Mark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6. According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon. Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence. And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.” David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily. There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.” Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.
Programming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets. At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.” To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick. As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’ His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.” KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners. ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.” Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”
Michael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.” The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r). Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio. Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach. Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode? Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media? Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion. If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.” Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”
Steven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media. This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager. Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners. He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value. I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.” Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”
Hubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media. Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media. Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees. He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.” In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach. Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”
Edison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week. In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago. iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.” The webinar takes place Wednesday, March 5 at 2:00 pm ET. Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms. The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino. Topics covered will include: An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.
Financial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case. A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme. Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets. Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million. Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term. Swanson was previously convicted.
New Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced. Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disability benefits currently provided to employees.” The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service. Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country. We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”
NAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced. The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here. The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon. The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
This Brand New Car Is No Mirage. Well, actually it is. It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right). She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23. Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car. Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left). As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.
ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CC Goal: ‘#1 Multi-Platform Media Company in Revenue and Earnings.’ Radio giant Clear Channel reiterates its corporate goal at yesterday’s Q4 conference call through president and CFO Rich Bressler who says the deals and partnerships it has entered into over the past 12 months are all geared toward that goal of being the “#1 multi-platform media company.” Much of the focus on the Media + Enterainment sector was about iHeartRadio and Bressler spoke glowingly about it, saying, “iHeartRadio reached 43 million registered users by the end of 2013, climbing 84% year-over-year. To put that growth in perspective, iHeartRadio surpassed its 20 million registered user milestone faster than any other digital service and reached 40 million faster than Facebook, Twitter or Pandora, second only to Instagram. Importantly, iHeartRadio’s total listening hours went up 29% over the year, with mobile representing 54% of iHeartRadio’s total listening hours during the fourth quarter of 2013. Our brand awareness climbed nearly 70%, slightly behind Pandora but above Spotify. We also continue to lead with Facebook engagement, having over 6.7 million likes for our iHeartRadio page, surpassing Pandora, Spotify and even Netflix.” The large number of promotional events the company has produced has affected the expense side of the ledger. Bressler reported, “Operating expenses increased $80 million year-over-year, driven mainly by continued investment on national sales and programming capabilities, special events, promotional costs, compensation and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses during 2013 due to increased listenership on iHeartRadio platform…Expenses were up $36 million due mainly to increased costs associated with our special events and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
More Moves in Chicago Sports Talk World. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago White Sox television broadcaster Steve Stone is signed by CBS RADIO to be WSCR’s go-to baseball expert this season. Feder writes that Stone – who worked for “The Score” before joining Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM for baseball correspondent duties last year – was also being wooed by Tribune’s sports start-up WGWG “The Game 87.7″ but since WSCR is the flagship for White Sox games, CBS was able to prevent Stone from working for a direct competitor. Speaking of Tribune’s WGWG, the station is preparing to announce that former Cub Todd Hollandsworth – who’s worked for the MLB Network and Comcast Sports Net Chicago – will join “The Game 87.7” as its baseball expert. Read Feder’s column here.
Kerri Kasem Helps Introduce Bill to Provide Access to Sick Parents. Yesterday, RadioInfo reported that radio personality Kerri Kasem – daughter of legend Casey Kasem – would appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto at a press conference on Thursday to introduce legislation that would give judges the ability to allow adult children to see sick to dying parents in cases where they’ve been kept away in the past. Industry watchers are aware of the public battle Kasem’s children have been waging with his second wife, Jean Kasem, over visitation with Kasem who is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease. Kasem appeared at Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday to bring attention to the introduction of the bill. She commented, “It’s not just me – the daughter of a famous person. There are so many families, so many sons and daughters going through what I’m going through right now.” Kasem said she used the power of her radio show to talk about it and received a lot of feedback from people in similar situations and that’s part of her motivation for working with Gatto on this legislation. “No child deserves to go through what I’m going through and no loving parent deserves to be left alone to die with nobody by his side.” You can view video from the press conference here. Working as district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto is radio business veteran Jason Insalaco who’s been involved in the programming and agent ends of the industry during his career.
“The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum” Launches on TalkersRadio This Weekend. TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform operated by TALKERS magazine at www.talkers.com/talkersradio — announces the launch this weekend (2/22) of “The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum.” Hosted by veteran talk show host, Washington-insider, and former member of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, Blanquita Cullum, the one-hour-per-week show will cover the hottest and most-pressing economic, environmental and political issues facing the country from a non-partisan, non-ideological perspective. Cullum tells TALKERS, “I’ve been in this business too long to mess around playing the old right-versus-left game that is quickly getting us nowhere. It is time to get serious – especially having this marvelous platform upon which to perform – and dust off the old journalism skills. Just as the name implies, I will be asking big shots and policy makers from the worlds of energy, finance and government the hard questions. None of that easy, puff-piece stuff. This show is going to get down, dirty and real!” The new program will air each Saturday morning at 10:00 am ET with repeats scheduled throughout the week.
KRG Appoints Chenault-Qawwee to VP of Health Care Strategies. Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group (a Clear Channel subsidiary) announces the creation of a new department to “take full advantage of radio’s massive reach and scale in order to deliver compelling health care media solutions for advertisers.” The new Health Care Strategies group, headed by vice president LaTonya Chenault-Qawwee, will “provide a higher level of focus and expertise in the health care category.” The company says that in her new role, Chenault-Qawwee will “oversee all sales operations, developing strategic plans for advertisers by leveraging KRG’s unmatched reach, research and expertise in developing innovative media solutions. She will work closely with the nation’s leading health care companies, as well as federal and state exchanges, to incorporate the latest health care reform needs into high-impact advertising packages. This new position underlines KRG’s continued commitment to be the leading advocate for radio, and to further expand its business by providing advertisers hyper-focused expertise in specific categories.”
Odds & Sods. The Washington Times announces it has partnered with California-based BT Software’s Kaliki Audio Newsstand to provide content for the app that allows users to stream news and talk content. The newspaper’s editor John Solomon says the radio lineup will launch in early March with five daily shows and several weekly shows, anchored by the midday program “Live from The Washington Times” starring Andy Parks…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles announces the next stop on its “KNX in Your Neighborhood” remote series will be South Orange County on Friday, March 14. The station says its “award-winning news team will explore O.C.’s southernmost communities, including Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Hills and Dana Point. Civic and business leaders from these areas will be featured throughout the day live from the Mission Grill in San Juan Capistrano…..CRN Digital Talk Radio debuts a new show called “Wall to Wald Sports,” a hybrid of sports and politics. The show is hosted by Ronnie Wald and Fred Wallin and airs Fridays at 1:00 pm ET. The company says, “Wald and Wallin discuss sports in what they term their own ‘novel’ way before shifting to politics – an area in which they differ significantly. The duo says that ‘to Wald, Ronald Reagan is a hero – but to Wallin, he was a bad actor.’”
Final Round of January PPM Data Released. PPM data from the fourth and final group of 12 markets for the January 2014 period (January 2-29) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains at Top of Talkers TenTM. The scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of February 17-21. Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the executive power controversy surrounding President Obama. At #3 was a tie between a possible Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016 and the infighting taking place in the Republican Party followed by the winter weather and the global warming issue at #4. 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 is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Syndicated Host Doug Stephan Suffers Devastating Loss in Dairy Farm Disaster. Early yesterday morning (2/19) Eastleigh Farm – located in the suburban Boston community of Framingham, Massachusetts – suffered a winter-related natural disaster in which one of the barn roofs collapsed under the weight of snow trapping, killing and injuring some of the dairy cows at the historic facility. The farm is owned by nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan, whose long-running morning program “Good Day” is heard on hundreds of stations across the country and is consistently ranked one of the most-listened-to talk shows in the business. According to reports from the scene (pictured here where a cow is seen being hoisted to safety), at least three cows have died and many others are injured. The trauma to the cows is immeasurable. Dairy cows are very sensitive and this has potentially long-term consequences for the health of the farm and the remaining herd. Stephan is somewhat of a local folk hero in the “Metrowest” region of Massachusetts where the Eastleigh Farm – already beleaguered by economic issues challenging small family farmers across America – has been engaged in a high-profile struggle to exist and continue to bring healthy, raw locally raised dairy products to the community. Eastleigh Farm is the last historical dairy land in Framingham. A fund-raiser has been launched to help with the formidable veterinarian bills, the care of the cows and the rebuilding of the barn. For information about the fundraiser, please click here. To see local video news coverage of the story, please click here. Ironically, Doug Stephan recently launched a new, weekly one-hour show on TALKERS magazine’s experimental talk radio platform, TalkersRadio titled, “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan,” designed to bring information, inspiration and a political voice to the hard-pressed, small farmers battling the powerful interests of the mega-corporate-government-supported farm industrial complex that has been systematically squeezing them out of existence. The show airs with a new installment on TalkersRadio every Saturday morning at 8:00 am ET with repeats throughout the week at 11:00 am ET. Clearly, this disaster and its aftermath will provide Stephan with a tremendous amount of compelling material and content for the show. (Image: WCVB-TV, Boston)
Radio’s Kerri Kasem to Appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto to Introduce Parental Access Legislation. Industry pros and the radio-loving public have been following the tragic story of radio legend Casey Kasem and his second wife’s refusal to allow Kasem’s adult children to visit him as his health deteriorates due to advanced Parkinson’s disease. Now a California legislator is introducing a bill that would “provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit their parents, and provide children the right to know when an ailing parent’s health becomes worse or if the parent dies. The proposed legislation seeks to protect children from previous marriages from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child.” State Assemblyman Mike Gatto will introduce the bill and “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” co-host Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey from his first marriage, will appear alongside Gatto when that happens today at 2:30 pm PT at the Los Angeles Superior Court. In explaining the reason for the bill, Gatto’s office states, “Currently, adult children are not afforded the legal right to visit an ailing parent. With divorce and remarriage becoming more prevalent, there is a greater possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and an ailing parent’s children from a previous marriage. These conflicts can become exacerbated when a parent becomes incapacitated or dies. In some cases, elderly parents are not even informed that their children wish to see them. Such conflicts are very painful for those involved and can mean that certain adult children do not get to see their parent(s) before the parent(s) pass away.”
Clear Channel Issues Q4 and 2013 Revenue Numbers; CCM+E Up 3%. The parent company of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment – Clear Channel Media Holdings LLC – is reporting figures for the fourth quarter of 2013 and for the whole of 2013. It reports revenue for the CCM+E division was up 3% — 8% excluding political advertising – and it notes that the reason was “due primarily to stronger national and digital advertising, as well as promotional and event sponsorship with the expansion of the Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Music Festival and album release events.” For all of 2013 CCM+E was up 2%. The company states that “increases across multiple advertising categories were led by the telecommunications, retail and entertainment advertising markets. Digital revenue benefited from higher total listening hours, which were up 29%, and from investments in a digital sales organization. Promotional and event sponsorships also moved higher, driven by special events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party and album release events.”
Tribune’s WGWG, Chicago Grabs Finfer for Daily Role. The Tribune sports talk format airing on WGWG-LP at 87.7 FM adds another local talent as Ben Finfer jumps aboard from CBS RADIO’s crosstown WSCR. Finfer served as producer for the late morning McNeil & Spiegel show before joining Tribune’s new “The Game 87.7” on Wednesday. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that he’ll be part of the midday shows hosted by David Kaplan and Howard Griffith and Alex Quigley. While all of the media eyes may be on the new guy in town, WSCR and ESPN O&O WMVP have a healthy head start on WGWG. Data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM indicates WSCR enjoyed a 5.0 share with Men 25-54 and WMVP racked up a 3.6 share, according to Feder.
Colleen O’Brien Joins KIRO-FM, Seattle for Mornings. At Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, former KXLY-TV, Spokane news anchor Colleen O’Brien is named morning drive news anchor, filling the role held by Linda Thomas prior to her exit from the station to join Starbucks as managing editor for online news and content strategy. O’Brien is no stranger to Seattle or the radio side of the business. Prior to her work in Spokane, O’Brien served at crosstown KOMO-AM/FM.
The 4th Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Fundraiser ‘Opens’ Monday. For the fourth year in a row, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York teams up with “The Great White Way” to present “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. The evening’s event – a benefit for the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer – is a one-night-only production hosted by New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel and features performances from the casts of: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” “After Midnight,” “Avenue Q,” “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia,” “Motown the Musical,” “Kinky Boots,” “La Soiree,” “The Lion King,” “Pippin,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Wicked.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Ukraine Unrest, Sochi Olympics, ‘Smart Gun’ Bill, Jay Leno-‘Tonight Show’ Controversy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the violence and political unrest in the Ukraine; the Winter Games in Sochi; the Democratic proposal for new guns to only fire in the hand of the owner; the accusation by a former ‘Tonight Show’ writer that Jay Leno was ousted for picking on President Obama; and the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Posts Positive Q4 2013 Revenue News; Dickey Pleased with ‘Core Performance.’ The fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole were seen in a positive light by Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey during yesterday’s investor conference call. Dickey noted at the outset that he was happy that the company was able to meet and, in some aspects, exceed its guidance through “core performance without any impact of” mergers and acquisitions. He also says the company achieved its goals despite 2012 political comps of over $20 million. The company reports Q4 net revenue up 4.5% over the same period in 2013. For the year of 2013, Cumulus net revenue rose 2.4%. Following up on previous conference calls in which he highlighted his expectations for sports and traffic, Dickey said CBS Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio, NFL and NCAA play-by-play are “hitting their stride as national content brands. Both sports and traffic are currently exceeding expectations for 2014 and are taking share in their respective markets. And will again be substantial growth drivers as we expected them to be. We are very encouraged by the level of interest by both the advertisers and affiliates in these products, which is a testament to the high-quality nature of the content and again the efficacy of broadcast radio advertising on sports and traffic sponsorships respectively.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
Imus: Scott Shannon Will Get the Job. The Scott Shannon watch continues as the next radio home of the former, longtime WPLJ, New York morning co-host remains the subject of speculation in New York and across the country. This morning, WABC-based Don Imus was heard saying, “I’m told Scott Shannon will get the [WOR] job and I’m very happy about that.” Imus seemed sincere about his statement. TALKERS reported yesterday that the chatter has Shannon landing at either Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR for morning drive (where the company just ended the Elliot Segal simulcast from “DC101”) or at one of CBS RADIO’s music FMs – either classic hits WCBS-FM or CHR WNOW.
Clear Channel Promotes Rob Anthony in New England. Programmer Rob Anthony is named to the operations manager and program director position at Clear Channel’s Providence cluster that includes rock WHJY, news/talk WHJJ, classic hits WWBB “B101,” and hot AC WSNE “93.3 The Coast.” Anthony has been serving as regional programming manager for New England based out of the company’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster. He will retain that title which has him overseeing programming at the Springfield, Worcester, and Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire station groups. Anthony says, “I can’t even begin to express my excitement for the opportunity to work with such heritage brands as ‘Coast 93.3,’ ‘B 101,’ ‘NewsRadio 920’ and the mighty ‘94 HJY.’ This is truly an honor, and I can’t wait to get to work. Thank you to Clear Channel’s programming team and [market president] Rhonda Lapham for all their continued support and guidance.”
FCC to Rework Internet Regulation Rules; Republican Commissioners Question Move. FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has announced the Commission will revisit the “net neutrality” issue by “proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how internet service providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition. Preserving the internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency.” Wheeler states that the recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling affirms Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 giving “the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition. The court recognized the importance of ensuring that so-called ‘edge providers,’ those that use the network to deliver goods and services, can reach people who use the internet.” Republican Commissioner Mike O’Reilly disagrees, saying, “I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the internet. As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.” At the same time, Commissioner Ajit Pai adds, “When Congress told us to encourage broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, it also established the policy of the United States to ‘preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’ Whatever the Commission does as it moves forward, it must take that statutory command to heart. The internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules. It remains free and open today. Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.”
LDR Interactive Launches TopicPulse; Partners with TTWN for Sales. Interactive broadcast technology firm LDR Interactive announces the launch of an upgraded version of its TopicPulse, what it calls “a real-time social media monitoring system for newsrooms and content producers.” LDR Interactive explains: “TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, comment boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. In addition to tracking local and national topics, producers can also access trending video and images. The system then produces a user-friendly, real-time report that newsrooms can use to drive local, regional, and national content.” LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig states, “TopicPulse was inspired by feedback from the world’s leading broadcasters, who said they were in critical need of a better way to track and monitor social media to produce news content. With those needs in mind, we built and optimized TopicPulse for broadcast and digital newsrooms and released the system on beta to LDR’s media partners in 2012. Since then, we’ve seen tremendous momentum and positive results from media companies in all market sizes.” In addition to tracking trends, TopicPulse identifies which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media. Newsrooms also have access to a “glance” screen with trending topics for the brand’s target audience, which can be utilized as a “heads up display” of the market. A Tweet Map feature showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends. LDR Interactive is partnering with Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) as the TopicPulse national sales partner. The TTWN sales team will serve as the major force behind local market integration of the platform in newsrooms across the U.S.
Lars Larson Show Added to CRN Digital Talk Lineup. The Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson program is added to the program schedule at CRN Digital Talk Radio airing at 7:00 pm ET. Larson hosts a local show on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland in addition to a separate nationally syndicated program through Compass Media Networks. CRN will carry the national program. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Lars adds another unique, passionate voice to the CRN schedule. He’s a newsman, a reporter, and a host – so he brings extra doses of preparation and personality to his show.”
Former FCC Chair Richard Wiley to Receive BFoA’s Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Richard E. Wiley, chairman of Wiley Rein LLP and a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will receive the 2014 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award to be presented during The Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. Wiley heads the 80-attorney communications practice. He served as chairman of the FCC from 1974 to 1977. Wiley played a pivotal role in the development of HDTV in this country, serving for nine years as chairman of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service from 1987 to 1995. He represents a number of major communications-oriented organizations, including Verizon, AT&T, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Motorola, CBS, Belo, Gannett, Sirius/XM, Emmis, Gray Television, and LG. Wiley has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington’s 30 “Superstar” lawyers for his role as “the unofficial sixth commissioner” of the FCC (2011) and consistently listed as one of Washington’s “Best Lawyers” and “Top Lawyers” in the magazine. He was named the “most prominent telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist in Washington” by Broadcasting & Cable in 2005, and he was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
Teen Radio Host Wins Student Category Gracie. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the winners of the 2014 Gracie Awards in the local, online, student and public categories and 16-year-old Florida radio talk host Pavlina Osta wins in the student category Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine for her “Pavlina’s Kidz Place Radio Show.” The Port Orange, Florida resident has been hosting a kids-targeted radio program since she was 11 and boasts an impressive list of celebrity interviews including: Katie Couric, Ed Sheeran, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sick Puppies, A Great Big World, and Steve Forbes, to name just a few. Now she can add Gracie Award winner to her resume!
Obama Executive Power Controversy, Winter Weather/Global Warming Debate, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian Unrest, and N. Korea Human Rights Abuses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). GOP response to President Obama’s use of executive power; the onslaught of winter weather in much of the country and the debate over the global warming issue; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Winter Olympic games in Sochi; the protests and political unrest in the Ukraine; and the global community’s concern over growing evidence of human rights abuses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
What Are Clear Channel’s Plans for AM Drive at WOR? With the departure of “DC101” morning host Elliot Segal from the air at Clear Channel news/talk WOR, New York has industry watchers speculating about the company’s next move for the daypart. Mark Simone was in for Elliot today (2/18). Segal told his DC audience that he was not moving to New York after all and the company issued a statement saying, “After much thought and discussion it’s clear that we’d have to make significant changes to ensure the show resonates as successfully with the NY audience as it does with Elliot’s DC audience. And given Elliot’s loyalty to his DC fans, we support his decision to continue to broadcast from Washington.” This change is not that surprising. To many, the Elliot move seemed an odd pairing and some industry watchers tell TALKERS they thought – even with the chatter about Elliot moving to NYC – it was a temporary move. It seems Clear Channel wants to shake up the AM drive show and not go with another “typical conservative” morning host on WOR but the company also appears to want to go with a younger and local program. There are rumors that recently “retired from WPLJ” personality Scott Shannon is talking with WOR but at first blush, that would also seem to be an unusual hire.
Saga Launches Sports Talker in Ithaca. The new station – branded “98.7 The Buzzer” – is airing on translator W254 BF licensed to Ithaca and features programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. It will also serve as an affiliate for Buffalo Bills football and for Cornell University Men’s basketball. Chet Osadchey is the vice president and market manager for Saga’s Cayuga Radio Group and he tells the Central New York Business Journal that this is an “excellent” expansion of sports in the Ithaca market. “We are particularly excited about the Jim Rome show. For several years, we have received numerous requests to carry this show and now we are able to fulfill that goal. Jim’s show is the most interactive, contemporary, and authentic in the sports radio arena.”
America’s Talk Radio Network to Debut. The start date for the programming being offered by new syndicator America’s Talk Radio Network is March 1 and vice president of affiliations and programming Jon Patch (formerly of Business TalkRadio Network) says, “America’s Talk Radio Network programming features full-service solutions for our hosts and transactional, educational, entertaining and exclusive content for our partnering stations.” The operation is based in Tampa Bay and programming is delivered via Cumulus XDS. Patch adds, “I’ve been working in radio for approximately 30 years and I look forward to working with our variety of unique programs and affiliate stations servicing the needs of our partners on a daily basis.” At start-up, the network is offering four programs: “My Cool Inventions” featuring Akos Jankura “The Solutionist” and John Cremeans “The Doctor of Shopology”; “Talkin’ Pets” with Jon Patch; a morning program called “Sunrise America”; and “Akos The Solutionist.” For more information visit www.americastalkradionetwork.com.
Odds & Sods. News/talk personality Simon Conway – heard daily at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines in afternoon drive – is doing double duty this week as he fills in on the morning drive program all this week and next Monday at the company’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..Tennis great John McEnroe is getting expanded duties with ESPN on both radio and TV that will see him work outside the world of tennis as well. As part of his radio duties, he’ll work on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, O&O WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” and make appearances on ESPN2’s Keith Olbermann program.
Cool Job Opportunity. America’s most successful FM news/talk station needs America’s best news anchor/reporter. This is a rare opening at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL in Portland, Oregon. We need someone who can talk to an FM listener with AM credibility. We need someone who can write and use sound to tell the story. Is this you? Minimum 5 years in the broadcast industry required. Please send your resume and sample of your on air work to: Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Must pass a background investigation. Alpha Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
GOP Infighting, Hillary in 2016, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Tenn. VW Workers Vote Down Union Move, and Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). Solidarity problems within the Republican Party; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its effects; the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the failure of the UAW to convince VW plant workers in Tennessee to go union; and harsh winter weather and the debate over global warming were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WGN-Programmed FM Debuts Today as Sports Talk ‘The Game 87.7.’ Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the scoop following Friday’s announcement that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will LMA WKQX-LP at 87.7 beginning today. Last week Feder tipped us that Jonathon Brandmeier would do mornings when Tribune begins programming the station, but now he informs us the station will be the market’s first FM sports talk station branded “The Game 87.7.” In addition to Brandmeier in mornings, the rest of the lineup will be: current WGN evening sports host David Kaplan and Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh in middays, followed by WGN’s Alex Quigley and Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith hosting an early afternoon show. Former WMVP personality Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton will host late afternoons with WGN’s Mark Carman hosting the evening show. Overnights will feature programming from NBC Sports Radio Network. WGN’s Jordan Bernfield will serve as full-time sports reporter. Making the move over to the FM from WGN, Kaplan is giving up his “Sports Central” show on WGN and late night host Pete McMurray is bumped into the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot. Read Feder’s entire column here.
‘Flirty Flipper’ Returns to WABC to Produce ‘Curtis & Kuby.’ It’s a return to the studios at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York for Jill Vitale (a.k.a. Flirty Flipper) who served as Sean Hannity’s producer beginning in 1999 when he was a local NYC-only show. During her time there she also produced John Gambling’s program before leaving in 2011. Now, she returns to produce the midday show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby.
Tucson Talk Personality Jim Parisi to LMA KEVT. Market talk radio pro Jim Parisi is taking over the operation of One Mart Corp.-owned KEVT under an LMA and is re-branding the former Spanish music station as news/talk radio outlet “Power Talk 1210.” Tucson Weekly reports Parisi will serve as general manager in addition to hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. Other personalities will include Providence, Rhode Island-based Steve Kass for 5:00 am to 7:00 am and John C. Scott for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program. Fox Sports Radio Network programming will air in evenings and on weekends. Parisi tells the paper, “I’ve come to a point that the only way to be happy is doing what I believe in. I’m not doing anything that doesn’t reflect how I truly feel, so it will be the most genuine station I can be a part of. We should have more local programming than most anyone in town. We want to be as local, but as budget conscious, as we can so that we don’t go away.”
KNBR, San Francisco Takes Beating Over Olympics Coverage. When Cumulus Media-owned sports talk outlet KNBR, San Francisco cut away from its coverage of the U.S.A.-Russia men’s hockey game during the shoot-out (which the U.S.A won!) to air “Hooked on Golf,” critics took to the internet to blast the station for the move. The sports media critique site AwfulAnnouncing called the station out and posted a series of Tweets from fellow critics. One Tweet came in from a Ryan Covay, who appears to be a KNBR staffer, saying, “I’m @ryancovay at home, not at station. I imagine it’s because there are specific shows that need to air. Apologies.” It’s not been confirmed by KNBR but it appears the “Hooked on Golf” show is a brokered show that broadcasts live from a golf course in San Mateo. That could explain the decision to cut away.
XtreMEDIA Expands Dani Johnson Show to Daily Format. More than two years ago, the Dani Johnson show debuted on weekends on premier affiliate WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Now, the program moves to a daily format beginning today (2/17) and Johnson’s program will be available seven days per week. XtreMEDIA states that “Johnson’s brand of ‘No Excuses, Just Results’ is now heard/seen in more than 66 million television households nationally, heard in more than 112 terrestrial radio markets, cleared on SiriusXM, and streamed/accessed by hundreds of thousands of social media users on her wesbite, social media pages, and her proprietary smartphone app. And now she is accessed seven days a week.” Johnson adds, “I can’t believe how much fun I’m having doing a daily show. My true desire is to continue to help push people to achieve results in all areas of their lives, so that they can take back control, build financial resources, build stable marriages and families, and ultimately feed orphans and help those who need it most.” XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough comments, “Dani connects with people — especially in this hyper-partisan environment — in ways that few people can. The beauty of her show is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of success, if you apply exactly what she shows you, you achieve better results.”
Michael Harrison to Speak in Keynote Session at National Religious Broadcasters Convention. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will serve as a keynote speaker next week at the NRB International Christian Media Convention 2014 in Nashville. The event, which runs February 22-25 and is preceded by a one-day Digital Media Summit on February 21, is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training. Harrison, whose two-hour session will take place on Monday, February 24 at 2:00 pm, states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this event and spending time getting to better know people from the faith-based sector of the radio and media industries. It will certainly give me the opportunity to embellish one of the key points of my own personal view of what radio needs to do to be a viable and productive entity in the digital era – and that is to never miss any opportunity to be a hero…to literally serve the community… to spread hope and inspiration…to talk about the many crisis and challenges facing people in everyday life and help them cope. I recommend this course of action to all broadcasters – but this is a community where it is already proven to be a winning strategy. I am honored to be a part of this event.” The conference will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. For more information please click here.
Odds & Sods. On the Fox Business News cable TV simulcast of Cumulus Media Networks’ Don Imus show, Lori Rothman is the new business news update reporter. TVNewser reports that Rothman is moving into the morning role after serving as part of the early-afternoon “Markets Now” crew. She’s joining FBN’s Connell McShane and Dagen McDowell…..Clear Channel names Brent Henslee operations manager for the company’s six-station Macon, Georgia cluster that includes sports talk WPLA “Fox Sports 1670” and all-comedy WIBB…..KCRW, Santa Monica personality Matt Miller announces he will run as a Democrat for the seat in Congress being vacated by the retiring Henry Waxman. Miller is co-host of “Left, Right & Center” on the public radio station. He’s also a columnist for the Washington Post. Several Democrats are competing in the primary for the party’s nomination to run in the general election.
Detroit Media Personality Angelo Henderson Dead at 51. WCHB, Detroit talk show host Angelo Henderson passed away on Saturday (2/15) at age 51 after an illness. The Radio One Detroit cluster issued the following statement on the WCHB website: “We at Radio One Detroit are devastated by unexpected news today. We regretfully must confirm the passing of one of our on-air icons Angelo B. Henderson. Henderson has been with Radio One Detroit for 15 years and was the host of the popular talk show “Your Voice with Angelo Henderson” on Newstalk AM1200/99.9FM WCHB for the past 6 years.” Vice president and general manager Kathy Stinehour adds, “Angelo was a strong pillar in the community, I am saddened by his untimely passing and he will be greatly missed by the entire Detroit community and his Radio One Detroit family.” In addition to his broadcasting work Henderson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
FCC Appears to Back Off of Newsroom and Issues Study. When it was announced last May, the proposed Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs the Federal Communications Commission would be undertaking rankled many lawmakers and broadcasters as it was perceived as an intrusion into broadcasters’ First Amendment rights in addition to being outside the bounds of the FCC’s jurisdiction. Now, according to a piece in Ad Week, the FCC appears to be backing off, or at least re-defining, the research intended to “study entry barriers” to information media to determine if there are small businesses unable to break into broadcasting. This would have been determined by quizzing news broadcasters about how they choose their stories. Last year, some GOP lawmakers termed it an “end-around” the Fairness Doctrine and heavily criticized the study as well as the jurisdiction of the FCC to getting into content matters. Earlier this week FCC commissioner Ajit Pai penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the study is not necessary to filing its required report to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry in the communications industry. He writes, “This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN (critical information needs) study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?” Whether or not the first field study slated for Columbia, South Carolina this spring gets underway as proposed or not remains to be seen. Ad Week reports it was told by an FCC rep that the agency “has no intention of interfering in the coverage and editorial choices that journalists make. We’re closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited.”
WGN to Program WKQX 87.7 Beginning Monday. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune’s WGN will begin an LMA operation of WKQX-LP at 87.7 in Chicago starting Monday, February 17. Feder reports that under terms of the LMA with license holder Venture Technologies Group, the deal commences Monday at 1:02 pm on the 17th, a minute after Cumulus Media drops the alternative rock simulcast with 101.1 FM. President and general manager Jimmy de Castro tells Feder, “We’re outgrowing WGN with great talent. Everything we have said we wanted to do is based on the strength of WGN and our personalities. It’s all about getting the best spoken-word talent and getting more bandwidth.” Vice president of creative content for WGN, Todd Manley, will announce a full lineup soon but mornings will begin with Jonathon Brandmeier who’s been doing a morning program on WGN.fm since last September. Read Feder’s full story here.
Phil Hendrie Exits AM/FM Radio. Talk radio host and satirist Phil Hendrie announces he’s leaving the production and syndication of his daily AM/FM radio program after March 14 in order to fully focus on his podcast and other media ventures. He’ll continue doing “The World of Phil Hendrie Show” on TuneIn, iTunes, the Sideshow Network and www.philhendrieshow.com. He says that “Due to the tremendous positive growth this past year owing directly to his fans,” he’s decided that is the area where he should focus all his energies. He adds, “The digital world is where we have made our living the last seven years so as radio attempts to find itself we’ll put our energy in our digital and online product, our animation project, my one man show and of course TV and film opportunities wherever they may occur. To our fans, we haven’t gone anywhere! Our daily show will continue” on digital platforms.
Gerry Callahan Remark Irks Dunkin’ Donuts; Company Cancels Ads on WEEI Affiliate Stations. The Boston Globe is reporting that Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts has cancelled ad buys on stations in the region airing WEEI, Boston programming after WEEI morning co-host Gerry Callahan made a “disparaging comment,” presumably about the company’s donuts. In the Globe piece, Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary says Callahan admits he “screwed up badly” with the off-the-cuff remark and that Zachary understands how Dunkin’ Donuts feels. “You just don’t call somebody’s baby ‘ugly,’ even if it’s unintentional.” Zachary wouldn’t say what Callahan’s words were. He says the ad buy was not a lot of money but that’s not the point. Dunkin’ Donuts has separate ad buys for WEEI, Boston, Callahan’s endorsements and WEEI’s O&O affiliate stations in Providence, Worcester and Springfield. The Boston deal ended in January before Callahan’s comment. Dunkin’ Donuts has been a long-time advertiser with WEEI, especially on Red Sox broadcasts which are ready to resume in a few months. How the incident will affect that remains to be seen.
TALKERS to Publish 2014 Heavy Hundred on Monday, March 3. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication Monday, March 3, 2014. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board. It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely-discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.
Radio Mercury Awards Final-Round Judging Panel Announced. Chief judge Matt Eastwood helped assemble the jury for the 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards. The panel represents radio’s top advertising categories including automotive, communications, financial services, packaged goods, over-the-counter, retail, spirits, and quick-serve restaurants. Final-round judging panel consists of JWT New York group creative director Jill Applebaum; BBDO New York executive creative director Chris Beresford-Hill; Cog NYC founder Wayne Best; Grupo Gallegos chief creative officer Pablo Buffagni; Young & Rubicam Group New York chief creative officer Jim Elliott; DDB Chicago executive vice president/executive creative director Mark Gross; Publicis New York executive creative director Joe Johnson; and Deutsch New York chief creative officer Kerry Keenan. “This list is a ‘who’s who’ of well-established creative executives, and perennial award-winning agencies with a long history of creating exceptional, noteworthy creative executions,” remarks Eastwood, who is chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide Communications Group New York. “More importantly, our panel consists of brilliant thought leaders who have a true love and appreciation for the greatest writer’s medium of all time, radio.” Radio Creative Fund chair – and Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber – adds, “We feel so incredibly privileged to have gathered such a pinnacle group of creative ambassadors for this year’s competition. The bar has been set high, but I am confident this group will help ensure that the mission of the Radio Mercury Awards lives on as we award the best creative audio commercials over the past year.” Prizes will be handed out in a variety of categories such as “Agency Production,” “Radio Station Produced,” “Student,” “PSA,” “Spanish Language,” and “Best of Show.” Deadline for submissions is April 1, with the awards event taking place June 4 at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.
Southern California Broadcasters Association to Provide Quarterly Guidance Report. Planning and research material is for California advertising agencies, clients and its members. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan notes that, “The SCBA Quarterly Market Guidance Report fulfills a growing need among California ad agencies and clients to look ahead to the next quarter to learn, plan, create, and execute even more effective radio advertising campaigns based on market conditions, trends, and the upcoming quarter’s business environment. As an additional service to the advertising community, the SCBA will encourage face-to-face planning and development meetings with advertising agencies and major clients to provide full-year guidance and customization of our extensive market research.” The QMG report will give current and predictive regional economic data, radio category growth, and commentary on advertising and business trends. The report uses regional economic development corporation reports, member reports on market trends, Miller Kaplan Arase data, and audience measurement data. It will be posted late next month for second quarter 2014 guidance on the SCBA’s website (www.scba.com).
S-Class Mercedes-Benz to Have HD Radio. Mercedes-Benz of Mexico is launching its S-Class with HD Radio. iBiquity Digital is the developer of the digital technology and its chief operating officer Jeff Jury states, “We are very pleased to achieve the key goal of North American standardization with Mercedes-Benz. With this expansion, Mercedes-Benz drivers across Canada, Mexico and the United States have access to HD Radio technology in their cars. This coincides with our continuing efforts to bring HD Radio broadcasting to all markets across North America. By offering the technology as standard, Mercedes-Benz is ensuring that all their customers can enjoy the current services and be ensured of enjoying the coming ‘all-digital’ future.” The 2014 S-Class is now at dealerships across the United States and Mexico. More than 2,230 digital stations are on-air; over 1,480 HD2 and HD3 digital-only channels broadcast content that can only be heard with an HD Radio receiver.
Odds & Sods. WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” sports talker Tony Bruno is scheduled to begin making weekly appearances on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN 2 program. The first appearance will be tonight (2/14) live from ESPN’s Times Square studios in New York City…..Cumulus Media’s KOH, Reno is holding a radiothon today at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to benefit the Veterans Guest House which provides temporary housing for vets and their families while they are being treated at the Reno VA. This is the 11th annual radiothon the station has produced for the cause…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the winners of its first annual Food & Wine Awards. CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is home to several food and beverage-oriented programs. It asked listeners to decide 2013′s Best Chef, Restaurant, Sommelier, and Winemaker. President and CEO Mike Horn says, “Food and wine are best enjoyed with good company. Our listeners deciding the year’s best of the best in the culinary and beverage arenas was very much akin to sitting down, honoring some great people, enjoying a fun meal.” This year’s winners are: Best Chef of the Year – Andrew Sutton – Napa Rose, Anaheim; Best Restaurant of the Year – Gary Danko – San Francisco; Best Sommelier of the Year – Paul Coker – St. Regis, Monarch Beach; and Winemaker of the Year Jeff Stewart – Hartford Family Wines…..Broadcasts of New York Yankees baseball on new flagship sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York will debut with the February 27 exhibition game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yankees games moved from CBS RADIO‘s all-news WCBS after a new contract was negotiated in the fall.
