Category: Features

“Heard” at the NAB/RAB Radio Show – Day Two

| September 23, 2016

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

mckayjeffwriter2016-radio-show-logoNASHVILLE – Day two of the Radio Show in Nashville included sessions about the connected car featuring Fred Jacobs; a conversation with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn; and it culminated with the Marconi Awards reception. Here are some conversations that took place in the halls of the Omni Hotel, and four blocks away at the home of Cumulus Media, where I was treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the NASH America Morning Show.

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Retrospective: The Life and Career of Dr. Joy Browne

| August 31, 2016

This piece by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian was originally published in February of 2015.

 

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgNEW YORK — Although New Orleans-born, Joy Browne departed “The Big Easy” with her family when she was about three years old and would spend several years of elementary school in Pennsylvania.

By the time the oldest of her five siblings was in junior high and high school, she was in Denver. “I was always curious about people and have been a good listener,” Dr. Browne recounts. “Even when IbrownejoyBluenocap was 10 years old, people would tell me their problems. I took some psychology courses in high school but don’t think I specifically understood a person could get a degree in psychology and do it for a living.”

Ostensibly an English major at Rice University (where she graduated cum laude), Dr. Browne possesses the only behavioral science degree the Houston institution has ever offered, with emphasis in psychology, sociology, and anthropology. “I just kept taking courses and combining things,” the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s first-ever “President’s Award” notes. “I got married five days after I graduated and moved to Boston, where I had to put my husband through graduate school. I was working for Sperry Rand and the company paid for an employee’s graduate school [tuition]. I went to Northeastern University and was off and running.”

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On-Air Everywhere: CRJEN

| August 22, 2016

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — Varying degrees of conscientiousness are rampant in present-day radio.

Not only does virtually every cluster have a single programmer overseeing multiple stations, he or she somehow finds time to handle an on-air shift on at least one of the properties.

Several talk radio personalities up the ante in their genre by hosting a daily long-form local show;hornjennifer take a deep breath; and follow with a long-form daily national program (or vice versa).

Tenacity in some cases is organic, while in others, it is owing to corporate mandates.

Either way, with so many worthy contenders, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to isolate a consensus pick as the “hardest-working person” in the industry.

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Bernadette Duncan’s “Yappy Days” Released Today

| August 22, 2016

Highly anticipated historical memoir reveals candid behind-the-scenes look at talk radio and its big-time stars of the day from the perspective of a young female producer during the genre’s golden decades

 

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS
VP/Executive Editor

caseywriterSPRINGFIELD, MA — Bernadette Duncan spent 26 years as a radio talk show producer between 1983 and 2009.  In her newly released book, YAPPY DAYS: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Brooks, 2016), she vividly recounts her adventures in the trenches of big-time talk radio during its most dynamic decades – set against the dramatically changing backdrop of America’s pre- and post-9/11 cultural realities.

Juicy stories and details

Bernadette writes interesting details about hundreds of names – from the high-profile hosts for whom she worked, tobernadettebook the many more she met and knew, to the non-stop parade of famous celebrity and newsmaker guests she booked (and, in many cases, babysat) along the way.  And she’s not shy about sharing the juicy tidbits of her experiences with these personalities as well as her recollections about the very processes that make talk radio fascinating.  The book is about “the character of characters.”

The candidly told story focuses on Bernadette’s first-hand impressions of the sometimes-quirky, extremely talented, performers whom she served as a producer during her career.  Namely, Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and Lou Dobbs.  In the process, the reader follows her growth from innocent, wide-eyed, newbie – who at the tender age of 12 sent a fan letter to Sally Jessy Raphael – to becoming a seasoned media professional standing her ground in hostile toe-to-toe situations with such broadcasting bruisers as Lou Dobbs and Geraldo Rivera.

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New Jersey Broadcasters Association Convention a Success in Atlantic City

| June 24, 2016

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

 

mckayjeffATLANTIC CITY — New Jersey broadcasters face the daunting issue of having to compete with New York City, the largest market in the nation to the north, and Philadelphia, the 9th Nielsen-rated market to the south, all while fighting formidable radio stations in their own backyard markets like PPM-rated Middlesex-Somerset-Union, along with #53-rated Monmouth-Ocean on the Jersey Shore, and rated markets in Atlantic City, Morristown, and Trenton.  With a population of over eight million, many of whom commute daily to the neighboring big cities, the task of gaining listener loyalty might be more challenging in the Garden State than anywhere else.

Each year, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association holds its annual convention in Atlantic City, and as is the tradition, it’s not just a chance for broadcasters to mingle.  The 69th annual two-day event that took place yesterday and Wednesday (6/22-23) at Caesars Atlantic City featured a number of productive work sessions dedicated to new technologies, mentoring talent, improving stations’ ad revenue, and honoring the best performers on New Jersey radio.

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70 Rocks

| May 31, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — 3.4 million Americans were born in 1946.  2.1 million make it to 70 this year, including Suzanne Somers, Donald Trump, Cher, Pat Sajak, Diane Keaton, Steven Spielberg, Linda Ronstadt, and Sylvester Stallone.  And Bill Clinton, the first Baby Boomer president.

  • Their dads marched home from World War II, and soon elected its hero, Ike; who told ‘em to buy a new car, and built ‘em an Interstate Highway System to drive it on.
  • In the cul-de-sac where Boomers spent their Wonder Years, life was good…until today’s 70 year olds saw another war hero president assassinated. Then his brother, then Dr. King.  Boomers were weathered by Viet Nam and race riots.
  • Women joined the workforce. Today’s 70 year-olds saw man walk on the moon, and they lined-up to gas-up on odd or even days.  They used to smoke weed when their parents weren’t looking; and many still do, when their grandchildren aren’t.
  • Their soundtrack was The Beatles, Motown, The Beach Boys, and other acts now difficult to find on AM/FM radio.

In the next two decades, another 65 million will hit The Big Seven Oh.

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America’s Health Coach Awarded All-A’s

| May 12, 2016

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgATLANTA — Numerous ironies continue to surface in one of this country’s wackiest-ever presidential contests, including the emergence of a certain buzzword by multiple White House hopefuls.

Several candidates eschewed the word “campaign” in favor of “movement.”

That particular word – “movement” – is actually an appropriate way to assess the attitude enveloping a three-hour, weeknight health and wellness program, which is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

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March 2016 PPM Analysis:
MLB Flagships

| April 29, 2016

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

kinosian (2)LOS ANGELES With April drawing to a close, it is time for us to again list the performance of MLB’s radio flagships.

Factor in pre-game and post-game shows, as well as a variety of sales-driven programming features, and it becomes crystal-clear how a MLB flagship can wind up devoting a sizeable chunk of its programming day and year to its hometown franchise.

The following scoreboards are for English-language flagships that are Nielsen Audio subscribers appearing in print.

In addition to their main flagship, some MLB teams have a secondary outlet and/or an emergency alternative. Rather than showing multiple stations, however, we have chosen each team’s primary, 162-game flagship.

Key outlets of the two New York franchises (Mets and Yankees) appear in three PPM-rated markets (New York, Long Island, and Middlesex); the Angels’ flagship is listed in Los Angeles and Riverside; and key stations of the San Francisco and Oakland franchises (Giants and A’s) appear in San Francisco and San Jose.

In these instances, ratings information is limited to New York City for the Mets (WOR) and Yankees (WFAN) flagships; only Los Angeles ratings stats are used for the Angels’ key station (KLAA) ; and flagships for the two Bay Area teams – Giants (KNBR) and A’s (KGMZ) – have San Francisco ratings info only.

No ratings information is shown for the flagship for the American League East’s Toronto Blue Jays (CJCL).

Ratings data cited here is Monday-Sunday, 6:00 am – 12:00 midnight and is not limited to a specific day-part.

With the fine print concluded, it is time to throw out the first pitch and play ball for this exclusive TALKERS overview of MLB flagships encompassing the March 2016 ratings period, which covered February 25 – March 23, when teams were in spring training mode. The 2016 MLB season began on (Sunday) April 3.

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Entertainment Is Cardillo’s Driving Force

| March 31, 2016

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgMIAMI — As the Ronald Reagan presidency was winding down, one particular 14-year-old St. Francis Prep student had already perceived himself as a conservative Republican.

It is a political philosophy that just “made sense” to the teenager, who a number of years later would go on to make $30,000 annually as a Bronx patrol cop.

Nowadays though, Queens native John Cardillo is doing double-duty, hosting a 9:00 am – 10:00 am show on Salem Media Group Miami’s WZAB “880 The Biz” and surfacing two hours later each weekday on Mike Horn’s CRN Digital Talk Radio for a two-hour (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm, ET) talkfest.

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John & Leah Show 1st Year Progress Report: On Track, Gaining Traction

| March 8, 2016

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — A number of actors, politicians, television anchors, lawyers, and writers are among those who have succumbed to the allure of talk radio, trying their hand at being on-air hosts in the genre.

Various members from this group, however, lacked the requisite passion and swiftly faded from their fling.

