Category: Industry News
Johnson Joins WTEM as PD. More accurately, as of next Monday (2/15), Chris Johnson will again occupy the programming chair at Red Zebra Broadcasting sports outlet WTEM “ESPN 980,” Washington, DC – just as he did from 2005 to 2008. Red Zebra Broadcasting chairman Terry Bateman states, “We are excited to have someone with Chris’ experience and skill to help us build and grow ‘ESPN 980.’ We have a great lineup of talent and great content. We look forward to putting it all together to give our listeners the best sports talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Most recently, Johnson covered MLB‘s Washington Nationals as a reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. He previously was a producer of NFL and NCAA games for Westwood One; Johnson’s prior connection with WTEM lasted from 1996 – 2008. Down for the third straight ratings period (2.3 – 2.1 – 1.9 -1.6, 6+), “ESPN 980” finishes #20 in the “Holiday” 2015 report, while its format challenger – CBS Radio-owned WJFK-FM “The Fan” – also off for the third successive sweep (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.1 -1.9, 6+) – is #18. The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH (5.9 – 6.1 – 7.0 – 12.0, 6+).
Trevor Carey Promoted to Afternoons at ‘PowerTalk 96.7’ in Fresno. Radio pro Trevor Carey had been hosting the afternoon drive show on iHeartMedia’s sister “PowerTalk” brand in the Stockton-Modesto market – “PowerTalk 1360” on KFIV and KWSX – in addition to hosting the 6:00 pm hour on “PowerTalk 96.7” (KALZ-FM and KRZR-AM in Fresno-Visalia). Now, with Christopher Gabriel’s recent exit from the PM drive slot, Carey takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. He’ll also host the 6:00 pm hour on the Stockton-Modesto duo.
New Hampshire Primary/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 8-12. Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton email case investigation. Coming in at #3 was the recent financial markets activity and related concerns about a recession followed by the effects of the Syrian civil war at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and it is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Sean Hannity to Speak and Host Breakfast at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. In what has become an annual talk media industry tradition, Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will host “Breakfast with Hannity” and preside over the opening keynote discussion at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the field’s largest, longest-running and most important national convention. In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Sean’s contributions to this storied event, as well as to the industry in general, are incalculable. He has spearheaded discussions about crucial issues attendant to the ratings, consolidation, lowering the demos and free speech, just to scratch the surface. He has provided inspiration and encouragement to new generations of broadcasters coming into the field. When Sean walks in the door at this event, all politics are left outside and he becomes a true statesman of the business offering insight, experience and intelligence about the many issues and challenges we face in common. We are delighted that he will again play such an important role in this conference – especially considering its forward-motion theme of bridging the generations.” Over 60 outstanding speakers will participate in TALKERS 2016, set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please see the stories below.
Save the Date: TALKERS 2016 Set for Friday, May 20 on the Campus of Hofstra University on Long Island, New York. It has been announced by the TALKERS editorial board that an exciting new venue has been selected and a date set for the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. “TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations” will be a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU Radio. Hofstra University, located just outside of New York City in Hempstead, Long Island, is nationally recognized and honored as having one of the nation’s most respected and influential schools of communication. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. Upon making the announcement of this year’s event, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “2016 marks a great leap forward in the rich and colorful history of this legendary conference. Tapping into the theme ‘Bridging the Generations’ TALKERS 2016 will intensely focus on talk radio’s successful and as seamless-as-possible transition into the digital era concentrating on attracting younger demos, broadening the format menu, modernizing political positioning, enhancing both journalistic and entertainment impact, incorporating all aspects of pop culture, understanding Millennials and the New Authenticity, creating a viable cross-platform presence, embracing the new technology, and of course, podcasting, podcasting and more podcasting.” Harrison adds, “This conference will be inter-generational. I cannot begin to express the level of excitement and pride we have in partnering this year with Hofstra University, its wonderfully dynamic Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and its famous radio station WRHU – clearly one of the greatest, heritage campus outlets in America. Their amazing, state-of-the-art resources will provide an exhilarating backdrop and platform for this gathering. As far as we are concerned, the future of talk media begins now!” The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. An early bird registration rate of $249 will be in effect until 5:00 pm ET on Monday, February 29 unless the event sells out prior to that date. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413. Information about special local hotel discounts for attendees is detailed below. Agenda and speakers to be announced in the days and weeks ahead, leading up to the event. Register now!