Wichita Police Make Arrest in Case of Slain Radio Station Staffer. Police in Wichita have a suspect in custody in the early Monday morning slaying of Steckline Communications employee Daniel Flores. Authorities say that in responding to a Crime Stoppers tip, they pulled over Antwon Banks who proceeded to stab himself in the stomach. He’s in a local hospital under police guard and will be booked on felony murder charges when he’s recovered. He was apparently the ex-boyfriend of Steckline office manager Lisa Bryce, leading authorities to conclude that Flores was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Clear Channel Commits to Campaign for ‘American Heart Month.’ For the purpose of educating the public about heart disease, its risks and preventative measures, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is committing more than $1 million worth of on-air media to that end. Today (2/14), Clear Channel is kicking off a two-week public service announcement campaign across its 840 radio stations to educate listeners on the symptoms of heart disease and stroke in honor of American Heart Month. Certain Clear Channel stations will air a comedic yet informative public service announcement voiced by Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks that highlights the signs of heart attack in women, while all other Clear Channel radio stations will air a second PSA, created by the Ad Council and the American Heart Association, to help people recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of a stroke.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New station affiliations for Cumulus Media Networks programming this week include: for Michael Savage – WTAR, Norfolk; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; WQSI, Tuskegee, Alabama; and WWBA, Tampa; Phil Valentine – WCOA, Pensacola; Mark Levin – WGKA, Atlanta; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; and WVOC-FM, Columbia, South Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at KNOX-AM/FM, Grand Forks.
Dave Ramsey Counsels Bobby Bones’ Staff and Listeners. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey (right) sits in on the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show based at WSIX-FM, Nashville, right down the road from Ramsey’s home base of Brentwood. Ramsey appeared with Bones (left) after Bones show producer Ray lost his truck in a Super Bowl bet and is some $8,000 in debt. Ramsey talked to the crew and audience about various topics including the terrible odds of gambling, tax withholding, and even the psychology behind using the debt snowball to pay off debt.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of February 10-14 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and the delay in the employer mandate, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the debt ceiling issue. At #3 was speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 and at #4 was immigration reform. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
CBS Reports Radio Segment Down 4% in Q4 2013; Company Up 6%. While CBS Corporation CEO, president and director Les Moonves spoke glowingly about the performance of CBS Corporation as a whole during yesterday’s Q4 conference call, the radio segment was not part of the celebration and loss of political advertising was given the lion’s share of the blame. The company’s report indicates that after taking political out of the picture, CBS RADIO was flat compared to the same quarter in 2012. Moonves was upbeat about the radio division saying, “In radio, we continue to put an emphasis on great, local programming, which is leading to bigger audiences. During the most recent ratings period, we had double-digit ranking gains in the highly coveted 25- to 54-year-old demo in many of our major markets, and non-traditional revenue from special events was up double digits over one year ago. Our strategy to combine the company’s local TV and radio websites into a single online presence in every market also continues to pay off. In 2013, revenue was up 21% over the year before, and the momentum is continuing here in ’14, including a new record of nearly 57 million unique users in January. I’m also very pleased with the success of our CBS Interactive business. Revenue was up 14% during the quarter, and we continue to see very rapid growth in mobile ad revenue, which was up 118%, and it helped to increase profit substantially.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole conference call here.
Nielsen Q4 Revenue Up 11.8%; Rises 5.5% for 2013. Media ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. issues its fourth quarter 2013 and full-year financial reports and states that Q4 revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of 11.8% over the same period in 2012. For the full year of 2013, the company says its revenue was $5.7 billion, a jump of 5.5% over the full year of 2012. The company reports its free cash flow for 2013 increased 34.5% to $573 million from $426 million in 2012 while cash flow from operations increased 14.9% to $901 million in 2013 from $784 million in 2012. The result is the adjusted net income per share on a diluted basis for 2013 was $2.02, up 19.5% compared to $1.69 in the full year 2012. Nielsen acquired radio ratings firm Arbitron during 2013 and the move paid off. The Arbitron business helped add 9.3% to Nielsen’s Q4 revenue and 2.5% to its 2013 revenue.
CBS RADIO Dallas Ups Paul Mann to KRLD-AM PD. At CBS RADIO’s Dallas cluster, news director Paul Mann is promoted to program director for KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080 KRLD” and the Texas State Networks (TSN), effective immediately. Mann has served as news director for KRLD-AM and TSN since June 2006 and in this new role he will be primarily responsible for all programming and talent and will report to Gavin Spittle, vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth. Spittle comments, “Paul has shown tremendous leadership as news director with the sole focus on serving the North Texas community. He’s helped put together a tremendous team which shares a great pride in this heritage station.” Under Mann’s leadership, KRLD-AM has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, in 2008 (spot news) and 2013 (newscast).
Stella Prado Kuipers Lands at Salem Los Angeles. The successful, former KOST, Los Angeles program director joins Salem Communications to serve in the sales department working on multi-media marketing for Christian talk KKLA, Los Angeles. Stella Prado Kuipers made her announcement on her Facebook page where she wrote: “A new chapter in my life has begun and I’m proud to announce as of March 3rd I am an employee of Salem Communications Radio Broadcasting company! My position is multi-media marketing and I am thrilled to be a part of this company! I’m sooooo excited!” Kuipers had been with Clear Channel’s AC KOST for 20 years – eight as program director – before she was let go in December of 2012.
Programming Changes at WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey. A shuffle in afternoons at Greater Media-owned news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey sees current 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Tommy G move to the afternoon drive slot replacing Newsmax-syndicated host Steve Malzberg. Into the early afternoon slot goes WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller program. WCTC program director Bert Baron states, “We’re excited to welcome Dennis Miller to the WCTC weekday lineup. He’ll have Central Jersey laughing, thinking, and engaged on a daily basis. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have doing PM drive on WCTC than Tommy G, one of the most passionate and hard-working people I’ve ever known. This is a BIG WIN for WCTC and for Central Jersey.”
Is Nielsen “Lying” About Millennial Audiences? Noted industry observer Jerry Del Colliano thinks so. Del Colliano published a scathing indictment of the ratings research giant in his daily industry blog Inside Music Media (www.insidemusicmedia.com) this morning (2/12) referring to the Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) report released earlier this week stating that “Millennials” (also known as “Generation Y”) are big fans of AM/FM radio and listen to it on average of 11.5 hours per week. This, of course, flies in the face of what has to this point been conventional industry wisdom strongly suggesting that over-the-air radio is rapidly losing ground as a medium of choice for the millions of 20-something children born to Baby Boomers in the 1980s-90s and now coming of age in the millions – a widespread perception that broadcast business leaders openly fear threatens the future of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio.” Del Colliano writes, “The company that now does PPM ratings which records listening that occurs by accident when meters randomly pick up an encoded radio signal is now weighing in on Millennials…an audience that clearly has no use for what consolidators put on the radio these days.” He accuses the major corporate consolidators in radio of “paying hundreds of millions of dollars to report audience estimates that the company [Nielsen] itself admits in a legal statement are not reliable.” Del Colliano is a veteran program director and radio personality who rose to prominence as the founder and publisher of the trade publication Inside Radio which he built to formidability as an independent journal prior to it being acquired by Clear Channel, which still publishes it. Del Colliano has subsequently served a number of years as a member of the music department faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) teaching and writing courses on “Generational Media” specifically documenting and understanding the traits and habits of the rapidly maturing Millennial generation – a subject that he regularly shares with radio industry leaders via his blog and annual conference.
Speaking of Jerry Del Colliano… TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently interviewed Jerry Del Colliano on the TALKERS magazine “experimental” talk radio station, TalkersRadio, (www.talkers.com/talkersradio) as a complete installment of the one-hour, media-discussion program he hosts. The program, recorded two-weeks ago (prior to today’s provocative Del Colliano blog), presents the two industry observers in an in-depth discussion about the very subject of the delicate relationship AM/FM radio and Gen-Y. In it, Del Colliano discusses such issues as Gen-Y’s obsession with authenticity as well as its consumer interest in non-over-the-air digital media. To listen directly to the entire 58:00 installment of this first-time public conversation between Michael Harrison and Jerry Del Colliano, please click
Talk Host Joe Crummey Publishes Non-Fiction Book. Talk radio pro Joe Crummey has just published his first non-fiction book titled, Planking on Headstones: Your Future Outside of Time (School of Eddiness 2013). The veteran of such historic signals as WABC, New York; KFI, Los Angeles; WNBC, New York; KABC, Los Angeles and KFYI, Phoenix penned this new book that “takes the reader on a journey through space-time that’s rich in love, loss, fear and contemplation. With notes of his on-air, quick-wit persona, Planking on Headstones distills complex issues of religion and science into memorable anecdotes that elicit laughter, tears and a sense of connection. Crummey openly shares about his life, from his brain tumor to the death of his parents, as he explains his theories, such as the ‘Fonzie Principle,’ the ‘Boston Market Revelation’ and the ‘Jesus Burger.’ He also explains why he believes the Big Bang is the most evil thing that has ever happened.” Crummy states, “Throughout my career, I often discussed and challenged religious tenets on air with my audience. But after going through the brain tumor experience, my quest for meaning in this life and beyond intensified. I began to understand the importance of thinking outside of time and allowed myself to imagine the impossible while I explored this subject matter.”
Clear Channel Renews Promotional Deal with Relativity. In a statement, Clear Channel says that the renewed cross-media marketing collaboration between it and media company Relativity will include one-of-a-kind campaigns promoting upcoming movies on the part of Clear Channel and Relativity will provide exclusive content created by its filmmakers and talent that will be shared with listeners and viewers through various Clear Channel platforms. “The programs will also include organic promotional support from popular radio personalities such as Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Dan Patrick and Steve Harvey; naturally integrated film imaging across local stations and iHeartRadio’s national digital and mobile ad units; homepage website takeovers; and national and local on-air commercial inventory.” Clear Channel says previous successful collaborations between the companies included campaigns for the films “Limitless,” “Immortals,” “Act of Valor,” “Safe Haven” and “Free Birds.”
Odds & Sods. Talk media personality David Webb signs on to write a column for DC political publication The Hill. His column will be available every other Wednesday in The Hill’s print edition, online at thehill.com and on The Hill’s app. In addition to his daily SiriusXM talk show, Webb also appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” and “The Five.”…..Sports USA adds a podcast featuring former NFL star and TV personality Fred Dryer to its programming. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Fred Dryer is a true NFL legend and a major TV star. We are excited to add Fred’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs…..WNYC, New York names David Lewis its new metro editor. Lewis taught journalism at CUNY for the past seven years.
NAB to Feature RAB Sales and Marketing Sessions. The Radio Advertising Bureau will present five revenue- and growth-oriented presentations at this year’s NAB Show. RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber explains that, “The RAB is in the business of helping sellers on the street close deals and help drive revenue for the radio industry. These sessions will drive home key lessons and tools of the trade. NAB Show attendees will find these sessions invaluable to their future success in the broadcast business.” Specifically, the Radio Advertising Bureau’s focus will be “Lunch and Learn – A Discussion on Radio’s Four Significant Issues;” “Concentrating on Core Radio Revenues;” “Creative Radio Commercial Production and Imaging;” and “Rapid-Fire Revenue Generators for Small and Medium Market Radio.” The NAB Show will be held April 5 – 10 in Las Vegas.
WDVI-FM and WHAM in Rochester Hold Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Today and tomorrow Clear Channel Rochester stations hot AC WDVI “100.5 The Drive” and news/talk WHAM are broadcasting the annual “Drive For Miracles Radiothon” to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital live from the lobby of Strong Hospital. Throughout the event, on-air personalities from each station will talk with current and former patients, their families, and the hard-working hospital staff that “creates miracles” every day. Personalities including WHAM’s Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Shari Smith, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews and WDVI’s Bill Moran, Julie, JP, and “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy will broadcast from the hospital.
BFoA Names 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients. This year’s recipients of the 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards have been announced by the Broadcasters Foundation of America. They will be presented at the Foundation’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. This year’s recipients are: Jim Beloyianis, past president, Katz TV; Dan Mason, president & CEO, CBS RADIO; Deborah Norville, host, “Inside Edition”; Mary Quass, president & CEO, NRG Media; Perry Sook, chairman/president & CEO, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.; and Nick Verbitsky, chairman, United Stations Radio Networks. 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.
Winter Weather Hits South and Northeast, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Afghanistan Prisoner Release, Paul NSA Suit, Debt Ceiling Raised, the Sochi Olympics and Gay NFL Prospect Comes Out Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The unusually severe winter weather bearing down on the South and the Northeast; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate; Afghanistan’s release of numerous “dangerous” inmates and the state of the U.S.’s relationship with Hamid Karzai; Senator Rand Paul’s suit against the NSA; the GOP’s signing on with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling; the Sochi Winter Olympic Games; and the coming out of NFL prospect Michael Sam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature
The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse
By Jeff McKay
Special features Correspondent
NEW YORK — Since he ventured out on his own and started what has become not only a highly successful syndication company, but one that can truly serve the needs of both the largest and even the smallest radio station, Danno Wolkoff has known that he cannot simply rest on his laurels. Wolkoff will be the first to admit that his company, in order to be and remain successful, must change with radio’s changing times from how companies do business and manage their own businesses, to how companies must do more with less, and the ever-changing technology that could cost a company listeners and their survival.
Envision Networks has changed with the changing times in radio, something Wolkoff identifies as being driven by technology which is now the catalyst for these changes and placing traditional radio at a crossroads.
KABC, Los Angeles Adds Jillian Barberie to Midday Show. The sound of the midday show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles changes beginning Monday February 17 as the station adds local media star Jillian Barberie to the lineup co-hosting the new “Mid-Day LA with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.” The show airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is part of the station’s move to add more local content to its programming. Barberie is well known to Southern California for her 18 years as co-host of Fox 11’s top-rated morning show, “Good Day LA.” In a statement, the station says that Barberie’s work at Fox 11 “engaged audiences with her real-life stories and electric energy. The sassy, Canadian-born Barberie has made a career out of hanging with the guys. While hosting ‘Good Day LA,’ she also spent a decade on the Fox NFL Pre-Game Show working opposite Curt Menefee, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.” Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey adds, “Jillian’s energy, experience and love for Southern California are unmatched. We’re absolutely thrilled that she’s joining the ‘TalkRadio 790’ team in this important role.” Barberie comments, “I am so excited to be partnered with John Phillips! I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the KABC team, which is such a great place with incredibly talented people. I’ve always felt that there is something unique and liberating about doing radio.”
WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina Names Vince Coakley Weekend Host. Television and radio pro Vince Coakley joins Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina “WORD 106.3FM” for a regular Sunday program and as a fill-in personality when station hosts Bob McLain and Russ Cassell are on vacation. The station notes that Coakley’s program is “the Upstate’s only weekend live and local current events talk show” during that daypart, and adds, “Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean the news and the discussion about them stops.” Coakley hosted afternoon drive on Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte from June 2011 to July of 2012. He spent 20 years in television news prior to that. He’s also hosted a daily internet radio show called “Revolution Radio.” He says, “I am thrilled to officially join the team at WORD. The station is fearless in giving voice to hosts and listeners who place a premium on liberty. I have come to view the Greenville area as a second home and look forward to spending more time with the people of the Upstate on and off the air.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Three Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. What broadcasting executive and entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years in founding and establishing Cleveland-based national syndication firm Envision Radio Networks is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that in today’s installment) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses how, as a result of new technology and social practices, radio has grown to point that it is “more than” simply radio and that operators must work diligently to preserve its history and uniqueness without sacrificing its potential and rightful place within the digital-era. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part three of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed parts one and two published Monday and yesterday, please read them here and here, respectively.
More Details from Entercom’s Q4 Conference Call: The Drop on Boston and WEEI. While Entercom president and CEO David Field acknowledged that 2013 revenue was not where the company would like to have seen it (down 3%), he stated numerous times during Tuesday’s conference call that he believes the company has turned the corner and is “positioned for a strong 2014.” Saying that the company’s strongest-performing markets were San Francisco, Kansas City and Memphis, Field glowed about the ratings of some of the stations in those markets, pointing out the success stories of “The Wolf” and “The Point” in Kansas City, KOIT, KBLX and KGME in San Francisco. He also addressed the state of the Boston market and of sports talker WEEI. “We have some work to do there, but it’s interesting. We have a new leadership there now, which we are very excited about, and I believe we are starting to turn the corner there. And if you look at the fundamentals of Boston, WEEI, our flagship in the market, remains one of the top-rated sports station in the United States. It’s a top-three player in Boston among men. We are about to enter baseball season with the world champion Boston Red Sox and what’s little noted too is our digital play there. We have a major platform there with a team of writers who work for that, and it has become sort of a much visited site for fans. And to put it into context, we do about 1.5 million unique visitors each month, just on the digital side there. So we have a ton of opportunities in Boston and I would expect better things to come in the not-too-distant future there, and again, I think the future’s bright.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole chat here.
Fernandez Boosted to Journal COO; Graham Upped to SVP/CFO. It’s a promotion for Journal Communications president Andre Fernandez as he is appointed chief operating officer in which he’s assuming operational oversight of the company’s broadcast and publishing segments. His other expanded responsibilities will include corporate human resources; executive vice president of radio Steve Wexler continues reporting to Fernandez. Elsewhere, the company names vice president/controller Jason Graham senior vice president of finance/controller/chief financial officer. Graham will report to chairman/chief executive officer Steven Smith, who states, “Jason has done an excellent job leading our accounting, billing, accounts payable, payroll, and tax teams. He has also contributed to our strategic planning and growth initiatives, which will continue to be an integral part of his expanded role as CFO.” Prior to joining Journal in June 2012, Graham was Brookdale Senior Living‘s vice president/corporate controller.
Odds & Sods. At Sports USA, the company announces that Lyle Gordon is promoted to EVP affiliate relations. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Lyle is a centerpiece of our company and his incredible relationships with over 400 radio stations makes Sports USA programming available to a nationwide audience. His experience with all forms of sports programming makes him the perfect person for this job.”…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 17th anniversary on the radio as she begins broadcasting year number 18 of her Providence-based weekly talk show program…..According to ESPNNewYork.com, when the New York Mets take to the field this season, radio broadcasters Howie Rose and Josh Lewin will be back in the booth as games air on new flagship WOR. Previously, games were heard on crosstown WFAN-FM…..In Nashville, Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM, will continue as flagship for the AAA Nashville Sounds this season. The Sounds are the AAA affiliate of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers.
Wichita Police Continue to Investigate Death of Steckline Communications Staffer. Authorities in Wichita are investigating the death of 25-year old Daniel Flores, a staffer at Steckline Communications, who was killed sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning at the company’s studios in West Wichita. Right now, police have little to go on and are asking the public’s assistance in solving the crime. At a press conference on Tuesday, police said they believe the perpetrator(s) were at the station for a reason – that it was not a random attack – but they are not sure at this point why the station or Flores was targeted. Flores had been an employee at Steckline for about a year.
Cool Job Opportunity. Sirius XM’s new Business Radio channel, originating from the Wharton School in Philadelphia, is looking for a business news host/producer. The host/producer will be responsible for anchoring two hours of daily programming on business news including topics ranging from product development to marketing and management strategies. Duties include working with an editorial team, faculty, industry experts and Sirius staff to identify daily content, create segments, and book guests as well as research business topics related to content themes. A Bachelor’s degree and three to five years of experience in news/business reporting and anchoring or equivalent combination of education and experience required. Applicants must be skilled in gathering, researching and reporting business stories as well as interviewing business newsmakers. The focus is on drawing useful business insight and analyses for a lay audience on a tight deadline. This position is based in Philadelphia. For more information please log on to: http://jobs.hr.upenn.edu:80/postings/1269Special.
WFTL’s Joyce Kaufman Jumps with the Golden Knights. Yes, that’s WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk show host Joyce Kaufman riding tandem with a member of the United States Army Parachute Team “The Golden Knights” over Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida. On another note, Kaufman tells TALKERS the recent Chapter 11 filing of WFTL’s parent company James Crystal Radio is not weighing on her. She says she had faith in the company. “We had a very anxious January, but I knew they would be honorable so I hung in. We received all our money last week and are on schedule to be paid in a timely fashion as the company reorganizes. I love this market. I love this company and as long as they give me the opportunity, I am staying.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Winter Weather Headed for South and East, Obama “I Can Do Anything I Want” Quip, Sochi Winter Games, Congress Raises Debt Ceiling, Hillary in 2016, NSA Spying Scandal, and Gay Football Player Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the next winter storm headed for the East and South; President Obama’s “I can do anything I want” quip; the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia; Congress’ move to allow the raising of the debt ceiling; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the backlash from the NSA spying scandal; and the announcement by NFL prospect Michael Sam that he’s gay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013. The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat. Also free cash flow increased by 2%. For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%. Though station expenses decreased slightly during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million. Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11). President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase. 2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year. We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”
Beasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing. In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.” In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management. It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services. Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns. Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.” Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremely excited by this relationship. It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component. The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.” Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging. Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers. Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue. We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.
Max Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances. The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales. Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed. No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”
FCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine. The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009. The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News. During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per. Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000. But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.
Former MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols. During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis. Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show. The station also issued an apology to Pujols. But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused. Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.
“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch. What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.” The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets. Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts. “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments. “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program. It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.” Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day. We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media. Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.” Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Beatles Played in Washington, Too! As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC. Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital. Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.
Odds & Sods. Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today. Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college. He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program. Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16. Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry. They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.
Brent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop. Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity. This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home). The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot. Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio). Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg. True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature
The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse
By Jeff McKay
Special features Correspondent
NEW YORK — Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal to wind up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks, he became VP of Affiliate Relations.
However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroad, and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Tremendous temptation surfaces in the years of profiling talk radio personalities to make an occasional obligatory James Brown-inspired reference.
Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.
Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).
That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz. Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.
As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1. According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel. The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week. Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show. Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.
Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks. Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street. Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.” This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.
Mark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27. Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned. The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive. The Tea Party is our only hope. It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.” Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Todd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era. Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day. It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today. I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
TALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Lars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner. There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson. Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson. This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.
Michael Smerconish Jumps to CNN. The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple. In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN. At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux. Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings. CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”
Honoring Ann. ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.
Odds & Sods. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show. Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program. Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist. Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting. He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6. The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
Tim Benz Promoted to Sports Director at CC Pittsburgh. Programmer and air personality Tim Benz exits his role as morning show host at alternative WXDX, Pittsburgh “105.9 The X” to take the sports director role at Clear Channel’s Pittsburgh cluster. With the move, WXDX evening host Abby Krizner moves to mornings. According to Pittsburgh’s Timesonline.com, Benz’s move means he’ll host a show on sister sports talker WBGG but will also continue to contribute to WXDX’s sports content (the station is the Penguins flagship). In a related move, Benz’s co-host Bob McLaughlin stays with the station as producer of the sports-heavy PM drive Mark Madden program on WXDX. About his promotion and the expansion of sports programming which will see his commentary used on cluster stations including rock WDVE, CHR WKST “96.1 KISS,” news/talk WPGB “FM News Talk 104.7,” and classic hits WWSW “94.5 3WS,” Benz tells Timesonline.com, “This opportunity to extend sports programming is something we have been discussing for some time and will enhance our platforms.” He’ll host the daily 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WBGG.
James Crystal Radio Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. After reports surfaced in the radio trades (including TALKERS) that James Crystal Radio had missed payroll in January, questions began to arise about the state of the company’s affairs and, sure enough, it’s now public information that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Florida. In the filing, James Crystal Radio lists assets of between $1 million and $10 million with between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities. Some of the 20 creditors with the largest claims include: more than $220,000 owned to BMI, more than $1.5 million to various attorneys for fees, plus some $861,000 owed to the IRS in payroll taxes and more than $200,000 in property and local taxes. This is a particularly unfortunate situation since the company has operated in a very locally focused manner giving opportunities to Florida personalities at news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN, both serving the West Palm Beach and South Florida markets. The company also owns foreign-language WFLL, Fort Lauderdale and gospel KBXD, Dallas.
Dave Ramsey Crosses Town to KEIB, Los Angeles. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves from news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles to Clear Channel’s new conservative talk KEIB “The Patriot 1150” where the show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm beginning February 24. KEIB program director Robin Bertolucci says, “We are delighted and excited to have Dave as part of our lineup. With his proven track record in LA, he’ll be an excellent addition to our station.” Currently, local personality Carlos Amezcua airs in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot on KEIB.
KFWB Expands ‘Money 101’ with Bob McCormick. With the departure of Dave Ramsey, CBS RADIO operated KFWB, Los Angeles grows Bob McCormick’s “Money 101” program and places it in the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot on the program schedule. As a result, “LA’s Morning News with Penny Griego and Phil Hulett” adds another hour, wrapping at 10:00 am. The station notes that McCormick “is a recognized authority on personal finance issues in Southern California…his fast-paced show features compelling content that goes beyond the headlines and focuses on how these issues influence our lives in Southern California.” Program director Andy Ludlum says of the changes, “We have enjoyed a great relationship with Dave Ramsey and his team. They are consummate professionals and Dave did a great job for us. It was a good partnership, but the opportunity to add more local programming to super-serve our listeners prevailed.”
Envision Networks Announces New Brand. The new name and branding for Envision Radio Networks is Envision Networks. The 11-year-old media network, which provides content and services to more than 1,500 radio stations across the country, says it has grown beyond the scope of a radio-only syndication company and that the new name Envision Networks encompasses its heritage radio business as well as its growing digital networks, streaming networks and on-demand listening. President and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Envision Networks is a more accurate representation of our current evolution and growth in radio, digital, streaming and product placement. The Envision Networks name and branding now reflects everything we supply to radio stations and other media while creating a desirable audience for our advertisers and partners.”
Broadcasting Pro Todd Feinburg Launches Boston Traffic Service. It’s called J4traffic and the Boston-based broadcasting pro tells TALKERS magazine it is a “crowd sourced, all-traffic radio station for Boston, the first radio format being launched by Speaks Mobile, Inc.” The app is available for free download from the Apple and Android stores. Todd Feinburg (who co-hosted morning drive on WRKO, Boston for the past five years and currently is doing part-time and fill-in work for WBZ-AM) explains the concept behind this initiative. “Rush hour is expanding to encompass much of the day in major American cities, and not just on weekdays. Radio traffic reports lack the frequency, substance and reliability to be effective at easing this pain, and traffic maps don’t go together well with the legal and practical responsibilities of operating a motor vehicle. Furthermore, traffic data delivered to mobile apps lacks the nuance that drivers need to make effective decisions regarding comparative routes – and it’s generally not much fun. We will correct these problems with The Jay – on-demand traffic talk radio that is informed by the crowd.” Feinburg says the programming will consist of a traffic report every five minutes. In between, they’ll broadcast updates reported to them by commuters. Drivers will share what they see on the road via 15 second mp3s they record on the J4traffic app, or they’ll call in with live reports. He says they are in “beta” mode right now but once they’re up to speed, they’ll use “Facebook mobile ads and Google keyword ads to push new users to the app in order to speed growth. In addition, we are optimistic that local media outlets will respond well to a PR campaign emphasizing a new format – all traffic radio – on a platform that has not been used to offer unique, local, radio content – but has been proven successful by companies such as Pandora, Spotify and Apple.” Feinburg says their positioning will be “as a humble, bootstrap operation looking to solve a problem, because that’s what we are. We see this as the beginning of a trend – ‘local’ is the power of radio, and local radio has been abandoned by broadcasters. Now that the threshold to entry has been lowered and anyone can have a radio station, we expect thousands of niche broadcast outlets to appear on the mobile platform.” Along with Feinburg, the two other principals are Jonathan Roy, an attorney who has left his practice in order to join the startup world. He gained experience in tech and startups before attending law school 15 years ago. Aaron Sawyer is a 20-year veteran of Total Traffic and its predecessor, Metro Traffic. Aaron worked as a manager and announcer for Total Traffic, setting up and rolling out new markets.
Executive Changes at NextMedia in Chicago as Sale to Digity Expected to Close on Monday. The sale of NextMedia’s nine suburban Chicago radio stations to Dean Goodman-led Digity, LLC is expected to close on Monday, February 10 and Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that two executives are being told they will not be retained when the deal is consummated. General managers Patrick Pendergast and Scott Kosak will reportedly exit the company and NextMedia360 vice president Brian Foster will serve as manager for the entire group. The Chicago stations are part of a larger deal that encompasses 33 stations becoming assets in Digity, LLC. The Chicago-area stations include: classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora; country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; news/talk WJOL-AM, Joliet; AC WSSR-FM, Joliet; rock WRXQ-FM, Coal City; sports WKRS-AM, Waukegan; hot AC WXLC-FM, Waukegan; rock WIIL-FM, Union Grove, Wisconsin and news/talk WLIP-AM, Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Dave Ramsey Brings Live Events to Boise. Nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here with (from left to right) Idaho First Lady Lori Otter, Townsquare Media regional vice president Kevin Godwin, and Idaho Governor Butch Otter during a visit to the market this week. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to a sold-out crowd in on Thursday (2/6) at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. The production presents Ramsey’s philosophy about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage. Local affiliate KIDO helped promote the event and Kevin Godwin states, “KIDO’s enthusiasm for the unique opportunity to host Dave Ramsey in Boise is brimming. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, as KIDO is celebrating its 85th anniversary of broadcasting this year. It’s very special to have one of our most popular talk show hosts here to share this with us and our community.” On Wednesday, Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan, about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. In the Riverside-San Bernardino market, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh is added to the lineup at KTIE, San Bernardino…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the program lineup at WVFT-FM, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama Beach, Florida and KGUM-AM, Agana, Guam…..The XtreMedia produced and syndicated Kevin McCullough show is added to the programming at WHEP, Mobile/Pensacola; WTXY, Wilmington, North Carolina; and WROM, Rome, Georgia…..The WYM Media-produced Leslie Marshall show is added to the Indiana Talk Radio Network airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved show is added to the lineup at WFBL, Syracuse; WMCR, Oneida, New York; and KVOC, Casper, Wyoming and the company’s Mike Gallagher show joins the programming at KMAX, Colfax, Washington…..“The Graveyard Shift” show announces affiliates for its March launch. KONR, Anchorage and KDOL, Livingston, Texas will carry the program.
Bennett Keynotes at Reagan Event. Nationally syndicated morning drive host Bill Bennett is pictured here speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California yesterday (2/6). The Salem Radio Network personality, who served as Education Secretary under Reagan, was keynote speaker at the event commemorating the 103rd anniversary of Reagan’s birth. Yesterday’s ceremony included a color guard, chaplain, a brass quintet, a 21-gun salute, a flyover, the placing of an official White House wreath on President Reagan’s gravesite and remarks by Bennett. Prior to the ceremony, Bennett signed copies of his new book, Is College Worth It?
Sean Hannity to Keynote and Host Special Breakfast at Talkers New York 2014 Set for Friday, June 20. Nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk media superstar Sean Hannity will again serve as the morning keynote and breakfast host at this year’s installment of TALKERS magazine’s annual New York City-based convention. The TALKERS magazine annual national talk media industry conference enters its 17th consecutive year as the date and site have been set for the next installment of the industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering. Upon the announcement of Hannity’s participation, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Sean’s valuable contributions to this event have become a tradition over the course of its colorful history. He transcends politics and even the competition factor at this event and is by far one of the brightest and most popular individuals in a behind-the-scenes sense in the talk industry. His grasp of ratings issues, sales challenges, the local/national balance equation and changes in the syndication sector is extremely ‘black belt’ in quality and greatly appreciated by his colleagues in the business.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This will be the most important installment of this can’t-miss conference ever because it will deal with some of the most sensitive and existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’ It should not be missed, plain and simple, by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.” Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are members of the working media (meaning actively or recently employed in the industry or associated industries) and can only be booked by telephone with credit card. Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249. As usual, because of space limitations and the quality of this long-established event, an early sellout is expected. Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead. For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
Mike Francesa to Deliver Sports Keynote Address at Talkers New York 2014 - Set for June 20. WFAN, New York sports talk superstar Mike Francesa will reprise his “grand slam home run” contribution from last year and again deliver this year’s sports keynote address at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20. Upon making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mike Francesa’s speech last year was one of the most memorable highlights of the conference. He brings the same no-nonsense, unapologetic, common-sense approach to the issues of the industry that he brings to his legion of fans on the radio about their passion – sports — and quite frankly, it is quite refreshing and inspirational to those of us for whom radio is the ‘game’ of our lives. Francesa is the quintessential local sports talker – the most important in the business – and is a voice that needs to be heard because so much has happened in the sports talk sector since last summer. He’s the perfect guy to deliver the updated message within the context of continuity.” Francesa’s address will directly follow the conference’s general morning keynote address delivered by Premiere Radio/Fox News Channel heavyweight Sean Hannity. More than 60 speakers from the leadership ranks of the industry’s talent, programming, management and sales arenas are being signed up to fill out the power-packed, one-day agenda. The TALKERS magazine annual national talk media industry conference (known for years as the “New Media Seminar”) enters its 17th consecutive year as the talk radio industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering. Harrison continues, “This will be the most important installment of this must-attend conference ever because it will deal with some of the most sensitive and even existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’ It should not be missed by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.” Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are members of the media industry (meaning actively or recently employed in the radio, television, and press industries or associated industries) and can only be booked by telephone with credit card. Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249. As usual, because of space limitations and the quality of this long-established event, a very early sellout is expected. Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead. For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
ObamaCare Criticism Returns to #1 on Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 3-7 was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. The issue held the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for eight straight weeks last fall and now returns to #1. At #2 this week was the pending immigration legislation and the amnesty component expected to be included in the bill. Following at #3 was talk of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 with the nation’s and several states’ marijuana laws coming in 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. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
By Pete Gustin
Voice Over Artist & Creative Services Director
BOSTON — “Imaging” isn’t nearly as difficult a concept to define as you might think, even when it comes to radio imaging. In fact, it’s quite simple. What is the image that you wish to portray to your listening public? Is it cool? Is it smart? Is it irreverent, connected or quirky? When done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are. It’s extremely powerful in fact. If you’ve ever heard the old saying “act as if”, that’s exactly what you should do when it comes to your radio imaging. Act as if you’re cool, or in this case, image as if you’re cool… and you will be.
So what happened? Why is the true art of imaging fading away? PPM consultants are breaking everything down into 15 minute segments and telling us that the most important thing to do is to get people from one block of listening to the next. So how do they propose we do this? It’s simple. Just tell the listeners what’s coming up next and they’ll stick around to hear it, Right? Maybe, but probably not. I can’t remember the last time I went to see a stand-up comic who, after delivering a really fantastic joke stopped to tell the crowd “Hey, if you liked that joke, stick around. I’ve got plenty more to come.” The show just keeps on going… until it absolutely has to stop.
Imaging with Style and Class in a PPM World. Your imaging should not try to beat the listener over the head with your message, says voice-over and creative services pro Pete Gustin. Instead, “when done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are. It’s extremely powerful in fact.” What’s the difference? Gustin points out that “the local car dealerships scream about their deals and discounts. The car manufacturers, however, brand their vehicle lines with high-end music, breathtaking imagery, top-notch actors and subtle innuendo. Don’t be a local car dealer screaming at your listeners.” Read more of Gustin’s useful pointers for getting station imaging tuned up for connecting with modern consumers here.
Nielsen Releases Audio Study Charting Use of Radio. A new report from Nielsen titled “State of the Media: Audio Today 2014” is a graphics-intense, 15-page summary of the use of radio among the population based on data culled from the Nielsen RADAR 119 December 2013 and the Nielsen National Regional Database Spring 2013. The study illustrates what most industry insiders probably already know – that the majority of radio listening among all demographics is done outside the home, and that Millennials listen to less radio during a given week than their older fellow media consumers. But the report also notes that “overall, midday is the highest-rated daypart,” due most likely to high at-work listening, though the 7:00 am hour is still the one with the most people listening to radio. The comparison of the three generations – Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials – shows the difference in the use of radio on a weekly basis. Some may quibble with the results. For example, the report states that 88.2% of Men 12-17 hear at least 5 minutes of radio during the week compared to 95% of Men 45-54 who hear at least 5 minutes of radio. There are industry observers who will claim the 88.2% figure is probably too high – that fewer are actually listening to radio – but the figure doesn’t pretend to show heavy users of radio, just those who’ve heard at least 5 minutes during the week. Regardless, the study does show the lower number of young consumers hearing AM/FM radio on a weekly basis compared to the rest of the population. Nielsen promises to update and expand on the study on a quarterly basis. See the entire study here.
Clear Channel and Horizon Media Enter into Cross-Platform Partnership. Media services agency Horizon Media and Clear Channel are announcing a partnership they call a “$100 million multi-year, cross-platform” relationship. In a statement, Clear Channel says this pact will create “first-to-market integrated marketing partnership opportunities for Horizon clients and exclusive access to select Clear Channel platforms including out-of-home, broadcast, mobile, events and digital.” Horizon’s clients include such ubiquitously marketed products as Corona beer, GEICO insurance, The History Channel and Silk. Clear Channel adds that the relationship will “provide Horizon Media with exclusive rights across key events and promotions, including select Artist Integration Programs, World Premieres, customized shows at Clear Channel’s iconic iHeartRadio Theaters in New York and Los Angeles, as well as special events created just for Horizon clients. In addition, the agency will have access to the full array of creative talent at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for special content creation opportunities. The partnership will also allow for the co-creation of new psychographic targeting systems utilizing Horizon’s proprietary tools and insights fused with unique music and consumer research built on Clear Channel Media’s industry-leading national reach. The valuable research insights developed throughout the partnership will fuel further media mix model development.” Horizon founder and CEO Bill Koenigsberg states, “We’re excited about this ground-breaking partnership and the positive impact it will have for our clients’ business. I’ve been impressed with the transformation of Clear Channel into a multi-platform company that can provide national reach while activating locally and providing measurable ROI.”