Generally speaking though, longstanding fiercely loyal partisans making their living as talk radio personalities tend to remain in the profession and keep doing it as their primary source of income for as long as possible.

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sPAGtacular Success Didn’t Occur Overnight

| February 2, 2016

Profile of Compass Media Networks and Premiere-Syndicated Personality Joe Pagliarulo

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgSAN ANTONIO — Nirvana for the epicurean purveyor of Chinese cuisine is to behold – and partake of – a bountiful buffet whose selections might include such taste-tempting combinations as chicken chow mein to shrimp lo mein; yang chow fried rice to moo goo gai pan; sweet and pungent chicken to sweet and sour pork; and a variety of others.

One particular (ominous) Friday the 13th – May 2011 to be more precise – an extremely well-liked, San Antonio-based media personality was enjoying the process of selecting and piling onto his plate his favorite Chinese food offerings.

Seemingly carefree, he and his wife were in relaxation mode as the on-air talent took a break from gearing up for the rigors of an upcoming three-hour talkfest, blissfully unaware his world was moments away from taking a monumental jolt.     

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Proud Partisan Pilots ‘TV Time Machine’

| January 22, 2016

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — Faithful devotees of quite possibly the greatest sitcom of all-time – “The Larry Sanders Show” – will recognize this classic “Hank’s Contract” line delivered in season one/episode seven by producer “Artie” (Rip Torn): “My TV stops at channel 13 the way it is supposed to.”

By way of context, announcer/sidekick “Hank Kingsley” (Jeffrey Tambor) is bluffing that he is weighing an option to leave Sanders (Garry Shandling) to join Dick Cavett in a similar role on CNBC, with “Artie” feigning ignorance of the cable outlet’s existence.

Proliferation of cable channels since that particular “Larry Sanders” installment aired on HBO more than 23 years ago (September 1992) has, of course, only intensified.

Incidentally, 1992 is the same year Bruce Springsteen released “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).”

Lyrics of that song from “The Boss” include, “Home entertainment was my baby’s wish, so I hopped into town for a satellite dish. I came home and pointed it out into the stars – there are 57 channels [but] nothin’ [is] on.”

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Hillsdale College Launches Talk Radio Initiative

| December 9, 2015

By Mike Kinosian,
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgHILLSDALE, MI — To the vast majority of those who have cut their teeth in radio while attending college, the term “campus station” can conjure up a variety of images.

It can mean being a board-op for syndicated programming (think NPR and educational fare); having the chance to actually host a local music-intensive program (typically classical, jazz, or standards); or working at an unlicensed carrier-current outlet where rules are relaxed and music tends to be considerably more contemporary, alternative, and/or progressive.

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Remembering the Inspiring Brad Saul

| December 7, 2015

By Mike Kinosian,
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgCHICAGO — Not the least bit hyperbolic is the assertion that Brad Saul was a successful entrepreneur the greater part of his 55 years of life.

Formerly president of Matrix Media and president/chief executive officer of WebTalkRadio.net, Saul was one of the most inspiring individuals in this medium; he passed away over the weekend at his home in Chicago.

Approximately 10 years ago, Saul was extensively profiled by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, who was then special features editor of Inside Radio. Highlighted here are excerpts from that piece.

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The State of Women on Talk Radio – Part 5

| November 6, 2015

Why aren’t there more?

womentalkart15

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

 

Continuing  today (11/6), TALKERS presents the conclusion of a five-part feature story about the status of female talk show hosts in the radio business that has run throughout this week.

Part 5:  Summing it up, what does it all really mean?

mckayjeffwriterNEW YORK – It was established in the first four installments of this article about the state of women on talk radio – particularly “news/talk” radio – that although there are many successful female practitioners of the art (assuming that the performance of talk radio is an “art”) heard around the country, male hosts continue to outnumber females by a startling ratio of approximately seven-to-one.  The question is why?

In the course of the dialogue sparked by the writing of this story, it became evident that the question of why there aren’t more women doing this has both a simple answer as well as a more complicated one.

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The State of Women on Talk Radio – Part 4

| November 5, 2015

The Two Toned Talker(2015) revWhy aren’t there more?

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

Continuing  today (11/5), TALKERS presents a multi-part feature story about the status of female talk show hosts in the radio business that will run throughout this week.

Part 4:  Where is it going?

mckayjeffNEW YORK – It was established in the first three installments of this article about the state of women on talk radio – particularly “news/talk” radio – that although there are many successful female practitioners of the art heard around the country, male hosts continue to outnumber females by a startling ratio of approximately seven-to-one.  The question is why?

Another question: Where is it all going?

Would an increase in the number of women on news/talk radio change the “nature” of the medium?

And, of course, that leads to the bigger question, should talk radio be looking to expand its nature and target audiences by hiring more women?

Can the spoken word medium successfully expand into more of a variety of directions and attract new female-skewing audiences via an increase in females on the air?   Is that a risky move?

What do women want to hear enough to make talk radio of any genre part of their daily habit and routine?

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The State of Women on Talk Radio – Part 3

| November 4, 2015

The Two Toned Talker(2015) revWhy aren’t there more?

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

Continuing  today (11/4), TALKERS presents a multi-part feature story about the status of female talk show hosts in the radio business that will run throughout this week.

Part 3:  What does it take to make it?

mckayjeffNEW YORK – It was established in the first two installments of this article about the state of women on talk radio – particularly “news/talk” radio – that although there are many successful female practitioners of the art heard around the country, male hosts continue to outnumber females by a startling ratio of approximately seven-to-one.  The question is why?

Another question: what are those women who are making it on talk radio doing right?

“Just as Megan Kelly broke through in a mostly man’s world as host of her own prime time show on Fox News Channel, so can female radio hosts.  They just have to get the right opportunity to prove themselves,” says Salem Media Group SVP/spoken word format, Phil Boyce.

One of those women is Mandy Connell, heard daily mornings on Denver’s KHOW-AM (630) and evenings back on what was her former station, WHAS, Louisville.  The iHeart Media station’s morning drive host, is one of those that has clearly proven herself.  For two decades, she has been on the air at several stations including heritage talker WHAS where she became established as a popular local conservative host who attracted a loyal following of both male and female listeners.

Connell says she has personally run into those who believe that women cannot succeed in talk.

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The State of Women on Talk Radio – Part 2

| November 3, 2015

The Two Toned Talker(2015) revWhy aren’t there more?

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

Continuing  today (11/3), TALKERS presents a multi-part feature story about the status of female talk show hosts in the radio business that will run throughout this week.

Part 2:  Is it blatant bias?

mckayjeffNEW YORK – It was established in yesterday’s opening installment about the state of women on talk radio – particularly “news/talk” radio – that although there are many successful female practitioners of the art heard around the country, male hosts continue to outnumber females by a startling ratio of approximately seven-to-one.  The question is why?

Quick recap — a number of questions, theories and myths about the state of the female host persist:

Are women the victims of hiring discrimination in talk radio because management is male-dominated?

Are women not interested in news and politics proportionate to men?

Do male listeners not want to hear a female voice or female opinion on matters of public policy?

Are fewer women interested in entering this area of radio than men?

Are there simply fewer women proportionate to men who have the required level of “talent” necessary to become a radio talk show host?

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The State of Women on Talk Radio – Part 1

| November 2, 2015

The Two Toned Talker(2015) revWhy aren’t there more?

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

Beginning today (11/2), TALKERS is launching a multi-part feature story about the status of female talk show hosts in the radio business that will run throughout this week.

Part 1:  Setting the stage

mckayjeffNEW YORK – One of the two most FAQs presented to the TALKERS editorial staff, year after year, is “Why aren’t there more female hosts on talk radio?” (The other is, “Why aren’t there more liberals…” – but that has already been the subject of numerous articles in this publication, not to mention discussions at its conferences… so we’ll devote this piece to the lesser-explored “woman” question.)

At the outset, however, several points of clarification are in order:

First, when we use the term “talk radio” in this series, we are referring to “news/talk” radio and even more specifically, “political news/talk radio.”  That’s where the woman issue exists.

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Right Said Fred: Remembering Fred Thompson

| November 2, 2015

By Mike Kinosian,
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgNASHVILLE — In 2004, Fred Thompson was diagnosed with NHL (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma); yesterday, (11/1), he died from a recurrence of lymphoma at the age of 73.

At an imposing height of six feet six inches, Thompson commanded instant respect – yet was also the very definition of an affable gentleman. Sheffield, Alabama-born Fred Dalton Thompson distinguished himself by representing The Volunteer State of Tennessee in the United States Senate from December 1994 – January 2003.

Approximately two-dozen movie credits, as well as his portrayal of District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC-TV’s “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” saturated his remarkably robust resume.

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Profile: WABC’s Charlie Harary

| September 21, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianlgNEW YORK — Across the East River from Manhattan is the New York City section of Queens, home to well over two million residents.

Akin to its borough brethren of Manhattan; Brooklyn; the Bronx; and Staten Island – Queens buzzes with activity on any representative weekend night.

Synonymous – and famous – in any part of Gotham is its pizza. Whether the scene is a group of friends enjoying conversation over a whole pie, or someone folding over a slice on the go, New Yorkers have a longstanding love affair with pizza.