Fantastic Group Rate Available at Long Island Marriott for TALKERS 2016. A limited number of rooms will be available for a limited amount of time for the nights of Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 at the fabulous Long Island Marriott hotel located near Hofstra University – the site of TALKERS 2016. To take advantage of the $169 per night rate, book as early as possible by clicking here or calling reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and telling the agent you are with the TALKERS event group.
Beasley Broadcast Group 2015 Q4 Net Revenue Up 6.2%. That figure is based on Beasley’s reporting of combined operations – both continuing and discontinued operations – and that’s relative to the 2014 Q4 asset swap with CBS RADIO that saw Beasley exchange five radio stations in the Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale markets for 14 CBS stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Charlotte and Philadelphia markets. Net revenue of combined operations for the whole of 2015 was $105.9 million, an increase of 4.4% over 2014. Beasley CEO and chairman George Beasley states, “Throughout 2015 we implemented a broad range of operating, programming, sales and local strategies intended to extract operating and financial synergies from the stations acquired in the 2014 Asset Exchange. I am pleased to report that we achieved our goal of our clusters outperforming the markets that report to Miller Kaplan for the first time in December 2015 and expect this trend to continue in 2016. Success with our integration and profitability initiatives is also reflected in fourth quarter 2015 station operating income of $9 million and an SOI margin of 31.7%, as well as net income of $3.3 million or $0.14 per diluted share.”
CBS RADIO Revenue Dips 5%. Radio is not the primary focus of CBS Corp. but new CBS chairman, president and CEO Les Moonves has always said he likes the radio business – especially its cash flow. Radio is lumped in with CBS Television Stations to make up the Local Broadcasting category, but the company breaks the two apart in these reports and radio’s revenue was down 5% on “continued softness in the radio advertising marketplace and lower political advertising.” The television sector was down 11% compared to the same Q4 period in 2014 – a period that benefitted from mid-term election political spending.
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York’s “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning” spoke on the radio with GOP presidential candidate and fellow New Yorker Donald Trump yesterday morning (2/11). Responding to criticism that he doesn’t have the temperament to be president, Trump told the WOR audience, “as we get closer, you will be shocked at how presidential I will be.”…..Talk host Bill Carroll had been doing an afternoon talk show for Corus-owned news/talk CFMJ, Toronto from Los Angeles while he was still working at iHeartMedia’s KFI (a gig he exited in early January). Now, he’s also leaving the CFMJ show with rumors he’s soon to land at a new station in Canada…..A special edition of the Joan Hamburg show will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York this weekend as the Big Apple radio host covers New York’s annual Fashion Week. For the second year, Hamburg speaks with New York’s fashion elite in “The Business of Fashion Week” airing on Saturday (2/13) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ( a special replay will air Sunday night at 9:00 pm). Hamburg speaks with New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, “The Real Housewives of New York City” star Countess Luann de Lesseps, New York style icon Nick Wooster, Harpers Bazaar editor Avril Graham, and Ben Stiller, director and star of the Zoolander films…..AccuWeather appoints Sarah Katt vice president of product development and operations for the AccuWeather Network. She’ll report to John Dokes, general manager of the AccuWeather Network and chief marketing officer of AccuWeather.
Don Imus to Be Honored with the TALKERS 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS editorial board announced today (2/11) that one of the most colorful, controversial, and venerable radio personalities of all time, John Donald Imus Jr. – mononymously known as Imus – has been named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The 75-year-old legend has been heard on radio since 1968 on a variety of heritage stations including WGAR and WHK in Cleveland as well as WNBC and WFAN in New York. He has hosted cable TV shows on MSNBC and more recently Fox Business Channel. He presently hosts his long-running show “Imus in the Morning” on WABC, New York. Imus, author of numerous books and performer on several hit comedy albums, is a complex broadcasting figure known both for being a politically incorrect insult-artist as well as being a humanitarian and philanthropist, particularly in the battle against childhood cancer. Imus has won four NAB Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality in 1994. He inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989 and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time magazine in 1997. In 2002, TALKERS magazine ranked Imus as one of the 25 Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time. In making the announcement on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If Don Imus doesn’t deserve this spoken-word radio award, no one does. His unique position, diversity of styles, capacity for reinvention – not to mention influence on the industry, pop culture and politics – stand out among a rarified handful of bold performers who have made broadcasting history.” The award will be presented to Imus at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It is hoped that he will be in attendance to receive the award personally, despite his challenge with health issues and present home-base in Texas. True to form, the legend tells TALKERS, “My wife thinks I should do this – be gracious and accept your idiotic award.”