Mike Kapel Named PD at WDAY, Fargo. At the Forum Communications-owned news/talker WDAY, Fargo, market pro Mike Kapel takes over the program director position. He’ll also host the mid-morning 9:00 am to 11:00 am program. According to the Fargo Forum, Kapel is a native who’s worked in music radio for the past 20 years. Operations manager Jim Manney says, “There is nobody that I trust more than Mike to take over the day-to-day operations of 970 WDAY.” Kapel comments, “I am excited to lead the charge into a new era. As someone who grew up here and as somebody who understands the importance of WDAY to the community, it’s an exciting place to be.”
Doug Stephan Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show – “American Family Farmer” — to Launch This Weekend. One of the longest-running syndicated personalities in the business, “Good Day” host Doug Stephan, is launching a new program into development on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, this Saturday morning (2/8). The one-hour program which will air Saturdays at 8:00 am ET with repeat broadcasts throughout the week is a significant departure from Stephan’s generalist weekday morning show, “Good Day” which is heard on hundreds of terrestrial stations and is one of the most-listened-to on-air talk shows in the country. The new program is titled “The American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan” and it taps into a side of the seasoned broadcaster not often displayed publicly in his career thus far as a broadcaster – and that is his alternate career as a farmer. Yes, Doug Stephan is an independent dairy farmer operating two family farms for a number of years in the Boston suburb of Framingham, Massachusetts. In this capacity, Stephan is on top of the numerous issues — many of crisis proportions — facing today’s small farmer in America. He tells TALKERS, “There is a pressing need for a no-nonsense talk show that serves as an advocate for the interests of the small, independent, family farmer in this great country of ours that is being squeezed on all ends by the combined interests of the mega-corporate agricultural giants – backed by the government – economically and otherwise.” Stephan continues, “This is an area close to my heart and because I am deeply entrenched in this business, as well as broadcasting, I know the issues first-hand and like the back of my hand.” The program will feature commentaries and observations by Stephan, the latest information of value to family farmers and interviews with experts from agriculture, academia and government. Stephan says, “We aim to make a big difference.” On making the announcement of this new program’s launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “We are extremely focused on bringing this program to its fullest potential on the ‘experimental’ radio platform that is TalkersRadio. The on-air syndicated potential of this show is absolutely enormous with literally hundreds of rural and small market stations across the heartland of America ripe to carry such a powerful vehicle with so important a mission. Meantime, our job at TalkersRadio is to provide Doug Stephan with a ‘safe’ workout space to bring this project up to speed, as we are doing with the growing roster of hosts such as Alan Colmes, Lionel, Brent Seltzer, Meg McDonald, Robbie Student, the Gooches and their projects that are already incubating on this exciting stage. And we are only just getting started! Man, I am really loving this job!”
Not So Fast. Attorney and activist Sandra Fluke will not run for the seat being vacated by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) after all. Fluke tells the Los Angeles Times that her filing papers in the state of California was a preliminary move and that she has decided that she can accomplish more of her goals in a “better way.” Fluke’s national profile skyrocketed after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” as part of a critique of the provision that Catholic organizations be forced to provide birth control to students and employees under the Affordable Care Act. The incident ignited a backlash against Limbaugh and talk radio in general by special interest groups such as Media Matters for America.
Cool Job Opportunity. Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WOW-FM, Des Moines is looking for a morning host/program director to lead the station to the next level of success. This person will play a huge role in shaping WOW’s sound by generating great local content and overseeing the presentation of the station’s syndicated programming, imaging and on-air promotion. The successful candidate will have the proven ability to host an information-intensive morning show along with a basic understanding of news/talk programming principles and a desire to develop professionally. Salary is commensurate with experience and ratings history. Resumes, ratings history, references and mp3 should be sent in confidence to email@example.com with the subject “Des Moines News/Talk PD.” Cumulus Media is an EOE.
ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Horror Stories, Hillary in 2016, Financial Markets Activity, Marijuana Laws, and IRS Targeting Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). Continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reports from the Winter Olympics site of widespread unpreparedness as the games get ready to open on Friday; the speculation that Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016; the selling of stocks in financial markets around the world on weak factory reports in the U.S. and China; controversy over the implementation of the new marijuana laws in various states and the effects the changes may be having; and the House hearing investigating allegations of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Still Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format. Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams. To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions. It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago). Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio. Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time. To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.
SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013. During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million. Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year. Looking back on 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States. Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years. We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can check out the entire conference here.
Greater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs. This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online. Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange. The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners. This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse. However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct. The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company. Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.” The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.
Beasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division. In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts. In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard. “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success. Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell. Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selected for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking. Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve. To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.” Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director. He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets. Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets. He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local. Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville). Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.
Klatt Yields the Winning Run. In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening. The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers. Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network. “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.” Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision. With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research. He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.
Learfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition. One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports Marketing. Learfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools. Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us. In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business. Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in. This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.” Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role. He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014. Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio. Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24. The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it. Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.
WestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics. When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage. WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.
Dana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’ Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program. Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.
Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michele Laven Promoted to Newly Created Corporate Post at Clear Channel. Rising from her EVP of strategic partnerships position to the new president of partnerships and local activation post is Michele Laven. She’ll report to Tim Castelli, president of national sales, marketing and partnerships at Clear Channel Media + Entertainment. Her role is described as creating “strategic alliances and marketing programs with key distribution and content partners, while expanding the capacity of Clear Channel’s local market sales organizations to develop multi-market revenue opportunities.” CEO Bob Pittman states, “Clear Channel is built on our strong relationships with listeners, advertisers and partners — both on the local and national level. We have the unparalleled ability to connect artists with their fans and brands with their consumers, and in her new role Michele is going to use her expertise to help national partners build an even closer relationship with their consumers at the local level.” Prior to joining CC eight years ago, Laven served as president and chief operating officer of New Times Media.
Entercom Elevates DiNardo to SF VP/Market Manager. Vice president of sales Steve DiNardo is boosted to vice president and market manager of Entercom‘s San Francisco-San Jose cluster. Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer comments that, “After a nationwide search, the best choice was right in front of us. I am proud to promote from within as Steve and the entire San Francisco team achieved market-leading results in Q4. They have set a blistering pace for 2014. Under Steve’s leadership, I know Entercom will continue to be one of the media leaders in the market.” The company’s Bay Area group consists of adult contemporary KOIT-FM “Lite Rock – Less Talk,” classic rock KUFX & KUZX “K-Fox,” sports talk KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX “Yesterday and Today’s R&B.” DiNardo remarks, “Our heritage brands and innovative staff make this opportunity a dream come true. Entercom’s entrepreneurial spirit and corporate resources give us everything we need to grow our audience engagement as well as the revenues that follow.” In advance of joining the Entercom stations in 2012, DiNardo spent 15 years as a CBS Radio vice president/general manager.
Casey Named Operations Manager of Townsquare Hudson Valley. Former Clear Channel, Indianapolis director of operations Buzz Casey is tapped to become operations manager for Townsquare Media Group‘s 10 stations in the Hudson Valley and Poughkeepsie, New York. Townsquare Media senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson remarks, “Buzz has a track record of success and he brings a strong set of skills to lead Townsquare Hudson Valley to a new level on-air, online and on site.” In addition to his OM duties, Casey will be day-to-day program director of Poughkeepsie rock outlet WPDH. “The culture and creativity of Townsquare Media Group are top-notch,” Casey comments. “The Hudson Valley brands are poised for success.” Hudson Valley is Nielsen Audio‘s 39th-highest market. Casey’s past programming and operations management resume includes Atlanta’s WKLS “96 Rock” and alternative WBZY; Phoenix rocker KDKB; classic rock WFBQ “Q-95,” Indianapolis; and WNRQ, Nashville.
Mancow’s GCN Deal Official. It was reported last week that Erich “Mancow” Muller was signing with Genesis Communications Network to syndicate his morning radio program after formally cutting ties with TFN-FM the week prior. Now it’s official as GCN announces the show will be distributed live from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET in addition be being available on demand 24 hours per day via Mancow.com and GCNLive.com. Mancow comments, “I’m happy to be in league with GCN as we move the show forward to bigger and better things. We’re excited to work with GCN – a team that is dedicated to providing the most cutting-edge radio in the industry and prides itself in making life for our affiliates and advertisers as easy as it can possibly be in this era of new media.” Mancow’s program is simulcast on TV in Chicago on FoxTV-owned WPWR-TV “My50.”
Medical Marijuana Info Ad on Boston Stations Raises Questions About ‘Pot Ads.’ The issue in Massachusetts as reported by the Boston Herald yesterday is different than the issues stations in Colorado and Washington are facing. The Massachusetts case is about medical marijuana, not legal pot for recreational use as is now allowed in Colorado and Washington. Stations in those states have so far avoided ads for legal pot because of the conflict between federal and state laws on the matter – no one is willing to become the (expensive) legal test case. But the Massachusetts ads that aired on Greater Media’s alternative WBOS and rhythmic AC WBQT in Boston were bought not by a dispensary but by the New England Grass Roots Institute which doesn’t sell marijuana; it provides information about medical marijuana. Institute founder Mike Fitzgerald tells the Herald the rules don’t apply to him. “We’re the first cannabis institute. We’re really focused on people who have never seen cannabis before. Since the American Medical Association isn’t teaching anything, we thought we need to step in.” But the Herald story also quotes a dispensary consultant who says the laws state dispensaries are not supposed to “generate demand.” Since Fitzgerald’s institute is not a dispensary, that could muddy the waters. Regardless, it’s going to be just a matter of time before advertising this new industry becomes relevant to radio. There’s just too much money to be made. Read the Herald story here.
Sandra Fluke Shows Intent to Run for Henry Waxman’s Congressional Seat. Activist Sandra Fluke has filed papers with the state of California signaling her intent to run for the 33rd Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Henry Waxman. Fluke’s national profile skyrocketed after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” as part of a critique of the provision that Catholic organizations be forced to provide birth control to students and employees under the Affordable Care Act. Fluke still has to file with the federal government to be a legitimate candidate. So far, two other Democrats have filed to seek the party’s nomination.
Cumulus Flips WISW, Columbia to Sports Talk. The new sports talk outlet in the Columbia, South Carolina market is airing the NBC Sports Radio Network lineup after Cumulus Media flipped the station from news/talk. With the change, there are now four major sports talk signals in the market including Clear Channel’s WXBT, L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC, and Cumulus’ other sports talker WNKT “107.5 The Game,” a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate. Two news/talk stations serve the market including Clear Channel’s WVOC-FM and Glory Communications’ WQXL (and its two FM translators).
WestwoodOne Reports Motel 6 Spot Most Creative Super Bowl Audio Ad. The results of WestwoodOne’s first-ever consumer-driven index of the most creative audio spots run during its broadcast of the Super Bowl are in and this year’s winner was Motel 6. According to WestwoodOne, the Motel 6 spot won top honors in both the Listener Choice and Media Choice categories in the Super Bowl Audio Index. The other top vote-getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen and Taco Bell. During the two weeks leading up to the game, listeners were encouraged to vote for their favorite Super Bowl commercial across many of WestwoodOne properties via an array of online and on-air promotions. Listeners were directed to www.westwoodone.com/vote, where each of the commercials was available for consumer voting from Thursday, January 30 through 12 midnight ET on February 2, 2014. The index was comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations which broadcast WestwoodOne’s exclusive, national play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Simulcast Begins! The sports talk simulcast of WEPN-FM, New York’s Michael Kay show on the YES Network began yesterday (2/3). The afternoon drive host (along with co-host Don La Greca) for ESPN’s New York City O&O took over the afternoon slot on the regional cable channel owned by the New York Yankees. For years, the slot was occupied by crosstown rival Mike Francesa simulcasting on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York. Pictured here on day one of their new operation is the crew (from left to right): production director Mike Brownsher, senior producer Andrew Gundling, La Greca, Kay, executive producer Ryan T. Hurley, and associate producer Ray Deenihan.
Chuck Harder Plans Return to Talk Media with New Project. Veteran talk radio program host, entrepreneur and modern-era talk syndication pioneer Chuck Harder of “For the People” fame tells TALKERS he is starting up a new project that will produce and distribute talk radio on a TV network. In development for five years, Harder has assembled what he describes as “a million dollar facility” with FCC licensed Ku Band Video Satellite uplink that he plans to startup in 90 to 120 days on TELSTAR 14-R, a new satellite received on three-foot dishes. Harder is looking for both talk show hosts and investors. Interested parties can first visit www.talkradiotv.net for details and then send him a letter of interest to P.O. Box A, White Springs, FL 32096. Harder states, “We will furnish all needed video and audio equipment for your studio and are planning on live two-way talk 24/7. All letters of interest will be answered. No calls please. We will appear on unfilled new local TV channels using standard NTSC MPEG-2 with CD quality audio and provide extra income for local TV affiliates. Our horizon to horizon C and Ku band all-sat teleport operations center sits across the street from a fiber-optic digital switch that provides us high speed internet video globally and 10 incoming talk lines. TELSTAR 14-R coverage map and fiber optics map is on the website.” Harder says he will not do a show due to the necessities of daily sales and management of operations.
Super Bowl XLVIII, Financial Markets Activity, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation and Woody Allen Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The aftermath of the Seattle Seahawks’ victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday; the downward-trending Dow and the activity in world financial markets; the heroin-related death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman; scrutiny of the rollout of and possible future effects of the Affordable Care Act; the looming immigration legislation with amnesty provisions; and the renewed allegations of sexual assault against filmmaker Woody Allen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3). Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet. Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity. Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’ Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality. His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”
New Talk Station to Air in DC Market. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies. The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3). In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.” Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Programming will include Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller. Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.
Mike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog. Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time. I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.” Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.
To Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them! Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.” We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites. Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there. Not very tempting is it? More details. Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot. “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will. It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another. Opportunity is knocking.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Clear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia. The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes. According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced. A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead. Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.
Mike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC. Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics. How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York. A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans. Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself. Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar. Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.
FCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers. The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters. The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance. The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM. In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”
L&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations. Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting. The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville. The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
Quit using the word “details” when you talk about your site on the air. You know what I’m talking about. How many times a day does your station say, “for all the details, log on to radio103.com!”
That’s EXACTLY what I need in my life … more details.
Cuts at Cumulus-Owned WestwoodOne Happening; SVP Amy Bolton Exits. The names of those being let go are coming out as Cumulus Media begins the cuts at WestwoodOne that have been expected since the acquisition of then-Dial Global closed. Numerous high-level executives are being shown the door – in many instances where there are duplicative positions between WestwoodOne and the Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is promising investors he can realize $40 million in synergies and eliminating these positions is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that. WestwoodOne SVP and general manager of news & talk Amy Bolton – who’s been with the organization going back when it was Jones Radio Networks – is let go. Also reportedly out in this round of cuts are: chief marketing officer Christina Albee; EVP/Eastern director Eileen Decker; and SVP of research Paul Bronstein.
Lionel Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show to Launch This Weekend. One of the most original personalities in the business, radio talk show host Lionel, is launching a new program on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, tomorrow morning (2/1). The self-titled show “Lionel” will air live on the “experimental” talk show platform Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 10:00 am ET and run as a regular weekly series. It will feature the intellectually stimulating talk media star in an hour of free-form conversation and reflection about the wide variety of topics that fall within his realm of interest. Lionel describes his plans for the new program as “spoken thought not spoken word” telling TALKERS, “The show will be the editorial cartoon versus the editorial. Broadcast idea topiaries. Stream of consciousness meets targeted subject selection. No left-right paradigm blather. No bumper sticker, playbook, echo chamber drivel. As I feel, as I want, as I please.” A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com, the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City. The ex-prosecutor Lionel has also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst. However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before. This will truly be Lionel unchained!” On making the announcement of Lionel’s joining the station, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “Lionel joining this ‘audio workout space’ is a perfect example of what TalkersRadio is about and hopes to achieve – and that is to provide select people in this business as well as potentially outstanding newcomers with the opportunity to try and develop things that are not being done in the traditional on-air space for the sake of moving the industry forward.”
Cox Flips KONO-AM, San Antonio to Sports Talk. The AM side of the KONO-AM/FM simulcast flips to sports talk using the CBS Sports Radio Network after more than 20 years airing the classic hits format of sister KONO-FM. Cox Media Group San Antonio vice president and market manager Dan Lawrie states, “We’re excited to bring this level of quality sports programming to San Antonio. Additionally, South Texas sports fans should be glad to welcome the return of the Jim Rome show after a two-year absence in the market.” CBS Sports Radio program director Eric Spitz adds, “We’ve put together a tremendous lineup of experienced hosts with strong opinions and personalities who perfectly capture the passion and excitement of the sports fan. With sports, the action never stops, and CBS Sports Radio provides listeners with cutting-edge analysis, high-profile interviews and late breaking news.”
WCKG-AM, Chicago Names Leslie Harris Director of Community Programming. At the Matt Dubiel-run DuPage Radio LLC, market personality Leslie Harris is named director of community programming and host at the suburban talk station. Harris recently exited NextMedia’s suburban rocker WERV “95.9 The River” and Dubiel comments, “Leslie was the full addition I made at WERV and I am over the moon excited to have a Downers Grove rock mamma as part of our local team.”
Good Karma Sells Janesville, Wisconsin Stations to Local Operator. Two stations in the Janesville, Wisconsin market – rock WWHG “105.9 The Hog” and sports talk WTJK “ESPN Radio 1380” – are being sold by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting to Scott Thompson who operates stations in nearby Monroe, Wisconsin and Freeport, Illinois. The Janesville Gazette reports that Thompson plans to keep the staff already in place at both stations and possibly add an employee. He tells the paper WTJK may air less ESPN content and more local news. Thompson takes over under an LMA while the transaction works its way through the FCC approval process.
WEEI-FM, Boston Begins Friday Night Promotion. In a partnership with local watering hole The Greatest Bar and local media sources Dirty Water TV and DirtyWaterNews.com, Entercom sports talk WEEI-FM begins broadcasting the “Planet Mikey” show with Mikey Adams live from The Greatest Bar Friday, February 7 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show will feature celebrity guests from the world of sports and entertainment. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham, citing the bar’s proximity to the TD Garden, states, “It’s a natural fit to partner with the Dirty Water brand and The Greatest Bar. Combining Mikey’s unique entertaining style, the Dirty Water connections for guests and content, and the proximity to the TD Garden will make for a fun atmosphere and a great listen on ‘93.7FM WEEI’ and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.” Bill Fairweather is co-owner of The Greatest Bar and creator of Dirty Water TV. He says WEEI-FM is the perfect radio partner for Dirty Water’s growing array of media entities. “When we decided to add radio to the growing menu of media options that our brand delivers to Greater Boston and beyond, WEEI – with its strong sports focus – was a natural partner for us. Entertainment and celebrity mix very well with sports and The Greatest Bar is the perfect location to bring those topics together. We’re excited to have the opportunity to add these new dimensions to WEEI’s radio offerings.”
Odds & Sods. In honor of Rosa Parks Day on February 4, the Premiere Networks-syndicated Comedy 24/7 format will air special clips of comics of the civil rights era talking about the issue. African American comedians including Dick Gregory, Godfrey Cambridge and Slappy White were outspoken about necessary changes to be made in our society during that time and the format will air special tracks by these comedians and others as they spoke out in the language of the times at :57 after the hour all day on February 4…..Former NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will serve as a football analyst with Clear Channel’s sport talk KJR, Seattle next season after handling the same duties in 2013…..Milwaukee Brewers radio play-by-play voice Bob Uecker will step back a little bit from his duties with the team beginning this season as he’ll call fewer road games for flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee. Uecker, who turns 80 this year, will still call all home games and be present for spring training in Arizona.
Joy and Hope Amidst the Misery. Pictured here with children in Port Au Prince, Haiti is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup. He tells TALKERS he is there with Salem Radio News documenting conditions in Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and millions homeless. He’s embedded with the relief organization Food for the Poor and has been visiting slums, orphanages and feeding centers for the news network’s five-part special series on “The Poorest of the Poor.” Tradup reports that Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce (who also is serving as operations manager of the New York stations) is there working on documenting the trip for a New York market broadcast.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New York-based XtreMEDIA announces a number of affiliates joining three of the company’s offerings. First, the daily Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at WCIS-AM, Morganton, North Carolina; WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; WGEA, Geneva, Alabama; and KNLB-FM, Blythe, California. The nightly Steve Deace program joins the lineup at WGTK-AM, Louisville; WTOH-FM, Columbus; and WWTC, Minneapolis. Finally, the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough” show is now heard on WMRC, Milford, Massachusetts and WYPV-FM, Mackinaw City, Michigan…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney joins the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville.
The State of the Union Address Top Talk Radio Story This Week. According to the Talkers TenTM, the president’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 27-31. At #2 this week was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was new immigration legislation and the prospect of amnesty and at #4 was the extreme winter weather affecting much of the nation. 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 is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley Broadcasting Reports Q4 Revenue Down Slightly; 2013 Up 4.7%. Political advertising – or the lack thereof in the fourth quarter of Beasley’s Q4 – led to a mildly down quarter as net revenue dropped a half of a percent compared to the same period in 2012. Station operating income was down 5.2% quarter over quarter. However, for the year, Beasley reports net revenue was up 4.7% and net income per diluted share was up 6.3%. Further, the company states that “lower net revenue in the 2013 fourth quarter and a $0.4 million, or 2.5%, increase in station operating expenses related to operating KVGS-FM in Las Vegas which was acquired in September 2013, as well as a rise in sales and programming expenses, caused fourth quarter 2013 station operating income (SOI), a non-GAAP financial measure, to decrease by $0.6 million, or 5.2%, to $10.2 million, as compared to the 2012 fourth quarter.” Chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “Beasley Broadcast Group’s fourth quarter net revenue decline primarily reflects a reduction in political spending as in the fourth quarter of 2012 we recorded approximately $1.2 million in political advertising revenue. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment in our markets remains healthy and on an actual basis we reported just a slight decline in net revenue compared with last year. Excluding the benefit of political advertising in the year-ago quarter, Beasley Broadcast Group’s 2013 fourth quarter same station net revenue rose approximately 2% and, reflecting our success throughout 2013, actual full year net revenue rose 4.7% while same station net revenue for 2013 was up 1.9% versus full year 2012. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 76% of total fourth quarter revenue – Beasley station cluster revenue declined by 2.6%, which again was primarily attributable to the cyclical nature of political advertising, while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets decreased by 4.1% for the quarter. Beasley Broadcast Group’s out-performance relative to our markets again highlights the benefit of our organization-wide focus on strong core programming and targeted localism. Our planned investments in sales and programming and the expansion of our digital offerings, combined with the revenue decline, led to fourth quarter 2013 SOI which was 5.2% below year-ago levels.”
Sliwa Child Support Case Creating ‘Tabloid’ Sensation in NYC. The child support case currently in the courts in New York involving WABC, New York talk show host Curtis Sliwa has been fodder for the city’s tabloid newspapers. Recently it was the New York Post. Now it’s the New York Daily News. The most recent court filings by Sliwa’s ex-wife Mary charge Curtis Sliwa was having an affair with now-Queens Borough president Melinda Katz prior to his marriage to Mary – and that he even spent the night before his wedding to Mary with Katz. Sliwa was in court late last year contending he can’t afford the $13,000 per month he had agreed to pay Mary Sliwa for their now-10-year-old son because his salary had been slashed to $200,000 from its high of almost $700,000. (That was when he worked for Salem, he now works for Cumulus and his current salary has not been published.) Sliwa now lives with Katz and their two children and he pays $10,000 to Katz for child care even though they co-habitate. Court documents allege that – via voice mails – Mary Sliwa can show Curtis Sliwa was having an affair with Katz for a long period of time although the two deny it started before 2011. Mary Sliwa is also contesting the claim by Katz that her children were the product of frozen sperm donated by Sliwa. Whereas this ordeal is no doubt causing financial and personal pain for the parties involved, the buzz factor generated by a scandal of this nature cannot help but draw priceless and timely publicity to Sliwa’s radio presence in the competitive New York market as he reunites with his former longtime co-host Ron Kuby on WABC. Read the most recent New York Daily News story here.
TV News Net Exec Joins Clear Channel Seattle as Market President. The new market president at Clear Channel’s Seattle cluster is Kent Haehl. The former Channel One Network chief executive officer will report to executive vice president of operations Hartley Atkins, who comments, “We are fortunate to bring someone onto our team who has such an expansive leadership and experience base. Kent’s extensive knowledge of television, media, and the industry as a whole will immediately bring additional value to our advertisers and listeners as we continue to provide a greater reach than any other media outlet in Seattle.” Haehl, who replaces Lisa Decker in the role, remarks that he is “extremely grateful” to begin working with “such a talented team of professionals.” He adds, “I am looking forward to leading the market to continued success and to unlocking the full potential of our brands in one of America’s greatest cities.” Prior to his tenure at Channel One, a daily global television news network, Haehl held senior sales and marketing positions at In-Store Broadcasting Network and Meredith Broadcasting Group.
Bartley Joins WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Air personality and programmer David Bartley is named assistant program director and producer at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bartley – who serves with the cluster as weekend and fill-in personality on the company’s sister AC WEBE – will produce the “Talk of the Town” program hosted by Jim Buchanan. He will continue his role with WEBE. In a statement, Bartley says, “I am very thankful to Danny Lyons and Ann McManus for giving me this awesome opportunity to help program ‘Fairfield County’s News and Information Leader’ WICC 600 AM, and I am also looking forward to working daily with Jim Buchanan.”
Portland’s KXTG to Air AFL Thunder Games. As a result of a multi-year partnership agreement, Alpha Broadcasting, Portland’s sports-formatted KXTG “The Game” will be the flagship station for the Portland Thunder, the city’s Arena Football League team. Senior vice president and market manager Milt McConnell notes, “We are excited to be a part of bringing the high-scoring Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder to our community. This is an entertaining brand that extends Alpha’s ‘live and local’ focus.” Portland Thunder owner Terry Emmert adds, “Sports fans in Oregon know that ‘The Game’ is the premiere sports radio station in the State. We are thrilled to have partnered with the station and Alpha Broadcasting in airing the inaugural season of Portland Thunder Arena Football. The AFL franchise will play 18 games, including nine at home at the Moda Center. KXTG is also the flagship of the Oregon Ducks and Major League Soccer‘s Portland Timbers.
Long-Running Syndicated Health Show ‘Duke & The Doctor’ Ends. One of the nation’s longest-running syndicated health talk shows is ending after tomorrow’s broadcast. The “Duke & The Doctor” program – co-hosted by Dr. Jan McBarron (right) and her husband Duke Liberatore (left) – has been in national syndication for more than 15 years. The couple is putting the wrap on the show at the same time they are selling their chain of six health food stores in North Georgia to Utah-based Nutraceutical. Long-time readers of TALKERS magazine and industry pros who attended TALKERS’ New Media Seminar in New York City in the late 1990s and early 2000s are familiar with the colorful couple who were regular attendees at the event during those years. With the show ending and the health food store chain being sold, Dr. McBarron is focusing on her medical practice and Liberatore will become more involved with the Columbus Lions Indoor Football team of which he and McBarron are part owners.
Veteran Recognized at SOTU Featured in KFYI, Phoenix Program. When President Obama recognized US Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg at the end of Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, Americans were applauding a man who was also recognized as part of news/talk KFYI, Phoenix’s “My Military Hero” promotion. Remsburg (pictured here at left with KFYI’s Mike Broomhead), was the August 2013 military hero of the month who was featured on a local billboard in the Phoenix metro and received a $500 Visa gift card courtesy of sponsor Rio Salado College. As part of the program, Mike Broomhead (heard on KFYI weekdays 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm) meets with each hero (or their family) each month to personally thank them for their service and presents them with their winnings including a mini digital billboard.
RTDNF Names Wallace Host of First Amendment Awards. This year’s host of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) First Amendment Awards is Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace. The event will be held at Washington, DC’s Grand Hyatt Hotel on March 12. Honorees include CBS News‘ Bill Plante (RTDNF “Lifetime Achievement Award”); NBC News‘ Lester Holt (Leonard Zeidenberg “First Amendment Award”); Gannett Broadcasting‘s David Lougee (“First Amendment Leadership Award”); ABC News‘ Robin Sproul (“First Amendment Service Award”); and The Associated Press (“First Amendment Award”). RTDNF chair Vincent Dully states, “We are delighted to have Chris Wallace as our master of ceremonies. We invite everyone to join us in Washington to honor our award recipients and support the Foundation’s work for the First Amendment.” Wallace received the organization’s Paul White Award in 2013, the group’s highest honor for a lifetime of achievement and service.
Former Tampa-Area Talk Host Arrested on Racketeering and Fraud Charges. Using the religious station as a backdrop for his program “It’s God’s Money,” Gary L. Gauthier convinced 38 people in the Tampa area to invest in his Ponzi scheme and, according to the St. Petersburg Tribune, bilked them out of about $6 million. During 2005, Gauthier’s program aired on Salem Communications-owned stations WTBN and WGUL, though it’s not clear if Salem owned the stations at the time Gauthier’s program aired. According to the charges, Gauthier worked with local accountant David George Dreslin on the ploy. Dreslin has also been arrested and charged. The paper’s report indicates that many of the victims said they trusted Gauthier because he was broadcasting on a Christian radio station.
Odds & Sods. The “weigh-in” for WIP-FM, Philadelphia’s “Wing Bowl 22” takes place this afternoon at Chickie’s & Pete’s as Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes broadcast live from the restaurant in a prelude to the actual sold-out “Wing Bowl” that happens Friday morning at the Wells Fargo Center…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington adds popular Washington Post columnist Clinton Yates to its lineup as a contributor with a daily commentary called, “My Take.” It’ll air at 5:35 and 8:35 each morning, Monday through Friday. Yates says, “Radio is the original journalism media that I fell in love with as a kid. The opportunity to work with a powerhouse station like WTOP is tremendous.”…..Multi-talented broadcaster Kate Delaney – host of the syndicated “America Tonight” show – sharpens her sports talk skills as she sits in for Newy Scruggs on the NBC Sports Radio Network’s midday show on Tuesday, February 4.
State of the Union Address, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation, U.S.-Afghan Relations, Snow Paralyzes South and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). Analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; criticism of House Speaker John Boehner and plans for immigration legislation that includes amnesty; the worsening of relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai; the winter weather that hit the South and the activity on the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Langmyer Promoted to VP/GM of Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Ops. Radio programming and management pro Tom Langmyer rises to vice president and general manager of Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations. In this new post he’ll oversee news/talk WTMJ, adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake” and the company’s radio sports play-by-play operations in Milwaukee. Langmyer, who’s served as VP/GM of WGN, Chicago; VP/GM of KMOX, St. Louis and vice president of news/talk programming for CBS RADIO, to name a few, came to Journal as vice president, news/talk programming in August 2013. His promotion comes as Journal EVP – Radio Steve Wexler moves into that new role and away from his day-to-day general manager role to focus on Journal’s 35-station radio division. Wexler comments, “Tom is a trusted leader with a well-known track record of success. Our radio stations are in excellent hands with Tom at the helm. Tom has already made significant contributions to our company, and I’m thrilled to have a broadcaster of his caliber running our flagship stations.” Langmyer will continue to support Journal’s spoken-word stations as vice president of news/talk programming.
WLS, Chicago Re-Tools 5:00 pm Hour. As detailed in a column by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media Windy City news/talk WLS-AM will end the sports-focused 5:00 pm hour of the Roe & Roper show after today’s broadcast. The “89 WLS Sports Pregame Show” during which Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are joined by “Fox 32” sports anchor Lou Canellis ends after a year during which Feder reports “listeners tuned out in droves.” Under new operations manager and program director Peter Bolger, the drive time hour will revert to news/talk programming. Read Feder’s column here.
The ‘Golden Mike’ Awards Set for February 24 in NYC. The annual black-tie fundraiser presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place on Monday, February 24 at the Plaza Hotel in New York with an all-star cast of guests and performers. This year’s “Golden Mike Award” honors BMI president Del Bryant. This annual gala is one of the biggest fundraisers for the BFoA – the charity that helps TV and radio professionals whose lives have been affected by serious illness, accidents, and other life-altering circumstances. The evening will be hosted by Bob Schieffer, the acclaimed anchor and moderator of CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Entertainment will feature the legendary Kris Kristofferson, recent recipient of a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and a Country Music Hall of Famer who ranks among the most versatile of American talents. Also joining the program in honor of Bryant is culinary and home style expert Sandra Lee, who will be a presenter. The evening is also attracting famed singer/songwriters from rock to country, including Michael Bolton and Mac Davis. Bryant has spent more than four decades at BMI, working with singer/songwriters and broadcasters alike. He played the leading role in re-engineering and modernizing BMI’s royalty distribution system. Bryant directed the implementation of the structure introduced in 1987 as part of an aggressive writer acquisition campaign that marked a sharp turn-around at BMI and attracted many of the best new writers across key genres of music. Heralding from a musical family, Bryant is the son of noted songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, who penned such classics as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” The Broadcasters Foundation of America has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy. Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times. Donations can be made as a personal gift to the Foundation and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative.
Sekoff to Keynote NAB Show Disruptive Media Conference. At the Digital Media Wire-co-produced Disruptive Media Conference segment of the coming NAB Show in Las Vegas, Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff will present the keynote address on Wednesday, April 9. Sekoff’s keynote will address how the rise of online video and viewers’ growing desire to engage with content is significantly impacting programming, distribution and advertising in media and entertainment. Before helping to launch HuffPost and HuffPost Live, Sekoff was a writer and on-air correspondent for Michael Moore‘s “TV Nation.” His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Village Voice and The London Times. Sekoff is a frequent guest on a wide-range of TV and radio shows, including MSNBC and Fox News. The Disruptive Media Conference, produced in partnership with Digital Media Wire, gathers professionals who oversee the digital and interactive divisions within their companies to explore developments in online video, mobile and branded entertainment.
American Target Network Expands Radio Initiative. The American Target Network “creates unwired media networks that deliver flexible, customizable national, regional and local advertising buys at deeply discounted rates.” The company announces it is expanding its radio initiative by hiring Brett Charest as vice president of radio networks. Charest was most recently media buying director at Barrington Media Group. He began his career in radio at Hartford’s WMRQ-FM and then moved into marketing and promotion with Clear Channel, where he was responsible for four stations. Charest then jumped to the agency side, becoming operations manager at Mediaworx LLC. ATN vice president of ad sales Kevin Hayes states, “With Brett’s strong experience in packaging results-oriented radio campaigns with major market radio stations and national ad agencies, he is the ideal executive to lead American Target Network’s radio expansion. He has established himself as one of the foremost experts on the direct marketing side of radio, and we know that his relationships, strategic planning and astute buying expertise will open the doors we need to create a new level of leadership in this arena.” Charest will operate out of American Target Network’s West Coast office and be primarily responsible for network development and affiliate relations.
Odds & Sods. A new podcast is being offered by Sports USA featuring sports agent Leigh Steinberg. Sports USA president Bob Moore says of the new “Leigh Steinberg on Sports,” “Leigh is an American sports icon and the preeminent sports agent of all time. His experiences over more than 40 years working with America’s top athletes will power this exciting weekly show. ‘Leigh Steinberg on Sports’ will cover anything and everything about sports, the personalities involved, and the most important issues of the day.”…..That “boing” sound from your spring-loaded mic stand bothering you? “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean has a quick solution (see photo): “Wrap a scarf around the springs of a microphone scissor arm to prevent ‘boing!’ sounds from leaking into the mic when you move it. Plus it looks totally rock ‘n’ roll, kind of 70s freeform FM music radio. Plus, visual cues can inspire shifts in talk style. An influence of 70s freeform FM music radio can be fun and useful in talk radio.”
Media Day at Super Bowl XLVIII. As America gears up for Sunday’s game, Tuesday saw the players and the media converge during Media Day. Pictured here is WestwoodOne Sports reporter Jim Gray (left) interviewing Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (right) for broadcast over the radio network. While it looks like Gray and Manning are having a good conversation, Media Day is often looked at as drudgery by the players and a source for very little new or insightful commentary from the media’s perspective. Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr decided to challenge his crew to have some fun with it as they tried to inject as many “Jay Mohr Sports sound drops” into their questions for the players as possible. Anchor Dan Beyer and associate producer Matty Cox (pictured here at right interviewing Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard) competed to see who could sneak the most sound drops into their conversations. Phrases such as “dead giveaway,” “that’s terrific,” “Long Liland,” “New York City” (accent included), and “Jonathan Quick – there’s a reason why that is his last name. What’s that for? Because he’s quick,” were used.
State of the Union Address, Winter Weather, ObamaCare Rollout, Financial Markets Activity, Immigration Legislation, and Super Bowl Run-up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The anticipation of the president’s State of the Union Address; the cold and snow hitting the Midwest, South and East; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; activity in the world’s financial markets; immigration reform legislation that includes amnesty for illegal aliens; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio on Tuesday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host
Unfortunately, that’s what many of us are doing. Let me explain the analogy.
Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks won the lottery. His rant after the NFC championship game hit all the viral markers: it was loud, it was outrageous and it reached a huge audience at exactly the right time. Sherman went from a fine-but-obscure cornerback to a national figure literally overnight. Blogs, tweets, Facebook pages and every other form of social media either supported or vilified him. The fame he achieved might last the traditional fifteen minutes, or with clever marketing, catapult his off-field career to new heights.
‘ESPN New York 98.7’ Host Michael Kay to Simulcast on the YES Network. That’s the afternoon drive slot on the New York cable channel owned by the New York Yankees that’s been home to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa for the past 12 years ( a portion of that with former co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo). This was not unexpected as the YES Network announces the multi-year deal that begins on February 3. This is a good fit for YES as Michael Kay has been the play-by-play man for YES’ New York Yankees telecasts, and the host of the network’s “CenterStage with Michael Kay” interview show, since the network launched in March 2002. He also hosts various programming specials on YES. Network president of production and programming John J. Filippelli says, “Michael Kay is a New York sports institution, having covered the New York sports scene for more than 30 years. Michael personifies the New York sports scene. He boasts a constant stream of A-list guests, and gives passionate New York sports fans a platform to exchange their views. Michael fits in perfectly with our programming lineup. We also thank Mike Francesa for his 12-year partnership with YES. Mike – along with Chris Russo when they co-hosted our simulcast for the first six years – played an important role in the launch and growth of YES. We wish him all the best.” Kay comments, “I’m really happy Don LaGreca and I are going to be simulcast on YES. We have a great time doing the ESPN Radio show and that will come through even more with the visual aspect. While it is still predominantly a radio show, I don’t think you should ignore the camera in the room and we are going to have fun with that. The national reach of YES is going to allow even more people access. And the people at YES, where I have worked since the onset, do everything first class so I’m sure the show is going to be presented in a great manner. I can’t wait.”
Nielsen’s ‘Connected Life Report’ Indicates Connected Car Becoming More Important. The results of a new study by Nielsen dubbed the “Connected Life Report” shows consumers buying new vehicles are increasingly aware of the connected car and for many it is an important feature in buying a new car. Nielsen says its study reveals “63% of connected car drivers said they looked for built-in features during the car-buying process. Among those who purchased connected cars, the features drivers said were important included internet-enabled navigation (79%), safety alerts (76%), vehicle diagnostics (74%), and entertainment connectivity such as voice controls for communications and streaming audio (80%).” When it comes to which connected car features were important to consumers, 42% stated that entertainment connectivity was “very important.” (Fifty-one percent said emergency connectivity was “very important” and 49% stated internet-enabled navigation was “very important.”)
Envision’s ‘Where Are They Now?’ Comes to Madison. At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s sports talk WOZN, Madison, Envision Radio Networks’ “Where Are They Now?” with Ahmad Rashad joins the programming. The company says the daily, 60-second vignette “tracks down all of the big names in sports and gives you their whereabouts since leaving the game.” With “The Zone 1670 AM” now carrying the program, “Where Are They Now? with Ahmad Rashad” joins over 100 affiliates on the Envision Sports Network.
CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia to Broadcast ‘Wing Bowl 22’ in Spanish. In keeping with this year’s theme of “doubles” due to this being the 22nd “Wing Bowl,” the action taking place at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, January 31 will also be broadcast in Spanish on WIP’s HD3 channel. WIP host Rickie Ricardo will be the Spanish play-by-play announcer for the world-famous chicken wing eating contest produced by the sports talk station. Ricardo comments, “It’s an honor for me to be the first Spanish-language voice of this grand event known as ‘Wing Bowl 22!’” Neither the World Series in baseball nor the postseason action of the NFL has the worldwide impact of the battle between Man vs Chicken Wing. This will be a monumental moment in my career as well as for the huge Hispanic fan base. I pledge to add the spice and heat of our culture to each mouthful.” Ricardo is a radio veteran of 33 years and one of the country’s most high-profile bilingual air personalities. Ricardo has been the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies Spanish broadcasts for the past seven years. He is also the Spanish-language voice of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and programming consultant for cable’s Music Choice Television Networks.
Public Radio Chiefs Support FM Chip Push. The chief executive officers of both NPR and American Public Media co-authored an opinion piece in the public media trade mag Current.org in which they express support for the move to activate FM chips in smartphones. NPR acting president and CEO Paul Haaga and American Public Media CEO Jon McTaggart write that because of the public’s need to have access to information during emergencies, the need is critical. “Because of public radio’s role as a trusted media and information resource and an essential public-safety asset, we hope all stations will join us in calling upon the mobile phone industry to install and activate FM chips in all cellphones and smartphones.” The two ask public stations to do two things: sign their stations up for NextRadio so listeners already using the app can identify and listen to said stations; and encourage listeners to contact their cell carriers and request they install and activate FM chips in smartphones. Read the entire piece here.
Chris Christie Scandals Top Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 20-24 was the Chris Christie scandals. Coming in at #2 was the scrutiny and criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attacks on conservatives and following at #4 was the Eastern freeze and Western drought tied with global warming. 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. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks announces the Mark Levin show is added to the schedule at KNTF, Chico, California and the “Red Eye Radio” show joins the programming at KKAT, Salt Lake City and KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show joins the following stations: KFNN, Phoenix; WCKG-AM, Chicago; KLPW, St. Louis; WRSB, Rochester; WBNR, Poughkeepsie; KRAC, Marysville, California; KWBG, Boone, Iowa; and WLNA, Beacon, New York…..The XtreMedia-syndicated Kevin McCullough show is now airing in PM drive at WSHO-AM New Orleans.
Cool Job Opportunity. The Journal Broadcast Group is seeking an executive producer, news/web for news/talk WTMJ Radio/WTMJ.com in Milwaukee. This full time job requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication, media or related field. Skills required include: Strong news judgment; ability to work and make vital decisions under pressure; must have sound knowledge of journalistic standards and libel laws; excellent written and verbal communication skills necessary; strong interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills essential; digital/web skills; on-air abilities commensurate with market. Must have a minimum of 3 years as a reporter/anchor. Assistant news director, news director or similar background preferred. Duties will include: lead news staff and day-to-day operations of the news department. Ensure that news vision, disciplines and standards are effectively implemented and monitored. Schedule employees to ensure optimum staffing of the 24-hour news operation. Oversee story assignments. Report and anchor daily newscasts. Supervise and participate in severe weather coverage. Personnel management, maintain budgets and respond to other duties as assigned by the director of programming and news. Send cover letter, links and resume to: Tom Langmyer, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Journal Broadcast Group is an equal opportunity employer.
RAB Connects Radio and Home Improvement Spending. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s Finding Consumer Trends (F.C.T.) Report, “when consumers are determining their next home improvement project, radio ads influence that decision. Also, listener trust is positively influenced when a favorite radio station personality promotes a particular home improvement project or service – especially among 18-34 year olds.” Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “The findings from the survey demonstrate radio’s ability to persuade and influence behavior. With 75% of the survey respondents being homeowners, it’s clear that radio is a key medium for home improvement companies and services to reach their target audience.” The study was conducted from October 29 to November 19, 2013 and queried over 12,300 respondents aged 18+ about their home improvement plans, timelines and estimated budgets. The RAB worked with Presslaff Interactive Revenue on the study and determined some of the top goals of homeowners regarding home improvement projects. Presslaff president Ruth Presslaff states, “The information from this report provides RAB members with the information they need to drive sales for their stations. The identification of consumers’ home improvement goals and preferences is certain to open doors for radio sellers and create a dialogue with local home improvement businesses and services.” The RAB and Presslaff are presenting a webinar on this study on January 30 for members. To become an RAB member, please call Member Response at 800-232-3131.
Sean Hannity for Senator? Governor? President? There’s often speculation in the media about the possibility high-profile personalities – especially those in the news/talk game – would ever run for public office. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio star and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity entertained that notion during the #Ask Sean segment of his FNC show on January 21. His response? “The answer is ‘yes, I think about it.’” When asked about what office he’d consider, he responded, “I’m leaving New York as you know…so it would be either in Texas or Florida.” If Hannity does seriously consider a run for office, it would be down the road as he indicates he has ties to New York for the near future – kids in school, etc. – and contractual obligations that have him working in New York. In case you missed it, Hannity’s plans to leave New York come after Governor Andrew Cuomo made public comments critical of those with traditional conservative values including being pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and opposed to same-sex marriage. The idea of Sean Hannity being political office “material” is not new, especially as a concept floated in TALKERS. Almost a decade ago the print version of this publication featured a bold cover with an artist’s rendition of a gray “mature” version of the handsome radio star delivering a mythical presidential press conference as the nation’s Commander in Chief. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who is vehemently non-partisan as a function of his role in the broadcasting industry, makes no secret of his admiration for Hannity’s qualities as a person of substance and potential leadership skills outside the radio show world. Regarding today’s news story, Harrison states, “Regardless of where you stand on his political positions, on the larger playing field of life, Sean Hannity is an extremely authentic human being with remarkable ‘people skills.’ I have witnessed him in action long enough and know enough radio broadcasters over the years to recognize how out of the ordinary he is. Hannity might be a staunch conservative and Republican Party advocate, which serves a purpose in the mosaic of things in radio and the larger marketplace of ideas – but forget the stereotypes…he is also one of the most compassionate and generous human beings in terms of his day-to-day life, his charitable work, and his dealings with colleagues in the business of all stripes. He also works a room (from the position of central player) better than anyone I have EVER seen, including Bill Clinton! I’m not saying Sean Hannity will be president. But I believe he would be extremely effective as a congressional or gubernatorial candidate in the right situation. In the meantime, from a purely selfish perspective, I truly hope he forestalls any such ambitions for years to come. We need people of his talent and character in this business and we need them now.”
Dan Spadafora Named Brand Manager at WHTC, Holland, Michigan. In West Michigan, Midwest Communications brings Dan Spadafora aboard as brand manager and morning drive personality at WHTC, Holland, Michigan (25 miles southwest of Grand Rapids). Spadafora comes to WHTC from his most recent position with Clear Channel’s sports talk WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids “96.1 FM ESPN” and sister news/talk combo WOOD-AM/FM. He says in a statement, “Radio to me has always been more than simply a job. It is about providing a service to the community while also doing something I love. I want to show that not only is radio alive and well, but this station in town can be a station people can depend on for local news and information. ‘Holland’s Hometown Station’ should be a news leader.”
Journal Broadcast Group Re-Aligns; Separates Radio and TV. The move means that Journal Broadcast Group EVP and GM for the Milwaukee TV and radio stations Steve Wexler takes on the new role of EVP of radio for the company. Debbie Turner is named EVP of television. Journal Communications president and CFO Andre Fernandez explains, “As we have invested in our broadcast businesses and expanded our geographic footprint over the last decade, we believe that repositioning our broadcast segment around television and radio recognizes the unique expertise we’ve always had in Journal Broadcast Group around each medium. These changes also ensure the appropriate strategic focus and resourcing for each business, and should help us further improve our operational performance.”
Cox Media Group Announces Openings in Tampa Cluster. With the promotion of Tim Clarke to director of digital audience and the departure of program director Michael Sharkey, Cox Media Group Tampa has three new programming positions as a result of organizational changes following these events. Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “CMG has invested the last four years in creating some of the biggest and most successful brands in Tampa Bay. This is a very unique opportunity that CMG Tampa has not seen in decades. The entire CMG family is eager to welcome the next programming leaders to help take these big brands to the next level.” Positions include:
- CMG Tampa Operations Manager (OM): This new position will oversee all programming and content for CMG Tampa’s six top rated FM brands. Those stations include WWRM “Magic 94.9,” WSUN “97X,” WPOI “HOT 101.5,” WHPT “102.5 The Bone,” WDUV “105.5 The Dove,” and WXGL “107.3 The Eagle.” This individual will oversee all program directors and will report to the Tampa VP/market manager. The OM will also have PD responsibilities for one or more stations.
- WPOI/WSUN Program Director: This individual will be responsible for the branding and growth of Tampa Bay’s most innovative 18-49 brands, “HOT 101.5” and “97X.” In its third year in format, “HOT 101.5” is a top ranked CHR while “97X” delivers one of the deepest relationships with its listeners as America’s premiere Listener Driven Radio station. This individual must have a track record of successfully developing brands as well as a deep understanding of emerging digital and social platforms. This position will report to the OM.
- WHPT 102.5 The Bone Program Director: This person will be responsible for the overall operation of America’s hottest talk radio station. “The Bone” has one of radio’s largest personalities with the highest ratings, all on Florida’s hottest signal. The successful candidate will have a track record of successfully operating talk-based formats, working with high-profile talent, and creatively marketing and growing brands like “The Bone.”
Interested candidates should send their resumes and cover letter to Keith Lawless: 1015.Lawless@coxinc.com.
Twitter Tip: Think Twice. Broadcasters using Twitter to connect with their audience are offered some tips from media consultant Holland Cooke who writes the following. Observation: You won’t lose followers by not Tweeting. Twitter is a powerful tool. I myself was a late-adopter, and I’m real impressed. AND IT’S FREE…and that’s a double-edged sword. Tip: Pretend that each Tweet costs you a dollar. Why? Watch your followers numbers. They tend to go down right after you’ve Tweeted something, which, apparently, one or more followers didn’t find relevant. Don’t take it personally! Whoever just left (and I wish there was a way to know who) might’ve followed you in the first place because an earlier Tweet was as enticing as the one that turned ‘em off wasn’t. You yourself will un-follow after perhaps even a Tweet doesn’t grab you. Spam is spam, whatever the platform. I was recently exposed to some research that demonstrated something you might find unsurprising: Tweets about one’s self get re-Tweeted less than Tweets which link to third party internet content. In Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster), Wharton prof Jonah Berger writes, “People like to pass along practical useful information. News others can use.” Social media is sharing. Facebook seems to be degenerating into pictures of what the waiter just delivered.
Odds & Sods. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive talk host Chris Stigall got the chance to do an in-studio segment with WestwoodOne syndicated talk host, SNL alum and comic Dennis Miller as the latter was on the East Coast for a stand-up gig at a nearby Delaware casino. The two talked about Jimmy Fallon succeeding Jay Leno, his take on the job President Obama is doing and a look ahead to a possible Chris Christie-Hillary Clinton race in 2016…..Nationally syndicated Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine will appear on Fox Business Channel this evening (1/23) to discuss the issue of global warming on John Stossel’s program. Valentine recently produced the film “An Inconsistent Truth” challenging current global warming conclusions. Also appearing on tonight’s show are Bill Nye the Science Guy and Marc Morano who runs the website ClimateDepot.com…..Fox Sports Radio Network is announcing it will be broadcasting live from New York next week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII as it has for the past 13 years. Beginning Monday, Fox Sports Radio will bring listeners programming and updates from several locations throughout New York City as the Dan Patrick show, “Jay Mohr Sports,” J.T. The Brick and “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” broadcast live from the center of the action…..Once again ESPN Deportes Radio is presenting play-by-play of the Super Bowl in Spanish. Coverage will begin with a three-hour special Super Bowl preview from the stadium with analysis by Kenneth Garay, Sebastian Christensen, Eduardo Martell, Carlos Arratia and Marcelo Sandrin. Game coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. with Garay (play-by-play) alongside Christensen (analysis) in the booth, and Sandrin reporting from the field…..The San Franciso 49ers name former NFL player Tim Ryan color analyst for 49ers radio broadcasts. He replaces Eric Davis and will work with Ted Robinson. Cumulus Media‘s sports KNBR and rock KSAN serve as flagships for San Franciso football games.
Global Warming/Eastern Freeze-Western Drought, Roe v. Wade Anniversary, ObamaCare Rollout, Bob McDonnell Investigation, ‘Real’ U.S. Unemployment Figures, and Iran Nuclear Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The freezing winter weather affecting the East and the Western drought plus talk of their possible relationship to global warming; the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the investigation of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges; the report that the real unemployment figure in the United States is over 30%; and the deal being struck with Iran over its nuclear program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Promotes Pat Paxton to President of Programming. Fifteen-year programming staffer Pat Paxton is promoted to president of programming for Entercom Communications Corp. Paxton has served as senior vice president of programming since 2001. He began his work with the company in 1999 as OM at the old AC WQSX “Star 93.7.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Pat has played a vital role in Entercom’s growth and development over his 15 years with the company. He is an energizing leader, a terrific strategist and a deeply knowledgeable programmer. We are truly fortunate to have him on our team.” Paxton says of the promotion, “The past 15 years with Entercom have been tremendously rewarding, both personally and professionally. Our entire Entercom team has worked tirelessly to create one of today’s most admired media companies, which has not happened accidentally. I am proud to have been part of this team and I look forward to continuing to help create the very best audio brands in the industry. Huge thanks to David Field for his vision and leadership that has allowed all of us at Entercom to thrive.”
WTAR, Norfolk Drops Comedy for News/Talk/Sports. The Sinclair-owned AM signal WTAR, Norfolk will drop the comedy format it is currently airing and flip to a hybrid talk/sports format that will feature “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; FSN’s “Jay Mohr Sports” 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Tony Macrini, morning host at sister talk station WNIS made the announcement on January 20. General manager Lisa Sinclair says, “There’s always something new to talk about and AM 850 WTAR keeps you engaged, informed and always entertained.”
SiriusXM Opens Howard Stern Birthday Bash to Non-Subscribers. When the “Howard Stern Birthday Bash” begins at 4:00 pm ET on January 31 live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, the world will be invited to the party as SiriusXM is opening its internet service at siriusxm.com to non-subscribers. The company says that this unprecedented access to Howard Stern’s live broadcast is a first for SiriusXM and Howard Stern. In addition to SiriusXM subscribers, anyone can stream “Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash,” an evening of unforgettable performances and special appearances from the biggest names in entertainment. The free stream will be available on compatible mobile devices as well as online through simple one-click listening; no need to download an app or enter credentials. Stern comments on the approaching broadcast to celebrate his 60th birthday. “I am honored by the number of performers who want to join me on stage, and the number of fans who want to get in. Now, thanks to SiriusXM, I can give the world access to this event for free through this special internet audio stream in addition to my fans listening on their satellite radios.” The event is being hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with guests including Louis C.K., David Letterman and Sarah Silverman, with musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler and many others.
Hartel to Head Up L&L’s Columbia, South Carolina Group. The new SVP and market manager for L&L Broadcasting’s Columbia South Carolina cluster is Mike Hartel – who most recently served as vice president and general manager of Curtis Media Group’s WBBB, Raleigh. L&L CEO Bob Proffitt says of the move, “We had the huge benefit of having Bill McElveen step up as not only an in-market radio veteran, but to help us in the recruitment process to get the very best fit and talent to manage Columbia. Mike Hartel is a great fit for our Columbia cluster with his excellent track record, interactive focus, and competitive nature – a perfect addition to our growing company.” Hartel comments, “I love what Larry and Bob are creating and I’m thrilled to be a part of their team. There is no place I would rather be than with a company that is hyper-focused on using live and local radio to serve our community, our clients, and our employees.” The L&L Columbia cluster includes sports talk WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230.”
NYMRAD Announces New Executive Committee. At the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD), the executive committee of the board of directors has some new additions and changes in titles: Felix Perez, general manager, Univision Radio New York, moves into the chairman slot replacing Clear Channel Music + Entertainment’s Joe Puglise who remains on the board of directors. Jennifer Donohue, director of sales, CBS RADIO New York, replaces Don Bouloukos as vice chairperson and Alex Cameron, SVP and market manager, Emmis New York, remains on the committee as secretary. NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “I am very excited about working with Felix during this seamless transition of the executive committee. Felix has infused energy in his contributions to board meetings and under his leadership we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.” Perez adds, “I welcome the opportunity to work with Deborah and our radio colleagues to advance the value of NYMRAD to its members and aggressively increasing the profile and revenue share of New York radio.”
Holiday 2013 PPM Data Released. The ratings for the Holiday 2013 PPM survey period are being released by Nielsen Audio. The first 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 are out and that data can be found at our sister publication RadioInfo.com right here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the first round of the Holiday PPM here.
Odds & Sods. KNX, Los Angeles announces the return of the “Ask the Mayor” program to its airwaves on January 29. The CBS RADIO all-newser states that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in the studio at 10:00 am when the show will be hosted by KNX 1070 news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and will “give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”…..Not so fast, KCAA, Lorma Linda, “Free Talk Live” has been accepting Bitcoins as payment for airtime since 2011. Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Fred Lundgren-owned SoCal station claims to be the first it knows of in the U.S. to accept the cryptocurrency for ad time, but Mark Edge of the independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” program tells TALKERS he and co-host Ian Freeman have been accepting Bitcoins for more than two years. He adds, “We take Litecoin, too.”…..Hoops fanatic and filmmaker Spike Lee is hosting the bi-weekly, “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House” program on SiriusXM’s NBA channel. The first show will air on January 30 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Eastern Freeze/Western Drought, Sochi Olympics Security Concerns, Chris Christie Scandals Aftermath, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Andrew Cuomo Anti-Conservative Remarks, and Roe v. Wade Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). The snow and cold weather affecting the East and the dry rainy season in the West leading to drought conditions there; concerns about security at the looming Sochi Winter Games; the effects of the recent scandals plaguing the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reaction to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comments about conservative beliefs; and the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS – “Sorry, I quit paying attention!”
What attention span can we ask for these days to sell something? One of my clients created a 40-second video for an email project, and I was momentarily concerned it was too lengthy to keep people watching. Another client buys two :60 spots back-to-back on TV to show mini-documentaries.
And yet … we’re still offering to sell :60 spots, loaded up back-to-back, as if it’s 1990.
Good luck selling a lengthy ad online. When YouTube lets us skip the rest of an ad a few seconds in, and Facebook measures your ad in characters instead of columns or inches, don’t six-minute sets of :60s make you at least a little nervous? Roy Williams, the “Wizard of Ads,” says “Clarity is the new creativity.” Or, if I lost you during that last sentence, “Less is more.”
Short Ideas for a Short Week. As the industry returns from a holiday weekend, digital media consultant Chris Miller offers some quick thoughts regarding your digital efforts. If you’re still wondering about the changes Facebook made that affect the way content lines up on your news feed, Miller has three items to consider. Also check out his thoughts on the type of content you put on your station website and whether that content lines up with your brand’s “message.” Plus, Chris has a final word about attitude. Check it all out here.
Promotions Conflict at Philly Eatery Brings Abrupt End to Live Broadcast. The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the quick shutdown of a WIP, Philadelphia remote broadcast with afternoon hosts Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis at Chickie’s & Pete’s may not have been the result of an ISDN breakdown but the fact that rival Greater Media sports talker WPEN personality Jon Marks was also at the establishment for a personal appearance. The paper reports that about 30 minutes into Gargano’s and Ellis’ broadcast, WPEN’s Marks arrived along with rock WMMR jock Matt Cord for a $1,000 MetroPCS giveaway in another part of the pub. The Daily News goes on to write that Chickie’s & Pete’s management tried to move Marks and Cord to a different part of the restaurant but Greater Media refused. CBS tells the paper the ISDN problem was the issue and while no one else is commenting, it appears it could have been nothing more than a scheduling snafu that ruffled the feathers of the stations involved.
Linder Joins WMEN, West Palm Beach for Afternoons. The JCE Licenses-owned sports talk station names Jon Linder host of the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, replacing Andy Slater who left for Clear Channel’s sports talk WINZ, Miami “The Sports Animal” in December. Linder joined WMEN as a fill-in host last year. He’s worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami serving as a sports reporter and studio host during Miami Hurricanes football broadcasts from 2010 through 2012.
Cleveland Host Faces Jury Trial in Domestic Violence Charge. WKNR, Cleveland sports talk host Tony Rizzo will appear in Medina Municipal Court on February 27 for a jury trial after being accused of domestic assault by his wife Catherine Rizzo in December. Rizzo remains on the air at Good Karma-owned WKNR. The company issued a statement after the incident leading to the charge calling Rizzo “an exemplary teammate and member of the community and his status with us is unaffected.” Police were called to Rizzo’s home after his wife called them saying she had locked herself in the bathroom after Rizzo choked her and hit her in the face. Rizzo pleaded not guilty on December 9.
KCAA, Lorma Linda, California First to Accept Bitcoins for Airtime. The Fred Lundgren-owned news/talk station that serves the Riverside/San Bernardino market is claiming it’s the first radio station in North America to Bitcoins as payment for advertising and airtime. The station says it signed its first programming agreement purchased with Bitcoin on January 17. KCAA utilized a service called “Coinbase” to process the payment. Lundgren comments, “Our first transaction paid us 9.4 Bitcoins, which Coinbase displayed as approximately $7,200.00 USD. These funds will appear in our bank account in two to three business days.” Lundgren adds, “The value of Bitcoin as a digital currency will grow as more businesses accept it. I predict it will become a viable alternative to ever increasing bank charges.”
Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Emcees Senate Campaign Fundraiser. KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry is headlining a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Col. Rob Maness (USAF, Ret.) on Friday, January 24, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Berry’s program is heard on stations across the U.S. including on WJBO, Baton Rouge from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Maness is running for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mary Landrieu.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sochi Olympics Terror Threats, Syria Torture Allegations, ObamaCare Criticism, Wendy Davis Bio Questioned and Chris Christie Sandy Aid Charge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; concerns over security at the Sochi Winter Games; new allegations of the Assad regime’s use of torture in Syria’s civil conflict; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ life story disputed by critics; and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces charges of misappropriating Hurricane Sandy aid were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Thanks to the Olympic Games, the world comes together every four years through athletic competition.
The radio industry has its own equivalent of that each year, but unlike what will take place next month in Sochi (Russia, 2/7-23) – there will not be any heated bobsled or luge rivalries.
As part of the New York Festivals’ “World’s Best Radio Programs,” entrants will be evaluated on what they do best, and it has been that way ever since these particular honors were established in 1982.
KFI’s Internal Shuffling “Replaces” Limbaugh. Rather than bringing in another host to cover the gaping hole left by Rush Limbaugh, it looks like Clear Channel, Los Angeles talker KFI will adjust the times of some of its existing personalities. Morning talent Bill Handel will apparently get to sleep an extra hour, as he will handle 6:00 am – 10:00 am duties (from 5:00 am – 9:00 am), while Bill Carroll will adjust to 10:00 am – 2:00 pm from 12:00 noon – 3:00pm. In place of their 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm shift, afternoon drivers John & Ken will extend one more hour to 7:00 pm. Tim Conway Jr. remains at 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, with syndicated talent George Noory following until 5:00 am. As of today, Gary Hoffmann debuts the 5:00 am – 6:00 am “Wake-up Call.” These moves are necessitated owing to Limbaugh transitioning from powerhouse KFI to co-owned, newly re-branded KEIB “The Patriot” (formerly KTLK-AM).
Gann Going to San Antonio as WOAI – KTKR PD. Brian Gann is leaving Journal Broadcast Group Tulsa to program Clear Channel San Antonio news/talk WOAI and sports KTKR “The Ticket.” According to president and market manager Marlene Trevino, “We are very fortunate to have Brian join our team in San Antonio. He brings a wealth of experience to WOAI and KTKR and we look forward to the bright future ahead under his leadership.” Gann comments, “I am excited to have the opportunity to help lead WOAI and ‘The Ticket.’ There is a terrific team in place there and I am honored to be able to join them.” While in Tulsa, Gann was operations manager of adult hits KBEZ “Bob FM,” KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio,” CHR KHTT “K-Hits,” KVOO “Today’s Country Variety,” and classic country KXBL “Big Country.” He starts his San Antonio assignment in one week (1/30).
Mark Arum Gets Nightly Show at WSB, Atlanta. Traffic reporter Mark Arum is taking over the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daily show at Cox Media Atlanta’s news/talk WSB after handling weekend and fill-in roles at the station. This new gig comes in addition to his traffic reporter roles at WSB-TV, news/talk WSB-AM and hot AC WSB-FM “B98.5.” As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Arum replaces Adam Goldfein who exited the late show role at the end of 2013 for personal reasons. Arum tells Ho that he’s been wanting a daily show since his arrival at WSB in 1997. Cox Media did give him a chance to host a daily show at its Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut stations back in 2008 and he says it provided “invaluable experience.”
Learfield’s Worsham, Boman, Heim Elevated to Senior Positions. Missouri-based Learfield Communications promotes Aaron Worsham, Tom Boman, and Jennifer Heim. Worsham advances from vice president to senior vice president of affiliate relations and operations; broadcast manager Boman is boosted to vice president of broadcast operations; and corporate controller Heim becomes vice president/corporate controller. Worsham and Boman manage the company’s sports operations division, which oversees all aspects related to broadcast talent and station relationships for Learfield Sports’ radio networks as part of its multimedia rights partnerships with university athletic programs. Senior vice president/chief content officer Joe Ferreira comments, “Aaron and Tom have exhibited outstanding leadership and execution skills throughout their tenure at Learfield Sports and have taken our industry-leading audio business to great heights. Producing and managing thousands of broadcasts annually for our 50-plus networks, key flagship and affiliate partners and digital distribution networks is a daunting task. These well-deserved promotions reflect growth and success in all areas.” Meanwhile, chief financial officer Matt Hupfeld states, “Jennifer is a true professional who has proven to be an excellent asset to Learfield. She is well deserving of assuming the vice president role and we know she will continue to do an outstanding job.” Worsham has been with Learfield since 1999. Prior to joining the company in 2006, Boman was a producer with the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network and Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles. CPA Heim’s background includes being a financial manager for Brookstone and a senior auditor for several companies.
Michael Smerconish to Publish First Novel About Conservative Talk Show Host. The book is titled, Talk (Cider Mill Press 2014) and is due out in May. But as Michael Smerconish tells the Washington Post, “My highest purpose is to entertain…a lot of it is fake.” Still, readers of the book about a fictional conservative talk host from Florida who finds himself in the thick of a hotly contested presidential race, will probably find a lot of what transpires culled from the reality of the talk radio business in which Michael Smerconish has dwelt during his career. Now working at SiriusXM after years on AM/FM radio, Smerconish ruffled some feathers when he left for satellite radio saying, in effect, he felt the requirement talk hosts on AM/FM be easily pigeonholed was holding him, and the industry, back. Previews of the book indicate that while this is fiction, Smerconish just may be taking a few shots at the facet of the industry he left behind as he tells his story.
Opinion: Hang On A Minute, Bill. Weighing in on the Bill O’Reilly’s recent “promotion” for Pandora, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian observes: “On the positive side, Bill O’Reilly last week let known his partisanship for one particular iconic American vocal group on his Fox News Channel television program. Conversely, terrestrial music radio programmers just might remember certain comments he made should O’Reilly ever look to them to plug his next book or project on that platform. In an approximately 45-second “Tip of the Day” segment, the “O’Reilly Factor” host gave a thumbs-up to Pandora over terrestrial radio. “Do you like music,” he queried. “I do [and] there are plenty of free ways to get it. The easiest way is to turn on the radio.” So far, so good. Then O’Reilly said, “The problem with the radio is that for every good song there are three bad songs. So, you can hear [good songs] like The Beach Boys‘ ‘Help Me Rhonda,’ [and] ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.’ [Those are] good songs, but then you’ll hear ‘Hang on Sloopy’ – painful.” Off-camera laughter was audible as O’Reilly winced at the thought of The McCoys‘ song. His advice was to have his audience “check out” Pandora.com’s free website. In amazement, he remarked about the logistics of typing “the song you like and you get the song played to you. Then, you get other songs similar to it [so] you are basically creating your own radio station. Let me know what you think.” After having mentioned Pandora by name three times in under one minute, O’Reilly insisted he “had no interest in that website at all.” His motive was to tell his audience because, “I like you.” Not to nitpick the host, but his mention of “Help Me Rhonda” and “Fun, Fun, Fun” sounded like one run-on title, especially since he said, “That is a good song.” Moreover, he was only able to cite one “painful” tune, compared to two good ones. Whether or not by coincidence, the three specific titles O’Reilly mentioned were from the mid-1960s. We wonder if he has heard of YouTube yet.
Plans Underway for Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit. The event celebrating the life of Ron Ruth will take place next month (Tuesday, 2/25) at the New York Friars Club and is being organized by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in conjunction with the Broadcasters Foundation. Actively arranging the festivities for their late broadcast colleague are The Friends of Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit Committee consisting of Erica Farber, Norm Feuer, George Hyde, Bill Moyes, Herb McCord, Jeff Smulyan, Jim Thompson, and Erle Younker. A portion of the proceeds from the $250 ticket price will be donated to the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund at the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Ruth was executive vice president of stations for the RAB for 19 years. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the Radio Advertising Bureau in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the RAB. He died of a heart attack this past November 16 in Florida.
New York Festivals International Radio Competition Announces Call for Entries. Now through March 19, the New York Festivals is accepting entries for the 32nd annual “World’s Best Radio Programs” competition. This competition is unique in that entries are received from between 30 and 50 nations across the globe each year. Competition executive director Rose Anderson tells TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian that global scope is important, “One thing that is most important to us is that we make New York Festivals Radio Program Awards a destination for people all over the world who are creating radio that is interesting, innovative, and of very high quality.” Anderson adds that the grand jury members (judges) enjoy the high quality of radio they review. “They have consistently written comments that the quality of the entries is fantastic. People are entering material in drama, news, documentaries, talk, and music that continues to make new ways of telling stories. We have had entries from Radio Free Asia; from folks on the scene who described the riots in Cairo; and people from Romania who submitted amazing audio of drama.” With 130 headings, the scope of the competition is wide. To find out more about the New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, click here.
Cumulus ‘Big Game’ Party. The scene here is the Roseland Ballroom in New York City yesterday as Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ; country WNSH “Nash FM 94.7,” and news/talk WABC come together to put on a ‘Big Game Party’ in honor of the NFL’s championship being decided in the nearby Met Life stadium in two weeks. Sunday’s event was hosted by Todd Pettengill of WPLJ. The venue was filled to capacity with over 3,000 guests enjoying a sports expo, playoff viewing party, station games, and food. Former New York Giants wide receiver and NBC Sports Radio Network personality Amani Toomer was on hand meeting the many loyal listeners! Pettengill states, “The first annual Cumulus Big Game Party was an absolute example of synergy. Three radio stations with different audiences, air staff’s, came together to make the perfect circle of success. I can’t wait for next January!” The evening concluded with a performance by Daughtry.
WCBS, New York Producer/Engineer Silva Dies. Radio producer and engineer Carlos Silva died at age 50 after a battle with stomach and esophageal cancer in Lutz, Florida on Sunday (1/19). Silva worked for CBS RADIO’s WCBS, New York where he produced New York Yankees broadcasts. He had also worked game broadcasts for ESPN Radio, the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia Phillies Spanish-language broadcasts, and the old New Jersey Nets.
Cool Job Opportunity. Syndication Specialist Needed – The Dave Ramsey Show, now the 3rd largest syndicated talk show in the nation with more than 530 affiliates, is in need of a Go-Getter willing to take on this growing demand. This person will work with our small- and mid-sized markets. Duties will consist of new market development as well as serving existing affiliates and building relationships. Our organization has been voted Best Place to Work in Nashville for six years in a row for a reason. If you think you have what it takes and are interested in working in an environment where you can learn and grow, we need to talk. Interested candidates apply at: http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/
Chicago Radio Revenue Dips. Yesterday RadioInfo reported the increases in radio revenue in the New York City market and the Los Angeles/Southern California market. The news wasn’t as good for the country’s third largest market (as reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder) as Chicago saw radio revenue for the year 2013 sink 2.5%. Feder reports market radio revenue dipped to just under $420 million from the almost $431 million billed in 2012. The Chicago report is based on Miller Kaplan Arase numbers and in a rundown of the top billers in the market for 2013, Feder notes CBS RADIO’s all news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM simulcast landed in first place billing almost $42 million. At #2 was Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX with $37.5 million and following at #3 was Tribune news/talk WGN with $29.2 million. Check out the entire list here.
Loesch to Launch Nationally Later This Month. Conservative talk host Dana Loesch goes national one week from Monday (1/27) via Radio America with “The Dana Show” airing daily from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET. “She is feisty and fearless without being abrasive and shrill,” comments Radio America chief operating officer Mike Paradiso. “She connects with younger listeners, while still appealing to the core talk demo. We think Dana is everything talk programmers have been looking for, but have not been able to find. We are excited to be partnering with Emmis on her syndication.” Loesch is heard on Emmis talk outlet KFTK, St. Louis and co-owned Indianapolis talker WIBC. KFTK program director Jeff Allen states, “Dana’s unique take on issues, along with her ability to make them entertaining, has made her successful here in a very short time. She has made a huge impact for us in ratings and revenue. No other syndicated radio program sounds like ‘The Dana Show.’” A former newspaper columnist, Loesch is the 2012 winner of Accuracy in Media‘s Grassroots Journalism award and the Breitbart Spirit Award.
Greater Media Brings Sandra Szoke Back to Charlotte Duo. At the Charlotte duo of news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK, Greater Media announces sales pro Sandra Szoke returns to take on the director of sales role. Most recently, Szoke served as local sales manager at Time Warner Cable in Charlotte. Prior to Greater Media’s purchase of the stations from Lincoln Financial Media in 2008, Szoke had worked with them as senior account executive, assistant director of business development /marketing and public affairs director. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are thrilled to welcome Sandra back in the role of director of sales to the Greater Media Charlotte family. Her leadership, knowledge of the market and familiarity of WBT and WLNK made her the perfect choice for the position.” Szoke comments, “I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead such an accomplished team of professionals. I’m equally excited to represent Greater Media, WBT and WLNK in the community. Charlotte is filled with businesses that have grown and thrived by telling their stories on WBT and WLNK over the years. It’s an honor to represent these legendary stations alongside this talented staff.”