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Profile: America Now’s Meghan McCain

| September 16, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — Nothing short of sweet serendipity is the fact that the positively fetching young woman confidently seated behind the microphone has such a lilting, lyrical name as Meghan Marguerite, although that represents only two-thirds of her alliteration-intensive, attention-getting moniker.

It is her last name – “McCain” – that makes the striking daughter of Arizona Senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain particularly intriguing, while simultaneously putting her under more scrutiny than the typical media personality.

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Podcasting Gets an ‘Upfront Showcase’ with Advertisers

| September 15, 2015

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

mckayjeffwriterNEW YORK — Peter Senerchia, Cari Champion, and Farnoosh Torabi.  One is a former champion professional wrestler known in the ring as Taz, one is a TV reporter and anchor for ESPN, and the other works in her Brooklyn apartment.  However, all three have something in common – they have carved out their own niches and become stars in the world of podcasting… and with their advertisers.

Digital audio has been on a roll over the past 18 months, and this is especially true among younger listeners.  A February survey by Edison Research found approximately 46 million people listened to podcasts in February.  Meanwhile, ad spending on podcasts is soaring.  A recent survey by eMarketer says ad spending for digital audio is expected to reach $2.75 billion, up over 27% from a year ago.

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Vince Benedetto: Bold Captain of Industry

| July 2, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

kinosianlgWILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON, PA — Fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, and concerts will all be in festive abundance this weekend as our glorious country makes room for 239 candles on its proverbial birthday cake.

Waves of patriotism will be demonstrated by suddenly omnipresent American flags; “Support our Troops” stickers/banners will likewise be even more noticeable; and a virtually limitless number of often times nondescript items will be saturated in red, while, and blue.

This special Independence Day weekend profile not only isolates one fiercely proud former military officer, it also focuses on a (still relatively new) independent station owner.

Given it is the same person — this makes for an especially fascinating twofer.

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NJ Broadcasters Work for a New Attitude

| June 19, 2015

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

 

mckayjeffwriterATLANTIC 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.

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He Zigs When Others Zag

| May 28, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianlgLOS 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.

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Inside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan

| May 1, 2015

Fred Jacobs
President
Jacobs Media

jacobsfredwriterBINGHAM 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.

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Techsurvey 11: News/Talk Profile

| April 29, 2015

Fred Jacobs
President
Jacobs Media

 

jacobsfredwriterBINGHAM 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%.”

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Hats Off to Entrepreneur Eller

| April 27, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianlgGREENWOOD, 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.

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Rebecca Reports Radio’s Remedy — Repetition

| April 7, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — Mainstream talk facilities’ on-air schedules are saturated with massive amounts of programs hosted by men and women with wildly diverse backgrounds.

Completely feasible would be that a two-hour, weekly (primarily weekend) offering presided over by a still relatively new-to-radio talent would be totally buried underneath all that clutter.

Chances of that eventuating, however, continue getting slimmer and slimmer, as the compelling personality involved in this specific instance is methodically building a case that – on several levels – her show warrants industry attention. There is little doubt that she certainly does.

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Bliss Family Robinson

| March 16, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

kinosianlgPALM BEACH, Fla. — Complete chaotic disarray in the radio industry easily prompts one to conjure up an image of a perimeter surrounded by a sea of yellow “Police Line: Do Not Cross” tapes. You can practically hear the utterances of, “Keep moving – nothing to see here.”

Positions have been skewered in a business destroyed by consolidation and no one wants to enter a once-vibrant profession that is close to flat lining on life support.

Okay – hold it – not so fast!

One of the most gregarious, gracious, charming, talented – and altogether colorful – characters one could ever encounter has proof that there is still a palpable interest out there by people wanting to chase a career in the still magical world of radio.    

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Remembering the Legendary Gary Owens

Remembering the Legendary Gary Owens

| February 16, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness.

Not character voices that helped to shape, mold, and define this often-honored broadcaster who passedowensgary away in Los Angeles Friday (2/13) at the age of 80, but much more important personal qualities.

Even at the zenith of his popularity, Owens had an unrivaled flair to make anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact feel as though he or she were a genuinely important friend of his.

Dignity with which Owens carried himself make those having the privilege to work behind a microphone exude intense pride in saying they are in the same profession.

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The Amazing Career Journey
of Dr. Joy Browne

| February 10, 2015

 By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

kinosianNEW YORK — Bon mots such as “iconic” and “legendary” are intended to be the highest form of flattery, yet some broadcasters bristle when they are referred to that way.

While most will not admit it, they sense such genuine terms of endearment are really euphemisms that bring their mortality into question and are code for “old.”

In an oftentimes, if not all too customary, flavor-of-the-month industry where the next great star is eaten up and spit out after a 26-week run, it would be disingenuous though not to ascribe “icon/iconic” and “legend/legendary” to a talk host who has been top-of-mind for over three-dozen years.

This particular peerless personality has maintained an impeccable status of excellence while breaking basic (unwritten) talk radio rules.

joy_200Exemplary on-air work that is approaching four decades has been done without political bent and her legend of loyal listeners actually have meaningful life-altering changes owing to the unparalleled expertise of the program’s sage host. In a male-dominated spoken-word personality arena, this show’s headliner is one of only 12 women on TALKERS’ renowned “Heavy Hundred” of 2014, checking in at #44.  (The new list for 2015 will be published within the next few weeks and this writer would not be surprised if she moves up significantly due to recent developments in her dynamic career.)

Added twist to the progressing journey of this generously genial, uncommonly cordial licensed clinical psychologist is that Dr. Joy Browne has taken proprietorship of her daily three-hour program.

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Station Snapshot:
WMAL, Washington, DC

| December 11, 2014

Cumulus talk outlet regaining prominence in nation’s Capital Region

 

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

kinosianWMAL LogoLOS ANGELESEven if not somewhat excusably misused, “heritage” is among the buzzwords many broadcasters hyperbolically invoke when proudly discussing their station and/or a particular on-air talent.

Not limited to a particular genre, it could apply to any format, although scores within the industry still choose to link “heritage” to dominant, institutional, full-service stations with larger-than-life personalities.

In the nation’s capital, for instance, the mighty morning team of “Harden & Weaver,” who beginning in 1960, prevailed in DC for approximately three decades, reinforced WMAL as “heritage” calls there.

Simultaneous with “Harden & Weaver” solidifying their own place in radio history (Frank Harden is now 92 — Jacksonjacksonandweaver Weaver passed away in 1992), they were largely aiding to foster the station’s legacy — the Cumulus Media-owned talker is flourishing in 2014.

Morning mall entertainment

Overseeing then Citadel-owned WMAL from Chicago, where he programmed sister talker WLS-AM, Drew Hayes in August 2010 brought in former Air America programming honcho Bill Hess as assistant program director. Approximately one year later, Cumulus acquired Citadel and Hess was elevated to program director.

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Doug Stephan Breaking New Ground with Experimental Show, “American Family Farmer”

| December 9, 2014

Second program spawned on TalkersRadio in past 15 months to be picked up by terrestrial syndicator   

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS
VP/Executive Editor

caseywriter (2)SPRINGFIELD, MA — For the second time in its first 15 months of operation, TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform launched in September, 2013 by TALKERS magazine – has spawned a program that has been picked up by terrestrial radio.

The first TalkersRadio program to be acquired by terrestrial radio was “The Brent & Meg Show” hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald.

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Ferguson Wake Up Call: Is Your Emergency Planning Proactive or Reactive?

| August 20, 2014

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardNEW YORK — For more than a week now, civil unrest has rocked a city in America’s heartland. And what started as a tragic local story, has now captured the attention of the nation – and the world.

We don’t yet know the full story behind the shooting of an unarmed African-American man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri – a suburb of St. Louis.

But what has emerged in the days of protest, rioting and looting that have followed is both a cautionary tale and a teachable moment for broadcasters. They – and digital newsgatherers, too – are being tested on their ability to ramp up meaningful coverage of contentious social issues simmering in communities large and small. Also being tested is their preparedness to both report the story while protecting their people and property.

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Remembering Don Pardo

| August 19, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief 

kinosianpardo donTucson — While many in the industry continue to agonize over the peculiar details following the death of Casey Kasem and the tragic suicide of Robin Williams, news late last night produced yet more chills, as we learned that Don Pardo’s golden voice has been silenced.

Often Imitated

Countless professionals in the industry have strived to emulate the cadence, delivery, and unmistakable sound of the longtime NBC announcer. It is next to preposterous to believe another talent will do the opening cast credits to “Saturday Night Live” or that anyone else could have introduced Art Fleming (“Don Pardo – tell him what he’s won”) on the original daytime version of “Jeopardy.” In fact, he did a memorable cameo on “Weird Al” Yankovic’s 1984 parody song “I Lost on Jeopardy.”

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ABC’s Ann Compton Announces Retirement

| August 18, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

compton annWASHINGTON, DC — An unvarying element about covering the White House is that each day takes on its own distinct character. One of the most enviable industry assignments demands a unique blend of consistently superior reportage and the ultimate in stamina. Those earning that beat based on impeccable credibility and trustworthiness are truly the best of the best.

