BRADENTON, Fla. — One of the great benefits of attending the recent Talkers New York 2015 conference in New York City was what I call “hall talk.” Between formal sessions and panels it was the chance to meet face-to-face with some of our peers in the halls, in the reception areas, over a plate of tasty delicacies, and discuss the hot sales topics of the day. At this event the subject that kept popping up again and again was political advertising.
Yes, the presidential election is over a year away, but as everybody in talk media knows, national politics is topic A with almost all of the major news stories being related in some way to office-holders, their advocates or opponents. And history shows us that when there is an unusually hot national race, local and regional races are equally as contentious. A good political sales season can turn a so-so sales year into a remarkably profitable one.
Talkers New York 2015 “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Changing Paradigm” Video Posted Today. One of the most important panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (6/12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Masterfully moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian and introduced by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones, the take-away-packed session includes (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Kathy Carr, VP, sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM/WMCA, New York; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; and Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL/WIYY, Baltimore. The discussion covers all aspects of revenue generation with respect to varied station and network market sizes, traditional and non-traditional revenue models, ingenious methods of harmless cost-cutting, monetizing qualitatively desirable audiences; and optimistic prospects for the future of radio, and more. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.
Ed Tyll Named CEO of Starcom. The national network of 26 low-power AM and FM radio stations announces talk radio pro Ed Tyll is named CEO of the company. Starcom Radio Network operates signals from Marshland, Oregon to Mooers, New York, sports the brand, “Broadcast Real Characters,” and describes itself as “low power, high impact.” Tyll adds, “Starcom disrupts ‘static quo’ radio in dozens of great American towns. We entertain our communities with real characters who talk about the news and enjoy a good laugh.” Tyll’s program on the network airs live at 12:00 noon ET. Shows currently airing on the network include: Rob McConnell’s “XZone Live,” DJ Bruce Wayne, Don Lavasseur, Laurie Zoock, and Ryan McCormick. In addition to its AM and FM network, it streams on StarcomRadioNetwork.com, EdTyllShow.com, TuneIn, Stitcher and other digital outlets. Tyll says he is currently seeking new hosts and radio stations for Starcom Radio Network.
KNX, Los Angeles Honored with LA Press Club Awards. Los Angeles all news KNX “1070 Newsradio” was recognized for editorial excellence on Sunday evening, receiving three Southern California Journalism Awards at the Los Angeles Press Club’s 57th awards dinner. The awards for exclusive, original programming included: Investigative, for “Running on Empty: Our Epic Drought” by Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman; News/Feature Short Form, for “Ed Begley’s Not Running on Empty” by Chris Sedens; and Talk/Public Affairs, for “Ask the Mayor” by Charles Feldman, Tom Haule, Jonathan Serviss, Diane Dray, and Logan Moy. Pictured here holding their awards are KNX producer Laraine Herman (left) and anchor Chris Sedens (right).
Al Herskovitz: The Coming Political Ad Season. Sales pro Al Herskovitz says one of the benefits of the recent Talkers New York 2015 conference was the chance to chat in the hallways between sessions with other sales pros about the issues with which they are dealing, and the big topic discussed back on June 12 was the looming political ad season. Herskovitz writes that it’s not too early to begin strategizing. “Step one is to make contact with your area’s party committees and keep them informed with a steady stream of all promotional tools you may have: such as copies of any press your programs and hosts may have gotten; statistical data that might help to make your case; a compilation of complimentary letters and email. Alert your news department to send you copies of politically related press releases they have received so you can follow up on their sources. Also check with your program hosts and producers as to who has been in touch with them asking for guest spots.” Read more here.
Odds & Sods. “The Lisa Wexler Show,” hosted by Connecticut attorney and Westport/Weston probate Judge Lisa Wexler, will be heard exclusively on Forte Family Broadcasting-owned WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective July 6. Wexler’s program has been based at Cumulus Media’s WFAS-AM, White Plains, New York for the past few years. Wexler says, “I am thrilled to be back in Connecticut, but still able to reach my Westchester audience.”…..Former WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower is sitting in for Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ this Thursday (7/2) and Monday (7/6)…..The new radio color analyst for San Diego Chargers broadcasts is former NFL receiver Curtis Conway. He takes over for former Charger Hank Bauer whose contract was not renewed after 17 seasons broadcasting radio play-by-play. iHeartMedia’s KLSD, San Diego is the flagship station.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Awards Presentation’ Videos Posted Today. “The Talkers Awards Presentation,” one of the annual highlights of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference, is posted today on Talkers TV. The stellar event, masterfully emceed by Jim Bohannon of Westwood One and introduced by Steve Malzberg of Newsmax, took place at the recently held 18th edition of talk media’s longest-running and most important convention. It is broken down into four separate videos — one for each of the awards presented (6/12). These include the “Humanitarian of the Year” award presented to Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore by TALKERS VP/associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison; the “Woman of the Year” award presented to Robin Quivers, personality, SiriusXM Satellite Radio by Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; the “Lifetime Achievement” award presented to Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News by Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency; and the “Freedom of Speech” award presented to Howard B. Price, director of business continuity, ABC Television Network by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This awards presentation was one of the most riveting in the history of this publication and convention. The content and emotion expressed by the recipients and presenters alike created a memorable and deeply touching experience for the hundreds in attendance. We are delighted that it translates to video and will be a marvelous experience to be witnessed now by the millions of people around the world interested in this amazing business.” To view the Talkers Awards Presentation videos in their entirety, please click here.
WGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio Off the Air for Health Reasons. Longtime WGN, Chicago personality Nick Digilio is on personal leave from his 2:00 am to 5:00 am show on the station for undisclosed health reasons. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Digilio had been off the air most of last week, returned on Monday sounding rather weak, and has since been hospitalized while tests are being done to determine the cause of his illness. Digilio has been with WGN since 1985, mostly on a part-time basis, but has been the full-time overnight personality since 2013. Read Feder’s piece here.
WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley to Have Street Named in His Honor. The actual sign you see here is the one that will grace St. David’s Place and Atlantic Avenues in Atlantic City, New Jersey in honor of longtime WPGG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley. On Wednesday, July 1, the street will be dedicated and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, City Council President Frank Gilliam, Jr., Councilman at Large George Tibbitt and Councilman Marty Small Sr. will be among the local dignitaries attending the ceremony. Hurley tells TALKERS magazine he’s humbled by the honor. “I have become the first media/radio personality of any kind to have a street named after him in Atlantic City. The tradition dates back to 1874 and it’s only happened 74 times – and never for a broadcast personality.”
Odds & Sods. This will be the last season of “America’s Got Talent” for Howard Stern. He told his SiriusXM audience that he’s done with the NBC TV program after this summer’s competition, saying he’s too busy. He’s been with the show for four seasons. Now the question is, does Stern re-up with SiriusXM? His contract with the satcaster runs out in December…..New York radio personality Mark Simone is a guest on this Sunday’s edition of “Celebrity TasteMakers” on WPIX-TV, New York. Simone says he’ll take viewers on a tour of the legendary Friars Club…..SiriusXM personality Karen Hunter will host a special program called “White in America,” featuring an all-white panel with Tim Wise, Joan Walsh, Andrew Wilkow, John Fugelsang, Dean Obeidallah, and Boris Epshteyn to engage in an open conversation on the current state of race relations in the United States today. Hunter says, “I felt compelled to put together a panel to finally have a meaningful conversation about race with people who can actually move the needle on the topic – white men and women in media. Race is the one topic we are afraid to tackle in this country. With this panel, I am hoping to offer SiriusXM listeners nationwide the conversation that is not available anywhere else.”
Envision Networks Offers Free Radio Sales School. Through a deal with influence FM, Envision Networks announces it is able to share Radio Sales School with stations. Via a partnership with radio sales trainer Chris Rolando, influence FM is able to offer the 15-day course to radio stations absolutely free. Envision says it’s a great tool for training new sales hires and providing a refresher for more experienced radio sales reps. Rolando brings more than 40 years of broadcasting industry experience to the course. He comments, “No matter where I teach, I find that managers and radio station owners spend a significant amount of their time trying to find and train sales reps instead of managing the actual sales.” The online course features educational videos, quizzes and interactive discussions. In addition to this course, influence FM is offering access to free scripts, pre-produced spots and more to help stations recruit the best candidates possible. influence FM produces radio management software available on a cash or barter basis. This product suite gives users complete control over every step of the sales process including asset management, spot creation and commercial production.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Envision Networks-syndicated “John and Leah Show” – hosted by John Ziegler and Leah Brandon – becomes part of the program schedule at Evans Broadcasting Company’s KKFT-FM, Reno airing live at 7:00 pm on Sundays…..Radio America-syndicated “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch adds a number of new stations to its affiliate roster, including: WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne; WNFZ-FM, Knoxville; KKFT-FM, Reno; KVOI, Tucson; WYAB-FM, Jackson, Mississippi; KIVA, Albuquerque; KQTY-AM, Borger, Texas; KBJT-AM, Fordyce, Arkansas; and WBCF, Florence, Alabama…..The syndicated Paul Finebaum show begins airing on Cumulus Media’s KQSM-FM, Fayetteville, Arkansas “92.1 The Ticket.”
Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling Tops Talkers TenTM This Week. The United States Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the legality of federal subsidies for health care for states that don’t have their own exchanges was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of June 22-26. At #2 this week was the Charleston church slayings and the related issue of the flying of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the rest of the South. Coming in at #3 was the fast-track approval of President Obama’s TPP deal followed by the 2016 presidential prospects and the entrance of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WRKO, Boston Unveils New AM Drive Show and Partnership with The Globe’s Boston.com. It’s been no secret that Entercom’s WRKO, Boston would move morning talk personality Jeff Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot after declining to renew Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show, but the station is now announcing its new morning drive programming. Leading the show will be Boston media pro Kim Carrigan. Former crosstown sports WEEI personality Jon Meterperel will join Carrigan along with show producer David Cullinane. Still more interesting is the station’s joint venture with the Boston Globe Media Partners-owned online platform Boston.com. WRKO says the new show – the “Boston.com Morning Show” – will consist of “four hours of rapid-cadence news, talk and trending live from the newsroom at Boston.com. The show will lean heavily on contributing writers and columnists from the highly-trafficked, regional website as well as national correspondents from ABC News.” The new lineup will be live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm (Barry Armstrong’s Financial Exchange airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Boston talk legend Howie Carr’s show holds down PM drive) for the first time in more than 20 years, according to the station. Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary says this is a logical evolutionary step for the talk format. “On the cusp of the 2016 election cycle, it’s very clear traditional talk radio is facing strong headwinds. As ideological lines blur and new technologies afford almost limitless tractability in audio news options, now is the time to deliver highly targeted, local content that’s unavailable to consumers anywhere else. This new lineup, anchored by our alliance with New England’s second largest news website, squarely positions WRKO for the next decade.” The lineup debuts Monday, June 29.
Talkers New York 2015 “Big Picture” Panel Video Posted Today. “The Big Picture,” one of the major panel discussions at the recently concluded (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference, is posted today on Talkers TV. The session covers a range of important issues pertaining to the state of talk media from a wide variety of perspectives. Introduced by TALKERS legal editor (and Bentley University law professor) Steve Weisman and moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (both not pictured here), the panel includes (from left to right): Chris Oliviero, EVP programming, CBS RADIO; Joe Sciacca, editor-in-chief, Boston Herald/Boston Herald Radio; Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York; Karen Hunter, host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Alan Colmes, host/commentator, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; and Holland Cooke, consultant, Holland Cooke Media. The session covers the position and future of the stick; the psychology of being a talk host; the challenges of local, independent station ownership; the broadening of the news/talk menu as it relates to partisan politics, preserving major market heritage radio brands; the role of urban talk; the glass ceiling in spoken-word radio; the emerging new relationship between radio and newspapers and more. To view the video in its entirety please click here.
New Shows Debut on PodcastOne. Comedian, actress and bestselling author Heather McDonald debuts “Juicy Scoops with Heather McDonald” on PodcastOne, beginning today (6/25). The network says McDonald “asks the questions everyone wants to know and discusses the hottest and most controversial topics each week.” Also “The Fraze & Bentley Podcast,” hosted by radio personality, actor and comedian Frazer Smith, and actor, magician and comedian Jim Bentley launches. PodcastOne says, “The duo is serious about comedy, but it’s all fun and games as they invite podcast regular and burlesque dancer Harper Rose to the mic each week, in addition to a myriad of their famous friends.” Jon Lovitz is the duo’s first celebrity guest.
Three Hosts Quit KLZ, Denver Over Disagreement with Management. Denver talk outlet KLZ is without three of its hosts after Ken Clark, Kris Cook, and Randy Corporon resigned from the Crawford Broadcasting station. According to a story in the Denver Post by Lynn Bartels, The three – who hosted separate shows on the station – had given 30-day notices of their resignation but exited before that period had elapsed after they were instructed not to book former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo as a guest. Tancredo is playing a role in controversy surrounding Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House and station manager Don Crawford Jr. told the hosts he didn’t want Tancredo booked as a guest until Crawford could determine for himself what Tancredo’s role in the call for House to resign was all about. Read Bartels’ story here.
Odds & Sods. It’s being called “a new national headline news service and full-time satellite radio channel produced by a dedicated team of FOX News journalists and contributors.” The joint effort from SiriusXM and FOX News will launch this fall and is part of a multi-year agreement between the two. SiriusXM says the channel, under the watch of FOX News senior vice president of news Jay Wallace, will be “staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year” to “deliver the day’s top stories at any time.”…..Kevin Radich joins CBS RADIO-owned all news KCBS, San Francisco “All News 106.9 FM/740 AM” as weekday sports reporter. Radich served as afternoon sports reporter on Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KGO until earlier this year…..The Radio Television Digital News Association’s Edward R. Murrow Award winners are being announced and there are several to report today. ABC News wins a total of five awards, including the Overall Excellence in Television and Overall Excellence in Radio awards for the second year in a row. ABC News president James Goldston comments to his staff, “I want to extend a special congratulations to [ABC News] Radio for a banner year – winning three more Murrow awards. Radio stations count on ABC News Radio when news breaks. The radio team works tirelessly with unmatched production and groundbreaking reporting every day.” RTDNA recognized the radio division for Breaking News – The Shooting at Fort Hood, Brad Mielke for Sports – Spartan Racing and Writing – Scott Goldberg. (pictured at left is the ABC News Radio staff celebrating its honors.) At the local level, all-news WCBS, New York “Newsradio 880” is honored with “Overall Excellence in Large Market Radio.” The winning entry included coverage of the east Harlem gas explosion, New York City police protests, and the murders of New York Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Also, Rivet Radio – a multi-platform media company that produces customized audio news and feature stories – was recognized for “Best Use of Sound by a Small Online News Organization.” News reporter and producer George Drake Jr. conceived, wrote and produced the piece, “The Story of Marvin the ‘Street Greeter’,” which profiled a Chicago resident spreading joy within the bustling metropolis…..Former WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower sits in on iHeartMedia‘s sports talker WINZ, Miami for Andy Slater tomorrow from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Obama’s TPP Trade Deal, Charleston Church Slayings Aftermath/Confederate Flag Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects/Bobby Jindal, Freddie Gray Autopsy Results Revealed, OPM Hack, Iran Nukes Negotiations, and Obama LGBT Pride Event Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The U.S. Senate votes to give President Obama fast-track authority over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement; the aftermath of the Charleston Church slayings and the matter of flying the Confederate flag on public property; the growing list of 2016 presidential prospects grows as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal enters the GOP primary race; the results of the Freddie Gray autopsy are acquired by the Baltimore Sun; questions about how much information was available to hackers into the Office of Personnel Management; The U.S.’s offer to provide Iran with nuclear technology; and talk about the scene at President Obama’s LGBT pride event at the White House were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Fireside Chat’ Video featuring Dialogue Between Michael Harrison and John Dickey Posted Today. Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey. In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics. Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop. On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives. He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain an effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.” Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena. He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.” On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.” He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.” Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio. Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task. Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.” To view the “Fireside Chat” in its entirety including an introduction by rising talk star Ethan Bearman, please click here.
Nielsen Unveils its Total Audience Report; Radio Leads Weekly Reach of Adults. Senior vice president of the audience insights division at Nielsen, Glenn Enoch, says that in preparing the first-ever Total Audience Report, the company is “using the best available data and have done all we can to make this an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison, but it is important to remember that these platforms are measured by different methods using different samples and different crediting rules.” Enoch is referring to the challenge of finding one way to express the consumption of three different media platforms – TV, radio and digital. That said, radio practitioners are happy with the results indicating that on a weekly basis, radio reaches 93% of the adult population compared to television’s 87% reach. Digital is broken up into three segments – PC, smartphone, and tablet – and those reach 54%, 70% and 35% of American adults, respectively. However, when one looks at the weekly hours and minutes spent with each medium, television comes out on top across all adult demographics and radio comes in second. The data shows that, for persons 35-49, the average hours/minutes during the week spent with television was 33:05, for radio 13:39, for PCs 6:58, for smartphones 8:52, and for tablets 4:50. In tallying the number of days per week of usage for each medium for persons 18-49, smartphones come out on top with 5.9. Radio is close behind with 5. Television is third with 4.7, followed by tablets at 4.6 and PCs with 3.6. In a memo to his sales stall, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard writes, “While radio is known as a frequency medium, we have always had significant reach. Radio’s reach has remained consistent while television has eroded. Radio now finds itself as America’s number one mass reach medium.”
New York Festivals Winners. Pictured here at Monday evening’s New York Festivals International Radio Program awards ceremony at New York Penthouse are Grand Jury member Geller Media International’s Valerie Geller (center); SiriusXM host Paul Bachman, Bronze Radio Winner in the Best Children/Young Adult Program for “Couch Potato Stew on Kids Place Live” (left); and SiriusXM VP Frank Raphael (right). The New York Festivals International Radio Program awards is an annual radio program competition executed in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The United Nations Awards were established in 1990 to honor programs highlighting global concerns of interest to the UN.
Odds & Sods. The Edward R. Murrow Awards from the RTDNA will be handed out on October 12 in New York and CBS Radio News will receive the awards for Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage for the third straight year. Outstanding coverage of the downed Malaysian airliner in the Ukraine earned CBS the Best Newscast for its July 18 edition of World New Roundup by Steve Kathan and Paul Farry. The Continuing Coverage award was given for CBS’s yearlong reporting of the war on ISIS.….Chicago media writer Robert Feder is reporting that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago has secured the rights to Chicago White Sox baseball for a six-year deal that would start with the 2016 season. Currently, White Sox baseball is heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR “670 The Score.”…..It didn’t take long for former San Diego Chargers analyst Hank Bauer to find a new gig. The former Chargers player will join Sports USA as a play-by-play analyst for its NFL broadcasts beginning in September. Bauer’s deal to work in the Chargers radio network booth was not renewed after 17 years…..Jon Laaser is named the new radio play-by-play man for Virginia Tech football starting this fall by rights holder IMG. Laaser will work in the booth with color man Mike Burnop.
Alan Colmes Recalls Playing Gunhill Road in His DJ Days. Mainstay radio and TV talker Alan Colmes of FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel is pictured at left at Talkers New York 2015 (6/12) being interviewed for a documentary film being produced about the legendary pop/rock band Gunhill Road that he recalls from his early days as a DJ spinning rock ‘n’ roll. The trio had a great time schmoozing with radio broadcasters from both music and talk formats at the recent mega-conference. Gunhill Road had two FM rock radio album favorites and the hit single “Back When My Hair Was Short” in the early 1970s. They surprised the music world recently by releasing an unexpected album with 19 new tracks titled Every 40 Years (Gunhill Road Records) that has garnered some airplay on AC and triple-A formats as well as a ton of interviews on talk radio – talk show hosts with a taste for pop culture find the group’s personal story fascinating. The group attended the conference to appear with various radio folk in the forthcoming documentary (“Back When My Hair Was Long”) about their extremely unlikely two-part journey from the 1970s to the modern digital era set for theatrical release in 2016 and to promote their latest single, “I’ve Got To Learn To Cry (featuring American Idol’s Julia DeMato). Pictured above: Gunhill Road members (l-r): Glenn Leopold, Steve Goldrich and Paul Reisch with talk radio legend Tom Leykis.
The Dump Buttons Start Season with Narrow Loss. Pictured here after their first game of the season – a very close 10-9 loss to Bloomberg News – are the players on the Cumulus Media New York co-ed softball team, The Dump Buttons. They represent hot AC WPLJ, news/talk WABC, and urban contemporary WNBM. Top row (from l-r): the Don Imus show’s Lou Rufino, WPLJ digital/social media producer Sheila Watko, Joan Hamburg producer Matt Meany, WABC account executives Jamie Roberts and Jose Torres; and Bryce Grafton (Jayde’s boyfriend). Bottom row (from l-r): WPLJ GSM Mary Jo Vetrano, WNBM midday host La Loca; WPLJ morning show co-host, Jayde Donovan; Curtis & Kuby producer Flipper; WABC personality Curtis Sliwa.
The 28th Annual Geraldo Golf Classic. 77WABC personality Geraldo Rivera (left) is here with honoree Steven G. Santino (right) at Monday’s Geraldo Golf Classic at Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, New Jersey. Geraldo’s radio show was broadcast live from the event and golfers participated in contests, watched the broadcast, golfed, and enjoyed an extended cocktail hour in the evening. All proceeds benefit Life’s WORC, which provides support and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Charleston Church Massacre Aftermath/Confederate Flag Controversy, Pope’s Climate Encyclical, Obama Trade Deal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Activities, Iran Nuclear Program, White House Ransom Policy, and Skinny Jeans Hospitalization Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The aftermath of the Charleston church killings and the related South Carolina Confederate flag issue; the recent climate change encyclical from Pope Francis and the controversy over the beliefs of his science advisor; the revived fast-track trade bill; the activities of the 2016 presidential candidates; the military progress of ISIS and world reaction to its grisly tactics; potential cooperation between the US and Iran and the latter’s nuclear program; the new White House policy that would not legally pursue families that pay ransom for family members held by terrorist organizations; and the case of a woman hospitalized due to ill effects from “skinny jeans” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP, Washington Names McMearty Program Director. Three months after former programmer Laurie Cantillo and Hubbard Radio parted ways, the company names 23-year staffer Mike McMearty program director for the multi-platform news operation. McMearty moves up from his news director post to the new position of director of news and programming. Hubbard Washington SVP/GM Joel Oxley comments, “Mike has been an integral part of our success for more than two decades. He has led the newsroom to hundreds of industry awards for excellence in journalism, including 18 National Murrow Awards and more than two dozen honors already in 2015. I look forward to him taking the department to new heights.” The station reports that Jim Battagliese continues his role as director of traffic, transit and weather. Mitchell Miller is promoted to senior news director managing the newsroom weekday mornings, Darci Marchese moves up to a full-time news director weekday afternoons, and Jamie Forzato now will manage news operations on the weekends as weekend managing editor. Meera Pal moves to social and digital engagement director reporting to Julia Ziegler, who moves from web and operations manager of FederalNewsRadio.com to become the news director of WTOP.com. All of the changes will take place over the next several weeks.
Talkers New York 2015 Videos Begin Being Posted Today (6/22). Starting today with WFAN, New York superstar Mike Francesa’s opening “Keynote Greeting,” TALKERS will be posting videos of each of the sessions that made Talkers New York 2015’s agenda one of the most successful in the convention’s 18-year history. A session will be added each business day for the next nine days in a row, in the order that they took place at the event, until the entire agenda, video-recorded by Art Vuolo, is posted in a special Talkers TV feature sponsored by independent station owner, Michael Zwerling’s KSCO, Santa Cruz. The entire feature will remain posted for the rest of 2015. To see the opening session with Mike Francesa, please click here. Tomorrow: “The State of Radio Ratings” panel moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel icon Sean Hannity.
Mike Francesa Opens Talkers New York 2015 on Upbeat Note – See Video Today! In a video posted today (6/22), legendary WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa sets the tone for what proved to be a realistic, but highly optimistic and solutions-oriented, agenda at the recent industry mega-conference, Talkers New York 2015 (6/12). The tell-it-like-it-is broadcaster – who has been ranked at #1 on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio” for the past two consecutive years – blasted the pessimism that he says permeates the radio industry and offered his assessment of the tremendous opportunities available to radio in the digital era. Francesa drew applause form the packed house stating, “It’s amazing the amount of negativity that exists no matter what part of the business you’re in… I’m here to tell you that even though I am a little closer to the finish [of my career] than I am to the start, back [in 1987] when I was pounding on the door at WFAN with Jeff Smulyan – it took me 18 interviews to get hired, folks — I would be as bullish on radio and as gung ho about getting a career and feeding my family on radio NOW… as I was back then.” Francesa discusses the multi-platform nature of programming content today and the need/opportunity to monetize every element of it. He praises the spread of smartphones as being equivalent to a theoretical resurgence of the old transistor radio and thus providing radio with universal portability… something it hasn’t enjoyed in decades. He discusses the importance of branding in today’s media environment and vehemently champions the importance of “live and local” being the key to radio’s survival and purpose in the coming era. To see Francesa’s entire speech, please click here.
Westwood One Names Ron Russo EVP Northeast Sales. Radio sales pro Ron Russo is named EVP, Northeast Region for Westwood One’s network sales division. In this position, Russo will “manage and oversee the New York sales office and be responsible for revenue growth and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events.” Russo will report to Westwood One president Steve Shaw. In a statement from WW1, the company notes that Russo comes to them from iHeartMedia where he was general sales manager for the NYC station group. “In addition to building and overseeing the sales teams, he was instrumental in managing the transition when iHeart purchased WOR-AM from Buckley Broadcasting. He also played an important role in securing the station’s radio rights to the NY Mets.” He worked for CBS RADIO at hot AC WWFS, “Fresh 102.7” before joining iHeartMedia. Russo says, “I am really looking forward to working with this great team of sellers and collaborating throughout the organization as we look for innovative ways to drive and accelerate results for our clients.”
Rob Ellis Lands at WPEN, Philadelphia. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Rob Ellis debuts on crosstown Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia, partnered up with Harry Mayes. Ellis exited CBS RADIO’s WIP in March after failing to come to terms on a contract renewal with the station. Ellis, who also hosts “Breakfast on Broad” on cable’s Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, takes over as co-host of the midday show for Eytan Shander, who remains with the company. Former WIP personality Anthony Gargano also joined WPEN late last year as morning drive personality.
Odds & Sods. Both FOX Sports and ESPN are reporting that former San Diego Chargers player and longtime radio play-by-play analyst Hank Bauer has been let go from the radio broadcast team. Bauer served a one-game suspension last season – missing the final preseason game – after he used a Jewish slur during the third preseason game. He later apologized…..Westwood One presents coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series Finals beginning this evening from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Nebraska. The best-of-three championship series between Vanderbilt and Virginia is being covered by (pictured here in front of the famous Road to Omaha statue standing from left to right) Ted Emrich, Scott Graham, and Kevin Kugler.
Dr. Joy Browne Tours Israel as Guest of Prime Minister – Meets with Victims of Terror. Nationally-syndicated (GCN) talk show host and clinical psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne returns to New York today (6/22) after an intense week-long tour of Israel on a fact-finding/counseling mission that brought her into one-on-one encounters with Israeli victims of terror. Browne (right) is pictured meeting with Israeli citizens at the Jerusalem headquarters of the OneFamily organization during what has been her first visit to the Middle East democracy this week. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, during the emotionally charged encounter, which was hosted by OneFamily CEO Chantal Belzberg, Browne met with former residents of the US, Canada, and the UK who were physically and emotionally scarred in terrorist attacks across Israel during the past few years. “I am delighted and honored to be here,” Browne tells the Post. “After experiencing the aftermath of 9/11, we all share a common echo and I am impressed with the resilience of the people here who have worked or who are working to transcend fear and are getting on with their lives.” The perennially popular radio personality, in addition to interviewing and counselling victims, also interviewed the organization’s various psychologists and therapists for a future segment on her widely heard program. Browne’s trip to Israel was sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister and America’s Voices in Israel. (Photo courtesy of the Jerusalem Post and Sarah Levin.)
FOX News Commentators Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton Honored by Grenada’s St. George’s University. Media personalities Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton were recognized with honorary doctorates from St. George’s University in Grenada for their charitable works. Pinkerton and Ratner – who work together as conservative and liberal commentators, respectively, on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends Weekend” on the “Long and Short of It” segment – are known for separate charitable efforts. Pinkerton has been working with the school assisting with its cure strategy for diseases. Ratner has been working for years to provide some of the basic tools for subsistence farming to people in South Sudan. Ratner (third from left) and Pinkerton (fourth from left) are seen here receiving their honorary degrees.
Dallas Newsman Bob Morrison Dies. Former KRLD-AM and WBAP-AM, Dallas newsman Bob Morrison died yesterday (6/21) after a long illness. Salem Radio Network VP, News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “When I served its VP/general manager, I hired Bob as news director of the USA Radio Network in 1999, and he brought a professional demeanor to reorganizing USA that was nothing short of amazing. His planning and execution of the national political conventions in 2000 remains a highlight, and nurturing his strong delivery and solid journalistic skills will always remain a highlight of my career.”
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
ATLANTIC CITY — The 68th annual New Jersey Broadcaster’s Association Conference & Gala in Atlantic City brought together state broadcasters, management, sales and industry leaders for a two-day event that included honoring those who’ve helped to make New Jersey broadcasting great, and new this year, to recognize broadcasters mentoring those considering a career in radio.
The conference opened this week with the theme: “Broadcast Has a New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella told Talkers, “We heard from a variety of voices during this conference which provided attendees with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA honored FOX News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth inducted Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Richard Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
Kraig Kitchin to Serve as Interim CEO at TheBlaze. After six months as CEO of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Betsy Morgan is leaving the company and radio executive Kraig Kitchin will take over the post on an interim basis. Morgan was promoted from her president and chief strategy officer position in December of last year when longtime Beck associate Chris Balfe left the company. She joined TheBlaze in 2011 after years with the Huffington Post. Re/code’s Peter Kafka is reporting that Morgan told staffers in a memo that over the course of the past six months “we found ourselves on a rough sea, but stayed true to our course.” Kitchin was the longtime president and COO of Premiere Networks, exiting the company in 2007 and starting his own firm, Sound Mind LLC.
McKay: Report from the NJBA Conference & Gala. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay writes about the recently concluded New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference & Gala in Atlantic City. In addition to the ceremony inducting five New Jersey greats into the NJBA Hall of Fame, the conference included panel discussions and presentations. McKay spoke with WCTC, New Brunswick program director Bert Baron who notes that New Jersey’s unique position being sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia means using localism to stand out. “It’s important now more than ever. What sets WCTC apart is we provide great national coverage but also the local content people really want. We talk the local issues in both mornings with me and with Tommy G in afternoon drive. That setup gives our listeners a local feel with local perspectives.” Read McKay’s entire report here.
Salem’s ‘Road to Majority’ Conference Underway in DC. The Salem Radio Network’s “Road to Majority” conference began on Wednesday with a VIP dinner and runs through tomorrow. This photo captures presidential hopeful and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (at left) chatting with SRN personality Bill Bennett (center) at the dinner that was hosted by Bennett and fellow SRN talk hosts Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved. FOX News Channel commentator Charles Krauthammer was guest speaker. The “Road to Majority” features every announced GOP candidate for president plus other political conservatives.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Talk Media Network nationally syndicated “Frontlines of Freedom” program with host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem adds new affiliates: WGKA-AM, Atlanta; WTIS, Tampa; KJCE, Austin; KGED, Fresno; WEBY, Pensacola; and WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina to its roster.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Trump Enters Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 15-19. The vast slate of candidates running for president in 2016 and the addition of real estate magnate Donald Trump to the GOP field was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Charleston church slayings tied with the greater topic of gun control. Coming in at #3 was the Rachel Dolezal case followed by the military progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s policy there. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — The wheels of justice don’t turn particularly fast. It has been two years since the Boston Marathon bombing and a year since Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi sued talk show host Glenn Beck for defamation. At the time of the bombing and for some time thereafter, Beck was convinced that there was a conspiracy that extended beyond the Tsarnaev brothers that included another person who Beck publicly identified as an al Qaeda “control agent” and the “money man” behind the bombings, although the lack of sophistication involved in the crime did not appear to require any significant funding to bring about this attack. Abdulrahman Alharbi , the man identified by Beck as the conspirator not only was present at the bombings, but actually was among those injured by the blasts.
Update: The Glenn Beck Defamation Suit. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reports on the status of the defamation suit in which Premiere Networks talk host Glenn Beck is defending himself. Saudi Arabian national Abdulrahman Alharbi is suing Beck for defamation after Beck continued to talk about his belief that Alharbi had a role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing after authorities had investigated him and cleared him of any involvement in the crime. Now, Weisman says the case has taken another legal step after Judge Patti B. Saris allowed Alharbi to amend his defamation lawsuit by adding a count for unjust enrichment. In allowing this count to be added to the complaint, Judge Saris has significantly upped the amount of a possible judgment. Weisman says the case is a long way from trial and that it’s in the discovery phase right now. Read more here.
WCCO Honored by NAB for Service to Community. On Tuesday (6/16), CBS RADIO heritage news/talk station WCCO-AM was honored by the NAB with the National Association of Broadcaster’s Education Foundation’s “Service to Community Award” for the station’s year-round outreach to help the hungry. For the campaign, WCCO engaged listeners, celebrities and charity groups to collect food and replenish food shelves across 59 counties. Pictured here are (from l-r): U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, CBS RADIO Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo, WCCO program director Bob Shomper, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. Photo: CBS.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Sold-Out Book Event with Ann Coulter. Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) brought author and conservative media icon Ann Coulter (left) to the Colonial Theatre near Philadelphia for a sold-out event on Monday, June 15 to talk about, among other things, her latest book, Adios America! (Regnery Publishing 2015). Stigall reports to TALKERS that the conversation touched on a wide variety of topics including Coulter’s friendship with Bill Maher, and her real concern about the state of free speech in comedy and commentary today.