Mancow Issues Statement Announcing Separation from TRN-FM. Talk show host Erich “Mancow” Muller officially announces his separation from former syndicator Mark Masters-run TRN-FM. A press statement indicating Mancow is focusing on new projects including TV and the continued syndication of his Chicago-based morning radio program was released. In it, Mancow says, “I have enjoyed my time with Mark, TRN-FM and the TRN-FM team immensely. I now move on to exciting projects on TV and radio. I deeply appreciate everyone that has helped me to get to where I am today.”
Branden Rathert Re-Ups with WNRP, Pensacola. Award-winning afternoon host Branden Rathert signs a new contract to remain with ADX Communications-owned news/talk station WNRP, Pensacola “NewsRadio 1620” for another three years. Rathert – who joined the station in 2009 – has garnered two awards from the Florida Associated Press for his documentaries. The first investigated the plight of the homeless in Escambia County and the second shed light on the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Unit. He has also won two Edward R. Murrow news awards, one for his local coverage of the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Rathert hosts “Pensacola Right Now” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
WTOP, Washington Adjusts Anchor Lineup. The anchor lineup at Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington changes on Monday, January 20 as Joan Jones joins Mike Moss to co-anchor morning drive from 5:00 am to 10:00 am. WTOP anchor Bruce Alan, formerly co-anchor of morning drive, moves to middays, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, where he joins current anchors Mark Lewis and Debra Feinstein. Alan and Lewis will share anchor duties across the entire week, with Lewis picking up Saturdays and Alan adding Sunday anchor duties. Rounding out the midday team is sports reporter George Wallace and traffic reporter Reada Kessler on weekdays, with traffic reporter Dave Dildine on weekends. Shawn Anderson and Hillary Howard will continue to co-anchor afternoon drive with Bob Marbourg in the WTOP traffic center and Dave Preston with sports. Veronica Robinson’s role expands to five nights a week, joining Dimitri Sotis at the anchor desk from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight with Bob Immler reporting on traffic and Jonathan Warner on sports. Anchor Dean Lane will continue to host overnights from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “These moves further WTOP’s commitment to inform and engage our listeners with quality information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You won’t find a stronger lineup of dedicated broadcast journalists anywhere in America.”
Odds & Sods. Sports journalist and broadcaster Jason Whitlock debuts his new podcast series via ESPN Audio. “Real Talk with Jason Whitlock” premiered this week with two podcasts – the first featuring ESPN’s Dan Le Batard and the second a discussion with Isiah Thomas about college athletes, how some are not prepared academically for college and who is responsible. The podcasts are available via the ESPN app and iTunes…..WTAG, Worcester morning show host Paul Westcott sits in for Andy Dean on Premiere Networks’ nationally syndicated “America Now” show tonight (1/17).
Miller Fink Joins Regional Reps. Cleveland-based Regional Reps Corp. announces Kathleen Miller Fink will become a member of its account management team on February 10. Regional Reps Corp. calls itself “the country’s oldest and one of the largest independent sales representatives specializing in small and medium market radio stations.” Miller Fink has worked at Interep as well as having served selling time locally in the Atlanta market. She says of her new position, “I am very excited to be joining the Regional Reps team. Their passion to provide the highest quality of service speaks volumes to the commitment they have for their station clients and advertising partners. I look forward to playing an essential part of the company’s growth.”
WHYN, Springfield Morning Personality Bo Sullivan Battling Cancer. Longtime morning personality at Clear Channel’s news/talk WHYN, Bo Sullivan, has gone public with his battle against testicular cancer. Reported in the Springfield Republican, Sullivan tells the paper he was ultimately diagnosed in mid-December and that the cancer had begun to spread to his lungs. After seeking treatment at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Sullivan is currently undergoing chemotherapy and is half way through that part of the treatment. He says the doctors tell him they are happy with how the treatment is progressing. Sullivan co-hosts the “Brad & Bo Show” with Brad Shepard. He’s been a part of WHYN’s on-air staff for more than 16 years.
Justin Bieber Egg Roulette. In honor of pop star Justin Bieber being investigated for egging his neighbor’s house, the cast of “G-Bag Nation” at CBS RADIO’s KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The Fan” played a game of egg roulette on the air. The concept is simple: the cast members each took turns crushing an egg against his forehead; four of the eggs were hard-boiled, one was not. Here you see cast member Alex Alexander “losing” on his second try. Also playing the game were Gavin Dawson, Chris Arnold and Mike Bacsik.
Live from Las Vegas. Talk radio hosts Mike Gallagher (left) and Alan Stock (right) pose for a photo from the KDWN, Las Vegas broadcast booth at the SHOT show in Las Vegas this week. SHOT stands for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Travel and the huge confab is hosting a number of talk personalities as they broadcast live from the event. Mike Gallagher is heard nationally via the Salem Radio Network and Stock hosts morning drive at Beasley’s KDWN.
WFAS, Westchester, New York Host Lisa Wexler Spearheads Awards Program for Science-Minded High School Students. In addition to her daily afternoon program (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) that addresses general and local issues, talk show host Lisa Wexler created the “Acorda Scientific Excellence Award Program” that airs on the station on Sundays. Wexler tells TALKERS the goal of the show is to spotlight students excelling in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and the research they are doing in related fields. Acorda Therapeutics is a Westchester-based biotech firm that sponsors the program and Wexler serves as host. On Thursday, January 16, a special ceremony and live broadcast was done from the Westchester County offices during which students received plaques recognizing them for the impressive research of which they are a part. The program and event is a collaboration of WFAS, Acorda Therapeutics and the Westchester County Youth Bureau and Office of Economic Development. Pictured here with six of the participating students are: WFAS senior marketing executive Andrew Castellano (far left), County Executive Robert P. Astorino (fourth from left), Wexler (center), and Tierney Saccavino, senior vice president, Corporate Communications at Acorda (third from right).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Network’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the program lineup at KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas…..The daily Kevin McCullough show from XtreMedia is added to the schedule at KOOW, Ft. Collins, Colorado; KSIK/KMKZ, Greeley, Colorado; WMFJ, Daytona Beach; and KNLB, Lake Havasu City, Arizona…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is part of the programming at KVNA, Flagstaff, Arizona; WELW, Willoughby, Ohio; KSET, Beaumont, Texas; and WLOH, Lancaster, Ohio…..WYM Media Management’s Leslie Marshall show is added to the lineup at KPHX, Phoenix…..The “Car Care for the Clueless” feature hosted by Pam Oakes is now heard on CBS RADIO stations including WINS, New York; WBZ-AM, Boston; KRLD-AM, Dallas; and KNX Los Angeles.
Chris Christie Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Second Week. The lane closure scandal that’s rocking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the second week in a row. Coming in at #2 on the Talkers TenTM was the controversy over former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ memoir in which he is critical of President Obama’s administration. Following at #3 was Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016 and at #4 was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. 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. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
By Walter Sabo
1. HD radio is going to explode. The management of iBiquity has achieved remarkable acceptance for HD by the auto industry with over 16 million installs. HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash. The key, as always, is the show. (Sorry, the word “content” remains disgusting. It’s a show.) HD is not about fidelity or graphics – it’s a new stage for new, audience captivating shows.
Terrible News: Clear Channel Managers Slashing Another 5%. Numerous reliable sources throughout the radio industry are saying Clear Channel Media + Entertainment market managers are under the gun to find another 5% of their budgets they can trim to come into compliance with the corporate dictate. What was rumored just a week or so ago appears to be true and as positions at CC-owned stations are eliminated over the coming weeks and months we’ll see what departments are going to feel it the most. Regular readers of TALKERS are aware of the on-air positions that have been cut and industry watchers say some of the most obvious solutions in the programming departments at stations are: double-duty for talk hosts (two shows per day), voice tracking multiple dayparts for jocks, and the importation of national shows such as Bobby Bones for country outlets and Elvis Duran for CHR stations, which greatly reduces the money spent on morning shows.
Bubba the (Country) Love Sponge? No name change is impending but Florida-based hot talk star Bubba the Love Sponge is reporting success as morning show host at Asterisk Communication’s country duo WTRS-FM, Dunnellon and WYGC, High Springs “My Country” in the Ocala and Gainesville markets, respectively. Bubba reports he’s thankful to station management for taking a chance on his show on a country outlet. His Bubba Radio Network reports “WTRS-FM moved from 12th to 4th place with Men age 25-54, an all-time high for the station. Bubba was very excited and thankful that women have taken to his program so well. ‘You ladies get what’s hot and new and we love you for that.’ The Bubba the Love Sponge syndicated morning show also proudly reports it currently ranks top three Men 25-54 and top five Persons 25-54 in all markets it currently airs. Bubba expresses interest in working with additional program directors to bring his program to country and urban format stations.”
SCBA Reports 6.3% Revenue Surge in December. The latest figures from Miller Kaplan Arase are giving the Southern California Broadcasters Association reason to cheer and the organization announces the Los Angeles radio market “enjoyed a robust 6.3% growth rate for the month of December 2013.” SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “December was a great month for our region as we were finally out from under the political comps from 2012 and the market flexed its true revenue muscles as only Southern California Radio can. All key revenue segments posted impressive gains: local and national spot combined was up 3.6%; digital posted an impressive 20.7% gain; and NTR/network was up 19.6%.” For the 12 months ending December 2013, total market revenue growth was 1%, according to Miller Kaplan Arase. Callahan says he’s more optimistic about the region than the 1% hike indicates. “In our view, our real growth rate for 2013 was 4.4%, when factoring out 2012’s huge political revenue of $20.5 million. It’s more than fair to deduct those comps, which are never a true indicator of market growth or the health of our business. Political revenue on a YTD basis is not an apples to apples comparison. As any station will tell you, it’s impossible to replace $20.5 million in 12 months, yet these incomplete YTD revenue comparisons continue. These lopsided revenue reports help feed the misguided narrative that radio is a legacy medium, and nothing, I repeat nothing, is further from the truth.”
New York Market Boasts 6% Revenue Hike in 2013; 5% in December. On the Right Coast, the New York Market Radio Association reports that not only was its December up – 5.3% for all revenue – the year was way up over 2012 notching a 6% increase in total revenue. The NYMRAD says for the month of December 2013, total revenues, including total spot, digital, and network/NTR/other, were up 5.3%. For the 12 months ending December 2013, market growth was up across all sectors: +5.6% for local spot, +5.1% for national spot, +5.5% for total spot and +6.0% for grand total market revenue. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan comments, “New York radio is healthy, vibrant, and strong. Advertisers and their agencies are investing in our medium and utilizing radio’s audio, online, mobile, and social platforms to reach engaged and loyal listeners. The robust revenue results for the 2013 and December position the market well as we head into 2014.”
Sabo: HD Radio Is Going to Explode. In a new opinion column posted today (1/16) in TALKERS, noted consultant Walter Sabo makes eight predictions pertaining to the radio industry for 2014. They include his prognostication that it will be a good year for HD based on iBiquity’s claim of 16 million automobile installs, stating “HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash.” He also comments on the immediate future of websites and social media as well as the difference between corporate debt and personal debt. To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Creative Advisory Council Scholarship Winner Announced. The Berlin School of Creative Leadership and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment are announcing Sam Bergen, SVP and creative director of Deutsch Inc., is the winner of the Berlin School’s “Clear Channel Scholarship for Leadership in Audio Innovation” program. Bergen will receive a full-tuition scholarship (worth 53,000 Euro) to attend the Berlin School’s prestigious Global Executive MBA in Creative Leadership Program starting in March of this year. The Berlin School and Clear Channel’s recently formed Creative Advisory Council (CAC), featuring advertising thought leaders who focus on the development of innovative approaches to the audio and out-of-home media landscape, reviewed over 40 entrants from more than 20 countries around the world, based on their professional and academic profile, as well as their response to a special essay question about innovative audio strategies. Berlin School of Creative Leadership founding president Michael Conrad states, “We are pleased to welcome Sam Bergen into our Executive MBA program. Focused on leading radio and audio commerce to the forefront of media thinking, the Berlin School-Clear Channel scholarship drew an amazing amount of high-quality applications from around the world. We were extremely impressed by the caliber of applications as well as the many compliments applicants had of our young school. We thank Clear Channel for this exciting and collaborative opportunity.” CC’s Bob Pittman adds, “Driving education and awareness on the value audio advertising offers is a key initiative for us. We are proud to work with the Berlin School and our new Creative Council to award this scholarship to the audio industry’s next creative innovator. Sam Bergen distinguished himself among a very elite group of applicants and I am confident that with his continued development at the Berlin School, Sam will be a trailblazer on the media landscape for both audio and out-of-home.”
Digital Pure Play Radioio Takes RDIO Stock Ticker in Post-Merger Organization. The digital music service Radioio – operated by Radioio Inc. – is being traded under the new stock ticker RDIO on the OTC market. The merger resulted in the company’s name being changed from ioWorldMedia, Incorporated to Radioio, Inc. In a statement, the company’s board of directors says it believes that the name change is consistent with the direction of the company. President and CEO Zach McAdoo says, “Radioio is a marquee name and brand of great distinction.” He added that RDIO is a fitting ticker symbol for the company’s new name.
Deadline for Newhouse School’s ’14 Mirror Awards is February 14. The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University’s ’14 Mirror Awards is accepting entries through February 14. The Mirror Awards competition for “media covering media” – established in 2006 by the Newhouse School – “honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who ‘hold a mirror to their own industry’ for the public’s benefit. They are the most important awards for recognizing excellence in media industry reporting.” The competition is open to anyone who conducts reporting, commentary or criticism of the media industries in a format intended for a mass audience. Eligible work includes print, broadcast and online editorial content focusing on the development or distribution of news and entertainment. All entries must have been published or broadcast between January 1 and December 31, 2013. Entries are evaluated based on three criteria: Excellence of craft; framing of the issue; and appropriateness for the intended audience. Winners are chosen by a group of journalists and journalism educators. An awards ceremony will be held in June 2014 in New York City. For more information, click here.
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to Host History of New York NFL Championship Games Special. For those who are critical of the NFL’s decision to locate the Super Bowl in chilly New York (okay, New Jersey) this year, some may not be aware that this will not be the first championship that ever took place in the New York area. SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo will host “Deep Freeze: A History of NFL Championship Games in New York,” a special broadcast to air first on Tuesday, January 21 with encore airings to follow. Special guests on the program will include NFL greats Frank Gifford, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Raymond Berry, plus more. The three-hour special will focus in-depth on four of the most memorable championships in NFL history – played in 1934, 1956, 1958 and 1962.
Obama Executive Order Threat, Chris Christie Scandal, ObamaCare Criticism, GOP IRS Investigation Push, New Mexico School Shooting/Indiana Grocery Slayings, and ‘Duck Dynasty’ Returns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The statement from President Obama about using executive orders to accomplish his administration’s goals; the aftermath of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s lane closure scandal; criticism of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the effort by GOP members of Congress to investigate the process by which the IRS is being scrutinized for allegedly targeting conservative organizations; the school shooting in New Mexico and the double murder at a grocery store in Indiana; and the debut of the new season of “Duck Dynasty” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Eye-Popping Southern California Broadcasters Association Traffic Data. It would only state the obvious that the love affair Southern Californians have with their cars continues; nonetheless traffic data the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) developed in cooperation with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the California Household Travel Survey (CHTS) is quite impressive. It reveals a record-breaking 16.5 million vehicle trips are made each weekday from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm in Southern California. SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “This level of hourly driving activity dramatically showcases the immense mobility and density of Southern California driving habits and the critical role that driving has in our daily lives. Southern California is a massive car-driving region with our driving population making multiple vehicle trips throughout the working week. Our region’s astounding amount of daily vehicle trips exceeds the entire populations of most west coast metro areas including San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento, as well as multiple state populations including Illinois. This critical data takes on increased urgency as advertisers wrestle with the best ways to invest their media budgets. The case for radio advertising has never been stronger. This data offers 16.5 million compelling reasons why Southern California radio is the solution for any advertiser.” The Southern California region includes Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Imperial counties. Vehicle trips are defined as origin-destination driving and were then aggregated for average weekday by hour for the entire region.
CBS RADIO’s KYW, Philadelphia Teaches and Rewards the Next Generation. For more than 47 years, KYW, Philadelphia has been giving high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to learn the radio news business from the pros. This year, for five weeks beginning in October, students from high schools throughout the Delaware Valley region came to KYW to learn news writing, reporting, ethics and interviewing skills from station managers, editors, reporters and anchors. After the fall program ends, the station rewards the student deemed to have the most enthusiasm and potential with the Richard Monetti Scholarship – a $2,000 cash award. This year’s recipient is Avon Grove High School senior Alicia Stearn (pictured here at center). Stearn was one of 105 students to graduate from the 2013 Fall Newstudies program. The scholarship was named in honor of the 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. Pictured here with Stearn are Monetti’s parents Bob and Eileen Monetti. CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the annual tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. Our hope in rewarding these exceptional students is that they will continue pursuing a media career and become tomorrow’s leaders.” Rayfield is also a former Newstudies graduate. At the same time, the station announces Christopher Jastrzembski of La Salle College High School, was recognized with the Mark Drucker Internship Award in honor of KYW Newsradio reporter Mark Drucker, who met an untimely death in 2005. Jastrzembski will spend the summer working in the KYW Newsradio newsroom.
All Hell Breaks Loose On Air at KSCO, Santa Cruz Over Impromptu Duck Dynasty Parody. While some listeners thought it was a set-up, extremely reliable inside sources assure TALKERS that the wildly emotional outburst that erupted on air at KSCO, Santa Cruz yesterday afternoon (1/14) was in fact quite real. San Francisco-based 415 Media blogger Rich Lieberman, who also does a show on the independent Michael Zwerling-owned local news/talk outlet, was filling in as host on the afternoon program for rising star Ethan Bearman who was up the road doing some fill-in of his own on KSFO, San Francisco. During a conversation with his producer/co-host Dave Michaels, Lieberman launched into an impromptu “San Francisco-style” parody of the hit reality TV show “Duck Dynasty” in which he depicted its controversial star Phil Robertson as being gay and having “anal” interest in the mailman. After a few minutes of the risqué on-air antics, station chief engineer Bill Graff was so offended and concerned about the legality of the broadcast that he burst into the studio and began screaming at Lieberman to stop immediately because he was allegedly in violation of FCC rules regarding indecency and that HE (Graff) would take the blame because as the station’s chief operator he was legally responsible for the transmitter at the time of the broadcast and thus accountable for any offensive language that was broadcasted during his watch (not necessarily legally accurate but that’s another story). He threatened to turn the station off the air if the routine was not halted. In the meantime, adding to the chaos, station-owner Michael Zwerling, who had not heard Lieberman’s “Duck Dynasty” comments, HAD, however, just received a strongly-worded, very critical email about Lieberman in general from a regular listener that prompted him to go into the live studio to read the email on the air to Lieberman and invite comments from callers (yes, folks, there still ARE stations out there like this). On the way he encountered the very upset Graff who insisted that Lieberman immediately be pulled off the air and banished from the station for all time. Zwerling explained to Graff that he must first listen to a recording of Lieberman’s comments to determine whether such harsh (or any) punishment was warranted — and (ever the showman) then invited Graff to go on the air to discuss this issue which prompted Graff to burst in on the show. After he listened to the entire segment, Zwerling concluded that while he respects and appreciates Graff’s position and concern for the welfare and reputation of KSCO, Lieberman’s comments and delivery were “funnier than hell, extremely entertaining, and not requiring any discipline directed at Lieberman.” To hear a 16 minute audio clip of the radio fireworks, including its setup, please click below to hear the audio.
Meantime, While All the Chaos Was Breaking Out Down the Highway at KSCO (see story above)… Rising star Ethan Bearman – dubbed by Michael Harrison “One of the most exciting new ‘independent’ voices to come along in news/talk radio in years,” took a two day leave from his program at the Santa Cruz news/talker to do a mid-morning fill-in stint at Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco where he received rave reviews. No surprise, Bearman is a special talent. He’s pictured here (right) during the changing of the shifts with KSFO morning host and Bay Area media icon Brian Sussman (left).
Talk Hosts Broadcast from S.H.O.T. Convention in Las Vegas. Two radio talk show hosts will set up their remote equipment in Las Vegas tomorrow and Friday in Las Vegas convention hall space at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Travel show – S.H.O.T. Local talk host Alan Stock – heard on Beasley’s KDWN – tells TALKERS magazine the private/closed trade show contacted him several months ago to participate and broadcast live and he says he couldn’t say no. Nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson – who also does a regional show from his home base at KXL, Portland – says he’s broadcast from the show in the past and is looking forward to this year’s show where he’ll also be broadcasting on both days. Larson says rocker and hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent will be on his program to kick off the day-two broadcast on Friday.
Talk Hosts Tryout on WNYM, New York. Syndicated talk radio host Steve Deace is sitting in on the afternoon program at Salem Communications’ New York City news/talk station WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” this week (Monday through Thursday). The daypart is open since the departure of Curtis Sliwa to crosstown WABC at the beginning of this month. On Friday, the Baldwin/McCullough program – featuring actor Stephen Baldwin and talk show host Kevin McCullough – will air in the afternoon slot. Baldwin and McCullough also hosted the show for two days last week.
NFL Championship Sunday Doubleheader on WestwoodOne. With the exception of the Super Bowl itself, this coming Sunday (1/19) is the biggest day of the NFL season. That is when the AFC championship game matches up the New England Patriots versus the Denver Broncos at 2:00 pm Eastern, followed at approximately 6:15 pm by the NFC championship contest pitting the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks. WestwoodOne Sports will broadcast both ends of the “Championship Sunday” doubleheader, as each winner advances to the Super Bowl. The network’s Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Tim Ryan (sidelines) will handle the Patriots-Broncos game, while Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), James Lofton (analyst) and Mark Malone (sidelines) have the 49ers-Seahawks assignment. Scott Graham hosts pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for both broadcasts.
Actress Cameron Diaz Appears on SiriusXM in Live Audience Interview Program. Hollywood star Cameron Diaz (left) sat down with SELF magazine editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger (right) before a live studio audience at SiriusXM’s New York headquarters recently to talk about health and nutrition and her new book, The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, the Power of Knowledge, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body (HarperWave 2014). The program received its initial airing today and will be re-broadcast this weekend and early next week.
Gates Book Controversy, Florida Movie Theater Killing, Net Neutrality Overturned, New NSA Spy Tactics, John Kerry Middle East Mission, Chris Christie Scandal Fallout, and Obama Executive Order Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The controversial criticism of a sitting president by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his memoirs; the shooting death of a Florida moviegoer by a retired police chief; a court’s overturning of the FCC’s net neutrality policy; new computer spy tactics being used by the NSA; criticism by Israeli officials of Secretary of State John Kerry’s mission to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace solution; ongoing fallout for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after the bridge traffic scandal; and President Obama’s threat to use executive orders to enact policies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
John Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash. Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division. Here’s what he can count on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014. Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement. Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation. Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement. CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.
Sean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit. The Motor City destination for Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK. The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut. WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up. Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market. He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’” Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.
Double Shot of WGN, Chicago News. Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago. Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager. When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.” WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.” Second, longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday. Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program. Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN. Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team. For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time. The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”
Salem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million. It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com. In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger III says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space. Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience. The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform. With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.” The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.
‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast. The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that. And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats. A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”
Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move. The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons. The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related. The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.
Shannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension. This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team. According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball. We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.” It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station. Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games. Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.
Great Read! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (2014 SBN Books). Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change. This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.” Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’” The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before. Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer. With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe. He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future. Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email email@example.com.
WHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant. The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations. The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia. Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations. The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.” CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact. This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.” In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB funds six other LJCs across the country, including: EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.
Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Media + Entertainment Chairman and CEO John Hogan Retires; Position Eliminated. In a move that comes as a surprise to many, John Hogan is retiring from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment as chairman and CEO and will take on the title of chairman emeritus. At the same time, his position will not be filled and folks in the CCM+E division will report to CC Media Holdings chairman Bob Pittman and president and CFO Rich Bressler as Pittman announces he’s signed a five-year extension of his contract. In a statement this morning, Pittman says, “John Hogan has made tremendous contributions to Clear Channel during his tenure – particularly during the unprecedented economic headwinds our country, our industry and our company, faced in 2008 and 2009. He has been an excellent partner for me and for Clear Channel’s leadership as we have evolved into the only multi-platform media company with national reach and the ability to execute locally. As my friend and partner in Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, John has been an important element in Clear Channel’s transformation into a multiplatform media company. There is never a perfect time to make big decisions like this, but his logic was compelling and making this change at the start of a new year made sense. We thank him for his long service and the enormous positive impact he’s had on both our company and the radio industry, and we are delighted that John will remain part of the family with his title of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman emeritus.” Hogan joined Clear Channel when Jacor – for which he was serving as senior vice president of radio – was acquired by the company in 1999. He became president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 and took on the chairman and CEO of CCM+E role in 2012.
WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Is the Subject of Talk Himself After Police Visits to His Home. From a piece published in the Buffalo News, we learn that there is concern among WBEN, Buffalo afternoon drive host Tom Bauerle’s Williamsville, New York neighbors and local police about his recent behavior that some might describe as paranoid. Here’s the short version: the paper reports that police responded to a 911 call to Bauerle’s home last Wednesday where Bauerle complained he was under surveillance by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s operatives. Police found Bauerle in his backyard with a loaded weapon. He surrendered the weapon to police – who were not able to find evidence of anyone spying on Bauerle – and was also willing to surrender additional weapons in his home to his attorney. The paper also reports that Bauerle’s neighbors held a recent meeting with the talk host after he sent them emails raising the issue of him being “watched.” Neighbors told the paper his concerns seemed “quirky” and “made you scratch your head.” Nonetheless, Bauerle – who was off the air last Wednesday and Thursday but returned to the air on Friday to explain his absence was due to hitting a “physical wall of exhaustion” – did agree to a voluntary psychiatric evaluation on Wednesday of last week. No reports have been released yet and the Buffalo News received its information from neighbors and interviews with police officers who are remaining anonymous until the report is released. No charges have been filed in connection with the incident. Read the Buffalo News story here.
Profile: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher. Talk radio personality Mike Gallagher has been in the business since he talked his way into a substitute position at WAVI, Dayton while a junior in high school in 1978. Thirty-six years later and heard in syndication across the country, Gallagher tells TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian that he’s still going strong after a career that’s seen him in morning drive at WABC, New York; in business for himself running his own syndicated show; and moving on with his career after the heartbreaking loss of his wife Denise to endometrial cancer in 2008. His philosophy about programming a talk show remains simple, “I go where my gut takes me. You have to reflect the ‘hits,’ and in our business, the ‘hits’ mean the headlines.” He tells TALKERS that he has always stayed on top of how his show is performing from a business perspective. “It is self-preservation, and my secret to longevity. I learned many years ago that ratings in our business are very volatile, and in particular, talk radio ratings can be cyclical. We are subjected to a political season and a post-political season, so ratings go up and down. I will always win, however, if I deliver revenue…I know where we are to the penny at any given point, and right now, I’m 7% over my January budget. It is a tough environment, so I am very proud of that. We are fighting and scrapping for every dollar. I have always viewed the radio show as a business. I learned that many years ago from Greg Anderson.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire profile of Mike Gallagher here.
KFBK, Sacramento FM Signal Changes. News/talk KFBK, Sacramento’s FM simulcast had been 92.5 for much of the past two years. But after Christmas, Clear Channel Sacramento flipped KFBK’s FM signal to 93.1 – most recently the location of classic hits KHLX. Now we know that the company made the switch so that it could turn the better 92.5 signal into new country outlet “The New B92.5.” The 93.1 frequency is licensed to Pollock Pines – some 40 miles west of downtown Sacramento – whereas the 92.5 signal is centered on the market and provides full-market coverage.
KXTG-AM, Portland Sports Talker Named Sportswriter of the Year. Midday sports talk host John Canzano – heard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland – is named 2013 Oregon Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and Hall of Fame. Finalists for the award were nominated by NSSA members from mid-October to mid-November. Final balloting took place during the month of December. In addition to his work on KXTG-AM, Canzano writes for the Oregonian and makes regular appearances on KGW-TV. Oregonian editor and vice president of content Peter Bhatia states, “John is a terrific columnist and reporter. He brings something special to our city and state every day and it is great to see that recognized.” KXTG-AM PD Bernie Bokenyi adds, “I am honored to have John as a part of our team on ‘750 The Game.’ His commitment to readers, listeners and viewers every day is unmatched.” Canzano comments, “This market offers the most compelling news anywhere in the country. I love working and living here and being able to bring that to readers and listeners and viewers. We’re different than other markets — we have an ongoing dialogue.”
Long Named Co-GSM at WSB, Atlanta. At Cox Media Group’s Atlanta Radio, Jaleigh Long is named new co-general sales manager for news/talk WSB where she’ll work alongside fellow GSM Beth Bowers. Director of sales Walt Phillips says, “Jaleigh Long has a proven track record of leading her teams from the front. Her focus has and will continue to be on developing talent and driving new business development initiatives. She’s strategic in her problem solving and decision making with an extensive background in digital ad products and strategy. Partnering with current GSM Beth Bowers only strengthens our position when it comes to coaching and leading this team into a new era at news/talk WSB.” Long spent the last seven years as GSM for South Central Media in Evansville, Indiana.
Brandon Randazzo Named Social Media Director at Sports USA. The executive producer of Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” and podcasts “Leigh Steinberg on Sports” and “Odds Are with Jimmy Vaccaro” is upped to director of social media for the company, Sports USA president Bob Moore says Brandon Randazzo “is a go-to guy with a vast history of getting the job done. His background in programming, producing, promotions, and voicing radio stations tied to his skill set of social media makes him the ideal person for this position. Brandon will front all of our social media platforms going forward.” Randazzo comments, “Sports USA is one of the most respected names in radio. Their relationship with a significant network of over 400 radio affiliates and massive audience will increase the exposure of our social media platforms every day. I am excited for this opportunity to expand the Sports USA brand into social media.”
Talk Personality Brian Holland to Host Syndicated Overnight Show. The program is called “The Graveyard Shift” and host Brian Holland is planning to self syndicate it beginning March 17. In a statement, Holland says, “Overnights are often a forgotten daypart because everyone assumes that one show is unstoppable. That was true a few years ago, but now, the fact of the matter is when a program isn’t challenged, it’s of course going to stay number one. We are getting a lot of attention from stations that are either concerned with the drop in their overnight audience, or are looking for something serious and sustainable to carry in that daypart.” Holland’s press release states the program will focus on the paranormal and what he calls “fringe topics,” but will also cover popular culture, movie news, video game news, and other topical items. Each program will feature at least one guest for an interview, listener phone calls and emails, and a look at current affairs from all walks of life. The show was formerly syndicated by Harris Broadcasting Network but ceased after the death of that company’s principal.
Three Broadcasters Facing Legal Action for Copyright Infringement. Orange County California-based Mavrix Photographs LLC has filed complaints against Clear Channel, CBS Radio and Townsquare Media for copyright infringement in the United States District Court Central District of California. Mavrix claims that the three companies all posted images it owns – specifically, images of pop star Katy Perry – to some of their stations’ websites with full knowledge that the photos did not belong to them. As in the past, Mavrix is seeking $150,000 per illegal use per company but it is more likely that the issue will be settled out of court for less than what Mavrix seeks. Still, the lesson for website operators is that – especially with celebrity photos – the companies that own the copyrights will seek out violators and will file complaints if they recognize their property being used without permission.
Cool Talk Radio Opportunity. WWTN-FM, Nashville seeks full-time midday host. This is a rare opportunity in the city The New York Times calls “it!” Nashville is on the rise and WTN is the dominant talk station in Music City. We are a live and local operation. With the addition of this position the station is live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm every weekday. And “yes,” we usually beat Rush. This is not an entry level job. We are looking for some authentic, fresh energy – someone that is a people person and will weave themself into the fabric of the community in short order. Expect to work social media and participate in public events. We’re looking for someone who is a voracious consumer of news and info – someone that brings solutions with the problems, someone with a sense of hope. You should be as good as any trial lawyer at convincing people of your position using indisputable logic to connect the dots. You can’t ‘just’ do national-political; you have to sound like Nashville. You must be good at sensing the mood of the community and covering a wide range of emotions. If you are just angry, don’t bother applying. Being a fan of and having interest in country music is a plus. Email resume, references, optional cover letter, and un-scoped air-check to firstname.lastname@example.org put “WWTN-FM Nashville Host” in subject line. Cumulus Media is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Neither long ago (relatively speaking) nor far away in some remote galaxy, teenagers were so routinely enthralled by their local radio station of choice that summoning up the courage to actually go visit it was a personal seminal moment.
When one Dayton high school junior made such a trek in 1978, nothing short of a series of mind-boggling events followed.
Eager to see what his favorite facility looked like, this 17-year-old requested a tour, and what immediately caught his attention wasn’t a piece of equipment or seeing someone involved in the on-air process. Rather, it was a bulletin board memo, which read that the station was “still looking for a young talk-master.”
Completely fearless, he knocked on the program director’s door and confidently declared he could do that. As luck would have it, the night talent at the talk station was out with the flu.
Improbable reality number one was that, while the PD had planned to fill-in for his ailing talent, he remarkably, inexplicably said the young visitor should go ahead and give talk radio hosting a try – that night.
Either the program director was one of the foremost assessors of raw talent imaginable or, at the other end of the spectrum, had temporarily taken leave of his senses.
Regardless, the high school student did a four-hour shift and was so impressive in what was – in essence – an on-air audition that, defying logic, he was hired.
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, MA – TalkersRadio, the “experimental” talk radio station launched last fall by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts” has, according to its general manager David Bernstein, “hit the ground running” in 2014 with the announcement of several new hosts and shows scheduled to join its programming roster this month.
LAS VEGAS — The consumer electronics industry was a conspicuous bright spot throughout The Great Recession, and CEA is forecasting a record high 2014 USA sales of of $208 billion, “driven by product categories that didn’t even exist in a meaningful way a few years ago,” CEO Gary Shapiro observes. “This year we will see $6 billion in sales of new categories such as 3D printers, wireless health and UltraHD. To give you context – $6 billion is larger than the entire U.S. machine tool industry.”
Because radio was the original electronic thing, broadcasters are, arguably, in the same business; although the two industries’ interests sometimes diverge. Broadcasting is legacy media, while CEA champions innovation. “It is too important to be choked by laws written long ago,” Shapiro preaches-out, praising disruptors like Aereo and Dish Network’s The Hopper (pronounced “HAW-puh”), both-of-which broadcasters are up-and-arms over. Another touchy issue?
Clear Channel Releases Results of ‘Audio Space’ Study; Growth in New Platforms Means Audio Consumption Is ‘Additive.’ The study was a combined effort with MediaVest and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and surveyed “thousands of audio listeners who use one or more of the following audio sources personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads), broadcast radio, streaming AM/FM radio, custom online playlists, satellite radio, online music videos and digital music channels on TV shows.” Among the results of the study is the conclusion that “because of the use of alternate audio devices, time spent across audio platforms continues to increase and growth in audio is predominantly additive.” The goal of the study was to determine when, why and how consumers choose different audio platforms and some of the conclusions reached are: afternoon drive (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm) generally sees the highest usage; the car remains the most popular location for audio listening throughout the day; 63% of teens listen to more than two audio platforms a day – the highest of any demographic; broadcast radio is the most popular audio platform; listeners choose broadcast radio to stay connected to “the world,” top drivers for radio usage are its accessibility, timely news, traffic, weather, engagement with radio personalities and discovering new music; personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads, etc.) are about control with 81% choosing the platform to control or customize their listening experience. Custom playlists are also about control and follow with 67% choosing the platform for this reason; 41% of consumers are willing to listen to ads in exchange for free online audio. Ads related to the music consumers like and optimized for the time of day are most powerful. MediaVest EVP and research director David Shiffman states, “In the audio space, most measurement focuses on a single audio platform, rather than a complete view of the landscape. Our goal in working with Clear Channel – with its extensive experience in both live and digital radio – was to generate a real-time and accurate view of the audio space, which we believe is going through an evolution similar to television. Marketers have embraced the concept of multi-screen consumer behavior, but audio media also provides a tremendous opportunity for them to connect with their target audience throughout their day.”
2014 CES: Innovate or… Reporting for TALKERS from the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas is media consultant Holland Cooke who writes that one of the hottest topics during CEA CEO Gary Shapiro’s interview with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was spectrum auction; that all of the five FCC commissioners where there and he was able to ask a question or two about AM revitalization of Ajit Pai; about some very revealing stats that show why smart broadcasters are taking advantage of posting video to YouTube (and why you should, too); and even more about the ‘connected car’ that is the focus of so much of the audio and information sector at the show. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Saga Portland President Pahigian Prepares To Exit. Fifteen-year Portland Radio Group president Cary Pahigian broke the news to his staff yesterday (1/8) he will soon be leaving the Maine operation. According to Pahigian, he told Saga vice president Warren Lada about a year ago that he was evaluating his next professional challenge. “I was certainly happy and fortunate to be working with the finest group of people I have ever met,” Pahigian wrote in a staff memo. “Still, the impending 15-year mark was activating an area in my brain that had been quiet for years. Warren asked me to forge ahead and see how I felt at the end of 2013. The only way to properly examine what I wanted to do and aggressively pursue that opportunity, was to focus on it 100%. It would be impossible to conduct that process and still remain at my best with the demands of this job.” Pahigian continues his duties at the operation until his successor is hired. Prior to his 15-year Portland, Maine tenure as president of the eight-station cluster, Pahigian was a 26-year-old station manager at heritage Boston outlet WBZ-AM; corporate vice president of operations for Sconnix Broadcasting; and he programmed Philadelphia’s WIP.