Matchless in this highly complicated endeavor on multiple levels has been Chicago native Ann Compton, who began covering the White House nearly 40 years ago (12/2/1974). After spending over four decades with ABC News, the national correspondent will retire in about three weeks (9/10).

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MEET BRENT & MEG: Genesis of an Energizing Mid-Day Partnership

| June 18, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

LOS ANGELES —Journey back to the “Golden Age” of radio and television, and, you will promptly ascertain that, especially in terms of audience acceptance, pairing a real-life husband and wife was a brilliant programming strategy that tended to produce blockbuster results.

ozzie and harrietConsider such instantly familiar classic examples as George Burns & Gracie Allen; Desi Arnaz & Lucille Ball; Ozzie & Harriet Nelson; and Jim & Marian Jordan as “Fibber McGee & Molly,” whose 24-year radio run concluded in 1959.

Contemporary “Windy City” radio partisans will surely cite “Don Wade & Roma,” who were staples on WLS-AM, Chicago for over 25 years; Don Wade succumbed to brain cancer last September.

brent and meg_61714 A 72 dpiFairly recently (then-married) couples Chet Curtis & Natalie Jacobson on Boston’s WCVB-TV, and Jim Lampley & Bree Walker on Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV co-anchored the news together on their respective stations; 74-year-old Curtis lost his fight against pancreatic cancer five months ago.

These are simply representative examples (certainly not approaching a definitive list) of the effective, albeit not now revolutionary concept.

Consequently, while it will hardly be precedent setting when Los Angeles-based Brent Seltzer and his wife Meg McDonald debut next Monday (6/23) on the Genesis Communications Network for their daily, two-hour (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, ET) broadcast, it nonetheless promises to be a wonderfully refreshing burst of fresh air to talk radio.

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National Journalism Center Plays a Supportive Role with Talk Radio and Media’s Youth

| June 17, 2014

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

 

mckayjeffWilbur, Kirby 2014WASHINGTON, DC — In the era of industry-wide consolidation and moves to cut costs with syndication over local talk hosts, longtime radio and media veteran Kirby Wilbur could be the poster child for reinventing a career while helping others to start their own.  Washington, DC-born and Seattle-raised, Wilbur made a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest not from his job as a real estate appraiser, but as a frequent caller to talk shows, a non-paid “hobby” that ultimately led him to his own talk show on KVI in 1993.  For the next 16 years, he was a staple on Seattle airwaves, along with numerous appearances on TALKERS magazine’s “Heavy Hundred” list of the most important radio talk show hosts in America, and also as a fill-in host for the Sean Hannity Show, until he was cut loose from KVI in October, 2009.

Fortunately for Wilbur, his Republican ideology, political activism and ability to articulate points allowed him to move directly into politics, becoming the chairman of the Washington State Republican Party.  During his tenure, Republicans picked up majorities in the Washington State House and State Senate.  However, an offer came his way that has not only changed him, but is also developing a new generation of members of the media.

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Livestream Connects Talk Radio with Visual Platform

| June 6, 2014

Company to play major role at forthcoming Talkers New York 2014 

 By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

LOS ANGELES —Radio’s collective resume is remarkably rich with astounding seminal moments and some breathtaking benchmark events; however, open for conjecture, of course, is the one singularly most important to the medium.

Few can dispute that a 62-minute October 30, 1938 segment would be at – or near – the top of a multitude of related “Top 10” lists.

That was when, without commercial interruption, the CBS Radio Network aired “The Mercury Theater on the Air” adaptation of H.G. Wells’ 1898 novel “The War of the Worlds.” Directed, narrated, and starring Orson Welles, the program suggested that a Martian invasion was in progress.

As much as any other solitary program, this particular stunning piece of radio history was responsible for linking the medium to the term “theater of the mind.”

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Meet Ken Rutkowski

| May 12, 2014

Second of two-part special on “Business Rockstars”

Quintessential connected host not stuck in a rut

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

LOS ANGELES — Connoisseurs of the fine art of the interview — and it truly is an art form — relish the opportunity to study Charlie Rose as he masterfully plies his craft nightly on PBS.

Roundtable one-on-one settings featuring the amiable Rose are clinics that more often than not uncover fascinating layers to his intriguing guests.


Amazing Stories

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Biz Biggies Rock On

| May 8, 2014

The colorful history and present-day innovation of industry entrepreneur Steve Lehman

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

LOS ANGELESSeveral enterprising Los Angeles radio station employees in the mid-1980s ingeniously laid the foundation for what would become one of the most renowned, esteemed radio syndication companies this medium has witnessed.

Generally corroborated is that the initial investment for Premiere Radio Networks was a modest $30,000, which in turn helped to trigger first-year advertising billing for the novice venture in the neighborhood of $2 million.

By any standard, that qualifies as an ultra-impressive, if not eye-popping, startup. More than a quarter of a century later, that figure has ballooned by 200 times.

As a result, it is perhaps not one bit surprising that one of the chief architects of that empire again has his creative juices flowing with a project involving the fates and fortunes of fellow industrialists.

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Catching Up with Lionel

| March 31, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast

 

LOS ANGELES — Recording artists running the gamut from Bing Crosby to Sam Cooke to Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross (among others) have wonderfully warbled to remind us that the “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”

A 1956 film that starred Gordon MacRae accentuated the point as well.

Offering a different take in the predominantly uplifting sentiment are the Beatles, who – while acknowledging the fact – nonetheless suggested those “free” things could be kept in exchange for “money” – but – that’s another story.

Smart, Funny, and Unedited

Back to the positive point: Words are free and no one in talk radio is more adroit, melodious, and astute in his splendidLionel large employment of the vocabulary than brilliantly witty Lionel, who generously remarks, “If you like my words – take them – they are not mine [anyway], they are yours. As a sesquipedalian and a logophile, I love the mother tongue. Do not marvel at the fancy words. It is part of who I am. I will never try to make people feel stupid. People love smart and funny – they crave it.”

These days, not only does Lionel get to demonstrate how deliciously lovely the language may be when utilized with panache, he also offers a veritable talk radio clinic.

On one hand, it is a fresh and innovative concept, while on the other, there is enormous simplicity to a back-to-the-basics approach. “It came about through the genius, foresight, and wherewithal of [TALKERS publisher] Michael Harrison,” Lionel comments of his Saturday, 9:00 am – 10:00 am ET TalkersRadio show. “It is just a joy and Michael is the preeminent voice in talk radio. Since the beginning, he has told me what I need to do must be the best.”

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Inside SportsTalkBoston.com

| March 26, 2014

Sports Media Personality Glenn Ordway’s Multi-Platform Venture Is Off and Running

 

By Jason Wolfe
Chief Content Officer
SportsTalkBoston.com

 

wolfejasonwriterBOSTON — I’ve worked in sports radio my entire broadcast career. When I graduated from Syracuse in 1989, I was privileged to land a job in my hometown of Boston right out of college. Talk about young and green. I didn’t have any idea what radio was all about at that time. I just knew I loved it. Twenty-four years later, it’s amazing how much the medium, and the industry, have changed.

In the old days, hosts flipped on the microphone, yapped about their teams, took calls from passionate fans whose very lives seemingly depended on the outcome of the games, and threw in numerous guests to provide more insight into the topic at hand. It was a pretty simple formula. Information ruled the day and that’s what we did, discuss the information.

Nowadays, to be successful in sports talk radio, and most formats, it’s about much more than providing information. Listeners sportstalkboston logoalready have the information you want to discuss, even before you get to the station. You need opinions, humor, edge, attitude, and most of all personality. Fans will listen to hosts they love, and those they hate, because of the personality that exists in both. Personality breeds engagement. Engagement breeds loyalty.  Loyalty breeds ratings and ratings breed revenue. That is the formula hosts and shows need to embrace today if they want to win.

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Farewell to a Jim Dandy Gentleman

| March 5, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

Jim Lange #3LOS ANGELES — The broadcasting industry took another hit last week as Jim Lange succumbed to a heart attack.

In much the same way the late Dick Clark never seemed to age, some were shocked that the always youthful-looking Lange was actually 81 when he passed away at his Mill Valley, California home.

Several years ago – during my tenure as special features editor for the trade publication Inside Radio – the two of us had an extended conversation; the result was one of my in-depth personality profiles.

That chat laid the foundation for what became a continuing friendship. It was a privilege to remain in contact with the gracious and hospitable Lange, who was most deserving of the “Gentleman Jim” handle.

As a tribute, here are edited/condensed/updated highlights from that profile, which began by theorizing, if those at Guinness ever concocted a world record category for “Person Throwing The Most Kisses on Television,” Lange would be the hands-down winner.