Howie Carr: Presidential Kingmaker! It is no secret that every four years in the weeks and months leading up to the high-visibility New Hampshire presidential primary, radio talk show hosts in the state take on an importance and influence in national affairs that exponentially outweighs what their market size and audience reach would normally deliver. Taking that fact into consideration, regionally syndicated host Howie Carr, whose recently launched, independent Howie Carr Radio Network covers the six New England states like a blanket (and is starting to leak into neighboring New York), has become a potential presidential “king maker.” Carr’s immensely popular afternoon drive program is now affiliated in seven top New Hampshire markets with an eighth reportedly on the way — giving him an unprecedented level of “local” presence in the strategic primary battleground that makes him a must-visit by all candidates hoping to have a shot at winning the crucial election. Carr, who ranked 15th in this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred, is considered by many industry observers familiar with his impact in the Northeast as somewhat of a “sleeping giant of news/talk radio” just waiting to invade the nearby Empire State and beyond. To hear a promo currently running on Carr’s network referring to his role in the primary, please click
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan Bernstein Suspended for Tweet. The Chicago sports talk host sat out yesterday’s show (without pay) and will return to the “Boers & Bernstein” show today. This, reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, came after Dan Bernstein revisited rumors that WLS-TV meteorologist Cheryl Scott was romantically involved with one or more Chicago Blackhawks players when he Tweeted: “And the real award for this year’s close connection to the @NHLBlackhawks is @CherylScottWX!!” Scott had vehemently denied the rumors via social media and after Bernstein’s Tweet, Feder reports that WSCR was contacted by WLS-TV management and Scott’s agent protesting the Tweet. This is the second recent Tweet that’s got Bernstein into trouble. Earlier this year he apologized for sexist comments made about Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal.
‘The John and Leah Show’ Lands on WHAS, Louisville. It’s a return to WHAS, Louisville for talk host John Ziegler, whose new Envision Networks-syndicated weekend show with co-host Leah Bandon is being heard every Sunday night at 10:00. Ziegler was a daily personality on the station earlier in his career and iHeartMedia Louisville senior vice president of programming Kelly Carls says, “John Ziegler is already well known to many fans around Kentuckiana. We’re glad they’ll once again get to hear his well-thought-out, unique take on major events and the news.”
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated political weekend show “Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont” celebrates its 35the anniversary next weekend (6/28) with a special program on Sunday preceded by a private gathering on June 24 with frequent program guests from over the years. The show began in 1980 as a 13-week experiment on WBEZ-FM, Chicago to cover the 1980 presidential campaign. In 1991 it went into syndication on public radio. In 1992 it switched to commercial WLS-AM, Chicago and its national profile grew.…..Financial talk host Robert “Bob” Hardcastle – host of the weekend “Money Talk” program on KTRS, St. Louis – has written a memoir of his days as a college baseball player at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1959 titled, College Baseball and Other Shenanigans. Hardcastle is an honored SIUC alumnus from the Class of 1962 and a member of the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Trump Enters Race, Rachel Dolezal Case, Pope Francis’ Global Warming Encyclical, U.S.-Russia Tensions, SCOTUS ObamaCare Subsidies Case, Woman to Be on $10 Bill, ISIS Military Progress, EU Uncertainty Over Greek Debt, and Golden State Warriors Win NBA Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The candidates for president in 2016 and Donald Trump’s entrance into the GOP primary; the ongoing talk about former Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal’s “identifying” as black; the leaked encyclical in which Pope Francis calls for global governmental action on climate change; the military tensions between Russia and the U.S.; the Supreme Court to hear arguments over federal ObamaCare subsidies; the Treasury Department’s announcement that a woman will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill in 2020; the progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s policy there; the state of the European Union as Greece warns it can’t pay its debts; and the Golden State Warriors’ victory over Cleveland in the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Late Morning Changes at WBAP, Dallas. Talk show host Ben Ferguson exits the late morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP, Dallas after three years and is replaced by Chris Salcedo in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am shift. Salcedo is a contributor to Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com and has sat in for Beck on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Chris Salcedo has worked in the market in television news as an anchor at KTVT-TV “CBS11.” He’s the executive director of the Conservative Hispanic Society. Ben Ferguson’s nationally syndicated weekend program is still airing on WBAP from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Sundays.
Kanani and Moton Join ABC News as Multi-Platform Reporters. In a memo to the Washington, DC news staff, bureau chief Jonathan Greenberger announces Bazi Kanani and Kenneth Moton are being added to the team of multi-platform reporters based there. He says the two “will be joining the team, reporting on breaking stories, news of day and features for all platforms, including television, radio, digital and social media. Using immersive storytelling and the newest technology, they will draw on their years of domestic and international experience to create original content. The multi-platform reporters complement our ongoing initiative to unify the D.C. bureau around content-based teams instead of platform-specific teams. Investing in these journalists will contribute to the incredibly well-sourced Global Affairs Team, Pennsylvania Avenue Team, Transportation/Regulation/Consumer Team, Justice Team and General Assignment Team.” Bazi Kanani is an experienced journalist whose reporting has taken her around the world. She joined ABC News in 2011 as a digital journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenneth Moton comes from ABC TV O&O WPVI-TV, Philadelphia where he was a general assignment reporter.
Chris and Emilee Show Debuts on USA Radio Networks. The new early evening show featuring Chris and Emilee Danielson will launch on the USA Radio Networks on July 20 and air from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET. Chris Danielson is a 30-year comedy veteran, a seminary trained teacher, and public speaker. Emilee has been an accomplished speaker and presenter for more than 15 fifteen years and they’ve even spent several years as missionaries in rural western Alaska. Chris has pastored several churches. He comments, “We really feel like USA Radio Networks is the right place for us. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we know who we are, and we try to honor Christ in all that we do, but we do have a really good time.” USA Radio Networks says the pair describes themselves as “not ‘radio hosts’ but real people who bring a different vibe to their Christian-based variety talk show. Chris and Emiliee have been on the air for over a decade and tremendously grown their audience in the various markets they’ve worked.”
McGraw Milhaven’s KTRS Sizzle Reel Now on Talkers TV. Attendees at the 18th annual Talkers New York conference in Manhattan’s Financial District last Friday (6/12) saw a special presentation of a sizzle reel for St. Louis media pro McGraw Milhaven’s KTRS morning show. The three-minute-and-fifteen-second video is interesting in that it illustrates how Milhaven is incorporating internet video and digital elements into his morning “radio show” to present a multi-media news and talk program that goes far beyond the old “studio-cam-on-the-host” model. Milhaven spoke on the “Navigating a Talk Host Career” panel at Talkers New York 2015 and discussed some of his strategies. The video of that panel will be available via Talkers.com in the coming weeks. View the KTRS video in the Talkers TV box on the upper right-hand side of this page.
John Dickey and Michael Harrison Discuss the Big Issues at Talkers New York 2015. World Debut Replay Now Available on “Up Close and Far Out” Audio Podcast in Advance of Video. Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming John Dickey (right). In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality-oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics. Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop. On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives. He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain an effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.” Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena. He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.” On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.” He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.” Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio. Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task. Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.” To immediately hear the conversation between John Dickey and Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out” in advance of the video being posted within the next two weeks, please click here or click on the player located in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com.
Odds & Sods. Missouri heritage news/talker KFRU, Columbia-Jefferson City is named Missouri’s first-ever “Radio Station of the Year” by the Missouri Broadcasters Association. This is the organization’s top community service award and Cumulus-owned KFRU was honored among all Missouri radio stations for excellence in delivering community-centered programming through broadcast time used to benefit the community, station resources used to benefit the community, and individual involvement in the community by the station’s on-air talent. KFRU staffers pictured (from l-r) here are: David Lile, Simon Rose, Renee Hulshof, George Young, and David Gaines…..Florida-based talk show host Burnie Thompson’s program is now available in video format on the Internet. Thompson tells TALKERS magazine that his 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET live show is available on his YouTube MyFreedomRadio channel as well as via the free app Periscope for Android and iPhone…..WZVG, Charlotte-based sports talk hosts Marty Hurney and Lanny Ford are in national syndication with the program “Inside the Lines.” The show airs live daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and “goes beyond the headlines to explore the themes and the behind-the-scenes stories from the perspective of the players and the front office and makes it relatable to the typical sports fan.”
New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Gala Takes Place on Monday. The June 22 presentation of the winners of the 2015 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards will take place at New York’s Manhattan Penthouse (80 Fifth Avenue at 14 St & Union Square). The juried awards competition “honors the most diverse, creative, and innovative programming in radio broadcasting from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from around the globe.” Each year the New York Festivals, in collaboration with the United Nations, appoint a panel to select work that exemplifies the aims and ideals of the United Nations. Their selections are awarded the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) Award. The ceremony will present awards including: the Grand Trophy, Broadcaster of the Year, Production Company of the Year, UNDPI, Gold, Silver and Bronze trophy-winning programs.
Fire Alarms Add Color to WNYM Remote Broadcast. During the live remote broadcast of the morning drive Joe Piscopo show on Salem Media Group’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” fire alarms at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey went off not once, but twice. The business breakfast event was about to get underway when the fire alarm forced all 300-plus attendees to exit the building. Then, two hours later, smoke from an omelet station set the alarms off again prompting Piscopo to take the stage to thank all the attendees for coming armed with a fire extinguisher which he then discharged, as you can see in the photo here.
Donald Trump Enters GOP Race/2016 Presidential Prospects, Rachel Dolezal Case, Russian Sabre-Rattling, Pope Francis on Global Warming, TTP Trade Deal Fate, ISIS Military Progress, Missing ObamaCare Subsidies, St. Louis Cardinals Investigated for Hacking, Blackhawks win Stanley Cup, Game 6 of Cavs-Warriors Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/16). The 2016 presidential candidates and the entrance of Donald Trump and Jeb Bush into the primary race; ongoing chatter about former Spokane NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal’s claim that she identifies as black; Russia’s statement it will add ICBMs to its military arsenal and the U.S.’s response; Pope Francis to issue climate change encyclical; the troubled TPP trade deal; ISIS military success in Iraq; allegations of $2.8 billion in missing ObamaCare subsidies; the MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals are investigated for allegedly hacking into the Houston Astros’ database; the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup; and game six of the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rave Reviews Mounting for Talkers New York 2015. Complete Agenda Videos to be Posted Here in Coming Weeks Beginning Monday (6/22). The sessions at the recent Talkers New York 2015 are being widely praised as some of the best in the colorful 18-year history of the annual event. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The panels and presentations at this conference were just packed with non-stop takeaways. We are extremely gratified by the positive response and feedback that we have been receiving from so many of the hundreds of people who packed this SRO event.” Casey adds, “Now through the technology of being an online ‘media station’ we will be able to share this information with everyone in the world interested in what was said in New York this past Friday (6/12). We will kick it off with the blockbuster panel, “The State of Radio Ratings” moderated by Sean Hannity that already has the entire industry buzzing.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Salem Media SVP Phil Boyce, E.W. Scripps Milwaukee VP/GM Tom Langmyer, Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, Moceri Media CEO Greg Moceri, Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber, Nielsen Audio VP Jon Miller, and FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks host Sean Hannity (not pictured: Richard Harker of Harker Research).
Mills Crenshaw New PM Drive Host at KLO, Salt Lake City. Station general manager Matt Webb says, “Our audience has been asking for a local host in our afternoon drive time slot and we think we’ve landed the best in the business when it comes to local talk radio. Mills is a true icon in Utah radio and we’re pleased to have him as part of our radio family.” Mills Crenshaw has been in talk radio since 1965 and now is hosting “Drive Time Live with Mills Crenshaw” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. He comments, “I am thrilled to be part of such a prestigious radio lineup on a legacy station such as KLO. To be on the same station with Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Medved is a true honor.”
Cooper to Manage Beasley’s Atlanta Religion and Talk Outlets. This is a promotion for LeAnder Cooper who moves up from the assistant business manager post to general manager for Beasley Media Group’s religion WAEC and talk WWWE in Atlanta. Company EVP of operations Brian Beasley states, “We are deeply impressed with LeAnder’s commitment to WAEC and WWWE, and we have great confidence she is the ideal professional to serve as general manager of two historically successful AM stations in the Atlanta radio market.”
Nielsen’s RADAR June 2015 Released; 167 Million Americans Reached. The June 2015 RADAR from Nielsen is out and the ratings giant reports that this survey indicates more than 167 million Americans age 12 or older listened to a network radio commercial during an average week. As industry pros are aware, Nielsen RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks. RADAR audience estimates do not account for listening to all network radio programming. RADAR delivers data for the entire country but it also breaks out numbers for reach into the top 25 DMAs. That data shows network radio reaches 64.6% of persons aged 12+; 68.5% of persons aged 18-49; and 69.3% of persons aged 25-54. Nielsen’s RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) June 2015 Report is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 43 individual radio networks. These networks are operated by AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and Westwood One.
Odds & Sods. Nashville-based, Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine has a role in the new film The Secret Handshake, starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, God’s Not Dead), pop star Amy Grant and country music singer Mark Collie. The film was written and directed by Howie Klausner, who co-wrote Space Cowboys starring Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones. In the movie about a young boy who starts down the wrong path and is taken on a camping trip by three concerned men, Valentine plays the role of a novelist pitching another book idea to Sorbo’s character. Valentine says, “Hey, I got to do a scene with Hercules. It doesn’t get much better than that.”…..Three of FOX Sports Radio’s talk shows will broadcast from the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington as part of the network’s coverage of the tournament. “Jay Mohr Sports,” “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” and JT “The Brick” will air from Washington June 17-19 and the network’s coverage will continue through the weekend with national anchor Dan Breyer providing live updates during play…..Sports USA announces its 2015 NCAA football schedule, kicking off the season with an opening week doubleheader featuring Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines facing Utah on Thursday September 3 and Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen’s return to Boise State on Friday September 4. The 2015 schedule consists of 16 regular season games plus four bowl games.
RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey Indicates Local News Content Stabilizing. That study by Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper summarizes local news content for TV and radio. Looking at the radio numbers, Papper reports that “66.2% of radio stations in the survey run local news — 71.9% of AM stations and 63.9% of FM stations. The overall percentage running local news is down around 4 points (3.8) compared to last year — which was down 7.7 from the year before. AM and FM stations were down about the same amount.” The report shows, among other things, the number of minutes of news stations in different size markets air and one thing that pops out is the dip in minutes aired from major market stations to large market stations. The weekday average number of minutes of news aired on major market stations was 129.3. Large market stations aired much less news – 35.8 minutes on average during the week. That number shoots back up for medium markets – 70.7 minutes and remains almost level in small markets at 68.9 minutes. Read the study report here.
TheBlaze Radio Network’s Independence: An American Story Distributed by Premiere Networks. The Fourth of July special “Independence: An American Story” – from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network – is being distributed to stations by Premiere Networks. The show is hosted by TheBlaze’s Doc Thompson and Skip LaCombe and features appearances by several Blaze hosts, including Andrew W.K. and Sheriff David Clarke. “The special highlights stories and conversations about the American Dream being achieved; the renewal of national pride and the accomplishments only possible in an independent, free nation; and why, despite the challenges facing Americans, this is the greatest nation on Earth.” It’s available for news/talk stations to air from July 3-5, 2015. Stations interested in this special should contact Premiere Networks’ affiliate relations department at 818-377-5300.
2016 Presidential Race/Jeb Bush Announces, Rachel Dolezal Case, Drone Strike Kills al Qaeda Leader, ISIS Military Activity, EU-Greece Tensions, TTP Trade Deal, and NHL and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Republican Jeb Bush officially enters the race for president in 2016; the case of Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal who resigned from the post after questions about her identifying as black became a major news story; the U.S. military uses a drone strike to allegedly kill al Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi; the United States’ policy in Iraq as ISIS continues its military campaign there; the state of the EU and Greece’s place in it as the Greek government fights the EU’s efforts to affect its policies; the tenuous state of the TTP trade deal; and the NHL and NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.
Strassell Named SVP of Programming at Hubbard. Programming pro Greg Strassell joins Hubbard Radio as SVP/programming. In this position he will work with current SVP/programming Greg Solk to lead the programming, brand and content strategies for the company’s 28 radio stations in its seven largest markets. Hubbard president and CEO Drew Horowitz says, “We are thrilled to bring someone of Greg’s talent on to the Hubbard team. The combination of Greg Strassell and Greg Solk gives us one of the most dynamic programming duos in the industry. As the importance of creating entertaining and compelling content across all platforms continues to be a critical ingredient of growth, this move strengthens the company for the future.” Strassel previously served as SVP strategic services, national programming platforms for iHeartMedia and as SVP programming for CBS RADIO.
Entercom Promotes Buck and Woche to GSM in Austin. Entercom has promoted Jennifer Buck and Bob Woche to general sales manager positions in its Austin station group. Company VP/GM Stephanie Callihan says, “I’m thrilled to announce the promotion of both Jen Buck and Bob Woche to general sales manager of Entercom Austin. Jen and Bob have provided great leadership to the team for many years and are well prepared to lead our team into the future. Their knowledge of the Austin business landscape has been invaluable during my transition. I’m proud to have them both in these pivotal roles and to be able to promote from within.” Woche has served with Entercom for the past five years. Buck has been with the company since 2009.
WGN, Chicago Announces New Football Show for the Fall. Beginning in September, WGN, Chicago will add “The Hamp & O.B. Show with Glen Kozlowski” to its lineup. The three-hour football post-game show will follow every regular season Chicago Bears game starting Sunday, September 13. The show will feature NFL Hall of Famer Dan Hampton and former Chicago Bears Ed O’Bradovich and Glen Kozlowski, who will provide extensive postgame analysis and insights. In addition to the postgame breakdown, Hampton will join the Steve Cochran show and Glen Kozlowski will join Roe Conn every Monday and Friday morning to provide a Bears game recap and preview.
Odds & Sods. At the Sacramento cluster of iHeartMedia, Ann Postell is named director of sales for the company’s stations that include news/talk KFBK-AM/FM and talk KSTE…..SiriusXM host Joe Madison broadcast from Cuba yesterday as part of his seven-day trip to the country. SiriusXM calls it the “the first national American radio talk broadcast from the island country in more than 50 years.” Madison is in Cuba meeting with government officials, touring landmarks, and previewing new tourist construction sites in preparation of the predicted waves of American tourists that some believe will flood the country.
ISIS Military Progress/U.S. Military Iraq Policy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 8-12. The progress being made in Iraq by ISIS and the military role of the U.S. in Iraq was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the relations between police and Blacks in the U.S. and the related Texas pool party incident. Coming in at #3 was the activities of the 2016 presidential candidates and following at #4 was the ObamaCare funding issue tied with the TTP trade deal. 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’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talkers New York 2015 Set to Rock Big Apple Tomorrow. Talk media professionals from all across America (and the world) will be gathering at the historic India House in the Financial District of lower Manhattan tomorrow for the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention. The event – which sold out three weeks in advance – will feature 65 industry speakers discussing the major issues and challenges facing talk broadcasting on air, online and on satellite including the state of audience measurement systems, integrating the art of radio into the technology of the digital age, adapting to changing sociological and generational attitudes, generating revenue in a new paradigm, navigating controversy and managing on air careers, plus a whole lot more. Talkers New York 2015 will be the “reality” site of two major documentary films about the media currently in production – plus TALKERS will video record all sessions and speeches for later playback on TalkersTV, free of charge. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Every one of these spectacular events has had its own colorful story and has played a significant role in the fascinating evolution of this vital scene we call talk radio. However, this one is particularly special to me because it coincides with the 25th anniversary of the founding of TALKERS magazine way back in the ancient year of 1990!” To see the full agenda, please click here.
iHeartMedia-Unified Partnership Further Enhances Data-Driven Marketing Approach. This partnership is being termed a “long-term” one with iHeartMedia investing in marketing technology firm Unified in order to “accelerate the company’s growth and expansion.” iHeartMedia says the data-driven partnership will deliver “unprecedented insights to advertisers across iHeartMedia’s portfolio of radio, digital, mobile, live events, social and on-demand entertainment and information services.” Further, it states, “The companies’ strategic partnership will leverage Unified’s Social Operating Platform, the marketing industry’s leading data and analytics platform, to aggregate and unlock the massive data sets generated from iHeartMedia’s 858 radio stations; 70 million registered users of its iHeartRadio platform; 87 million monthly digital uniques; more than 20,000 annual events; and more than 75 million social media users across its network. In addition, iHeartMedia will contribute data generated from its programming and consumer audiences to Unified’s award-winning data platform. The combination of iHeartMedia’s data and Unified’s analytics technology brings the power of attribution, audience identification, and impact analysis associated with digital marketing to the unparalleled scale of broadcast media.” iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “Data-driven solutions are transforming the way that we deliver new value to our marketing partners, providing the ease, measurability and precision of digital marketing at the incredible scale of broadcast. Unified allows us to leverage big data in new ways that make our portfolio of products, technology platforms, content and personalities the most powerful marketing vehicles available today.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Talkers Books Gearing Up for Three Releases in Second Half of 2015. After a 10 year hiatus since the publication of its last book, Modern Aging: A Guide for Seasoned Citizens to Achieve Health, Happiness and Purpose (Talkers Books, 2005) by upper demographics expert Carole Marks – TALKERS announces plans for three new releases under the imprint Talkers Books during the second half of 2015. Scheduled for release in July is Liars & Whores: How Big Government and Big Business Are Working to Save Their Own Assets, Not Yours (Talkers Books, 2015) by rising talk star Ethan Bearman. Bearman, who hosts a weekly show on Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco and another nationally syndicated by GCN, is described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “one of the brightest, personable and politically independent of the industry’s new breed of young talkers with the potential to become the voice of Generation X.” Bearman’s book will be available in hard and soft cover versions as well as an e-book configuration. That will be followed by the August release of the first in a series of e-books under the umbrella description, “The Talkers Manifesto Series.” Titled, The Dr. Higgins Guide to Health and Wellness: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual by Evelyn Higgins, D.C. (Talkers Books, 2015), it is written by a rising star in the field of alternative health care who came to the attention of the TALKERS editorial staff via her outstanding work in Georgia talk radio over the past several years. Scheduled for release in the fall is Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2015) by Bernadette Duncan. In this revealing memoir, Duncan recounts her first-hand impressions working with some of the biggest names in talk radio during her 31-year career as a producer for such personalities as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood, Mike Gallagher and many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are enthusiastic about reinvigorating our book publishing arm. The talk radio world is full of potential literary stars and we are going to do our best to help them find their readerships.”
Odds & Sods. At the Cumulus Media cluster in New York City, production whiz Fitz is now serving as the producer of the daily “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” program that airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on news/talk WABC. Fitz was previously production director for sister hot AC WPLJ…..The Boston Herald has been named one of three finalists for the Innovator of the Year award presented by the Associated Press Media Editors for the creation of Boston Herald Radio and its integration into the news organization’s daily multimedia news process. The winner will be selected in October.
Police Excessive Force Cases, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Military Progress/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq, TTP Trade Deal, New York Prison Break, ObamaCare Court Challenge, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). The spate of alleged excessive force incidents by police across the country and talk about relations between police forces and the Black community; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s response; the controversy over the TTP trade deal and questions about what’s really in the pact; the ongoing search for two escaped murder convicts in New York State; the expected ruling from the Supreme Court on health care subsidies and how it may affect ObamaCare; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Radio Network Presents ‘National Town Meeting’ on Police and Race Issues. This “national town meeting” will be a local and national simulcast with KSKY, Dallas morning personality Mark Davis and Salem Radio Network syndicated personality Mike Gallagher and will air tomorrow (6/11) from 9:00 am to 12:000 noon ET. Salem says, “In the wake of recent high-profile incidents including urban riots in Baltimore and last weekend’s suburban ‘pool party’ controversy in McKinney, Texas, Gallagher and Davis…will co-anchor an SRN National Town Meeting on minority/police relations in America. Gallagher adds, “We hope this SRN National Town Meeting will continue a nationwide dialogue on why so many recent incidents have been magnified by the issue of race, and also produce solid answers on how we can all — Americans of all colors and creeds — move forward together as a society.”
Cox Media Group’s Orlando Stations to Produce ‘Unity in the Community.’ Both news/talk WDBO “News 96.5” and urban contemporary WCFB “Star 94.5” in Orlando will simulcast a special program called “Unity in the Community: A Live Discussion About the Current Role of Both Law Enforcement and Citizens in our Communities” tonight at 7:00 pm. The program will feature a panel of experts to share what law enforcement is doing in Central Florida, and answer questions from concerned citizens. They will discuss the roles and responsibilities of both law enforcement and citizens when dealing with each other. Panelists will include: Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demmings, Orlando Police Chief John Mina, Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith, former Chief Judge Belvin Perry, and Crimeline executive director Barb Bergen. The panel discussion will be co-moderated by WDBO’s Joe Kelley and WCFB’s Monica May.
USA Radio Networks to Syndicate Kevin Jackson Show. The Kevin Jackson program is being syndicated live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET by USA Radio Networks, beginning July 20. The young, black conservative contributes to Breitbart, Human Events, and American Thinker and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity, “The Factor with Bill O’Reilly” and MSNBC. He is the author of The Big Black Lie (Black Sphere 2009) and Sexy Brilliance and Other Political Lies (FastPencil Wavecrest 2011). On his new relationship, Jackson comments, “I’m happier than a tornado in a trailer park to be part of the USA Radio Networks family, and can’t wait to take on Rush Limbaugh. Conservative talk radio has needed new blood for some time, and I’m just happy to know a vampire. America will get something different, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring it.” USA Radio Networks chief content officer Tim Maranville says, “Kevin blurs the lines that have so divided our country yet does it in a way that creates a conversation about solutions. Plus he’s wicked funny!”
Larry Mendte Named Morning Host at WILM, Wilmington. Former longtime Philadelphia TV news anchor and radio host Larry Mendte is named morning drive personality at iHeartMedia’s Delaware news/talk stations WILM, Wilmington and WDOV, Dover. Company regional market president Chris Walus states, “Larry is an extraordinary talent who has the unique ability to engage audiences across all demographics. He has an impressive record of success in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Diego. Delaware listeners will be incredibly impressed with his ability to connect, engage and inform.” In addition to his work in Philadelphia, Mendte has served at 77WABC in New York; “Access Hollywood” in Los Angeles, WBBM-TV and WLS-AM in Chicago.
‘105 The Ticket’ in Minneapolis Drops Local Talk. Ousted local radio personality Bob Sansevere tells the Pioneer Press that the Cumulus Media-owned trimulcast of WGVX, WRXP, and WGVZ – branded as “105 The Ticket” – wasn’t able to put up a ratings fight against the sports talk competition in the market and that’s probably why his show and “Radioactive Sports” with Mike Morris and Ben Holsen were canceled. The station is now airing the entire slate of CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
WCHV, Charlottesville Talk Host Joe Thomas’ Morning Show Simulcast on Television Outlet. The “Joe Thomas in the Morning” program on WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia is now being simulcast on Gray Television’s “all-local, all-the-time Newsplex Now” channel. Thomas, who also serves as program director for Monticello Media-owned WCHV, comments, “I was told back in the Bayside (NY) High School TV studio that I should go into radio because I would never be happy in television since I would never be able to have the irreverent fun I displayed in class. It took 32 years, but I’m going to prove my teacher wrong!” Thomas says he’s also on the lookout for short-form video content that could be included in the TV broadcast to create a unique viewer experience. Reach out to him with suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds & Sods. The Los Angeles Lakers and ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles announce they have agreed to an extension of their radio play-by-play deal through the 2021-22 season. “ESPNLA” will carry all 82 regular-season games as well as the entire preseason and every playoff game. John Ireland will continue as the play-by-play commentator for the Lakers radio broadcasts, with Laker great Mychal Thompson remaining as the color analyst. Both are ESPNLA personalities – Ireland co-hosts the “Mason and Ireland” show and Thompson co-hosts the “Thompson and Trudell” program…..TheBlaze Radio Network’s Buck Sexton fills in for Rush Limbaugh on the Premiere Networks syndicated program today (6/10). TheBlaze says Sexton is the only personality who has guest hosted for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
Syndicated Talk Host Danielle Lin Takes Show to India. Dynamic health and lifestyle talker Danielle Lin took her syndicated radio talk show, “The Art of Living and the Science of Life,” to Bangalore, India reporting on the new trend of “Medical Tourism.” She tells TALKERS, “Going global makes perfect sense in a podcast world. I have discovered first hand that international expansion is not only lucrative…it’s essential in a digital world. With a strong list of sponsors primed from US relations, linking countries like India was a natural fit for expanding my US brand. The money flows in both directions as companies create bonds by targeting niche markets. By producing valuable content on the national platform, we were able to translate the same conversation with the growing middle market in Bangalore. We started early enough in our planning to build a base that would connect us to a worldwide listenership.” Lin adds, “The local and international conversations are relevant to everyone when it comes to improving life.” Lin (second from left) is pictured here with the leading Ayurvedic physcians at AyurVAID Hospital in Bangalore.
Texas Pool Party Incident, ISIS Military Progress/U.S. Iraq Policy, Obama Trade Deal, New York Prison Break, News from Apple WWDC, Bilderberg Group/G7 Meetings, Caitlyn Jenner Case, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The fallout from a police officer’s actions at a Texas pool party; the continuing success of ISIS in Iraq and questions about the U.S. military’s policy in Iraq; the TTP trade deal and concerns over lack of understanding of what the pact contains; the search for two convicted murderers who escaped from a New York prison; news of the new digital music platform from Apple from the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference; questions about future global policies as the Bilderberg Group meets in Austria and the G7 summit takes place; ongoing chatter about the Caitlyn Jenner case and transgender issues; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Superstar Mark Levin Interviewed on New Installment of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk show host, author and legal scholar Mark Levin joins TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of “Up Close and Far Out,” PodcastOne’s international hit podcast for media freaks. The two outspoken media figures discuss the endless nuances of political labeling, the state of the First Amendment, the U.S. Constitution, the balance of power between the Federal Government and the individual states, the American Civil War, and differences between statesmanship during the American Revolution and today. Levin admits that he is a “media freak” having been a fan of talk radio since his early teens when he listened to all-night shows on his transistor radio. Regarding the nature of the times during which some 56 American “politicians” signed a document for freedom risking certain death if the colonists couldn’t defeat the world’s most awesome military power on the planet, Levin wistfully says, “I actually wish I lived during those days.” To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
WGMD, Rehoboth Beach Cuts Ties with Todd Schoenberger. It appears that Resort Broadcasting has parted ways with talk host and former hedge fund manager Todd Schoenberger. All references to him have been removed from the station’s website. In a follow-up to the story TALKERS reported yesterday (6/8), Schoenberger was to be part of the station’s new lineup hosting afternoon drive and three days into his gig it was reported that he was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud. Schoenberger admitted to fraudulent conduct in a case in which he convinced four investors to invest $130,000 for a hedge fund he said had $65 million under management, but in reality contained no assets at all. Schoenberger had been a regular guest on FOX News, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg.
WTEM, Washington Extends Deal with Doc Walker. Washington Redskins great Rick “Doc” Walker will remain part of the “Inside the Locker Room” afternoon show with Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson after agreeing to terms on a contract extension with Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” Walker also serves as a sideline reporter for the Redskins Radio Network. Walker comments, “ESPN 980 is my anchor. We’re building a championship team and I’m honored to be a part of it!”
Odds & Sods. Chattanooga talk show host Brian Joyce will interview former Pennsylvania Senator and current presidential candidate Rick Santorum in the studios of WGOW “Talk Radio 102.3” on Wednesday (6/10). Joyce tells TALKERS that his program was chosen for the appearance by Hamilton County GOP officials and that it’s the first time in station history that an active, major presidential candidate has visited the studios. Santorum is in town to speak to a local GOP chapter…..Dallas market talk radio pro Mark Davis renews his deal with Salem Media Group to continue hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program on KSKY “660 AM The Answer” through 2018. Davis also hosts the Friday morning edition of Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” with Bill Bennett and will continue in that role. For years Davis was heard on Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WBAP…..At the iHeartMedia Albany cluster, Jeff Wolf is promoted to program director for news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX “FOX Sports 980.” Wolf replaces Josh Everett who recently moved to the company’s Denver station group to serve as program director of talk outlets KHOW and KKZN…..In Washington, DC, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP and WFED receive accolades from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association. WTOP was honored with nine CAPBA Awards, including an Outstanding Website award for WTOP.com. “Federal News Radio” was for best Multimedia/Online Journalism. Hubbard Washington SVP and general manager Joel Oxley says, “We have an outstanding group of journalists here in Washington, and it’s always great to see their accomplishments recognized by our industry peers. It’s particularly satisfying to see us awarded across the board – from commentary, to sports, to online journalism.”
TalkersRadio Launching a New Talk Program about Animal Rights. TalkersRadio is launching a new show today (6/9) designed to “raise consciousness about the rights, feelings and dignity of our fellow earthly creatures.” The magazine/interview program, titled “Vox Animali,” is produced and hosted by award-winning radio journalist Lori Lundin. It will investigate industrial, corporate and domestic examples of institutionalized animal abuse in our society and spotlight progress being made in the animal rights movement to reverse the situation. Upon making the announcement of this new program’s launch, TALKERS GM of broadcast operations David Bernstein states, “This is the kind of creative, leading-edge talk show that TalkersRadio was initially conceived to spawn and incubate. It is a subject that addresses a huge moral, societal need and there’s a significant audience ready for it.” TalkersRadio is an experimental, online radio platform launched two years ago to serve as a workshop for new, innovative programming concepts. Michael Harrison adds, “It is a privilege and pleasure working with so gifted a radio journalist as Lori Lundin. She brings tremendous experience, intelligence and integrity to all her work. Her compassion for the mistreated and suffering creatures of our world runs deep with authenticity and she brings an uncommon passion to this worthy project that is compelling indeed.” Lori Lundin is a news anchor for WTOP, Washington, DC and a reporter for the Washington Examiner. She joined WTOP after hosting a national news program for the now-defunct America’s Radio News Network. Prior to that she spent four-and-a-half years anchoring morning drive for FOX News Radio. She credits her reporting skills to the years she spent in Sacramento with heritage news/talker KFBK. Lundin has received a number of journalism awards, including a recent national Gracie, a regional Edward R. Murrow and National Headliner Award for a hard news feature, as well as the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association Award for breaking news coverage. She is also a recent breast cancer survivor who works to help and support other women “find meaning from a meaningless disease.” Vox Animali episodes will feature new installments produced monthly and all will be available on demand on TalkersRadio (www.talkers.com/talkersradio). On launching the program, Lundin tells TALKERS, “I am so grateful to TalkersRadio for giving me this wonderful platform to talk about issues I care deeply about. I hope listeners find it interesting and informative as we talk to amazing people working to make this a more compassionate world. If being a voice for the voiceless can in some small way open hearts and minds, this will be a success.” Vox Animali features a new theme intro/outro written and recorded for the program by Gunhill Road pianist Steve Goldrich. TalkersRadio is presently home to “Healed Planet,” a monthly show about the human consciousness movement hosted by FOX News Radio host Alan Colmes and a variety of programs hosted and produced by Lionel of LionelMedia.com. It launched “American Family Farmer” hosted by Doug Stephan and “The Brent & Meg Show” hosted by Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald – both now doing well in terrestrial radio syndication. To visit TalkersRadio, please click here.
Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson to Host ‘Gratitude and Trust’ Podcast. The “Gratitude and Trust” podcast featuring Oscar and Grammy-winning songwriter, and recovery advocate Paul Williams, and screenwriter and author Tracey Jackson, is available on PodcastOne. The two hosts are adapting ideas from their New York Times bestselling book Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life to an audio program “through spirited conversation that educates and entertains, as much as it inspires and enlightens listeners with new insights on how to get what you want and how to keep it.” The first episode features comedian and media personality Chris Hardwick followed by producer, director and screenwriter Judd Apatow on June 16. PodcastOne founder and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “I’ve known Paul forever and Tracey is someone you feel like you’ve known forever after spending 10 minutes in the same room. The stories, the guests, and the service that will permeate this new podcast make us all proud. I’m more than happy to welcome Paul and Tracey’s ‘Gratitude and Trust’ podcast to our network.”
Police Protests/Dallas Pool Party Incident, SCOTUS Born in Jerusalem Decision, Escaped New York Convicts, 2016 Presidential Race, ISIS Military Progress, TSA SNAFUs, Dennis Hastert Case, Obama Trade Deal, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The controversial video of police breaking up a pool party in Texas and protests over police brutality against minorities; the Supreme Court’s ruling on Jerusalem-birth certificate matter; the hunt for two murderers who escaped from a New York State prison; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military progress of ISIS in Iraq and Syria; the TSA’s missing 73 airport/airline employees on the terror watch list; the legal case surrounding former House Speaker Dennis Hastert; the controversy over the TTP trade deal; and the NBA and NHL Finals action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WGMD, Rehoboth Beach Afternoon Host Sanctioned by SEC. The new PM drive host at Resort Broadcasting’s WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – Todd Schoenberger – has been sanctioned by the Securities Exchange Commission for fraud. According to the News Journal, Schoenberger admitted to fraudulent conduct in a case in which he convinced four investors to pony up $130,000 for a hedge fund he said had $65 million under management, but in reality contained no assets at all. Schoenberger began his new gig with the station on June 1 and this story broke later in the week. He was still with the station on Friday (6/5), however it’s unclear what his status with the station will be going forward. Schoenberger has been a regular guest on Fox News, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg.
WTKS-FM, Orlando Morning Host Russ Rollins Sued by Estranged Wife. The bit aired on iHeartMedia’s WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” in which Monsters in the Morning ringleader Russ Rollins was served divorce papers while on the air has led Rollins’ estranged wife Samantha Boomer to sue him. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Boomer, who is being represented by Gloria Allred, is suing alleging defamation and invasion of privacy. The suit seeks damages for emotional distress from the video of the bit and the related social media postings. The complaint states that Rollins (and employer iHeartMedia) “decided to take something that is painful, personal and private and make it public entertainment for profit and ratings. This public disgrace and embarrassment has caused so much pain and disruption that I had to contemplate moving my family from the community that I love.” During the bit, it was implied that Boomer asked that the papers be served while Rollins was on the air. That was not true and iHeartMedia published a retraction on the station’s website but that was too late for Boomer.
Mentally and Emotionally Coping with the Uncertainty of Speech No-Go Zones. According to psychiatrist and TALKERS contributor Renee Kohanski, MD, coping with the uncertainty of “Speech No-Go Zones” can be emotionally challenging to a radio talk show host trying to strike a balance between being provocative, authentic, original and edgy – without falling victim to the often-stifling forces of political correctness that can instantaneously terminate a talent’s career in a puff of controversy. Kohanski offers several tips to talkers on how to manage the stress of this situation and be prepared personally, professionally and even legally for that unwanted knock on the door by the political correctness police. They include such measures as staying up-to-date on industry issues and standards in this regard, keeping documentation of key conversations about artistic expectations with corporate superiors, developing a relationship with a trusted mentor and maintaining a personal support system of advisors and representatives. To read Dr. Kohanski’s entire article, please click here.
Salem Media Group to Buy Two More former Radio Disney Signals. The two stations are in the Dallas and Boston metros. The Texas station is KMKI-AM, Plano, Texas and is a class B with 5,000 watts daytime. The Boston signal is WMKI-AM, another 5,000-watt class B at 1260 on the dial. The prices for the two are $3 million and $500,000 respectively. Salem Media Group already airs its news/talk format in the Dallas market on KSKY and this will be signal number six for the company in that market. As for the Boston station, Salem owns three signals in the market – Spanish Christian teaching on WWDJ, and English Christian teaching on both WROL and WEZE. Will the company bring its news/talk format populated by Salem Radio Network personalities to the market on WMKI? The tantalizing speculation that the company could provide Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh (soon to exit WRKO) with a new home on WMKI if it chooses to go news/talk, is already being discussed by industry watchers. But Limbaugh would likely cost Salem a lot of cash and the company does not have a history of paying big money for a talent like Limbaugh when it has its own stable of quality, conservative talk hosts. Still, eyes will be on Boston as this transaction develops.
WEEO, McConnellsburg, PA Hires Mayor for AM Drive. The Magnum Broadcasting-owned news/talk station serving the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania region is hiring Chambersburg borough Mayor Darren Brown to serve as morning host. A story in Public Opinion News says 35-year-old Brown began doing an “Ask the Mayor” show on WEEO “NewsTalk 103.7 FM” in January of this year and he decided he’d like to try radio full time. Station general manager Patrick Ryan tells the paper he was up for it. “Can you think of a better host for a local news radio show than the mayor? As mayor he certainly knows how to talk. He’s at every ribbon-cutting in town and champions local issues that everyone needs to know about.” The station says he’s currently the “anchor-in-training” for the “First News” program. There’s no word on how the station will handle the equal time issue if and when Brown runs for re-election.
By Renee Kohanski, M.D.
NORWICH, CT — As a practicing psychiatrist who dabbles with talk radio as a guest and occasional fill-in host, I have an interesting perspective on the industry. The cornerstone of psychiatry is honesty in thought and word. The brilliance of the professional talker in part, is his (or her) ability to communicate. Effective and entertaining communication has always been an extremely narrow tight-rope successful talkers must walk. It requires balancing knowledge and showmanship with a component of fearlessness and original insight. The very essence though, has been to say and voice what others may think, but can’t actually say. To sometimes even create new ways of thinking. And at the cornerstone of this work is free speech.
“Back to the Future” Moments for PodcastOne’s Agovino. As part of his “weird-new” role as PodcastOne executive vice chair, Mike Agovino is discovering more “differences” in the podcast marketplace than “commonalities” to challenges encountered the last ten years by digital music and broadcast streaming entities. “It is much less about the science of advertising and it is much more about the art of advertising,” he remarks to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a 30-minute, one-on-one interview during this past week’s hivio 2015 conference. Having spent ten years inside Triton Digital as its chief operating officer, Agovino recounts that the company had “an ad platform, a content delivery network, and it built apps for people. With hundreds of brand names across the canvass, there is a very scientific approach to connecting the right ad to the right person at the right time to create some kind of results,” he declares. “It is so much ‘science’ that, if you live in it long enough, you lose your feel for the ‘art.'” Approximately 27 years ago, self-described Howard Stern “freak” Agovino was living in New York and faithfully listened to the fabled morning man every day. When it was time for the former president of Katz Radio and ex-chief operating officer of Clear Channel Radio Sales to lease a new car, he drove 15 miles out of his way to the Long Island dealership for which Stern regularly voiced a paid endorsement. “That was me saying ‘thank-you’ to Howard,” Agovino emphasizes. “It was not me necessarily wanting” to give that particular establishment the business but “it was me giving appreciation to Howard for all the laughs.” Stern’s “influence” over Agovino to sign the car lease was considerable and as he hastens to add, that meant he had to drive that extra 30-mile (roundtrip) distance “for every service visit” for a three-year period. “It is love for a show,” Agovino insists. “That was not part of my last ten years but it is very much part of what we do at PodcastOne, so it is “back to the future.’ It is digital media, but it is one-to-one and back to the art form of what made me fall in love with radio advertising.” When Agovino gets together with his former Katz co-workers, he points out there is considerable laughter. “We enjoy what we went through back then and we talk about how much fun the business was. More times than not, when you get in a discussion with someone you have known for 25 – 30 years in the audio business, the closer you get to the present moment in the discussion, the less fun you will be having. That sucks for all of us and it is unfortunate.” He has, however, rediscovered the ‘art’ piece of the business and Agovino did not realize how much he missed it. What he has found to become important on the podcast side is that, “It is almost less about targeting a listener and more about making sure you have a great match of product to host. When you try to apply the science of audio impressions to what is happening right now in podcasting, none of the numbers work. They do not make any sense because … there are no rules. We might say to someone who is the right match with the right host we won’t let anyone else in because the credibility of this voice speaking about your brand will last as long as we can continue to make the acquisition of customers in that model an efficient thing for you.” PodcastOne is looking at having its hosts talk about an advertiser a minimum of two minutes throughout the course of an hour without, as Agovino explains, “doing it more than ten seconds at any point – and there is no copy. It has to start from a place of authenticity. The host has to ‘buy-into’ the product or you move onto the next host because it is not going to work for the long haul.” One of the “most traumatic” days in Agovino’s radio sales career occurred when his rep firm lost WMAL, Washington, D.C. but picked up cross-town WTOP the same day. For years, he had been proudly touting WMAL as “the voice of news” in the nation’s capital. “If you approach this with deep sincerity,” he remarks, “it is difficult” to suddenly knock on doors, talking up what had been the competition. “Traditional” ratings metrics, Agovino opines, will not matter that much in this space, although he concedes, “They will happen” and they are “easy enough to produce.” Much more important will be “attribution metrics and convergent metrics. There are many ways to analyze how a particular show produces results within a specific category.” The most recent stats Agovino has seen indicate there are 21.3 million hours of podcasting listening a day. “It is hard to know how big the universe is and how big a piece of that universe you have,” he mentions. A different economic model exists in podcasting since, as Agovino explains, “For the most part, the hosts are taking risks with you and they are not getting guaranteed seven-figure annual checks: We are in this together.” He suggests, “If you have a talent who has influence and impact on a ‘tribe,’ figure out a way to [do a podcast], but you cannot do what you did with streaming. You cannot move it over to digital and expect it to work. This is an infinite dial with niches and sub-niches. Expansion of shows will be tremendous. Things that we are doing and bringing up are ‘kid-in-a-candy store’ stuff for me.”
Public Relations Maven Defines “GMOOT.” After working as public relations director at the Columbia Business School, Richard Laermer founded RLM PR in 1991. He was among the participants at Los Angeles’ hivio 2015 seminar who maintains the audio world is in a state of flux. “Many brands underestimate their audience,” Laermer notes to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a one-on-one interview. “There is no sense of teasing-out the information about that brand, starting with something small; building upon it; and getting people excited about it.” Referring to Google as the “ultimate PR player, author-media trainer-blogger Laermer states, “They have built upon one message, which is the democratization of everything – even their missteps have always been messaged as the democratization of ‘X,’ ‘Y,’ or ‘Z.’ I respect that a great deal.” One major problem with brands is that everything is short-lived. “In the PR and advertising world, we refer to it as ‘GMOOT,'” Laermer points out of the “Get Me One Of Those” acronym. People who stand behind things “get ahead much faster,” he states. “That seems like common sense but as Aristotle said, ‘There is nothing common about common sense.’ Every single person we interact with – regardless of age – is looking for something to talk about and something to report. If we are consistent, we have the ability to give them that.” It is Laermer’s contention that “public figures” such as on-air personalities and podcasters need to convey what they stand for, “what they believe in, and what they are certain about” because, “These are things that people actually care about. People do want to know what a ‘personality’ thinks about ‘the issues.’ In the land of the tease, you want to be certain that people will come back for more.” Advising that, “It cannot be about the technology,” Laermer states, “It has to be about who are you and what you are putting out there.” Featuring 11 Ramsey-conducted interviews and five presentations, the two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood comedy club The Improv.
“Secret Weapon” Reveals Radio’s Greatest Ally. As vice president of talent development, iHeartMedia‘s Dennis Clark is often referred to inside the company as its “secret weapon.” Interviewed in Los Angeles by Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey during hivio 2015, Clark emphasizes that talent is the “difference maker of what radio is today” and what the medium could be in the future. “At iHeartMedia, we realize that our point difference is the talent we have on our radio stations,” he acknowledges. It is up to an individual talent though to have personal drive and that starts, Clark suggests, when they raise his or her hand. “They might become super-irritating or annoying, but we really love it,” he comments because it shows that a person “has the energy and the spirit.” At that point, the person has most likely researched the station for which they want to work, or what their “act” could be. “It has to be a great show inside what the station is,” Clark states. “The person has to really know [that particular] station’s brand, its overall, 24-hour mission, and where [he or she] fits into that package.” That philosophy of Clark’s, which he readily admits is not easy-to-teach, applies to all day-parts, not simply morning drive. In order to get his point across to talent, Clark uses examples of other people “who have built a brand.” For example, Bobby Bones – who formerly did mornings on iHeartMedia Austin CHR KHFI “Kiss-FM” – approached (iHeartMedia’s Premiere Radio Networks) with the idea of syndicating his 6:00 am – 11:00 am morning drive program to country stations. “We listened to his show as-is and felt it could fit,” Clark recounts. “The opportunity came for him in Nashville” on iHeartMedia’s country WSIX-FM “The Big 98” and “he went all-in. His CHR experience has been very helpful for him. He understood – and was a great student of – branding. It is very important that talent [get] that.” While iHeartMedia has quite a number of talented on-air personalities at its hundreds and hundreds of stations, no one has a higher profile than “American Idol” host and television production mogul Ryan Seacrest. Not only does the man spearheading morning drive with Ellen K on CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” accept direction, he welcomes it. That, Clark stresses, is a characteristic of a great talent. “It goes to show his drive. Really great personalities have many ideas, but they also know when something is not working. Each show is unique and the ideas have to come from them. Ryan seizes the opportunity to have the conversation at the right time.” Years ago on Seacrest’s show, there was a producer whose nieces and nephews were big fans of “Hanna Montana,” the 2006-2011 Disney Channel television program starring Molly Cyrus. Seacrest played a few of her records, even though the label – Hollywood Records – was not actively promoting them. “At the time, it was a fad and it became a phenomenon,” Clark explains. It might be said that one particular social media platform is also “a fad that has become a phenomenon” and Clark declares, “Twitter has been the best thing for radio. It is now; it is in the moment; and it is interactive.” Among the beliefs at iHeartMedia is that the more ears that hear their company’s shows the better – regardless of method of distribution. “This is a cume business,” Clark puts forth. “The more you invite – the more people will come. The more that they hang into a show, [the greater the chance that] they could become raving fans and disciples of the brand you are developing.” The two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood’s Improv.
Are Television Ratings No Longer Relevant? A production of Chicago public radio station WBEZ, “Serial” was a hot topic of conversation during the two-day (Thursday, 6/4 and Friday, 6/5) hivio 2015 seminar in Los Angeles. Among those invoking the Peabody Award-winning podcast was TV Guide Magazine Los Angeles bureau chief Michael Schneider, who possesses more than 20 years covering the television business. Regarding “Serial,” he points out to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey that, “It is a game-changer and has television people talking, and you don’t hear television people talk too much about audio. You can see the impact of ‘Serial’ on television, which is ironic because ‘Serial’ reminded television people of ‘Dateline NBC‘ and ’48 Hours.'” the most Perhaps the most important issue in television these days is ownership. In announcing their fall lineups, TV network executives indicated they are picking up more of their own in-house productions. “That’s the way [the networks] still make money,” Schneider explains. “They are not making it on advertising anymore because ratings are going down.” NBC and Fox are in the distribution space; however, as the former 12-year television editor of the trade publication Variety points out, people no longer consume programs on those networks live. “They are watching their shows time-shifted, on Hulu.com, or someplace else.” It is Schneider’s contention that television ratings no longer matter. “Look at Netflix – look at Amazon,” he stresses. “We constantly bug Netflix to have them tell us who is watching, but they will not do it. I have no idea who is watching ‘Orange is the New Black.’ All they say is that it is their top-rated show, but that does not help me at all.” Given they do not sell advertising, there is no need to disclose that information – and they are not doing so. Several of Schneider’s friends work at Netflix. Their feedback is that Netflix has figured out just what the audience wants and the company has it down to a science. A strong partisan of CBS Radio Los Angeles alternative outlet KROQ morning drivers Kevin & Bean, Schneider downloads their four-hour show each day. “They do a fantastic job and I love them,” he proclaims of the recent Radio Hall of Fame inductees. “When you take out the music and commercials, they do about two hours of content every day. I have a ridiculous one-hour [one-way] commute.” By the time Schneider leaves for work and then returns home, he has listened to all two hours of the “Kevin & Bean” content. “In the ‘old days,’ I would have heard bits and snippets of their show going in, but nothing on the way home,” he states. “Now, I get a concentrated two-hour dose of that show every day. I am more in-tune to what they are doing.” As a result, he has become even more of an “avid fan” of their daily broadcasts since he feels a greater investment in the program. On the flipside, he no longer listens to the terrestrial station (KROQ). Particularly this time of year, which is Emmy campaign season, Schneider is moderating panel discussions with major television stars and producers. Relevance to a radio audience is that Schneider is a podcaster for Los Angeles public outlet KCRW (Santa Monica Community College). He brings along a digital recorder to his panel sessions and is able to have a “bonus edition” to his “The Spin-Off” podcast. “Suddenly, I am doing four podcasts a month,” Schneider explains. “All I have to do is ask my pals at KCRW to edit it down a little bit. We are in the early experimental stages of podcasts where we can get away with doing something like that. People are hungry for content so they dig it. The more I give, the more I hear from people.”
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Woody Allen reckons that “80% of life is showing-up.” Said another way, by Anthony Robbins: “Proximity is power…you must get in the environment of the best of the best.” And everyone-who’s-anyone in talk media will hang together on June 12, at Talkers New York 2015.
If you’re Big Apple bound, some tips:
Come early, stay late.
FYI: The Mets host the Braves Friday night at Citi Field. Is there anything else you can accomplish while you’re in town? Might this be an opportunity to attach-a-face-to-a-name with someone you routinely interact with by phone?
Henner Among hivio Highlights. To punctuate his point of the “power of audio,” Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey played several seconds of the unmistakable bumper from Jerry Seinfeld‘s sitcom “Seinfeld,” which debuted in May 1990. It had its last telecast just over eight years later (September 1998) – thus has been in syndication longer than its original NBC primetime run. That and classic clips from Orson Welles‘ legendary “War of the Worlds” (including how purposeful “dead-air” is a potent way of using audio) were cleverly woven in by Ramsey yesterday (Thursday, 6/4) in his scene-setting opening remarks of hivio 2015, the two-day Los Angeles confab focusing on compelling content in a world of limitless distribution. Eight segments – including three 30-minute presentations – followed Ramsey’s 20-minute introduction in a fast-paced four-hour seminar at Hollywood’s landmark comedy venue, the Improv. One of those eight segments was a one-on-one interview Ramsey conducted with Marilu Henner, in which the author, sitcom actress (“Taxi,” “Evening Shade”), “Celebrity Apprentice” participant, Food Network host, and memory expert discussed her daily radio project. Downplaying her celebrity status, Henner insists she is just “a neighborhood girl from Chicago” and in many ways simply “the girl next door.” Enamored with radio’s spontaneity, she states she is “a very auditory person” and that has “always been” her passion. This past May 13 commemorated the one-year anniversary of the radio show fronted by effervescent Los Angeles-based Henner. The daily talk entity is executive-produced by Sun Broadcast Group, which handles affiliations and national sales as well; Genesis Communications Network provides satellite delivery and streaming audio for the show. Unique in today’s talk radio landscape on multiple levels, the three-hour (9:00 am – noon PT) project is female-targeted (rather than geared to angry, white men); it is non-political; and the host, while still relatively new to radio, has amassed sterling accolades on several entertainment platforms. In other words, Henner is anything but a one-trick pony. Perhaps the greatest surprise she encountered in the first year of doing the radio program is the extent of her love of it. “I knew I would like it a lot but I am really passionate about it,” she stresses. “I feel like people are letting me into a very ‘cool-kids’ club.” Missing from Henner’s daily radio program though is a political concentration because, “That’s not what I am here to do,” she points out. “I love to talk with celebrities, do lifestyle things, and play ‘Defend Your Gender.’ I try to stay away from politics and religion.” Each of her programs features as many as seven guests and Henner actually enjoys doing the copious associated daily research. “I can always find that little nugget from their past or a connection I might have with them,” she boasts. Some of her peers might be afraid to do a daily radio show because, as Henner opines, “They feel it is a lot of work and takes a lot of energy. It is hard work and you have got to love it.” Paramount in her role as a host is to be a good listener, especially given that “things happen so quickly and you don’t want to miss” anything important. Recalling what she stated as a keynote speaker at last month’s NAB, Henner says, “Of all the great things I love to do in my life, radio is the best of all of it. It has the immediate feel of a live performance; the personal expression of writing a book; the storytelling of a movie; global reach of a long-running sitcom; and it is like opening night on Broadway – every single day. This is what I get to do.” Each morning, she wakes up wondering how she “can make my show better” and as soon as she gets off the air, she maintains that she cannot wait until the next day’s broadcast. One of the best pieces of advice Henner has received so far came courtesy of veteran talk host Dick Cavett, who suggests she view on-air discussions with guests as “conversations” rather than “interviews.” Another popular talk host’s name was invoked when Henner mentioned her fond admiration for David Letterman. “I did his show many times and he was very good at ‘riding the wave,'” she remarks. “He might have had questions [prepared for him] but being able to be “in the moment” made him such a genius. He did not let anything slide.” Henner’s candor in Thursday’s 20-minute hivio conversation with Ramsey is consistent with her radio persona. “I had a baby on national television, so I have no secrets,” she proclaims. “You can ask me anything; I will talk about anything; and I will remember anything. I am genuinely interested in people.” Her unique memory capabilities have been frequently chronicled, including several times on “60 Minutes” and Henner comments, “Developing a stronger autobiographical memory is really your [best] line of defense against meaninglessness that you have. You can figure out what is from your past; how to bring it to your present; and how you can inform a better future. Everything you have been through is already on your emotional hard drive. Whether or not you acknowledge it, it’s making you behave in certain ways.” Anticipating there is “a whole new frontier” for her, Henner declares she, “loves radio,” and moreover, she is “obsessed” with it. Also featured on Thursday’s agenda were similar one-on-one Ramsey-conducted discussions with Scott Baker of The Blaze; Mike Schneider of TV Guide; Jake Shapiro of PRX; and Richard Laermer of RLM PR; hivio 2015 concludes later today (Friday, 6/5) with another four-hour block at the Improv.
I Want to Be a Part of it, New York, New York. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is gearing up for next Friday’s Talkers New York 2015 conference at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District and he has some thoughts about how to maximize your trip to New York, from a professional standpoint. Take it from an intrepid radio pro, there are smart ways to get the most out of industry events such as this one. Cooke says, “”Reach out NOW to those you’d like to tag-up in New York, and schedule some face time. If it’s only a latte at that Starbucks diagonally across from India House, you’ll have a more meaningful conversation than ad hoc in the din within. I’ve been scheduling my Talkers time for weeks now.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
iHeartRadio Reports 70 Million Registered Users. The digital audio platform of iHeartMedia is reporting it has hit the 70 million registered users threshold. Claiming it has reached that mark “faster than Facebook or any other digital music or streaming service,” the company says “its digital footprint alone spans nearly 80 million social media followers across its network, significantly more than any of its competitors and are integrated on 60+ devices (and counting).” iHeartRadio says that its social engagement (Facebook and Twitter) share is 68% — topping Spotify’s 17%, Tidal’s 12%, Pandora’s 2% and Rdio’s 1%.
Odds & Sods. The newest podcast from Compass Media Networks features college football and NFL star Craig James. Titled, “Airing It Out with Craig James,” the weekly program will deliver “unique and compelling insights into the world of college and NFL football.” The inaugural episode features guests Art Briles – Baylor University football coach – and NFL legend Roger Staubach…..KFI, Los Angeles’ Mo’ Kelly show will broadcast live from Comic-Con at the FOX Sports Grill San Diego on July 11. The Mo’ Kelly show airs on the iHeartMedia news/talk station Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Last year’s broadcast from Comic-Con featured Orlando Jones of “Sleepy Hollow,” Iron Mike Tyson, AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire” creator/executive producer Christopher C. Rogers and even Comedy Central’s super duo of Key & Peele…..NFL Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen will be back as part of the radio play-by-play team for Washington Redskins Radio Network broadcasts this season. Red Zebra Broadcasting says Jurgensen, who’s been part of the team’s broadcasts since 1981, will join Larry Michael and Chris Cooley in the booth.
Jim Blasingame Wins Axiom Business Book Award. Talk show host and small business and entrepreneurship expert Jim Blasingame is being honored with the Axiom Business Book Award for his third book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (SBN Books 2014). The book has reportedly sold 40,000 copies. Blasingame, whose radio show is nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA, states, “It’s a great honor to receive the Axiom Business Book Award. Of course, we’re also pleased at the response from business leaders of all size companies, who’re using my book to transport their businesses to where their customers already are, in the Age of the Customer.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dave Ramsey show is now airing on Salem Media Group–owned KYCR, Minneapolis “Business 1570” from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily…..“Legends of Success with John Resnick” joins the lineup at KJCE, Austin, Texas and WBCF, Florence, Alabama…..Tim Constantine’s “The Capitol Hill Show” is now airing on WMEX, Boston in the early evening slot.
From Sardi’s in Times Square, Joan Hamburg’s Tony Awards Show. Pictured here at the iconic New York City eatery is WABC, New York personality Joan Hamburg (right) with actresses Tyne Daly (left) and Harriet Harris (center). The two are up for Tony Awards for the show “It Shoulda Been You” and joined Hamburg for the special event that took place on Thursday (6/4). The taped show features special Broadway guests who dropped in to talk about their shows, nominations, and much more. One hundred of Hamburg’s loyal listeners joined her for the sold-out production. It will air on WABC on Saturday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 1-5. The growing list of candidates for president in 2016 – including the just-announced candidacy of Republicans Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was ISIS’ military progress in Iraq and Syria. Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton email issue followed by the expiration of the Patriot Act tied with the TSA failing the explosives detection tests at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
Ken Charles to Program All-News KNX, Los Angeles. Longtime iHeartMedia news and talk programmer Ken Charles joins CBS RADIO as the new program director of the company’s KNX, Los Angeles “1070 Newsradio.” Charles, who exited his post as iHeartMedia Sacramento’s vice president of programming and national brand manager for news, talk and sports earlier this year, says of his new post, “I can’t wait to begin working for CBS RADIO, a company committed to local news, and the team of award-winning professionals at KNX, L.A.’s heritage home for local news and traffic. I’m thankful to Chris Oliviero, Scott Herman, [CBS RADIO Los Angeles SVP/market manager] Dan Kearney, and Kevin Weatherly for giving me this incredible opportunity.” Kearney adds, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a programmer with as much experience and success in the news format as Ken. He is one of the most respected managers of news operations in the country and during this seminal, fast-changing period of how people get their news, he is uniquely qualified to build upon KNX’s reputation as Southern California’s news, traffic and information authority.”
Steele Surfaces in Salisbury-Ocean City as Senior VP/Programming. One week from Monday (6/15) is Jimmy Steele‘s start date as iHeartMedia Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland’s senior vice president of programming. Regional market president Chris Walus states, “Jimmy has an extraordinary record of success in leading operations, developing formats, and coaching top-tier personalities. This – coupled with his remarkable skill for driving breakthrough revenue growth – set Jimmy apart from the pack. Our team is excited and eager for him to start.” Steele remarks that he is “truly grateful and excited for the opportunity to reunite with iHeartMedia” and is looking forward “to working with Chris Walus, along with senior vice president of programming Jon Zellner and regional programming manager Dave Symonds, in advancing our strong and diverse brands in the Salisbury-Ocean City market.” Not to be confused with Emmis vice president of programming/rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Los Angeles program director Jimmy Steal, Jimmy Steele previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia San Diego, and Columbus’ regional vice president of programming. The company’s Salisbury-Ocean City operation consists of urban AC WSBY “Magic 98.9”; WJDY “Newsradio 1470”; CHR WKZP “Kiss 95.9”; adult contemporary WQHQ “Q-105”; WTGM “Fox Sports 960”; and country WWFG “Froggy 99.9.”
Columbus’ Wolfe Family to Sell Print Assets, Retain Broadcast Properties. The publishers of the Columbus Dispatch (part of the Dispatch Printing Company) are selling the Columbus, Ohio daily along with 24 suburban weeklies and seven magazines to New York-based New Media Investment Group. The Wolfe family will remain in the broadcasting business with its two television stations – WBNS-TV, Columbus and WTHR-TV, Indianapolis – as well as its RadiOhio subsidiary that operates sports talk radio simulcast WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus. As reported in The Dispatch, chairman and publisher John Wolfe states, “We are proud of our 110-year legacy of family ownership of The Dispatch, and the newspaper’s heritage of quality journalism and community involvement. However, the past two decades of accelerating and challenging change in the newspaper industry made it clear to us that maintaining a single-city, family-owned paper in this environment was untenable long-term.”
NPR’s Lesher Succumbs to Stomach Cancer. Staffers received word yesterday (Wednesday, 6/3) that NPR associate editor for news operations Jim Lesher lost his battle against stomach cancer; he was just 46 years old. NPR managing editor Chuck Holmes explains, “Jim’s value to this newsroom was so apparent that I once joked with him that I was going to make up a wanted poster with his photo: ‘Jim Lesher: Most Wanted Man at NPR.'” Executive producer for newscasts Robert Garcia states, “There is an entire news organization full of heavy and broken hearts. If the measure of a man is how much he is loved and appreciated by others, Jim was successful beyond his wildest dreams.” Washington, D.C.-area native Lesher joined NPR as an intern soon after graduating from Catholic University in 1990. His parents; a sister; and two nephews are among his survivors.
Odds & Sods. San Antonio-based talk show host Adam McManus is sitting in for Iowa talk personality Simon Conway on WMT, Cedar Rapids Monday, June 8 through Wednesday, June 17 from 9:00am to 11:00 am…..Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will make weekly appearances on CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” this season. Roethlisberger will appear Tuesdays at 11:00 am on the “Cook & Poni Show.”…..KOIL, Omaha held its “Bob Bruce Experience 4 Blue” rally in support of the police in honor of officer Kerrie Orozco, who died in the line of duty on May 20, a day before she was to take maternity leave. The “Bob Bruce Experience 4 Blue” was a two-week appreciation campaign during which KOIL broadcast free commercials for merchants providing complimentary services to Omaha law enforcement officers on June 3.
Patriotic Rock Band Madison Rising forms Non-Profit ‘Shows for Heroes.’ Industry pros attending the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12 will see the new video from the patriotic rock band Madison Rising (pictured here). The band just announced that is has formed a 501(c)3 chartered organization that will assist in covering the costs associated with having the group perform at military bases, veteran organizations and first responder events. Madison Rising has an especially strong following among military personnel, veterans and first responders, and is often asked to do performances around the country by organizations that simply cannot afford to cover the costs associated with travel and production. With the creation of Madison Rising Shows For Heroes, tax-deductible contributions from individual and corporate donors will allow Madison Rising to provide more live performances for the men and women who have given so much of themselves.
ISIS Military Progress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sinking Obama Approval Ratings, Baltimore Murder Rate Soars, Obama Trade Deal, Duggar Family Scandal, Police Kill Boston Terror Suspect, Texas Open Carry Challenge, Caitlyn Jenner Story, FIFA Corruption Case, and NBA-NHL Finals Amoong Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). Concern over ISIS’ military success in Iraq and Syria and the U.S. military’s Iraq policy; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and the entrance of Republican George Pataki and Democrat Lincoln Chafee into the races; chatter about the dip in approval ratings for President Obama; the escalating murder rate in Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death; the state of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal; the sexual scandal plaguing the Duggar family, stars of ’19 Kids and Counting’; the police shooting death of a terror suspect in Boston; the challenge of Texas’ open carry law; Bruce Jenner’s gender transition and new Caitlyn identity; the far-reaching effects of the FIFA corruption case; and the finals in both the NBA and the NHL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh to Air on WNDE, Indianapolis and New Translator. Currently, the iHeartMedia-owned WNDE-AM is a sports talk outlet and there’s nothing in the press release from the company that indicates a format change is imminent – it says the Rush Limbaugh program will be airing along with the local sports talk show hosted by Jake Query and John Schultz as well as the FOX Sports Radio Network programming currently being heard there. The new translator – W248AW at 97.5 FM – is licensed to Franklin, Indiana (approximately 25 miles south of downtown Indianapolis) and should go on air at the end of June. It will simulcast with WNDE effective July 6. Earlier this year, Emmis-owned WIBC-FM announced it would not renew its deal with Premiere Networks to continue carrying the Rush Limbaugh show and will go with local programming in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.
DGital Media to Acquire WYD Media Ad Sales. After last week’s announcement that former Dial Global and Westwood One execs Spencer Brown and David Landau are launching the audio engagement firm DGital Media comes news that the new company is acquiring WYD Media Ad Sales from founder Ron Hartenbaum. DGital Media says the deal “instantly expands its research, analytics and sales capabilities. As part of the deal, Hartenbaum is named managing director of DGital Media and WYD Media’s John Murphy joins DGital as president. DGital defines its role on the media space as one that “partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.” To that end, Spencer Brown says this acquisition “expands DGital’s capabilities in the marketplace providing us with research, analytics accounting and, of course, a deeper sales force. We now have the ability to build creative audio content for client brands and personalities and monetize them on all three major audio platforms – broadcast, satellite and online.” The deal does not include Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management or the Debbie Greenbaum-run WYM Media. In addition to New York-based WYD Media Ad Sales, new offices in Detroit and Los Angeles (the latter to be headed by Steven Cohen, SVP of West Coast sales) will open. WYD’s current client rosters includes a dozen brands and personalities including FOX News Radio, Thom Hartmann, Michael Smerconish, Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, and others. Ron Hartenbaum says, “I have worked with co-founders Spencer Brown and David Landau before and look forward to this new association. Joining DGital gives us the opportunity to expand upon the work we have been doing by broadening our client roster and menu of ad sales solutions.”
NBC Sports Radio Finalizes Belmont Stakes Coverage. More than 175 stations will carry NBC Sports Radio‘s coverage of this Saturday’s (6/6) Belmont Stakes. The broadcast will be produced in partnership with Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) and distributed by Westwood One. Having already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, American Pharoah would garner horse racing’s “Triple Crown” with a victory; Affirmed (1978) was the last “Triple Crown” winner. Among those joining Jon Stashower on his pre-race show (2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, ET) will be American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert; Steve Cauthen – the last jockey to win the Triple Crown (riding Affirmed in 1978); and racing analysts Hank Goldberg and Paul Lo Duca (a former MLB catcher). HRRN’s Mike Penna anchors coverage of the following two hours (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET), which will include pre-race ceremonies, interviews, predictions, NBC Sports’ Larry Collmus’ call of the race, and post-race interviews. Analysts Jude Feld, and Kurt Becker, as well as former jockeys Sean Clancy and Jeff Bloom, will also be part of the coverage team.