WABC, New York to Air Bob Grant Special. The longtime home to late talk radio pioneer Bob Grant will air a special broadcast in his honor this weekend. Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – where Grant worked daily from 1984-1996 and again weekly from 2009-2013 – is airing the special program that “will feature notable moments from the talk show host as well as comments from broadcasters inspired by Mr. Grant. Also, included in the special are thoughts and comments from members of Mr. Grant’s immediate family.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb said, “WABC is proud to produce this special to honor the late Bob Grant, a true legend in our industry. We hope our listeners will enjoy this opportunity to remember his contribution to WABC and to the city of New York.” The show will air Saturday 1/11 at 5:00 pm and Sunday 1/12 at 4:00 pm. Grant died on December 31, 2013 after an illness at age 84.
WEEI.com Keeps Its Team Intact. All contributing writers and columnists of Boston’s WEEI.com have signed new contracts for this calendar year. Alex Speier, Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean, Christopher Price, and Jerry Spar will continue blogging, opining, and reporting breaking sports news for the site, as well as appearing regularly on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. They join Kirk Minihane and Celtics beat writer Ben Rohrbach. Last week, “Dennis & Callahan” morning show co-host Minihane signed a long-term deal as the site’s opinion editor. “It is a privilege to work alongside such a talented and dedicated group of sports journalists,” comments site editor Rob Bradford. “There isn’t another sports radio station in the country with WEEI’s commitment to enterprise journalism. Boston sports fans have come to expect us to be first with breaking news and commentary wherever they engage with our brand.” WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham remarks, “[These guys] live and breathe Boston sports and they are respected throughout the Boston sports landscape for their journalistic integrity. In this sports-crazed market that boasts some of the most esteemed writers in the business, they stand among the best-in-breed.” WEEI.com recently won the 2013 RAIN Internet Radio award for “Best Streaming Radio Station in America.”
WTOP, Washington Touts Page View Growth. Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington, DC reports that it realized “a 30% overall increase in page views to WTOP.com, averaging more than 22 million page views and reaching more than 1.8 million unique users per month.” The organization adds that “a number of major news stories in the nation’s capital contributed to this growth, including sequestration, the government shutdown, and the Navy Yard shooting. WTOP.com also strengthened its commitment to unique local content with the launch of two new verticals – Living and Technology – and the introduction of the live blog for breaking news…WTOP’s growth can also be attributed to its strategic use of social media. Traffic to WTOP.com from Facebook and Twitter grew by 150% in 2013, making WTOP one of the top five social media players in the DC market.” WTOP director of digital media John Meyer says, “While news judgment will always be the primary factor in story selection, we have editorial meetings throughout the day, using a variety of statistical tools to determine how our homepage is performing. Armed with the most recent data on what people are searching, clicking, and sharing, we can adjust accordingly.”
Mark DePrez Named VP/GM at Farm Journal Media. Former longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne general manager and Federated Media COO Mark DePrez joins Farm Journal Media as VP/GM of the company’s radio business. In this position DePrez will oversee such shows as “AgriTalk with Mike Adams” and “American Countryside with Andrew McCrea.” The company also reports that a new commodity markets-focused show hosted by Chip Flory is being prepared to launch in the early spring. Farm Journal Broadcast SVP Brian Conrady says, “We are thrilled to have Mark join our team. Radio has quickly become an important part of Farm Journal’s integrated go-to-market media strategy, and Mark has the experience, the talent and the tenacity to further spur this growth.” DePrez comments, “It’s fascinating to see the role radio plays as part of an integrated marketing solution in agriculture. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about Farm Journal’s cross-platform content and how radio can fit. I’m excited to be part of this expanding radio business.”
Jimmie Kaska Named Sports Director at WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The new title for Jimmie Kaska comes as he takes over the sports director role at Clear Channel’s WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin from Mike Sullivan who held the position for the past 40 years. The station notes that during Sullivan’s tenure, “he was responsible for getting games on the air involving local teams performing in over 200 venues in 30 states, one territory and two foreign countries. Of those roughly 8,000 games, only two did not get on the air. Sullivan also negotiated rights fees and made other arrangements for airing over 10,000 games involving professional and college teams in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as nationally broadcast events. WBIZ-AM was the first 24-hour sports station in Wisconsin, and one of the first 10 in the United States when the format debuted in 1992. The station format was switched in 1994-95, but then returned to the all-sports format in 1996, and has remained all-sports since then.” Kaska serves as PD for WBIZ and sister news/talk WMEQ. He states, “It’s crazy to think that the first job I had in my life when I was 17 would be the same one I’m doing today. It seems like every year I find something else to take charge of, and of all the roles I have here, this one will be the most visible and most important. It’s my goal that I continue the long tradition of being one of the best and most active sports radio groups in the country. The mentoring I’ve received from Mike Sullivan has been invaluable to both my career in broadcasting and to life. I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity.”
Advantage Systems Brings Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis Aboard. Sales and marketing firm Advantage Systems Inc. announces Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis join the company as revenue development managers. The company says, “Bunzel has been leading a charge for the radio industry to use digital media to grow revenue since digital first appeared, and he has joined Advantage Systems, Inc. to help stations do just that. Bunzel, current president of Bunzel Media Strategies, will be working with broadcasting groups throughout U.S. and Canada to help them with a revenue generation program designed to incorporate traditional media with new interactive solutions provided by Advantage Systems, Inc.” Bunzel comments, “What I find interesting is that RAB’s just-released data shows that radio’s digital revenue was up 3% in the previous quarter and 7% in the first half, but I saw another study today predicting 16% growth in digital advertising next year. That tells me that radio is severely underperforming in the digital era. It needs to be smart and catch up.” Regarding Davis, Advantage Systems VP for sales Frank Kulbertis states, “Darryl has a history of doing programs similar to our Advantage Plan program that included schedules and digital products for television so he was a perfect fit as a new revenue development manager for us.” The company says Davis will work with broadcast groups to grow their advertising revenue. The program includes extensive sales training, new business leads in the local market, a focused workshop to educate local business owners on traditional and new media, 12-month advertising commitments along with turn-key creative services and the ability to generate digital revenue thru inclusion of interactive solutions.
Odds & Sods. Consumer finance expert Rodney Anderson is hosting a daily, one-hour program on Clear Channel’s news/talk KFXR, Dallas airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore inks the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles for another two seasons. The O’s have been heard on WBAL for all but 15 of the team’s 60-year history in the city…..WestwoodOne has the national radio rights to the remaining NFL playoff games – including Super Bowl XLVIII – that resume this weekend. While Scott Graham hosts the pre-, post-game and halftime shows for all four games, the WestwoodOne stable of in-game announcers and analysts are lined up for the four games airing this weekend.
Chris Christie Bridge Traffic Scandal, Robert Gates Book, War on Poverty Anniversary, and Dennis Rodman North Korea Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). The scandal involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s staffers allegedly closing lanes in Fort Lee New Jersey near the George Washington Bridge as a form of revenge against the town’s Democratic mayor; the new book from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in which he’s critical of Obama Administration officials and the president and vice president; the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s “war on poverty”; and former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s tumultuous return visit to North Korea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Borrell Associates New Study and Forecast Predicts Radio Revenue Flat but Listening Minutes Continue to Decline Over Next Five Years. Research firm Borrell Associates has published a new study titled, “The Future of Legacy Media: With 5 Years of Digital Disruption Ahead, What Happens Next?” As the title implies, it looks at the effect the digital revolution has had over the past five years on time spent with each medium and ad dollars spent and then goes on to predict what is likely to happen over the next five years. The conclusion for AM/FM radio is probably not going to be shocking to most. Borrell predicts that minutes spent with AM/FM radio (which have already dropped from 124.1 in 2008 to 93.5 in 2013, according to the study) will continue to erode even though the number of individuals listening at least once per week (that figure we hear reported by Nielsen Audio so frequently) may remain fairly constant. By 2018 Borrell predicts minutes spent with radio will further drop to 81.9 (for a total decrease from 2008 to 2018 of 34%). On the revenue front, Borrell notes that radio ad spending has dropped by almost a third over the past 13 years and predicts the level the industry is at right now – about $14.3 billion – is roughly where it will be in another five years. Here’s what the study has to say about AM/FM radio’s future: “If trends hold true, traditional radio ad spending will continue to tread water, remaining largely unchanged while growth moves online – especially among national advertisers. Detroit is already equipping some new cars with Pandora service, so even that industry sinecure may have been breached. Losses – where they occur – will be most felt in the larger metros, while suburban and rural areas will still depend on the local flavor of stations that have been good friends to their fathers and grandfathers.” Which media will experience growth in minutes spent with through 2018? Borrell predicts cable TV, out-of-home, video games and pure-play mobile, which it says will have realized a 1,145% increase in minutes spent with during the 10-year period examined in the study. Read more here.
SiriusXM Reports Total Subscribers Top 25 Million. Satellite radio service SiriusXM announces it ended the year 2013 with 25.56 million subscribers – an addition of 1.66 million net subscribers during the course of the year. The company reports that self-pay net additions in 2013 were 1.5 million for the full year, bringing self-pay subscriptions to over 21 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM had an outstanding 2013, and we expect to meet or exceed all other guidance we have provided for the year. Automotive distribution is hitting on all cylinders and an increasing number of households, at all income levels, are subscribing to SiriusXM. In a world where consumers have many choices, millions of subscribers continue to love our unmatched and easily affordable lineup of exclusive talk, live news, major sports events, and commercial-free and curated music channels.” At the same time, the company offers guidance for 2014 that includes: Net subscriber additions of 1.25 million; free cash flow approaching $1.1 billion; revenue of over $4.0 billion; and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.38 billion.
2014 International CES: Day Two. Media consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas where he’s covering the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronic Show for TALKERS magazine. Some tidbits for radio people include how Yahoo! is revamping its content to fit what consumers want with regard to size and frequency and how new global anchor Katie Couric is integrating “citizen reporting” into her work. Also, read what radio execs attending a session on internet radio are saying about building a connection with consumers in Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Compass Media Brings Research Pro Len Klatt Aboard. Research pro Len Klatt spent the last 16 years with Premiere Networks (ultimately as SVP of research) and 11 years with Westwood One before that. Now, Compass Media Marketing announces it has hired Klatt as a research consultant and advisor, effective immediately. Klatt comments, “It is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the changing audio entertainment landscape. Compass is well positioned for continued growth and my goal is to work closely with the Compass team to best serve our advertisers, affiliates and programming partners.”
Kirk Minihane Inks Multi-Year Deal with WEEI, Boston. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that staffer Kirk Minihane – a recently added member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show – has been rewarded for his positive impact on the show and the station with a new multi-year deal. Minihane became part of the morning show featuring John Dennis and Gerry Callahan in February of last year and Finn reports that the morning show has been gaining ratings ground over the past several months. Minihane was already employed by Entercom Boston writing for WEEI.com at the time he joined the show. The Dennis & Callahan show – and the station in general – has been under the microscope since the start-up of CBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” debuted, gained ground on WEEI and overtook many of WEEI’s shows in the ratings. Now, Finn reports that the Dennis & Callahan show recently finished in second place in the Nielsen Audio PPM ratings behind WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich program with a 9.0 share.
Odds & Sods. At Salem Communications’ New York City news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer,” comic Joe Piscopo is guest hosting the morning show today (1/8) through the end of the week. The permanent morning show slot is vacant right now after Curtis Sliwa split for Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC for a midday show with co-host Ron Kuby. The station says Piscopo will “have top name guests, give his take on the news of the day and do a variety of other comedy bits.”…..At Clear Channel’s Cincinnati cluster, Bo Matthews is named vice president of programming for the station group. While Matthews’ recent day-to-day experience has been with music radio – he comes to Cincinnati from the company’s Cleveland cluster where he programmed rock WMMS and CHR WAKS “Kiss FM” – he will ultimately oversee news/talk WLW, talk WKRC and sports talk WSAI in his new position…..In the public radio sphere of the Rochester market, WXXI listeners are hearing new host Evan Dawson in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot held for so long by market pro Bob Smith. Dawson is a familiar face as he spent six years as morning anchor at WHAM-TV. The new show is called “Connections with Evan Dawson.” Smith stepped down from his position in August after suffering a stroke in the spring. He’s currently in long-term rehabilitative care.
Rick & Bubba Celebrate 20th Anniversary. The nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba show – featuring Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey – celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Syndicated Solutions Inc.-distributed program has special plans to commemorate the show’s birth. Burgess and Bussey, along with cast members Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess, Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Chris “Eddie Van” Adler, along with past/present show interns and related show contributors, will be performing live before sellout crowds during at least five special one-night only events in concert halls/theaters in select cities beginning in May. SSI reports that “each ‘20th Anniversary Tour’ event will include hilarious, unforgettable Rick & Bubba moments, show favorites such as Good ‘ol Boys Theater, Willie & Wanda, The Giant Game of Rick & Bubba Knowledge, The Wacky World, Fact or Crap, and more. There will be prizes, video tributes reliving the past 20 years, musical performances, special Q&A sessions and more…All behind-the-scenes and on-stage activities will be video recorded so excerpts can be shared during the Rick & Bubba show television/radio broadcast, and a full 20th Anniversary documentary will be available later in 2014.” SSI president Bob Carey states, “Congratulations Rick and Bubba…I am so proud of what you’ve accomplished all these years and the special relationship that we share. Although we’ve been business partners for just nine of your 20 years on air together, the Rick & Bubba show continues to evolve and gets better day after day, which is a testament to you both never taking your successes for granted or never stopping to work hard and improve upon yesterday.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Bill “Bubba” Bussey (sitting), Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Rick Burgess (center/sitting), Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess and Chris “Eddie Van” Adler.
Outstanding Talk Producer on the Loose. One of the personnel casualties of WWRL, New York’s recent switch from progressive talk to regional Mexican Spanish-language entertainment is Jeffrey Haveson. Haveson, an accomplished veteran radio broadcaster is known in talk circles as one of the most hard-working, versatile and dependable producers in the business, is without a home base for the first time in more than a decade. He served at WWRL as an executive producer working with a wide variety of hosts and formats ranging from urban talk to liberal politics and then some. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Jeffrey Haveson is one of the most competent and multi-faceted facilitators of talk programming I’ve ever met. This guy can handle all the chores that go on behind-the-scenes in making a great show happen from nurturing hosts of all political and cultural stripes, booking guests, executing remotes and creating superb production to writing an effective press release and managing social media. He is located in the New York area and should be grabbed by one of the many media outlets looking for a solid producer.” Haveson can be phoned at 973-207-3095 or emailed at email@example.com.
Robert Gates Criticizes Obama in New Book, Dennis Rodman in North Korea, Boehner-Benghazi Connection, Polar Vortex Chills U.S./Global Warming, and Janet Yellen Confirmed New Fed Chief. The new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates that is critical of the Obama Administration; the controversy over former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s latest trip to North Korea; questions about what House Speaker John Boehner knew about the Benghazi mission; the frigid temperatures across the U.S. and the connection to global warming; and Janet Yellen is confirmed as new chief of the Federal Reserve were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
But there’s lots more happening at CES than gadgets. Among what Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro calls “all aspects of the tech ecosystem:”
* CEA unveiled an initiative to help returning service men and women find tech jobs. Hit USTechVets.org
* Also thank this bunch for helping to change the rules of flying, so you can now use your iPad or smartphone takeoff-to-landing. BUT Shapiro urges that airlines use “common sense” about allowing phone calls up there. Imagine sitting between two loud-talkers?
By Michael W. Dean
The Freedom Feens
Genesis Communications Network
CASPER, WY — Remember that toy advertised on TV in the 1970s called “Mr. Microphone?” It was a cheap plastic mic with a built-in low-power FM transmitter. You could project a tinny rendition of your voice over any portable radio within oh…about 30 feet.
The Audio-Technica AT2005USB mic kind of reminds me of the Mr. Microphone except that the AT2005USB sounds incredibly good. And instead of reaching every radio within 30 feet, it reaches every radio in America, or at least every radio in America that’s in a city where your show has an affiliate.
This would be a great mic for hosts who travel a lot, and don’t want to bring a mixer and a whole bag of gear or an engineer. It’s a regular-sized dynamic mic that sounds fairly amazing. It has a built-in USB interface, and comes with a nifty collapsible tripod table stand and a USB cable. You could fit that all in a netbook case with a small laptop. Add a set of earphones or even ear buds and you could do your show from anywhere. You could fit all that in a briefcase or purse.
CEO Caine Set to Depart WestwoodOne. As WestwoodOne becomes a fully integrated Cumulus Media division, chief executive officer Paul Caine will leave later this month. According to Cumulus chief executive officer Lew Dickey, “Paul is an extremely talented media executive and did an excellent job of guiding WestwoodOne during a period of change. He positioned the company for future growth and played an instrumental role in driving a constructive transaction, which delivered value for his shareholders. We look forward to working with Paul in the next chapter of his impressive career.” Caine is “so proud of the team we’ve built and what we’ve accomplished” at the company. “In such a short time, we have proven the power of sound and its impact on the future of the audio industry,” he remarks. “I am confident that this great momentum will continue under Cumulus and the strong talent and leadership of Lew Dickey.” Less than one year ago (April 2013), Caine was announced as chief executive officer of Dial Global (now WestwoodOne) and as a member of the company’s board of directors. He previously spent nearly 25 years at Time Inc., where he led the development of digital formats.
New Media Expo and CES Update. “If I were Howard Stern I would go to a subscription podcasting model.” Those were the words of Courtside Entertainment Group and PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz speaking at yesterday morning’s keynote address at 2014 New Media Expo (formerly Blogworld). Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine and he has more from Pattiz. Also check out his notes from the first day of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show where he reports back on the new technology that is relevant to the radio and content business. Check it out here.
Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Host Middays on WJFK-FM, Washington. Speculation that Don Geronimo would re-surface during the day on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” have been squelched as the station debuted its new midday show co-hosted by Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier (Geronimo remains with the station hosting the evening show). Rouhier had been working with Holden Kushner during the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot previously. Kushner remains with the station hosting weekends and participating in the station’s Washington Nationals coverage. Paulsen has been serving as the station’s Redskins beat reporter for the past four years.
WPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Air; Critics Remain Steadfast. Providence talk show host John DePetro – host of the late morning show on Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence – returned to the air on Monday after being off for the month of December. DePetro and local union leader Maureen Martin – chairwoman of the anti-DePetro organization For Our Daughers RI – appear fated to continue their battle over DePetro’s employment with the station. DePetro recently rankled Martin and other Rhode Island union members after he referred to some of them as “parasites,” “cockroaches,” “hags” and “whores” during a rant about their participation in a protest. DePetro apologized for his choice of words but Martin is not backing off her campaign to oust DePetro from his position via boycott of the station’s advertisers and a petition drive. The latest news in the skirmish is Martin publicly claiming DePetro was accused of sexual assault in 2013. The Providence Journal-operated PolitiFact.com reports that it researched the matter to discover DePetro was accused of sexual harassment in 2012. After connecting with Martin, PolitiFact.com reports the organization changed the date – from 2013 to 2012 – on its petition but has not altered the accusation to harassment. Although harassment is a civil matter and assault is a felony, Martin insists to PolitiFact.com that an unwanted sexual advance is assault, according to the U.S. Department of Justice – which the news organization disputes. Regardless, DePetro appears ready for battle, addressing the issue upon his return Monday saying, “Politicians and unions should not interfere and try to silence public opinion. Period. That’s it…They want to silence the people. The last time I checked, this is still America.”
Comrex Names Raul Hun Latin America Sales Manager. Comrex Corporation announces the appointment of Raul Hun to manage Latin America sales for the company. Hun, a native of Panama, brings over 15 years of experience in providing studio and transmission solutions to broadcasters throughout Central and South America. He most recently worked for the Telos Alliance and Broadcast Electronics. Comrex director of sales Chris Crump comments, “Raul is one of the most well-liked gentlemen in our industry and we are thrilled to have him on our team. The great work that Jim Godfrey has done for us in the region will certainly be strengthened by the strong dealer and customer relationships that Raul has developed over the years in Latin America.”
Review: The Audio Technica AT2005USB Microphone. Whether you record podcasts or take your talk show on the road (or both!), a good portable USB mic is a very handy thing. Talk show host Michael W. Dean offers this thorough review of the Audio Technica AT2005USB mic. He writes, “This would be a great mic for hosts who travel a lot, and don’t want to bring a mixer and a whole bag of gear or an engineer. It’s a regular-sized dynamic mic that sounds fairly amazing. It has a built-in USB interface, and comes with a nifty collapsible tripod table stand and a USB cable. You could fit that all in a netbook case with a small laptop.” For the entire review, pics and a sound sample, click here.
Odds & Sods. Rich Summers is the new operations manager for Townsquare Media’s news/talk KIDO, Boise and its sister sports talk station KFXD “Sports Radio 630 The Fan.” Summers joined the station group as program director of country KAWO…..At Yahoo! Sports Radio, there’s been a lineup change: “Hit ‘Em Up with Geoff Ketchum” moves to the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot and a new afternoon drive program, “Prime Cut featuring Sean Salisbury and John Granato,” launches in the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET timeslot…..In addition to yesterday’s news that the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment digital audio platform iHeartRadio will be available on some new car entertainment and information systems, the company is promoting the service will soon be available on Qualcomm’s multi-media AllPlay smart media platform, the new AT&T Drive auto platform and others. The announcement was made at day one of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.
MSNBC-Romney Controversy, Winter Cold Snap/Global Warming, Kerry’s Iran-Syria Solution, Colorado Pot Law Effects, Chicago Gun Ban Overturned, and SCOTUS Utah Gay Marriage Ruling Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). MSNBC’s forced apology after a program aired in which comedians made fun of Mitt Romney’s adopted, African-American grandson; the bitter winter weather affecting much of the United States and the controversy over its cause; criticism over John Kerry’s reaching out to Iran in an effort to solve the civil unrest in Syria; the effects of the new marijuana laws in Colorado; the overturning of Chicago’s ban on the purchase and sale of guns in the city; and the Supreme Court’s overturning of Utah’s gay marriage law were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The Consumer Electronics Association has asked that news media here NOT call this event the “Consumer Electronics Show.” They prefer “International CES,” reflecting its global draw, and because the ways digital technology is changing everyday life go way beyond gadgets. I tried, with mixed emotions, since “CES” is lingo to “real people” listeners. I felt less-guilty reverting when I heard CBS News lapse.
NMX is short for “New Media Expo,” formerly Blogworld, which also pulls an impressively international crowd of bloggers and podcasters. If you missed my notes from NMX Saturday/Sunday sessions: http://www.talkers.com/2014/01/06/2014-nmx-lots-about-branding-not-a-word-about-benghazi/
LAS VEGAS — Historically, broadcasters and podcasters have been dismissive of each other. If you make your living talking on transmitters you might regard webcasters as a shadow medium, minor league hobbyists talking topics of insufficient appeal to warrant AM/FM distribution.
Conversely, some internet self-publishers regard AM radio’s snap-crackle-pop and any transmitter’s geographical and audio-only limitations – and radio’s homogenized programming – as old school (though they sure do envy broadcasters’ advertising sales).
That thing-in-your-pocket-we-used-to-call-a-phone is the hardware; and the burgeoning, enthused community that populates this particular convention is the software. As continuously as that hardware evolves, so does the software, and this event. A dozen years ago, in hard-copy TALKERS magazine, I reported from “The Podcast and Portable Media Expo,” then the “Blogworld” it morphed into before re-branding as “New Media Expo” (“NMX”).
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — Facebook has made some important changes, and I’ve got some tips for you to take advantage of those changes.
The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official. The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits. That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is “sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.”
All social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see. Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving. Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base.
Long Set To Program Clear Channel, San Diego Combo. Former senior director of programming for Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Brian Long, has been tapped to program Clear Channel, San Diego’s news/talk KOGO-AM and KLSD “Xtra Sports 1360.” Vice president of programming John Peake comments, “Brian will bring a diverse perspective from multiple markets and stations to our spoken-word brands. We are excited to add Brian’s management and broadcasting experience to the San Diego programming team. We are confident that KOGO-AM and ‘Xtra Sports’ will prosper under his tutelage.” Long previously was assistant program director and “In the Zone” host on Los Angeles’ KSPN “710 ESPN.” Prior to that, the Kansas City native programmed in Palm Springs, California for KXPS “The Team 1010,” KFUT “Fox Sports 1270,” and KNWZ “K-News.” Long begins his San Diego assignment in two weeks (1/21).
Caplis to Host Late Morning Show on KNUS, Denver. Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver adds local TV and radio personality Dan Caplis to the program lineup in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Caplis – an attorney – most recently worked in radio at Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk KHOW with co-host Craig Silverman. KNUS general manager Brian Taylor says, “With the upcoming election cycle, plus the compelling local issues that have put Colorado in the forefront recently, it is significant for us to offer another powerful local voice like market veteran Dan Caplis. Combined with Peter Boyles and Steve Kelley, 710 KNUS will now offer more daily, live local conservative talk programming than any other station in the Denver market.”
New Year Changes at Facebook That Affect You. Digital media consultant Chris Miller informs us that Facebook recently made some important changes that affect how users get to show the content they do. Miller writes, “The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official. The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits. That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is ‘sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.’” Miller says that all social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see. Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving. Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base. Read Miller’s column here.
Analysis: 2014 NMX Podcasters Conference. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the New Media Expo and the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. First up, Cooke reports from the weekend’s happenings at 2014 NMX. Cooke says the standing-room-only crowd was replete with people focused on talking targeted, passionate interests with its audience. “And they’re not just talking to your geographical area. And they are not merely, as clichéd station imaging assures, ‘talking-about what-you’re-talking-about,’” says Cooke. “Instead of belaboring Benghazi, they’re bonding with ‘ovewhelmed adoptive moms, by telling the truth about the post-adoption journey, so they feel validated and encouraged for the road ahead.’ If more station websites offered narrowcast content that’s specifically appealing, and used transmitters to invite those moms to engage, new digital revenue would follow.” Read Cooke’s entire report from 2014 NMX in Las Vegas here.
Jason Rantz Promoted to Daily Evening Show at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM ups Jason Rantz from his year-old weekend show on the station to the daily 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program effective this evening. KIRO-FM program director Pete Gammell says, “Jason is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful host who always seeks opposing views to further listeners’ understanding. We always strive to connect entertainment to value and discussion to understanding. This is Jason’s strength and I’m sure listeners will agree.” Speaking about his new gig, Rantz states, “I’m excited by the opportunity to talk with Western Washington as a part of KIRO’s weekday team. I’ve enjoyed interacting and engaging the KIRO Radio listeners during my previous weekend show and now I’m thrilled to bring this same dynamic to weeknights. There are so many important issues affecting our community and the nation, and it is vital that we come together to have a civil but challenging and vigorous discussion. I hope my evening show will become that forum.”
Bonneville Gives Sports Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix FM Simulcast. Shuttering adult hits KPKX “98.7 The Peak,” Bonneville Phoenix gives sports talker KTAR-AM an FM signal on which to simulcast. The company has been building multi-platform sports content destination “Arizona Sports” using the AM radio station and a local sports content-heavy website and now adds an FM signal to the mix. Vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “Putting ‘Arizona Sports’ on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore. Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better. We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve. We also have amazing team partners. And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.” The stations serve as flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.
Red Zebra Re-Ups with Steve Czaban at ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting and sports talk host Steve Czaban have agreed to terms on a new three-year deal that will keep the afternoon drive co-host with WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980″ through 2016. Czaban has been co-hosting the afternoon drive time slot for WTEM for the last 13 years. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza comments, “Czabe is integral to the success of our station. We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.” Steve Czaban co-hosts “The Drive with Cooley & Czabe” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and also hosts the golf program “Sunday Tee Time,” at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings during golf season.
Glenn Beck’s ‘TheBlaze Radio News’ Launces Today. “TheBlaze Radio News” – the latest AM/FM program offering from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – hits stations on the AM/FM dial today after debuting on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel several months ago. The service offers hourly newscasts from anchors and reporters around the nation providing news and information specifically targeted to talk radio listeners. The casts draw on the reporting from TheBlaze television network and its website TheBlaze.com which it says “generates over 20 million unique visitors per month and is one of the 100 most trafficked websites in America.” The service is airing today in markets including Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama.
Compass Names Ingold Sales Exec. Compass Media Networks brings Doug Ingold aboard as senior director of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming beginning January 20. The company says Ingold “will be based in Los Angeles and assume a vital role in the expansion of Compass’ long-form entertainment and music shows including Big D & Bubba, “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Off The Record,” “Out of Order,” Rick Dees and “Skratch N Sniff.” Compass VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur comments, “Our entertainment portfolio is growing rapidly and the time is right for us to add someone of Doug’s caliber to spearhead day-to-day affiliate marketing.”
McMurray Show Expands at WGN. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, late night talk show host Pete McMurray’s show will expand with a new earlier start time at 10:00 pm (and end at 2:00 am), shaving an hour off David Kaplan’s evening sports talk program. Feder quotes WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley saying, “Pete has become our all-purpose star in a variety of fill-in roles. I think he gets what we’re trying to do very well, especially in providing lots of video content. Between Pete and [producer] Scott Miller, they do an amazing job of booking great guests and being about the city.” Read the story here.
Hotchkiss Transfers to Charlotte as Director of Sales. As of today (1/6), Keith Hotchkiss is Clear Channel Charlotte’s director of sales. He joins that operation from Cleveland where he was general sales manager of Clear Channel-owned CHR WAKS “Kiss-FM,” news/talk WTAM, rock WMMS, and WMMS-HD2 “99X.” Regional Market Manager Charlie Wilkinson remarks that, “Keith’s proven sales leadership will have an immediate impact in Charlotte. I’m confident he will be an integral part of our success now and well into the future.” Clear Channel’s five-station Charlotte cluster consists of alternative WEND “The End,” CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1,” country WKKT “The Kat,” adult hits WLKO “The Lake,” and classic rock WRFX “The Fox.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York radio personality Laura Smith is sitting in for the first few shows with new 5:00 pm program host Pat Kiernan starting today. Smith currently hosts two weekend programs on WABC – “Living Better with Laura Smith” and “The Saturday Café.” Kiernan is an anchor on cable’s NY1 and his show is part of the newly revised program lineup at the station…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Blackhawks Live” live broadcast promotion on Thursday, January 13 featuring defenseman Duncan Keith at the Old Town Pour House in Chicago. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests.
Four New Integrations for iHeartRadio. Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio digital entertainment platform is headed to dashboards in three auto makes, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Kia. In addition to these OEMs, iHeartRadio will also be available via platform solution provider Bosch. The company states that in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec’s innovative InControl Apps platform, Volvo vehicles equipped with the Sensus Connect infotainment solution and Kia vehicles with UVO will have access to iHeartRadio.
“Oh Doctor!” – Jerry Coleman Passes Away. That was one of the favorite on-air expressions uttered by the 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, whose death was confirmed Sunday night (1/5) by the San Diego Padres, the MLB team for whom he called games since 1972. A portion of the team’s prepared statement read, “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.” He played parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees (1949 – 1957). After retiring, he began a broadcasting career with CBS-TV (1960 – 1962), where he conducted pregame interviews on the network’s “Game of the Week” broadcasts. He did play-by-play for the Yankees on WCBS-AM and WPIX-TV (1963 – 1969), Angels (1970 – 1971), and Padres (1972 to this past season). He also called regular-season and postseason broadcasts for CBS Radio from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. For three years of Coleman’s tenure with the Padres, his on-air partner was sitcom writer par excellence-music radio on-air talent Ken Levine, who writes on KenLevine.blogspot.com, “I loved Jerry. He was your favorite uncle – always cheerful, always there for you. His passion for the game of baseball was infectious and his zest for life was inspiring. Other than having to broadcast meaningless spring training games, I cannot think of anything Jerry Coleman didn’t view in a positive light. He was also incredibly humble. When we were on the road, I picked his brain for hours, and he graciously and patiently answered all of my questions. Jerry Coleman worked Padres games up until his death. He led a rich full life and he would often point out how lucky he was. So many of his friends had died young in a war – he lived to be 89 in relatively good health.” In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence; two years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. As of the 2010 season, he reduced his broadcast schedule to approximately 25 home day games.
Cumulus to Acquire Merlin Media’s Chicago Signals – WKQX and WLUP-FM. Variations of this deal had been rumored in the Windy City for some time. Scuttlebutt heard in the late fall also had Tribune interested in WLUP-FM due to WGN president Jimmy de Castro’s earlier comments that his company is looking to acquire an FM signal in Chicago. But now it comes to pass that Cumulus Media – for a sum yet-to-be-announced – will bring classic rock WLUP-FM and WKQX (currently adult hits WIQI at 101.1) into the company’s portfolio in addition to the alternative format airing on WKQX-LP. Speaking about the sale, COO John Dickey states, “These great brands will be welcome additions to the two legendary brands we already own in Chicago.” Dickey says the alternative format under calls WKQX will return to the 101.1 frequency as early as next week. The company also has no plans to change the classic rock format on WLUP-FM so it’s unlikely it will put the country NASH format on either station in the near future. The acquisition of the two FM signals from Emmis by Randy Michaels-led Merlin took place in 2011 and the alternative format of WKQX was displaced by a news and talk format that was to target females. The format never took off and was flipped to adult hits a little less than a year later in July of 2012.
Exclusive Never-Before Seen Video of Special Tribute to Bob Grant. In 2008, now-defunct trade publication Radio & Records announced that it was going to present the late Bob Grant with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its then-annual convention. Shortly after making the announcement, the publication rescinded the award in the face of threatened picketers that protested Grant’s selection based on their opposition to his stated views and controversial reputation. WABC, then owned by Citadel and Grant’s home base at the time, stepped up to the plate and decided to present Grant with its own Lifetime Achievement Award. The station, represented by its then-VP of programming, Phil Boyce, asked TALKERS magazine if it would be willing to host the ceremony at its annual conference (then known as the New Media Seminar) in New York City that summer. TALKERS agreed and the ceremony was conducted (amidst protests) at the event’s Friday night cocktail party. It featured the presentation of the award by Boyce and a magnificent acceptance speech by Grant in addition to a stunning video tribute to Grant’s career produced by renowned industry videographer and historian Art “Radio’s Best Friend” Vuolo. After the event, the video was filed away in the TALKERS vaults for posterity and never seen again. Until now, that is. Upon the sad occasion of Bob Grant’s passing at the age of 84 this past New Year’s Eve, TALKERS has made the video available for public viewing. To see this historic document which includes Grant’s discussion of talk radio’s role in a free society, its relationship with the First Amendment and the unconstitutionality of the repressive Fairness Doctrine please see the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Fox Sports Radio Goes to Gorman for Afternoons. As far as Fox Sports Radio is concerned, the next wave of sports talk talent may be coming from the world of rock music, as the network fills its weekday 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with The Black Crowes’ founding member/drummer Steve Gorman. “Steve Gorman Sports” debuts later this month (1/27) with a series of broadcasts leading up to the Super Bowl. According to Clear Channel senior vice president of sports operations Bruce Gilbert, “‘Steve Gorman Sports’ is the perfect combination of sports, passion, pop culture, music and entertainment. Fox Sports Radio is committed to serving sports fans with unique and entertaining insight, stories, and opinions surrounding the natural drama of sports. Steve Gorman is an excellent addition to our leading, multi-platform, sports entertainment lineup.” Gorman comments, “This is an amazing opportunity to be able to work with the one network I always felt was a perfect fit for my show. I know listeners will love hearing athletes and musicians alike talking, laughing, and arguing about our shared passions: sports and music.” Gorman has hosted several local sports shows; he began “Steve Gorman Sports” as a podcast in 2010. With all times listed referring to the Eastern time zone, FSR’s revised lineup consists of: “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman & Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Dan Patrick Show” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Jay Mohr Sports” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “Steve Gorman Sports” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); J.T. “The Brick” with Tomm Looney (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); “The Jason Smith Show (10:00 pm – 2:00 am); and “The Ben Maller Show” (2:00 am – 6:00 am).
Carlos Amezcua PM Drive Host at ‘The Patriot’ in Los Angeles. The newly transformed conservative talk outlet KEIB, Los Angeles (formerly progressive talker KTLK), now branded “The Patriot AM 1150,” has a new PM drive host as former KTTV-TV, Los Angeles news anchor Carlos Amezcua joins the station. KEIB’s change includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck now airing at the station – Limbaugh slid over from sister news/talk KFI – and also includes The Blaze personality Doc Thompson in early mornings and Westwood One’s Clark Howard in evenings.
Genesis Communications Network and Mancow Partner for Syndication. Talk radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller and Genesis Communications Network are partnering to distribute the Chicago-based morning program. GCN states it is “excited to announce the arrival of the popular Mancow show featuring the notorious Erich ‘Mancow’ Muller and his controversial, snarky, hilarious and hard-hitting brand of talk radio.”
