that listener and station demand for local, interactive, engaging content on both AM and FM radio is strong. I went on another military deployment back in 2012, and I was, frankly, a little worried that we may lose some affiliates due to the disruption. But the support for all service members shown by our radio affiliates has just been incredible. The fact that the show has doubled is a strong testament to the support for the community and local programming by independent and corporate-owned stations alike.” Flint has served three tours of duty: in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. A former staffer on The Hill, he is also a political blogger publishing The Flint Report – a blog the Washington Post has listed as one of the best state-based political blogs.
USA Radio Networks Adds Jim Sharpe to Lineup. The latest addition to USA Radio Networks’ “rapidly growing syndicated programming lineup” is media pro Jim Sharpe who will host “AMERICA CONTINUES,” airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2. USA says the show “will advance the significant news stories of the day with a different insight: the kind of insight that only comes when America has had a chance to digest the events of the day and put them into true perspective.” Sharpe’s resume includes winning awards for his work as a war correspondent, and hosting radio shows in markets including: Los Angeles, Dallas, and Phoenix. Sharpe says of his new syndicated show, “The name of the program serves two purposes: We will continue to update America’s truly important stories even as people put their workday behind them. And, we will continue to work on this grand experiment called America. Too many people have given up on the ‘American Dream,’ but ‘AMERICA CONTINUES’ will acknowledge and honor that America is still the planet’s best hope.”
Atlanta’s WWWE Converts to Women’s Radio Network. After having aired Spanish-language music and religious programming as well as sports, Beasley Broadcast Group‘s WWWE, Atlanta transitions to the Women’s Radio Network as “1100 WRNW1.” WWWE general manager Greg Cooper remarks, “Beasley and WWWE are committed to serving the concerns of the Atlanta community. A format focused on the lifestyle of today’s woman gives us a great opportunity to drive our vision for the market forward.” The Women’s Radio Network was previously available only as an online stream: The WWWE affiliation represents the company’s first experience in delivering content on an over-the-air broadcast facility. Hapeville, Georgia-licensed Class D WWWE has not appeared in a monthly Atlanta Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report in recent memory.
Entries Being Accepted for “World’s Best Radio Programs.” Several new categories have been added to the 30-plus-year-old international competition, including “Best Innovation,” “Best Journalist,” and “Best Music Program Host.” New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards executive director Rose Anderson remarks, “Our categories for ‘Sound Art’ and ‘Best Innovation’ recognize the limitless advances of creativity. Our ‘Best Journalist,’ and ‘Best Music Program Host’ categories honor the artistry and dedication of the individuals at the mic.” Advisory board grand jury member/Geller Media president Valerie Geller works with broadcasters in 35 countries “to become more powerful storytellers and communicators.” Geller comments, “Stories are how we track our lives, learn about others, and develop empathy and understanding of the world. At its best, broadcasting informs, entertains, inspires, and persuades. Most importantly, it connects people to one another through our stories. It is satisfying on every level to have the opportunity and honor to hear the amazing work that news, documentary and program teams throughout the world are producing/creating.” NYFIRPA entries are received from radio stations, networks, and independent producers. Among the 2014 winners were the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“Broadcaster of the Year”) and TBI Media UK (“Production Company of the Year”). Deadline for entering the competition is a little more than two months away (3/19); the awards ceremony will take place Monday, June 22 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.
Creative Talent Inc. Signs Xavier Paul Cadeau. The voice of the Brooklyn Nets – Xavier Paul Cadeau – signs with talent agency Creative Talent Inc. The firm, founded and led by radio pro Steve Gallagher, announces the inking of the actor, comedian and voice-over artist to a management contract encompassing broadcast on-air hosting, live sporting events announcing and corporate and industrial hosting and voiceovers. Cadeau will be appearing on the upcoming HBO television series, “Crime.” Gallagher says, “You’ve heard his promo voice on HBO Sports, narrating on the History Channel‘s ‘UFO Files’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ week on SyFy and he’s been multiple characters on the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video game series. Xavier Paul is an incredible talent.”
Talk Host Wendy Lowy Sloane Celebrates Radio Show’s Fifth Anniversary. The nationally syndicated “What’s Up with Wendy” radio show – hosted by Wendy Lowy Sloane – prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary tomorrow (1/9). The BizTalkRadio program is based at WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and “showcases interviews with the biggest names in television, movies, music, comedy, fashion, literature, and sports, in addition to self-help segments.” Celebrity guests who will help Lowy Sloane recognize the anniversary include “Parenthood” actress Monica Potter, “Awkward” star Greer Grammer, and Michael Dinan, owner and editor of NewCanaanite.com. The program airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon on Fridays on WGCH and nationally on BizTalkRadio Fridays at 7:00 pm ET.
C. Crane Catalogue for 2015 Chock Full of Interesting “Radio” Units. As the role of the AM/FM “airwaves” appliance (commonly referred to as a “radio”) continues to struggle for a place of prominence within contemporary 21st century digital society, the remaining manufacturers and distributors of traditional radios – and still out there aggressively marketing them — play a very important role in the fabric of the broadcasting industry and hold a largely untapped key to its longevity. That being stated, the TALKERS editorial board continues to pore through the annual catalogue of products released by Fortuna, California-based C. Crane, an independent provider of radios who champions the concept of using the airwaves as a ground for mass communications. As C. Crane president Bob Crane puts it: “The freedom of radio listening is truly magical with its huge educational and entertainment benefits.” Crane continues, “Traditional radio and cell phones are dependent on radio waves. The invisible waves deliver mobility without a connection to wires. Radios will be here forever because they are devoted to the act of listening.” Crane sums it up: “When we started this company over 30 years ago, radio waves were broadcast over the air. For the most part, no matter what you listen with, they still are. Receiving radio waves better is what we specialize in. We are here to build the best radios we can to serve [our customers] now and in the future.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) adds, “Ever since someone asked the audience of radio professionals at one of our recent New York Seminars, “How many of you have a small AM/FM radio in your possession at this moment and the only one who raised his hand out of several hundred in the room was Art Vuolo, I resolved that as long as I am in the business of serving the radio industry, I will always have a simple AM/FM unit nearby – like my keys, cell phone and wallet… if for nothing more than just principle.” One of the C. Crane units in Catalogue 2015 that Harrison has been carrying around lately is a neat little 5.5 ounce device dubbed the “CC SKYWAVE.” It is a travel pocket radio that features intuitively easy on/off AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Aviation bands (you can listen to pilot/control tower conversations to amuse or inform yourself while waiting for a plane) that retails for $89.95. For more information about C.Crane visit www.ccrane.com.
Charlie Hebdo Massacre, New GOP Controlled Congress, Bitter Cold Across U.S, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). The murder of 12 at the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo presumably by Islamic radicals and the world’s reaction; the agenda of the new GOP-controlled Congress and reports of John Boehner’s revenge on those who voted against him for House Speaker; the extreme cold hitting much of the U.S.; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the sinking oil prices, euro concerns and the effects on the world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Protection against media terrorism, violence and hostility
By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity
NEW YORK — The horrific terror attack on the satirical Parisian newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, has shaken the public at large, and the media most especially. The paper long has been in the crosshairs of extremists; its offices were firebombed in late 2011 after it published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. The BBC characterized the paper as “irreverent” in its coverage of current events and controversial issues – so irreverent, in fact, that its editor-in-chief was placed under police protection after receiving death threats.
Today, the police protection and physical security not withstanding, its offices were breached during an editorial meeting – and at least a dozen people, including the editor-in-chief and some of the paper’s most prominent cartoonists, were assassinated in a hail of automatic gunfire.
While there is no specific threat against any American media organizations, more than a few no doubt are reviewing their own security provisions and protocols right now. And with good reason. In recent years, a number of US media outlets have seen violence visited upon them:
TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show coverage by radio consultant Holland Cooke
By Holland Cooke
The last several years’ conversation about radio’s position in the new-tech dashboard remains largely academic. As new non-AM/FM audio competitors appear there – and drivers’ attention is shared with so many non-audio apps now factory-installed – draconian radio cutbacks continue to dilute the localism that would continue to make stations unique among competitors.
This has been a long time coming. Over a decade ago, we were plugging-in iPods. Ford’s ground-breaking Sync system is now in 10 million cars in the USA, and lets you take the apps you use on your phone and iPad on the road. In catch-up mode here at CES, General Motors is showing off their souped-up OnStar system.
Randall Bloomquist Exits Cumulus Corporate PD Post. News/talk pro Randall Bloomquist exits his corporate programming position with Cumulus Media due to “personal family reasons.” Bloomquist – who has programmed such news/talk stations as WMAL, Washington; WGST, Atlanta; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WRVA, Richmond during his career – joined Cumulus in the fall of 2013 to oversee the company’s news/talk programming. Bloomquist also served time as news/talk editor at the now-defunct Radio & Records trade magazine.
KABC, Los Angeles Launches Judge Cristina, Dr. Drew Midday with New Schedule. The addition of “Dr. Drew Midday with Mike Catherwood” to the daily program schedule on KABC, Los Angeles was announced late last year. What wasn’t known was the addition of Judge Cristina Perez to the daily schedule for the “Live @ Nine” program. Also, with the departure of Larry Elder from the station, Cumulus Media moves Jillian Barberie and John Phillips from middays to the afternoon drive slot. The company says, “‘Judge Cristina Live @ 9’ will focus on topical news throughout the region. Judge Cristina has become a household name as one of the most influential syndicated television hosts from her work hosting court shows on network television, including ‘Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez,’ (airing mornings on KCAL-TV in Los Angeles), ‘Cristina’s Court’ (FOX) and ‘La Corte de Familia’ (Telemundo). She is the first Hispanic television judge to cross over from Spanish-language television to English-language television. ‘Cristina’s Court’ won three consecutive Emmy Awards. Cumulus EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “Our live, local and topical programming has been incredibly well received by Los Angeles listeners. We have attracted some of the top talent in the country and continue to bolster the station’s lineup in order to meet the interests of our widening audience.” KABC operations director Drew Hayes adds, “KABC’S goal is to build a radio station that reflects the climate and attitude here. KABC is a sunny and up-tempo station discussing the news of the day, populated with the nation’s leading personalities. With these additions, we have successfully evolved the station to a compelling, entertaining, true Southern California station.”
Jeff Tyler Assumes iHeartMedia Minneapolis Market President Post. Longtime iHeartMedia executive Jeff Tyler is named the market president for the company’s Minneapolis cluster. Tyler has been serving as regional market manager for the company overseeing the Madison and Milwaukee markets as well as operations in Grand Rapids/Muskegon, Michigan; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and Rochester, Minnesota. He comments, “I am excited to join a tremendous Minneapolis team in one of the best markets in the country. It will be an honor to represent the historic call letters and franchises of the Twin Cities. At the same time, it’s also bittersweet to leave teams in Madison and Milwaukee which have been a big part of my career and life.”
Schnacke Joins iHeartMedia Chicago as VP/Sales. After 17 years with the Chicago cluster now owned by Hubbard (previously by Bonneville), Jerry Schnacke joins crosstown iHeartMedia as vice president of sales. iHeartMedia Chicago market president Matt Scarano comments, “I am thrilled to have Jerry as part of our team. Jerry brings a wealth of expertise, high-level management experience, and a tremendous track record of success to our cluster. I am looking forward to working closely with Jerry in his new role.” Schnacke – who was vice president and market manager of the Hubbard Chicago facilities – remarks, “I am excited to be joining these iconic brands and honored to be on the iHeartMedia Chicago team with Matt Scarano. I am looking forward to working closely with the staff and our clients.” Prior to his Hubbard-Bonneville Chicago tenure, Schnacke was vice president and general manger of the stations Lakeshore Communications owns in Springfield, Illinois. The “Windy City” iHM cluster is comprised of urban contemporary WGCI-FM, gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390,” CHR WKSC “Kiss-FM,” hot AC WLIT “My-FM,” WNUA “Chicago’s Hit Country,” urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and the company operates urban talk outlet WVON “The Talk of Chicago” under an LMA. Hubbard Chicago consists of classic rock WDRV “The Drive,” adult contemporary WILV “Chicago’s 100.3,” and hot AC WTMX “The Mix.”
PodcastOne Names Kris Smith Chief Technical Officer. Credited with starting one of the first podcast production companies in 2005, Kris Smith joins Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne to serve as chief technical officer. The company says, “Smith has over a decade of experience in the medium, and has spent his career designing and developing digital products.” Pattiz says, “Kris is a pioneer podcaster and innovator. He has been creating podcasts and associated technology well before the medium ever went mainstream. Having him join our team and lead the technological growth of our company is of the utmost importance as we continue to play a larger part in the growth of the industry.” Smith replaces Rob Greenlee who will be starting his own consulting firm, with PodcastOne as its first client.
Israel-Based Talk Host Aaron Klein Joins ConnectPal for Digital Platform. Currently heard in New York City on Salem-owned WNYM “AM 970 The Answer,” New York Times best-selling author Aaron Klein joins ConnectPal.com with daily audio updates. ConnectPal states that “in addition to moving his podcasts exclusively to ConnectPal.com, Klein will distribute a new investigative audio feature throughout the week focused on the hottest breaking news stories. Plus, Klein will launch a ‘Reporter’s Notebook’ for his subscribers on ConnectPal, bringing listeners inside his daily investigative reporting, including his unique style of Middle East reportage.” Klein comments, “I have been searching for the best platform to launch regular audio and insider content throughout the week and have finally found an exciting, highly user-friendly marketplace in ConnectPal.com. I’m thrilled to be joining the portal and look forward to providing invigorating, newsy, exclusive additional content to my growing audience.”
CES 2015: The Connected Car Accelerates. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is reporting from the enormous International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas all this week and today’s report focuses on the connected car. Cooke writes, “The last several years’ conversation about radio’s position in the new-tech dashboard remains largely academic. As new non-AM/FM audio competitors appear there – and drivers’ attention is shared with so many non-audio apps now factory-installed – draconian radio cutbacks continue to dilute the localism that would continue to make stations unique among competitors.” Read more from Sin City here.