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Part Three – “Radio is Beyond Radio Now”

| February 12, 2014

TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature

The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special features Correspondent

 

mckayjeffNEW YORK — Since he ventured out on his own and started what has become not only a highly successful syndication company, but one that can truly serve the needs of both the largest and even the smallest radio station, Danno Wolkoff has known that he cannot simply rest on his laurels.  Wolkoff will be the first to admit that his company, in order to be and remain successful, must change with radio’s changing times from how companies do business and manage their own businesses, to how companies must do more with less, and the ever-changing technology that could cost a company listeners and their survival.

Envision Networks has changed with the changing times in radio, something Wolkoff identifies as being driven by technology which is now the catalyst for these changes and placing traditional radio at a crossroads.

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Part Two – Taking the Vision and Creating Envision

| February 11, 2014

TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature

The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special features Correspondent

 

mckayjeffNEW YORK — When Clear Channel came along and bought MJI Broadcasting in November, 1999, and then merging them into Premiere Networks, the idea of leaving and starting his own company was far from his thoughts.  However, Danno Wolkoff soon found out that creating new programs he was trying to push wasn’t in the plans for Premiere at that time, told simply, “If we want a new show we’ll buy it,” which included shows like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.  Wolkoff realized his future wasn’t at Premiere.

At MJI, Wolkoff was accustomed to building programs from the ground-up.  This was not how Premiere was operating at the time, and realizing that sooner or later the end could come for him at Clear Channel and Premiere, Wolkoff began devising “Plan B.”  The question for Wolkoff would be in which direction should he go, to work for someone as he had his entire career to-date, or start his own company?

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Part One – ‘I Didn’t See a Future for Me in Radio’

| February 10, 2014

TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature

The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special features Correspondent

mckayjeffwolkoffdannoNEW YORK — Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal to wind up in television production.  Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations.  Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year.  It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide.  When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks, he became VP of Affiliate Relations.

However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel.  Wolkoff faced a career crossroad, and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.

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Not the Same-Old, Same-Old

| February 10, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

LOS ANGELES — Tremendous temptation surfaces in the years of profiling talk radio personalities to make an occasional obligatory James Brown-inspired reference.

Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.

Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).

That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz.  Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.

As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.

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Alex Bennett: Still Pioneering After All These Years

Alex Bennett: Still Pioneering After All These Years

| February 5, 2014

A Good Listen to a Good Guy 

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

LOS ANGELESSome view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams.

To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.

Alex Bennett #1It would have been quite easy and understandable for Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73 years old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).

Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take to talk radio.

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Radio’s Version of the Olympics Now Underway

| January 20, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

LOS ANGELES — Thanks to the Olympic Games, the world comes together every four years through athletic competition.

The radio industry has its own equivalent of that each year, but unlike what will take place next month in Sochi (Russia, 2/7-23) – there will not be any heated bobsled or luge rivalries.

As part of the New York Festivals’ “World’s Best Radio Programs,” entrants will be evaluated on what they do best, and it has been that way ever since these particular honors were established in 1982.
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Heeding Headlines Has Gallagher Playing the Hits

| January 13, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Neither long ago (relatively speaking) nor far away in some remote galaxy, teenagers were so routinely enthralled by their local radio station of choice that summoning up the courage to actually go visit it was a personal seminal moment.

When one Dayton high school junior made such a trek in 1978, nothing short of a series of mind-boggling events followed.

Eager to see what his favorite facility looked like, this 17-year-old requested a tour, and what immediately caught his attention wasn’t a piece of equipment or seeing someone involved in the on-air process. Rather, it was a bulletin board memo, which read that the station was “still looking for a young talk-master.”

Completely fearless, he knocked on the program director’s door and confidently declared he could do that. As luck would have it, the night talent at the talk station was out with the flu.

Improbable reality number one was that, while the PD had planned to fill-in for his ailing talent, he remarkably, inexplicably said the young visitor should go ahead and give talk radio hosting a try – that night.

Either the program director was one of the foremost assessors of raw talent imaginable or, at the other end of the spectrum, had temporarily taken leave of his senses.

Regardless, the high school student did a four-hour shift and was so impressive in what was – in essence – an on-air audition that, defying logic, he was hired.

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TalkersRadio Hits the Ground Running for 2014 with New Hosts, Shows and Programming Directions

| January 10, 2014

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS
VP/Executive Editor

caseywriter (2)TalkersRadio logo 300SPRINGFIELD, MA – TalkersRadio, the “experimental” talk radio station launched last fall by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts” has, according to its general manager David Bernstein, “hit the ground running” in 2014 with the announcement of several new hosts and shows scheduled to join its programming roster this month.

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Industry Mourns Talk Pioneer Bob Grant

| January 2, 2014

NEW YORK — Bob Grant, who ranked eleventh in TALKERS magazine’s 20th anniversary Heaviest Hundred (published in 2010), which lists “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time,” died on December 31 at  84 years old after a brief illness.

grantbobGrant, whose signature opening line in New York radio was “Let’s be heard!,” drove his rollercoaster career through numerous stations in New York City where listeners followed some of the more racially-charged issues in town.

Brash and confident for a guy who stood 5-foot seven, Grant was described by TALKERS in the July/August 2010 issue as an “infamous watchdog of public figures, 40-plus years in New York radio.”

Upon learning of Grant’s death, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “He was a founding father of modern talk radio whose influence on broadcasting technique, style and societal role go way beyond the boundaries of conservative broadcasting.”

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The Miracle of ‘A Christmas Story’

| January 2, 2014
By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman
 
sabowriterNEW YORK — The movie, “A Christmas Story,” is based on the synthesis of dozens of radio monologues created and delivered by Jean Shepherd.  Jean broadcast on WOR New York from 1958-1975.  His nightly monologues were not bedtime stories.  They were subversive proclamations, challenging authority wrapped in imagery of American traditions.  You can hear off-the-board airchecks of Shepherd here: http://www.flicklives.com/
 
Jean worked without a script, but with massive prep.  Some of his shows took months to come to fruition in his imagination.  He recorded every show.

Female Erotic-Media Entrepreneur Finding Interested Audiences as “Change-of-Pace” Talk Show Guest

| December 20, 2013

By David Bernstein
TalkersRadio
General Manager

 

bernsteindavidwriterNEW HAMPSHIRE — At a time when most news/talk stations are seeking two things to keep the format vibrant and growing – 1) relevant topics that go beyond right-versus-left politics and 2) programming that would be attractive to more female listeners without turning off men – Angie Rowntree is finding appreciation among hosts and producers as the perfect “change-of-pace” guest.  Simply put, Angie Rowntree’s business is communicating about sex.

As the operator of the world’s largest “porn for women” site, Sssh.com, Angie has spent the last 14 years doing a lot of what you might assume someone running an erotic website does – like writing and directing adult entertainment movies – but a good deal of that time has also been spent doing something you might not expect from a pornographic entrepreneur: listening.

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Unlikely To Steal This Pittsburgh Pair’s Spirit

| December 12, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

LOS ANGELESDazzling omnipresent decorations, magnificent multi-colored lights, hastening hustle and bustle, and a brisk icy chill in the air all underscore that this indisputably is the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Even the most adamant skeptic will find corroboration and confirmation of that fact, simply by turning to at least one local FM music outlet that has transitioned to playing wall-to-wall Christmas tunes.

On such dedicated dial positions, listeners will instantly hear artists from Andy Williams to Garth Brooks to Harry Connick, Jr. to Amy Grant wonderfully warbling about the warm joys crystallized in this “hap-happiest season of all.”

Contemplative scene thoughts of “parties for hosting” and “marshmallows for toasting” support the heartwarming notion.

Visions of sugarplums dance in our collective heads, yet some radio historians cannot help but ratchet up dour “Debbie Downer,” the “SNL” character superbly portrayed by Lexington, Massachusetts native Rachel Dratch. Punctuated with a delivery that sucks the life and enthusiasm from any room, Debbie Downer would suggest this is anything but the happiest season of all, especially in radio.

Some heartless, dastardly things have transpired post-Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day over the years in this business.

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Aaron Klein Takes Breaking News and Investigative Talk Radio to a New Level

| November 13, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

Klein feature picNEW YORK — Aaron Klein simply breaks all of the stereotypes of today’s talk show hosts.  He’s just 34 years old.  He does not lean liberal or conservative, nor does he speak in political talking points.  He does not love or hate President Obama, or stand on the ground of anyone’s political party.  He’s an accomplished author of six books with another blockbuster on the way.  His radio show doesn’t just talk about the news – in many cases it breaks the news – broadcasting half a world away.

Klein grew up in a tight-knit community of orthodox Jews in Philadelphia, and eventually moved to New York City where he attended Yeshiva University.  It wasn’t long before he joined the student newspaper, and became editor.  If he wasn’t hooked to the media by that time, a powerful report in the college newspaper led to the school removing issues of his newspaper.  That action led to the threat of a lawsuit against the university.  The school backed down and discontinued their practice.

Like many people in radio, Klein never really planned on the media as a career.

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Being “Politically Incoherent” Pays Off For “Rocky Mountain Mike”

| November 1, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

LOS ANGELES — Before the days of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, when it came to politics some of the most interesting political comments came from music parodies and comedians.  You don’t really hear much political satire on the radio these days, but that may change.  A longtime radio host and producer has joined forces with a longtime entertainment industry executive to put together a political comedy CD that has hit the top of the comedy CD charts in just the initial two weeks of release.  For Michael Hardeman and Marshall Blonstein, being politically correct means being “Politically Incoherent.”