Cumulus and Mark Levin Agree to ‘Lifetime Extension.’ Both Westwood One EVP of news/talk Bart Tessler and talk radio star Mark Levin jokingly use the term “lifetime” to describe the new contract extension between the two parties, but nine years seems like a lifetime in the world of radio contracts. Levin says, “I could not be more pleased to extend my radio partnership with Cumulus/Westwood One. For the next nine years — an unprecedented long-term relationship in the broadcasting industry — I am committed to continuing to bring the best possible program, both substantive and entertaining, to my millions of beloved and loyal listeners each and every day.” Tessler adds, “To know that we’ll be working together for so many years is a Mark Levin show primary victory and a big win for affiliates, advertisers, and listeners. Mark’s tenure will now exceed that of a two-term president and that means continued excellence on the air on a nightly basis.” The company says Levin’s show “not only covers the most critical events of the day, but delves into history, economics, philosophy, and the constitution – and continues to be an enormous ratings and revenue winner for Westwood One and for the more than 300 stations that broadcast the show.
Entercom Reports 2015 Net Revenue Up 8%. 2015 was a good year for Entercom. The company reported net revenue for the fourth quarter was $117.7 million – up 16% from the same period a year ago. For the year of 2015 net revenue was $411.4 million, an increase of 8%. These figures include the impact of the transaction with Lincoln Financial Media and the station exchange with Bonneville International Corporation which started in July. But the impressive revenue hike is not just the result of additional signals; president and CEO David Field notes that the company’s stations performed well. “I am pleased to report that Entercom’s performance continued to accelerate into the fourth quarter, capping a very successful 2015…Fourth quarter same-station revenue increased by 5%, excluding political advertising. This marked the second straight quarter of mid-single digit organic growth. We are very well positioned for success in 2016 with an expanded market footprint, strong station ratings growth, and enhanced digital and customer marketing capabilities. Our pacings look strong and we are optimistic about our potential to deliver excellent results for our shareholders in 2016 and the years ahead.”
Greater Media’s ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Moves Baligian, Mazawey & Fellhauer to Mornings. The trio of Sean Baligian, Tom Mazawey and Marc Fellhauer is currently heard in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on Greater Media’s WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” Beginning Tuesday (2/16), they will move to morning drive, replacing ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike. ESPN’s Ryan & Rico will now be heard from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the afternoon drive show co-hosted by Matt Dery and Drew Sharp will start at 2:00 pm. Station program director Dave Shore says, “We feel this new lineup will give our dedicated motor city sports fans a more local sports experience. We are very grateful to ESPN’s Mike & Mike for their contributions to the station.”
Five iHeartMedia Programmers Boosted. Trading in their titles of senior vice president of programming to become division executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia‘s national programming group are Tony Coles, Steve Geofferies, Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, and Meg Stevens. Along with fellow division executive vice president of programming Gene Romano, they will report to iHeartMedia national programming group executive vice president and general manager Brad Hardin. According to national programming group president Tom Poleman, “Great programming is the foundation of our stations. We are fortunate to have an amazing group of local program directors leading our brands. The collaboration between local programming and the iHeartMedia national programming group unlocks the unparalleled scale and assets of iHeartMedia, providing us with unmatched resources which benefit each and every one of our stations.” Formerly organized into major and regional market groups, iHM is now comprised of four geographic divisions, each led by a division president. Jeffries and Geofferies are working in the West division with Greg Ashlock; Coles is in the Central with Matt Martin; Mitchem and Stevens in the Northeast with Hartley Adkins; and Romano is teamed with Tom McConnell in the Midwest-Southeast division.