Los Angeles Sports Radio Talent Dave Stone Passes. “This is one of the toughest things I’ve ever written.” With that, iconic Los Angeles sports talk radio/mainstream talk radio programmer and on-air talent Joe McDonnell began his Facebook tribute to longtime Los Angeles sports voice Dave Stone, who passed away earlier this week at age 64. He’d been diagnosed with ALS. “I didn’t even know he was sick, which was typical of Dave,” McDonnell states. “He did not want anyone to fuss over him – even when he was batting a terminal disease. Dave was my first hire when I was putting together ESPN 710 [KSPN, Los Angeles] in 1999 – 2000. He put his heart and soul into everything he did there.” Part of that lineup was “McDonnell-Douglas” consisting of McDonnell and veteran Los Angeles sportswriter Doug Krikorian; Stone did sports updates. “Big Joe” first met Stone in the mid-1970s when they were competing for the job to operate the Dodger Stadium message board. “Dave beat me out, but it became a moment when I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” FoxSportsWest.com writer-reporter-columnist McDonnell states. A notoriously famous Lakers fan, McDonnell nonetheless concedes that Stone might have been just as strong of a partisan of the NBA team. “We would spend hours talking about [Jerry] West, [Elgin] Baylor, [Wilt] Chamberlain, Darrell Imhoff, and Archie Clark. If he was a Lakers player, we knew about him.” Stone was the public address announcer for more than 1,400 Harlem Globetrotter performances and McDonnell writes, “If the phone rang at 3:00 am, it might be Dave calling from Singapore to get the score of the Lakers game.” In 1991, Stone was working at Huntsville, Alabama’s WVNN-WZYP and he hired a young afternoon drive talent named Sean Hannity. Mike Dunsmore worked with Stone at Fox Sports Radio from 2007 – 2009 and just this past year at NBC Sports Radio, where Stone was an update anchor. “He had a booming voice, loved the Lakers, and despised [former Lakers player] Kwame Brown,” Dunsmore posts on Facebook. “Dave Stone was a class act.” Former KLOS, Los Angeles program director Rita Wilde – currently doing evenings at cross-town KSWD “The Sound” – writes, “I had no idea he was sick – he was a great guy.” McDonnell rhetorically states of Stone, “You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you.” Services for Stone were held yesterday (Thursday, 1/2) at 2:00 pm in suburban Los Angeles (Simi Valley).
KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Launches Podcast Project. Talk radio pro Tom Becka – currently hosting afternoon drive at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha – announces the debut of a weekly podcast project that will be featured at his website tombecka.com. Becka tells TALKERS, “TomBecka.com is a podcast page where I interview everyday people with a unique story to tell. Think of it as NPR, but with personality and a pulse. Some of the interviews that are helping me launch this are a woman who’s a breast cancer survivor, a soldier with PTSD, a drag queen, a woman who accidentally found out her bartender was the child she gave up for adoption 27 years ago, and a couple that practices polyamory. Every Sunday I will add another podcast and so far I have a rodeo clown, a man with Asperger’s, and a drummer who has spent most of his life working the cruise ships.” This project allows Becka to step outside of the format of a live, on-air talk radio show but still bring his own personality and style to these interview projects. He says his ability to negotiate keeping ownership of his digital rights has allowed him to work on these types of initiatives.
Odds & Sods. There’s been a minor lineup shuffle at Yahoo! Sports Radio where Sean Salisbury moves to the late afternoon “Prime Cut” show alongside current host John Granato. Leaving that show to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program is Geoff Ketchum who replaces John Harris…..Compass Media Networks syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt announces changes in his show in a number of markets. In Schnitt’s home market of Tampa, his program will be delay broadcast on WFLA from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but will air live on sister station WHNZ from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The show will also shift to early evening clearances on affiliates WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina and WTKS, Savannah, Georgia…..“Labor-Lines,” hosted by Vic Fusco, moves from former progressive talker WWRL, New York to its new home at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” where it airs Saturdays at 1:00 pm.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the programming lineup at KROP, Yuma, Arizona; KVPI, Lafayette, Louisiana; and WGSO, New Orleans…..Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt joins the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Rodger Fredinburg’s “Homeland Security” show joins the weekend program lineup at KMED, Medford, Oregon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis program is added to the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Also from GCN, the weekly Steve Sanchez program announces its new flagship station KFNX, Phoenix…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces new affiliates: WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; WQXL-AM/FM, Columbia, South Carolina; KMMS-AM, Bozeman and KPRK-AM, Livingston, Montana; and KMED, Medford, Oregon…..From Salem Radio Network comes the following affiliate additions: Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” is added to KVTA, Oxnard-Ventura; Mike Gallagher becomes part of the lineup at KGED, Fresno; the Dennis Prager show is added to WEZO, Augusta, Georgia; and Michael Medved joins the programming at WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois and WTIM-FM, Taylorville, Illinois.
Holidays and Year-in-Review Top Talk Topics for Week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 3. The holidays and a look back at 2013 were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was criticism of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the poor rating of Congress by the public followed by winter weather and discussions of global warming tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a list 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. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
NEW YORK — Bob Grant, who ranked eleventh in TALKERS magazine’s 20th anniversary Heaviest Hundred (published in 2010), which lists “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time,” died on December 31 at 84 years old after a brief illness.
Grant, whose signature opening line in New York radio was “Let’s be heard!,” drove his rollercoaster career through numerous stations in New York City where listeners followed some of the more racially-charged issues in town.
Brash and confident for a guy who stood 5-foot seven, Grant was described by TALKERS in the July/August 2010 issue as an “infamous watchdog of public figures, 40-plus years in New York radio.”
Upon learning of Grant’s death, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “He was a founding father of modern talk radio whose influence on broadcasting technique, style and societal role go way beyond the boundaries of conservative broadcasting.”
Iconic Talk Show Host Bob Grant Dead at 84. Just months after retiring from his weekend talk show at WABC, New York, Bob Grant passed away on New Year’s Eve after what’s being described as a brief illness. Grant began his talk radio career at KABC in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s but rose to fame when he came to New York and began a regular talk show at WMCA in 1970. Grant’s career saw him move around the New York radio dial; he worked at WABC and WOR and – for a time – WWDB-FM, Philadelphia. He is regularly cited by today’s conservative talk radio practitioners as the man who pioneered the opinionated, call-it-as-you-see-it style of issues-oriented talk radio upon which the modern era of the format was built. Read more about his legendary career here.
Curtis & Kuby Return to WABC, New York. Cumulus Media names Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby midday talk hosts at WABC, New York – returning one of the most popular local talk teams to the station where they first worked together more than 13 years ago. The Curtis & Kuby show aired on WABC from 2000 to 2007 pairing the conservative Sliwa with the ultra-liberal Kuby for a show that was very successful. Cumulus COO John Dickey says in a statement, “We’re delivering on our pledge to invest in localized content that will entertain, inform and engage listeners while also providing advertisers unique opportunities to reach their customers on a sustained basis. Sliwa adds, “Ever since I left 77 WABC, everywhere I go people have asked me if and when I would ever reunite with Ron Kuby, because that was a great show! At a time when New Yorkers are starved for information and entertainment, I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to offer it to them on the greatest news/talk station this country has ever seen.” And Kuby comments, “I am thrilled to be back at legendary 77 WABC radio with the Curtis & Kuby show — it is a new day for New York City and a new afternoon for New York radio!” Sliwa has most recently been hosting both morning and afternoon shows at Salem’s crosstown WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” In addition to the Curtis & Kuby show, Cumulus is adding a local hour from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hosted by NY1 TV anchor Pat Kiernan. Kiernan states, “My first broadcasting job was in radio so this is a natural way for me to extend my connection with New Yorkers. I see this as a great way for listeners to reconnect after the workday. We’re going to hit the big local stories, but we also want to plug into the conversation of the day. That can include anything from pop culture to sports to the hot topic on Twitter.” These moves come as the station transitions the late morning Geraldo Rivera show to local content and adds the Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Michael Savage for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot.
WABC, New York Names Craig Schwalb PD; Tony Mascaro Takes WPRO, Providence Programming Post. Along with the programming changes announced above, Cumulus Media announces Craig Schwalb is being promoted to program director of WABC, New York from the company’s WPRO, Providence. At the same time, Tony Mascaro moves from his operations manager post at WABC to program director of WPRO and sister business news outlet WPRV. The company states that Schwalb has nearly two decades of news, talk and sports programming experience with roles held in markets including New York City, Detroit, St. Louis and Raleigh. Prior to joining Cumulus, Schwalb was the senior director of talk programming for SiriusXM. Schwalb says, “WABC has inspired countless broadcasters over the years and to now lead WABC into its next phase will be an absolute pleasure. Without a doubt, working alongside Cumulus NYC market manager Kim Bryant, COO John Dickey, SVP programming Mike McVay and corporate program director Randall Bloomquist, will be an honor.” Speaking about his return to Providence, Mascaro comments, “I am thrilled to be returning to Providence where it all started for me. WPRO-AM is a legendary radio station with an amazing line-up of talent. I wish everyone at WABC continued success for the future. Thanks to John Dickey, Mike McVay, Randall Bloomquist and Providence market manager Barbara Haynes for this opportunity to program a heritage radio station in a great radio market.”
Sean Hannity to Air Live on KVI, Seattle. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity returns to Seattle’s “Talk Radio 570” KVI today airing live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. This marks a reunion with the station on which his show debuted in 2001. Program director Paul Duckworth states, “We’re thrilled to bring Sean back to KVI. Listeners deserve to hear Sean’s program live and get the most up-to-the-minute news, information and analysis.” Hannity adds, “From the very first day I went on the air and that red light went on, I have been in love with radio. I’m thrilled, excited, ecstatic, exuberant to be back on America’s original conservative talk station, ‘Talk Radio 570 KVI.’” In addition, “The Hannity Encore” will air on the station Sundays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
WIND, Chicago Expands Morning Show; Adds Sean Hannity. Salem Communications-owned news/talk WIND, Chicago announces the expansion of the morning drive show co-hosted by Big John Howell and Amy Jacobson plus the addition of Premiere’s Sean Hannity show to the lineup. Beginning Monday, January 6, Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” returns live to the station for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour. Howell and Jacobson will air in the expanded 6:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Westwood One’s Dennis Miller remains in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot but now airs live. Sean Hannity also airs live from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. WIND general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Sean Hannity is an ideal fit on ‘AM 560 The Answer.’ Sean is one of the premier news/talk personalities and his style will fit nicely with our outstanding lineup of local and national hosts.”
WGN, Chicago Gives David Kaplan New Contract. Talk host and reporter David Kaplan inks a new, multi-year contract with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Kaplan hosts the eponymous nightly sports talk show that airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and serves as afternoon drive sports reporter as well as host of the Cubs and Blackhawks Confidential programs. Kaplan comments, “It’s a thrill to continue my career at WGN Radio where I have spent the last 18-plus years. I’m thankful to work for the best mind in radio, Jimmy de Castro, and I’m blessed to be able to talk sports in my hometown of Chicago on the best radio station in America.” De Castro adds, “We are driven to deliver live and local programming to our listeners. Kap has his finger on the pulse of Chicago sports and we’re excited for him to be a part of our multi-dimensional future.”
Marc James Goes Solo at “The Fan” in Charlotte. CBS RADIO announces WFNZ, Charlotte “Sports Radio 610 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Marc James begins hosting the afternoon drive slot on the station solo as former co-host Taylor Zarzour leaves the show to host “Bleacher Report Radio” on SiriusXM‘s sports zone channel. James and Zarzour had been co-hosting “The Drive” since they were paired up in 2011. The station says Zarzour will continue to remain a part of the WFNZ family by calling into the show with Marc weekly. Zarzour says, “I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity that OM DJ Stout and market manager Bill Schoening gave me at WFNZ. I am extremely proud of the success that we had in my three years on the show and have no doubt Marc and the crew will continue to grow the audience. I am excited about my next opportunity but will continue to be a part of the WFNZ family.” The show’s other cast members include The Q.C.B., Hitman, and Jayweezie. Stout says, “Although it is bittersweet to see Taylor go, he has done a great job for us and we will miss his talent and professionalism. We’re excited for Marc to take on this opportunity. He is a top notch talent and we look forward to him taking The Drive to the next level.” James comments, “Taylor Zarzour is probably the hardest working person in sports talk radio. He made me a better host, but more importantly a better man. I look forward to taking ‘Sports Radio 610 WFNZ the Fan’ to unparalleled heights in the future. Charlotte is hands down one of the best sports towns in America and we will continue to make Charlotte proud to call WFNZ THE best sports talk station in the city.”
The Miracle of “A Christmas Story.” Ever the radio historian, noted media consultant Walter Sabo reminds us about the power of story-telling as an audience-building device. In a new column posted today (1/2) Sabo discusses the movie “A Christmas Story” which was based on the synthesis of dozens of radio monologues created and delivered by the late and legendary talker Jean Shepherd. Shepherd broadcast on WOR, New York from 1958-1975. His nightly monologues were not bedtime stories. According to Sabo, they were subversive proclamations, challenging authority wrapped in imagery of American traditions. Shepherd worked without a script, but with massive prep. Some of his shows took months to come to fruition in his imagination. He recorded every show. The importance of Shepherd’s work is that it was not on NPR or an obscure station. WOR was the number one station in audience and revenue in America through most of his reign. It was a talk station that appealed primarily to women—about 70% of the cume was female. About 70% of the hosts were women. There were many other dominant talk stations at the time that appealed primarily to women such as KMOX, WCCO, WGN and WBZ. Shepherd’s audience was young, more male. His show often presented a youngster’s perspective on the idiocy of authority, success, day-people and capitalism. He bashed advertising, radio, television and anything that was mainstream or plastic. In other words he trashed, on every level, the success of his employer: The number one radio station in America owned by General Tire and Rubber. He did that every night. There is much contemporary talk broadcasters can learn from this slice of radio history. To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Nieslen Audio December PPM Data Released. The December 2013 PPM ratings data has been released by Nielsen Audio. Numbers for all 48 PPM-rated markets have been made public and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo. Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.
Coming Next Week: The 2014 International CES. Media consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke will report from next week’s 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He teases the event asking, “How dizzying is the-pace-of-change?” Media are now asked NOT to refer to this massive, mind-boggling event as “The Consumer Electronics Show,” because whassup here has transcended hardware.
Sure, there’ll be gadgets aplenty in an exhibit hall bigger than 30 football fields, many of ‘em obsoleting whatever seemed so-cutting-edge last year. But many of the ways technology is changing our everyday lives are…invisible, “The Internet of Things.”
Yes, the Amazon drone story was a publicity stunt.
But 62% of Internet traffic is now robots.
Maybe your refrigerator isn’t (yet) auto-ordering milk; and none of us are riding driver-less cars.
Yet already, patients can enable doctors to monitor real-time vital signs.
Soon, your alarm clock could wake you earlier if the route you commute has a traffic tangle. And your thermostat will auto-adjust, based on the changing weather forecast. Traditional radio information hooks are no longer franchises. If you think I’m exaggerating, look at your iPhone.
Come along, virtually…
Look for my coverage here next week in TALKERS and RadioInfo; and follow my real-time Tweets @HollandCooke. I’ll also be reporting for the Jim Bohannon show and “America in the Morning,” and on my client stations.
And it’ll be a ‘Vegas convention two-fer. Again this year, I’ll also be covering NMX, the New Media Expo, formerly “Blogworld,” before-that “The Podcast & New Media Expo,” which, a decade ago, already drew twice-as-many attendees as radio conventions.
With media consumers now in on-demand pick-N-choose mode — and with advertising and marketing money flowing to the digital platform — these internet content creators’ work is now instructive to what TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison has termed broadcast stations’ “survival and ‘thrival.’”
Norm Pattiz to Keynote NMX 2014. Speaking of the New Media Expo, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz will be among the three media execs keynoting the conference when it gets underway this weekend in Las Vegas. Speaking alongside tech expert Leo Laporte and Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok, Pattiz – Westwood One founder and CEO of Podcast One – will address the former Blogworld conference at 9:00 am on Monday, January 6. The title of the keynote address is “The Future of Podcasting.”
WMYT, Wilmington Adds Programming. Talk Media TV-owned news/talk WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces program additions to is schedule beginning with its “Super Saturdays” lineup. The station says the new addition to its “Super Saturdays,” which consists of eight local shows, is “The Car Doctor with Val Boudreau.” Also, the station announces it is bringing the new “The Blaze News” regular news updates to listeners airing every 15 minutes, saying “’The Blaze News’ spots, in addition to our Fox Business News spots, will expand our national news content and coverage!” WMYT is also adding Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean to the daily schedule airing weeknights from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Austin Sports Talker KTXX-FM Purchased By Local Group. The Austin American-Statesman reports that longtime market media personality Bob Cole heads up an ownership group that is purchasing sports talk KTXX-FM “The Horn” and its sister AM signal KWNX from Total Austin Sports Radio for an undisclosed sum. Cole – who serves as the Texas Longhorns stadium announcer and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame – tells the paper the station will remain sports but that “We’re going to do something a little different, that fills a hole that no one else in the market is filling.” Earlier this year the group purchased country outlet KOKE where Cole hosts the morning show.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel changes the call letters of KTLK, Los Angeles to KEIB – a nod to its new centerpiece, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, whose Excellence in Broadcasting network moniker is often shortened to EIB. The station flipped from progressive talk to conservative talk as of today (1/2) and the station’s brand is “The Patriot.” Limbaugh moved over from sister news/talk KFI…..CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday night’s Eagles-Saints NFC Wild Card game at Lincoln Financial Field to the person “who needs them the most.” The station is telling listeners to make a banner that says “94WIP I Need Eagles Playoff Tickets,” make it big, creative and hang it where WIP can see – as long as it’s legal. On Friday afternoon, the station will send its spotters out to select the best banner and will award the tickets accordingly…..ESPN Radio returns to the Columbia, South Carolina market after a 17-month absence on L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230 AM.” WOIC flipped from news/talk on January 1 and is carrying much of the ESPN Radio lineup. It will also air local programs “The Zone” hosted by Duane “The Shot Doctor” Everett from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “Sports Hotline” with Bobby Gist and Ernest Robinson from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..The “Positive Business with Patricia Raskin” show announces the addition of new co-host Lynda Adams. “Positive Business” airs every Friday from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on business talk WPRV, Providence where it’s been heard for the past four years.
TALKERS Magazine Compiles News/Talk Radio’s Most Talked-About Stories and People of 2013. As is customary at year’s end, the research editors of TALKERS magazine compile the most-talked-about stories and people of the just-concluded 12-month period. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “2013 was an extremely colorful year with a diversity of subjects and people being discussed. There was the usual mix of partisan politics, foreign affairs, economic policy and, of course, the shockingly unexpected such as the Boston Marathon tragedy.” Casey continues, “The President of the United States has always been the most talked about person going back to the very beginning of this publication 24 years ago and George Bush’s involvement in the first Persian Gulf War. Barack Obama, like his predecessors in the modern age of talk broadcasting, has not left talk show hosts wanting for hot material on a daily basis.”
1) ObamaCare Rollout
2) Benghazi Attack Investigation
3) IRS Accused of Targeting Conservative Groups
4) Debt Ceiling/Govt. Shutdown/Sequestration Battle
5) NSA Domestic Spying/Edward Snowden Case
6) Boston Marathon Bombing
7) GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategy
8) Gun Legislation Debate
9) Iran Nuke Threat
10) Syria Civil War
11) Fed Stimulus Policy/Dow Surpasses 16,000
12) DOJ Journalist Investigations
13) Immigration Reform
14) George Zimmerman Trial
15) Afghanistan Security Withdrawl
16) Egypt Violence/Instability
17) N. Korea Nuke Threat
18) Detroit Bankruptcy
19) Pope Francis Replaces Benedict
20) SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling
1) Barack Obama
2) John Boehner
3) Nancy Pelosi
4) Harry Reid
5) Hillary Clinton
6) John Kerry
7) Rush Limbaugh
8) Ted Cruz
9) Chris Christie
10) Paul Ryan
11) Kathleen Sebelius
12) Edward Snowden
13) Vladimir Putin
14) George Zimmerman
15) Trayvon Martin
16) Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
17) Kim Jong Un
18) Pope Francis
19) Ben Bernanke
20) Eric Holder
Radio Industry Sees Major Developments and Changes in 2013. The combined editorial staffs of RadioInfo and TALKERS magazines have posted the 10 biggest stories of importance to the entire radio industry (music and talk) that took place in 2013. They are as follows in order of importance:
1) Nielsen Acquires Arbitron
2) Developments in Emergence of the Connected Car
3) Network Sports Talk Radio Growth Explosion
4) Radio Company-Label Deals/Digital Royalty Rate Issue
5) Cumulus Acquires (Dial Global) WestwoodOne
6) Growth of Digital Music Service Providers
7) Limbaugh and Hannity Station Realignment Deals Negotiated
8) FCC Announces AM Band Revitalization Strategy
9) Progressive Talk Outlets Continue to Disappear
10) Country Music Format Enjoys Resurgence
Industry Mourns WINS, New York Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks. Legendary WINS, New York newsman Stan Brooks passed away yesterday (12/23) at his home at age 86. He’d been serving as senior correspondent for CBS RADIO’s WINS, New York – the station he’d been with for the past 50 years. Brooks started working for the station in 1962 when it was a top 40 station and stayed with it through its transition to all-news. WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach says of Brooks, “Like every challenge he has ever faced, Stan met this final one with the same class, dignity and humility that defined every day of his almost 87 years on this earth. There will never be another one like him.” EVP of operations for CBS RADIO Scott Herman adds, “Not only was Stan Brooks a walking encyclopedia on NYC politics he was one of the finest, decent and most dignified men who ever lived. We were lucky to have him on 1010 WINS for the past 51 years and we will never ever forget him.” Read about Brooks’ life and career in a piece from CBS New York here.
JVC Broadcasting Prepares for Launch of ‘Long Island News Radio 103.9’ on Thursday. Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting announces the lineup for its soon-to-be former rock outlet WRCN, Riverhead, New York branded “Long Island News Radio 103.9.” TALKERS reported two weeks ago that the station’s studio will be located in the terminal of the Long Island MacArthur Airports – a physical reminder of the local intentions of this new station for the Long Islanders who use the facility. Now to the lineup: morning drive is being hosted by Jay Oliver; the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show is Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and Friends; local host John Gomez is handling the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot followed by the local, one-hour show “Breaking it Down with Frank Mackay.” Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity is in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Robby Bowen Upped at CBS RADIO’s ‘105.3 The Fan.’ Sales pro Robby Bowen is promoted to general sales manager for CBS RADIO sports talker KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The FAN.” Bowen joined CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005 as an account executive for the station, which was at that time KLLI-FM. During his time there he has served as local sales manager and most recently was senior account director.
Changes in Middays at WJFK-FM, Washington Raise Questions. According to Dan Steinberg’s column in the Washington Post, the midday lineup at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC is in flux after the station announced Holden Kushner will be moving to other duties including weekends, fill-in and participating in Washington Nationals coverage. Kushner was paired up with Danny Rouhier who reportedly will host the show solo today (12/24) and then be on vacation through December 30. What happens after that is uncertain. The station is expected to announce plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart in the New Year but already the news is cause for speculation. With the arrival of Don Geronimo from the company’s KHTK, Sacramento earlier this fall (currently hosting evenings), DC radio fans are wondering if he’ll return to a daytime show on the station. Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara held down afternoon drive at the station when it was a hot talker from 1991 through 2008.
Matt Walsh Exits WLAP, Lexington; Sean Hannity to Air in PM Drive. Writer and talk show host Matt Walsh announces that his contract with Clear Channel’s WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky is up and as the station is filling the afternoon drive slot with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity, he’s leaving AM/FM talk radio for good. In a post on his blog, Walsh explains that although he has nothing but good things to say about his time at WLAP, he’s going to focus on his blog that he says has “between three and five million people” reading it every month. As for his time at WLAP, he says, “WLAP took a chance on me, gave me a show, gave me the freedom to handle the topics in my own way, and surrounded me with a highly intelligent and passionate supporting cast. I’m grateful for that, as these things are certainly not a given in this industry.”
NAB Acquires Two Events: CCW and SATCON. The National Association of Broadcasters announces it has purchased the assets of the Content and Communications World (CCW) and Satellite Communications Conference and Expo (SATCON) events from JD Events. The two events are held annually in November and are co-located at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. In a press statement, the NAB says that “CCW is the leading media, entertainment and communications technology event of its kind in New York with a focus on content creation, management and delivery technologies. SATCON offers education and exhibits serving companies in the satellite-enabled communications and content delivery industry.” EVP of NAB Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown comments, “We have made these additions to the NAB event family with the goal of growing both the attendee and exhibitor base of what has emerged as an important East Coast venue for the content community. We look forward to developing this event and serving the unique needs of this very important media market.”
Nieslen Audio December PPM Data Released. The December 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for the first 12 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo. Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.
Odds & Sods. Premiere Networks-distributed 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – will ring in the New Year with a countdown of the top 247 comedy bits from the top 247 comedians. The program is compiled by staff and listeners who voted on 24/7 Comedy’s Facebook page or called the laugh-line at 218-Chuckle. The countdown will air nationwide all day New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and will feature Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Aziz Ansari, Bill Engvall, Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield…..KFMB, San Diego weekend program “It’s Your Money and Your Life” picked up three first place awards from the San Diego Press Club for “Excellence in Journalism.” The show currently originates from La Jolla’s prestigious La Valencia Hotel and airs Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, hosted by Richard Muscio (left) and Joe Vecchio (right).
Cumulus Announces Completion of Refinancing; $2.025 Billion Loan Due in 2020. The refinancing of Cumulus Media’s senior secured credit facilities was reported last month and now Cumulus announces that goal has been complete. The company says it enters into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, consisting of a $2.025 billion term loan maturing in December 2020 and a $200 million revolving credit facility maturing in December 2018. The proceeds from the Term Loan along with cash on hand have been used to repay in full all amounts outstanding under the first and second lien term loans under Cumulus’ pre-existing credit agreements. The refinancing follows the entry into a $50 million, 5-year revolving accounts receivables securitization facility, which Cumulus entered into on December 6, 2013. CEO Lew Dickey states, “This highly successful refinancing transaction is expected to increase our free cash flow by greater than $30 million annually, extends our maturities through 2020 and simplifies our capital structure. We believe our balance sheet has now placed us at a competitive advantage that positions us well for future growth opportunities.”
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Returns to Air with Apologies and Admission of His Addictions. Midday sports talk host Dan McNeil had been off CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago for the better part of the past two months and while there was no explanation for his absence other than he had personal things to deal with, regular listeners may have suspected McNeil was dealing with substance abuse issues. It’s not the first time he’s left the air for that reason. But on Friday, McNeil – whose name had been removed from the show during that time – returned to the air and offered a frank and full mea culpa about his addiction to marijuana and pain pills that’s kept him off the air. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has posted a transcript of a good chunk of what McNeil said on the radio but what his partner – Matt Spiegel – said to him probably rings true for a lot of the people in his life. “We are glad that you are back. But I will not pretend that it is with full-on trust and full-on joy that it was perhaps the first time [you returned]. In the spirit of honesty with you, and I’m sure that some listeners feel that way as well, you and I have always been real with each other. We’ll continue to be real. That we felt betrayed. That we felt betrayed. . .We’re here with you. We want to be here with you. But I think you know you have to regain some trust.” Read Feder’s entire column here.
Stephanie Miller Show to Air on Free Speech TV. Fans of progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller rallied to raise funds to get her program back on television via the Free Speech TV network. Miller – whose radio program is losing its flagship station KTLK as the outlet drops progressive talk and changes programming – was part of a campaign to raise money to bring the show to Free Speech TV. The goal was $50,000 but fans responded enthusiastically and so far have raised $120,450 to build a studio and support the production of the program on the commercial-free network. In a statement announcing the successful effort, Miller says, “It was a clear demonstration that, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, progressive media matters. And it matters enough that regular people are willing to come together and do what the big corporate media conglomerates are afraid to do…give thoughtful, funny and creative progressive voices a way to speak to the people who want to hear them.” Miller’s show is produced by WYD Media Management and WYD president Ron Hartenbaum says the new studio on the lower level of Miller’s home will “give the listeners and viewers more of a reality-show feel to the production versus a more traditional/sterile broadcast facility.” Referring to the $120,450 raised for the expanded programming, Hartenbaum says, “We are funded and supported in part by our listeners and viewers. All advertisers should take strong note that our audience spends money.”
Maisano To Exit Curtis Media Group, Raleigh. Due to a family member’s health issues, seven-year Curtis Media Group, Raleigh senior vice president/director of sales Adam Maisano will be leaving his position at month’s end. Maisano comments that it is “with exceedingly mixed emotions” that he departs “this great job,” but he states, “Over the last 18 months I have learned a lot about what is truly important in life. Right now, family has to come first.” He wants to return to active radio management by next spring. Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “Adam has been a great employee. I, along with everyone at Curtis Media Group, wish him Godspeed in his personal journey and much continued success in his career.” Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh cluster was the market’s top-biller. It consists of country WQDR “94.7 ‘QDR,” adult hits WBBB “Radio 96.1,” urban AC WBZJ “The New 96.9,” CHR WWPL “The Pulse,” regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1,” talk WPTF, talk WPTK, and comedy WFNL “Funny 570.” Maisano joined the company approximately 12 years ago as national sales manager. He previously worked in sales for Clear Channel’s Augusta, Georgia stations.
Entercom to Donate KWOD, Salem, Oregon to the MMTC. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council will be the recipient of radio station KWOD, Salem Oregon – a donation by Entercom Communications Corp. The station is currently airing a sports talk format. The MMTC was founded to promote diversity in broadcast station ownership and uses donated stations to train minorities and women in broadcast operations, sales, management, and ownership and enables them to purchase the stations at a discount from their market values. Since MMTC founded its media and telecom brokerage in 1997, it has helped hundreds of interested parties and new entrants with conducting business planning and due diligence and helping new entrants build their professional and financial networks. MMTC president David Honig states, “Entercom is a terrific example of a company that truly has the public interest at heart. Thanks to this generous gift to MMTC, we can train more new entrants in broadcast ownership and further our mission of promoting diversity in entrepreneurship.” Entercom president and CEO David Field adds, “We are very excited to be donating this station and providing a new radio entrepreneur with the opportunity to become a great broadcaster and radio station owner. We appreciate the leadership of David Honig and the MMTC staff and all they do to help enable these opportunities and mentor minority broadcasters.”
Odds & Sods. Bob Just a former TRN host who Sean Hannity calls “one of the good Democrats,” returns to the talk radio business, if just for a day, to guest host Hannity’s show on Friday, December 27. Along with being a grassroots leader, Bob Just is also a longtime WND columnist and Whistleblower Magazine editor-at-Large. A self-described Reagan Democrat who speaks at Tea Party rallies, Just did the research and development for Hannity’s second New York Times best seller, Deliver Us from Evil…..Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick will sit in for Bill Cunningham on his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Sunday night show on January 29. Patrick says this is the third year in a row he’s done the program and he’s looking forward to presenting his year-in-review program…..Television news anchor and reporter Kimberly Easton joins CBS Radio’s all-news simulcast WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago as a part-time anchor and reporter, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. She fills the slot of Brandis Friedman who moves to WTTV-TV, Chicago in October…..Katie Couric’s television talk show “Katie” will not return for a third season in the fall of 2014. The New York Daily News reports that Couric and ABC Domestic Television have agreed to end the show’s production in June of 2014 and not continue. According to the story, ratings were not the issue but the high cost of producing the program was not making it worthwhile. Couric has signed on to be a “global anchor” for Yahoo! for what is reportedly a deal worth $6 million per year.
ABC News Radio’s Vic Ratner to Retire. Longtime ABC News Radio reporter Vic Ratner is retiring at the end of the month after a career that began at ABC with coverage of the Watergate trial in 1973. During his time with ABC News Radio, Ratner has served as Capitol Reporter, a war correspondent and covered NASA for the network. In a memo to staffers, ABC News president Ben Sherwood wrote: “Most careers can be captured in words. Vic’s career is captured in sounds. In his incredible 40 years on the air for ABC News Radio, Vic has painted vivid pictures for our listeners with a rich and imaginative vocabulary that brought stories to life and gave meaning to ‘Gemini’ and ‘Apollo’ and even ‘filibuster’ and ‘quorum.’ With every syllable, Vic defined and embodied excellence. When Vic arrived at ABC in 1973, one of his first assignments was the trial of the “Watergate Seven” in Washington. He has covered every presidential campaign, political convention, inauguration and State of the Union since then, plus almost every space shuttle launch. He has reported from 54 countries and 49 states. For the record book, only South Dakota — the Mt. Rushmore State — has escaped his attention.” Ratner comments to his colleagues, “I have been fortunate to work with and learn from exceptionally talented and innovative people at ABC. Thanks to all of you for the collaborative effort, which makes us the best.”
Hangin’ with Rudy. Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) poses for a photo with Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger (left) at a Christmas football party over the weekend. Ruettiger is a motivational speaker and former Notre Dame football player who was the subject of the movie “Rudy.”
Catholic Relevant Radio to Purchase WNTD, Chicago for $14.4 Million. Relevant Radio has been LMAing the M&S WNTD LLC station since 2007 – that’s when the $14.4 price tag was set – and now Relevant’s executive director Rev. Francis Hoffman says the organization has come up with the cash to complete the transaction for the 1,000-watt daytimer.
Raising Funds for Children’s Cancer Support. KSCO, Santa Cruz talk show host Ethan Bearman (right) chats on the air with Team G Foundation co-founder and CEO Kristin Cosnor (left) during a recent fundraising remote broadcast. Bearman tells TALKERS magazine he interviewed parents who benefitted from this group while their kids underwent cancer treatment at Stanford and UCSF – one hour to two-and-a-half hours away from their homes on the Central Coast.
By David Bernstein
NEW HAMPSHIRE — At a time when most news/talk stations are seeking two things to keep the format vibrant and growing – 1) relevant topics that go beyond right-versus-left politics and 2) programming that would be attractive to more female listeners without turning off men – Angie Rowntree is finding appreciation among hosts and producers as the perfect “change-of-pace” guest. Simply put, Angie Rowntree’s business is communicating about sex.
As the operator of the world’s largest “porn for women” site, Sssh.com, Angie has spent the last 14 years doing a lot of what you might assume someone running an erotic website does – like writing and directing adult entertainment movies – but a good deal of that time has also been spent doing something you might not expect from a pornographic entrepreneur: listening.
Paul W. Smith Renews with WJR, Detroit for 7 Years. Telling Crain’s Detroit Business, “I’m thrilled, especially considering the length,” WJR, Detroit morning show host Paul W. Smith announces he’s re-signed with the Cumulus Media station for seven more years. He’s been the AM personality since replacing J.P. McCarthy in 1996. Smith says that, from what he’s heard, the length of the deal is “unheard of.” (He’s right!) The 60-year-old Smith adds, “I like Detroit; I made a commitment to Detroit coming back in 1996. The good stuff is just about to begin with the turnaround. This would be a horrible time to leave.”
Sean Pendergast Moves to CBS Radio’s KILT, Houston. With the departure of Josh Innes to the company’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia where he’ll host the evening show, CBS Radio sports talker KILT, Houston brings Sean Pendergast aboard from GOW Broadcasting’s crosstown KGOW where he’s been PM drive host for the past year. Pendergast will co-host the KILT afternoon show with Rich Lord from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Program director Ryan McCredden says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Sean to 610 and have him join our lineup. He is a true pro with a loyalty and passion for Houston sports that is unrivaled. As a team, Sean and Rich Lord will present a fun, and informative experience for the everyday Houston sports fan.” Pendergast comments, “In a city with a crowded sports dial, 610′s lineup and programming are the gold standard. This is a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with Rich, interacting with a captive audience and sharing opinions on our local teams.”
Bob Coxe to Retire from Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta. Bob Coxe has been a familiar voice delivering news to Atlantans via news/talk WSB for the past 23 years. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that the 66-year-old Coxe is hanging up his headphones today to enjoy retirement after a radio career that has spanned four decades. Coxe tells Ho that assuming a normal sleep schedule is something he’s looking forward to. He says that like his hero Mickey Mantle, he knows when it’s time to step away. “You don’t have the physical energy, the concentration or mental acuity to do it at the standard you’d hope to set for yourself. Plus, the hours are punishing.” Taking over for Coxe will be Judd Hickinbotham, who will work alongside Marcy Williams on the morning show.
Odds & Sods. FOX News Channel is presenting a special New Year’s Eve program, “All-American New Year,” on December 31 from 11:00 pm to 12:30 am featuring co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Hemmer live from Times Square in New York City. The pair will be joined by FNC’s Kimberly Guilfoyle, Bob Beckel, Ainsley Earhardt and Rick Leventhal. Griff Jenkins will provide viewers with an inside look at the celebrations taking place in the city. Music performances will come from country’s Rodney Atkins and will also feature performances by rock band Blues Traveler and Scottish singer and finalist of “Britain’s Got Talent,” Susan Boyle…..CBS Radio Philadelphia partners and combines forces with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show from Saturday, March 1 through Sunday, March 9. SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “The Flower Show is the region’s premiere cultural event. It is a positive reflection on Philadelphia across the globe. CBS Local Radio is pleased to team up with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society by providing outstanding marketing solutions for our co-partners, which in turn provides essential funding for the Flower Show.” All five CBS properties – including all-news KYW, news/talk WPHT, and sports talkers WIP-AM and WIP-FM – will have a part in promoting, selling and participating …..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller (left) is pictured above with the Travel Channel’s Mike Baker (right), host of “America Declassified.” Baker was in the area and stopped by the KIDO studios to talk with Miller.