CBS Launches ‘Play It’ Podcast Platform. Providing a podcast platform for the company’s talent, CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announced the debut of Play.it. The company says the “new podcast network brings together digital-exclusive programming from major brands and publishers as well as content from CBS RADIO shows on demand.” The service “offers more than 300 premium content podcasts at launch, including podcasts from well-known CBS RADIO personalities like Boomer Esiason & Craig Carton, Carson Daly, and Kevin & Bean, as well as content from leading news, lifestyle, sports and media brands including 48 HOURS, 60 MINUTES, CBS Sports Radio, Vox, Deadspin, Simon & Schuster and Foursquare, among others.”
CBS Radio, Bloomberg Join Forces. The arrangement calls for Bloomberg Radio to be the primary supplier of business reports for CBS Radio’s owned-and-operated radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, and three other markets. CBS Radio executive vice president of operations/CBS Radio New York market manager Scott Herman comments, “This partnership will greatly raise the level of our business coverage, enhancing our product in cities from coast to coast. Bloomberg reporters will offer expertise and depth to local business stories of interest, reaching audiences of our individual radio stations.” Bloomberg Radio station manager Al Mayers states, “Partnering with CBS Radio was a natural fit that brings together the leader in news radio with the global leader in business news. It’s an important milestone for Bloomberg as we expand our audience of business decision makers.” United Stations Radio Networks is Bloomberg’s marketing partner, and it will handle advertising sales and sponsorships, as well as distribution. USRN president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins remarks, “With the addition of these great CBS Radio stations to our existing Bloomberg lineup, it clearly makes Bloomberg the preeminent business radio network for advertisers seeking an association with this extremely attractive and desirable audience. We are thrilled to be working with two of the most respected names in journalism.” Bloomberg Radio reporters are providing business news updates twice an hour on CBS Radio all-news stations, and at designated times on other CBS Radio properties.
Buckley Shuts Down Sports Talk KIDD, Monterey. According to a story in the Monterey Herald, Buckley Broadcasting took sports talker KIDD, Monterey “ESPN Central Coast” dark on New Year’s Eve and will try to sell the frequency. Station EVP Kathy Baker confirmed the move and the paper reports that cost was the factor in the decision to shut down the station. Issues related to tower maintenance of the almost 60-year old station appear to have been paramount. The towers reside in a coastal wetland and the company says it will take down the towers.
Odds & Sods. Named to the permanent afternoon drive daypart at iHeartMedia’s Fresno news/talk simulcast of KALZ-FM and KRZR “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400” is Christopher Gabriel. He comes to the market from his most recent gig as morning personality at WDAY, Fargo and begins his new post on January 19…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes a special look at the hacking of the entertainment industry with the program “Lights, Camera, Terror: Hacking Hollywood,” to air on January 13 at 10:00 am PT. Hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman, the show will feature guests including: Sharon Waxman, editor-in-chief & CEO, The Wrap entertainment website; Matthew Belloni, executive editor, The Hollywood Reporter; Jonathan Handel, entertainment/technology attorney, Troy Gould; and Ross Crystal, KNX entertainment correspondent.
CNBC To Cease Nielsen Ratings Relationship. In a television development that might be of some interest to radio operators, CNBC becomes the first-ever cable outlet to end its ratings relationship with Nielsen. As of the fourth quarter of this year, Cogent Reports will measure CNBC’s business day. CNBC president Mark Hoffman states that throughout the network’s 25-year history, “Traditional measurement companies have struggled to capture CNBC’s audience of business executives, decision makers, and affluent investors who watch our network from their corner offices, trading floors, five-star hotel rooms, country clubs, restaurants and health clubs. We are excited to begin to provide our marketing partners with a more complete understanding of the power and quality of our prestigious audience.” Downplaying the decision of its rival, Fox Business Channel executive vice president of advertising Paul Rittenberg tells The Wall Street Journal, “Only using the numbers you like is a little tough to sell.” Another business player – Bloomberg Television – has never been measured by Nielsen. According to a Nielsen spokesperson quoted in The Wall Street Journal, “For networks with niche audiences like CNBC, pure age and gender-based ratings are not always the best means against which to sell.” The spokesperson notes that Nielsen will continue to measure CNBC’s evening programs. Market Strategies International‘s Cogent Reports will be measuring a television network’s audience for the first time. It will survey over 1,000 investors and financial advisers on their daily media habits; that data will provide CNBC’s ratings. Nielsen figures indicate CNBC’s average 9:30 am – 5:00 pm audience in 2014 was 177,000, which is down 13% from 2013 and off 17% from 2004.
GOP Takes Over Congress/Boehner Vote, Keystone Pipeline Legislation, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Cold Snap, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The official swearing in of the new Congress and the political storm over a contentious vote to return John Boehner to Speaker of the House; the potential fate of the Keystone Pipeline legislation the GOP Congress is promising to revive; sinking oil prices, the state of the euro and the effects on the world financial markets; the potential candidates for president including speculation about Rick Santorum’s possible run; the bitter cold affecting much of the nation; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — Nothing is more important to the future of radio than finding and developing distinctive, appealing and enduring on-air personalities. Predicting a prospective air talent’s ability to attract and hold a substantial audience is far from an exact science. I know. I’ve been doing it for a living for nearly 30 years.
My “ear” and batting average for predicting success have improved greatly over time. I’ve developed an informed sense of what it takes to make it on the radio. The result of creating the Authentic Personality method, working with some of the best – Rush Limbaugh, Kidd Kraddick, Jeff of Jeff and Jer, Johnny Vaughan – and worst talent in radio as well as constantly studying gifted artists – songwriters, authors, screenwriters, and creators of TV shows.
Talkers coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Radio take note: Some of what’s-new here is…what’s-old. Big signs all around the Convention Center boast, “When people think instant, they think Polaroid,” a brand that’s leveraging its 50-year product position for the selfie era. Its smartphone-size Zip Mobile printer prints without ink. The color is embedded in the paper. And new-tech has updated old-fashioned pinball machines, with WWE and other now-popular themes.
Today, Ford’s CEO will keynote, and I’ll give you his connected car update in tomorrow’s TALKERS. CBS CEO Les Moonves will also keynote.
Bill McMahon: 14 Traits Inherent in Top Radio Personalities. In a piece published today (1/6) in TALKERS magazine, The Authentic Personality CEO Bill McMahon outlines what he calls “reasoned approach to evaluating talent.” McMahon says that in creating this list of traits he “wanted to create a framework to have a meaningful and productive conversation about why a prospective air personality will succeed or fail.” The traits fall into three categories: Personal, content, and performance. The personal traits predict listener appeal and talent motivation. The content traits predict the ability to generate distinctive, appealing and memorable content. The performance traits predict the ability to present attractive content with impact. Read McMahon’s full explanation here.
New Year’s Debuts from Westwood One and NBC Sports Radio. The first full week of the New Year marked the launch of new daily feature from former congressman and House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers. Produced by Westwood One and titled, “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers,” the three, daily, one-minute features “provide listeners with an insider’s way of understanding critical issues and the most-talked-about topics of the day.” On the sports side, the new midday show on the NBC Sports Radio Network hosted by Mike Florio launched Monday. “ProFootballTalkLive with Mike Florio” airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and, as its name implies, features Florio’s “critically acclaimed NFL insight and all-encompassing coverage of the league with the most current news, analysis, and thought-provoking debate.” Debut show guests included Denver Broncos EVP of football operations John Elway, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino, and Tom Curran of CSN-New England.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Adds Daily Business Show. The program airs from 4:00 am to 5:00 am and is called “Wisconsin Business Today.” Hosted by Danny Clayton, the new program covers news on national and local business with special focus on agribusiness. Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee Radio Operations VP Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and waking up to the business of our state and community is a good way to start the day. WTMJ is excited to add yet another hour of live and local programming to our daily lineup.” Clayton also serves as morning host at WTMJ sister classic hits outlet WLWK “94.5 The Lake.”
Odds & Sods. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feeder, three of the former WGWG-LP, Chicago sports talk hosts – Jarrett Payton, Connor McKnight and Adam Hoge – have been given a weekend show on Tribune’s news/talk WGN. “The Game” airs from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Tribune shut down the sports talker after a year on the air…..SiriusXM announces the debut of a new channel called “SiriusXM Insight” that the satcaster says will be a “groundbreaking news, information, and entertainment radio channel offering listeners inspiring ideas and intelligent conversation with an edge. Designed to reach fans that enjoy the eclectic subject matter of public radio, SiriusXM Insight will feature an array of fresh, diverse voices addressing a new era of issues in a lively, smart, and sometimes humorous approach.” Personalities appearing on the channel include: Pete Dominick, Margaret Hoover, John Fugelsang, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Karen Hunter, Dean Obeidallah, Alan Dershowitz, Perri Peltz, Bob Roth, and many more…..The Conclave board of directors elects Lori Lewis board chairperson. Lewis is director of digital & social strategies for Jacobs Media. She takes over for Mark Bolke who served as chair since 2009…..Former Connecticut governor and WTIC-AM, Hartford talk show host John Rowland’s sentencing on campaign law violations has been postponed as he mounts the claim that prosecutors withheld evidence. Read the story in the Hartford Courant here.
Report from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. The big, international trade show taking place in Las Vegas this week officially opens today and radio consultant Holland Cooke is on the scene reporting back for TALKERS magazine. Cooke says two major keynoters are Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields, who can be expected to provide an update on the “connected car,” and CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves. Read Holland Cooke’s story here.
NYPD-De Blasio Standoff, Bill Clinton/Prince Andrew Palm Beach Pedophile Controversy, Hoodie/Mask Ban Proposal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, New Congress, Mario Cuomo Dies, Winter Cold Spell, Sinking Oil Prices/Eurozone Fears, and NFL Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The ongoing feud between the NYPD rank-and-file and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio; allegations of Britain’s Prince Andrew and former President Bill Clinton being involved with underage girls in connection with accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein; the proposal to outlaw the wearing of hoods or masks in public; chatter about the potential presidential candidates in the 2016 race; the influx of 71 new members of Congress; the death of liberal standard bearer Mario Cuomo; the blast of arctic air hitting much of the U.S. this week; the effects of sinking oil prices and the tumbling euro on the world’s financial markets; and the weekend’s NFL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
1) The vital initiative of NextRadio activating the FM chip in your smartphone. Jeff Smulyan’s endless effort is paying off. There are two important lessons. Radio can infiltrate new technological platforms effectively. Secondly, a solo operator determined to make positive change, can!
2) Major advertisers, such as Coke, moving their money from prime time network TV shows such as “American Idol” to online video. Sabo Media was the first company, in 2007, to identify online video stars and monetize their work. Our HITVIEWS division persuaded Pepsi, Timberland, US Government, TiVo, Sony, Panasonic and many others to put their products inside user-generated video content. Not worthless pre-rolls or pop-ups but placement inside web-star shows. For radio this means that radio divisions within TV companies are becoming more important to total corporate financial health.
TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show Coverage
By Holland Cooke
More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras.
When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful.
When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, “The Interview” was released on YouTube.
Bubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM. Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM. The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format. Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta. The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings. Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM. Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.
Howie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard. The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication. The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19. Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager. Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland. The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others. Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue. There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor. Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity. If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”
Boston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show. The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here). The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX. Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience. This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy. We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.” WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.
WLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft. Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues. (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)
Former WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content. As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014. Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand. The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday. Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive. Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.” Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.
Seven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand. Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including: KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012. Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election. This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand. We needed something more, and this works.”
‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App. Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps. The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.” Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives. Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them. We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”
Odds & Sods. Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel. Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” daily commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.” Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida. Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.
St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.
2015 International CES; What Next? Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media. “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives. More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras. When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful. When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.” Read more here.
Sabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015. From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
Cumulus Detroit Elevates Wheeler to OM. WJR, Detroit program director Mike Wheeler is boosted to the newly-created position of operations manager for the heritage talker, as well as Cumulus Media‘s other three Detroit properties – hot AC WDVD “Today’s Best Hits,” country WDRQ Nash-FM,” and country WDRQ-HD2 “Nash Icon.” According to Cumulus senior vice president of corporate programming Mike McVay, “Mike Wheeler brings a wealth of experience to the table. His history in Detroit, abilities at coaching talent, and his knowledge of programming give us another strong programming presence within Cumulus. He is deserving of this promotion.” Detroit native Wheeler remarks that it is “a thrill to work with these great radio stations” and he is “grateful for the opportunity to drive the ‘fun bus’ in Detroit.” Overseeing programming for Cumulus’ four Motor City stations, Wheeler will work with in-place PDs Lori Bennett and Robby Bridges. Wheeler joined Cumulus three months ago after a five-year stint as regional program manager for iHeartMedia‘s Connecticut stations. He previously was regional vice president of programming for stations the company (then known as Clear Channel) owned in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Toledo. Wheeler has held on-air positions at Detroit stations WNIC, WABX, WHYT, and WCZY.
KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City to End Simulcast. Rather than airing the same programming on 980 and 98.1 as it has been since spring 2011, Entercom Kansas City will break off into separate entities, while maintaining the talk format on both dial positions. KMBZ-FM programming will mostly be locally originated; syndicated personalities will comprise the majority of what will be heard on KMBZ-AM. KMBZ-FM’s modified lineup will feature “Kansas City’s Morning News” with E.J. Becker & Ellen Schenk,” (5:00 am – 10:00 am); “Trend KC” with Burns & Monacelli (10: 00 am – 2:00 pm); Dana Wright & Scott Parks (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Jonathan Weir (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Weir previously did mid-days); and Premiere Networks’ “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” (9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). KMBZ-AM “Talk 980″ will include Darla Jaye (5:00 am – 9:00 am – Jaye previously did evenings); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 11:00 am); Rush Limbaugh (11:00 am – 2:00 pm); Sean Hannity (2:00 pm – 5:00 pm); “America Now” (5:00 pm – 8:00 pm); Westwood One’s Herman Cain (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Laura Ingraham (10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Both stations will carry Premiere’s “Coast-To-Coast AM with George Noory” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am). The transition will take place on Monday, January 5. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s December 2014 PPM report, KMBZ’s AM & FM simulcast ranks eighth, after notching back-to-back gains of three-tenths (4.2 – 4.5 – 4.8). Public KCUR is #16 (2.6) and Cumulus-owned KCMO-AM finishes #19 (1.4).