NH Primary Aftermath/Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Record Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Iran-U.S. Navy Incident, U.S. Afghanistan Forces Strengthened, European Refugee Problems, Zika Virus Concerns, and Beyonce Super Bowl Performance Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The analysis of Tuesday’s New Hampshire presidential primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the continuing downward trend in oil prices, the world’s financial markets activity, and concerns about a new recession; Iran’s gloating over the incident with a U.S. Navy patrol; the U.S. increases peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan; the troubles European nations are experiencing dealing with Syrian refugees; concerns about a Zika virus pandemic and reports of cases in 20 U.S. states; and ongoing criticism of Beyonce’s performance at the Super Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KEIR, Idaho Falls is expanding its local content. Riverbend Communications general manager Bill Fuerst tells East Idaho News that the station wants to give more voice to its listeners. “Idaho’s Morning News with Dylan Carder” will expand to two hours – airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am – and Mark Richardson will host a new, hour-long afternoon show at 3:00 pm…..Podcasting and audio-video streaming experts StreamGuys are attending “Proclaim 16” – the NRB International Christian Media Convention and Exposition – to share their expertise to assist worship communities extend their reach. StreamGuys says Matt Kellogg (who joined the company from the recently shuttered Live365) will lead the company’s engagements with houses of worship and religious organizations…..ESPN Radio will present radio coverage of the NBA’s 65th All-Star Game on Sunday (2/14) from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This will be ESPN Radio’s 20th year covering the game. In the booth will be Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry with reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith. Marc Kestecher will host the pre-game and halftime coverage with analyst P.J. Carlesimo.
Michael Harrison and Tom Leykis Chat About the Past, Present and Future of Audio Media. Legendary broadcast radio performer and pioneering online radio entrepreneur Tom Leykis joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in an extensive, one-on-one discussion about Leykis’ colorful career that spanned decades as a talk show host on some of America’s highest-profile radio stations and during which time his on-air persona ranged from outrageous “shock jock” to edgy “progressive” political news/talker. Today, Leykis approaches the fourth anniversary of his successful online radio enterprise, The New Normal – a multifaceted platform upon which he streams his daily, live, listener call-in program, “The Tom Leykis Show,” as well as a podcast for radio talents Gary & Dino. A separate iteration of The New Normal delivers two streaming music channels – pop and rock – personally curated by Leykis. Leykis discusses his leading-edge business model that includes a mix of advertising, subscriptions, merchandising and live events – now generating upwards of $600,000 annual gross revenue. The two venerable pros talk about targeting Millennials, the nature of “authenticity” as it applies to today’s younger demos, the scope of non-traditional revenue and various aspects of media theory as it applies to 21st century communications. To listen to this entire uninterrupted conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
New Hampshire Primary/Presidential Race, SCOTUS Climate Change Ruling, Financial Markets Activity/Financial Crisis Fears, Syria Civil Conflict, Cam Newton Criticisms, and Beyonce Super Bowl Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary race and the activities of the candidates for president; the Supreme Court’s ruling delaying new power plant regulations while President Obama’s climate change orders go through legal challenges; the activity on the world’s financial markets and fears of a new financial crisis; criticism over Cam Newton’s handling of the Carolina Panthers’ loss in Super Bowl 50; and the flap over Beyonce’s SB50 halftime performance were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle is exploring the growing homelessness crisis in the Northwest on a special program to air tomorrow (2/11) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Radio host Herb Weisbaum will moderate the two-hour special touching on issues including violence in homeless camps, to families seeking shelter and the impact on neighborhoods. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and other local leaders will join Weisbaum on the program…..espnW re-signs writer and commentator Kate Fagan to a new multiyear agreement that continues her role as a featured reporter and columnist for espnW on multiple ESPN platforms – including espnW.com, ESPN TV’s “Around the Horn,” “First Take, His & Hers” and others. Fagan will also host the new ESPN Radio show, “Will & Kate,” with ESPN contributor Will Cain, airing Sundays from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. The show will “take an intellectual look at topical societal issues in sports by hosts who often find their opinions to be at opposite sides of the spectrum.”…..The WSHU Public Radio Group opens a Long Island News Bureau in Stony Brook, New York in partnership with Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. The bureau, located in close proximity to the school, will serve as the base for WSHU’s Long Island operations.
CBS’ Vinita Nair Keynotes KDKA-AM’s ‘Hometown Heroes’ Event. At the March 3 “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes” event presented by Pittsburgh’s “NewsRadio 1020 KDKA,” “CBS This Morning: Saturday” personality Vinita Nair will serve as keynote speaker. Proceeds from an auction at the event will benefit “It’s About the Warrior Foundation” – a local organization dedicated to serving post 9/11 veterans. The “KDKA Afternoon News with Robert Mangino and Shelley Duffy” will broadcast live from the Lexus Club at PNC Park from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. This year’s five “Larry’s Heroes” are: Darla Poole Brescia, co-founder of Gray Paws, a sanctuary for abandoned senior dogs; Lexi Campbell, founder of Camp Cranium, a non-profit overnight summer camp for children ages 6-18 who have experienced a traumatic or acquired brain injury; Dave Gray, founder of CDG Sports, a well-known, local youth sports mentor who uses his expertise to serve several non-profit children’s organizations; Carol McCaskey, a retired teacher who started the Backpack Initiative to Fight Hunger in the Deer Lakes School District; Rose Ann Milbert, a registered nurse who works in the neonatal unit of Magee-Women’s Hospital who founded Tiny Angel Gowns, an organization that creates gowns and infant sized tuxedos for families of babies who died in the hospital. Each hero receives a $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice.