Female Erotic-Media Entrepreneur Finding Interested Audiences as “Change-of-Pace” Talk Show Guest. At a time when most news/talk stations are seeking two things to keep the format vibrant and growing – 1) relevant topics that go beyond right-versus-left politics and 2) programming that would be attractive to more female listeners without turning off men – Angie Rowntree (at left) is finding appreciation among hosts and producers as the perfect “change-of-pace” guest. Simply put, Angie Rowntree’s business is communicating about sex. As the operator of the world’s largest “porn for women” site, Sssh.com, Rowntree has spent the last 14 years doing a lot of what you might assume someone running an erotic website does – like writing and directing adult entertainment movies – but a good deal of that time has also been spent doing something you might not expect from a pornographic entrepreneur: listening. She tells TALKERS, “When I first started Sssh, there was just about nothing in adult entertainment that truly had been made with female viewers in mind,” reflecting on how she first got the idea to create Sssh.com. “There was just about every kink and specialty fetish you can think of that a man might be interested in, but aesthetically and thematically, there was basically no appeal to any of it from the female perspective.” To find out more, read a new feature article posted today (12/20) by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein by clicking here.
16-Year-Old Broadcaster Making Waves at Daytona Beach Radio Stations. Her name is Pavlina Osta and although she recently reached her 16th birthday she is already a five-year veteran of professional radio broadcasting having hosted her own music and talk show, “Pavlina’s Kids Place” since she was 11. Most kids at age 16 have no career direction, but Pavlina is well on her way! Fascinated with radio, Pavlina grew up wondering if she could be the person holding the mic. But she decided not to wait, and began making calls to various celebrities that caught her attention. Pavlina likes Alice Cooper, Dr. Oz, and Animal Planet’s Wayde King and Brett Raymer. So that’s who she called, and receiving those calls from a charming teenager was all that was needed. She landed the interviews that she wanted and continued with Teresa Guidice, star of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” She now has her own YouTube channel, her own website, and a half-hour weekly radio show targeted to tweens and teens airing every Saturday at 11:30 am. “Pavlina’s Kids Place” airs on Daytona Beach-area stations WAPN-FM, Holly Hill, Florida; WAPB-FM, Madison, Florida; and WELE-AM, Ormond Beach, Florida as well as the internet channel RealRadioDaytona.com. Pavlina is also an award-winning dancer and has danced and sang in the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She has been recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution as an outstanding citizen and the American Cancer Society for her contributions to Relay for Life events. According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, “Pavlina is a rare find – especially in this day when teens are not as interested in going into radio as they were in past generations. If she sticks with it, and I sure hope she does, she will be a major figure in broadcasting in very short time. Radio needs kids like Pavlina.” Pavlina Osta is available for interviews or to serve as a special correspondent for music and talk stations around the country. She can be contacted at Frazier Public Relations, 703-431-7895 or visited on the web at www.PavlinaOsta.com.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at KTLR, Oklahoma City and WTXY, Wilmington, North Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Networks-syndicated Jason Lewis show is added to the lineup at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin joins the program schedule at KVBL, Portland and the company’s “Red Eye Radio” overnight program joins the WVFT, Tallahassee lineup.
ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for 9th Consecutive Week. The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the ninth straight week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the NSA spying case. Following at #3 was the Target credit card security breach and at #4 was the controversy over “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson’s comments about homosexuality in GQ magazine. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View the entire chart here.
Farewell: Legendary Larry Lujack. Notwithstanding words such as “legendary” and “iconic” are grossly overused, Larry Lujack was nonetheless an unquestionable legendary, iconic Chicago personality. The radio world lost a quintessential on-air talent Wednesday night when the 73-year-old “Super Jock” passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Especially in the Midwest, countless air personalities hoping to advance to the biggest of the big time when AM radio was king would talk up vocals on audition tapes, liberally using signature slogans like “The Big 89,” “The Rock of Chicago,” and “Music Radio, W-L-S.” Radio pro Mike Kinosian, who serves as managing editor and West Coast bureau chief for TALKERS and its sister publication RadioInfo, wrote a beautiful tribute to the life and career of Lujack. Kinosian interviewed Lujack in 2003 and Kinosian shares some of Lujack’s thoughts about top 40 radio, the state of the industry at the time and, of course, his own career. Read Kinosian’s story on RadioInfo here.
Ben Shapiro Named Afternoon Host at KTTH, Seattle. Rising young talk radio personality Ben Shapiro joins Bonneville Seattle’s conservative news/talk station KTTH to host the afternoon drive program. The New York Times best-selling author, Harvard Law School grad and talk media personality will continue his current position with Salem Communications co-hosting the morning drive show at KRLA, Los Angeles alongside Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss in addition to his new position in Seattle. Shapiro comments, “I couldn’t be more excited about joining the stellar lineup at AM 770 KTTH. What I love most is the opportunity to enrich the public discourse. It’s not often that hosts get that freedom. Thanks to KTTH’s forward thinking approach, I’m overjoyed to have that opportunity.” KTTH is now airing live programming in both morning and afternoon drive. David Boze hosts the morning show.
Glen Macnow Remains with WIP-FM, Philadelphia but Rob Ellis Is New PM Drive Co-Host. As had been predicted by Philadelphia media watchers, including Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com, sports talk personality Glen Macnow will move off the afternoon drive show on WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94 WIP” where he’s been co-hosting with Anthony Gargano and remain with CBS Radio Philadelphia in a different capacity. At the same time, the station announces evening host Rob Ellis will join Gargano as co-host of the PM drive show. Taking over Ellis’ evening show role is Josh Innes who comes to WIP-FM from the company’s KILT, Houston where he’s been hosting PM drive. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield announces that Macnow’s new responsibilities will include appearances on all-news KYW and news/talk WPHT while he continues to host his long-running Saturday program from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm WIP-FM with Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger. Rayfield adds, “I’m pleased we have reached an agreement with Glen that supports his relationship with WIP, and also allows us to increase his presence within the CBS Radio Philly family of stations. Being able to use his expertise across more of our platforms is a real win for our stations, the listeners and Philadelphia’s passionate sports fan base.” Beginning in January 2014, Macnow will be heard on KYW’s afternoon broadcast of the “Reporter’s Roundup,” and, during football season, with Harry Donahue on the station’s top-rated morning show. Additionally, he will be featured during Phillies pre- and post-game shows on WPHT, flagship broadcaster for the local team.
Cumulus Syndicated Star Mark Levin to be Featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV. Perennial Heavy Hundred personality Mark Levin will be the featured guest author on C-SPAN‘s extremely popular and prestigious literary program “BookTV’s In Depth” on Sunday, January 5. Not only is Levin a top-rated radio talker but he is an attorney and nationally recognized expert on Constitutional Law as well as a best-selling author. The syndicated radio talk show host and former Reagan administration official will spend three hours taking viewers’ calls, Facebook comments, emails and tweets on topics such as the role of the federal government, recent Supreme Court decisions and the upcoming 2014 elections, among others. The president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, Levin is the author of five non-fiction books, including “Rescuing Sprite” “Liberty & Tyranny” and his 2013 release, “The Liberty Amendments.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Mark Levin is the quintessential example of a radio talk show host who is also a very successful author who actually sells a ton of books time after time. Talk talent from all sides of the ideological spectrum can learn from his precise way of explaining complex issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives and putting forth his opinions in a compelling and credible manner.” The live airing of Mark Levin will be Sunday, January 5, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on Book TV on C-SPAN2. Archived on demand editions will be available after the airing at http://booktv.org/.
Gene Romano Takes on Talent Development Duties with Clear Channel. There’s a sort of re-alignment going on within the executive ranks of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s programming department. As National Programming Platforms EVP Darren Davis explains in a memo to company staff, some execs are getting more duties and Gene Romano is the latest to take on more. Davis writes: “You’ve seen over the past several days we’ve been announcing some expanded duties for several of CCM+E’s senior programmers. It’s all part of an overall strategy to closely link the E/SVPP Team with NPP — so that our local efforts and national efforts are totally in sync. And today, I have another bit of great news to share. EVPP Gene Romano will have expanded duties effective today. In addition to the East Major Markets he oversees, Gene will also oversee Programming Talent Recruitment and Development for CCM+E. CCM+E has attracted best-in-class programming talent over the past couple of years from a variety of companies and industries. Gene will lead our efforts to accelerate our recruitment of the very best into our company. Gene will also work with our E/SVPPs, Brand Managers and VPPs to identify the future stars already inside the company to mentor, grow and provide the tools and resources for their continued advancement with CCM+E.”
Clear Channel’s Denver News/Talkers Tweak Program Schedules; Hannity and Limbaugh to Air Live. Program schedule adjustments at Clear Channel’s KOA and KHOW in Denver will take effect in January. Some of the noteworthy moves are bringing Premiere Networks syndicated star Sean Hannity from an evening delayed broadcast to the live 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm shift on KHOW. Tom Martino will air from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and an hour is trimmed off Michael Brown’s afternoon show which will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Across the hall at KOA, the morning program with Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh expands by an hour to 5:00 am to 10:00 am followed by live carriage of Rush Limbaugh from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Local personality Mike Rosen moves from late mornings to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift.
On-Air Lineup Modifications in Store for Pittsburgh’s “Fan.” CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports outlet KDKA-FM “The Fan” afternoon drive talent Josh Miller will shift to 6:00 am – 10:00 am; Andrew Fillipponi will co-host 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; and Colin Dunlap will succeed Fillipponi at 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of ‘The Fan.’ We are eager to showcase this new lineup that highlights the incredible talents of Pittsburgh’s foremost sports experts. Josh’s unique sense of humor and insight will set the tone for the remainder of the day. Andrew is a solid, thought-provoking sports talk show host who has shown he can deliver an informative and opinion-driven program. Colin has grown both as a talk show host and writer in the past year; his work has scored big with our audiences.” Former Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller spent 12 seasons in the NFL. He joined “The Fan” in 2010 as a talk show host and football analyst. Fillipponi has been with “The Fan” since the station debuted nearly four years ago. Onetime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Dunlap began as a part-time “Fan” host in 2010. Lineup changes on “The Fan” go into effect Monday, January 6.
Palm Springs’ KFUT Becomes “Fox Sports 1270.” Yesterday at noon (12/18), MCC Radio transitioned Spanish oldies KFUT, Palm Springs, California to “Fox Sports 1270.” The station’s lineup includes “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman and Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “Jay Mohr Sports” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Fox Sports Primetime” (12:00 noon – 4:00pm); “TMZ Sports” (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm); and “Petros and Money” (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm). “Fox Sports Radio programming originates in Southern California,” program director Mike Oakes points out. “We are thrilled to bring it to the desert, serving Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. I am especially excited to launch two rising shows in the sports talk universe, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ and ‘TMZ Sports.’ These are the cutting-edge of the sports talk genre.” Associated with the format flip, the station has changed calls from KFUT to KFSQ.
News Staff at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Affected by Cuts. Details aren’t complete but TALKERS hears that lead reporter and morning drive news anchor Adam Kirk has exited CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh as part of the budget-related cuts taking place at the company’s stations across the country. There are reports that Kirk is not the only news staffer to be let go and that the station is adjusting its news presentation and will eliminate local news in the late night and overnight hours.
WBEZ, Chicago Staffers Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA. The 49 staffers who produce content for Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago and its digital properties will be represented by SAG-AFTRA following the staff’s 40-7 vote in favor of the change. WBEZ criminal and legal affairs reporter Rob Wildeboer says in a statement, “Chicago Public Media is a valuable resource to all Chicagoans. The staff of CPM cares deeply about this organization and its mission. Public radio is more than a job. Staff at CPM are deeply committed to the station and we love our work. We have great leaders and a committed board and we believe organizing as staff members is an important step to achieving the goals we all share here: producing excellent journalism that serves the public and making this important local institution even stronger than it is today.”
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media Networks announces the number of stations carrying the Michael Savage show when it moves to PM drive in Eastern Time and debuts on Cumulus news/talk outlets in the New Year will be more than 200. Savage says of the move, “This is the culmination of two decades in talk radio. I was born for drive time where my pace matches that of America. Everyone dreams of being on the Cumulus powerhouse signals. This is my dream come true.”…..PodcastOne earns props from the iTunes editorial team as two podcasts it makes available are named tops. The “Adam & Dr. Drew Show” is named best new audio podcast of 2013 while the Steve Austin show was selected as the top pick in the sports/recent debuts category. PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We thank the editorial team at iTunes for selecting these programs. We will proudly display the ‘iTunes Best of 2013’ badge prominently when presenting and promoting these programs. Our lineup of the best-of-the-best in podcasting is validated with recognition like this.”…..Motley Fool’s Chris Hill also wins accolades from the iTunes editorial team as his “Investor Beat” podcast has been included among the iTunes Best of 2013.
Radio Companies Get Extension in HD Radio Patent Infringement Case. As tipped by Radio World, the major radio companies who are being targeted by Delaware Radio Technologies and affiliated company Wyncomm LLC have won an extension for filing replies to the allegations leveled at them in connection with their HD radio transmissions. They now have until February 24, 2014. Industry watchers call Wyncomm a patent troll, nonetheless it is seeking damages via a jury trial for what it says are infringements of the patents it holds with regard to voice and data transmission over in-band, on-channel digital broadcasts. The radio companies being sued include: Beasley Broadcast Group, CBS Radio, CC Media Holdings, Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Entercom, Entravision, Greater Media, Hubbard Radio, Radio Disney, Radio One, Saga Communications, Townsquare Media and Univision.
A Farewell Party for John Gambling. As John Gambling prepares to wrap his legendary New York City radio career with his final show on Clear Channel’s WOR tomorrow (12/20), Gambling and former co-workers gathered at a New York eatery to congratulate him on his colorful career. Gambling is pictured here (second from right) between former news anchor Babita Hariani (right) and former producer Jill Vitale (third from right). Also in attendance were former WABC colleagues Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, former engineer Frank D’Elia, former call screener Andre Lelong, former intern and current WABC staffer Mike Gunzelman, and WNYM producer and talk host Frank Morano.
‘Win Howie’s Jag’ Contest Wraps with Live Broadcast. The holiday contest taking place at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston entered the finalist stage on Wednesday as afternoon drive talk host Howie Carr (right) broadcast live from The Fairways at Woburn Country Club as part of Happy Howie Days. During the show, Carr and WRKO gave 20 pre-determined qualifiers the chance to “Win Howie’s Jaguar!” Each of the 20 qualifiers received a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill and Pub at Woburn Country Club and a gift package, courtesy of Perfect Smiles of Nashua, New Hampshire. Finalist, John Treggiari of Salem (left), unfortunately was not able to drive off in the 2013 Jaguar XF, courtesy of Jaguar Exeter. However, he did win a two-night stay at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham, located on Cape Cod.
Indian Diplomat Incident, ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Spying Program, Rodman Visits N. Korea, Budget Deal, ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch on Hiatus over Gay Comments, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18). Tensions between the U.S. and India over the arrest and treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; scrutiny of the NSA’s spying policies; former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s return visit to N. Korea; the recently passed congressional budget deal; A&E puts “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus after gay criticisms in GQ article; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis a Marxist were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rick Sanchez Joins WIOD, Miami in New Lineup. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment news/talk WIOD, Miami announces a new program lineup that includes cable news/talk veteran Rick Sanchez in the late morning slot. Program director Grace Blazer says on the station’s website, “Our new lineup reflects 610 WIOD’S strengthening commitment to high-quality local news, accurate weather, important traffic conditions, and the perfect balance of highly talented local and national personalities. The result will be a topical, informative and entertaining listener experience for the residents and businesses of South Florida.” The lineup includes “South Florida’s First News with Jimmy Cefalo” in morning drive, Sanchez from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon followed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. The new program schedule takes effect on January 6.
Cuts at CBS Chicago Leave Anchor/Reporter Steve Grzanich Out. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has been writing about budget-related cuts at the CBS Radio cluster in Chicago for several days and now we know more about who’s been affected. At all-news WBBM-AM, anchor/reporter Steve Grzanich exits after 20 years with the station. ChicagoRadioandMedia.com tips us that Grzanich posted the following message on his Facebook page: “Dear Friends: I have breaking news…about me! After 20 years, I am signing off at WBBM Newsradio to explore other opportunities. I am hungry for a new challenge and must embark on the journey to find it starting now. But don’t go away! I’ll still be here in Chicago and on Facebook with news, weather and other stuff…just not on the 8s. Thank you for listening! Stay tuned for news about my next chapter.” The cluster also saw the release of longtime production/imaging staffer Michael Horn who worked for sister CHR WBBM-FM “B96.” Horn has been working with Killer Hertz since May of 2012 and ChicagoRadioandMedia.com reports he will continue to do freelance imaging work while he looks for his next opportunity. Feder reports that a number of sales staffers have been let go from the cluster.
Other CBS Radio Cuts Hit Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. According to sources in Southern California, there have been four layoffs at CBS stations there including KTRH news anchor Bob Malik and KNX traffic reporter Tommy Jaxson. The two others are believed to be front office staffers. In Pittsburgh, changes come to sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” as Vinnie Richichi exits the Vinnie & Cook midday program and Paul Alexander leaves the morning drive show. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik reports that Richichi and Ron Cook never got along, it was obvious on the air and that led to Richichi’s departure, plus morning host Gregg Giannotti was not happy working with Alexander. Finally, in Atlanta Kendra G. and Christopher “Crash” Clark exit the Ryan Cameron morning show at urban contemporary WVEE “V103.”
Lineup Changes at Fox Sports Radio Network in the New Year. The national lineup from Fox Sports Radio Network will look a little different come January 5, 2014. Gone from the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot will be Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman from “Fox Sports Primetime” with replacement(s) to be announced later. J.T. the Brick moves from the overnight slot to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot accompanied by sidekick Tomm Looney, displacing the current Petros & Money show. Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith will continue to be heard on Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles. Rob Dibble and Amy Van Dyken leave “Fox Sports Tonight” and the NFL Network’s and Fox Sports Network’s Jason Smith takes over that show airing from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET while Fox Sports Radio weekend personality Ben Maller becomes the 2:00 am to 6:00 am host.
Cox Enterprises Promotes Dyer to President/CEO. Current chief operating officer John Dyer will be elevated to Cox Enterprises president/chief executive officer when he officially succeeds retiring CEO Jimmy Hayes on Wednesday, January 1. Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Media Group. According to Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy, “In the 36 years John has worked at Cox, he has always done a terrific job and always risen to meet every new challenge he was presented. He has been an incredible chief operating officer and he understands all our businesses. He is committed to our employees and our customers. I am excited to work with [him] as he leads our company in an exciting future.” Dyer comments, “Cox is a company that values its employees, delivers superior products and services to its customers, and strives to be a responsible and sustainable corporate partner in the communities in which we operate. I am excited about the ways we will continue to grow our existing businesses and invest in future opportunities.” In addition to Cox Media Group, Dyer will be responsible for Cox Communications, Manheim, and AutoTrader Group, as well as corporate functions including financial operations, human resources and administration.
Bob Murray Takes Leave from WTAX, Springfield to Battle Brain Tumor. “Morning Newswatch” host Bob Murray tells listeners in an open letter that he is taking time from the Saga Communications news/talk outlet to focus on “getting better and being with loved ones.” Murray writes: “As you have probably heard, I have decided to elect for an extended medical leave of absence from my post as the host of the ‘WTAX Morning Newswatch’ due to newly discovered health concerns. Many people have enquired (sic) into what is going on, and I thought it would be best you hear it from me. I have been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and will be taking this leave from work as an opportunity to focus my time on getting better and being with family and loved ones. While this is far from an ideal situation, we are remaining positive and focusing on staying strong. In the days following the announcement, it has been so incredibly humbling to feel the outpour of prayers and support from all directions, and I am pretty positive I will never be able to properly express how much that means to my family and me. I also want to thank the WTAX family and central Illinois area for their many years of loyal listenership. It has truly been an honor to start each day with you, tackling the issues that matter to us. I hope to be back in the capital soon, focusing on what I love, delivering the news, sports, entertainment and important local happenings to you.”
‘Jay Talking’ Permanent Overnight Show on WBZ-AM, Boston. Bradley Jay’s “Jay Talking” program is now the official overnight program on CBS Radio’s news and talk WBZ-AM, Boston. Jay has been working in the news and talk realm for some time (he also serves as the executive producer for “Nightside with Dan Rea”) but he got his start in music radio and worked at the legendary rock outlet WBCN. In fact, he hosted the last show at “The Rock of Boston” before a frequency swap and format change ended the station’s run.
NRG, Omaha Names Davis KOOO Brand Manager. In addition to being appointed brand manager of NRG Media, Omaha adult hits KOOO “Big O 101.9,” talk host Crash Davis takes on marketing director duties for that Nebraska market’s entire NRG cluster. Operations manager Jeff Lynn comments, “Crash has been an integral part of our team for the past year. He is very versatile and has a keen sense of what the Omaha listener wants and loves about ‘Big O.’ He brings many of the talents and skill sets we need to propel ‘Big O’ to new heights in the ratings and to drive results for our advertisers.” Davis remarks, “I am delighted to have a more prominent role on a station I have watched evolve over the past several years. I have great respect for [morning talent] Dave Wingert and the rest of the on-air team. Our great variety of music and the content we talk about resonates with listeners. I will do my part to enhance our reputation with the listeners and advertisers.” Davis has been in Omaha radio the past 15 years, including as a host on NRG talk outlet KOIL “The Mighty 1290″ and as the afternoon drive talent on cross-town Clear Channel-owned talk station KFAB.
Salem Selects Dr. Frank Wright As President/COO. Eleven-year National Religious Broadcasters president/chief executive officer Dr. Frank Wright will join Salem Communications Corporation on Wednesday, January 1 as president/chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will report directly to Salem chief executive officer and director Edward Atsinger. “Frank has more than 20 years of experience working in – and with – broadcast media organizations,” Atsinger comments. “He has also developed a robust network among DC-based public policy organizations, as well as DC-based political organizations. Frank is an effective leader and team-builder with a strong entrepreneurial background, and he has extensive executive experience in strategic planning and organizational structure. I expect him to hit the ground running and work closely with me in executing our business strategies.” Before joining the NRB, Dr. Wright spent seven years as executive director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship; he has a doctorate in finance.
Will Salem Purchase Eagle Publishing on January 15? The story that Politico reported late last week is a done deal, according to BuzzFeed which states staffers at Eagle Publishing have been told the sale will take place on January 15. According to the BuzzFeed piece, Salem Communications will add to its conservative print and digital assets with the acquisition and that as many as 90% of staffers will remain with the Eagle division; it’s the upper management positions that will be eliminated due to redundancy. Eagle operates RedState.com, Human Events and Regnery Publishing. Salem recently acquired Twitchy.com from conservative pundit, columnist and author Michelle Malkin.
Sean’s New Digs! Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Sean Hannity (right) is pictured here with pundit and author Ann Coulter (center) and fellow Premiere star Glenn Beck (left) at Hannity’s new Premiere Networks studios at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Hannity leaves his longtime home base at WABC, New York at the end of the year and his program will emanate from flagship WOR, New York beginning in January.
Budget Deal, NSA Data Mining Ruling, ObamaCare Criticism, Mega Millions Jackpot, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The battle in the U.S. Senate over the details of the Congressional budget deal; the aftermath of a judge’s ruling the NSA data mining program “probably unconstitutional”; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Pope Francis’ “Marxist” economic philosophy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Jerry Del Colliano
Inside Music Media
EXCLUSIVE TO RADIOINFO AND TALKERS
Millennials have their own technology just as baby boomers had records, radio and TV.
Except technology has very little to do with the impact that “Generation Y” is making on media and just about everything else.
Sure there is Facebook that they went to college with, and Napster that helped disrupt the record business, iPads, apps, smartphones, Instagram and their latest devilish work – to unbundle cable and make Netflix the new standard for the on-demand content they, well – demand.
Radio consolidated about the time the first Millennials were in grade school and the industry just assumed that young listeners would always be there to like radio.
The music industry that consisted of old white men who were lawyers thought Napster needed to be sued out of existence – and they succeeded.
But the damage was already done.
WPRO: John DePetro Not Serving Suspension. WPRO, Providence program director Craig Schwalb tells TALKERS magazine that the report published at GoLocalProv.com indicating talk show host John DePetro has been suspended until early January is false; DePetro is on vacation. TALKERS reported the GoLocalProv.com story earlier today. DePetro, who has been away from his program since late last week, has been under fire since a local union-led boycott of his station’s advertisers by an organization called “For Our Daughters” ramped up the PR by getting sitting Rhode Island politicians – Governor Lincoln Chafee included – and political operatives to also demand DePetro’s dismissal. This action stems from words DePetro spoke on the air in September when he referred to some union officers as “parasites, union hags” and “whores,” words for which he has apologized. In another wrinkle, a new group has popped up called “RI Citizens for Free Speech,” which is supporting DePetro’s right to voice his opinion without being made target of a “smear campaign.”
Sean Hannity to Air in Washington on Salem’s ‘1260 WRC.’ In the Nation’s Capital, Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity will air on Salem Communications-owned WWRC beginning in the New Year. Current affiliate WMAL was one of the original affiliates for his inaugural syndication rollout the day before 9/11, but because of Cumulus Media’s split with Hannity, he leaves the station at the end of 2013. At WWRC, Hannity’s show will air live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Salem Washington VP and operations manager David Ruleman states, “Sean Hannity is a perfect fit on ‘1260 WRC.’ He is poised, informed and intelligent like the rest of the Salem lineup. In a city where opinion often trumps knowledge and irrational talk reigns, Washington, DC radio listeners have a choice – ‘Intelligent Talk 1260 WRC.’” Hannity show VP of operations Eric Stanger comments, “We are thrilled to partner with Salem and ‘1260 WRC.’ WWRC is one of the premier news/talk destinations in Washington, DC, and we couldn’t be happier to join their leading lineup of intelligent talkers.”
Michael Harrison: What’s Happening to Progressive Hosts is a Shame and a Waste. Prompted by the recently announced abandonment of the progressive talk format by WWRL, New York and the all-but-drying-up of the genre across the nation, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “What’s happening to progressive hosts is a shame and a waste. I say this not for any specific political reason – because neither I nor TALKERS magazine is motivated by politics. Nor do I say it from some self-righteous position of ‘fairness.’ No one knows more than a trade publisher that this is a business and business cannot always be fair. I say it from the perspective of what’s good for our industry from the standpoints of ratings, business and image and the most productive use of some of our most valuable talent/assets.” Harrison continues, “It is 2013 and nowhere is it written in stone that the only way to do news/talk radio successfully at this point is to position stationality entirely by political ideology. Yes, there are clearly more talented stars in this industry who are of a conservative bent for a complex variety of reasons. However, there is not really enough A-level talent among conservative hosts to build entire stations – in many cases more than one per market – around that one singular position, let alone rest the entire reputation of talk radio upon. Granted, there doesn’t seem to be enough liberal-leaning hosts available to power entire stations in the progressive direction either. But talent is talent and there are huge numbers of listeners out there that like political news/talk for its own sake and are willing to listen to someone with whom they disagree – IF that person is talented.” Harrison concludes, “We as an industry should be saluting – not condemning, mocking and, worst of all, wasting the talents, industriousness and guts of such performers as Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, Alan Colmes, Leslie Marshall, Karel, Randi Rhodes, Bill Press and a number of others who through hard work in the face of almost insurmountable obstacles have proven themselves worthy of shots on the big stages of this industry. Frankly, if I owned a station and my life were on the line, I’d program talents like Sean Hannity and Thom Hartmann back-to-back in a heartbeat. What harm would happen if every conservative station in America added just one progressive host – either local or national – to their roster? Would radio come to an end? I think not. I think it might be the beginning of a new era in which political news/talk radio breaks out of its own self-inflicted chains and branches out in a wide variety of potentially lucrative directions.”
Jerry Del Colliano: Keep Your Eye on Generation Y. They Hold the Key to the Future of Both Music and Talk Radio. There are over 80 million “Millennials” coming of age, the oldest of whom are already 30-years-old – 12 years older than the youngest 18-49 money demo cherished by advertisers. Millennials have their own technology just as baby boomers had records, radio and TV. Except, according to Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano, technology has very little to do with the impact that “Generation Y” is making on media and just about everything else. In an exclusive article posted today (12/17) in sister trade publications RadioInfo and TALKERS, the professorial industry observer and advisor writes, “Sure there is Facebook that they went to college with, and Napster that helped disrupt the record business, iPads, apps, smartphones, Instagram and their latest devilish work – to unbundle cable and make Netflix the new standard for the on-demand content they, well – demand. Radio consolidated about the time the first Millennials were in grade school and the industry just assumed that young listeners would always be there to like radio. The music industry that consisted of old white men who were lawyers thought Napster needed to be sued out of existence – and they succeeded. But the damage was already done.” To read Jerry Del Colliano’s entire piece, please click here.
Clear Channel Gives Added Duties to Premiere EVP Carl Anderson. In a memo to staff, EVP of national programming Darren Davis announces Premiere Networks EVP of programming Carl Anderson gets additional responsibilities including overseeing programming and operations of the Total Traffic and Weather Network and the 24/7 News with both SVPs Kevin Loftus and Chris Berry now reporting to him. Anderson will also have more responsibilities for Clear Channel regional markets for which he’ll report to regional markets president of operations Matt Martin.
NPR Slated To Receive $17 Million in Grants. Much of that money is coming from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. In addition, there are contributions from individual donors such as NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga and Heather Haaga; former NPR Foundation vice chair/trustee emeritus William Poorvu and Lia Poorvu; and former NPR board chair/NPR Foundation trustee Howard Stevenson and Fredericka Stevenson. Each of them is investing in specific elements of NPR’s journalism and innovation strategy. Grant money will fund NPR and member stations WNYC, New York; KPCC, Los Angeles (Pasadena Community College); KQED, San Francisco; WHYY, Philadelphia, WBUR, Boston (Boston University); and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). Chief content officer Kinsey Wilson comments, “This support will allow NPR to build transformative platforms that secure the future of public media journalism, and represents a powerful vote of confidence for that vision. We will be able to dive deep into issues that are at the center of people’s lives, and drive tremendous innovation in how we engage people with those issues.” Knight Foundation vice president of journalism and media innovation Michael Maness explains, “NPR is responding to the increased demand by audiences for flexibility in consuming content seamlessly across various digital platforms. The platform will allow listeners to engage in new ways with NPR and its member station partners, making the quality journalism that is so important in a democracy more accessible, especially for a new generation.” With 34 total bureaus, NPR expects to launch expanded education and global health and development reporting next spring. It is estimated NPR and its member stations reach a weekly audience of 35 million people.
Crystal Radio Award Entry Date Set. Beginning (Wednesday) January 1, stations may take the first step to be eligible to qualify for an NAB Crystal Radio Award. That is when they can submit online entries describing their community service for calendar year 2013. Cutoff date, meanwhile, is (Friday) January 31, with finalists being revealed in late-February. “Receiving this award is just amazing,” remarks KCVM, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa program director Teri Lynn, a 2012 Crystal Radio Award honoree. “This is one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had in my entire life.” Judges with broadcast and community service backgrounds choose 50 Crystal Radio Awards finalists and 10 winners. Winners will be announced at the NAB Radio luncheon (Tuesday) April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Crystal Radio Awards were established in 1987.
The Sky’s the Limit for Upper Demo Champion, Carole Marks. She is one of the longest-running syndicated radio talk show hosts in America, although she purposefully maintains an under-the-radar profile. Perhaps that’s because she’s too busy traveling the world gathering data about the state of upper-demographic populations domestically and abroad in addition to being a champion in the ongoing battle against ageism. For more than two decades of continuous broadcasting, Carole Marks has personally brought listeners of her weekend program, “A Touch of Grey,” to some of the most fascinating and exotic places in the world – from the jungles of Africa to the deserts of Asia to the ice sheets of Antarctica to the Outback of Australia to the cultural hotspots of Europe, the Americas and beyond — gathering relevant information for her 50-plus audience. The nearly 80-year-old dynamo tells TALKERS, “I do what I do to inspire ‘seasoned citizens’ to live their lives to the fullest – physically and intellectually - in addition to using my influence to ‘remind’ Washington not to forget the needs of our senior population. Broadcasting, traveling and teaching are my passions and I am so lucky to have this radio platform to perform these functions.” She adds, “Although I deeply wish the advertising agencies and media in general understood the economic power that can be tapped by serving older people – I have been very fortunate as a radio broadcaster to have had the lion’s share of this huge slice of the population pie almost exclusively to myself for all these years via this specialty talk show.” Carole Marks is pictured here in front of the Petronas Towers, the world famous twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during a just-concluded remote from the Far East.
WABC, New York Alumni Gathering. Whom do you recognize in this photo of current and former WABC, New York staffers? Former Sean Hannity producer Jill Vitale a.k.a “Flirty Flipper” organized the annual WABC alumni holiday bash this year and many former (and some current) employees were able to gather and reminisce. Some of those who attended included: Phil Boyce, Laurie Cantillo, Valerie Geller, Mitch Dolan, Mitch Lebe, Curtis Sliwa, Babita Hariani, David Goodman, Jamie Megargee, Andrew Kalb, Lisa Hakim, Richard Bey, Lionel, Noam Laden, Laura Smith and many others.
Congressional Budget Battle, Judge Rules NSA Program Unconstitutional, ObamaCare Criticism, Pope Francis Responds to Rush Limbaugh, and the ‘War on Christmas’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). The budget proposal that’s passed the House and is headed to the Senate; the ruling by a U.S. District Court judge declaring the NSA collecting of phone records unconstitutional; the scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act rollout; Pope Francis’ declaration that he is not a Marxist; and the argument that the left is waging a “war on Christmas” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — “In this multi-tasking radio world, who in the station should be responsible for online content?” That’s a question I got from a smart guy I used to work with. It’s a great question.
You need only two particularly strong people with this plan I’m going to give you. You may be surprised about who they are.
Set it Up
Who should handle your online content? Here are the staffing requirements for this focused plan:
New York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL. Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27. The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows. New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.
Brown Boosted to Bonneville International President. KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International. Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV. “Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities. I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.” Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Sports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center. With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.” The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation. CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014). CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network. The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel. The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay. The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management. The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.
Steak Added to WCNN Menu. In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well. Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on January 2. WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’ He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country. ‘Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up. His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.” Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago. I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love. ‘The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years. To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.” Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.
Dare to be Crap-Free. When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.” To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida. Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change….. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season. O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of his national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30. Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising. Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity. Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. View that video here. Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work. Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here. Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.” According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality. His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat. It is the perfect accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.” Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS. As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS. In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.
Over $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon. Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000. Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon. The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.” Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause. We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes. They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.” Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability. In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.” This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.
Broadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President. Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company. “I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments. “Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.” Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975. Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.
Nielsen Client Conference Day 2 coverage by Talkers contributor and media consultant Holland Cooke
BALTIMORE — The Nielsen Audio Client Conference & Jacobs Media Summit wrapped Thursday, but not before sustained applause for four group heads who decried what’s become radio business-as-usual: too many commercials, and too little programming diversity and innovation. Their unvarnished comments echoed a surprisingly candid CEO roundtable at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show.
“The status quo is like a shark. If you’re not swimming, you’re not breathing.”
NRG Media CEO Mary Quass and fellow panelists run mid-size companies, and all described the opportunities they seize being more nimble than bigger companies’ “paralysis” and “short-term thinking.” Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw reckons that “This is the most opportune time for entrepreneurs in radio that I have seen in a long, long time.”
Cumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition. Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal. Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations. Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues. Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO. Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.
News/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference. Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets. The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3. It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share. Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share. There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Brian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles. Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles. Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss. Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York. Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future. I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air. But his skills go much beyond comedy voices. He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.” Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991. I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand. I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”
J.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down. Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3. Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program. Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3. “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well. For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day. I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”
Erickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays. Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26. Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited. It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college. I listened to him every day. I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”
Rhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro. According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee. The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals. Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone. Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time. DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities. DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.
Michael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014. The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help prepare modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era. Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation – as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue. Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event. Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee. Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.” For information about the conference please click here.
MacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales. Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber. “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.” MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television. Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates. It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”
WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show. WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29. Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties. The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program. Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins. Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”
WPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios. The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week. The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal. At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Smart operators have said that radio should tap more TV money, they are correct. The challenge is that radio offers less and less of what buyers seek from TV.
Today, radio turns down $1.4 billion in revenue that goes to TV because it has no place to go on radio. The 1.4 billion is specific dollars that are invested in daytime television aimed at women. Talk shows for women on TV.
The TV shows winning these dollars are Judge Judy, Kelly and Michael, Ellen, The View, The Chat, The Chew, Extra, TMZ Live, The Talk, Maury Povitch, Jerry Springer and a few game shows and day time dramas like The Price is Right and General Hospital.
“No sir, you are not a good husband or roommate and you owe her the money,” Judy bellows from the bench to the delight of all.