KSPN, Los Angeles Names Mike Trudell Co-Host with Mychal Thompson. The midday show at KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710” is now composed of longtime personality and former Laker Mychal Thompson and veteran Lakers broadcaster Mike Trudell. Thompson has been hosting the show with a series of rotating co-hosts. Speaking about the new Thompson & Trudell Show,” ESPNLA VP/GM Scott McCarthy says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join our team as Mychal’s daily on-air partner. The duo of Thompson and Trudell will provide fans with an insightful and entertaining take on everything that matters to the LA sports fan.”
Odds & Sods. Good news for Salem Radio Network personality Michael Medved as he tells his listeners that he has been declared cancer free by his doctors. Medved took leave from his syndicated program from February through April to undergo treatment for throat cancer…..WCBS, New York afternoon news anchor Steve Scott is elected the new president of the New York Press Club, taking over for Larry Seary, who steps aside to assume a trustee role.
WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Helps Raise $25,000 for Puppy Jake Foundation. The Puppy Jake Foundation acquires, trains and delivers service dogs to wounded combat veterans and it’s been the official charity of the Simon Conway show on WHO, Des Moines for the past year. Conway was left speechless during a remote broadcast from a local restaurant after a woman who wished to remain anonymous came in and donated $20,000 to the charity. Conway tells TALKERS, “I was numb for a few seconds. The lady wanted complete anonymity. Her dad was a Vietnam vet who had left her some money and she wanted it to go to a Veteran’s cause. She said she’d been listening to me for weeks and simply had to come in and make the donation. Just incredible.” The restaurant donated 10% of its profits from the broadcast to the cause. Conway is pictured here with a puppy that Puppy Jake Foundation named Simon, in Conway’s honor.
2016 Presidential Prospects, New Obama Approval Numbers, SCOTUS Headscarf Ruling, ISIS Military Progress, Hillary Clinton Email Issue, Caitlyn Jenner case, FIFA Scandal, and NBA and NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the entrance of Democrat Lincoln Chafee into the race; new lower approval ratings for President Obama are published; the aftermath of the Supreme Court headscarf ruling; the military success ISIS is having in Iraq and Syria and questions about U.S. military policy in the region; the ongoing probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the case of Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn; the FIFA scandal and the exit of Sepp Blatter as president; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Latest Pew Research Report on Political News Consumption Prompts Questions About Ever-Shifting Definition of ‘News.’ The just-published “Millennials and Political News” report from the Pew Research Center is subtitled “Social Media – the Local TV for the Next Generation?” It looks at how three different generations – Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers – get their political news today and, not surprisingly, suggests that Millennials get more of their political news from social media than do the other two groups (especially Baby Boomers, who cite Local TV as their primary source). However, the study goes deeper than just that conclusion and presents some interesting data illuminating media usage among these three generations. But the study also reminds us that social media as a conduit of news is personalized from the start. “Understanding the nuances of the social media news environment is complicated: The experience is individualized through one’s own choices, through the friends in one’s network and their proclivities, and through algorithms – all of which can change over time. We are only beginning to understand these complex interactions.” Although good for marketing purposes, does the suggestion that social media makes it easier for people to “swim with their own” make them less likely to be introduced to ideas or opinions they’ve not experienced before? How does the “narrowcasting” of political news affect the electorate? But a question perhaps more relevant to TALKERS readers is what is the definition of a news source? The Pew survey asks respondents about specific programs, networks, newspapers, or news outlets and asks each generation about their use, awareness and trust of each. Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck were listed among the 36 sources for political news (as was Comedy Central’s The Daily Show), and this brings up the old question of whether a talk radio show (or even a TV comedy show) are news programs in the same way the “CBS Evening News” is a news program. The 36 sources were suggested to the respondents by Pew and one has to wonder how different the list of cited political news sources might be if respondents were asked to name their most used and trusted sources, instead of choosing from a list. Regardless, this study certainly serves as a reminder that models of presenting news are changing almost as fast as the definition of what news is. See the Pew study here.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to Host Podcast on TheBlaze Radio Network. The new weekly podcast available from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is called “David Clarke: The People’s Sheriff,” hosted by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Saying that Clarke is well known for being “an outspoken defender of individual liberties,” TheBlaze the show will “focus on law enforcement issues, knowing your rights, commentary on current affairs, racial issues, 2nd Amendment matters, and the importance of empowering individuals rather than the state.” On his new venture, Clarke states, “What an honor to be a part of TheBlaze Radio Network! This podcast is an opportunity to add to the conversation of well-thought-out reason on issues confronting America. I look forward to being a part of TheBlaze family, working to keep the public well informed.”
WABC, New York Announces Pre-Tony’s Program with Joan Hamburg. Big Apple talk radio personality Joan Hamburg will be broadcasting a special show this week from the famous Sardi’s Restaurant in the heart of Times Square on 77WABC to celebrate Sunday’s Tony Awards. On Wednesday, June 3, Hamburg will speak with special Broadway guests and 100 of her loyal listeners during this sold-out luncheon event. The show will air on Saturday, June 6 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Guests will include Tony nominees: Jason Alexander, Geneva Carr, Marc Kudisch, Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, Brian Darcy James, Christian Borle, Brad Oscar, Chita Rivera, Kelli O’Hara, Robert Fairchild, and Kelsey Grammer.
Leading Progressive Talk Show Host Thom Hartmann Interviewed on Latest Installment of “Up Close and Far Out.” Top 10 Heavy Hundred member and multi-platform talk star, Thom Hartmann, is this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Hartmann and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discuss what they both describe as the “messed up state” of much of the categorical labeling (left, right, center) that is used to describe both talk show hosts and politicians involved in the national discussion of complex issues. Hartmann – branded by industry observers and the media as a “liberal,” and/or “progressive” who approaches his show from a “left” position — says, “There really is no ‘left’ in America as there is in other countries. There is the ‘right,’ the ‘far right,’ and the ‘center.’ No real ‘left’ to speak of.” Hartmann describes himself as a lifelong “serial entrepreneur who hasn’t had an employer in about 40 years.” He says, “There is no truth in the idea that liberals hate business.” Hartmann goes on to cite a number of “fundamental American” issues upon which “both progressives and Tea Partyers agree.” Hartmann cites issues upon which he agrees with conservative Cumulus/Westwood One host Mark Levin (who will be Harrison’s guest on next week’s installment of the podcast) and points out that, although he disagrees with just about every political position taken by Cumulus/Westwood one star Michael Savage, he greatly admires the host’s skill as a talk broadcaster. Hartmann says he loves broadcasting as much as he loves politics. To hear the entire podcast click here or click the player box in the right hand column of every page on TALKERS.com.
Boston Herald Radio Tweaks Lineup. New personalities are being added to the lineup at Boston Herald Radio effective today (6/2). The morning program “Boston Herald Drive” – airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am – will add John Sapochetti as co-host alongside current personality Adriana Cohen. Sapochetti’s progressive takes will provide some balance to Cohen’s conservative stance. Also, in mid-afternoons, “Fargo Street,” airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and featuring hosts Chris Villani and Tyler Sullivan, will cover “current events, sports and entertainment.” Villani comments, “I love the chance to broaden all of our horizons a bit. It is a big world and there are big conversations to have.” Also announced by the Herald is executive producer Tom Shattuck’s powering up the multimedia center in the Herald’s City Hall bureau to deliver daily news from City Hall.
Odds & Sods. An FM signal is added to Beasley’s South Florida business talk outlet WSBR, Boca Raton. Via translator W245BC – whose primary signal covers an area to the northwest of Fort Lauderdale – the “740 AM MoneyTalk Radio” format will be heard on 96.9 FM as well…..Pubcaster WBUR, Boston is launching a six-week pilot season of “You’re the Expert,” a new science and comedy program hosted by comedian Chris Duffy. Each episode is recorded in front of a live audience and features a guest expert in a specialized field, such as a doctor who studies Neanderthal DNA or a researcher who examines bacteria from the New York Public Transit System. A panel of comedians then uses questions and games to try and guess what the expert does and why his or her field is important…..Salem Media announces that it is declaring a quarterly dividend of $0.065/share payable on June 30 for shareholders of record as of June 16…..Talk show host Charles Butler fills in for Jerry Doyle on his Talk Radio Network program this week.
Miss America Pageant Returns to Atlanta City. And WPGG, Atlantic City morning legend Harry Hurley got to spread the news of the beauty pageant’s return to the city with 2015 Miss America Kira Kazantsev in the studio to talk about it. The pageant returned to Atlantic City in 2013 after six years in Las Vegas.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Lindsey Graham Joins GOP Race, TSA Fails Explosives Test, Patriot Act Expires, SCOTUS Head Scarf Ruling, Hastert Indictment, ISIS Military Success/U.S.-Trained Tajik Colonel Defects, and Bruce Jenner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and Republican Lindsey Graham’s entering the race; the controversy over the TSA’s failure to detect fake explosives 97% of the time; the expiration of the Patriot Act and questions about NSA phone surveillance in the aftermath; the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a Muslim woman who was denied a job because of her head scarf; former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert charge with violating banking laws; the military success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and a U.S.-trained Tajikistan colonel’s defection to ISIS; and the ongoing transition of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn were among the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Agenda Set – 65 Speakers to Address Sold Out Crowd and Tackle Key Industry Issues at Big Apple Talk-Fest. The power-packed, day-long agenda for Talkers New York 2015 is set and promises to provide the event’s sold-out crowd of industry professionals with a stimulating and informative experience. “Add to that,” says TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey, “a marvelous display of the latest technology pertaining to the modern-day industry along with an atmosphere conducive to priceless networking opportunities – and you have one of, if not the, most productive installments in the 18-year history of this colorful convention.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We put a tremendous amount of thought and planning into this agenda – maximizing our attendees’ precious time – and I am pleased to say we are ready to send its program guide to the printer.” Harrison continues, “Talkers New York 2015 will address everything from news-talk to sports-talk and beyond — covering just about every popular permutation of spoken word radio heard today on AM, FM, satellite, and internet. We will be discussing the challenges of audience measurement and running broadcast operations large and small. We will explore the nuances of navigating careers in talent, marketing and management as well as working with social media, podcasting and controversial content.” Although all registrations for the event are sold out, there are still a handful of prime sponsorship opportunities available. For information, please call 413-565-5413. Talkers New York 2015 sessions and speeches will be broadcast at a later date on Talkers TV and other media venues, plus it will be a location venue for the shooting of two documentary film projects about talk radio and pop culture currently in production. To see the complete agenda, please click here.
Shaquille O’Neal Podcast to Be Part of PodcastOne Roster. Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal debuts a new audio show on PodcastOne called “The BIG Podcast with Shaq” and featuring co-host John Kincade. PodcastOne says that he’ll invade “the podcast world with his 10 million social media followers and countless millions of fans worldwide…‘The BIG Podcast with Shaq’ is a fun, topical and slightly irreverent weekly talk, news and entertainment show filled with all-star guests, controversy and the crazy life of Shaq himself.” New episodes will be available every Monday. On his debut show, Shaq hosts former teammate and actor Rick Fox, discusses the Deflategate controversy, and responds to recent reports that he threatened to murder Kobe Bryant.
‘Chris Brown’s True Stewardship’ Debuts Today on Salem Signals. The new program produced by Ramsey Solutions and designed for the Christian teaching format is debuting on 20 Salem Media Group stations today. “Chris Brown’s True Stewardship,” is hosted by financial expert, pastor and speaker, Chris Brown. It’s a daily half-hour call-in show “focusing on helping people get control of their money by teaching them biblically based financial principles. Drawing from his experience as a businessman and pastor, Brown provides expert advice and solutions to callers’ questions on various financial issues including debt, retirement, wealth building, and relationships and money.”
Bubba the Love Sponge Airs in Mornings on New Denver Market Pot-Themed Station. Marco Broadcasting creates a talk/rock music hybrid targeted to the marijuana smokers in the Denver market on simulcast KBUD, Golden, Colorado (AM 1550) and translator K231BQ, Golden, branded “Smokin’ 94.1.” Station owner Marc Paskin says, “I have created a unique radio format. There is no radio station anywhere in the country like ‘Smokin 94.1.’ There is not a better fit for our mornings than Bubba the Love Sponge. He loves weed, fast cars, hot girls, and rock music. I think Bubba will take Denver by storm!” Bubba comments, “Rock music and smoking pot have historically gone together like peanut butter and jelly. The Bubba the Love Sponge show has been an advocate for the legalization of marijuana long before it was the cool thing to do. Our listeners understand these facts, which is why many loyal Bubba Army members from my national audience have moved to Colorado since they legalized weed, so it will be like hooking up with old friends. I can’t wait to fire it up in Denver.” Both the AM and FM signals are strongest to the West and Northwest of downtown Denver.
Larry Elder Show to Air on CRN Digital. Los Angeles-based talk host Larry Elder’s three-hour talk show is now airing on CRN Digital Talk Radio. Elder – a longtime KABC, Los Angeles personality – debuted his self-produced talk show online back in January. This program will air from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Odds & Sods. CentralFloridaRadio reports that Jack Bradshaw is the new program director at iHeartMedia’s talk WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1.” The site notes that Bradshaw started at the station in 1998 as an intern and has been APD in addition to his role on “The Philips Phile” program – a duty he will continue along with his new responsibilities……50kw KTRB-AM, San Francisco is being sold by Pappas Radio receiver Susan Uecker to U.S. International Radio LLC for $6.5 million. The station is being operated under an LMA by Deportes Media airing ESPN’s Spanish sports radio format. That LMA will continue under the new ownership…..Nick Boynton will be back in the radio play-by-play role for the Arizona Coyotes when next the 2015-16 NHL season begins. Boynton was suspended after being charged with disorderly conduct at a Buffalo-area casino. Boynton agreed to a sentence of community service and attendance at an alcohol counseling program. Coyote games air on flagship Bonneville’s KMVP-FM and KTAR-FM in Phoenix…..Former sports talk WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower is filling in all this week on KFMB, San Diego.
Peter D. Kiernan – Mega-Popular Talk Radio Guest — to Release New Book Next Week. One of the most popular news/talk radio/television guests, Peter D. Kiernan, is set for the launch of his second book, American Mojo: Lost and Found — Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By (Turner 2015) and will be available for talk media interviews. Kiernan — an award-winning bestselling author — is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and advisor to businesses, non-profits and government. After a multi-decade Wall Street career, he left in 2000 to pursue venture capital start-ups, non-profit work and writing. His first book, Becoming China’s Bitch (Turner 2012), won the International Book Award and was a New York Times bestseller. It also earned Kiernan a loyal following among talk show hosts representing all points of the ideological spectrum – left, right and center — for his articulate analysis of America’s economic challenges and no-nonsense support of the nation’s middle class. In American Mojo: Lost and Found, Kiernan focuses on what he describes as America’s greatest challenge ― and opportunity ― restoring the middle class to its full promise and potential. For information about booking Kiernan please click here.
WRKO, Boston’s Jeff Kuhner Hosts Ted Cruz in New Hampshire. United States Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (right) appeared with WRKO, Boston morning personality Jeff Kuhner (left) during a Town Hall at Southern New Hampshire University in Hooksett, New Hampshire Saturday, May 30. The two hour event – during which the two discussed the presidential race and took questions from the audience – was broadcast live on WRKO.
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Hosts ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’ Event in LA. Pictured here is SiriusXM talk personality Joe Madison broadcasting from among the crowd at the satcaster’s exclusive “Stand Up, Speak Out” event to discuss police brutality. The live radio program took place on Saturday, May 28 at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
Profile: John Ziegler of the ‘John & Leah Talk Show.’ TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a profile of talk radio pro John Ziegler, whose weekend program with co-host Leah Brandon is busting out on stations across the country (recent adds include WNYM, New York; WNTP, Philadelphia; and WHAS, Louisville). In this piece, the Envision Networks-syndicated personality talks about his frustrations with the corporate radio business, his work producing documentary films as well as his philosophy of radio entertainment. Ziegler says about this new program, “Our show is about what Leah and I can add to the public conversation that particular week and we are completely unafraid. All we care about is providing three hours of informative entertainment. Our business model allows us the freedom to do things other shows would never do. I am the CEO of the corporation, so this time I cannot get fired and that gives us a huge advantage. No one is over my shoulder telling me not to do something, or that I have to do something a certain way.” Read the entire piece here.
Alpha Media Names Stefan Brock Corporate VP, Interactive. There’s a corporate vice president now in charge of the digital space for Alpha Media as the company announces Stefan Brock is named corporate VP of interactive. Alpha says Brock will “oversee digital strategy, initiatives and the current corporate digital team. Brock’s experience includes time working for Disney Interactive Media Group, Disney ABC Television Group and most recently, Super Mackerel where he served as executive director of product and operations. Alpha says the award-winning exec “has a passion for development of original cross platform digital media products and experiences that unite classic storytelling, original video and the latest in interactive social media technologies.” Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt adds, “After a long search, we are very lucky and excited to have Stefan relocate to Portland and join our team. Stefan’s experience, intelligence and customer focus was a perfect fit for our live and local strategy, and also the continued evolution of our interactive choices for listeners and customers.”
Monday Marks 10-Year Anniversary of FOX News Radio. On June 1, the FOX News Radio service will be 10 years old. The company says, “When FOX News Radio launched our full-service network on June 1, 2005, we had 24 stations, half a dozen reporters and a plan to bring ‘Fair and Balanced’ news coverage to radio. Now, a decade later, that same full-service network has almost 600 affiliated stations. We have 11 full-time radio reporters spread across the country and around the world, and our podcasts and our presence on the social networks are unmatched by any commercial radio network. And we are still growing.”
Odds & Sods. Beginning Monday, June 1, Radio Spokane-owned KJRB-AM, re-launches as “FOX Sports 790AM.” The station will carry the network’s 24/7 lineup including: “Jay Mohr Sports,” Dan Patrick, Rich Eisen, “Steve Gorman SPORTS!,” “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North,” and JT “The Brick,” as well as the network’s weekend programming…..Beasley Broadcast Group is declaring a $0.045/share quarterly dividend payable July 10 for shareholders of record as of June 30.
Judge Andrew Napolitano to Be Honored at NJBA Conference. At the New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference June 17-18 at Caesars in Atlantic City, FOX News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano will receive the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year Award. Napolitano has been the senior judicial analyst for FOX News since 1998. He appears regularly on both FOX News Channel and on FOX News Radio. The NJBA says Napolitano is “a fierce champion of the First Amendment, particularly freedom of speech, and is nationally known for watching and reporting on the government as it takes liberty and property.” NJBA president Paul Rotella adds, “To be sure, Judge Napolitano’s impressive career and public service include several major accomplishments, but I am most proud of his fearless defense of our industry, the First Amendment, and his ability to bring the law to life for his audience. The Judge will receive this honor at our Awards Luncheon during our Annual Conference in Atlantic City on June 18.”
ISIS Progress in Iraq Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 25-29. The success of ISIS in taking the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian city of Palmyra and questions about the U.S.’s military policy in Iraq was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the 2016 presidential prospects and former New York Governor George Pataki’s entering the race. At #3 was the Clinton Family Foundation’s finances tied with the FIFA corruption scandal followed by the Hillary Clinton emails probe and the Benghazi case at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Especially when summoned up to describe talk radio personalities, certain words such as “controversial” and “colorful” have a pronounced tendency to come across as a crutch or a hackneyed cliché.
It is simply unrealistic to paint every single talk radio talent as controversial or a genuinely colorful character.
Rather than having either or both of those labels affixed to him, one well-known talk radio entertainer prefers to be called “authentic,” and this Southern California-based personality continues the process of taking a weekend show he co-hosts to a national stage.
Rush Limbaugh’s Boston Situation Has the Industry – and the Media – Talking. After Entercom’s WRKO, Boston announced it would end its relationship with Rush Limbaugh and Premiere Networks when the current contract expired this summer, the show was thrust into the spotlight as radio industry watchers and special interest groups wondered aloud why Entercom is letting Limbaugh go and where the show might land in the nation’s #10 radio market. Recently, Boston media reports have crosstown WMEX management saying that it will not pick up the show. As TALKERS noted during its initial coverage of this story, the list of quality AM signals in Boston likely to add a news/talk program are few and many wonder if the show will end up on a suburban AM. While organizations such as Media Matters might like to take credit for the Entercom decision – that they successfully showed advertisers the show is “toxic” – without detailed comments from Entercom or Premiere Networks, no one can say for sure. However, it’s likely the decision was more financial and less politically judgmental in nature. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Politics is a double-edged sword for talk radio. Taking ownership of it in the era following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine has proven to be a magic elixir that has given additional life and longevity to not only spoken-word programming but, by osmosis, the entire medium of radio itself. The downside, of course, is the reality that politics – unlike its conceptual cousin, sports – is more than a ‘game’ and people do get hurt. It is a dirty, ruthless business – a blood sport – that often brings out the worst in people that seek victory rather than truth. This mindset has splashed over into the armchair analysis of events in radio. Limbaugh – being the political poster child of the medium – is the target of so much vitriol, from both within and outside the industry, that any bump in the road that he suffers on a business or economic level is seized as evidence of his complete demise directly due to his alleged ‘wrongness’ and ‘toxicity.’ Also fueling the fires of anger seeking to burn Rush at the stake is widespread resentment toward Clear Channel – that runs much deeper than its rebranding as iHeartMedia can sidestep – being the primary symbol of the so-called evils of consolidation. The truth is – just like almost everyone and every company in this business – Rush has an economic set of difficulties and hard choices to make, based on the financial realities of the radio business in 2015 and the fact that his act is more than a quarter century old. Cut him some slack… yes, he has a problem in a couple of major markets — he ain’t the only one. In their zeal to destroy the guy who has lots of miles left in his treads, I hope his critics don’t castrate radio of its greatest asset – the courage to be controversial, irritating, politically incorrect and even ‘wrong.’”
‘The John & Leah Show’ Lands New York Affiliate WNYM. The syndicated weekend talk show “The John & Leah Show” is now being heard on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Hosted by radio pros John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, the Envision Networks-syndicated show that deals with “the week’s news focusing on media, politics, sports and pop culture” airs Sundays at 10:00 pm. Salem Media Group New York VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “‘AM 970, The Answer’ in New York is excited to air the ‘John and Leah Show’ each Sunday night…John Ziegler and Leah Brandon provide our listeners with up-to-date news and opinion and New Yorkers have a chance to call-in and let them know how they feel about it.”
Cumulus Names Sutherland to Providence VP Market Manager Post. Taking over the VP/market manager position in Providence after Barbara Haynes’ exit last week is John Sutherland, who moves up from his VP of sales position with Cumulus Media’s Worcester, Massachusetts cluster. Prior to joining Cumulus in 2013, he was chief visual officer for Sutherland Marketing Group. He was also a vice president with iHeartMedia. Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati says, “Placing John at the helm of Cumulus Providence is a perfect fit for that dynamic group of stations and will maximize our position in the market. John has many years of broadcast history in the Northeast and his tremendous track record speaks for itself. This is another example of the opportunities for advancement and growth Cumulus offers to our employees. We congratulate John and are pleased to present him with this well-deserved battlefield promotion.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio About to Score in Vegas. The affiliation between Kemp Communications’ KMZQ “The Score,” Las Vegas and Yahoo! Sports Radio will start next Monday (6/1). Yahoo! Sports Radio chief executive officer David Gow states, “We have had a significant presence in Las Vegas through our great partnership with the [Las Vegas hotel and resort] Palazzo. It is so exciting to welcome our newest Las Vegas partner and to build on our deep connection with the market through a terrestrial signal. It’s going to be a big win for everyone.” KMZQ executive vice president and general manager Marty Basch comments, “Yahoo! has built locally-rooted connections with its national programming across the country. We are excited to be an integral part of its Las Vegas presence. From special events to nightly broadcasts, this is a great opportunity for KMZQ and its listeners to connect locally; get their national sports information; and be represented nationwide.” The lineup on KMZQ will include: Steve Czaban; “Prime Cut” with Sean Salisbury and John Granato; Leigh Steinberg; and “Sports X Radio” with Ken Thomson, who originates his Yahoo! Sports Radio show from the Palazzo. KMZQ is currently a Fox Sports Radio affiliate; the station did not appear in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2015 PPM report for Las Vegas.
Odds & Sods. Talk pro Michael Bower (WUCS, Hartford and SiriusXM’s Maxim Radio) will fill in for WINZ, Miami’s Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on June 8 and 9…..New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be a weekly contributor to WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” on the Michael Kay show. Beginning September 3, Beckham will join Kay and co-host Don LaGreca each Thursday to talk Giants football and the NFL.
WGN, Chicago to Induct ‘Walk of Fame’ Class. In a ceremony that will be open to the public (and broadcast live on WGN, Chicago) and hosted by personalities Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott, the station will honor 10 broadcast legends. The WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction and Ceremony will take place tomorrow (5/29) on Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. The 2015 inductees include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack (represented by Rick Kogan), Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal (represented by 2014 Walk of Famer Orion Samuelson), Ron Santo (represented by his wife Vicki) and Eddie Schwartz (represented by his brother Hal Ross).
Conservative Commentator Krauthammer to Join Salem Conference. On Wednesday, June 17, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a V.I.P. “Preview Dinner” in Washington, DC to kick-off the 2015 Road to Majority conference and conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer (pictured here at right with SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup at left) will be a special guest. Former SRN talk host and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum will also be featured at the conference, along with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee and others.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Rubio Claims Assault on Christianity, FIFA Scandal/Clinton Donations, Deadly Texas and Oklahoma Floods, ISIS Military Progress, Baltimore Violent Crime Wave, Hillary Clinton Emails Issue, IRS Data Theft Case, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and Marco Rubio’s assertion that Christianity is under assault in America; the FIFA corruption scandal and its donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the continuing, deadly heavy rains and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; ISIS’ military successes in Ramadi and Palmyra; the increase in violent crimes in Baltimore since the Freddie Gray case; the ongoing scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the theft of data from IRS computers that is suspected to have been Russian in origin; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Dial Global/WW1 Execs Launch Program Sales and Distribution Firm. Former Dial Global and Westwood One executives Spencer Brown and David Landau announce they are partnering with Michael Rolnick to form the firm DGital Media. They describe it as “an audio engagement company that partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.” The company’s first venture will be the creation of the Re/code Radio network in partnership with Revere Digital LLC. Re/code is a tech news web destination founded by journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. The first program to be rolled out will be “Re/code Decode” with host Kara Swisher, expected to go live in June. Revere Digital COO Lorenzano Kennett comments, “With the proliferation of mobile devices and the popularity of podcasts, we want to make sure our content is available to our audiences wherever they are – in the car, in the office, etc. By partnering with DGital Media, Re/code will be able to leverage our authoritative content and brand with outstanding audio programming, distribution and monetization.” DGital Media co-founder David Landau adds, “Partnering with Re/code as a brand accomplishes exactly what we set out to do – which is to amplify media brands through audio. The Re/code Radio network will bring the same excellence in reporting and analysis to readers through the spoken word.” Also joining the company as chief content officer is Chris Corcoran, former EVP for content at Dial Global/Westwood One, and as executive vice president for sales and strategy, Grace Carrick, formerly vice president of sales at Dial Global/Westwood One.
Talkers New York 2015 to Mark 25th Anniversary of TALKERS Magazine. The forthcoming 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2015 – will also serve as the publication’s 25th “birthday party.” TALKERS was launched by publisher Michael Harrison in June of 1990 with the first issue of TALKERS: The Information-Radio Newspaper hitting the streets on July 23rd of that year. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is an important milestone, not only for us, but for the talk radio and media industries as well. That little trade publication provocatively named ‘Talkers’– that dared to refer to the relative handful of spoken-word stations that existed at the time as an ‘industry’ — has chronicled, championed and inspired one of the most colorful and historically significant chapters of American broadcasting ever gathered and archived in one continuous collection. This year’s conference will serve as a milestone honoring that achievement and rich body of work.” Casey adds, “Not only will Talkers New York 2015 have features that make note of this history but we will be publishing a number of retrospectives looking back at the past quarter-century in the days and weeks surrounding the conference and leading up to the official anniversary date in July.” Talkers New York 2015 is sold out but a few choice sponsorship opportunities remain available. For information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.
Alpha Media to Pay $38,250,000 for Morris and JMJ Stations. From a filing with the FCC, we learn the price for the 36 stations that Morris Communications and JMJ operate in Topeka and Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs and Victor Valley, California; Anchorage and Wasilla, Alaska; Grays Harbor-Hoquiam, Washington and Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington: $38,250,000. This is not an all-cash deal. Morris will receive $20 million worth of Alpha Holdings private stock (8,196,722 units in the aggregate), $6,585 worth of Alpha Holdings II private stock, and $18,250,000 in cash.
Kate Delaney Joins NBC Sports Radio for Weekend Shows. Sports and news/talk radio pro Kate Delaney is adding weekend talk duties at NBC Sports Radio to her plate as she takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Saturday and Sunday shows from Anita Marks, who left the network to join WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM.” During the week, Delaney is host of the GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” late night news/talk show. NBC says Delaney’s show will feature “players, coaches, experts and analysts…from the locker room to the playing fields and beyond.” Delaney’s sports pedigree includes being the first woman to host a solo sports radio talk show on WFAN, New York City and KRLD, Dallas. She’s covered 15 Super Bowls, 10 U.S. Opens, and 15 Final Fours. She has also been to the Kentucky Derby 10 times along with the other two Triple Crown races, the Preakness and the Belmont. NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver comments, “It’s a major coup for us to have Kate with us on the weekends. She connects really well with sports fans. She’s smart, funny, and she knows her way around the world of sports. Kate brings great energy, insight, and opinion to our weekend lineup.”
Odds & Sods. Joining the lineup of weekend talk shows at Talk Media Network is the “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” program. In welcoming the almost-20-year-old program to the company’s roster, Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “The ‘Into Tomorrow’ team travels the globe to deliver the most comprehensive technology discussion available on radio, each and every week. Talk Media Network is proud to offer radio stations this valuable program via satellite, for easy automation and scheduling.”…..Journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee – formerly with Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – is the new afternoon drive personality at WMEX, Boston, the daypart held briefly by Howie Carr before WRKO again became his syndicated program’s Boston affiliate.
2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Is FOX News Bad for GOP?’ Flap, Hillary’s Role in Benghazi, Clintons Finances Scrutiny, ISIS Successes in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty Order Loses Round in Court, Obama Accuses Russia of Aggression, FIFA Scandal, Deadly Texas and OK Floods, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). The activities of the potential candidates for president in 2016; reaction to historian Bruce Bartlett’s contention that FOX News is “self-brainwashing” conservative voters; more debate over Hillary Clinton’s role in the deadly Benghazi attack; ongoing scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial dealings and income reporting; the success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and questions about America’s Iraq policy; President Obama’s amnesty order loses round at the Appeals Court level; Obama accuses Russia of military aggression; a report of widespread corruption at FIFA – soccer’s governing body; the deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; and the NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
State of Radio Audience Measurement Systems to Be Scrutinized at Talkers New York 2015. One of the highlights of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 that is sparking a tremendous amount of interest is the high-powered panel, “The State of Radio Ratings.” Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the scheduled speakers (in alphabetical order) include: Phil Boyce, SVP Salem Media; Erica Farber, president/CEO RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO Amplifi Media; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP audience insights Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO Moceri Media. The session will be introduced by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade and sponsored by Salem Media. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Lots of folks are talking about this panel – so much is brewing in the rapidly changing world of radio audience measurement – whether it is Nielsen Audio making moves to unify over-the-air and online listening or the emergence of interesting new inventions such as the Voltair system and the evolution of PPM…this event will be loaded with provocative questions, answers and takeaways.” The 18th annual installment of longest-running and most important national talk media industry convention takes place on Friday, June 12 at the historic India House in Manhattan’s financial district. Although sold out, the event still has several sponsorship opportunities still available. For information call 413-565-5413. To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.
Jeremy Sinon Named Corporate Digital Director for Hubbard Broadcasting. This is a promotion to the corporate level for Jeremy Sinon who has been serving as the digital director for Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities operations. He will continue in that role in addition to his new post as corporate digital director. The company says that in this position Sinon will work closely with Hubbard EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler and president/COO Drew Horowitz to “oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals.” Speaking about his new position, Sinon says, “It’s really an honor to be given this opportunity to help lead the digital efforts for a company that I care so much about. When I started at Hubbard in 2006 I was one of the first digitally focused hires the company ever made. It amazes me every day when I look around and see how much we’ve grown since. I’m excited about the future. We have really big things in store for us.” Prior to the last nine years with Hubbard Radio, Sinon was a digital director for the iHeartMedia radio group in Minneapolis and worked at the digital agency Omnera.
Howard Stern Show at Center of IRS-Privacy Issue. In a case that some might say could only happen on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show, an IRS staffer has allegedly caused some headaches for the agency that could result in a lawsuit. Here’s the story: an IRS employee was on the phone with a woman who had called with a question about her tax situation. Unbeknownst to her, the staffer was also on hold waiting to get onto the Howard Stern show as “Jimmy from Long Island.” At some point, the call between the taxpayer and “Jimmy” was put on the show but the staffer didn’t realize it. Stern let the call air for a few minutes before trying to alert “Jimmy” that his call was on the program. After the segment was over, the female taxpayer began receiving texts and emails from people telling her that her personal information was broadcast on the Howard Stern show. She is now threatening a lawsuit – against the IRS. Remember, the FCC doesn’t regulate satellite radio in the same way it does AM/FM radio and it appears Stern did nothing wrong. For its part, the IRS has released a statement that it’s aware of the situation and puts taxpayer privacy very high on its list of priorities and promises it is investigating the matter.
Odds & Sods. The former longtime radio voice of Michigan Wolverines football, Frank Beckman, tells his WJR, Detroit audience that his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show will continue as he and owner Cumulus Media have agreed to a three-year extension to his current contract…..SiriusXM is broadcasting this weekend’s college lacrosse action. The satcaster says it will present the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals and National Championship game live from Lincoln Financial Field in Philly on Saturday and Monday…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series that takes in-depth looks at Southern California communities in Downey on June 12. The daylong live remote broadcast will emanate from popular local meeting place Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.
Stephanopoulos Clinton Donations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 18-22. The issue of ABC TV’s George Stephanopoulos making donations to the Clinton Family Foundation without disclosing it to the network or the public was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with Iraq policy questions. Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton private emails matter followed by ISIS’ taking of Ramadi and Palmyra at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WAKR, Akron’s Chuck Collins Dies After Battle with Cancer. The Northeast Ohio radio pro was just 62 years old and had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013. Chuck Collins was most recently operations manager and a talk host for Rubber City Radio’s WAKR, Akron. As part of his OM duties he also was in charge of rock WONE-FM and country WQMX.