Round Three of December PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was November 6 through December 3. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.
Top News/Talk Stories of 2014. As is the tradition at TALKERS magazine, the end of the calendar year provides the opportunity to look back and present the industry with a list of talk radio’s most-talked-about stories and people of 2014. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that we present the Talkers TenTM each week – a chart that shows the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio based upon ongoing research from TALKERS. This year-end chart uses that data. The accompanying graphic presents the charts for 2014.
Big John Howell to Exit WIND, Chicago. According to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Big John Howell is exiting his morning drive gig with Salem Communicatons’ news/talk WIND, Chicago “560 The Answer.” Feder writes that Howell was offered a contract renewal but he turned it down. Feder says Howell’s contract runs out at the end of this month but Howell may work into January while the company decides how to replace him. But the rumor is that Howell may jump across the street to join Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM. Howell has hosted the morning show for the past eight years and currently works with Amy Jacobson as co-host.
Anthony Gargano Exits WIP-FM, Philadelphia. Tweeting that his contract offer from CBS RADIO to remain afternoon host on sports talker WIP-FM in Philly was a “lowball” offer, Anthony Gargano exits. He Tweets, “Thanks to WIP and all of the Philadelphia fans for 15 great years! On to the next chapter.” It’s rumored that the station’s Josh Innes will assume Gargano’s role in afternoons where Gargano had been co-hosting with Rob Ellis. There are also rumors that Gargano may pop up at Greater Media’s crosstown competitor WPEN-FM “The Fanatic.”
Round Two of December PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was November 6 through December 3. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. According to Jose Lambiet’s Gossip Extra, the Rick Sessa-hosted “American Biker Talk Radio” show is moving from its current station – WSVU, West Palm Beach – to rock-formatted WBGF, Belle Glade, Florida “93.5 The Bar” beginning in January.
Inconceivable Guest Appearance! Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk star Michael Medved (right) poses for a photo outside the studio after interviewing actor Carey Elwes (left) – star of the classic film, The Princess Bride. Elwes stopped by the show’s Seattle studios to chat with Medved – a noted film critic as well as talk personality – about his new book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (Touchstone 2014).
Staff Recognizes End of MarketWatch Radio Network. The air staff of the MarketWatch Radio Network held a farewell party last week to celebrate one last time together. Dow Jones’ exit from the AM/FM radio business at the end of the year spells the end for the business news network founded by Frank Barnako in 1999. Barnako made a special appearance at the party joining staffers (from left to right, also noting stations they served) back row: Tracy Johnke (WBZ-AM, Boston), Andrew O’Day (WINS, New York and WBZ-AM), Alisa Parenti (WBZ-AM and WBBM-AM, Chicago), Joan Doniger (WBBM-AM), Steve Potisk (KNX, Los Angeles and KYW, Philadelphia), Adrienne Mitchell (WBBM-AM, KRLD-AM, Dallas and KCBS-AM, San Francisco), Ann Cates (WCCO, Minneapolis, WBBM-AM, KCBS-AM). Front row: Barnako and WSJ Radio executive editor John Wordock.
BFoA Creates Bill Burton Memorial Fund. The recent passing of beloved radio pro Bill Burton is recognized by The Broadcasters Foundation of America as it establishes the Bill Burton Memorial Fund. Burton, known for his trademark words of encouragement, “Be Fabulous,” died last weekend from head injuries suffered after a fall at his home. He was 85. Former BFoA executive and long-time friend and colleague Carl Butrum states, “Bill’s influence inspired countless individuals in the radio business. Radio owes Bill our gratitude for his wisdom and for imparting to us his boundless positive attitude, which infected everyone who came into contact with him. We mourn his loss, but remember the great man with The Bill Burton Memorial Fund.” Donations to the Bill Burton Memorial Fund are being accepted at the Broadcasters Foundation website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or by calling 212-373-8250, or emailing email@example.com.
Sony to Release ‘The Interview,’ New York Police Killings Protests/Obama Racism Remarks, Potential 2016 Presidential Candidates, Joe Cocker Dies, Christmas Holiday, ISIS Violence, and NFL Playoffs Push/Possible Coaching Changes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/23). The decision by Sony to go ahead and release the movie “The Interview” on Christmas day after all; ongoing police killings protests in New York City and the slaying of two NYC cops over the weekend, plus President Obama’s comments on racism in America; chatter about the potential candidates for president in 2016; the death of rock icon Joe Cocker; the coming Christmas holiday; ISIS violence in Iraq; and the NFL playoff scenario and talk of potential coaching changes after the season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Michael Harrison
Odds are your usual haunts in the newspaper, magazine, general entertainment and information arenas have become cluttered with terribly annoying pop up ads, videos that start playing loudly without invitation (sometimes more than one at a time) – and maddeningly confusing hodge-podges of editorial and commercial content laid out in such a manner as to make it almost impossible to follow an article without being sidetracked into a unwanted advertisement. (Hmm, which one of these three arrows should I click?)
How about the emergence of that creepy entity known as the “sponsored” or “promoted” story that innocently sits among the non-paid editorial content on so many of our distinguished bastions of journalism.
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — I first learned about “Serial” the podcast from my Twitter feed. It was a day I was thinking a lot about the future of radio and audio entertainment. I was feeling pretty pessimistic. The current crop of news and talk programming on radio wasn’t giving me much hope. The headline style news delivered by most radio stations has become a commodity available on demand on multiple platforms. The superficial reports of common crime, ordinary human misfortune, politics and political process that dominate the radio news menu aren’t distinctive, interesting or relevant to the lives of most listeners. Talk programming is limited to conversations about sports and politics from a conservative political perspective. Digital audio initiatives from radio broadcasters are primarily repurposed radio programs offered as podcasts. The lack of imagination, innovation, and variety in audio content created by radio broadcasters left me feeling depressed about the future of the business to which I’ve dedicated most of my professional life.
The Valuable Lessons for Talk Radio Taught by the Podcast Series “Serial.” One of the spoken-word audio entertainment stories of 2014 is the phenomenal success of the podcast series “Serial.” It is a 12-part episodic experiment in audio storytelling by Sarah Koenig that has garnered an enormous listenership of millions and a remarkable amount of media attention. Basically it is a colorfully delivered “whodunit” murder mystery. According to noted talk radio consultant, talent coach and TALKERS contributor Bill McMahon, “I first learned about ‘Serial’ the podcast from my Twitter feed. It was a day I was thinking a lot about the future of radio and audio entertainment. I was feeling pretty pessimistic. It took hearing one episode of ‘Serial’ to completely change my mood. It rekindled my love of audio entertainment and my belief in its power and appeal. It took me back to the experiences that made me fall in love with radio and audio entertainment. I remembered listening to my first Seattle Rainiers baseball broadcast. I’d never been to a game or met any of the players, but Leo Lassen’s enthusiasm, excitement, and colorful descriptions allowed me to visualize them in my mind. It felt like I was right there in the stadium. I remembered Lan Roberts, the morning personality on KJR, and his fascination with and belief in UFOs. His vivid descriptions and recorded sounds of his midnight experience waiting for a UFO and its passengers that he expected to land in a field east of Seattle were unforgettable. My imagination allowed me to see what he saw and feel his anticipation and then disappointment when it didn’t happen. It was magic. I felt that same sense of magic listening to ‘Serial.’ It’s no accident ‘Serial’ has attracted so much media attention and millions of listeners for each of its 12 episodes in just three months’ time. For creators of audio information and entertainment content, especially journalists, news reporters and storytellers of all kinds, there is so much that can be learned from the success of season one of ‘Serial.’” In an exclusive opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (12/23) McMahon offers his educated take in the practical wisdom revealed by the producers of “This American Life” and Sarah Koenig’s experiment in audio storytelling. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
Michael Harrison: Spreading the Digital Junkyard. In an opinion piece published at TALKERS today (12/23), publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) asks pointed questions of media industry practitioners about their perception of the state of digital media. He writes, “Have you noticed lately that some of your favorite websites have become increasingly user-unfriendly? Odds are your usual haunts in the newspaper, magazine, general entertainment and information arenas have become cluttered with terribly annoying pop-up ads, videos that start playing loudly without invitation (sometimes more than one at a time) – and maddeningly confusing hodge-podges of editorial and commercial content laid out in such a manner as to make it almost impossible to follow an article without being sidetracked into a unwanted advertisement…Clearly, an unholy alliance of the techno-geeks and sales-freaks have taken control of the major league media website show. The true internet content programmers and strategists have lost their hold on the situation. They have stopped programming with the sensibilities of the user in mind. Sound familiar?” Harrison is quick to declare he’s not a Luddite; in fact, he’s been a champion of the internet since it became public! BUT, that doesn’t mean digital is without its serious flaws and certainly doesn’t mean there’s no remaining value in AM/FM radio. Read Harrison’s entire piece here.
Round One of December PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was November 6 through December 3. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
ABC News Surpasses Affiliate Goal. In a memo to staffers, ABC News president James Goldston announces the news organization – preparing to re-launch its radio news division separate from recent partner Westwood One – has surpassed its goal for signing new affiliates. Goldston writes, “So far, we’ve signed well over 1,000 stations to affiliation agreements for ABC News, ABC Digital and ABC Air Power – with 200 brand-new affiliates and many stations signing up for more than one ABC service. Not only have we retained many key affiliates, but we have added several of the most iconic, most-respected and most-listened to stations in America, including WTOP, Washington; WGN, Chicago and KFI, Los Angeles.” The new service launches on January 1.
Odds & Sods. Programmer Sue Wilson is promoted to vice president/director of operations at Rubber City Radio in Akron which means she adds supervision of news/talk WAKR to her duties…..SiriusXM begins presenting an audiocast of “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.” The news program is now airing nightly at 7:00 pm ET on the satcaster’s TODAY Show Radio channel.
Jim Bohannon Promotes VetsRoll in Wisconsin. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon (second from left) is pictured here on remote with affiliate station WCLO, Janesville, Wisconsin “Newsradio 1230.” Bohannon appeared on air with station OM and talk personality Tim Bremel (left) and World War II veterans Stan Van Hoose (second from right) and Mitch Bliss (right) to promote VetsRoll. The organization provides safe ground transportation and an enjoyable experience for World War II and Korean Conflict-era U.S. military veterans and “Rosie-the-Riveters” to visit war memorials and other related sights in and around Washington, DC.
Spreading the News! Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured here prior to her recent pap smear) tells TALKERS magazine she’s gearing up to take part in a public service campaign for cervical cancer. January is cervical cancer screening month and Dr. Daliah says the “Start Spreading the News Campaign” to advise women to get cervical cancer screenings can help to put a dent in the 12,000 cases and 4,000 deaths that happen each year in the U.S.
NYPD Cops Killed/Protests Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, North Korea Internet Fail/Sony Pictures Hack, Positive U.S. GDP News, Christmas Holiday, and NFL Playoffs Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/22). The murder of two NYC police officers over the weekend and the ongoing police killings protests in New York; the possible candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing violence being perpetuated by ISIS; the loss of internet in North Korea and that nation’s possible connection to the hacking of Sony Pictures; the report of the U.S. gross domestic product rising 5% in the third quarter; the Christmas holiday; and the NFL playoffs push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Legal Analysis: The FCC Properly Rules In Favor of Redskins. The Federal Communications Commission’s decision last week to grant license renewal to radio station WWXX-FM, Buckland, Virginia, despite objections filed with the commission centering around the team’s Redskins name, was greeted with approval from TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman. In a column posted today (12/22), Weisman writes that – whether one agrees that the team name is offensive or not – the FCC’s decision was the correct one. “The objection to the renewal tried to twist legal terms totally beyond their meaning. The objectors argued that the term ‘Redskins’ was obscene. Obscenity is not permitted on the public airwaves and continuing use of obscenity on a radio station would legitimately be a ground for denying a renewal of license. Obscenity may be in the eye of the beholder to some people, but not in the eyes of the established law, and the FCC rules and regulations which limit obscenity to the depiction or description of sexual conduct.” Read Weisman’s entire explanation of the decision here.
Alpha Media Enters Shreveport and Tyler-Longview with Access 1 Acquisition. The nine radio stations owned by Access 1 Communications in the Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas markets are being purchased by Alpha Media for an undisclosed sum. The stations – which Alpha will begin to operate under an LMA effective January 1, are: hip hop KBTT, gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview. Alpha notes that when all pending deals are complete, it will own and operate 83 stations. Alpha chairman Larry Wilson states, “I’ve known [Access 1 president and CEO] Chesley Maddox-Dorsey for a long time. She’s a great person with superb integrity and it’s a tremendous honor for us to be buying stations from Access 1. I’ve been continually impressed with the quality of people I’ve met and their passion for the industry; it fits right in our sweet spot for live and local radio and we are very much looking forward to the acquisition.”
Odds & Sods. The digital broadcast of “The Anthony Cumia Show” is being repped by AdLarge Media. Cumia – longtime partner of SiriusXM’s Gregg “Opie” Hughes – left the satcaster in August and recently debuted his digital video show…..WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo agrees to a new contract with iHeartMedia. He’s also heard on other iHeartMedia stations…..Oldies WVLZ-AM, Nashville will flip to sports talk on January 5 using programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio.