Los Angeles-born-and-raised Marshall Blonstein is the former founder and president of the music labels Audio Fidelity and DCC Compact Classics.  He has also held positions at Island, ABC and Epic Records, and is the founder of Morada Music and Video, based in LA.

Mike Hardeman is also known as “Rocky Mountain Mike,” a satirical writer, producer, musician and performer.  He got his start 40 years ago on radio in KXOJ-AM in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa, Oklahoma.  Hardeman had stops along the way at other stations, along with ABC Radio Networks in Dallas where he hosted a nationwide country music countdown show for several years.

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30 Candles for Horn’s CRN

| October 28, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

 

LOS ANGELES — Akin to never coming across a more vocal emissary or advocate about the game of baseball than former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, the radio industry would be hard-pressed to find a livelier ambassador than Mike Horn.

Thirty years ago, Horn had what, at the time, was considered a wild, if not inconceivable notion of placing radio station audio onto cable television systems around the country.

Whether or not such a wacky idea would survive three decades down the road is not something over which Horn anguished. Instead, he immersed himself in concentrating on doing something new and different.

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Talkers Los Angeles 2013 a Sold-Out Success

| October 14, 2013

Photos by Matthew B. Harrison

LOS ANGELES — More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 this past Thursday (10/10).

1Acrowdshot

Segment of capacity crowd packing seats in the Steve Allen Theater at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.

Among the major issues covered were the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platform ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day.

 

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Profile: Bill Meyer of KMED, Medford, Oregon

| October 1, 2013

Serving Local Listeners – A Blueprint for Talk Success

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

MEDFORD — If you leave Portland, Oregon and head just over four hours south down Interstate 5, before you reach the California border you’ll drive right into the town of Medford.  About 75 miles inland through rugged terrain from the Pacific Ocean, Medford is a small town with a population of 76,000, but is also an economic hub for Southern Oregon and a home for the state’s growing wine industry.

KMED logoMedford is also the home of KMED-AM (1440), a news/talk station owned by Bicoastal Media and the oldest radio station in Medford.  It’s weekday lineup includes syndicated conservatives Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, along with Glenn Beck and Alex Jones.  However, what drives the station is their morning show, and Bill Meyer has not only made the morning show his own, he has been able to create a blueprint of how to package a large market type of local show and imprint that on a small market audience, giving the station a very sellable show, while the listeners get the interaction and local flavor they would not get with a nationally syndicated program.

And, he does it all on his own – without a show producer.

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Memorable Marilu Is One Unforgettable Babe

| September 24, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

Marilu HennerLOS ANGELESAnyone hosting a mega-dinner party or similar major celebratory event generally grapples with several thorny dynamics.

There is the matter of the smartest person in the room, who regrettably tends to display Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s litany of quirky behaviorisms, an instant buzz-kill in the personality department, although massive ratings for CBS-TV’s “Big Bang Theory”.

Conversely, one particular attendee is bound to exude a certain magnetism that commands instant attention, making them the clear-cut focal point.

Often, although not always, an overwhelming contributing factor to that charisma is a person’s striking good looks and/or extraordinary talent.

One would hit the proverbial jackpot by inviting Marilu Henner, as she would be the most astute person in virtually any setting yet free of all baggage – social graces or otherwise. Unquestionably, she would be the most exuberant one there with numerous qualities including an indescribable spark that lures interest. If that were not already sufficient, the well-known actress remains extremely stunning.

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Taking Care of Business

| September 12, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

  LOS ANGELESThose fancying a career in radio typically lead a nomadic existence, as they pay their dues in small markets and relocate numerous times – often before even reaching their 30th birthday.

Tom Sullivan 150Such was not the case however for Tom Sullivan, whose resumé cites just one radio station – Sacramento’s heritage talk outlet KFBK.

Fox News RadioFor the past six years, Sullivan has hosted a three-hour (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) show on Fox News Radio and he can be seen weekends fronting his own program on the Fox Business Channel.


First Social Media

As a teenager growing up in Seattle, Sullivan made it a top priority to meet one of the Emerald City’s major radio personalities, who graciously wound up asking if he wanted to get a first-hand look at how radio works. “I hung out with him during his shift,” Sullivan fondly recalls. “I had that interest in radio then, but I think many [others that age] did at the time because that is where we got our music. Radio was our social world.”

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Creating a Worldwide Network –
One “Hobby” Station at a Time

| August 27, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

COWLINGTON, Oklahoma — When you think of syndicators, you think of giants like Premiere or Dial Global.  When you think of radio stations that carry syndicated programs, heritage stations like New York City’s WABC and KABC  in Los Angeles come to mind.  What you don’t think is a syndicator setting up their operation, or their entire radio station’s operation, in a bedroom in their home located in rural Oklahoma.  You also don’t think anyone working out of a room about the size of a one-car garage distributing 24 hour programming, seven days-a-week on three continents.  What you also don’t think is that anyone can do all of this, with an operating budget that equals the pay before taxes of a young adult working full-time at a fast-food restaurant.

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ALEX BENNETT at 73: True Radio Pioneer

| August 9, 2013

Raising the Digital Frontier Bar One “Great American Broadcast” at a Time

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

NEW YORK — The one thing you can never say is that Alex Bennett is not ahead of his time.  Bennett can stake a claim to the fact he may be the only one who has successfully climbed the ladder from the smallest of radio markets to the top market in terrestrial radio, worked on the air as a talk host on satellite radio, and have made the transition to the audio and video digital frontier in a way nobody else has.  It also appears that being 73-years young, he has no plans to hang up his headphones or power down his bandwidth anytime soon.

Bennett was born in 1939, when NBC’s Red Network had an affiliate in Havana, Cuba, and a few months before radio shows like “Truth or Consequences” and “The Adventures of Superman” debuted on the air.  Much like those “firsts,” Bennett would soon prepare to venture into radio and create a few “firsts” of his own.

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Coasting to Victory Outside the Mainstream

| July 30, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

LOS ANGELES — Summon up the term “theater-of-the-mind” and hardcore historians of the medium will instantly link it to what many consider one of radio’s authentic seminal points.  In fact, roughly three months from now, that benchmark event will celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Rewind the clock to Halloween 1938, when a then-23-year-old Orson Welles and The Mercury Theater terrified America with “The War of the Worlds.”

Albeit that some classified the adaptation of an alien invasion as a tremendous hoax or fraud, it was inarguably compelling radio.

In its own way, such theater – or mystery – of the mind surfaces nightly on Premiere Radio’s four-hour (1:00am – 5:00am, Eastern Time) “Coast To Coast AM,” overseen with graceful aplomb by the tremendously eloquent George Noory.

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Finding Radio Advertising Solutions

| July 17, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

LOS ANGELESUse the word “creative” in a radio context and the first thing generally summoned up is a programmer spinning a different take on a music format, or as an application to that extremely rare, exceptional on-air personality who is capable of generating substantial buzz.

Infrequently though is it linked in a word-association game to commercials, which is not only distressing, but highly unfortunate since creative commercial content can be a strong attribute.

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Can Internet Radio Reignite a Career?
Ask “Radio George”

| July 1, 2013

By Jeff McKay
RadioInfo
Special Features Correspondent

KANSAS CITY — When you’re in radio and you lose your job, in almost all cases you begin looking for another job at another radio station, whether it’s in the same city or another market.  For some, the intrigue of the internet brings them to the digital frontier.  If the choice becomes the digital divide, then the question then becomes, “How can you make money?”

For that answer, you can ask “Radio George.”

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Ben Fuchs: An “Alternative” Approach to Health as Well as Radio Syndication

| May 30, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

5154164 croppedNEW YORK — While conservative political talk radio still dominates the AM/FM commercial spoken word air waves, pharmacist Ben Fuchs proves syndication, and talk radio in general, can come in many forms.  In the case of Fuchs, the host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio program “The Bright Side,” he has become a thorn in the side of the pharmaceutical industry by becoming an advocate for better nutrition and a natural healing approach, because, as he says, “I look at the human body as a healing and regenerating system.”

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Talking in the UK: Perspectives from an American Talk Show Host Working in London

| May 20, 2013

By Charlie Wolf

wolfcharlietalksportLONDON — Working in London, England, as an American talk show host has its challenges.  For instance, for the first two-three years of my six year stint as a host on commercial national talk station, TalkSPORT, (Talk Radio UK) doing a political/news-based show – it was the audience’s view that I was not allowed an opinion at all, either as a host and especially as a “Yank.”

bbcFor years on the BBC – where there is “speech radio” (drama, news, news analysis – and done very well) there had been very little interactive talk, and even then the host – though he would occasionally explore or challenge a point – was mostly a moderator not an instigator or opinion former.  Talk shows on the BBC, now more opinionated than they used to be, are very much in the mould of “on the one hand there is …. But on the other hand…. what do you think?”  British radio – due to over-regulation, a fairness doctrine, dominant licence funded BBC, a lack of competition, and a “scared-of-one’s-own-shadow” attitude to regulators – will never have a thriving talk radio market as in the US.  There is not the space for talent to truly develop in talk commercially.