A Visit from Richie Aprile. Pictured here are CBS Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb (left) and actor David Proval (right) in the CBS Sports Radio studios. Proval – well known to “The Sopranos” fans as Richie Aprile – stopped by the show to talk about his work on the HBO series, his experience in “The Shawshank Redemption” and his current role in the play, “Queen For a Day,” at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in New York City running through July 26.
The 40th Annual Gracie Awards. Arriving at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday (5/19) was the Alliance for Women in Media Board and AWM Foundation Board. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer at CBS Corporation; Karla Ballard, SVP at Participant Media (and Gracies co-chair); Michelle Duke, vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation; Christine McLaughlin, broadcast lawyer at Sciarrino & Shubert , PLLC; Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships; Kristen Welch, SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Inc. (and AWM Chair); Kay Olin, consultant at Olin & Associates (and past AWM Chair); Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting, (Gracies co-chair and past AWM Chair); Jill Luckett, senior vice president of Program Network Policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Sandy Girard, VP, Brand Management & Development, SiriusXM; and Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency.
End of Letterman Show Reveals Late Night Giant’s Impact on News/Talk Personalities. Late night TV talk legend David Letterman’s retirement from the business after an astonishing run on both NBC and CBS gave talk radio hosts the opportunity to not only address the cultural phenomenon that his program was but to express their admiration for Letterman’s broadcasting skills, creativity and groundbreaking humor and admit to being influenced by him. Yesterday (5/20), TALKERS magazine published a heartfelt and deeply personal piece by WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall. If you missed it, read that here. TALKERS editors are hearing from other hosts who’ve been thinking about how Letterman influenced their careers. WGOW, Chattanooga midday host Brian Joyce says he hosted comics Rob Schneider and Brian Kiley to talk about Letterman’s show and his impact. “Rob made his network debut on Letterman’s show back in 1987 when he was 23 years old. Kiley is a stand-up comedian and writer who has appeared on Letterman’s show six times and has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards as Conan O’Brien’s head monologue writer. They discussed their feelings about Letterman and his legacy, plus their overall thoughts on the state of late night TV, plus media in general.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Although Johnny Carson remains THE cultural icon of late night television talk/variety shows, and Steve Allen and Jack Parr certainly cast their significant influence upon several generations of late night TV talkers, no singular practitioner of the genre has influenced the modern era of both radio and television talk show hosts as much as David Letterman. You see his fingerprints all over the style and constructs of so many of today’s radio gabbers covering the spectrum of pop culture, political and even sports talk programs. David Letterman’s contribution to the basic attitude of talk programming has been nothing short of profound.”
The John and Leah Show to Air on WNIR-FM, Akron. The Akron heritage FM talk outlet will be the weekend home to the Envision Networks-syndicated “John and Leah Show” featuring John Ziegler and Leah Brandon. The Media-Com talk station will air the program live on Sunday evenings at 10:00 pm ET. WNIR-FM station manager Bill Klaus says, “It’s good to have a live weekend program, instead of taped replays of programs earlier in the week. We love having a male and female host anchoring our Sunday nights.” Envision Networks says, “Hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon bring you the final word on the week’s events and first thoughts on the week to come. The hosts provide an informative, compelling and entertaining take on the news of the week as well as their own crazy lives. The John and Leah Show is always interesting with unpredictable conversations.”
Todd Schoenberger Named Afternoon Host at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Effective June 1, retired hedge fund manager and national media personality, Todd Schoenberger begins hosting the afternoon drive program on Resort Broadcasting’s WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “92.7FM The Talk of Delmarva.” The company says that it “boasts a deep and seasoned lineup of veteran hosts and award-winning shows, from Mike Bradley to Jim Rash to Rush Limbaugh. The addition of Todd Schoenberger is expected to only further validate WGMD as the finest and most credible news/talk radio station in Delmarva and points west of the Chesapeake Bay.” Director of broadcast operations, engineering and programming Walt Palmer comments, “Todd’s background as a frequent guest and expert on major national networks, such as FOX News, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg, exemplifies the station to a level unmatched by our competitors. WGMD continues to be the clear station-of-choice for radio and on-line listeners.” Schoenberger was most recently founder and managing partner for LandColt Capital LP. He is also a published freelance writer and has authored numerous articles for The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, CNBC.com and FOXBusiness.com.
New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists Announced. The winners of the 2015 New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs competition will be announced on June 22 as the awards ceremony at the Manhattan Penthouse. For the 33-year-old competition, The Grand Jury selected 289 finalists from entries submitted from over 30 countries worldwide. Entries were judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. All finalists proceed to the medal round to determine Gold, Silver, and Bronze trophies. From the United States, finalists include programs created by public radio-affiliated companies as well as commercial broadcasters including ESPN and SiriusXM. The latter is a finalist in four categories and ESPN is a finalist in six categories.
WGN Plus to Carry ‘Jones and Mike’ Show. The Chicago-based program “Jones and Mike,” with hosts Brian Jones and Mike Noonan, is being aired on Tribune Media’s “digital content incubator” WGN Plus where it will be available via WGNPlus.com and the WGN Plus app in the Apple and Google Play stores. WGN Radio vice president of content and programming Todd Manley comments, “WGNplus is a place for us to take risks and get behind innovative talent. Jones and Mike fit that mold perfectly.” Brian Jones says, “When we set out to create this show we wanted to bring it to the biggest possible audience of 35-to-54-year-old people interested in hearing lifestyle talk. WGN Plus has a valuable audience and we’re very happy to be associated with a blue-chip brand like WGN!” The “Jones and Mike” show is a production of Revolutionary Media Group and is heard on local AM signal WCGO, Evanston on weekends.
Odds & Sods. The news/talk format produced by Forever Broadcasting in the State College, Pennsylvania market leaves WRSC-FM and will move to the company’s WRSC-AM, bumping the sports talk format off the air. Replacing news/talk on the FM is a classic hits format branded “Happy 103.”…..ESPN Audio is debuting the “Golf” podcast with ESPN.com golf writers Michael Collins and Jason Sobel. New podcasts will arrive bi-weekly and will be about 30 minutes in length. The first episode, May 7, featured Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee…..Talk show pro Michael Bower is back in the fill-in business from his ISDN-compatible home studio after Memorial Day. Bower tells TALKERS magazine he’s done fill-in work for such notable signals as KNXT, Vegas; KKFN, Denver; KSFO and KGO, San Francisco; KIRO-FM, Seattle; and KTAR-FM, Phoenix.
New York Sports Talkers Donate ‘Fantasy Packages’ to Fairfield University. The sports radio fantasy packages consist of time at the various studios watching the shows produced plus meet-and-greets with the hosts and key personnel and benefit Fairfield University Sports Performance which aids varsity student athletics. CBS RADIO’s Mike Francesa, ESPN’s Michael Kay and SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo are each contributing a package to the online auction that runs through May 31.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Rand Paul Filibuster, Declassified Bin Laden Information, ISIS Takes Ramadi and Palmyra, Iran Nuclear Program Talks, David Letterman Wraps CBS Late Show, and ‘Deflategate’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). The potential candidates for president in 2016; Kentucky Senator – and presidential candidate – Rand Paul’s filibuster over the renewal of the Patriot Act over the mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records; the release of information gathered at the site of the death of Osama bin Laden; ISIS takes control of the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian city of Palmyra; the Iran nuclear talks take a turn as the ayatollah refuses to agree to inspections and meeting with its scientists; David Letterman broadcasts his last late night talk show; and the ongoing controversy over the NFL’s “Deflategate” issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Stigall
Talk Show Host
PHILADELPHIA — Please understand this is personal. It’s not a matter of whether you agree with me or even care about the man. I’m writing this for me. Selfishly. Right now, all I can think about is how much he mattered to me in the most formative years of my life. Saying goodbye to David Letterman is breaking my heart and I’m having a tough time thinking about much else.
I can’t claim to have been watching him since his morning show in the early 80s. I was too young. I found Dave during high school in the 90s. Specifically, when Carson was leaving “The Tonight Show.”
Johnny Donovan Retires from WABC, New York. Capping a WABC, New York career that goes back to 1972, legend Johnny Donovan is retiring from the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station. He’s been handling daily announcing and production director duties at WABC. In a press release announcing his retirement, the company notes that Donovan was a music jock during the influential WABC top 40 era. When the station flipped to talk in 1982, he remained on as staff announcer and production director – a position he held for more than 30 years. An amateur radio operator in his youth, Donovan became a DJ on WHVW in Hyde Park, New York after helping build the station in 1963. He went on to work at radio stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York, with a stop at Atlantic City, New Jersey’s WMID. In 1968, Donovan arrived in New York City as an overnight music host on WOR-FM. Four years later, Donovan brought his talent to the AM band and WABC. Cumulus SVP content and programming Mike McVay states, “Johnny Donovan was THE sound of 77 WABC. He joins the ranks of legends like Don Pardo, Ed McMahon and Ernie Anderson. His production and imaging skills are legendary. He will be missed at WABC, but more than that, he will be missed in our industry.” Donovan will continue to be heard as the voice of the Rush Limbaugh show – a position that he’s held since 1988 – and will continue his own voice-over business.
Goodbye, Mr. Letterman. And Thanks! Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall says farewell to his professional inspiration in a column published at TALKERS today (5/20). Tonight will air the final new episode of “Late Night with David Letterman” and the WPHT, Philadelphia talk host shares his personal admiration — perhaps even obsession – with one of the undisputed legends of late night talk television. In the piece, Stigall explains his attraction to Letterman as a performer. “I was a high school kid with big dreams of hosting his own show one day, but never felt like I was attractive or popular enough to make it. David Letterman taught me there’s something very good, right, and rewarding about being an individual. The more I watched and read about Letterman, the more fixated I became. Not just his comedy – which I loved. It was his ‘damn the torpedoes’ approach to this hallowed thing called television. It was everyday people from his shows’ staff cast in bits. It was random souvenir shop and deli owners turning into unintentional comedy stars.” Read Stigall’s entire piece here.
Creative Promotions Lead to New Sales. Radio marketing pro Al Herskovitz writes in a column published today that a radio sales pro worth his or her salt should never overlook the value of a creative radio promotion to solidify current clients and attract new ones. He says commonplace ticket giveaways and the like are fine but do little to make a client’s goods or services memorable, and such prizes usually go to station P1s anyway. How about having your morning host attempt to give a lion a bath? Sound too dangerous? Read Herskovitz’s entire column here for the details and his thoughts about using the promotion as a sales tool.
Bold Gold Foundation Inaugural Event Draws Hundreds. The inaugural fundraising and awards event for the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation took place over the weekend at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Northeast Pennsylvania and drew hundreds of supporters who gathered to cheer on and support the organization’s efforts to help prepare tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. The Foundation celebrated broadcast radio’s legacy, while positioning to help lead the effort to bring new recruits into the news and talk ranks. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto laid out the Foundation’s mission, explaining, “Broadcast radio continues to be the modern day town square where the news and issues of our times are related, debated and discussed in communities across America. The power of this medium, now amplified and synergized with the power of mobile and social media, can be positioned to influence the local and national narratives in more powerful ways than ever before. Our work will be focused on helping the best and brightest get the education and resources they need to write the next chapters of communication history.” Honored at the event was Northeast Pennsylvania entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Tambur. He was presented the 2015 Atlas Award for Citizenship. Benedetto says Tambur is “an example of someone who builds and creates, sees problems and boldly sets out to fix them. He shows what is possible to achieve in a free society and is the standard by which all future recipients will be measured.” Special guest speaker, citizen-journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, provided a riveting audio and video presentation showing his past and ongoing efforts to expose corruption and hypocrisy in government and media. Benedetto says, “James shows what just one person, armed with the courage to report the truth is able to accomplish.” The event was emceed by David Madeira, morning show host of Bold Gold’s Scranton-based talk station, WTRW “94.3 The Talker.”
Odds & Sods. An extension of the affiliation deal just completed between ABC Radio News and Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago includes an expansion of shared editorial resources in the Chicago market. Simultaneously, WGN’s Ryan Burrow will be a contributor to ABC News Radio and report from Chicago and around the country. ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones comments, “Ryan Burrow is a talented, award-winning reporter who understands how to tell stories that capture an audience’s interest. Through ABC News Radio’s expanded partnership with WGN, Ryan will cover stories of interest to our national audience from across the Midwest region and around the country.”…..Washington-based political consultant Raynard Jackson sits in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated radio show “News One Now” airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET…..Joe Ligotti is named morning host at WMEX, Boston, replacing the syndicated “Dr. K Show.”
Dee Snider Podcast to Launch on PodcastOne. Musician and media personality Dee Snider is debuting a new, weekly podcast called, “Snider Comments,” on the PodcastOne Network. The program promises to “pull back the curtain on the world of rock and expose the raw and untold stories of current and past rock ‘n’ roll superstars.” PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz states, “This is the latest music insider podcast on the PodcastOne Network. There are plenty of places for consumers to listen to their favorite music, but very few to get a more personal, behind-the-scenes view from the artists that live in that world every day. Dee is not only a rock star and an icon, he’s a great personality and a terrific communicator. I couldn’t be more pleased to have him on our network.”
Jim Rome Visits Portland’s KXTG-AM. Appearing in the Portland market from affiliate KXTG-AM “750 & 102.9 The Game” was CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome. He hosted his national syndicated sports talk show from Alpha Media’s SKYPE LIVE STUDIO on Friday, May 15. Guests joining Rome in the studio included Oregon Ducks head football coach Mark Helfrich, Portland Trailblazers president Chris McGowan, and Fox Sports analyst Joey Harrington. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Alpha Portland SVP/GM Milt McConnell, KXTG-AM promotions director Derek House, Rome, and KXTG-AM program director Mike Ragz.
Hillary Clinton Email Controversy, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donation Scandal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Takes Ramadi, California Oil Spill, N. Korea Nuke Threats, Saudi Beheadings Controversy, and ‘Deflategate’ Matter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). The ongoing talk of Hillary Clinton’s private emails that are alleged to have been used for State Department business; the scandal involving George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including talk of Democrat Martin O’Malley officially entering the race; the taking of Ramadi, Iraq by ISIS; the coastal California oil spill; North Korea’s saber-rattling and talk of its new nuclear technology; the increase in beheadings in Saudi Arabia; and the latest on the NFL’s “Deflategate” case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
BRADENTON, Fla. — Did you ever try to wash a lion? Don’t. He does not like it. But trying to wash him makes for a great sales promotion if your advertisers are a local animal farm and a shopping center. Just don’t do it at the farm. Transport the beast to the mall (in a cage, of course!) Then be sure one of your program hosts is there with a mop, a brush and a bucket of water.
Creative sales promotions are tools that all sales persons should have in their arsenal. They can induce new ad schedules, lengthen regular ones and make for long-term, good customer relations. And they can aid in listener growth as well.
Limbaugh to Leave WRKO, Boston – Again. This is not the first time that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh might not be heard on the Entercom news/talk outlet. His show was heard on iHeartMedia-owned crosstown WXKS-AM for a little more than two years before returning to WRKO in 2012. Now, Premiere says in a statement that it and Entercom management were unable to come to terms on a renewal deal. “We were unable to reach agreeable terms for the Rush Limbaugh show to continue on WRKO. A final broadcast date will be announced in the near future. Rush Limbaugh airs daily in every measured media market in America, and we look forward to announcing exciting news for our Boston listeners soon.” iHeartMedia flipped WXKS-AM to business news using Bloomberg after its time as a news/talker with Limbaugh and such local personalities as Jeff Katz. It will be interesting to see where the Limbaugh show pops up in Boston. Unless there’s a format flip to talk in the future for an iHeartMedia FM – and we doubt that’s likely – the list of potential quality AM signals that might be a home to the show are few. Still, it’s possible that this is just a stage of the process that will see the two sides come to terms eventually. It would be a shame to see Limbaugh’s show languish on an inferior AM signal – seems like a lose-lose situation for both sides.
Nielsen: Radio Gives ‘Brand Lift’ to American Family Insurance. From a study with the help of Katz Radio Group looking to prove the effectiveness of radio advertising, Nielsen Audio engaged in a study to measure the brand impact of a radio campaign on insurance decision makers (ages 25-64). The analysis included insurance decision-makers who tuned in to one or more stations airing American Family Insurance commercials and compared their engagement with the company to that of decision-makers who did not listen to those stations. Nielsen says, “The results of the study showed that radio increased brand health metrics, particularly among decision-makers seeking new insurance, in the areas of favorability, recommendation and intent to request a quote from American Family Insurance. The study found that insurance decision-makers who heard the campaign were 25% more likely to request a quote from American Family Insurance than those who didn’t hear it. And brand-switchers who were exposed to the campaign were nearly twice as likely to request a quote, highlighting radio’s ability to influence the insurance company’s best prospects.” Read more here.
Howard B. Price: For AM/FM Radio, Doing Good is Good for Business. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the ABC Television Networks director of business continuity, Howard B. Price on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast, “Up Close and Far Out,” about the responsibility licensed AM, FM and television stations have to serve the public with timely and accurate information during both natural and man-made disasters. According to Price, “This is why we hold the license.” Aside from all the entertainment elements that radio provides and that Price says he “enjoys as much as anyone else,” he points out, “That is not, however, why radio stations are licensed – they are licensed to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.” Price continues, “And while that definition can certainly include quality entertainment and programming that stimulates and enlightens – at the end of the day, what it is all about is being there in times of crisis… making sure that our communities stay informed, that decision-makers have the information that they need in real time, and to be able to apply the necessary time and resources to be able to deal with emergent events. This is the role that radio was born to play.” Price explains what he describes as the essential element of this truth. “If you want to keep people focused on the idea that terrestrial radio is still relevant, that electrons flying out of tall sticks on a single channel is still a very important thing for us to preserve and enhance, then you not only have to talk the talk – you have to walk the walk. And ‘walking the walk’ means that when your community is in crisis, you’ve got to be there to inform them. You’ve got to be able to put people on the street, you’ve got to be able to go to the scene of wherever news is breaking, and make sure that people have the information that they need both to calm them and comfort them as well as provide them with the essential information that allows them to make the right decisions for themselves and their families and businesses.” Price adds, “The old line for radio still exists… you go to any old-time sales manager and he’ll tell you radio is a street business, it’s a retail business and nothing is truer about that than when it comes to reporting the news in local communities.” According to Price, nothing can be more important to the survival of terrestrial radio than remaining visible and relevant to their local communities. He also explains how this philosophy applies to music radio as well as talk and all-news formats, citing examples including how, in the wake of 9/11, Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill flipped their WPLJ, New York morning music show around “on a dime” from being an entertainment show into serious news mode without the benefit of having a news department. They became “comforters in chief” and did an extraordinary job of rising to the occasion. Price points out that music stations that cede listeners to talk and all-news stations during a serious crisis are foolish to give their listeners reasons to punch out because they might not come back. Harrison and Price also discuss ways in which any radio station – regardless of budgetary and resource limitations – can be fully prepared to serve its listeners in this fashion during a severe emergency explaining that in this day and age of convenient digital communications and citizen journalism, there is no excuse not to be ready to go into action. Michael Harrison states, “Although many people still believe that the idea of radio rising to the occasion and super-serving its audience in times of crisis might seem idealistic, quaint, naïve, and unrealistic – even ‘boy scout’ – that it ironically might be THE answer to AMs and FMs maintaining their importance and relevance going forward.” Harrison concludes this fascinating podcast by suggesting that terrestrial radio should always treat its audience with compassion, empathy, and a deep-seated desire to be helpful and give anyone who might be listening the support they need just getting through the pain, rigors and hardship of day-to-day life as a human being in a highly pressured, dangerous world. To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com. “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is a presentation of Podcast One. Howard B. Price will be receiving the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.
Bobby Bones EAS SNAFU to Cost iHeartMedia $1 Million. The Federal Communications Commission has laid down a $1 million fine for country WSIX-Nashville and Premiere Networks parent company iHeartMedia for the misuse of the EAS tones. The company admits to misuse of the tones and will pay the penalty. The agency writes in its ruling that the “FCC has long prohibited the transmission of actual or simulated EAS tones in circumstances other than a real alert or an authorized test.” WSIX-FM, Nashville – Bobby Bones’ flagship station – aired a false emergency alert during the broadcast of the nationally syndicated show and, as the FCC writes, “broadcast or transmission of emergency tones outside an emergency or authorized test violates FCC regulations designed to protect the integrity of the EAS system. False broadcast of an emergency signal can cause unnecessary public concern and undermine the urgency of real alerts. While commenting on an EAS test that aired during the 2014 World Series, Bobby Bones, the show’s host, broadcast an EAS tone from a recording of an earlier nationwide EAS test. This false emergency alert was sent to more than 70 affiliated stations airing [the show] and resulted in some of these stations retransmitting the tones, setting off a multi-state cascade of false EAS alerts on radios and televisions in multiple states.” In the last six months, the Commission has taken five enforcement actions totaling nearly $2.5 million for misuse of EAS tones by broadcasters and cable networks.
RTDNA: Technology in Newsrooms. The fourth part of a series from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association and Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper focuses on newsroom technology and the plans news directors have to upgrade or add to current equipment. Though the bulk of the article deals with television news, radio is addressed. Papper reports that, according to his questionnaires returned by news directors, plans to acquire new technology have nosedived over the years. “Three years ago, 38% of radio news directors and general managers said they’d be making no technology purchases in the next year. Two years ago, the number rose to 44%. Last year, 69.3% said nothing. This year, the abstention crowd is up to an astonishing 78.6%.” Read more from the study here.
Odds & Sods. Jim Fronk exits Great Eastern Radio’s Concord, New Hampshire where he wore two hats as co-host of the “New Hampshire Wake-Up Show” on news/talk WTPL and as midday jock on sister classic rock WLKZ “104.9 The Hawk.”
Voice of ‘Letterman’ Visits CBS Sports Radio. “Late Show With David Letterman” voice Alan Kalter visited CBS Sports Radio’s “Gio and Jones” program to talk about the final three shows hosted by David Letterman. Kalter chatted about his favorite sports guests on the show and his first day on the job at Letterman. He also teased the surprises to come on the final show that airs Wednesday (5/20) on CBS TV. Pictured here are (from l-r): Gregg Giannotti, Kalter, and Brian Jones.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Iraq Policy Questions, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donations Scandal, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, Deadly Texas Biker Brawl, and Iran Nukes-Gulf Military Actions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the issue of the U.S.’s Iraq policy being put before the Republican candidates; the scandal at ABC News over George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Foundation; the continuing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email matter; the deadly biker brawl in Waco, Texas over the weekend that took the lives of nine bikers; and the Iran nuclear program questions and the Gulf nation’s current naval operations in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen: News/Talk Format Top in April PPM Survey. That’s from Nielsen Audio’s analysis of its own data from the April 2015 PPM survey. News/talk wins the format race – calculated based on average quarter hour share – with an 8.8 share of persons 6+. When it comes to persons 25-54, news/talk lands in fifth place with a 6.2 share. Ahead of the format in that demographic are (from first to fourth) are: pop/CHR, country, AC and hot AC. View the rest of Nielsen’s report here.
Alpha Media to Acquire 36 Signals from Morris Communications. With the announced intent to buy 36 stations in eight markets from Morris Communications, Alpha Media says it’s on track to hit the 135-station mark. Morris operates radio stations in: Topeka; Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs and Victor Valley, California; Anchorage; Wasilla, Alaska; Grays Harbor-Hoquiam, Washington and Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington. Alpha chairman Larry Wilson comments, “What a wonderful thing it is to combine with such a fine stable of radio properties. They bring heritage radio stations to our platform that will truly enhance our growth opportunities extensively.” Morris Communications chairman and CEO William S. Morris III says, “We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Larry Wilson and his exceptional team. They are experienced operators that will maintain the ongoing success of these stations. We take comfort in knowing we have superior employees in each market that will continue to serve these wonderful communities.” George Reed of Media Services Group is the broker for Alpha Media.
Former Charlotte Radio Host Danny Fontana Dies at 65. As reported by the Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn, former financial talk host and station owner Danny Fontana has died at age 65. The Observer reports Fontana’s wife Mary found him dead in his study on Friday evening (5/15). Businessman-turned-stock broker-turned radio personality Fontana started in the radio business doing financial/economic commentaries on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. He then did the afternoon show there for four years, starting in 1995. In 2000 he started co-hosting with Al Gardner on WBT’s morning show. In 2005, Fontana bought WDYT-AM, Charlotte and ran the station for four years before tough financial times forced the station to go dark in 2009.
Talkers New York 2015 Sponsor C. Crane to Provide all Speakers at this Year’s Conference with a Radio. One of America’s leading independent manufacturers and distributors of radios and radio-related products, C. Crane, will be providing each of the approximately 65 speakers at Talkers New York 2015 with a brand new radio. The gesture, hailed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “really boss,” is a symbolic display of support for the continuing importance of over-the-air broadcasting as a basic American communications platform. Continuing beyond his retro-ese blurt, Harrison states, “C. Crane is not only a major force in keeping the concept of over-the-air radio alive and well, the company has long been a fabulous friend to the radio industry through its numerous, long-term sponsorships of stations, networks and programs.” Harrison adds, “Company president Bob Crane knows that the best target consumer group for superb new radios are people who are already listeners to and fans of the medium. We can all take a lesson from that simple and obvious observation in terms of giving people who already know how to use this elegant little system known as ‘AM/FM radio’ compelling reasons to stick around.” C. Crane is one of 15 sponsors of Talkers New York 2015 that include (in alphabetical order): ABC News Radio, American Family Farmer, Broadcasters General Store, Comrex Corporation, C. Crane, The Ric Edelman Show, The Sean Hannity Show, Life Coach Media, Newsmax, Premiere Networks, Radio America, The Dave Ramsey Show, Talk Radio News Service and A Touch of Grey (radio show). Although registrations for the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most-important annual convention are sold out, several major sponsorship opportunities are still available. For information please call 413-565-5413. Talkers New York 2015 is a one-day event that takes place on Friday, June 12 at the historic India House in New York’s financial district. For the latest agenda please click here.
Odds & Sods. Former Boston talk radio producer Jeremy Leahy is now hosting his own show on the Cleveland, Tennessee-based digital station “Red State Talk Radio Network.” Leahy’s program, “Standing Ground,” premieres on Thursday, May 28 at 7:00 pm ET. During his career, Leahy has worked with conservative talk hosts including Jay Severin, Laura Ingraham and Bill O’Reilly…..NPR vice president for programming Eric Nuzum is exiting the public radio corporation for SVP of original programming for Amazon.com-owned Audible.com…..Radio personality Mark West’s oldies and talk morning show on WALL, Middletown, New York ends. West had been brokering the time on the station and the rest of the dayparts had flipped to a regional Mexican format.
Cool Job Opportunity. Are you ready to go back to school? Montclair State University Radio in beautiful, suburban Montclair, New Jersey, is looking for a new general manager. Reporting to the director of the school of communication and media, the general manager is responsible for overseeing the 24/7 operation of WMSC-FM. The GM will work closely with students, administration, faculty, staff, and alumni to develop a presence for the university radio station, which serves campus and local communities as well as a more global audience through the Internet. S/he will teach courses and workshops for students, fostering a rich learning environment and enabling the development of skills in all key areas of radio programming and production. S/he will also be responsible for maintaining full Federal Communications Commission compliance for the university’s licensed radio station. Click HERE for more information and to apply online.
Cumulus/Westwood One Star Mark Levin Continues to Gain Syndication Steam. Dubbed “The Great One” by Sean Hannity, Cumulus/Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin continues to grow in stature as one of the elite stars in the talk radio industry. Levin, who has written a number of best sellers and is respected as an outstanding constitutional attorney and scholar, has added over a dozen new stations to his affiliate roster of 300-plus in the last quarter alone including KRLA, Los Angeles; WPGP, Pittsburgh; WREC, Memphis; WRVA, Richmond; KTSM, El Paso; KWSX, Stockton; KFIV, Modesto; WBUV-FM, Biloxi; WPGG, Atlantic City; WTKS-AM, Savannah; KWHN, Ft. Smith; WDAK, Columbus, GA; and WFEA, Manchester, MA. According to Michael Harrison, “Levin doesn’t always get the credit he deserves as the true heavyweight he is – but the numbers don’t lie. He has one of the largest audiences of all the political news/talkers in America and is positively adored by the millions of individuals and organizations that make up the heart of the fundamentalist, Constitutionalist core of the conservative movement.” Levin is ranked by TALKERS as #6 on the Heavy Hundred (the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) and tied with Glenn Beck as the fourth most-listened-to radio talk show host in the nation.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of April 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Talkers New York 2015 Will Be Sold Out Today. Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be declared sold out at the end of business today (5:00 pm EDT), a day earlier than anticipated earlier this week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.” Casey continues, “There will be no general registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT today Thursday, May 14.” The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Vacca Upped to Executive Producer at WOR, New York. Promoted from producer to executive producer of the “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt In The Morning” show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York is Natalie Vacca. Vacca has been on the WOR staff for the past 18 years, producing such personalities as John Gambling, Barry Farber, Joan Hamburg and Alan Colmes. She says of her new gig, “I have had the honor to work with some of the best talent in talk radio over my career. To add Len Berman and Todd Schnitt to the list couldn’t be more exciting.”
Salem Radio Network to Participate in Conservative DC Conference. The annual “Road to Majority” conference is organized by the Faith and Freedom Coalition and this year Salem Radio Network will broadcast from the event that takes place in Washington, DC June 18-20. SRN personalities Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a special VIP “preview dinner” on the eve of the conference and will broadcast their talk shows from Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel during the conference. The political event will include appearances from 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as well as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry plus Gary Bauer, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and FOX News Channel contributor Todd Starnes. SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup states, “The mission of the Faith and Freedom Coalition – that, in essence, the greatness of America lies not in the federal government but in the character of our people…the simple virtues of faith, hard work, marriage, family, personal responsibility, and helping the least among us – dovetails perfectly with the values we hold at SRN. We are proud to partner with Ralph Reed and his team.”
Odds & Sods. This evening (5/14), CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield will be honored by the Philadelphia Police Athletic League as one of the city’s most distinguished business leaders. Along with SugarHouse Casino general manager Wendy Hamilton and PECO SVP and COO Michael Innocenzo, Rayfield will be feted at PAL’s awards dinner for his “extraordinary contributions in support of PAL’s mission of ‘Cops Helping Kids.’”…..Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini is serving as the radio pool reporter today (5/14) from the Camp David Summit as President Obama convenes with six Gulf state leaders to discuss the nuclear deal with Iran.
WSYR, Syracuse’s Joe Galuski Loses Battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Off the air at iHeartMedia news/talk WSYR, Syracuse since last fall as he battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma, longtime morning host Joe Galuski has died, the station announced this morning. Galuski, 64, had been with WSYR since 1988 and served as the station’s morning drive host since 1998.
iHeartMedia Recognized at Festival of Media Global Awards. Two honors are bestowed upon iHeartMedia at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2015 – a media industry event that recognizes innovation and leadership in the global advertising field. The awards ceremony took place on May 12 at the Rome Cavalieri in Italy. iHeartMedia was honored with the “Best Media Vendor of the Year” award, which recognizes the creative efforts of a media owner to connect advertiser clients with their audiences, for its work with Diet Coke and Taylor Swift. The multi-platform campaign simultaneously launched Diet Coke’s “Get a Taste” advertising campaign and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. The program generated approximately 500 million press impressions and 200 million on-air, digital and social impressions for Diet Coke. Taylor Swift’s album 1989, predicted to sell 800,000 units before the iHeartMedia campaign, sold nearly 1.3 million albums in just the first week, and became the No. 1 best-selling album of 2014. iHeartMedia was also named the Silver Winner in the “Best Media Owner Sales Team Initiative” category, which honors a media owner’s local or regional sales teams for their innovative and creative sales packages implemented within the market. In this category iHeartMedia was recognized for its partnership with Bank of America for World AIDS Day. iHeartMedia’s comprehensive cross-platform program across radio, digital, social and outdoor delivered more than 100 million media impressions in 24 hours for “A (RED) Thank You,” a special World AIDS Day event that took place in New York’s Times Square. Additionally, iHeartMedia drove on-air and social conversation, helping to generate over 10 million views of the YouTube (RED) concert video, the most views on (RED)’s YouTube channel in its history, ultimately raising $1 million in donations to (RED) on one day.
Obama Georgetown Speech, Philadelphia Amtrak Crash, Baltimore Riots and Protests Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Trade Bill, Iran Nukes Program, and ‘Deflategate’ Penalties Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The scrutiny of President Obama’s speech at Georgetown, including his statements about changing how the media reports; the continuing investigation into the cause of the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment; the ongoing political and legal effects of the Baltimore riots and protests; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the divisiveness in Congress over President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade bill; concern in the Middle East over the Iran nuclear program negotiations; and criticism of the NFL’s sanctions against the Patriots and Tom Brady over the “deflategate” matter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity
NEW YORK — Last night’s horrific derailment of an Amtrak Northeast Regional train just north of Philadelphia was an object lesson in why broadcasters MUST be prepared to spring into action at any moment.
The crash happened just before 9:30 pm – at a time when today, many radio stations simply have no news coverage or staffing.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Just in time for Mother’s Day, Edison Research VP Melissa DeCesare (“a mom of two daughters”) walked us through her firm’s 2015 “Moms & Media” study, the latest installment in an “Infinite Dial” series that’s been ongoing since 1998, sponsored by Triton Media.
And make no mistake: Sourced data makes the case that Mom is who smart stations will engage, on every platform possible:
Beasley Q1 Revenue Down 10.3% on Pro Forma Basis. The asset exchange between Beasley Broadcast Group and CBS RADIO last fall makes the financial report for the former less cut and dried, but on a pro forma basis, net revenue was down 10.3%. BBG chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “On a reported basis, first quarter net revenue from continuing operations rose 87.2% and station operating income increased 92.3%. However, given the required accounting treatment for discontinued operations following last December’s asset exchange, the results exclude the stations we gave up in the transaction. As such, we continue to believe the pro forma presentation, which assumes the asset exchange occurred on January 1, 2014, better reflects the first quarter operating results. On a pro forma basis, first quarter net revenue decreased 10.3% while SOI declined 12.2%. The pro forma revenue decline is primarily attributable to overall market weakness in Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg and softer ad sales at our Wilmington cluster during the first quarter, our reduction in spot units at the newly acquired stations and revenue in last year’s first quarter in Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg related to the CBS affiliation that did not recur due to the change in ownership.” Beasley adds, “In addition to our initiatives during the quarter to extract financial and operating synergies from the asset exchange, we made further progress on debt reduction while returning capital to shareholders. During the first quarter we made credit facility repayments totaling $1.5 million, reducing borrowings to $96.2 million at March 31, 2015 and declared our sixth consecutive quarterly cash dividend.”