Remembering Bill Burton. Holiday festivities were dampened over the weekend by the news that the industry lost a genuine cheerleader. Particularly to those in Michigan radio sales circles, the name Bill Burton is legendary, as was his insistence that salespeople always “be fabulous.” Cause of death for the 85-year-old Burton was head injuries resulting from a fall at his home this past Tuesday (12/16); he passed away on Saturday (12/20). As president and chief operating officer of the Detroit Radio Advertising Group, Burton’s primary responsibility was to sell radio at the decision-making level. In fact, he preferred to be called a “radio cheerleader,” “professional product mover,” or “people builder,” rather than the aforementioned impressive title he held the past quarter of a century. “Why Radio” was the underlying theme to the countless presentations the Detroit native would make around the country. Credited with originating the line, “An automobile is a radio with four wheels,” Burton would stress 91% of drivers listen in their cars, making them a “captive audience” for advertisers. Radio is the “frequency medium,” he would insist and “frequency is paramount in selling.” Burton started his radio career as an AE at Eastman Radio, where he would eventually become president and chairman. A 2002 Michigan Broadcast Hall of Fame inductee, Burton entered the Adcraft Hall of Fame in 2005. He held a degree in business and economics from Michigan State University (MSU 10 years ago presented him the Lifetime Achievement Award from its Broad College of Business), and Burton attended law school at the University of Michigan, before joining the Army. Among Burton’s many non-industry accomplishments was successfully completing the Boston Marathon.
Nashville Broadcaster Teddy Bart Dies at 78. Nashville radio and TV legend Teddy Bart died on December 21 at age 78. According to his obit in The Tennessean, Bart’s shows were known for defining “the discussion of Nashville’s political and business heavyweights.” In addition to work on local television stations, Bart was part of the long-running “Waking Crew” on WSM-AM. He also hosted “Teddy Bart’s Round Table” with co-host Karlen Evins several stations in the market.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is currently looking for a passionate and innovative individual to join our team in the role of Web Developer. This is a big year for Greater Media technology where you can be part of rolling out all-new, state-of-the-art brand experiences for some of the best radio stations in Charlotte: News/Talk 1110 WBT, 107.9 The Link, and The Bob & Sheri Network. You must have a solid grasp of and demonstrated experience with modern web technologies and standards such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery. You must also be a proficient developer in PHP and MySQL. Experience with WordPress and WordPress plugin development along with a minimum of 2 years’ experience is required. The daily activities of this position include: Designing and developing new digital experiences, features and functionality for our programming and promotions departments across our radio stations’ web and mobile app properties; Collaborating with our sales department to create and traffic engaging advertising opportunities for our clients; Talking to people. Seriously, you’ll interact in some form or fashion with just about everyone in the company so you’ll need to have “people skills.” So, if you’ve got a great eye for digital design and terms like responsive design, Node.js, git, Bootstrap and API integration get you excited, please reach out to us! Please send your cover letter and resume to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. firstname.lastname@example.org 704-338-3079 (fax) No phone calls please. EOE.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — There has been much discussion in recent years about the use of the name “Redskins” for the NFL’s Washington franchise and I believe that such discussion is a healthy exercise of free speech. The propriety of the name “Redskins” was even determined last June to be inappropriate for continued trademark protection because the name disparages a group. That decision is presently under appeal.
However, one place that the discussion of the propriety of the name had absolutely no business being discussed was at the FCC during the course of an objection to the radio station license renewal application of Washington, DC radio station WWXX-FM. This radio station is owned by Dan Snyder, the owner of the NFL’s Redskins, and is part of the team’s radio network. An objection was filed by a law professor and others to the license renewal, as was his or anyone else’s right. However his reasoning was totally spurious as recognized by the FCC which showed a little political testosterone and rightfully rejected all of the professor’s objections and renewed the application of WWXX-FM.
Snyder Scores FCC Victory. Ruling that the name of the NFL‘s Washington, DC franchise does not fall under its definition of profanity and it is not equivalent to obscenity, the FCC on Thursday (12/18) refused to order radio and television stations to cease using the team’s Redskins moniker. George Washington University Law School professor of public interest law John Banzhaf is behind the challenge and he comments, “Virtually everyone seems to assume that no radio or television station which repeatedly and unnecessarily used racial slurs on the air would be allowed to continue broadcasting, much less have its valuable broadcasting license renewed. All we seek is that Native Americans be given the same protection as African Americans, Asians, and other racial and ethnic groups.” An appeal of Thursday’s decision within the agency and subsequently to the U.S. Court of Appeals is likely. Dan Snyder – who owns the Washington team as well as Red Zebra flagship WTEM – insists he will not change the franchise’s nickname.
Cumulus Media Expands Relationship with Dr. Drew. As part of a new, expanded relationship with Dr. Drew Pinsky and radio co-host Mike Catherwood, the “Dr. Drew Midday Live with Mike Catherwood” show will air on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles beginning in early January. At the same time, the company’s Westwood One syndication division also will begin syndicating “Loveline” starting January 1. “Loveline” will now be airing on a total of 35 Cumulus-owned stations. According to Cumulus, the new KABC midday show will “offer LA listeners unique access to Dr. Drew’s comprehensive advice on a broad range of topics. Listeners will be encouraged to call in Monday through Friday and enter the discussion with one of the country’s most trusted physicians and media personalities.” Westwood One currently handles ad sales for “Loveline” and beginning January 1 will also be responsible for syndicating the nightly show to local radio stations nationwide. “Loveline” will continue to be available digitally via PodcastOne. Drew Pinsky comments, “I’m really looking forward to becoming part of the Cumulus family and proud to be on the air at the legendary KABC in Los Angeles. It will be a great platform to connect with listeners during the daytime. And while ‘Loveline’ continues to be anchored at KROQ, I am thrilled that the show is expanding into new markets at night. This is a tremendous opportunity and I am grateful.”
Business Rockstars Welcomes Andy Schuon as Investor, New Board Member. The multi-platform network Business Rockstars LLC announces media heavyweight Andy Schuon has made an equity investment in the company and has joined the board of directors. Schuon rejoins longtime collaborator Steve Lehman, chairman of the Business Rockstars, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, who hosts “Business Rockstars,” the company’s flagship daily radio and television program. The company says Schuon brings decades of experience to Business Rockstars. He is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs. Schuon previously programmed KROQ, Los Angeles and served as EVP, programming and production at MTV, MTV2 and VH1. He also was CEO of pioneering Sony/Universal online music subscription service Pressplay (now Napster). He worked with the world’s top artists as executive vice president/general manager of Warner Bros. Records, was the head of digital and president, Artist Services at Live Nation/Ticketmaster, president of Infinity Broadcasting and has served on the boards of Premiere Networks, Hot Topic Stores, iLike.com, and Coinstar/Redbox’s new ventures. Lehman says, “Andy and I have a long history of success together, so his joining our board is a homecoming of sorts. With Andy on our board of directors, our already rapidly growing entrepreneurial media, mobile and social platform will be kicked into overdrive. Andy is a world class visionary when it comes to building networks, so we look forward to his contributions as we amplify the culture around entrepreneurial content and programming.”
Odds & Sods. Sports talker KXTG-AM, Portland “750 The Game” is now being heard on the FM dial on translator K274AR at 102.9. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “Adding the FM frequency to our sports station will not only help increase revenue and ratings but will play a key role in opening up new live and local opportunities.”…..Play-by-play for Houston Astros games will continue to air on iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston for the next four years as the two sides agree on a contract renewal. KBME is also the flagship for the NBA’s Houston Rockets…..ESPN Radio continues its coverage of college football with a 30-game postseason bowl schedule that will include all matchups from the inaugural College Football Playoff and the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented to take place on January 12. Veteran play-by-play voice Mike Tirico will call the final alongside analyst Todd Blackledge, with reporters Holly Rowe and Joe Schad…..SiriusXM is also on board for college football as the satcaster will offer broadcasts of 35 bowl games including all three games of the College Football Playoff.
Pavlina Returns ‘Most Interviews’ Crown to U.S. Teen talk host Pavlina Osta (pictured here with Sean Hannity at Talkers New York 2014) has returned the “most interviews” world record to the United States interviewing 347 people in 24 hours to claim the Guinness World Records title. The record was set at the Walmart in Port Orange, Florida. Each interview consisted of a minimum of five questions and every question was unique. The entire 24-hour period (on 11/22-23) was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365. For each interview conducted, Pavlina donated one can of pet food to Sophie’s Circle. The previous record holder, Claudio Siepi of Italy had 256 interviews and had held the record since 2012.
Walking the Walk. Media consultant Walter Sabo posted a timely sentiment on his Facebook page for holiday season shoppers. Sabo’s message shows a picture of a portable Sony radio and the caption reads: “To those of you who love radio and talk about radio all the time I hope you are in fact giving something like this to every single person you know.”
Alan Stock Emcees Menorah Lighting. KDWN, Las Vegas morning personality Alan Stock is pictured here in downtown Summerlin, Nevada at the community’s Menorah lighting ceremony on December 16. Stock says almost 300 people turned out for the ceremony braving chilly temperatures.
North Korea-Sony Pictures Hack Case Tops Talkers TenTM This Week. The hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system – possibly by North Korean operatives – and the threats against the release of the new film The Interview, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 15-19. Coming in at #2 was the renewed Cuba relations issue. At #3 was the Taliban school massacre in Pakistan tied with ISIS violence followed by the Sydney café siege at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Doug McIntyre Sticks with KABC, Los Angeles. “McIntyre in the Morning” host Doug McIntyre signs a new deal to remain with Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles “TalkRadio 790” for at least the next year. In addition to his radio work, McIntyre tells TALKERS magazine he’ll also be writing a new weekly column for The Daily Beast in addition to the two columns per week he currently is writing for the LA Daily News.
Cataldi Morning Show Re-Ups at WIP, Philly. Longtime Philadelphia sports talk personality Angelo Cataldi inks a long-term renewal of his contract to remain morning host at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94WIP.” Prior to joining WIP in 1990 as the wake-up personality, Cataldi was the Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was named to the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this year, occupying the #9 spot. In a related announcement, the station also signed two members of Cataldi’s morning show ensemble — Al Morganti and Keith Jones — to new contracts. About his new deal, Cataldi says, “It’s a true thrill and honor to know that all my years on the radio will be working for WIP. It’s a rarity for an on-air personality to have their entire broadcasting career, spanning nearly three decades, all at one station. I am grateful to have a great supporting cast and privileged to work for CBS RADIO which trusts me with the morning show on the best sports radio station, in the greatest sports town anywhere.”
‘Huckabee Report’ to Be Distributed by WYD Media. With the start of the New Year, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee – also host of his own weekend show on Fox News Channel – is continuing his daily feature, “The Huckabee Report,” to be distributed by WYD Media Management. The program will be repped by WYD Media Ad Sales. The show is currently syndicated to more than 500 radio stations via Westwood One but that relationship will end after December 31. Huckabee comments, “We’ve had tremendous success over the last six years with ‘The Huckabee Report’ thanks to the great partnerships with hundreds of radio stations. I’m excited about my new partnership and this is a great way to kick off 2015!” WYD says that the feature will retain its current format with morning, midday and afternoon delivery of three unique, modular reports that allow stations to carry one or three minutes of content per report. WYD Media Ad Sales president John Murphy says, “Mike Huckabee is truly a beloved national icon with a powerful following. His ability to connect with his audience and influence public opinion is incredibly valuable to our advertising partners.” In addition to airing on news/talk affiliates, “The Huckabee Report” is also cleared on country- and classic rock-formatted stations.
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Serves Up Radio Chat with Governor Christie After ‘Cowboys’ Controversy. While much of New Jersey’s Philadelphia Eagles fan base was up in arms over Governor Chris Christie sitting in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ luxury box on Sunday evening cheering on the Cowboys over the Eagles, WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley cut the governor some slack during an exclusive radio interview the following morning. Hurley is a big Eagles fan but, unlike many New Jersey fans – and the news media – Hurley excused the governor for cheering for his favorite team and noted that many politicians wear whatever “sports cap” they think will help them get votes. Speaking of votes, Hurley asked Christie if he’s going to run for president and Christie said he and his wife are talking about his options and he’ll decide in 2015 whether to run in 2016.
Fourth Hour and New Affiliates for ‘America’s Morning News.’ The Talk Radio Network Entertainment-syndicated “America’s Morning News” program – hosted by radio news pro Matt Ray – adds a fourth hour to its daily broadcasts and now airs live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET. TRNE also announces a number of recent affiliate additions now carrying the programming that’s heard in more than 160 markets across the country. New stations include: WJAS, Pittsburgh; KFNY, Riverside; KDWN, Las Vegas; KGED, Fresno; WPNN Pensacola; KMJM, Cedar Rapids; WNZF, Daytona Beach; WGNS, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; KGGF, Coffeyville, Oklahoma; WRTA, Altoona, Pennsylvania; KMED, Medford, Oregon; and four Wisconsin stations in the Heartlands group – WERL, Eagle River; WATW, Ashland; WFER, Iron River; and WPFP, Park Falls. TRNE CEO Mark Masters comments, “‘America’s Morning News’ continues to deliver a great product every morning to over 160 markets across the U.S., including markets like San Francisco (Cumulus Media’s KSFO AM 560), Seattle (Bonnevilles’ KTTH AM 770) and San Diego (Midwest Television’s KFMB AM 760). We are very proud of our morning news offering, and its growth is a testament to its quality.”
CBS Sports Radio to Broadcast New College Hoops ‘Classic.’ The inaugural “CBS Sports Classic” college basketball showcase will air on the CBS Sports Radio Network on Saturday, December 20. The event produced by CBS Sports will be live from Chicago’s United Center and pits North Carolina against Ohio State in the 1:00 pm ET game followed by UCLA versus Kentucky. It’s the first of three events in the series, as announced earlier this year by CBS Sports. Gary Cohen, current play-by-play announcer for Mets baseball, Seton Hall men’s basketball and Westwood One’s NCAA men’s basketball coverage, will provide play-by-play for the games. He will be joined by analyst Alaa Abdelnaby, current college basketball studio and game analyst for CBS Sports Network. Lance Meadow will contribute to pre-game programming beginning at 12:45 PM, ET, as well as halftime and post-game updates. CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “This showcase is noteworthy for CBS Sports Radio as it marks the first time we will broadcast live game coverage across our stations. CBS Sports has assembled a group of legendary college basketball teams, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that our play-by-play debut is happening with this distinguished event.”