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An Open Letter of Advice to Rush Limbaugh

| May 20, 2013

By Dr. John Tantillo
Branding and Marketing Group, Inc.
President

tantillodrNEW YORK – A Letter To Rush Now!

Dear Rush,

We need to talk.

Why?

Because many out there hate your brand (and you) and if nothing is done proactively in the short run, failure is assured in the long run.

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Self-Syndication is Berry, Berry Good

| May 15, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

Meet Michael Berry

Michael Berry #1LOS ANGELES — Granted, it doesn’t quite convey the magnitude of Howard Stern’s “King of All Media” bravado, but “Czar of Talk Radio” is the tongue-in-cheek manner Michael Berry refers to himself. “If President Obama can name a czar for everything, then I’m the ‘Czar of Talk Radio,'” Berry reasons.

The moniker took off when he started it four years ago and Berry has capitalized on it. “Other talk hosts say they wish they branded it before I did.”

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Catching up with Laura Ingraham

| May 13, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

Westwood One LogoLOS ANGELES — An even dozen years has elapsed (April 2001) since Westwood One filled its 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET slot with a then-36-year-old, meteoric-rising, dynamo.

TRN revAssociation with the Norm Pattiz-founded syndication powerhouse would last more than two years, before the conservative-slanted talk talent segued to 9:00 am-12:00 noon duties for Talk Radio Network in September 2003.

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Can the Radio Station Overcome Smothering Debt and Become
a Viable Business Again?

| May 2, 2013

Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor
RadioInfo and Talkers

LOS ANGELES — Chalk it up to misreading the economic tealeaves or perhaps to good old-fashioned avarice, but several radio groups have fallen victim to the, “(S)he who has the most toys, wins” hypothesis.

Debt #1Monopoly Board“Winners” managing to run the board in today’s all too real game of Radio Monopoly are rewarded by becoming further ensconced in deeper, darker, debt.

Administer sodium pentothal to a cross-section of radio managers and the overwhelming majority will vociferously state that, owing to its cookie-cutter nature and mounting pressure to deliver grossly unrealistic percentages to the bottom line, the business is no longer fun. Countless executives at high-billing, strong ratings performing outlets have been unduly placed in the gut-wrenching position of laying off personnel and making other vital cutbacks – forced to share the load of paying for what could be considered out-of-control acquisition sins at the corporate level.

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A Serious Loss for Howard Stern

| April 15, 2013

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

sternhowardBOSTON — Sometimes it is, as Mel Brooks commented in his movie “The History of the World, Part One,” good to be the king.  But other times it is not.  Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed (and not too far off) “King of All Media” took a hit last week when the dismissal of his lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in which he sought more than $300 million in stock awards was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.

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2013 NAB Show: “Metamorphosis:
The Changing Face of Media & Entertainment”

| April 9, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

cookeConnectedMediaWorld 150LAS VEGAS —  Even before 90,000 attendees step into the sprawling Convention Center, they expect change.  The Las Vegas Monorail robo-voice invites them to visit The Cloud Computing Pavilion.

Metamorphosis 200Atop the escalator, more evidence of the “Metamorphosis” that is this year’s NAB Show theme: Publication bins stacked with hard copies are being replaced by a wall-o-magazine covers.  Scan the QR code, and you get the digital version.

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Leave It To Leykis To Blow It Up

| March 19, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

mcmahonfieldmarshallLOS ANGELES — Master marketer Vince McMahon continues to build a vast “Sports Entertainment” empire largely owing to his uncanny knack of giving the “universe” of WWE fans the product they crave, a philosophy congruous with that of Massachusetts-born entrepreneur Marshall Field, who stressed that his Chicago-based department stores should, “Give the lady what she wants.”

Simon & GarfunkelThose taking heed of Messrs. McMahon and Field will – as Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel intoned in 1970 – “Keep the Customer Satisfied” (the “B” side of “Bridge over Troubled Water”).

Not only is the same applicable to an intensely entertaining and astute talk radio personality, it is his program’s cornerstone mantra.

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Keeping It Local is KSCO’s Key to Success

| March 15, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

SANTA CRUZ, CA — The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  Their ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper.  You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.

The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – at this station exist.

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Mohr Radio Dreams Come True

| March 4, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
Talkers
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

TLOS ANGELES Anyone connecting the dots to the impressive vitae and past history of one of America’s brightest comics/rock solid actor will not be the least bit astonished that agent “Bob Sugar” in the mid-1990s smash “Jerry Maguire” is on his way to establishing a potent presence in sports talk radio.

Jay MohrSecond-year (2009-2010) plotline for CBS-TV’s “Gary Unmarried” called for its lead character to lessen his role as a housepainter as he transitioned to what he had always wanted to do – host a call-in sports radio program. “It is this crazy scenario that I actually wound up doing in real life what I was doing in a make belief sitcom,” remarks Jay Mohr, whose “Jay Mohr Sports” debuted January 2 on Fox Sports Radio.

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Hey Joe, Where Are You Going with That Mic In Your Hand?

| February 22, 2013

Picking the right topics when working in multiple markets

By Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo
Radio Talk Show Host

 (EDITOR’S NOTE:  Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – a member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the host of mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on The Weekend show.  He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others.)

pagsjoeHOUSTON/SAN ANTONIO/DENVER/EVERYWHERE —Good morning, Houston.”  “Good afternoon, San Antonio.”  “Happy Saturday, Denver.”  “Good Weekend, America.”  These are all things I’m lucky enough to say either every day or every week.  It’s a supreme compliment to have the support of the stations in these markets and from Clear Channel and Premiere and quite a challenge.  Each show has its own feel, flow and audience make up and reaction.  So, over the last 11 years, I’ve learned what works everywhere and what is market specific.

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Hey Bad Guys – Watch Out!

| February 5, 2013

TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES —  Contrasted to national talk radio hosts who can sometimes get deeply mired in a monotonous right against left (or vice versa) onslaught, many of their local counterparts emerge as bona fide folk heroes for standing up against a coterie of injustices inflicted on their fellow residents.

Actions taken by this band of “watchdogs,” in the overwhelming number of instances, have nothing to do with political leanings or a partisan playbook.

johnandkencarrhowieLegendary for rooting out the “bad guys,” afternoon talk hosts “John & Ken” (John Kobylt & Ken Champiou) expose what they consider dirty dealings to their very large audience on Los Angeles’ KFI.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr is a thorn in the side of the “powers that be” in New England.  Everywhere in between, intense professional satisfaction comes when they go toe-to-toe with pit bull-like tenacity against the establishment. In that same sort of imagery, “hold their feet to the fire” has actually become a talk radio slogan as on-air talents attempt to expose and defeat “the bad guys.”

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Gun Control Issue Surges as Talk Radio Topic

| January 11, 2013

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine

caseywriterSPRINGFIELD, Ma. — The Newtown, Connecticut tragedy has stimulated a tremendous amount of talk about guns in America.  Usually it is one of those topics — like abortion — that hosts and programmers try to avoid because there are seldom new angles and little give and take between sides.  Sandy Hook has changed that.  It is this week’s number one talk radio topic.  So, how have talk hosts and stations been handling this issue?

Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity says, for him, it’s about more than the isolated issue of America’s gun laws and his programs are approaching it from a larger perspective.  “On the specific issue itself for me it is simple; we protect our money with armed guards, we protect our elected officials with armed guards, and our “Hollywood stars” hannityseanwith armed guards.  If we really want to keep our children safe in school, why not hire retired armed police officers?  Do they deserve less?  Many college campuses already have such guards. The other huge issue I am focused on is the abuse of power and an emerging imperial presidency.  The Constitution is America’s rule of law, we have co-equal branches of Government, separation of powers etc…Obama making recess appointments when the senate is not in recess; Obama using executive orders to adopt amnesty provisions of the failed Dream Act; Biden threatening that executive orders will be used to bypass Congress on the Second Amendment.  Imagine if George Bush tried to bypass Congress on a First Amendment issue!  Pelosi and Democrats are encouraging the president to use the Fourteenth Amendment to bypass Congress and raise the debt ceiling.  All examples of an executive branch power grab.  I am also asking one simple question.  If, God forbid, somebody breaks into your house or place of work, how will you protect yourself?

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December Sports Scoreboard

| January 4, 2013

Conclusion of a Three-Part Special Feature

By Mike Kinosian
Talkers
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — It has been an exciting and historic week in sports radio.

In a special feature series, we have outlined what has been taking place and detailed some possible ramifications.

Our look at the ever-expanding sports format concludes with a December 2012 ratings overview.

Spoken-word stations were particularly vulnerable in the December sweep when at least one station per market generally started playing all-Christmas music.

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Peacock Sports Network Playing The Hits

| January 3, 2013

Part Two of a Special Feature

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — As sure as 2013 has arrived, personal resolutions have been made, and a plethora of prognostications will bombard us.

crystalball130Equally as predictable is that not long into this brand new year, those well-meaning self-promises will be severely compromised, and one’s forecasting ability becomes cloudy-looking, at best.