CBS Corp. Q1 Revenue Dips 1.9%; Radio Segment Down 7%. Radio is a very small part of the $3.5 billion that CBS Corp. billed during the first quarter of 2015. CBS includes it in the Local Broadcasting segment (along with its television O&Os) and that division’s revenue for the quarter was $596 million, down from $626 million during the same period a year ago (a decrease of 5%). But the radio portion of that sector fared a bit worse, dipping 7%. Operating income for the Local Broadcasting segment was down 10.5%.
Cooke: Moms & Media. Radio consultant Holland Cooke presents this analysis of the Edison Research “2015 Moms & Media” data from that company’s ongoing Infinite Dial project. Cooke reports that, as previous data from numerous research sources has indicated over the years, “Mom is Secretary of the (family) Treasury to-the-tune-of $1.2 TRILLION a year in the USA.” Moms are also tech savvy and their busy lifestyle welcomes new media. Some takeaways from the study include: Mom spends more time per day (3 hrs 7 min) on the Internet than the survey population in general (2:51); 84% own a smartphone (69% last year); vs. 71% total respondents; and 64% of Moms surveyed own a tablet computer (47% last year). For more data, see Cooke’s entire report here.
May’s May 11 Return. Particularly in Los Angeles – perhaps the most commuter-centric market in the country – an on-air traffic reporter can become an integral component of a morning drive ensemble. Numerous notable examples exist in the City of Angels, including Lisa May, who will join the 6:00 am – 10:00 am “Heidi & Frank Show” on Cumulus Media rocker KLOS next Monday (5/11). Program director Keith Cunningham explains, “Lisa May is not just a traffic reporter or female sidekick; she is a radio brand and she is beloved by Southern California radio listeners. She will be doing a lot more than traffic – we can’t wait to get her in the building.” May admits that, “Joining a twosome can be tricky business. Usually you have to set up some ground rules and have a ‘safe word,’ [but] not with Heidi & Frank. That is what makes hooking up with them on KLOS so exciting. There is no telling what’s going to happen.” While her traffic reports the past two-plus decades have been heard on a number of Los Angeles outlets such as KACE, KGIL, KLAC, KMPC, KNX, KPCC, KPWR, and KABC-TV, May is best known for her lengthy tenure with “Kevin & Bean” on CBS Radio alternative KROQ. Among persons 6+ in Los Angeles’ latest Nielsen Audio PPM report (March 2015), KLOS (2.0) and KROQ (2.9) rank #23 and #13, respectively; iHeartMedia CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (5.3) leads the market (6+) for the third successive survey (including a February tie at #1 with adult contemporary sibling KOST “Coast 103”).
Howard B. Price Named 2015 Recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named the ABC Television Network director of business continuity, Howard B. Price, CBCP/MBCI as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Price is being honored for his vigorous work and pro-active leadership in encouraging, inspiring and teaching the radio and television industries to be prepared to serve the public in times of emergency and crisis. In announcing the naming of Price the recipient of the award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Howard B. Price is an industry hero who inspires us to rise to our highest purpose – and that is to serve and protect the public well-being. He reminds terrestrial broadcasters that they have the potential (and are arguably obligated) to be in the same societal role as first responders such as firefighters, police, emergency medical teams and rescuers of all sorts.” Harrison adds, “As a publisher, I am deeply proud of the numerous articles he has contributed to TALKERS and RadioInfo instructing our readers how to deal with civil unrest, acts of terrorism, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, perfect storms and historic blizzards – all of which have occurred on a seemingly regular basis in recent times. His presentations in print, at conferences and numerous speaking engagements clearly show stations how to stay on the air and mobilize their resources in a positive and productive manner when the community is under siege.” Harrison concludes, “This is a bit of a departure from our usual focus in presenting an industry individual with this award designed to raise awareness of the First Amendment in action – but nothing could be more important for licensed broadcasting facilities than to be able to provide the public with vital information when needed, especially in life and death situations, thus protecting the platform’s reputation and credibility as a place to turn for truth when the chips are down.” Price is a 40-year veteran of radio, television and newspapers, he is a two-time EMMY Award winner, and a two-time recipient of The George Foster Peabody Award. He has worked domestically and internationally as a news producer, assignment editor, bureau chief, reporter and anchor, covering some of the biggest stories of our time, including the 9/11 attacks, the 2003 Northeast blackout and Superstorm Sandy. A certified business continuity professional (CBCP), Howard is charged with maintaining the operational resilience of all ABC News platforms around the globe. He also serves as an in-house consultant to the ABC Owned Television Station Group. Howard holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and an MBA in management and marketing from New York University. A guest lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he has been a featured speaker at numerous professional conferences and workshops (including TALKERS), and a contributor to many trade publications. He is a member of the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII), the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), the Association of Contingency Planners (ACP), the Contingency Planning Exchange (CPE), the Northeast Disaster Recovery Information Exchange (NEDRIX), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). Howard is the founder of the website, MediaDisasterPrep.com, and writes its companion blog, MediaDisasterPrep.wordpress.com. Price is fond of telling anyone who’ll listen that events are disasters only if you haven’t planned for them. He can be reached via email at Howard.B.Price@abc.com. Howard B. Price will be presented the Freedom of Speech Award at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. For registration, hotel and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
Dave Ramsey Brings Smart Money Event to Las Vegas. The Smart Money live event from talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey was presented to a packed house at Canyon Ridge Christian Church last night (5/7). He discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence, working with local affiliate KXNT to promote the event. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. CBS RADIO Las Vegas vice president of programming Cat Thomas says, “Dave has become a staple in growing our talk audience on the FM dial. Dave is positive, upbeat, real and listeners get that.” During the same visit to Las Vegas, Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event on Wednesday in which he spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 450 team members. Pictured here are (from l-r): Carlos Diaz, co-host of “Carlos and Dayna” on KXNT; Thomas; Ramsey; Maureen Pulicella, general sales manager; and Jerry McKenna, SVP/market manager.
On the Green in Greenwood. Station owner/host Anne Eller (left) of WCRS (1450 AM), Greenwood, SC has been out on The Links at Stoney Point in Greenwood every afternoon this week, broadcasting live from the scene of the Self Regional Classic leg of the Symetra Tour, a tour for professional and amateur golfers seeking to gain their LPGA card. Eller has spent the past few days interviewing both the men and women behind the event, as well as many of the women competing for the $30,000 cash purse, the largest of the Symetra Tour. One of the golfers Eller had on the show is rookie Michelle Piyapattra (right).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Radio America-syndicated “Dana Show” hosted by Dana Loesch announces new affiliate stations: KSEV, Houston; KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KBYR-AM, Anchorage; KGNC-AM, Amarillo; WVFT, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama City; KCNR, Redding, California; and WBLF, Johnstown-Altoona-State College, Pennsylvania.
Baltimore Unrest Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 4-8. The social, legal and political ramifications of the violent protests in Baltimore were the several aspects of the most-talked-about story of the week. At #2 was the entrance of three more candidates into the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 was scrutiny of the Clinton Family Foundation followed by the deadly prophet drawing contest in Garland, Texas at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
HEADS UP: Talkers New York 2015 Is Nearing Sellout. Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be sold out sometime next week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.” Casey continues, “There will be no registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT next Friday May 15, if not sooner. That will be the absolute cut off point.” The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Emmis Reports for Fiscal Q4 and Full Year; Net Revenue Flat in Q4, Up 1.6% on the Year. Reporting on its past fiscal year, Emmis Communications Corporation states radio net revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter was $38.8 million, up from $32.3 million from the prior year, an increase of 20%. On a pro forma basis, Emmis’ revenue reported to Miller Kaplan in the markets where Emmis competes (excluding barter and syndication revenue) were up 0.8% in markets down 2.5%. For the full year, radio revenues were $176.3 million, compared to $145.3 million in the prior year, an increase of 21%. On a pro forma basis, Emmis’ revenues reported to Miller Kaplan in the markets where Emmis competes (excluding barter and syndication revenue) were up 1.6% in markets down 3.7%. Emmis likes to frame its revenue in the context of how it performed against the markets. It goes on to say, “February marked the 15th consecutive month in which Emmis outperformed the markets in which it competes. Every measured Emmis market outperformed for full year fiscal 2015. Emmis stations in New York, Los Angeles and Austin all outperformed their markets in the fourth fiscal quarter.” President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments on the company and the NextRadio platform. “Despite weakened markets and a challenged industry, Emmis once again outperformed. The radio industry needs a catalyst for growth, and we are convinced we have it with NextRadio, the Emmis-developed free smartphone app that marries over-the-air local FM broadcasts with visual and interactive features. The radio industry’s consumer awareness campaign for NextRadio has had remarkable results, further validating the promotional power of radio. Consumers exposed to NextRadio overwhelmingly love it. Average Time Spent Listening (ATSL) per session on NextRadio is nearly double traditional listening, all major radio companies are supporting the effort, and we are adding 350,000 activations each month. The momentum is tremendous.”
Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Up 2.5%. That’s compared to the same period one year ago. The company’s 2015 first quarter net revenue was $81,118,000. The press release also notes Local Advertising net revenue was flat; Live Events net revenue increased 5.1%, and 59.7% excluding non-recurring festivals; and Other Media and Entertainment net revenue increased 29.%. Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “In the first quarter of 2015, we delivered net revenue growth of 6.5% excluding political revenue and non-recurring festivals. We are pleased with our first quarter performance, in the face of challenges presented by harsh weather conditions which particularly affected our Northeastern markets. These challenges impacted our Local Advertising segment and were offset by the strength in our Live Events segment and in Other Media and Entertainment.”
Salem Media Group Flat for First Quarter of 2015. As a whole, Salem Media Group reports flat net revenue – down 0.8% revenue of $61.9 million — for the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago. Breaking it down by sector, the broadcasting division saw net revenue dip 0.5% to $46.5 million from $46.8 million. The digital sector also reversed course and dropped 4.6% on revenue of $10.8 million. Publishing, on the other hand, rose 6.2% to $4.5 million from $4.3 million.
Schatz Back with Advantage Systems. The sales consultancy firm Advantage Systems Inc. brings Jeffrey A. Schatz back into the fold as director of integrated sales. Schatz comes to the company from Digity Companies where he was director of revenue development. Prior to that he was vice president of total marketing solutions for Townsquare Media from 2009-14. Schatz comments, “I am excited to be joining Advantage Systems Inc. again! I’ve spent the last seven years helping broadcast companies generate revenue through integrated selling. Advantage offers a variety of integrated sales platforms, which align perfectly with my experience in helping media companies maximize their sales efforts in broadcast, online, digital, and interactive. These platforms will generate an annual revenue base for our media partners in their local markets. I’ve also been involved with Musical Images and Custom Creative and am excited to be able to offer these services through Advantage Systems Creative to enhance local clients’ existing marketing efforts. It’s the perfect marriage!” Advantage president Mike Loconte says, “We are ecstatic to have a veteran like Jeff back on our team. Jeff knows the challenges experienced by our media partners first hand. He knows the ins and outs and he’s worn every hat, so he can relate to our clients in a very unique way. His experience in traditional and digital sales along with his creative experience makes him the perfect fit for this position.”
Sanchez Adds WLZL OM Duties. WNEW-FM, Washington, D.C. program director Robert Sanchez takes on further responsibilities as operations manager of CBS Radio Spanish tropical sibling WLZL “El Zol 107.9 FM.” He succeeds Pete Manriquez, who was the program director of “El Zol.” Senior vice president and market manager Steve Swenson comments, “We have a lot of talented people at ‘El Zol’ who will work with Rob in taking the station to new heights. The experiences of everyone will be of great help to Rob as the team works together. Rob is a straight shooter, he knows CBS Radio, and he is a winner. I would like to thank Pete for his work as one of the executives on my team.” Sanchez remarks, “Pete did a great job in creating a radio station that sounds wonderful. He has been incredibly supportive of his programming staff and it has shown in what comes out of the speakers.” Ever since all-news WNEW-FM debuted in November 2011, Sanchez has been the station’s only PD. Among persons 6+ in Washington, D.C.’s latest Nielsen Audio PPM report (March 2015), WLZL (1.9) and WNEW-FM (1.7) finish at #19 and #20, respectively; meanwhile, Hubbard all-news WTOP (9.1) is the market’s (6+) pacesetter for the third successive survey.
Chicago News, Talk and Urban Radio Pro Ty Wansley Dead at 63. A week after being admitted to a Chicago hospital suffering from congestive heart failure, Ty Wansley has died. Wansley’s career in Chicago spanned more than three decades and included success in urban, news, and talk formats. Wansley had been serving as the news and information director for iHeartMedia’s three urban outlets: hip hop WGCI, urban AC WVAZ and gospel WGRB. He began his career in his native St. Louis. He became news director at the old WBMX, Chicago, served as a talk host on urban talk outlet WVON and was famously paired up with former Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak on news/talk WLS-AM in 1993 – a show that became a ratings smash. That show continued its success on crosstown WJJD.
Baltimore Aftermath, Prophet Drawing Contest Attack, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Tsarnaev Penalty Phase, Gay Marriage SCOTUS Case, Obama Trade Deal, Amnesty Issue, and Patriots Deflategate Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The political repercussions of the Freddie Gray death in Baltimore; controversy over the Garland, Texas prophet-drawing contest that was attacked by purported ISIS sympathizers; the ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Family Foundation operations; the penalty phase of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; the case of four states with anti-gay marriage laws that went before the Supreme Court; President Obama’s foreign trade deal; the controversy over amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S.; and the NFL’s report on the Patriots’ deflation of game balls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
If you have the background and experience–and really know what you’re getting into…
If you have the money to do a deal and operating capital to run your station competitively until you become profitable…
If you utilize sound business fundamentals and don’t overpay for a station…
If you put your ego in “park”…
Sean Hannity Says Times Have Reached a Seriously Important ‘Tipping Point’ – Candidly Discusses Wide Variety of Media/Industry Issues on Michael Harrison’s ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk superstar Sean Hannity on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Hannity cover a variety of fascinating topics including the changing nature of how politics is (and should be) handled in talk media as well as challenges presented by the digital age in achieving accurate audience measurement (a subject he will be spearheading at Talkers New York 2015) and his condemnation of the practice of organized political groups trying to “catch” talk show hosts with whom they disagree saying something politically incorrect for the sake of shutting them down. He explains that the days of predictable arguments about politics within the traditional “right versus left” paradigm are over… or at least they are for him. He states, “Here’s an interesting evolution of my show… I am far more critical of Republicans than I am of Democrats these days… my argument being that they should know better… they are not articulating an inspiring vision that lets people who don’t have hope today know that their lives could be better.” Hannity goes on to say that these times and today’s issues are so serious that talk show hosts need to re-evaluate what they consider to be “entertainment” in their medium. He examines the unique set of functions being a talk show host encompasses and the many different roles they play in doing their jobs: “Some days I might be a newsmaker, some days I might be at the White House interviewing a president. I might be interviewing a secretary of defense or a secretary of state. Sometimes I might be interviewing a top newsmaker based on what the issues of the day are. Another day I might be fostering a debate on the social issues that happen to be in the news. Sometimes I am interacting with callers. At other times, I’m giving a monologue with strong opinions. That is by definition what a talk show host is… it is a unique role in the media. It is unlike any other position that exists out there. Reporters are supposed to report on the news and never give their opinion. Anchors and reporters are supposed to be fair, balanced and objective. That’s not my role. My role is not to be fair and balanced… but at times, will I do a straight interview about news and facts or maybe the content of a book or an experience that somebody had while fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan or maybe their role in the CIA or the FBI or maybe their life as a Navy Seal? Of course! And that falls under the umbrella of what is our unique role as a talk show host which enables us to do a lot of different things… and then, maybe on a Friday when I’m kind of sick and tired of the news, I’ll put on Jim Norton or Larry the Cable Guy or any comedian and we’ll just have a fun half hour or hour or we’ll just goof around with calls and I’ll just be having fun with the listeners.” In describing Sean Hannity, Michael Harrison states, “I know Sean has his share of political critics – but that comes with the territory of being a compelling radio/TV talk show host in the modern era. Sean’s success as a professional performer is borne out by the numbers and track record he has accrued and maintained for such a long period of time. What many people who only see and hear him as a media performer do not realize is that he is an outstandingly admirable human being… as a family man, colleague and positive spirit.” To listen to Sean Hannity on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com.
Brady: What to Consider Before Buying a Radio Station. Radio sales/management pro and president of Futures & Options Inc, Bill Brady, presents his perspective on the business of radio station ownership in a column published today (5/6). Brady writes that for anyone planning to get into the radio business these days, there are some serious points he believes need to be considered first. “Over the years, too many bloated egos have crashed and burned on the rocks of radio station ownership. Some were small players who misjudged situations, overpaid for stations, stupidly signed personal guarantees and went bankrupt. Some huge corporate egos have also lost their groups when they tried to pull off acquisitions too big to digest when economic adversity inevitably came along.” Is there a future for the entrepreneurial owner without a personal fortune to spend? Brady says, “Yes, I said it is still a good business for the time being. Radio stations in 2015 can still generate 30% cash flow. But, we can’t stop time and with every passing year there is more competition for media time and ad dollars. And that’s before the ‘connected car’ achieves critical mass.” Read Brady’s entire column here.
Molly Paige Joins Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day.’ Joining the Stephen Multimedia-produced, nationally syndicated morning program “Good Day” is news radio pro Molly Paige. She takes on the co-host and news anchor role effective immediately. Paige, most recently working in network news in Washington, comments, “I knew this would be the situation worth waiting for from the very first time I talked with Doug. He has created a show that informs his audience with the top trending news stories and then entertains them with his personal insight. I look forward to adding my perspective to the show.” Paige has also worked at Los Angeles signals KABC, KLOS, KRLA, KCBS-FM and in San Antonio on WOAI. Doug Stephan says, “The addition of Molly to the ‘Good Day’ team of Rich McFadden, Jennifer Horn and Ken Kessler will help us continue to deliver fast and fun morning conversation. She has great energy and we are thrilled to introduce her to our loyal listeners.”
WDBO, Orlando to Present Domestic Violence Awareness Panel. This evening (5/6), Cox Media Group news/talk outlet WDBO, Orlando “News 96.5” is presenting a live, one-hour program to “raise new awareness about Central Florida’s growing domestic violence problem and ask listeners to take action in support of eliminating domestic violence.” The event is a partnership with The George C. Young American Inn of Court – an organization of more than 125 lawyers and judges dedicated to improving professionalism in the practice of law in Central Florida. Titled, “Awareness & Action: Domestic Violence,” the panel will include Belvin Perry, former chief judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial; Jeff Ashton, Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney who was on the prosecution team in the Casey Anthony trial; Sherri DeWitt, “News 96.5” legal analyst and founder of The DeWitt Law Firm in Orlando; and Carol Wick, CEO for local domestic violence outreach, Harbor House of Central Florida, Inc. The panel will be moderated by Joe Kelley, host of “Orlando’s Morning News” on “News 96.5,” and Nancy Alvarez, WFTV-TV, Orlando news anchor. It will be broadcast live on WDBO at 7:00 pm and will be videostreamed on the CMG Orlando radio station websites.
Bold Gold Foundation to Present Citizenship Award at Inaugural Fundraiser. The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation – formed by Bold Gold Media Group to help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators – is holding its Inaugural Fundraising and Dinner Event on May 19 at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The evening will feature citizen-journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas as the guest speaker in addition to the presentation of the 2015 Atlas Award for Citizenship to Bob Tambur – a Northeast Pennsylvania business leader and philanthropist. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto says, “Radio broadcasting is the most powerful, informative, and persuasive medium in the world, and the news and talk formats are extremely demanding, and like all media, evolving… and we need the best and brightest communicators of tomorrow to begin preparing for these fields today.” Bold Gold states that the Atlas Award is presented to an individual who, through their hard work and bold actions, show what is possible to achieve in a free society, and who exhibits extraordinary dedication to the highest ideals of character, community service, entrepreneurialism, patriotism, leadership, and virtue.
Hank Goldberg to Assume Afternoons on WMEN, West Palm Beach. According to a report in the Florida Sun-Sentinel, former ESPN reporter and analyst Hank Goldberg will be hosting the afternoon drive show on James Crystal Radio-owned sports talker WMEN, Royal Palms, Florida “640 Sports.” Hank “The Hammer” Goldberg worked at both WIOD and WQAM in Miami during his radio career and spent 20 years with ESPN. James Crystal has not commented on the move and Joe Raineri is currently afternoon personality.
Odds & Sods. The 2015 New York Emmy Awards were held on Saturday (5/2) and multimedia talker Lionel of LionelMedia.com received the Emmy for commentary and editorial writing for his work at WPIX Channel 11…..Los Angeles all-news KNX “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting the KNX Business Hour’s 2015 Small Business Summit on Friday, May 8 at Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. The event, titled “Achieving Small Business Success,” is designed to give small business owners and those thinking about starting a business insight into the key challenges of turning a passion into a profitable venture. KNX Business Hour anchor Frank Mottek will moderate a special guest panel of business experts…..CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media are debuting the “WOOOOO! Nation” podcast to its Play.it platform. The podcast features former pro wrestler Ric Flair, also known as The Nature Boy.
Baltimore Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Prophet Cartoon Shooting Incident, California Drought, Kofi Annan Insect Proposal, Obama Trade Deal, and Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). The legal and political effects of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore; the growing list of potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Family Foundation; the Garland, Texas prophet drawing contest and questions about ISIS attacks on U.S. soil; action being taken in California to address the state’s ongoing drought; former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s suggestion eating insects will help combat global warming; the political battles over President Obama’s proposed trade deal; and the amnesty for illegals issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom 2015 Q1 Revenue Flat. Net revenue for the first quarter of 2015 was $78.4 million – up just a tick from the $87.2 million reported during the same period a year ago. Entercom says station expenses increased 2% to $59.2 million while station operating income decreased 6% to $19.2 million. President and CEO David Field states, “Entercom’s first quarter revenues were up slightly over the prior year as significant market share gains were offset by sluggish advertising conditions. We are very much looking forward to completing our acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and adding its terrific new markets and brands to our lineup. In the meantime, we are complying with the Department of Justice’s review of this transaction which would provide us with a second-place position with a 32% pro-forma share of the Denver radio market.”
WTIC-AM, Hartford Lays Off News Director Dana Whalen. At the local level, CBS RADIO’s WTIC-AM, Hartford is taking a bit of flak from news junkies and those who’ve worked in the business in the market for the dismissal of longtime station news director Dana Whalen. Hartford Courant columnist and one-time WTIC-AM air personality Colin McEnroe writes an eloquent piece praising Whalen for her professionalism during her long career. He writes, “I’ve heard from many of my former colleagues, all of them shaking their heads over this one.” You can read that piece here.
Halemane Joins Premiere Networks. Vice president of digital media is the title Kavi Halemane is being given. In defining that role, Premiere Networks’ chief product officer Chris Williams comments, “Kavi will be responsible for managing Premiere’s digital media product, editorial, and social strategy. His mission is to grow loyalty and engagement between our talent and audience by delivering a compelling digital platform to extend their brands. Kavi’s previous experience creating world-class digital communities for marquee artists has him perfectly positioned to excel in this role.” According to Halemane, “I’m very excited to be returning to the New York City area to join [Premiere parent] iHeartMedia under Chris Williams. Premiere Networks has a pedigree for great content. I look forward to expanding their brands in digital through this leadership role by infusing new strategic solutions, partnerships, and innovation.” Most recently Beverly Hills-based, Halemane was executive vice president of digital for The Collective. His past credits include marketing-digital strategist for Interscope, Geffen, and A&M Records; head of new media and digital production for PE-KO International Records; and co-founder of howellbands.com.
John Dickey and Michael Harrison to Conduct “Fireside Chat” at Talkers New York 2015. The agenda for Talkers New York 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most powerful in its colorful history. One of the highlights of what promises to be a stimulating day of relevant discussions, presentations, and addresses will be a conversation between Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The presentation will be conducted in the informal, one-on-one “fireside chat” format. John Dickey is responsible for Cumulus’ sales, programming, marketing, promotion and engineering and will offer comments, opinions and information about a wide variety of issues presently facing talk radio, as well as the entire spectrum of radio formats. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “There are few people as ‘plugged in’ to both the day-to-day operations as well as the big picture of commercial radio in America today than John Dickey. He has extensive, first-hand knowledge about what’s happening in the business and plays an enormous role in influencing policy – plus he has a true passion for radio and its position in our society. I look forward to this session with enthusiasm and plan on it providing our attendees with a lot of valuable takeaways.” The 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention will take place on Friday, June 12, 2015. It will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. The all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm — is on the verge of selling out within a matter of days. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is days away, so avoid being shut out by registering now! To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Iconic Rock Singer Is Available for Talk Radio Interviews. News/talk radio hosts seem to enjoy occasionally changing the tempo of their shows by interviewing interesting guests from the world of pop culture. Especially names from the golden era of music and radio that are still actively going strong. Such is the case with Peter Rivera — the legendary original lead singer and drummer for the eternally classic songs “I Just Want to Celebrate” and “Get Ready” by the legendary band Rare Earth. Still in heavy rotation on classic rock radio and strategically placed in many TV commercials, any baby boomer rock aficionado will remember that booming voice and those powerful drums on the group’s long series of hits. During their reign of stardom, Rare Earth sold more than 25 million records with five top 10 singles. (Seven gold, one double-platinum, and two platinum albums.) Peter’s story is one of those all-American classics; a kind of “rags to riches” tale in which an obscure white boy, growing up in a red-brick row house in Detroit, Michigan, finds his way out of the grimy, blue-collar neighborhood that spawned a whole generation of factory workers, dock hands, and “tough-guy” bar brawlers to the big time glitz and glam of the pop music industry. Rare Earth was the first all-white band signed to Motown Records that broke through with hit records. Now at 70, Rivera still puts out a powerful sound and is a striking figure in concerts perched behind his drums and belting out tunes from a brand new album, It Is What it Is. To download the album and set up an interview, please click here.
Odds & Sods. In Chico, California, Chris Singleton takes over the program director duties at talk KYMC from Bob “The Fish” Fischetti. Singleton also programs Huth Broadcasting’s co-owned alternative KVXX…..A new daily feature targeting women is being produced by ABC News Radio. “Your Body,” hosted by ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton, is a new daily audio report geared towards helping women achieve better health and wellness. It debuts on May 26. Dr. Ashton is also seen on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America.”…..In advance of today’s presentation of the 2015 James Beard Awards (for culinary excellence), Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York presented interviews with a selection of New York’s James Beard Award Nominees including: Barbuto’s Jonathon Waxman, Cosme’s Enrique Olvera, and Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey. A radio special aired on Sunday night and videos were available via wabcradio.com. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “New York’s restaurant business is extremely competitive and the James Beard Award is coveted. These chef nominees give WABC’s audience a rare peek into their businesses and their craft.”
Dr. Oz Hooks On with iHM. Well that didn’t take long. Just this past Thursday (TALKERS, 4/30), we reported that Harpo Productions is pulling the plug on Westwood One-syndicated “The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.” Now comes word that Dr. Mehmet Oz is entering into partnership with iHeartMedia. According to iHM Networks president Darren Davis, “We have been great fans of Dr. Oz and we are thrilled to be able to give him this much larger platform – from broadcast to digital and mobile. We could not be more excited to be working with him.” Dr. Oz comments, “I have always seen radio as a terrific way to reach people in their daily routines and deliver health information in a way that is fun and easy-to-understand. After many years of visiting iHeartMedia studios all over the country, they were the obvious partner for my brand – given their wildly successful brands, amazing on-air talent, and commitment to the wellness of America.” The Harpo Productions-Westwood One news came shortly after at least 1,000 doctors stated they believe Dr. Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for him to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Dr. Oz has promoted products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel he should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should resign and have his license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Late last month (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. The final Westwood One version of “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be fed to affiliates in approximately four weeks (Friday, 5/29); his iHeartMedia commitment takes effect “the latter part” of this year.
Altoona, Pennsylvania Talk Personality Charlie Weston Dead at 65. Just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, Altoona, Pennsylvania market talk radio personality Charlie Weston has died at age 65. Weston worked for more than 30 years in the market at news/talk stations WRTA and WFBG. In addition to his talk show work, Weston also called local high school sporting events.
By Holland Cooke
Holland Cooke Media
Talk Radio Consultant
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Since his Sandra Fluke faux pas, a relentless boycott effort has scared-off big national advertisers. Yet — and I speak from experience at client stations — this show sure can be a local money-maker.
- This guy moves product. Evidence: additional national inventory, since the boycott, to make-up for departed blue-chip accounts (those live spots Rush sneaks-in after the stopset). They’re there because they get results. Many are Direct Response deals, no guesswork there. And non-traditional B-to-B radio advertisers like Mahindra Tractors are selling high ticket stuff to the like-minded out thar’ on The Fruited Plain.
BINGHAM FARMS, MI — Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use.
No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans. In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.
A Down First Quarter for Cumulus Media. The numbers here are compared to the same period in 2014. Cumulus Media reports 2015 Q1 net revenue dipped 7.2% on income of $271,079,000. Revenue was down across the board at the company in the first quarter and here’s the breakdown: broadcast revenue was $251 million (down 7%) and digital revenue was $8.06 million (down 16.4%). Political ad revenue was down 67.7% and a portion of the net revenue drop was due to an increase in the license fees and other category which rose 9.1%. Breaking down the broadcast revenue a bit further, local and national spot sales were down a bit – 3.6% and 2.4% respectively – but network revenue sank 13% on income of $86.7 million.
Radio One Down 4.8% in Q1. Urban media operator Radio One reports a down first quarter of 2015 on income $105.8 million – a drop of 4.8%. The company saw positive results in its cable TV advertising sector – up 9.9% — and that helped ease some of the decline in other sectors. The radio broadcasting segment was down 9.4%. Radio advertising was down 5.5% and digital advertising dipped 6.1%. Meanwhile, in the category “event revenue & other” Radio One dropped a dramatic 82.6%, due in part to a timing issue relative to annual events.
Inside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan. Using data from its recent Techsurvey 11, Jacobs Media presents this analysis of the media usage of the typical sports radio fan. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use. No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans. In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.” Some of the media habits of sports radio fans that the survey highlights center around the smartphone. Sports radio P1s are very frequent texters and they stream audio and video on a more frequent basis than P1s of other radio formats. For more, see the full story here.
YES-YOU-CAN Sell Rush Limbaugh. Media consultant Holland Cooke presents some tested means of selling the “controversial” leading news/talk radio host – Rush Limbaugh. As Cooke points out, just because there’s been some backlash against Limbaugh’s show and his affiliate stations doesn’t mean stations can’t find sponsors for the show. After, as Cooke observes, “This guy moves product.” In this piece he offers some thoughts on whom to prospect, how to write spots that work and how storytelling can work in your favor. Read it here.
Michael Harrison to Do 60-Second Daily Feature on Media for Boston Herald Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has entered into an agreement with the Boston Herald to write and perform a weekly 60-second feature titled “Michael Harrison on the Media” beginning Monday (5/4) that will be dropped into the pioneering online station’s programming flow several times a day as well as its growing network of terrestrial partners. In it, Harrison explores the direct connection between media and the human condition – past, present and future – commenting on the impact of changing communications technology on society and culture. According to Harrison, “I love the idea of being connected with such a forward-thinking organization as the Boston Herald and its ground-breaking media station, Boston Herald Radio. Creating one of these tight little pieces each week helps sharpen my insights and ability to express them and just like my weekly, longform podcast ‘Up Close and Far Out’ on Podcast One, it gives me the opportunity, at this seasoned stage in my life, to dabble in speculation about the broader scope of media outside the radio industry itself for a worldwide consumer audience of ‘media freaks.’ What fun!” Boston Herald Radio Network executive producer Tom Shattuck tells TALKERS, “I am thrilled to have these exclusive commentaries by Michael Harrison running on our platform!” To hear an installment of “Michael Harrison on Media” please click below.
Spectrum of Talk Radio Programming to Be Addressed on “Variety, the Spice of Life” Panel at Talkers New York 2015. At the Talkers New York 2015 conference taking place on June 12, talk personalities from a variety of styles of programming will discuss the industry, their roles in it, and the future of talk content when they appear on the “Variety the Spice of Life” panel. Moderated by TALKERS general manager of radio operations David Bernstein, the panel will feature: Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host at classic rock-formatted WAQY “Rock 102,” Springfield, MA; Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network; Tony Bruno, WIP-FM, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann of WYD Media; Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, WOLB, Baltimore. This panel will present hosts from disparate backgrounds and radio formats, including a rock jock appealing to listeners immersed in rock and pop culture; the industry’s longest-running radio psychologist; a season sports talk pro; a progressive host with a multi-disciplined background; a nationally syndicated morning talk generalist; and an urban personality working mornings and heavily involved in the community on a local station. Bernstein says, “This will be an exciting panel to moderate – there is so much more to talk radio than one would think having it always described in the media as just a bunch of conservative white men talking politics.” Talkers New York 2015 takes place on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in New York City’s financial district. Space is limited, so register today by calling 413-565-5413. For the full agenda, please click here.
PodcastOne Platform to Host Bossip Podcast. Bossip.com is billed as the “premier online destination for African American popular culture and entertainment news.” Now, it is partnering with PodcastOne to produce the “Bossip Presents: Don’t Be Scared” podcast. A press release says, “The weekly podcast is a viciously funny conversation between Bossip’s awkward, quirky and at times terrifyingly honest trio, Bossip staffer-hosts David Dennis, Jason “Jah” Lee and Danielle “Danni” Canada. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Bossip.com has built a great digital platform that hits the right points of humor and news in entertainment gossip. This new podcast extends their site to the rapidly growing audio-digital platform, and provides a strong content addition to our roster of websites who have turned to podcasting as an impactful way to communicate with their loyal audience.”
Done Deal: Alpha Closes on Coast Radio and Free Lance-Star Stations. There are seven more radio stations officially in the Portland-based Alpha Media fold after the closing took place on the deals with Coast Radio Company and Free Lance-Star Radio. As previously reported when the sales were announced, Alpha gets three California signals from Coast: adult contemporary-formatted trio KUIC, Vacaville, KKIQ, Livermore, and KKDV, Walnut Creek. And from Free Lance-Star it acquires: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia. Alpha chief Larry Wilson says, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with such great employees at all of the stations. Each cluster is exceptional and brings its own unique attributes to the company, allowing us to build a diverse and dynamic culture.”
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Leslie Marshall joins the iHeartRadio platform as her podcast is now being featured there. Marshall also announces she’s begun writing a blog for Blue Nation Review and has penned her first column titled, “It’s 2015 and Sexism Is Alive and Well in Clinton Coverage.”…..Getting a national presence is WINS, New York weekend news anchor David Weiss who has two features that will be distributed by America’s Talk Radio Network. The five-minute “News for You” show features Weiss’ take on the world and national news and the two-minute “Slice of Life” is a more offbeat take on daily life…..In Seattle, Ed Ronco is the new local host of “All Things Considered” on KPLU. He’s been with the station for two years and also hosts a weekly travel segment titled, “Going Places.”