Compass Media Announces Business Programming for New Year. In a communication with affiliate stations currently carrying Wall Street Journal Radio Network programming (set to cease via WSJRN on 12/31), Compass Media Networks announces it will continue to produce and distribute business and money reports and details the programming. Anchors for business and money news reports will be Jennifer Kushinka in morning drive, Ray Hoffman in middays and Frank Miller in afternoons. Kushinka has served as morning drive news anchor for “The Wall Street Journal Reports” for the past nine years. Hoffman has anchored CEO Radio short-form reports, aired exclusively on WCBS-AM, New York for the past nine years and was the lead talent for BusinessWeek Radio. Miller has worked for the past six years with Compass providing custom reports to all-news and news/talk stations. Compass also says that Ron Insana, currently with Compass and senior contributor for CNBC, is available for money news reports and commentaries.
Odds & Sods. A new face sits on the board of directors at Business Rockstars, LLC. The corporation announces Andy Schuon has made an equity investment and his joining the board reunites him with Business Roackstars chairman Steve Lehman. Schuon is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs. He served on the Premiere Networks board in the past…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway now has a national platform via iHeartRadio. Conway tells TALKERS that with the 2016 presidential race about to get underway, he’s excited to have his own podcast page on the iHeartRadio platform. Simon calls his program on WHO “an essential and repeated stop on the campaign trail in the ‘First in the Nation’ state for all presidential wannabes.”…..Comic and television star Jimmie Walker is sitting in for Ray Appleton on KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno today and tomorrow (12/17-18) on the midday program. Walker is available for fill-in work. PDs can reach him via his Facebook page.
Obama Amnesty Action, Taliban School Slaughter, Sydney Café Siege, Plummeting Oil Prices/Unstable Russian Economy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Congressional Budget Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). Controversy over President Obama’s executive amnesty action and the court ruling declaring some of it unconstitutional; the slaughter of children and teachers in Pakistan by the Taliban; the aftermath of the siege of a café in Sydney by a self-styled cleric; sinking oil prices and their effect on the Russian economy; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the congressional budget deal being criticized by conservative Republicans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
USA Radio Network Inks Talk Host Steve Deace. The conservative talk star from the Midwest signs a new deal with USA Radio Networks that moves him from his most recent evening daypart (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET distributed by GCN) to afternoon drive in the East. Steve Deace is currently heard in 44 markets. USA Radio Networks chief content officer Tim Maranville comments, “We believe that Steve can help our affiliate stations gain market share in afternoon drive. He’s not just another conservative mouthpiece. He connects with the listener because he reflects their on-going frustration with Washington and political media.” The company says Deace (pronounced “Dace”) is “considered by many to be one of the best talents from the limited stock of today’s young talkers. He is widely respected as a political columnist, commentator and author.” Deace authored his most recent book, Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again (2014 Post Hill Press), and regularly appears on such media platforms as Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Times, Fox News and MSNBC. Sam Hassell, CEO of Cross Platform Media Group (operator of USA) adds, “Steve is a significant addition to our lineup and reflects the aggressive growth plan of USA Radio Networks.”
Boston’s Sports Talk WEEI Adds Tomase. In a little over two weeks (on January 1), Boston Herald Red Sox columnist John Tomase will join Entercom’s WEEI.com as senior sportswriter/columnist. WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford remarks that, “In bringing John aboard, we feel WEEI and WEEI.com are welcoming one of the best columnists in the country to our family. I am excited to once again work with John, who I have always viewed as one of the most talented journalists on the New England sports scene.” Tomase comments, “The world of journalism is changing. It is no longer enough to work on just one platform. The WEEI brand is recognized beyond the borders of New England, not just for its award-winning programming, but for the quality of its reporting, which is a tribute to Rob and his team. I am looking forward to continuing what they started while stirring the passions of the best sports fans in the world.” Tomase – who will be a frequent on-air contributor for WEEI-FM “Sports Radio 93.7″ as well as the website’s senior sportswriter/columnist – has been with the Herald since 2005. He will succeed Alex Speier, who will depart at year’s end to become a Boston Globe feature writer.
Tribune Media Eliminates Alex Quigley’s OM Post at WGN, Chicago. He’ll continue to work on air as Ben Finfer’s co-host on sports talk WGWG-LP, Chicago on the “Quigs & Finfer” show, but when that show wraps on December 31 and the sports format ends, Quigley’s employment with Tribune Media ends. Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that, according to a memo sent to the staff by WGN VP of content and programming Todd Manley, Manley will assume the OM duties. Quigley wrote a positive note on his Facebook page saying, in part, “I’d like to thank Daniel Zampillo and the late Kevin Metheny for allowing me to get my foot in the door of one of America’s greatest radio stations. I’d like to thank Tom Langmyer and Bill White for trusting me and giving me further opportunity to learn and grow, and Jimmy [de Castro] & Todd for the experiences of the last 18 months.” Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that Quigley joined WGN in 2010 as a part-time host. He moved up to assistant PD before being upped to OM.
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Communications Twin Cities cluster, Mike Murphy is named sales manager. The group includes Christian talk KKMS, news/talk WWTC “The Patriot,” business news KYCR “Business 1570,” and streaming Christian contemporary station “The Fish Twin Cities.” Murphy assumes the sales manager duties from Nic Anderson who’s been serving as general manager as well. Anderson continues in the GM role…..More downsizing at iHeartMedia as Ben Kruse exits the morning show on news/talk KTLK, Minneapolis. Now co-hosting the morning show with Jack Tomczak is PD Andrew Lee…..Houston-based talk host Matt Patrick is filling in for Bill Cunningham on his Premiere Networks-syndicated weekend show on December 28. Patrick tells TALKERS this is the fourth year in a row he’s hosting the program’s “Year in Review” show. Patrick is heard on iHeartMedia’s KTRH and KPRC in Houston and on KFXR in Dallas…..At its Northwoods cluster, NRG Media names Shane Sparks market manager for the six stations serving the Rhinelander and Minoqua, Wisconsin markets including: country WHDG, adult hits WRHN, classic country simulcast WOBT-AM/FM, classic rock WRLO, news/talk WLKD, and classic hits WMQA.
Fox News Announces Todd Starnes Christmas Special. Special holiday programming from Fox News Radio is available this season in the form of “The Todd Starnes All-American Christmas,” airing on Christmas Eve at 7:00 pm ET and Christmas Day at 7:00 am and 7:00 pm ET. The show is hosted by Fox News Channel contributor Todd Starnes. It’s a two-hour program featuring special guests: Governor Mike Huckabee, “Duck Dynasty” star Al Robertson, GRAMMY winner Chris Tomlin, New York Times best-selling author Karen Kingsbury, Governor Sarah Palin and musical artists Ellie Holcomb and Kyle Kupecky. Starnes will also be joined by a 300-voice choir and orchestra – taped live at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. FNR calls it a “family-friendly Christmas special” that will also feature “The World’s Largest Christmas Carol Sing-a-long.” It’s airing on Fox News Radio affiliate stations, FoxNewsRadio.com, ToddStarnes.com and others.
Signoff Alert: Mike Nolan. It is not often that a traffic reporter’s exit warrants significant attention, but such is certainly the case with Mike Nolan. For the last 28 years, Nolan has guided harried Los Angeles motorists through his traffic updates on iHeartMedia adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5″ and co-owned talker KFI; however, as he writes on his Facebook page, “I have been privileged to be on the radio for 41 years [but] now it is time to begin the next chapter.” In all but seven of those 41 years, Nolan has done both morning and afternoon drive, “giving people as much information as I could about the traffic on their drive” and he calls KOST and KFI “two of the greatest radio stations in the country.” The list of “incredible people” he has worked with “is long and distinguished,” and Nolan explains, “The career I have had is far greater than anything I could have imagined.” Numerous Los Angeles broadcasters are commenting in social media, including former KOST (and later cross-town KTWV) morning talent Kim Amidon, who writes, “Mike, you have always been a pro – the best at what you do – and for most of those years doing it while flying your plane. It was great to work with you and party with you. I wish you the best in this new journey.” Now at KTWV “The Wave,” Bryan Simmons did afternoon drive on KOST and points out, “For most of your career, you were in the air, the place you should always have been, in the pilot seat. I was privileged to work with you for most of your time at KOST and it was a pleasure – job well done partner.” Similar to Nolan, Rhonda Kramer is also an exceptionally well-known Los Angeles traffic reporter and she notes, “It is hard to believe you are hanging up the traffic wings. You have always been a great traffic reporter, pilot, and I have been lucky to call you my friend for all of your years in Los Angeles. Enjoy your quality time – you deserve it.” Another of Nolan’s colleagues – Jorge Jarrin – reflects on the 25 years he (Jarrin) spent doing airborne traffic reports. “One of the most special aspects of my career was the warm camaraderie we developed. It was often one of the things I missed most once I was grounded for good. You are a true friend both on and off the air. I will miss your voice and accurate information, but I rejoice in your ability to move into the next chapter in your life. You have accomplished much my friend; survived; and are loved by many.” Veteran talk host Tom Leykis knew Nolan in Phoenix (at KOY) and “had the pleasure” of working with him at KFI. “I have often told people that you and Mark Denis were the lynchpins of the station before KFI flipped to talk in 1988 – and you still are that.” Talk radio consultant Valerie Geller laments, “This doesn’t seem possible to me. I cannot imagine driving in Los Angeles without you.” Former KFI talk host Michael Castner – now doing morning drive on Portland’s KEX – recalls that one of his “most exciting moments” at KFI was “the first time I introduced you – an honor to work with a true Los Angeles radio legend.” Noted programmer John Rook describes Nolan as “classy, professional, and dependable. Happy retirement – I will miss hearing you each day.” Longtime local newscaster Mark Austin Thomas writes, “It was an honor and a joy to work with you and a pleasure to listen to someone who was such a pro who loved his work – wishing you happiness and fulfillment in your next chapter.” Sports update talent Karen Kay states, “You are the best of the best. What an honor to know you and to be able to say I am one of your biggest fans.” Nolan’s last on-air date is this Friday (12/19); he will spend the morning reminiscing with KFI wakeup talent Bill Handel.
Cool Job Opportunity. WTMA is Charleston, South Carolina’s heritage news/talk station, and Cumulus has an immediate, rare opening for a full-time morning drive host. Qualified candidates should be able build a timely, topical and compelling show that targets the 25-54 demographic, with an emphasis on local current events, news topics, and politics. A minimum of two years’ hosting your own successful talk show is required. Submit your resume and aircheck to program director John Quincy here: http://www.cumulus.com/careers/.
Sydney Café Hostage Case, Taliban School Attack, Bill Cosby’s Wife Defends Him, Police Killings Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sony Pictures Hack, Plummeting Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activities, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The deadly hostage taking at a Sydney café by a self-styled “Muslim cleric”; the murder of some 126 school children in Pakistan by the Taliban; Bill Cosby’s wife Camille speaks out publicly defending her husband accused of raping numerous women; the aftermath of the recent high-profile killings of young blacks by police; the potential candidates for president in the 2016 election; the continuing fallout from the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment; the sinking price of oil, its effect at the pumps and on the financial markets; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity
The area is home to government offices, shopping, financial institutions – and Sydney’s Channel 7, which is located virtually across the street from the scene.
Shortly after police responded, Channel 7 was ordered evacuated – its staff relocated to temporary facilities (see picture below left) — and police set up a monitoring point in its offices.
Big Executive Sports Talk Moves Elevate Martin at iHeartMedia and Takes Gilbert to Cumulus. These two position changes for sports radio pros Don Martin and Bruce Gilbert are related as Gilbert exits iHeartMedia where he was most recently SVP of sports operations and joins Cumulus Media and Westwood One as SVP/sports. Back at iHeartMedia, the company promotes current SVP of sports Los Angeles Don Martin by expanding his duties to include Premiere Networks and Fox Sports Radio. As SVP of sports programming for Premiere Networks, Martin will oversee the creation, development and direction of sports programming and content at the company, as well as the FSRN. Martin will continue his SVP of sports Los Angeles role – which includes supervising KLAC – and report to iHeartMedia Southern California president Greg Ashlock. For his new duties, he’ll report to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. At Cumulus, the company says Bruce Gilbert will lead the curation, development and execution of all sports content initiatives and will oversee the strategic direction of the company’s owned-and-operated sports stations. He will report to EVP of programming and content John Dickey. Corporate sports PD Jim Mahanay remains in his post reporting to Gilbert. Of this hiring, Dickey comments, “Bruce Gilbert brings years of experience in sports broadcast programming and management to our senior programming team and we’re pleased to welcome him aboard. Bruce will drive the continued growth and development of the industry-leading sports platform at Cumulus and Westwood One, which together comprise the largest pure-play sports radio network in the world and align with the best brands in the business. His addition furthers our commitment to creating and delivering the most exciting content to sports fans and delivering incomparable opportunities for our partners and advertisers.”
WARM-AM, Scranton Returns as Sports Talker. There’s a new sports talker in the Wilks-Barre/Scranton market as Cumulus Media adds WARM-AM to the large mix of signals (10 in all, including simulcasts and translators) airing sports content. The station – last an oldies outlet – had been off the air for three months engineering rehab and emerges today as “Sports Radio 590” using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
Sydney Siege Illustrates Need for Plan for Broadcasters. The hostage situation in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia shows – very dramatically – why broadcasters need a plan in place before an unexpected crisis situation occurs. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes, in an exclusive piece for TALKERS, “In the aftermath of 9/11, many places – New York City chief among them – redrew regulations requiring building operators and their tenants to develop so-called ‘emergency action plans,’ to deal with fire and non-fire emergencies. Among other things, these plans call for the formation and training of ‘emergency action plan directors’ and fire safety teams; some organizations with expansive buildings or campuses have designated site coordinators, and site response teams who may have advanced first aid training and emergency provisions to sustain a lockdown/shelter-in-place order for hours, or even days.” Price asks broadcasters if they – like Channel 7 TV in Sydney – have a plan in place to evacuate their primary business and engineering office if they are required to do so. Read Price’s important piece here.