Here, however, is something that could actually be a trend this year: Don’t be surprised if clusters with multiple talk stations jettison one of those signals to sports.

Associated with that, we very well might witness a spate of under-performing (primarily talk) outlets transition to sports.

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Sports Talk Network Update: Heavyweights Covering All Bases

| January 2, 2013

Part One: CBS Launches New Network

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — “Happy Sports Year!”

That could easily be the battle cry sentiment among ardent fans to welcome 2013, even if it means that many of them will require scorecards to track the whereabouts of some of their favorite sports radio personalities.

A perennial sports talk talent MVP tops the headlines by switching teams, while some new names get to crack opening-day lineups, as not one – but two – national sports networks are being introduced this year, each carrying instantly-recognizable name branding.

One of them in fact, is making its maiden voyage today (Wednesday, January 2) and, if all goes according to plan, many radio station managers and programmers will be echoing that “Happy Sports Year!” declaration in about 11 months as their way of assessing 2013.

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A Tribute to Ray Briem

| December 13, 2012

By Doug McIntyre
KABC, Los Angeles

 

LOS ANGELES — The great talk radio host Ray Briem died yesterday (12/12/12) at age 82.  For nearly 30-years Ray owned overnights in Southern California.  Ray was heard weeknights from Midnight to 5:00 am and his show was mandatory listening for the night people.  Ray was one of the principle architects of the Prop 13 movement in California, providing Howard Jarvis a regular platform to pitch his historic tax reform measure.

Years before anyone was talking about immigration, Ray did a broadcast from a helicopter over the Mexican border to report on the then-rarely discussed but emerging issue.

He was a passionate supporter of big  band music and the great American Songbook and regularly featured interviews with music legends including folks like Les Paul and Artie Shaw and going back in time, Louis Armstrong.  He was invited to Sinatra recording sessions and was in the studio when Sinatra recorded “Come Fly With Me.”

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Eyes and Ears on the Storm

| November 21, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
Talkers 
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELESAmerican voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes.

That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “Pause” button to politics: “Sandy.”

Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake.

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CES Unveiled, Christmas Unwrapped

| November 14, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

NEW YORK — You’ve seen those lines whenever a new iPhone came out?  During the recession, and now in recovery, consumer electronics (CE) has been a conspicuous bright spot, and will continue to be.  On-track to grow 5.9% to a $206.5 billion business in the USA alone in 2012, CE is projecting a 4.5% increase to $215.8B in the new year.

Each November, the Consumer Electronics Association does a press preview of its Consumer Electronics Show, the mammoth, mind-boggling January convention I cover each year for TALKERS.  Here are my notes…and radio should take note, for four reasons:

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Political Talkers Take Stock of Positioning
in Post-Election Environment

| November 8, 2012

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
Executive Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Contrary to the stereotype often depicted by the mainstream and political press that news/talk radio hosts all fit a standard model, TALKERS magazine observes that this is hardly the case – especially now that the all-consuming election of 2012 is in the history books and political talk show hosts are assessing their personal position strategies for the new chapter of history at hand.  Actually this is a process that has been in play for several years and not exactly a brand new trend sparked by the election.  Key players such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries and Michael Smerconish have had significantly different takes on the conservative side of the dial as have hosts the likes of Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller and Alan Colmes been diverse in their approaches from the left.  However, recently concluded elections – especially presidential contests – have a way of making talent in this arena reassess and reflect upon their strategies.

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Be Prepared for What Could be Another
Perfect Storm

| October 25, 2012

By Howard B. Price, CBCP/MBCI
ABC News
Director of Business Continuity and Crisis Management

NEW YORK — Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days.

This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” —  a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs.

This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea.

The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread.

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President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Morning Show and Discusses Debate

| October 10, 2012

DALLAS — This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election.  The following is a key excerpt from that exclusive interview:

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The Young Guns of Talk Radio

| September 27, 2012

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
Executive Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – There’s a perception held by many – especially those working in the consumer media – that all talk show hosts doing shows on news/talk stations are men 50 years of age or older.  They further postulate that when those hosts retire (or die!) there will be no one left to work in the format.

Given the radio industry’s general lack of a farm system, it’s hard to blame those who think it’s an industry of old white men.  But the truth is there are young people breaking into talk radio and working successfully at stations across the country.  We asked some of them what influence they believe their youth plays in hosting a radio talk show on a news/talk station.

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Even Late – Political Dollars Are Great

| September 27, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS magazine
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

With less than six weeks remaining before the presidential election, radio account executives in battleground or “swing states” such as Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado are most likely experiencing carpal tunnel, owing to the fast and furious amount of sales orders they are writing.

In locales however where the race for the White House is already a forgone conclusion (“Blue” or “Red”), things are generally not as rosy – at least not yet.  “With the exception of a few states, there does seem to be a lull,” observes Portland (Maine) Radio Group president/general manager Cary Pahigian.

Huddling with several national rep folks last week in Dallas though, Pahigian was told some political dollars could be forthcoming as we inch closer to Election Day on November 6.  “Their advice is to hang on and expect some late money,” he notes.

That slow ramp-up has been somewhat of a pattern the last couple of years.  “Depending on the landscape and circumstances, television is first in line and radio is second,” Pahigian reports.  “Everything changes though if there are issues and/or a tight race going on.”

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Where Radio Fits: Radio’s Strengths
in the Media Landscape

| September 26, 2012

by Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

DALLAS — This was the best session I attended at the NAB/RAB Radio Show.  A summary is available for free download on Arbitron’s client website.  This document is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).

The presenter was Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose: “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.”

The sample for this study is “the buying demographic of 25-54, because that’s where the money is,” per conventional wisdom.  Data Bill presented was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists.

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The Adventures of “Poorman”

| September 4, 2012

By Fred Lundgren
KCAA, San Bernadino/Riverside
CEO/President

SAN BERNADINO — Jim Trenton, the original “Poorman” of California radio and creator of Loveline will turn 60 next year. The fame he enjoyed while co-hosting the show has become a distant memory. The successful radio and TV series is primarily associated with Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Trenton’s stardom quickly faded after he was fired from Loveline for encouraging thousands of listeners to join him for a midnight surprise birthday party on the front lawn of a co-worker…and listeners showed up, by the thousands…but that was almost 20 years ago.

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Covering Breaking News

| August 13, 2012

How news/talk radio stations can take ownership of breaking news events

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — News/talk stations covering breaking news have a challenge in this era of shrinking news departments and pared-back staffs.  In order to be the place to which people turn for coverage of breaking news and then the talk about the news, stations must have a pre-planned approach and use their people creatively in order to compete for the consumer’s attention.  With the recent case of the Aurora shootings last month, stations beyond Denver woke up to a major breaking story from out of market that was the only thing people were talking about that morning.

The Rolodex of the well-run news room can help the station respond to such complex cases where gun law experts, psychology practitioners, crime experts and others are used by stations to bring local analysis to the story.  How stations prepare for and execute coverage of breaking news and the talk about that news determines how “on top of the story” a station and its talk hosts sound.

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A Tribute to Mike Francesa

| July 16, 2012

By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host

NEW YORK – Mike Francesa is the number one sports talk host in the country.

Although there are nationally syndicated names that may claim to have a wider cume than Mike Francesa, Mike is the king of sports talk in the number one market in the nation.  He is appointment listening.  Love him or hate him, New Yorkers need to hear his take on major stories.  He cannot be ignored.

What does Francesa bring to the table?  His years as a researcher at CBS television were merely a prelude of what was to come.  His relentless curiosity and work ethic along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting gave him unique insight.  He learned to dig deep into the numbers, but he also understood that the games have a heartbeat.  They are populated by human beings – replete with all their flaws and all their glory.  Mike dreamed of someday being able to share his knowledge behind the mic instead of behind the scenes.  His opportunity came after ceaselessly lobbying the management at WFAN to give him a chance for his voice to be heard.

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Niche Audio Service Springs from Telecom Executives’ Efforts

| July 3, 2012

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

NEW YORK — An audio content aggregator service that uses a call-in phone number may seem a bit counterintuitive in the face of the trend toward apps and web destinations but ZenoRadio’s success of pulling together listeners and audios sources over the past 12 months is a case study in serving an information-hungry, niche community.  ZenoRadio allows users – the bulk of which are immigrants here seeking radio stations from “back home” – to dial a  phone number and hear their favorite radio show, personalities, soccer matches, etc. on their phone (mobile or otherwise).  Founder Baruch Herzfeld dreamed up the idea after a security guard in his building, who comes from West Africa, expressed his boredom and the desire to hear radio from “home.”  Herzfeld’s hobby was doing an internet radio show and in his mind, one thing led to another and ZenoRadio was born.  Herzfeld’s experience in the telecom business provided him with the experience to build a back-end interface that allowed the broadcasters and radio hosts to monitor active calls and streams, and a front-end interface that allowed listeners to change channels using their handsets.

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