Salem’s Capitol Gang. Posing for a shot at Salem Media Group’s reception at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening (4/30) are (from l-r): Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich, hosts Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher. The event was to honor freshmen members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. It was also attended by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U. S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge add new affiliates to their roster including: KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga market trimulcast WSDT, WEPG, and WSDQ; KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; and KAZZ, Parowan, Utah and its Cedar City, Utah K253BU at 98.5 FM…..The Marilu Henner show is added to the program schedule at: KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; WGGH, Marion, Illinois; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; KHUC-FM, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Baltimore Protests and Violence Top Talkers TenTM. The week of protests, violence and questions about the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody were all facets of the most-talked-about story of the week. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the 2016 presidential prospects. At #3 was scrutiny of the operations of the Clinton Foundation followed by the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage statutes at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2015 Released. There isn’t really much in the 2015 edition of the Pew Research Center’s “State of the News Media” report that’s surprising, but for those who like to put hard numbers to what most industry observers already suspect, it serves that purpose. In the audio category (AM/FM, online streams, satellite radio), Pew uses Nielsen Media Research data and reports that 53% of Americans 12-plus have listened to online radio in the past month – an increase from 27% in 2010. Not surprisingly, smartphone usage for listening is overtaking laptops and desktops as the technology of choice with 73% having listened via a smartphone in the past week. Laptop/desktop listening in the last week was reported by 61%. Internet-based listening in the automobile continues to increase with “more than a third of U.S. adult cellphone owners (35%) having listened to online radio in the car. That is substantially more than the 21% who did so in 2013, and nearly six times the number (6%) who had done so in 2010.” The study breaks out podcasting separately and states, “The percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the past month has almost doubled since 2008, from 9% to 17% by January of 2015. The percentage listening in 2015 was up two points over 2014 levels (15%).” The “State of the News Media” also looks at other news media – newspapers, cable news, network news, public broadcasting and more. See the whole study here.
iHeartMedia Reports Q1 Revenue Up 4%. For the first quarter of 2015, iHeartMedia reported its consolidated revenue increased 4% to $1.4 billion in 2015 compared to 2014 after adjusting for a $54 million unfavorable impact from movements in foreign exchange rates. On a reported basis, consolidated revenues were slightly up. The company says revenue increased $28 million, or 4%, driven primarily by the traffic, weather and syndication businesses, as well as events. Revenue growth was partially offset by lower core local broadcast radio advertising revenue.
Friedman: Talk Radio Remains a Great Venue for Publicity. Public relations pro Marsha Friedman pens a regular column titled The PR Insider that is read widely by the public relations industry and its clients. As CEO of EMSI Public Relations, Friedman has decades of experience in the PR biz and is very bullish on the power of talk radio to get a message across. Her most recent piece is about talk radio’s effectiveness. For this, she reached out to TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison who says, “Research continues to indicate that talk radio is where a high concentration of voters and active consumers are indeed listening. Talk radio also puts the spotlight on important issues that for reasons of ratings, circulation or sizzle the rest of the mainstream media often tends to ignore or simply bury.” Friedman explains the benefits of talk radio from her experience which you can read here.
Harpo Dumps “Daily Dose.” Affiliates received word yesterday (Wednesday, 4/29) from Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green that, “After many years, Harpo Productions has decided to end production of ‘The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz’ feature.” This comes shortly after at least 1,000 doctors say they believe Dr. Mehmet Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for the host of the eponymous one-hour Dr. Oz television program to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Oz has promoted products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel Dr. Oz should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should both resign and have his license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Last Thursday (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. As an option to Dr. Oz’s soon-to-be defunct radio feature, Westwood One is suggesting “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta,” a feature it distributes from CNN‘s chief medical correspondent. The final “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be sent to stations four weeks from tomorrow (Friday, 5/29).
An Eerie First for MLB. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini in the press box at Camden Yards in Baltimore covering Wednesday’s Baltimore Orioles-Chicago White Sox game that was played with no fans in attendance due to the violence and unrest after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.
Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nukes Issue, Economy Slows in First Quarter, and Nepal Quake Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). The simmering protests in Baltimore and a report that Freddie Gray appeared to be trying to hurt himself in the police van; talk about the Supreme Court arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage laws; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the issues surrounding negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the GDP report indicating the economy slowed during the first three months of 2015; and the aftermath of Saturday’s earthquake that’s devastated Nepal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity
This time it’s Baltimore — a city long polarized by economic disparities, troubled schools and strained relations between law enforcement and its citizens.
Civil unrest has rocked several neighborhoods, resulting in injury and destruction. The numbers tell the story: nearly 250 arrests as of this writing, almost 150 vehicles set on fire, numerous buildings looted and burned, nearly two dozen police officers hurt.
BINGHAM FARMS, MI — In this year’s Techsurvey, conducted in January/February, 2015, more than 200 stakeholder radio stations across North America contributed 41,600+ respondents, making it the largest study of its kind in broadcasting.
TS11 is web-based, comprised mostly of members of email databases. Pareto’s Principle – known as “The 80:20 Rule” – states that 20% of a population contributes 80% of the results. This basic relationship holds up well in sales, as well as in the ratings. And in this survey, you’re looking at “The 20%.”
Pursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest. Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand. ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri. He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future. Read his entire piece here.
Lew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity Partners‘ Robert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his term ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.
Red Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington. The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid. Red Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area. We look forward to having Dan join our team. He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”
What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station. In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s. He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing. “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio. They are less apt to be social networkers. Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids. The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.” See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair. Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform. New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber. The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style. “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.” It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”
Salem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims. Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal. The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE. SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area. The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.
Fisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets. As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.” Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling. The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.” Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.” Schick met his wife in a military hospital. Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House. The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson. For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to email@example.com with the word “radio” in the subject line.
Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Baltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”
WFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens. Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self. According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough. A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day. He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed. Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored. “If you are ignored, you are dead.” Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek. In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”). After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1. In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium. Radio is a performer’s medium.” He explains, “Radio is unvarnished. It is visceral. It is emotional. Television is more packaged and homogenized.” Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us. People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television. They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations. They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.” Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.” He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone. It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years? Now everyone does. THAT is an opportunity!” In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise. What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique! All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough. He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.” To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One. Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake. In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations. His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One. Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.
SiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%. Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014. The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014. Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008. Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29. The program has been airing on both since 2009. Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities. Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree is adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets. WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup. biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting our neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel. The final show is this Thursday. Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3. “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment. Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds. The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000. WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good. We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community. [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative. We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”
Limbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway. For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor. It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.
Music and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network. New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K. TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.” Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose. During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes. Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted. I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart. If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring. After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”
Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
GREENWOOD, SC — Notwithstanding that their accomplishments often go unheralded nationally, operators of radio properties in small markets are consistently responsible for some of the industry’s most exemplary programming.
These days, of course, it is difficult to find an operator in any market who is not scraping for literally every dollar and burning the candle at both ends.
Tremendous admiration is felt particularly for those owners endeavoring it in America’s multitude of small towns, with virtually each license-holder personally doing an air-shift; overseeing programming; and, most likely, the bulk – if not all – of the selling. Indeed, this dizzying juggling act by small-market radio station owners necessitates the wearing of many hats.
WTIC-AM, Hartford Goes Sports Talk in PM Drive. The CBS RADIO-owned news/talk station calls it a “game-changer” in afternoon drive as it will debut the “Joe D and Gresh” sports talk program this afternoon at 3:00 pm ET. Joe D’Ambrosio is a New York sports fan and Andy Gresh favors the Boston teams. D’Ambrosio – an award-winning sportscaster – has been with WTIC for 23 years, serving as the “voice” of the UConn Huskies. Gresh most recently worked at the company’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” in middays. WTIC-AM OM Steve Salhany says, “We are excited to begin this next chapter of afternoon drive on WTIC. Sports has always been a huge part of WTIC Radio and now we are dedicating time every afternoon for sports fans, regardless of where their loyalties lie, to come together and talk about their teams.” The station’s previous full-time afternoon host was former Connecticut Governor John Rowland recently sentenced for election law violations, his second federal conviction.
Clark Joins CÜR Media as CCO. Former executive vice president of programming for Sirius Satellite Radio – Jay Clark – is named CÜR Media‘s chief content officer. Founder and chief executive officer Tom Brophy comments, “We are excited to have Jay on the team in this important role, essentially as our chief curator. His vast experience in building content for disruptive technologies has helped shape the initial design work for CÜR Music. Now, as our chief content officer, we believe he will help us change the course of music streaming in the same way Sirius changed the course of radio. Jay has led several notable programming radio turnarounds in tier one markets, and has decades of major market programming successes with leading broadcast companies. His experience will be invaluable.” Clark remarks, “I am extremely excited to take on this important role at CÜR Media as they move toward the launch of this dynamic mobile and web music experience. Much like Sirius was for radio, CÜR Music is a truly disruptive streaming product that, when complemented with a line of unique programming, will offer a comprehensive music experience at a very compelling price point. I look forward to driving that development as we work toward our product launch later this year.” Clark has been consulting the company for roughly the past year (May 2014). Prior to Sirius, his past credits include being program director of Los Angeles talker KLSX (now CBS Radio CHR KAMP “Amp Radio”); WABC, New York; program director of Orlando FM talker WTKS; Comedy World‘s vice president and general manager of radio; and Winstar Communications’ vice president of radio.
Profile: Anne Eller of WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina. These days, small-town radio operators know better than anyone how challenging it can be to keep the business going. Today, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian introduces readers to WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner Anne Eller, who not only tells an interesting tale of how she got into the talk radio and radio ownership business, but also shares her programming philosophy for operating a standalone AM in a small rural market. She says, “All the big shows are hitting the same issues but they are missing that there are so many good stories out there on the local level. We are becoming too homogenized. Every area is different and we have to hit on that.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire profile here.
Talk Talent to Discuss Strategies for Successful Career at Talkers New York 2015 on June 12. A diverse panel of seven talk show hosts will discuss their careers in the talk radio business and their strategies for success in the current business climate. Moderated by WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director (and former successful air talent) Bill Hess, the session will explore the varied careers and employment situations the panelists bring to the table and get insights into their philosophies about the business and what it takes to be an effective host and valuable brand. Taking part on the panel will be (in alphabetical order): KTRH, Houston-based syndicated host Michael Berry; WRKO, Boston-based syndicated host Howie Carr; Mandy Connell, KHOW, Denver/WHAS, Louisville; McGraw Milhaven, KTRS, St. Louis; Todd Schnitt, WOR, New York and Compass Media Networks; David Webb, SiriusXM; and Dan Yorke, WPRO, Providence. TALKERS magazine VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This panel of working talk hosts really brings the different ways in which a personality operates in today’s radio climate together in one room. Michael Berry and Howie Carr enjoy similar syndication situations, Dan Yorke and McGraw Milhaven are locally focused hosts dedicated to one market. Mandy Connell now works in two markets for the same company and brings the perspective of being a female in a male-dominated industry to the table. Todd Schnitt is doing both a major market local morning show and a nationally syndicated afternoon program while David Webb works within the satellite radio business model. Each of these broadcasters will have valuable experiences and stories to share with the attendees.” Talkers New York 2015 is nearing a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information, please click here.
WHO, Des Moines Host Simon Conway Helps Get Adult Visitation Law on Books in Iowa. After meeting Casey Kasem’s daughter Kerri and hearing first-hand the details of her family’s struggle just to get the opportunity to visit Casey as his health declined, WHO, Des Moines afternoon personality Simon Conway promised her he would help her achieve her goal of getting adult visitation laws on the books in every state. So he worked to get a bill moving through the system in Iowa and on Friday, April 24, Governor Terry Branstad signed it into law making Iowa the first state to have such a law. After the signing, Kasem (left) joined Conway (right) in the WHO studios. Conway tells TALKERS, “She was just so excited and a little tearful. We all were. Radio can get things done. And a 50,000-watt blowtorch like WHO can perhaps get more things done. Now we’ve helped change the law.” Conway contacted state politicians from both aides of the aisle and soon a bill drafted. Conway adds, “It was certainly fast. Just under three months from start to finish. Kerri came on my show and I found ways to remind various lawmakers that this was important. I’m so proud to have played a role in getting this on the books in Iowa.” The bill passed the Iowa Senate 50-0 and the Iowa House 97-0.
‘Jones and Mike Show’ Added to WCGO, Chicago. Two Chicago radio pros are hosting a new show that’s been added to the weekend schedule at Kovas Communications’ WCGO, Evanston, Illinois (Chicago market). Brian Jones and Mike Noonan tell TALKERS magazine their program was developed “to target 35 to 54-year-old listeners who like talk radio but have grown tired of strictly sports and political talk programming.” Jones says the program, available in syndication on a barter basis, “is different because we don’t follow the template that talk radio has seemingly fallen into where there’s this angry, confrontational, even contrived feel to the show. Who’s fighting and what for?” Jones is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory and worked as a writer/producer/cast member of the A&E paranormal reality series, “Paranormal Cops,” and has worked as a producer at WLS-AM and WYLL. Noonan has previously worked on air at WLUP-FM and in production at WUSN. He is former president of Broadcast Barter Radio Networks.
Gen Media Partners with School Sports Media to Develop Potential of Prep Athletics. In an effort to expand the potential value of high school sports for advertisers, Gen Media Partners is partnering with School Sports Media – a national school representation firm that delivers hyperlocal, community-based marketing solutions with cause-related benefits, hypertargeting mobile capabilities, and robust customization abilities. Gen Media CEO Kevin Garrity states, “High school sports are embedded in the culture of America and ignite strong passion in local communities across the country. The synergies with radio allow us to create unique local and regional advertising packages and draw revenue from promotional budgets that are earmarked for local sports marketing. Our alliance with Schools Sports Media enriches the multi-level Gen Media national/regional/local approach to ad sales representation and gives us another opportunity to introduce radio to new advertisers that have not used the medium previously.” School Sports Media creates customized brand engagement opportunities at high school and collegiate games, concerts, graduations, and other events with 65% of every sponsorship dollar going directly to the school, enhancing the brand’s connection with the passion of school sports’ fans. School Sports Media president Dave Shamberger comments, “We are committed to keeping kids playing sports in schools and delivering community marketing that matters to each of our brand partners. Aligning ourselves with Gen Med Partners will allow us to better serve schools across the entire country, while also expanding our local media platform capabilities.”
Compton Honored at White House Correspondents Dinner. One of the features of the annual White House Correspondents Dinner is paying tribute to the journalists who’ve recently retired from the business of covering the White House. Pictured here at last Saturday’s event is former ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton (second from left) standing alongside (from l-r) ABC News’ Steve Jones, Compton’s husband Dr. Bill Hughes and ABC News’ Andrew Kalb.
Jack Swanson to Lead KCBS, San Francisco Programming. Legendary spoken-word programmer Jack Swanson is named director of news and programming for KCBS “All News Radio 740AM and 106.9FM.” CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “Jack has a distinguished track record of leading iconic radio stations. He’s a terrific leader with a deep understanding of how a market leading station such as KCBS can be a trusted and active member of its community.” Swanson served for years as vice president of programming at Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. He began his radio career as a news anchor/reporter for WLS, Chicago before becoming the news and program director for KGO, San Francisco. From there he became president and general manager for KING-FM, Seattle. He says, “Being asked to lead one of the best news teams in the country is one of those rare situations that don’t present themselves often. I’m looking forward to contributing to the amazing growth of this legendary station in the years ahead.”
Fruge, Thomas Involved in CBS Radio Programming Changes. Concurrent with CBS Radio Las Vegas vice president of programming Charese Fruge transferring to Houston for similar duties (and to be operations manager there), the company promotes Cat Thomas to succeed Fruge in Las Vegas. Thomas will continue as day-to-day programmer of Las Vegas’ KXTE “X107.5 – Alternative First”; talk KXNT AM & FM; and KXST “CBS Sports Radio 1140.” Senior vice president and CBS Radio Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Charese is a talented programmer and leader. Her longstanding relationships in the music industry, passion for radio, and ability to create special experiences for the listener are an integral part of why she is such a great fit for Houston. We are thrilled to have her join the Houston team, as we continue to grow and build upon our brands under her guidance.” Fruge remarks, “This role is the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to finally be back in the south. I am honored and am looking forward to working with the Houston team to help take these amazing brands to the next level. I have made lifelong friends in Las Vegas and appreciate them always making me look good.” Meanwhile, senior vice president and CBS Radio Las Vegas market manager Jerry McKenna states, “Cat Thomas is a veteran programming executive whose experience in this market is unmatched. He has successfully programmed [CHR] KLUC for the better part of two decades and most recently, has been the driving force behind the success of our spoken-word brands. Our stations are in very capable hands.” According to Thomas, “This is a dream come true. We have the biggest brands in the market. I have loved this group since we put these stations together in 1996. None of this would be possible without the passion of our staff. As [the late Ohio State University football coach] Woody Hayes said, ‘You win with people,’ and we have great people from top to bottom.” A member of the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, Fruge will oversee programming for hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5”; sports outlets KIKK-AM and KILT-AM; country KILT-FM “The Bull”; CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7”; and Spanish contemporary KLOL “Mega 101.” She starts her new assignment – which will include day-to-day PD responsibilities for “Mix” and “Hot” – one week from Monday (5/4). Her resume includes on-air and programming stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, Denver, and New Orleans. In addition to KXTE, KXNT AM & FM, and KXST, Ohio State University alum Thomas will oversee CHR KLUC “Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” and hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.” Eight years after being night personality at KLUC, Thomas was elevated to program director (1996); he became PD of KXNT AM & FM, KXST, and KXTE last year. Similar to Fruge, Thomas’ first day on his new job is one week from Monday (5/4). Elsewhere at CBS Radio Las Vegas, KLUC assistant program director John “J.B. King” Bernard is promoted to program director and “Mix” assistant program director/music director Jonathan “J. Love” Campbell is boosted to PD of that station. Bernard joined KLUC 17 years ago and has been APD since 2001. He previously worked in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento. With CBS Radio Las Vegas the past three years, Campbell formerly programmed in Providence, Oxnard-Ventura (California), and Reno (Nevada).
The Howie Carr New England Juggernaut Rolls On. In a remarkable display of just how potent an independent regional talk radio network can be, radio/newspaper/author phenomenon Howie Carr continues to expand the reach of his Howie Carr Radio Network north into New Hampshire and southeast into Connecticut. Bringing the growing lineup to 22 radio stations (including flagship WRKO, Boston) are WASR, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire as well as Connecticut’s WMRD, Middletown and WLIS, Old Saybrook. On penetrating the Nutmeg State, Carr tells TALKERS, “I’ve always had a sizable audience in Connecticut, and I’m happy that my listeners there can now find me even more easily. As a kid, I wanted to go to Wesleyan, and now I’m in Middletown — and Old Saybrook.” Don DeCesare, president/GM of WLIS/WMRD adds, “We’re thrilled to have Howie Carr as part of our onair lineup. Howie has been New England’s voice for years. We’re proud to add that voice now and be his stations in Connecticut.” Regarding this latest expansion of Carr’s network, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is only going to be a matter of months before the flood dam bursts and Howie Carr becomes a major national host eventually heard in all 50 states. He is at the top of his game.” Meet Howie Carr at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. The annual conference is on the verge of a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413 or click here.
Salem Radio Network Welcomes Michael Medved Back. It’s a gradual return to his daily, syndicated talk radio show, but Michael Medved is slowly working his way back after treatment for throat cancer. Medved announced his hiatus from the program back on January 30. Now, SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are SO grateful to have Michael Medved transitioning back into his SRN talk show. Monday he appeared by phone, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday he has been in his Seattle studio, hosting guests like U.S. Senator John McCain for discussion of today’s Obama apology for U.S. raids killing two hostages, plus the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.” Medved has been a nationally syndicated host for the past 18 years.
Jim Gearhart and New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show to Broadcast from Battelship New Jersey. In recognition of Memorial Day, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning host Jim Gearhart and the rest of the morning show will broadcast from the deck of the Battleship New Jersey on May 22. In a letter inviting listeners to attend the broadcast, Gearhart writes, in part, “While the nation celebrates the start of summer this year, I invite you, your family and friends to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and active military during a special live broadcast of the ‘New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show’ aboard America’s most decorated battleship. The morning show team will be on the deck of Battleship New Jersey, located on the waterfront in Camden on Friday, May 22 joined by veterans, honor guards, military agencies and state dignitaries for patriotic music, discussions and storytelling…As a Naval veteran and the father of two enlisted men, it is my privilege to commemorate our military this Memorial Day Weekend, and I encourage all active and retired servicemen and women, as well as civilians, to come enjoy the show and share their appreciation for those who make America the land of the free and home of the brave.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Joy Browne show is added to the program schedule on WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” adds new affiliate stations WCGO, Evanston, Illinois; WMXI-FM, Laurel, Mississippi; KFEQ, Saint Joseph, Missouri; and KELY, Ely, Nevada to its roster…..AdLarge Media reports “The National Marijuana News” program is added to the lineup at: WHIG, Colorado Springs; WPEK-AM, Asheville, North Carolina; and WNOS, New Bern, North Carolina…..Christian radio offering “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister” is two months into syndication and already heard on nearly 100 stations including recent new affiliates: WGEN-FM, Chicago and the MyGen Radio Network; WTRJ-FM, Jacksonville; and WCLN-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 20-24. The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ISIS violence tied with the military action taking place in Yemen. Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with the scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Foundation, followed by the death of two hostages at the hands of American drones at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
iHeartMedia Previews New Podcast Initiative at First-Ever ‘Soundfront’ in NYC. Yesterday, iHeartMedia presented the “Soundfront” event in New York to preview its new original audio programs. The company says this new content “will allow marketers to collaborate with a host of celebrities and talent through customized and creative storytelling.” Speaking about the company’s need to explore the audio-on-demand marketplace is iHeartMedia CMO/EVP Gayle Troberman, who says, “In the age of visual distraction and shorter attention spans, audio has the ability to break through and get heard better than any other advertising. We are seeing increased engagement in audio programming both on air and via podcast, and original audio forces us to get back to the basics of telling stories simply and honestly, which consumers love. We believe most marketers are massively under-invested in the power of sound and the iHeartMedia Soundfront is our opportunity to challenge the industry to explore the creative potential of sound to tell and sell better.” Saying that it is teaming with “a broad spectrum of A-list producers, musicians, actors, music industry veterans and curators,” the company announces some of the people it is working with, including: “Skybound Rundown” (podcast): From the producers of “The Walking Dead” TV show and gaming franchise focusing on the world of indie gaming; “Heart of the Beat” (podcast): Artist and musician Jared Leto will bring sound and storytelling together in this original audio show that allows artists to reveal the method behind their madness; “Who is Marty Hirsch?” (podcast) is the first-ever audio mockumentary, building off successes like “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Almost Famous” to tell a story of a mythical music icon. iHeartMedia has partnered with Trium Entertainment (the creator and executive producer of “The Biggest Loser”) to produce a number of podcasts including: “The Vent” hosted by Jaime Pressly; “Get Mic’d” – a talent search show for the next great iHeartMedia DJ; and “Science of Success” with Jonah Berger. The iHeartMedia-Trium relationship will also produce videocasts and the hiring away of Big Boy from Emmis in Los Angeles is relevant here as he’ll host “Urban Legends with Big Boy,” a hip hop show. “Z100” New York-based personality Elvis Duran will also host a videocast titled, “The Elvis Sessions” in which he “digs throughout the day-to-day gossip and connects with the true passion that drives artists and celebrities.” Other videocasts will include “On the Fly with Paul Costabile” and “My Journey.” iHeartMedia also used the event to announce an expanded relationship with Snapchat, details of which are expected to come in the future. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was in attendance discussing iHeartMedia’s unique positioning to “use the power of sound to drive social results.” Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes, iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler, Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, and iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman.
Facing “Weak Markets,” Emmis Seeks Covenant Relief from Lenders. In a filing with the SEC, Emmis Communications presents historical performance data and forward-looking statements as it seeks covenant relief for the quarters ended May 31 2015 through February 28 2017. Emmis says it is outperforming its markets but the problem is that the markets are weak – for example, citing New York figures showing Emmis down 6% while the market as a whole was down 7.3% over the nine-month period ended November 30, 2014. It says the battle between its urban KPWR, Los Angeles and iHeartMedia’s new KRRL (which is benefitting from its luring morning talent Big Boy away from KPWR) is causing it to face “new headwinds.” In New York, the company says the market was weak throughout calendar 2014 – down mid- to high-single digits after being up 5% in calendar 2013. It reports national was off by 30% during the 2014 summer months and down 18% for the nine months ended November 30, 2014. Emmis states that it finished fiscal 2015 under its 6.00x covenant at 5.40x but “wants to constructively manage compliance with sufficient cushion.” It goes on to show its efforts to control costs by noting it has “reduced cash operating costs by $7 million as part of its fiscal 2016 budget.” You can see the entire lender presentation here.
Panel of Radio Hunter-Gatherers to Discuss Generating Revenue in Changing Marketplace. One of the power-packed, panel discussions scheduled for Talkers New York 2015, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Changing Paradigm,” will tackle the many challenges and identify opportunities in the sales end of the business today. The lineup features a diverse array of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “major league ‘hunter-gatherers’ covering the spectrum of broadcasting situations today.” Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the lineup presents (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Kathy Carr, VP, sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM/WMCA, New York; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; and Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL/WIYY, Baltimore. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey adds, “This panel will provide a wide variety of valuable takeaways. You have a dynamic, young owner of a medium-sized, up-and-coming group (Vince Benedetto); a seasoned sales and management pro who has masterminded one of the model examples of a powerful and lucrative regional talk network (Kathy Carr); a veteran major market general manager with an impressive sales track record (Jerry Crowley); one of talk radio’s most aggressive impresarios who has built a major sales rep firm and is instrumental in monetizing the careers of numerous syndicated and satellite radio stars (Ron Hartenbaum); an independent, high-profile radio talent who is doing it on his own in cyberspace and showing a profit (Tom Leykis); and a highly accomplished, medium/large market GM who is at the helm of one of the nation’s most historic heritage properties (Cary Pahigian). This is not to be missed.” Talkers New York 2015 is nearing a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information, please click here.
WGN, Chicago Legend Spike O’Dell to Appear on Steve Cochran Show. Former WGN, Chicago personality Spike O’Dell – an inductee in this year’s class of the WGN Radio Walk of Fame – will be a part of the station’s Steve Cochran show tomorrow morning (4/24). Cochran is broadcasting his show from the CMT Studios in Nashville the day after the Chicago Blackhawks play the Predators in game 5 of the first round of the NHL playoffs. O’Dell hosted afternoons on WGN from 1987 to 2000. He took over the morning show after the death of Bob Collins and hosted it until December of 2008.
Hofstra’s WRHU-FM, Signs Deal with New York Cosmos Soccer Franchise. One of the most decorated college radio stations in America, Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, Hempstead, NY has added another major league sports franchise to its programming roster. The Marconi Award-winning outlet has signed a deal with the New York Cosmos soccer franchise. WRHU-FM will be the team’s official radio partner and flagship for the 2015 NASL soccer season. Students will perform all on and off air roles as they do with the station’s other major league partner, the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Odds & Sods. News/talk KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs is being sold by Optima Communications to Pike’s Peak Television for $2.5 million. Pike’s Peak is a subsidiary of News-Press & Gazette Company which owns KRDO-AM. Optima has been airing the KRDO-AM news/talk format on KRDO-FM for the past nine years…..ABC News is available on the Apple Watch. ABC says the app will “give you the world on your wrist. From real-time news updates with personalized notifications to live video and audio, the app keeps wearers in the know without disrupting the moments that matter.” Some of the features include “Stories In A Second” – “glanceable news that keeps you up to date with what’s breaking and showcases the latest hand-selected stories in all coverage areas.” The app will allow users to dig deeper into stories and video with the ability to seamlessly hand off to the user’s iPhone…..ESPN Radio is broadcasting the 2015 NFL Draft next Thursday (4/30) beginning at 7:00 pm ET with host Dari Nowkhah, NFL analyst Louis Riddick and NFL Insider John Clayton. Freddie Coleman will host post-draft coverage alongside NFL Insider Adam Kaplan on Thursday and Friday at 11:30 p.m…..Yahoo Sports Radio will present a five-hour program next Thursday for the first day of the NFL Draft. Featured on the show will be Steve Bunin and Yahoo Sports Radio host Jonathan Peterlin. Insider analysis will come from former Carolina Panthers general manager and Yahoo Sports Radio host Marty Hurney, and former NFL Quarterback and Yahoo Sports contributor Shaun King. The program airs from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..ABC News announces Karen Travers, Mary Bruce and Stephanie Ramos join the news organization as multi-platform reporters covering national and international news for all ABC News platforms with an emphasis on NewsOne, Radio and Digital.
FOX Sports Radio to Broadcast from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight. Prior to the May 2 Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao welterweight fight in Las Vegas, FOX Sports Radio will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The roundtable program will feature JT “The Brick,” Steve Gorman, Tomm Looney and Jeffrey Gorman. Stations wishing to bring some unique expertise to their coverage of this upcoming fight may consider booking Jackie Kallen (pictured here) or Ivan Goldman from Boxing Insider. Kallen has been involved in the sport of boxing for almost 35 years. She started as a boxing journalist, hosted her own talk radio show, then became the publicist for the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit and eventually segued into management. Her success in the male-dominated business inspired the Meg Ryan film Against the Ropes. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author. He has written for Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He’s a Fulbright Scholar and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. To book either, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earth Day/Climate Change, Baltimore ‘Freddie Gray’ Protests, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, Saudi Strikes on Yemen, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, North Korea Nukes Warning, and Gang Member Amnesty Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The observation of Earth Day and the issue of climate change; continuing protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the violence being perpetrated by ISIS; the military strikes on Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; China’s warning about the underestimated nuclear weapons arsenal held by North Korea; and the case of a gang member accused of murder receiving amnesty under President Obama’s executive order were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%. In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”
SSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland. Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland. Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show. Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.
Odds & Sods. WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service. McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton by being entered into the Congressional Record. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor. McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station. McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23). The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.” The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
No Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year. The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC. The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity. In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level. As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.” The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either. “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.” So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014? Here are a few of the numbers: president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.
Raising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Little Rises to President of Phoenix Market for iHeartMedia. Assuming the position left briefly vacant by Scott Hopeck after he was promoted to the same post at the New York City cluster is Linda Little. She moves up from her SVP of sales position with the station group. Prior to that, she was GSM for adult contemporary KESZ and country KNIX. She also served as integrated media business development manager. She comments, “I have had the privilege of building my media career in Phoenix and am very fortunate to have worked for a company that has given me many opportunities to grow while constantly evolving with the industry.” In this position she’ll oversee news/talk KFYI, talk KOY, and sports talk KGME.
Schreiber Promoted at Mercury Radio Arts. Moving up from his head of strategy and special projects position with Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts to president of the company is Jonathan Schreiber. In this new post, Schreiber will oversee Mercury’s divisions including digital, radio and publishing and its continued growth in film, television and “digital content across different genres beyond politics and current events.” The company says Schreiber will continue to serve as an advisor to TheBlaze, the company’s news, information and entertainment network led by CEO Betsy Morgan. Schreiber has an 18-year pedigree in the tech, mobile and entertainment businesses. Beck says, “I personally recruited Jonathan to help take our company to the next level. Since joining Mercury, he has played an integral role in both the strategy and execution at Mercury Radio Arts and my overall business philosophy and approach. He is a trusted advisor and this title reflects the leadership position he has and will continue to assume in this new era for both me and our business.
Industry Mourns Don Quayle. The first president of National Public Radio (NPR) has died: Don Quayle was 84 years old. NPR’s Susan Stamberg recalls that Quayle gave her her first radio job. “It was the early-1960s and he was head of the Educational Radio Network – the precursor of NPR – a little network of 12 east coast stations that developed a daily drive-time news show. He hired me to help produce it. When this national network arose, he was an obvious choice to run it. Don was principled, decent, and astute. In the euphoric tumult of our first years, he navigated the choppy seas of building a public radio system. He knew NPR had to serve our listeners, above the competing needs of stations, boards, and funders.” The program to which Stamberg alludes, of course, is “All Things Considered,” which Quayle debuted on NPR in 1971. He headed the network – which now has more than 900 member stations – from 1970 to 1973. Prior to that (1960 – 1962), Quayle managed Boston public outlet WGBH. Five years ago, the Logan, Utah native received an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his “significant contributions” to public broadcasting from his alma mater, Utah State University.
Premiere and TheBlaze to Present Memorial Day Special. The annual Memorial Day radio special produced by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network returns in 2015 with Premiere Networks handling affiliate relations. The three-hour program – titled “Reflections from a Grateful Nation” – features the hosts, writers and editors of TheBlaze and TheBlaze.com, including: Doc Thompson, Skip LaCombe, Buck Sexton, Jay Severin, Chris Salcedo, Mike Broomhead and others. In addition to special appearances by award-winning actor Gary Sinise, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak and members of the military, listeners will hear personal stories and conversations about the meaning of the holiday in this special tribute to those who fought and gave their lives to defend America’s freedom. It’s available to news/talk stations for airing from May 23-25. Interested stations can phone Premiere at 818-377-5300.
Michael Harrison Interviews Boston Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca on Weekly Podcast, ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In a candid and informative interview on the popular weekly podcast “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca discusses his views on a wide variety of media-related topics that include, among others: the state of the newspaper industry in a changing media landscape; the impact of the digital era on journalism; and his experience in being involved with his newspaper’s pioneering effort in online news/talk/sports radio broadcasting – Boston Herald Radio. During the extensive conversation, Sciacca – a 37-year veteran of the newspaper business as a reporter, columnist and editor — tells TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison that the biggest challenge facing journalists in the newspaper business today is “keeping their print product relevant.” He tells Harrison, “I believe this is the greatest time to be leading a news organization in America even though resources are challenging and newspapers are experiencing difficult times in terms of revenue. There really is a great window of opportunity to be creative – to reinvent our business. So when I became editor five years ago after being at the Herald for 32 years, I embraced the challenge because even though I knew the road was going to be difficult to navigate, we have done some incredible things over the last five years and we’ve really transformed what was purely a print organization into a multimedia news organization.” This transformation, of course, includes the launch of Boston Herald Radio – the newspaper’s online talk station that produces 11 hours of original, live content every weekday from a studio located right next to the newspaper’s newsroom. It has proven to be a major source of breaking stories, not only for Boston-area news consumers, but for the media across the country and around the world. Harrison and Sciacca delve into media theory and discuss differences in the psychology between reading stories online as opposed to the printed page. They also analyze the impact of video cameras inside a radio studio and the differences between what Harrison describes as “great radio or bad television.” Sciacca discusses the Boston Herald’s commitment to getting the stories right, rather than just being first – a pressure amplified by the competition generated by the 24 hour non-stop, digital news cycle and he recalls how coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing was particularly challenging because of all the false information that was out there in the general news media’s frenzy to stay on top of the breaking story during its early hours and days. Harrison describes his theories about the emergence of what he calls “stickless” radio broadcasting (meaning radio without the traditional license, transmitter and tower) and the development of the online “media station” in the 21st century. To hear the entirety of this fascinating conversation between two seasoned, front-line media visionaries, please click here, or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” box in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Four More Smartphone Models Can Have FM Chip Activated Via Clip Interactive. According to Clip Interactive, more consumers can exercise the FM chip listening option as it has expanded the phones that can use its technology to include the HTC One M9, HTC Desire 610, Sharp Aquos Crystal and LG G3. Clip Interactive says its application technology connects to this chip, allowing the listener to tune into local stations without having to stream, which depletes data allowances and consumes more battery life. FM chip activation through Clip Interactive mobile apps allows stations to optimize listening options for users. Clip Interactive chief technology officer Peter Shoebridge says, “Activating the FM chip on more devices benefits the listener as they can reduce data usage and enjoy the real-time broadcast. The industry can expect more announcements about additional devices in the coming weeks as we continue our mission to provide interactive radio to the masses.”