Odds & Sods. Last Friday, NRG Media-owned news/talker KOIL, Omaha produced its 17th Annual Child Saving Institute Radiothon fundraiser, broadcasting live from Regency Court Mall during which the station raised $73,020…..Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle and Treehouse (a nonprofit education organization for foster children) more than $505,000 for the charity during its 26th Annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on December 11…..Jobs cuts have hit iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI, San Antonio as the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeanne Jakel reports news staffers Michael Main (a near-30-year employee), anchor/reporter Berit Mason, and multimedia journalist Stephanie Narvaez have all been let go from the station.
MediaTracks to Celebrate 25 Years. Next Monday, MediaTracks Communications – the “nation’s leading producer of radio public affairs programming,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary. MediaTracks president and co-founder Shel Lustig says, “High quality public affairs programming is of vital importance to stations nationwide. With today’s smaller staffs and tighter budgets, the need for our programming continues to play an essential part in helping stations meet and exceed their public affairs obligations. We’re extremely proud of our contributions to the industry and our affiliates over the last 25 years.”
Fisher House Foundation Holiday Show Available. Again this year, Fisher House Foundation is making available a news/talk-formatted holiday program that brings attention to wounded warriors, veterans and military families. Fisher House is offering the three-hour, highly produced public affairs show for air between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The show, “Zachary’s Gift,” tells the inspiring story of Fisher House founder Zachary Fisher through heroes served by the foundation’s growing network of no-cost comfort homes built on the grounds of VA and military base hospitals. The radio show is designed to build awareness, not solicit donations. The show is free – neither contract nor barter. Stations may air it multiple times. Executive producer Marshall Adams says, “Many stations are using ‘Zachary’s Gift’ to fill a local, three-hour show on Christmas or New Year’s Day.” The host is Mark Watkins, a radio newsroom vet who recently retired from the anchor booth at WBAP and KLIF Dallas. Jeff Davis is the show’s promo voice. Jonathan Shaffer from WSM Nashville is leading production and imaging. Westwood One is handling affiliate relations pro-bono. To sign up, send a note with your planned air times to Stuart Greenblatt at email@example.com. Marshall Adams can answer questions about content at (412) 856-3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pros Turn Out for WRHU-FM Alumni Night. WRHU-FM Radio Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York held its fifth annual alumni night at the New York Islanders NHL game on Saturday evening (12/13) at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum. It was a gala celebration attended by industry people including WINS, New York morning news anchor Lee Harris, who won a team autographed hockey stick in a drawing (pictured); WINS, New York morning sports anchor Marc Ernay; WOR, New York evening host Pete McCarthy and afternoon drive traffic reporter Greg Rice; Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen; NASH FM, New York air talent Jason Goldstein; CBS Radio New York marketing director Frank Iemmiti; NY1 news senior editor Dave Fleischer; Hofstra Dean Evan Cornog; Radio Hofstra University director of operations John Mullen; WRHU professional in residence Ed Ingles; and Islanders radio play-by-play voice Chris King and color commentators Julian Coltre, Rich DeKorte, Dan Savarino, and Mark Weiner. WRHU-FM is in its fifth year as the flagship radio station of the New York Islanders and is the only college station in America that serves as the flagship for a professional major league sports franchise. 2014 has been a good year for WRHU-FM. The station was awarded the NAB Marconi for Best Non-Commercial Station of the Year and was ranked number one — best college radio station – by the Princeton Review.
WIP-FM, Philadelphia Holds ‘Tailgate Throwdown’ Final Tomorrow. Sports talker “SportsRadio 94WIP” in Philadelphia is hosting the final competition tomorrow (12/13) in the six-week promotion to create the best tailgate recipe. The contest pairs up amateur chefs with the city’s finest executive chefs and WIP personalities Angelo Cataldi, Al Morganti, Rhea Hughes and Glen Macnow. The six winning recipes are competing in the finals where one team will be crowned winner and receive prizes including a Vermont Castings 5 Burner Gas Grill from Dreifuss Fireplaces and a Big Green Egg Smoker from Queen Appliances.
WGOW, Chattanooga Talker Brian Joyce Profiled in Cool Local Mag. Midday talk personality Brian Joyce – heard from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3 FM” – was recently profiled in the local Chatter magazine. Joyce tells TALKERS he’s thankful for the PR but says he really was excited to be in Chatter because it’s “a glossy mag that’s popular with hipsters, housewives and society-types — great positioning for a young talk host.” In the piece, Joyce answers profile questions and fills in his personal background info that includes stints as a stand-up comic, financial services worker, and bartender in Ireland (he has dual citizenship in both the US and Ireland). Joyce also tells the mag that in the two years he’d held the midday slot on WGOW, he’s scored the highest ratings the daypart has seen on the station. Check out the piece here.
WPHT, Philadelphia Celebrates Sid Mark’s 58th Anniversary. News/talk outlet WPHT, Philadelphia is honoring the 58th anniversary of the broadcasting career of Sid Mark – host of the legendary “Sounds of Sinatra” program. The sold-out, special event is taking place tonight (12/12) from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Parx Casino’s 360 Lounge. The evening will feature a special live broadcast of the “Sounds of Sinatra” program with special guest Frank Sinatra, Jr. Today also marks what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 99th birthday. Marc Rayfield, SVP/market manager for CBS RADIO Philadelphia says, “WPHT is proud to pay tribute to a living legend. Sid Mark has entertained generations of listeners through the years and it’s wonderful to be able to honor the legacy of Frank Sinatra and celebrate Sid’s amazing career at the same time.” Mark launched the “Sounds of Sinatra” show in Philly 57 years ago.
Odds & Sods. On today’s edition of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” President Obama is scheduled to be a special call-in guest on the show. The president will appear on the ESPN Radio show and talk about NFL’s conduct policy, NBA players wearing “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts, Obama’s hometown Chicago Bulls and White Sox, and the upcoming healthcare signup deadline……WMAL, Washington personality Larry O’Connor is sitting in for Dennis Miller on his Westwood One-syndicated talk show today (12/12)…..CBS Corp. announces it has extended the contract of president and CEO Les Moonves. His current deal was set to expire in 2017 but now the terms of the contract will run through June of 2019.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Dougherty Report,” hosted by Elizabeth Doughtery and distributed by Genesis Communications Network, is added to the program schedule at WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey…..The GCN-distributed Dr. Joy Browne program is being added to the lineup at KLOE, Goodland, Kansas.
Police Killings Protests Top Talkers TenTM for Week of December 8-12. The ongoing protests over police killings of unarmed black men were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the release of the CIA torture report. At #3 was the government shutdown issue followed by the Jonathan Gruber ObamaCare testimony at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
iHeartMedia to Sell Towers to Vertical Bridge for $400 Million. The press release from iHeartMedia says the deal is for select tower assets and it doesn’t go on to list which towers that includes, but suffice it to say, the company is using the deal to bring in a cash infusion of $400 million and prepare for the day when it may no longer need the towers to transmit AM/FM signals. Admittedly, that day may be down the road a ways but it might be a good start to reducing the expense of the real estate and tower maintenance. iHeartMedia will still have to pay lease fees for the transmitters and it reminds investors that will incur an expense. iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler states, “This is a great example of how we continue to optimize our balance sheet and maximize liquidity — and how we continually review our entire portfolio of assets to ensure we operate them in the most efficient way possible and invest our resources in the highest return opportunities.” The companies expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2015.
Station Snapshot: WMAL, Washington. The conventional wisdom from (mostly non-radio-industry) pundits is that the news/talk format is dead – or on life support, depending on to whom you speak – and that talk radio practitioners should just call it a career and go home. But there are news/talk stations across the country doing well (quite a few, in fact) and Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington is one that has consistently improved its performance in Nielsen’s PPM ratings over the past year. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian profiles the heritage talk outlet that operates in the most political city in the country. Read his story here.
Boston Radio Icon Carr Adds New Bedford Affiliate. Boston-based regional talk show host Howie Carr has added another station to his quickly-growing independent afternoon drive network. WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts joined the program as the newest affiliate earlier this week bringing the affiliate total of his new independent network to 16 covering most key population centers in New England. Carr tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled about adding WBSM to the program,” adding, “I’m looking forward to connecting with my fans in New Bedford-Fall River and to making many new ones.” Michael Rock, OM of Townsquare Media-owned WBSM (which throws a strong signal into the Providence market) remarks, “We are so excited to welcome a New England Radio legend like Howie Carr to “The New 1420 WBSM’s lineup. Howie’s a blue collar guy who is unapologetic about watching out for people who work and pay taxes. He’s certainly going to rattle some cages here in New Bedford…and we’ll love every minute of it!” One of the things that makes the new Howie Carr Radio Network notable is it is proving that a regional talk network built around a major personality can be extremely effective. The program airs weekdays 3:00 -7:00 pm ET. There is also a “Best Of” program for weekend use, and is delivered on XDS via Westwood One. Interested affiliates can contact Kathy Carr at 781-249-0102 for more information.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh news/talk outlet WJAS adds Fox News Radio to its programming lineup airing news reports on the hour and half hour. The station is also airing the company’s Fox Business reports…..iHeartMedia will program to Spanish-speaking hoops fans this season as the company will broadcast eight Atlanta Hawks games in Spanish on the company’s regional Mexican WBZY “105.3 El Patron.” Station talent Jose Manuel Flores will provide the play-by-play…..iHeartMedia San Antonio announces it raised $291,430 for the Elf Louise Christmas Project from the December 5-6 radiothon. The Elf Louise Christmas Project was founded in 1969 by Louise Locker, and is a non-profit organization staffed completely by volunteers to ensure children in San Antonio can have a merry Christmas. WOAI program director Brian Gann comments, “The response during this year’s radiothon was remarkable. Listeners, local businesses and city leaders all stepped up to give families all over San Antonio a Christmas to remember.”…..Bonneville‘s KIRO-FM, Seattle “Radio 97.3 FM,” is hosting the 26th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today (12/11) in partnership with Treehouse — a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond. The past two years, the “KIRO Radio Foster Child Holiday Magic Program” has raised more than $500,000 each year through listener donation and sponsor matching funds.
TalkersTV Presents Tribute to Voices that Radio Will Miss in 2015. What started out as a simple social media video project created by consultant Holland Cooke has been picked up by TalkersTV as a special year-end presentation honoring some of the unforgettable voices that passed on to that great broadcast studio in the sky in 2014. Cooke tells TALKERS, “Radio is about storytelling… and these people were such stories unto themselves. What we do next stands on their broad shoulders.” TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “There is an elegant simplicity in the way these powerful video vignettes were produced. Parts are silent with text and images; some employ potent sound bites that touch the soul. We are so pleased that this sweet production found an appropriate home on our platform this holiday season.” To view, please click on the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of this website.
CIA Torture Report, Police Killings Protests, Government Shutdown Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Looming Lima Climate Talks, Sinking Oil Prices, and Marvin Lewis ‘Midget’ Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). The political battle over the veracity of the CIA torture report released this week; the aftermath of the police killings protests that have taken place across the country; the issue of a possible government shutdown; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the climate change talks scheduled for Lima, Peru; sinking oil prices and the effect at the pumps; and the flap over Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis’ calling Johnny Manziel a “ midget,” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus talk outlet regaining prominence in nation’s Capital Region
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Even if not somewhat excusably misused, “heritage” is among the buzzwords many broadcasters hyperbolically invoke when proudly discussing their station and/or a particular on-air talent.
Not limited to a particular genre, it could apply to any format, although scores within the industry still choose to link “heritage” to dominant, institutional, full-service stations with larger-than-life personalities.
In the nation’s capital, for instance, the mighty morning team of “Harden & Weaver,” who beginning in 1960, prevailed in DC for approximately three decades, reinforced WMAL as “heritage” calls there.
Simultaneous with “Harden & Weaver” solidifying their own place in radio history (Frank Harden is now 92 — Jackson Weaver passed away in 1992), they were largely aiding to foster the station’s legacy — the Cumulus Media-owned talker is flourishing in 2014.
Morning mall entertainment
Overseeing then Citadel-owned WMAL from Chicago, where he programmed sister talker WLS-AM, Drew Hayes in August 2010 brought in former Air America programming honcho Bill Hess as assistant program director. Approximately one year later, Cumulus acquired Citadel and Hess was elevated to program director.
Betsy Morgan Succeeds Chris Balfe as CEO at TheBlaze. The departure of Chris Balfe from his CEO post at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze ends a 12-year relationship between Balfe and Beck. Glenn Beck says in a press release, “Chris Balfe has been my friend and the CEO of Mercury Radio Arts for 12 years. He will be an incredibly hard act to follow. Under Chris’ watchful eye we have done things that no group of people our size has ever done, things that people thought were impossible. And I think that under the leadership of our new CEO, Betsy Morgan, we will continue to prove that there is another way and we’ll confound the skeptics again.” Morgan moves up from her president and chief strategy officer position. Morgan joined TheBlaze from The Huffington Post where she served as CEO. Prior to joining HuffPo, Morgan was senior vice president for CBS Interactive and the general manager of CBSNews.com, where she was in charge of the network’s 24-hour broadband, on-demand news service. The press statement notes that Balfe helped Beck transform a “two-person company into a 300-person, multi-media business with a television network with more than 80 operators and hundreds of thousands of subscribers, a website with over 30 million unique visitors per month, a top-20-ranked audio streaming network, the third-highest rated radio show in the country and a book division that published more than 15 bestsellers.”