Odds & Sods. Appearing in the KFAQ, Tulsa studios this morning is a crew from “Good Morning America” as morning host Pat Campbell interviews attorney Clark Brewster. Reserve Sheriff Deputy Robert Bates hired Brewster to represent him in the case of the fatal shooting of Eric Harris that took place during a drug sting. Bates has been cleared by the FBI of violating Harris’ civil rights but faces a second-degree manslaughter charge for accidently using his pistol instead of a taser on Harris. Pat Campbell tells TALKERS magazine, “Our station has been ground zero for many exclusives on this story, including the only sit-down interview with Sheriff Stanley Glanz. KFAQ news director Tami Marler has been all over this since day one, getting scoops and guests other outlets can’t secure.”…..FOX Sports Radio is presenting “FOX Sports Live 2015 NFL Draftcast” – a multi-platform NFL draft special featuring Jay Glazer, Joel Klatt, Peter Schrager, Mike Garafolo and Don Bell in Chicago. It will air on the network’s more than 400 affiliates nationwide beginning at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 30…..The last Buckley Broadcasting property – KIDD-AM, Monterey, California – has been sold to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson Broadcasters for $50,000. Buckley took KIDD-AM dark a few months ago and recently tore down its aging tower structure.
ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Controversy/U.S. Naval Presence in Yemen, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Police Shootings Controversies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The reports of ISIS executing Christians; the controversy about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the United States’ naval presence in the waters off Yemen; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the cases of police shooting citizens in Baltimore, Tulsa and elsewhere; and the weekend’s Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Anthony Gargano Officially Named WPEN-FM, Philly Morning Host. Last week Philly.com called it the “worst-kept secret in Philadelphia sports talk radio” – and it turns out that was true. As reported almost everywhere, former longtime WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Anthony Gargano is the new lead morning drive talent on Greater Media’s sports talker WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” Gargano – who left CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM recently after failing to come to terms with the company on a contract renewal – will be joined on “Anthony Gargano in the Morning” by co-host Jon Marks, sports update anchor Maureen Williams and producer Jamie Lynch. The station had been airing ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” which can now be heard in the market on Beasley Media Group’s WTEL-AM. Greater Media Philly SVP/market manager John Fullam comments, “We are thrilled to have Anthony join ‘97.5 The Fanatic.’ He is the perfect lead-off man for Philly sports talk every weekday morning. It is great to provide Philly sports fans an all-star lineup for their drive times with Anthony in the morning and Mike Missanelli in the afternoon. We are also proud to continue our long-standing affiliation with ESPN and our outstanding contributors including Sal Paolantonio, Ron Jaworski and Jayson Stark.”
New Kevin McCullough-Hosted Show Debuts on WNYM, New York Tonight. Syndicated talk host and XtreMEDIA principal Kevin McCullough adds another talk program to his busy schedule as he debuts “Late Night with Kevin McCullough” airing on Salem Media Group’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. McCullough says the show will be him “rounding out the talk radio day with an irreverent look at the news, the talk radio industry, and everything else in life,” and says it’s a joint endeavor between his company and Salem New York. McCullough says the show will “in some ways be a throwback to the greatest era of radio where the steaks always sizzled and the beverages are always cold! Newsmakers, icons, and listeners will drive the conversation. ‘The Ladies Lounge’ will feature some of the most important but not-yet-amplified voices of ladies in talk media – plus a ‘house band’ called The Hot Sardines.” The program debuts tonight (4/20).
Salem Rolls Out Metaxas Show. The radio syndication of popular author and TV personality Eric Metaxas by Salem Radio Network was announced back in late February but today the show celebrates its national debut. Although Metaxas is well known in the Christian community, Salem says it believes his program will crossover into the news/talk format as well. The show will launch in 26 of the top 30 markets, mostly on Salem O&Os. Salem SVP Phil Boyce says, “This is the biggest rollout for Salem Radio Network in 10 years. Eric’s show will be different, and a little bit about everything. His personality and sense of humor will shine through.” The show airs live from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.
Scott Hopeck Named President of iHeartMedia New York. This is a move from the market president position at iHeartMedia’s Phoenix station group for Scott Hopeck. Prior to his work in Phoenix, Hopeck was SVP/sales for the company in Atlanta where he was also general manager of the Braves Radio Network. Hopeck will report to EVP of operations Hartley Adkins, who says, “Scott’s unique skills and experience in digital and technology are perfect for the evolution of this market from traditional media to world-class, multiplatform media with a tremendous impact on advertisers. Additionally, his sports and MLB experience are ideal for the important and unique opportunities we have in New York.”
Entercom Sacramento Raises Richard to VP/Market Manager. The vacancy in that position in California’s capital city was created this past week when Sean Shannon was named to replace the retiring Jon Pinch at Cumulus Media Atlanta (RadioInfo, 4/17). Entercom Sacramento immediately promotes vice president of sales Lance Richard to be Shannon’s successor. According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Lance has helped to improve our sales organizations, our coaching ability, and our ability to deliver multi-platform programs that work for advertisers. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to reward that success with a promotion to vice president and market manager in Sacramento.” Richard comments, “We have the best brands in the market, great local talent and content, strong ratings, and an excellent team in-place. I look forward to continuing our momentum and leading Entercom Sacramento’s market leading portfolio of brands.” The Auburn University graduate has been with Entercom since 2009, previously as its corporate vice president of integrated sales. His resume also includes two years as regional sales director for Monster MediaWorks; four years as director of sales for Emmis Chicago; and two years as executive vice president of sales and strategic marketing at IP2M. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Industry Programmers to Take Part in ‘Programming Talk Radio in 2015’ at Talkers New York Conference. On Friday, June 12 at the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District, the talk media industry will gather for the 20th annual edition of the TALKERS magazine-presented conference. One of the nine panel discussions and presentations will be titled, “Programming Talk Radio in 2015” and will feature panelists: Carl Anderson, EVP, Programming, iHeartMedia; Mike Bendixen, Program Director, Newstalk 1010, Toronto; Valerie Geller, CEO Geller Media International; Scott Masteller, Program Director, WBAL, Baltimore; Mike McVay, SVP, Content & Programming, Cumulus Media; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner and GM, WGDJ, Albany. It will be moderated by TALKERS magazine VP and executive editor Kevin Casey. Issues addressed will include: integrating digital into news/talk programming; dealing with resistance to advertising; the challenge of keeping the format fresh; finding the next generation of talent; allocating resources to the actual program and to social media; seeking alternative ways to monetize the format; balancing the levels of local and syndicated talk content; and more. Casey says, “I’m really looking forward to talking about the state – and the future – of the format with this outstanding panel of industry heavyweights. These questions are on the minds of industry programmers and it will be enlightening to hear what our panelists have to say.” Registrations for Talkers New York 2015 are moving fast. To reserve your place, call 413-565-5413. For more information about the event, click here.
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Media Group’s New York news/talk outlet WNYM “AM 970 the Answer,” the new Eric Metaxas show being syndicated nationally by the company’s Salem Radio Network (see story above) bumps Chicago-based Joe Walsh from the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot on the station. Walsh had been heard there since January of 2014. Walsh remains on WIND, Chicago…..In Boston, market news pro Henry Santoro leaves his gig with streaming station RadioBDC (operated by the Boston Globe and Boston.com) to join pubcaster WGBH as midday anchor. Prior to joining RadioBDC, Santoro had spent almost 30 years with the old alternative outlet WFNX.
Longtime CBS RADIO Engineer Scott Mason Dead. Details are few but a statement from CBS RADIO Los Angeles SVP/market manager Dan Kearny was made public earlier this morning. Kearny writes: “The entire CBS RADIO family is grieving today over the passing of Scott Mason, who has been part of CBS since 1979. With his spirited passion for radio and unwavering dedication to his work, Scott’s accomplishments were numerous, from being an on-air personality at KROQ to hosting diverse programs like the popular “Loveline” and “OpenLine,”a long-running public affairs show, to overseeing the design and construction of CBS RADIO LA’s state-of-the art facilities on the Miracle Mile. Our thoughts today are with his family and all those who knew and worked alongside Scott during his amazing life and career. Due to Scott’s wishes, no funeral services will be held. A memorial will be planned in the weeks to come.”
Shannon Succeeds Pinch at Cumulus Atlanta. Former vice president and market manager for Entercom Sacramento – Sean Shannon – is tapped to replace Jon Pinch in a similar position at Cumulus Atlanta. Cumulus senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Sean has a track record of innovation and topnotch results. He is a passionate marketer and a strong, determined coach. We are excited to be adding Sean to our talented team in Atlanta.” Shannon remarks, “I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead these world-class brands in this world-class city. I love this medium and am honored to have a chance to lead this team.” Prior to his Sacramento duties, Shannon, who holds an MBA from the Foster School at the University of Washington, was director of sales for Entercom Seattle. He begins his new assignment in Atlanta next Monday (4/20). Pinch announced his retirement on April 16. He retired from his previous corporate role at Cumulus five months ago but was coaxed into leading the company’s Atlanta station group.
WEEI-FM, Boston Morning Host John Dennis to Enter Alcohol Rehab. In a public statement released to the media, morning personality John Dennis announces he will take time away from the “Dennis & Callahan” show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston in order to enter a treatment facility for alcohol addiction. Here’s the text of his statement: “After some long and thoughtful soul searching, I’ve decided to deal with a personal issue once and for all. The role of alcohol in my life is something I’ve wrestled with on and off for more than a few years. I’ve made the decision to take serious steps to eliminate the role alcohol plays in my life before it impacts my health. I’m told it’s an arduous undertaking, but it’s one I’m willing to embrace. I know it can be a lifelong battle, but it’s one I want to fight. To that end, I’ve decided to take some time away from WEEI, tackle this head-on, and set a smart and informed course for a long and healthy life. I want to thank the management at WEEI for their understanding and assistance in this matter, Gerry (Callahan) and Kirk (Minihane) for their unwavering support, and of course Kathy, for her love, patience and compassion. This is the last I will speak on this matter, as I have much work to do, and that’s where my concentration and focus will be. Talk to you all down the road.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete 6+ ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Chicago television news anchor Robin Robinson has been hired by CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago. Robinson spent more than 30 working in television news in the Chicago market. She exited WFLD-TV “Fox 32” in November of 2013…..There’s a new news presence at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media the company hires regional news pro Matt Pitta to serve as news director for the station group. In this role, Pitta will be in charge of news content for all the radio stations and its CapeCod.com website. Pitta previously worked for Cape Cod Broadcasting, exiting back in 2002. He takes over for Laura Reckford who moves up to news editor at CapeCod.com…..A programming change at Cumulus Media’s KSCR-AM, Eugene, Oregon will eliminate the business talk format and begin airing a regional Mexican format…..NBC Sports Radio now has a place on SirusXM. A deal between the sports talk network and the satcaster gives the former its own channel. NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver says, “We are thrilled to have SiriusXM join our roster. They bring a whole new audience and a wealth of avid sports fans who can now access our content and interact with our hosts no matter where they are around the country.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Costa Report” with host Rebecca Costa adds six new affiliate stations including: WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; WBCF, Florence, Alabama; WHFS, Tampa; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and KKGM, Dallas-Fort Worth…..Both the Stephanie Miller show and Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” are added to the program schedule at KJOZ, Houston. WYM Media Management’s, Debbie Greenbaum comments, “It’s terrific that Houstonians will now be able to listen and interact daily with both Doug Stephan and Stephanie Miller. The combo of ‘Good Day’ leading into the Stephanie Miller show is the perfect way to kick off mornings in Houston.”
2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story During Week of April 13-17. With the news of both Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio announcing their intent to run for president next year, the chatter about the 2016 presidential prospects landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 were the Iran nuclear negotiations. Coming in at #3 was ISIS military action in Iraq and following at #4 was Obama’s Cuba policy. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on the radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Names Mangino and Duffy Afternoon Hosts. Pittsburgh news/talker KDKA-AM announces two new personalities will lead its “KDKA Afternoon News” program beginning April 27. Current KDKA-AM evening talk show host Robert Mangino will team with Shelley Duffy, who moves across the hall from her current gig as co-host of sister hot AC’s Bubba Show. Duffy has been a part of morning shows with CBS RADIO Pittsburgh for the past 25 years. The station says, “The paring of Mangino and Duffy will augment the award-winning news and information programming on Pittsburgh’s news/talk leader. Mangino and Duffy join veteran newscaster Rose Ryan-Douglas, field reporter Joe DeStio and sports director Jeff Hathhorn on a fast-paced afternoon news magazine format that features traffic and weather together on the fives and business reports at :20 and :50 past the hour every week day.” KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci comments, “Robert is a great quarterback to tie it all together while Shelley has a unique perspective about life in Pittsburgh.”
Ryan Maguire Named WQAM, Miami Program Director; Jim Graci Adds Pittsburgh Sports Talker Programming Duties. Moving from CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” programmer Ryan Maguire takes over the PD role at WQAM, Miami, effective May 4. CBS RADIO acquired WQAM as part of a swap of stations between it and Beasley Media Group. CBS RADIO VP of programming Rob Morris comments, “Ryan is passionate about radio, competitive, a terrific strategic thinker and possesses great leadership skills. We very much look forward to Ryan joining WQAM and our CBS RADIO Miami team.” Maguire states, “I’m thrilled at the opportunity given to me by CBS RADIO to take this leadership role at one of the greatest heritage sports stations in America. I can’t wait to get working with our diverse and dynamic team in South Florida as we shape and build on a leading sports brand.” The company says that during Maguire’s tenure in Pittsburgh, KDKA-FM “set ratings and revenue records in 2012 and 2013, reaching #1 P6+, and was also nominated for a National Association of Broadcasters‘ Marconi Radio Award in 2014.” Simultaneously, the company announces that sister news/talk KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci will serve as program director for “The Fan” and KDKA-AM news director and executive producer PJ Kumanchik will also serve as executive producer for “The Fan.” CBS RADIO Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Young says, “Jim and PJ are a strong and very competent managerial team. They have performed very well in developing and executing the programming vision of KDKA-AM. With much synergy already existing between KDKA-AM and KDKA-FM, I believe their expanding programming roles at ‘Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan’ are a natural progression, and will benefit our various audiences.”
Mandy Connell Adds New Show to Duties in Return to Louisville. Talk show host Mandy Connell will continue to host the morning program on iHeartMedia’s KHOW, Denver but she’s also taking on another program responsibility when she begins hosting the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on her alma mater WHAS, Louisville. Starting May 18, Connell’s new show will replace Lachlan McLean’s evening sports talk show. Connell joined iHeartMedia in 2010 from her morning gig at WINK, Naples/Fort Myers when she took over the midday show on WHAS previously occupied by the late Francene Cucinello.
Mike Huckabee to End Daily Talk Radio Features; SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Assume Host Duties. The decision to stop producing his daily talk radio feature, “The Mike Huckabee Report,” is being confirmed by Huckabee’s production partner WYM Media Management. Though WYM offers no specific reason for the end of the programming, speculation is that Huckabee intends to focus on his possible run for president in 2016. In a memo to affiliate stations, WYM states that the last report hosted by Huckabee will air on May 1 and, effective May 4, Salem Radio Network personality Mike Gallagher will begin as host of the daily feature with the new title, “Gallagher Online.” The show will be syndicated by WYM, the affiliate sales division of by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media, which also had the rights to “The Huckabee Report.” Gallagher comments, “I’m honored to be walking on the commentary path blazed by Governor Mike Huckabee. I just hope this doesn’t mean folks will expect me to run for president myself!”
Cooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 4. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Sin City where he’s been covering the NAB Show and the co-located NMX for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo. In today’s report, there’s plenty of advice for podcasters from Grant Baldwin; some notes from the standing-room-only keynote from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and some chilling realities about your smartphone’s ability to spy on you from security software baron John McAfee. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
DC Radio Row Addresses Complex Immigration Issues. The ninth annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform moves into the second and final day today. Taking place at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill, the event has drawn some 45 radio talk show hosts to the Nation’s Capital for live broadcasts addressing the topic of U.S. immigration policy. Appearing on the radio programs are members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. Attending the event and appearing as a guest on numerous shows discussing talk radio’s role in the immigration issue and the relative First Amendment component is TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison. From the scene in Washington Harrison says this year’s radio row was an interesting blend of well-known hosts and newcomers to the scene. “Everyone with whom I spoke on air was extremely thoughtful and solutions-oriented in dealing with this complex and sensitive issue.” Harrison (right) is pictured here with WFTL, Fort Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (center) and KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks-syndicated host Lars Larson (left).
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of March 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ Finds Pirate Radio Operator; Authorities Shut Station Down. After receiving complaints from listeners about interference with its signal, Townsquare Media talk station WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” investigated on its own and discovered the illegal signal was operating at 101.3 FM out of a home in Linden, New Jersey. According to a story at NJ.com, after being told by the FCC that an investigation could take a couple of weeks, the station appealed to local authorities. The homeowner subsequently was told of complaints and the zoning codes being violated and the 20-plus foot antenna was removed and the station ceased to operate.
Odds & Sods. This year’s National Headliner Awards have been announced and CBS Radio News picked up four first-place finishes. CBS Radio News was honored in four categories: Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Breaking News or Continuing Coverage — First place, “Police Killings,” CBS Radio News staff; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Newscast — First place, “CBS World News Roundup,” Steve Kathan and Paul Farry; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Feature and Human Interest Story — First place, “Beatles 50th Anniversary,” Dave Barrett; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators News Series — First place, “Midterm Election,” Barry Bagnato…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and sister station WFED, Washington were honored with National Headliner Awards in the radio station categories. WTOP was recognized in four categories: Radio stations Newscast, all markets – First Place for “September 4th, 6 p.m.”; Radio stations Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event – Second Place for “Gaithersburg Plane Crash”; Radio stations Feature and Human Interest Story, all markets – Second Place for “If This Violin Could Talk” by Jamie Forzato; and Radio affiliated Website: – First Place for WTOP.com. WFED was honored in two categories: Online-Only Writing – First Place, Mike Causey; and Best Radio-Affiliated Website – FederalNewsRadio.com…..The new producer for the Salem Radio Network-syndicated Eric Metaxas show is Chris Himes. SRN calls him “a seasoned digital media producer with a passion for curating world-class content.” Prior to joining SRN, Himes served as supervising digital producer at NBC, working 7 seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” managing the show’s digital footprint on NBC.com and on their social media platforms. In 2010, he began overseeing “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” as well and eventually would supervise web production operations for “30 Rock,” “Grimm,” “Law and Order: SVU” and several other prime time shows…..Illinois talk radio personality Ian Bayne makes his Chicago debut tomorrow (4/17) when he fills in for Joe Walsh on his afternoon show on Salem‘s WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” Bayne hosts the morning program on WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois “Cities 92.9.”
2016 Presidential Prospects, the Obama Administration Amnesty Order, Tax Day, ISIS Activity in Iraq, Aaron Hernandez Guilty Verdict, Spring Break Gang Rape Case, Obama’s Cuba Policy, Iran Nuclear Negotiations Controversy, and Gyrocopter Capitol Lawn Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the effects of the amnesty order signed by President Obama; chatter about the taxes Americans pay each year; the report that ISIS is close to taking control of Ramadi, Iraq; former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole; the case of a gang rape on a Panama City, Florida beach during spring break, President Obama’s changing policy toward Cuba; the controversial negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the case of a retiree landing a gyrocopter on the lawn of the Capitol building in Washington were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
- My notes from Sunday’s well-attended RAIN Summit West:
- Clever and profitable ideas from the RAB-at-NAB session “Small & Medium Market Idea Exchange:”
- Bouncing-back-and-forth between the NAB Show and NMX, I’m struck by the value of tips and techniques each group can learn from the other. For instance:
By Holland Cooke
The sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center exhibit hall is tech city. The crowd is three-deep around booths demonstrating drones that TV stations await FAA permission to use for newsgathering. Audio gear now caters to two constituencies: broadcasters and podcasters; and it’s getting smaller, smarter, and more-user-friendly. It is now easier and less expensive to produce audio than back when reel and cart machines and rack monsters were on display here.
Ninth Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Event Kicks Off Today. The annual Washington, DC radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform is taking place today and tomorrow at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. As in the eight years prior, the event consists of some 45 radio talk hosts from across the country broadcasting live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event is focusing on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” Event general manager and FAIR spokesman Bob Dane comments, “Politicians fear and respect the amplitude of talk radio. Hold Their Feet to the Fire speaks for millions of radio listeners and, this year, is proving that the mic is mightier than Obama’s pen.” Pictured here are WIBC-FM, Indianapolis late morning host Greg Garrison (left) and TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (right). Harrison appeared on Garrison’s program to discuss talk radio’s role in the immigration issue and the relative First Amendment component.
NAB Announces 2015 Crystal Radio Award Winners. At yesterday’s NAB Show Radio Luncheon, the winners of the 2015 Crystal Radio Awards were announced. This was the 28th presentation of the Crystal Radio Awards designed to recognize radio stations for their outstanding, year-round commitment to community service. The winners were chosen from the 50 finalists. They are: news/talk KRMG-FM Tulsa; news/talk WSB-AM Atlanta; country KTTS, Springfield, Missouri; news/talk WSOY, Decatur, Illinois; hot AC WAFL, Milford, Delaware; hot AC WTMX, Chicago; classic rock WDRV, Chicago; news WTOP-FM, Washington; news WINS, New York; and hip hop WUSL, Philadelphia. NAB Crystal Radio Award finalists were chosen by a panel of judges representing broadcasting, community service organizations and public relations firms. Also at the luncheon, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter (pictured here) of CBS RADIO’s modern rock KROQ, Los Angeles were inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Cooke: Report from NAB Show and NMX in Las Vegas. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the NAB Show and the co-located NMX and files this report. Cooke says two presentations stuck out for him on Tuesday including the NMX’s “Make Your Marketing Memorable with Visual Storytelling” by Ekaterina Walter. For radio practitioners, the internet is the place to use images and Cooke reports some data he heard is eye-opening as Walter said, “Thinking in pictures is our nature. Images act like shortcuts to the brain” and “speak to the heart and tell stories.” She noted that “scientists say the average modern adult attention span is between 2.8 and 8 seconds,” and that “90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual.” Cooke says the NAB’s “Small and Medium Radio Markets Idea Exchange” alone is “worth the trip.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Report: New AM Show Slated for WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Calling it the “worst-kept secret” in Philadelphia sports radio, a report at Philly.com is saying former WIP-FM personality Anthony Gargano will be paired up with current WPEN-FM midday host Jon Marks for the morning drive show on Greater Media’s “97.5 The Fanatic” before the month is out. Gargano left the CBS RADIO sports talker recently after receiving what he called a “low-ball offer” to remain with the station. Jon Marks had been co-hosting the midday show at WPEN-FM with Sean Brace but Brace exited the station earlier this month. Currently, the station airs ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show. If Gargano and Marks do end up in mornings together, it leaves a vacancy in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Rush Limbaugh’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Cure-A-Thon Raises $3.3 Million. Last Friday, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh program held its 25th annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Cure-A-Thon during which Limbaugh dedicated the entire three-hour show to encouraging listeners to join the effort to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. During the broadcast and in the days that followed, on-air and online donations for the fundraiser totaled $3.3 million dollars. Over the past 25 years, Limbaugh and his audience have collectively raised nearly $44 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Limbaugh states, “I want to thank everyone once again who donated, contributed to our 25th annual Cure-A-Thon last Friday for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Every year, the people in this audience, you, just continue to come through.”
Odds & Sods. Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling joins Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston as a baseball analyst. The Red Sox star will be part of the Dennis & Callahan show every Wednesday at 8:05 am during baseball season. Schilling is also part of the broadcast team for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”…..KOA, Denver weekend personality Ross Kaminsky is spending some time this week filling in for Rod Arquette on iHeartMedia’s KNRS, Salt Lake City (Tuesday and Friday). Recently, Kaminsky has also filled in for Mandy Connell on KHOW, Denver; Leland Conway on WHAS, Louisville; and for the TRN-syndicated Jerry Doyle.
Marco Rubio Declaration/2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Military Action in Iraq, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Obama’s Cuba Policy, Tax Day, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14). The declaration of his candidacy for president by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and the rest of the field of Republican prospects and Democrat Hillary Clinton; the military action by ISIS in Iraq; the ongoing controversy over Iran’s nuclear program and the negotiations with the West; President Obama’s policy regarding Cuba; chatter about Tax Day; and the young MLB season action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC’s Wheeler Agrees to Pursue AM Rule Changes. Patting FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn on the back for work beginning the process of “AM revitalization” while acting chairman, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler writes in a blog post that he’s “committed to taking action in this proceeding so that AM radio will flourish while also preserving the values of competition, diversity, and localism that have long been the heart and soul of broadcasting.” Speaking about AM technical issues, Wheeler says, “In the coming weeks, I intend to conclude this open item with a Report and Order that will buttress AM broadcast service and ease regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters. The proposed Order would adopt specific measures to address practical problems and interference-related issues that have long plagued AM stations across the country. If adopted, these measures will enable AM stations to operate more efficiently in today’s spectrum environment. For example, the proposed Order would give stations more flexibility in choosing site locations, complying with local zoning requirements, obtaining power increases, and incorporating energy-efficient technologies. These actions will help to ease some of the technical limitations that have hindered AM stations in serving their listeners.” In response to Wheeler’s announcement, the NAB’s EVP of communications Dennis Wharton comments, “NAB is grateful Chairman Wheeler has announced plans to circulate an item to his FCC colleagues designed to revitalize AM radio. AM broadcasters have uniquely served local communities for nearly 100 years. The time is ripe for the FCC to follow through on the tremendous efforts of Commissioners Clyburn and Pai so that AM broadcasters can continue to play a vital role in the fabric of our nation. We look forward to working with the chairman and the commissioners to help ensure the item ultimately adopted serves the American public in the best manner possible.”
Cooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 2. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo from not one, but three conferences going on there. Today’s report is from the NAB Show – a convention that Cooke points out is often thought of more as a TV gathering than a radio conference – but there’s still plenty of talk about audio. And, you guessed it, podcasting is one of the show’s darlings. Cooke writes that Edison Research’s Tom Webster showcased the importance of the success of the “Serial” podcast. “HOW impactful is podcasting? ‘Serial’ – a 12-episode true story podcast about a teen murder – has caused The Maryland Court of Appeals to revisit the conviction of Adnan Syed, imprisoned for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend. To date, it’s been downloaded 68 million+ times. Webster calls this a watershed for podcasting, ‘a watercooler moment, like what ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ did for Netflix. People are talking to each other about listening to a podcast.’” The integration of social media with legacy media is also a hot topic. Read more from Holland Cooke in Las Vegas here.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Premiere Networks and Futuri Media Announce Long-Term Deal. The two companies release the news of a new, exclusive, long-term national sales representation agreement between iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks and Futuri Media. The partnership includes all of Futuri’s interactive radio programming platform brands: LDR (Listener Driven Radio), Futuri Mobile Apps, and TopicPulse – a social media monitoring system for broadcast stations across the U.S. Additionally, Premiere’s international division will offer Futuri’s systems and services to Canada and, later this year, to the UK and continental European markets. Premiere president Julie Talbott comments, “We love working with forward-thinking companies whose teams are focused on success for local affiliates, and Futuri Media delivers every time. This new agreement testifies to the great working relationship we’ve had for years as Futuri has evolved from LDR. Daniel Anstandig and the Futuri team exemplify Premiere’s ongoing commitment to supporting broadcasters around the world with solutions that drive ratings, revenue, and digital engagement growth.”
Envision Networks and Focus 360 Partner on ‘Powered by Jelli’ Networks. Affiliate sales for Focus 360’s “Powered by Jelli” networks will be handled by Envision Networks as the two firms have entered into a new relationship. Jelli is a cloud-based programmatic advertising platform for broadcast radio, enabling the selling and serving of advertising on behalf of radio station groups and show producers. Focus 360 provides programming, syndication and national advertising sales to thousands of radio stations nationwide. Its “Powered by Jelli” ad networks traffic, serve and report all ad campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot platform. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff comments, “We are excited to bring this proven revenue generating opportunity to radio stations. Jelli is offering national advertisers a powerful vehicle to deliver and monitor commercials as they are broadcast while relieving stress on traffic departments to schedule and report those spots every day.”
Michael Harrison and Christopher Ruddy Discuss Politics, Journalism, Commercialism and the Nature of Truth in New ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in a candid and revealing conversation with Newsmax president/CEO Christopher Ruddy in the sixth and latest installment of his PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out.” Ruddy is the mega-successful founder of a conservative-tilting news organization that began as a website in the late-1990s (Newsmax.com) and has grown into a multi-million dollar empire consisting of, among numerous assets, a dynamic website, monthly print publication (Newsmax Magazine), and most recently, a full-service television news network (Newsmax TV) that holds the potential to give Fox News Channel a run for its money. In the podcast, they discuss what Harrison describes as the tendency of today’s media (and society in general) to “seek victory at the expense of truth.” Harrison praises Ruddy as being somewhat of an exception to that rule – especially in today’s popular political media in which most news publications, websites and electronic media channels cater to the predisposition of their target audiences in an attempt to gain “more eyeballs and eardrums” even if it means distorting or suppressing the facts to conform to the expectations of the target consumer. Harrison points out several significant instances in which Ruddy has actually committed what so many of today’s opinion practitioners consider a sin – he actually changed his mind and renounced formerly held opinions in the face of new evidence and facts. The fascinating discussion delves into Ruddy’s role as a major Republican Party influencer (but not registered member) and his colorful relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Ruddy talks about the coming presidential election and explains the mechanisms often referred to as the Clinton and Bush “machines.” In the “Far Out” section of the podcast following the Ruddy interview, Harrison delves deeper into what he describes as the coming “Quantum Era” that will be marked by the rise of quantum computing that he predicts will relegate the current digital era to “primitive” status. To access the podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
Robin Quivers to Receive ‘Woman of the Year’ Honors at Talkers New York 2015. Longtime Howard Stern show cast member Robin Quivers will be honored at the June 12 Talkers New York 2015 conference where she will be presented with the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman – known informally as the ‘Woman of the Year’ award. Robin Quivers is legendary in the radio business – an industry she entered in the late 1970s on a daytime AM station in tiny Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A couple of upward moves later she was cast in the news anchor role at WWDC, Washington “DC 101” when Howard Stern began as morning host there in March of 1981. Thirty-four years later, she’s still holding her own as the “voice of reason” on Stern’s SiriusXM program. Though successful on the radio, Quivers has had to navigate challenging waters in her personal life. A series of health issues forced her to reexamine her approach to healthy living and she is now one of the leaders of the movement to require full disclosure of where our food comes from and what’s in it. Quivers has become a dedicated philanthropist, working hands on with numerous charitable causes both at home and abroad. She does all this while maintaining a rigorous work schedule on the Stern program and on various other media projects. Upon making the announcement of the editorial board’s decision to honor Quivers, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This recognition of Robin Quivers is long overdue and can hardly even come close to serving as an accurate reflection of the magnitude of her achievements. She has established a unique place for herself, not just as a talk show personality in the modern era, but as one of the most skilled, accomplished and important radio personalities of all time. It is almost impossible to describe her unique sense of timing and elegance as she practices her skills and artistry every morning within the iconic Stern universe and the indispensable contributions she has made to this amazing show’s ongoing empire in the American pop culture landscape.” Quivers will receive the award, which will be presented by the 2014 recipient Julie Talbott, president of Premiere Networks at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District. The conference is for working media industry people only. Registration for the conference, which is on the verge of a sellout, and sponsorship inquiries can be made by calling 413-565-5413. For more information, click here.
Odds & Sods. The deal between Alpha Media Group and Access.1 Communications for the former to acquire stations in Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas has closed. It gives Alpha ownership of: hip hop KBTT, gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview…..Salem Communications reports is has expanded its partnership with Clip Interactive to roll out the latter’s Total Audience Solution platform to all 109 Salem stations in 29 markets nationwide. Salem says it initially implemented Clip Interactive apps for their four Portland stations in 2013, expanding to San Antonio and Atlanta in 2014. After seeing significant revenue gains and user engagement in 2014, Salem chose to expand its partnership and propagate Clip Interactive’s solution nationally…..At the New York operations of iHeartMedia, Anthony Molaee is promoted to director of digital programming and operations for the cluster. SVP of programming Thea Mitchem notes that Molaee has been with iHeartMedia since 2007 and joined the New York operations in December of 2013. Molaee’s promotion comes as Colby Hall joins iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises team.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman Attend Mets Home Opener. The New York Mets took the field for their home opener on Monday (4/13), and in attendance at Citi Field were WOR, New York morning personalities Todd Schnitt and Len Berman. WOR serves as the flagship station for the Mets radio network. Pictured here in the broadcast booth are (from l-r): Berman, Wayne Randazzo, Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, and Schnitt.
2016 Presidential Prospects/ Marco Rubio Declares, ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, and MLB Action Among Top Stories Yesterday (4/13). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the declaration for candidacy by Marco Rubio; the ongoing violence being perpetrated by ISIS and other militant Islamic factions; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the weekend’s MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — April? Here? I’d come to Vegas just to shake off the relentless winter that brutalized us back home in New England. But there’s zero pool time with THREE conventions underway: one about broadcasting, one about podcasting, one about streaming. That one was yesterday, and funsters surrounding me had already set the stage.
While big radio’s chess kings are swapping stations over at the gaudy Wynn, your frugal consultant is surrounded by Corona-tall-toters at The Flamingo, a working class oasis where every…single…one of the people Sean Hannity calls “great Americans” is also toting an iPhone. Whether it’s live or on-demand, your work needs to be on that thing.