WVNN, Huntsville Personality Dale Jackson Stages ‘Die-In’ Protest. Morning drive personality (and WVNN program director) Dale Jackson writes on his blog that he didn’t think the police would allow him to block traffic in Huntsville in a “protest” of the recent student protest on the same city street. In short, Jackson (pictured here lying on the street holding a sign that reads: “Police Lives Matter” and “The Truth Matters”) was surprised when he not only wasn’t told he couldn’t hold his one-man protest, but even more so when a large number of police cars turned up to escort him to the site and block traffic during his brief protest. Read Jackson’s explanation for the stunt and see more pictures of it here.
USRN Begins Distributing ‘Something You Should Know.’ The long-running radio feature “Something You Should Know” is being distributed by United Stations Radio Networks. Radio pro Mike Carruthers hosts the program that is produced by his own Strand Media and “provides both radio stations and listeners with informational content that host Mike Carruthers describes as ‘wisdom and advice for life.’ The feature was started on one radio station in 1980 and after moving into syndication has grown to a substantial national network of features heard on roughly 140 radio stations all across the nation.”
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for WSYR, Syracuse morning host Joe Galuski this week through the 19th is talk radio personality Mark Wainwright…..A changing of the guard is taking place at Bloomberg News with John Micklethwait – formerly editor-in-chief at The Economist – taking over the same role at Bloomberg as Matthew Winkler steps down…..For the second year in a row, The Motley Fool (producer of the “Motley Fool Money” radio show) is named the #1 place to work in the small/medium business category by Glassdoor. In case you were wondering, Google takes the #1 spot for large companies.
Flint Radio Newsman Les Root Dead at 75. Flint, Michigan radio news icon Les Root died on Monday, December 8 in Fenton, Michigan after a brief illness. Root was the news director at WFDF-AM, Flint from 1970 until the station was sold in 2002. He then worked for Cumulus Media’s Flint operations until his position was eliminated in 2009 and he retired. Root worked in radio news for his entire 53-year career. In a story published at MLive.com, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton (who worked for Root as a young man) said, “He was like the local version of Walter Cronkite…We used to call him the dean of Mid-Michigan newsmen — a real pro. He was a throwback news guy who would make all the calls to police and fire departments in the morning, write his own news, edit the wire, and put together a newscast on the hour and the half-hour.” Read the MLive.com obit here.
Police Killings Protests, Gruber Testifies Before Congress, CIA Torture Report, Government Shutdown, and Rolling Stone Rape Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The continuing protests taking place around the country in response to non-indictments of police accused of killing unarmed blacks; Jonathan Gruber’s testimony before Congress about the Affordable Care Act; the release of a report investigating the CIA’s methods of interrogation; the work by Congress to avoid a government shutdown; and the backlash over the UVA rape story published by Rolling Stone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Second program spawned on TalkersRadio in past 15 months to be picked up by terrestrial syndicator
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, MA — For the second time in its first 15 months of operation, TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform launched in September, 2013 by TALKERS magazine – has spawned a program that has been picked up by terrestrial radio.
The first TalkersRadio program to be acquired by terrestrial radio was “The Brent & Meg Show” hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald.
“American Family Farmer” Hosted by Doug Stephan Graduates from Experimental Lab to Terrestrial Platform. For the second time in its first 15 months of operation, TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform launched in September, 2013 by TALKERS magazine – has spawned a program that has been picked up by terrestrial radio. The first TalkersRadio program to be acquired by terrestrial radio was “The Brent & Meg Show” hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald. Now, “American Family Farmer,” hosted by highly accomplished talk show host Doug Stephan, will launch in January 2015 on two terrestrial syndication platforms — Washington, DC-based Radio America and Minneapolis-based Genesis Communications Network (GCN) – and be available for general radio affiliation. According to Stephan, the show is specifically geared to stations located in small- to medium-sized rural markets with signals covering locally owned-and-operated family farms. Although the program is a spoken-word presentation it would fit any number of music-formatted outlets as well as talk because it is only an hour per week and can run any time deemed convenient and appropriate for the station. “American Family Farmer” is an information and advocacy forum targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the American agriculture industry that is comprised of small, independent operators. What makes Stephan qualified to host such a specifically targeted program? The answer: In addition to being a dedicated lifelong radio broadcaster, he is also a dedicated lifelong family farmer! The program’s producers emphasize that this show is being marketed and produced as an entity completely separate from the other Doug Stephan properties. “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan” is now available by barter on a market-exclusive basis. Interested stations should contact Bob K. Telephone: 774-643-6450. Email: email@example.com. For the complete details written by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, please click here.
What’s Next for TalkersRadio? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The graduation of ‘American Family Farmer’ and ‘The Brent & Meg Show’ to solid terrestrial platforms within the first 15 months of TalkersRadio’s existence is extremely gratifying – especially considering that both programs were conceived as ‘out-of-the-box’ concepts and never would have had the chance to develop into such special properties if it were not for this experimental platform.” According to Harrison, TalkersRadio will go on a one month “hiatus” for technical updates and improvements and come back in early January, 2015 with a new roster of programs headlined by “Healed Planet,” hosted by Alan Colmes, and “The Lionel Show,” hosted by Lionel. Harrison says, “‘Healed Planet’ – which deals with the leading edge of the human consciousness movement – shows a side of Alan Colmes’ wide realm of interests and journalistic skills that most people have not yet had a chance to experience. It’s a truly great radio show ‘in the bud’ and I am enthusiastic about its potential for development. ‘The Lionel Show’ presents the legendary and iconoclastic broadcaster – Lionel – in an unbridled format totally geared to his verbal genius. Although what he says neither breaks the rules of taste nor the bounds of legitimate clear thinking, I don’t think there has been a tightly wound terrestrial operation out there with the courage to put him on the air and let him run free without tinkering with the brilliant product that just oozes from his fertile mind… at least not up until now. I suspect that is about to change and the industry will catch up this year with and gain the benefits of what the ‘real’ Lionel has to offer.” TalkersRadio is powered by Boston-based Backbone Networks. Readers interested in learning more about TalkersRadio should contact Michael Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lincoln Financial to Exit Radio Biz; Entercom to Acquire LFM Assets in Four Markets. The deal announced this morning will see Entercom Communications Corp. acquire Lincoln Financial Media from Lincoln Financial Group for $105 million plus working capital. Entercom expects to take over operation of the LFM stations in late January and should close on the purchase in the second quarter of 2015. The agreement includes 15 radio stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets, and it will expand Entercom’s station portfolio to more than 130 stations in 26 markets. The deal allows Lincoln Financial to get out of the media business and focus on its “core lines of business.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are excited to announce the acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and welcome the addition of their outstanding brands and talented broadcasters to Entercom. LFM is a great organization that has done an excellent job serving its listeners, customers and communities over many years and we look forward to building on that tradition. LFM is a perfect fit for us as it bolsters our position in Denver and expands our footprint into Atlanta, Miami and San Diego with terrific brands that have significant growth potential. Furthermore, it fulfills our disciplined acquisition criteria as it enhances our company’s competitive position and growth and should be accretive to shareholders in 2015 while having a minimal impact on leverage.” The stations to be acquired include: Atlanta outlets hot AC WSTR and sports talk WQXI; Denver stations country KYGO, rhythmic CHR KQKS, oldies KRWZ, sports talk KEPN and KKFN, and comedy-formatted translator K276FK; San Diego signals alternative KZBT, country KSON and KSOQ, and adult contemporary KIFM; and Miami outlets AC WLYF, classic hits WMXJ, and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM. The transaction is structured as an acquisition of the stock of LFM with a tax election that allows Entercom to receive a step-up in the tax basis of the station tangible and intangible assets providing additional future tax shields and enhancing future free cash flow. The $105 million purchase price will be paid in the form of $77.5 million in cash and $27.5 million in new perpetual cumulative convertible preferred stock that will be issued to Lincoln. Entercom expects to finance the cash portion of the purchase price through a combination of its existing $50 million revolver, cash on hand, and through other financing sources, if necessary.
Napa Valley Radio Promises New Local Content, Music in 2015. The new digital audio platform Napa Valley Radio – a service of Napa Broadcasting – is promoting new local content plus curated music streaming coming to the site in 2015. Napa Valley Radio is being led by longtime broadcasting executive Jeff Schechtman. The station marked its three-month anniversary with a message to listeners touting its local content – local election coverage including long-form interviews with candidates, local arts & music happenings, and promotion of the area’s wine industry – plus promises of the content to come. In what TALKERS editors consider a creative move, the station has partnered with Napa Community College to bring an infusion of youth to the project. Napa Valley Radio says the New Year will see more content originate by students at NCC and will also bring music shows of various genres to the station. It will be interesting to watch this local media venture as music rights fees are added to the station’s expenses but, regardless, this local approach to the digital audio service is one to watch and Napa Broadcasting appears to be dedicated to serving a broad spectrum of the community with a relevant mix of news, talk and music.
Howard Stern to Return to “AGT.” As tipped by the Hollywood Reporter, SiriusXM star Howard Stern will return to NBC TV’s “America’s Got Talent” as a judge. The show is entering its 10th season. In a Facebook post, Stern writes, “I decided that a life without ‘AGT’ is not worth living. America needs a caring, compassionate and wise judge, and who am I to deny the people what they want? It would be selfish of me to walk away.”
Sports Talker Tony Bruno Heard on BlogTalkRadio. Philadelphia native Tony Bruno – most recently heard on AM/FM radio on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” in middays – is podcasting via BlogTalkRadio. In a statement from BlogTalkRadio, Bruno comments, “Deciding who to partner with was an exhaustive process. BlogTalkRadio is the ONLY company out there with a fully portable stream and call screener system built into one application and when they approached me with their new PRO STUDIO in full HD hosting platform, the choice was clear. I am excited to be a part of a company that is striving to bring both innovation and quality content directly to the fans.” Bruno is producing new shows twice per week, on Mondays and Thursdays.
CBS RADIO Announces Wing Bowl 23. The competitive chicken wing eating event that CBS RADIO’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia debuted as a promotional prelude to the Super Bowl is in its 23rd year and will be held at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, January 30 at 6:00 am. The station is presenting the now-nationally famous contest in conjunction with sponsors Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino. The station will broadcast the contest on WIP-FM as well as online via CBSPhilly.com. The $10 ticket price will help benefit the Philadelphia Police Department Survivor’s Fund, The Police Athletic League, the Comcast-Spectacor Charities and other beneficiaries to be named soon. CBS RADIO says that this year’s competition promises to be the biggest party and the prizes have a different twist. The overall winner of Wing Bowl 23 wins a 2015 Harley-Davidson FLSTF Softail Fat Boy Motorcycle courtesy of Barb`s Harley Davidson, along with $10,000 in cash and a Wing Bowl 23 Championship ring both courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers. For the first time ever, SportsRadio 94WIP and Steven Singer Jewelers will give $10,000 cash to the Overall Runner Up as well. This makes it a $20,000 grand total of cash provided by Steven Singer Jewelers. Once again, WIP has two cars up for grabs: one for the top Local Eater and one for the top College Eater. The Wing Bowl 23 Local Winner has the chance to win a Chrysler 300 and the Collegiate Eater will win a Chrysler 200 both from Barbera`s on the Boulevard. The Wingette of the Year walks away with $5000 cash courtesy of Rumer Cosmetic Surgery and a Riviera Spas, Orchid 5 Person Hot Tub from Diamond Pools. PJ Whelihan’s is the official supplier of wings for WIP Wing Bowl 23, their eighth consecutive year as sponsor and supplier.
Important Guest. Pensacola talk radio personality Brandon Rathert (left), is pictured here with Qatar Ambassador Mohamed Jeham Al-Kuwari (right) in the WNRP “NewsRadio 1620” studios. Rathert tells TALKERS magazine that his program was graced with the presence of the Qatar ambassador through the work of the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club and Edward Howard (pictured here at center). Rather says he and Ambassador Al-Kuwari discussed the differences between the two countries and the similarities of its peoples. The ambassador shared some thoughts on relations between the Arab nations and the U.S. Al-Kuwari also made a $10,000 donation to a local charity.
Police Killings Protests, Potential Government Shutdown, CIA Interrogation Report, Rolling Stone-UVA Rape Story, Battle Against ISIS, Gruber and the ObamaCare Hearings, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/8). The continuing protests against police killings of black Americans; the looming threat of a government shutdown; the controversy surrounding the CIA interrogation report expected to be released today; the flap over the Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape at a UVA fraternity house; the ongoing battle against ISIS; Jonathan Gruber’s appearance before a House committee on the Affordable Care Act; the list of potential presidential candidates in 2016; and the weekend’s NFL action were among the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Morning Show Changes at ‘680 The Fan’ in Atlanta. Some cast member changes are taking place at Dickey Broadcasting-owned sports talker WCNN “680 The Fan” with Perry Laurentino exiting his co-host gig on “The Rude Awakening,” along with producer Josh Vexler. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes noting that Brandon Leak will move to the on-air producer role on the show led by Christopher Rude. Ho also reports that there’s come speculation that the remaining third of the former morning show at crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – Nick Cellini – may join the station as part of the morning show. Cellini, Chris Dimino (already part of the “Rude Awakening”) and Steak Shapiro (currently heard on WCNN’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show) were notoriously fired from WQXI after a bit on their “Mayhem in the AM” show that mocked former NFL player and ALS-sufferer Steve Gleason.
WBSM, New Bedford Makes Morning Show Changes. Gone after 25 years with the Townsquare Media-owned news/talk station is morning host and brand manager Pete Braley and in is longtime local broadcaster Phil Paleologos. Braley was let go from the morning show on Friday (12/5) and told the SouthCoastToday.com he was shocked by the move. “I’m quite devastated. I never even had the chance to say goodbye to our wonderful audience.” Townsquare management issued the usual statement saying Braley is no longer with the company and they wish him well.
Defense Hopes for Leniency in Sentencing Phase of Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC Host John Rowland. After being convicted in September of violating federal campaign laws, the prosecution is presenting arguments in the sentencing phase of former Connecticut Governor (and former WTIC personality) John Rowland. Via his political consulting company, Rowland worked for Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, and his crime was hiding that fact from the public. According to a piece in the Hartford Courant, prosecutors are making note of his use of his radio show to criticize his client’s opponent in the Republican primary. The prosecution could have made more out of the use of his radio show and pointed that out in court filings when it wrote, “Although Mr. Rowland’s use of his radio show was an egregious aspect of his conduct and certainly constituted an abuse of the public airwaves and a fraud on his audience, the Government is electing not to seek the two-level enhancement.” Rowland was convicted of bribery in 2004 and was released from prison in 2006. Prosecutors are saying Rowland should be sentenced to 37 to 46 months for his crime but his defense argues a more lenient 18 to 24 months should be sought. Read the Courant piece here.
WMAL, Washington Fisher House RadioThon Nets $350,000. This past weekend, Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WMAL, Washington held a two-day radiothon to benefit the Fisher House Foundation that netted some $350,000 – a record, according to program director Bill Hess. He also tells TALKERS magazine that over the past 11 years, WMAL listeners have donated more than $4.5 million to the charity that supports wounded warriors and their families. Pictured here on remote are (from left to right): WMAL morning personalities Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, and midday host Chris Plante.
Beasley Talkers Celebrate Holidays. The Las Vegas cluster of Beasley Broadcast Group held its annual holiday party over the weekend and some of the talk radio staffers posed for this shot alongside management. Pictured here are (from left to right): Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, KDWN news director and program director John Shaffer, talk host Alan Stock, local sales manager Craig Davis and general sales manager Cory Cuddeback.
Dr. Joy Ought to Be in Pictures! Although she is famous nationwide as radio’s leading relationships doc, GCN nationally syndicated talk host, Dr. Joy Browne has long been considered a mover and shaker by New York City’s showbiz establishment for her stage and screen reviews that work their way into her daily radio show or appear on other media platforms. Listeners to her program know that she has an amazing knowledge and insight into the latest Broadway productions and films of the world. Here she is “pictured” at a recent advance screening of the new “Annie” movie fooling around for the TALKERS camera with Kevin Thompson – a former warm-up man for the “Wendy Williams Show” and current host of BET’s “Claim to Fame” game show. Thompson was recently named Mr. Moviefone, the new face and voice of the iconic Moviefone brand.
Cool Job Opportunity. Public radio KJZZ, Phoenix is seeking a broadcast producer manager for a midday news magazine. The job description states qualified candidate must be able to host and produce radio programs by delivering on-air content and technical continuity among all segments of programming. Deliver on-air news; write conversational copy for newscasts, anchor live on-air reporting; assist in coordinating live interviews, audio elements and other program content; and perform all aspects of live or automated daily board shift operation, announcing and newscasting. Qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, English, Broadcasting, Communication or a related field AND four (4) years of on-air experience in journalism, news, multimedia, and audio board operations in recorded and live situations; including two (2) years of supervisory experience. Read more about the job description here. For more information, contact Craig Curtis at: email@example.com or call 651-226-7814.
Entercom Names Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley to Morning Radio Posts on ‘WORD 106.3’ in Greenville. At Entercom’s WYRD, Greenville, South Carolina “WORD 106.3,” new morning programming is announced that includes Tara Servatius hosting “The Tara Show” from 6:00 am to 10:00 am followed by Vince Coakley taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. The new programming begins on Monday, December 8. Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We are energizing morning radio with the launch of these vibrant, live, and local talk shows. Both Tara and Vince will deliver fresh, and thought-provoking commentary on the issues and news our community cares about most. We are excited about fans joining in the on-air conversation on the only Upstate local news/talk station.” Servatius was most recently with Cumulus Media’s WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina. She also worked at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Coakley – also a WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte alum – had been hosting a Sunday afternoon program on “WORD 106.3.” Longtime WYRD personality Russ Cassell – host of the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon program – passed away in October, prompting changes in the morning lineup.
Tom Becka Exits NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Two and a half years after joining NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, Tom Becka announces his contract with the station has not been renewed. Becka posted a podcast on his TomBecka.com site explaining his exit from the station. He tells TALKERS it wasn’t too shocking as he’d suspected his deal was not going to be renewed. As for KOIL, the station’s GM, Andy Ruback, tells the Omaha World-Herald they’ll announce permanent plans for the afternoon drive daypart in the near future. In the interim, the station is airing TRN’s Sam Sorbo program. Tom Becka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Smerconish Options Novel Talk to Warner Bros. The novel published by SiriusXM personality Michael Smerconish about a talk radio host acting out a stereotypical neo-conservative philosophy on the air despite his own convictions in order to be successful,has been optioned to Warner Brothers to become a TV show. Smerconish, who exited AM/FM radio for satellite after a career that included local radio on WPHT, Philadelphia and national syndication via Compass Media Networks, tells Politico that he’s excited about the opportunity. “Like anyone who’s ever written a novel, as I wrote it I envisioned it on the screen. Of course in most cases that doesn’t come to pass and now this looks like it will, and I couldn’t be more excited. I think the story lends itself to TV beautifully. In the world of ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Alpha House,’ I can definitely see ‘Talk’ on a television screen.” Many talk radio practitioners bristle at the implication that conservative talk hosts don’t really believe what they portray on the radio, but just do it because they think that’s what the industry wants. A number of talk professionals also took umbrage with Smerconish’s parting shots at the industry as he left AM/FM for satellite, specifically with his public statements accusing the business of requiring hosts to adhere to an ideologically driven style of talk radio instead of one that addresses issues from multiple perspectives.
Your New PD Gig: D.I.Y. with O.P.M. In a column published today (12/5) in TALKERS, consultant Holland Cooke explains an opportunity that might be perfect for some sales-minded programmers looking to work independently on other people’s radio signals. He’s talking about programming weekend content on a brokered basis. He says, “Parlay your assets into Do It Yourself radio. I’m not talking about podcasting-instead. I’m talking about renting transmitter time. All that many news/talk stations ask of weekend talent is pay-for-play, so consider pay-and-program.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Beasley Drops Sports on FM in Tampa. The FM sports talker that CBS RADIO brought to Tampa is gone – playing Christmas music until a new format debuts on January 5. Among Those out with the change at WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” are sports talk personalities Anthony “Booger” McFarland, Marc Ryan, Kirk McEwen, Jesse Kage, and Justin Pawlowski. Beasley is still operating WHFS-AM as a sports talker using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
Odds & Sods. A new podcast from Sports USA featuring former super agent Tom Reich will launch. According to Sports USA president Bob Moore, “Tom and brother Sam Reich bring integrity, respect, experience and a fresh perspective to the podcast and will talk about past stories and current events in their lives and the world of sports.”…..The PAC 5 final game – the prep championship between St. John Bosco and Corona Centennial – will air on LAA 1 LLC-owned KLAA, Anaheim tomorrow (12/6) at 8:00 pm PT. The Emmy-award winning broadcast team of Kevin Turner and Bill Cunerty will call the live play-by-play. The game is being broadcast on the radio for the sixth year in a row on KLAA – home of the Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim Ducks. Fox Sports’ Fred Salas will join the team for the broadcast handling sideline reports and postgame interviews.
Ferguson Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 1-5. The events that have followed the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown – including Charles Barkley’s comments and whether to charge Brown’s stepfather Louis Head for inciting a riot – were the top stories on news/talk radio during the week. Following at #2 was the NYC choke hold case tied with the police shooting death of 12-year-old Cleveland youth Tamir Rice. At #3 was the amnesty issue followed by the 2016 presidential candidates at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I read the news today…oh boy. ‘Tis the season, and every day brings news of new firings. It’s brutal. Fridays are fearful for everyone but the guy who sells cardboard boxes. And there’ll be more. Cutbacks that come in January are by kinder companies who at least spared the doomed a blue Christmas.
As you can imagine, I hear, quickly, from displaced program directors, and I always take their calls. Heck, they always took mine. Local on-air talent has been getting whacked all along, automated into oblivion. As that’s been happening, PDs survived by adding host duties to their repertoire…until now. The job once titled “Program Director” became “Operations Manager” as additional stations were dumped-into his/her lap; then “Brand Manager” when even-more-duties-for-no-more-pay were reported as promotions in the trade press. Now, The Big Companies are splicing-out that entire middle management layer.
Lars Larson and ‘FM News 101 KXL’ Stay Together. Not that there were any expectations they wouldn’t, but Alpha Media and talk host Lars Larson announce the signing of a new long-term contract between the two. Larson – one of the hardest-working people in talk radio – hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm local and regional show on KXL and 15 affiliates in the Oregon and Washington region. Additionally, he hosts a 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT program that is distributed nationally by Compass Media Networks. Alpha Media Portland CEO/president Bob Proffitt comments, “Lars is a Northwest and national talent in talk radio. I’m delighted to have him on board to help deliver content through our many channels at Alpha that is unique, compelling and thought-provoking. One of the many reasons Lars is so good, is an incredible work ethic I’ve witnessed over the past five years that is truly inspiring.” Larson received help in negotiating his new deal from Fred Schreyer, formerly with Nike‘s sports management division. Larson says Schreyer has represented such clients as: ESPN‘s Colin Cowherd, KXTG-AM, Portland’s John Canzano, and NBA stars Lebron James and Kevin Durant.
Paranormal Talker Clyde Lewis Re-Ups with Alpha’s KXL, Portland. The creator and host of “Ground Zero,” heard on Alpha Media-owned news/talker KXL, Portland “FM News 101” will remain with the station as he and the company sign an extension to that effect. Clyde Lewis’ program is also syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks. The program airs six nights per week from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Clyde offers a 7th dimension perspective and is the most compelling story teller I’ve ever met in this business. We’re happy to be at the epicenter of ‘Ground Zero’ in Portland and thrilled to continue our partnership with Clyde. He is a talk radio badass!”
Legal Analysis: Glenn Beck Libel Case. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a story published today (12/4), writes about the recent court ruling on Glenn Beck’s request to dismiss Saudi student Abdulrahman Alharbi’s libel suit against him. As TALKERS reported yesterday, Alharbi was initially questioned by police investigating the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 but was quickly ruled out by police as being involved in the crime. However, for several weeks after that, Beck used his program to accuse Alharbi of involvement in the bombing. Beck’s attorneys argue that Alharbi was a limited-purpose public figure or an involuntary public figure by virtue of his being at the event and, however briefly, becoming part of the story surrounding the event by being investigated by authorities. In today’s story, Weisman explains the legal definitions of the three types of public figures and what threshold must be crossed to commit actionable libel. Read this important piece here.
CBS Sports Radio Network Announces 2015 Lineup. TALKERS reported earlier this week that current KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh personality Gregg Giannotti was going to be joining the CBS Sports Radio Network and that is confirmed as director of programming Eric Spitz announces the network’s new lineup. The new AM drive show will be hosted by Brian Jones (who moves down from the current evening “MoJo” program) and Giannotti. Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney move from AM drive to late morning (9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET). Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb remain in their respective afternoon slots but Damon “D.A.” Amendolara moves from overnights to host the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET show. Amy Lawrence is promoted from her weekend show to the daily overnight show (2:00 am to 6:00 am). Off the daily schedule at the network with the changes are morning show co-host Dana Jacobson and evening show co-host Chris Moore.
Odds & Sods. As TALKERS reported earlier this week, at CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan,” evening host Colin Dunlap is being elevated to the station’s morning show beginning Friday, January 2. He’ll partner with current morning hosts Josh Miller and Jim Colony…..San Antonio sports talker KZDC, San Antonio “ESPN San Antonio” is now simulcasting on translator K234CI at 94.5 FM. The Alpha Media station’s PD, Greg Martin, says, “I am thrilled that Alpha Media recognizes the importance of its AM properties having a presence on the FM, exposing our brand to a large audience who rarely uses AM.”…..Comic and radio personality Jimmie “JJ” Walker will be sitting in for KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno midday personality Ray Appleton on December 17 and 18. Walker hosted radio programs on news/talk stations during the 1990s – including on KKAR, Omaha; WHIO, Dayton; and WOAI, San Antonio…..At Premiere Networks, Tanya Juhasz is promoted to vice president, international business development. The company reports that in her previous role as executive director, international business development, she worked to “ensure Premiere’s industry-leading properties are represented throughout the world, and thanks to her efforts, they can be heard in 47 countries from Canada to New Zealand to China.”…..Recently retired ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton is being inducted into the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame. The Winnetka, Illinois native worked more than 40 years with ABC News Radio before her September retirement.
Grand Jury Choke Hold Death Decision, Ferguson Aftermath, Amnesty Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3). The grand jury decision not to indict a New York police officer in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner and the Justice Department’s decision to open a civil rights investigation; the ongoing aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; the issue of amnesty for illegal aliens and President Obama’s executive order; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the fallout from renewed allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — In a significant ruling, Judge Patti B. Saris denied Glenn Beck’s Motion to Dismiss a libel lawsuit brought against him by a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student, Abdulrahman Alharbi. Alharbi was a spectator near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013 when bombs planted by the late TamerlanTsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is presently awaiting trial on numerous charges related to the bombing, were detonated. Alharbi was not just a witness to the bombing, he also was injured in the bombing. However, in the days and weeks following the bombing, Beck identified Alharbi on the air as an Al Qaeda “control agent,” “money man,” and co-conspirator involved with the attack.
Shortly after the bombings, Alharbi was indeed questioned by federal authorities and, with his permission, they searched his home. Shortly thereafter, these same federal authorities concluded that he had absolutely no involvement with the attack and news reports about a possible connection with Alharbi and the Marathon bombing ceased with the major exception of Glenn Beck, who continued for weeks to describe him as an active participant in the bombing.