Amazing Blast from the Past – Ya Gotta See This! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, an admitted YouTube “addict,” stumbled across a 1961 episode of the classic TV game show “I’ve Got a Secret” hosted by the legendary Gary Moore (left) that he is compelled to share with this publication’s readership (at least those who’ve never seen it). It features the then-host of CBS-TV’s “General Electric Theater,” former movie star Ronald Reagan (right), as the guest. His secret: The men on that episode (Reagan, Moore, along with panelists Steve Allen and Henry Morgan, all got their start in show business as radio announcers. The shtick is, at the end of the questioning session, Reagan is going to administer a radio announcing aptitude test to Allen and Morgan in which they would have to read very difficult copy while Reagan and others try their best to distract them with outrageous comedy and try to break them up. The results are hilarious and a must-see for anyone in the radio business today – especially news/talk show hosts. Harrison says, “It is definitely worth the 10 minutes and 47 seconds it takes to see an absolutely magical piece of history that’ll brighten your day and give you a priceless bit of cultural insight.” Check it out by clicking here.
BFoA to Honor Charles Osgood with Dick Clark Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Golden Mike Award dinner on Monday, February 29 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, Charles Osgood will be honored with the Dick Clark Lifetime Achievement Award. Osgood has been anchor of the two-time, Emmy Award-winning “CBS Sunday Morning” since 1994 and anchor and writer of “The Osgood File,” his daily news commentary on the CBS Radio Network. He has been an anchor and reporter for many CBS News broadcasts and an anchor/reporter for WCBS News Radio 88 in New York. Prior to CBS, he worked for ABC News. As previously announced, the 2016 Golden Mike Award will be presented to Bob Pittman, chairman and chief executive officer of iHeartMedia, at its annual fundraiser. This is the second year the BFoA has bestowed the Dick Clark Lifetime Achievement Award during the gala event. Last year, it was presented posthumously to Dick Clark, in whose memory the award is named. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to broadcasters who have lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen tragedy. Donations can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative. In addition, bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society. For more information, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, call 212-373-8250, or email email@example.com.
Entercom’s Furst Choice to Program KC Talk Combo. Self-described “freelance programming advisor/consultant” Alan Furst is tapped to program Entercom Kansas City siblings KMBZ-AM “Talk 980” and KMBZ-FM “News/Talk 98.1.” Entercom Kansas City vice president and market manager Dave Alpert remarks, “We are very pleased to welcome Alan. He brings with him a wealth of experience, possesses a passion for the on-air product, and a passion for winning.” Furst – who begins his new duties next Monday (2/15) – comments that he is “very excited to join one of the truly great news talk brands, KMBZ.” He went on to thank Alpert and Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton “for the opportunity to be part of the outstanding staff at Entercom Kansas City. I look forward to helping both stations continue to grow.” Prior to opening his programming consultancy in October 2014, Furst spent nearly two years as program director of Radio One Houston’s KROI. His varied resume includes hands-on operations manager and PD experience at San Antonio country and CHR duo KAJA “KJ-97” and KXXM “Mix 96”; WLW, Cincinnati; and WIBC, Indianapolis. In addition, he was senior vice president of content for DMX Music; Cumulus Media’s country format director; group program director for the Australian Radio Network; senior vice president of programming for Clear Channel, AMFM, and Capstar Broadcasting; national program director for NewCity Communications; and a programming consultant for Shane Media Services. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s “Holiday” 2015 PPM report, both KMBZ-FM (3.3, #14) and KMBZ-AM (2.6, #18) were down one-half share from December 2015.
Howard Tuuri Named VP/GM for Genesis Communications. Radio executive Howard Tuuri joins Genesis Communications to serve as vice president and general manager for the company’s four Florida stations – news/talk WWBA, Tampa; sports talk WHBO, Tampa; Spanish WMGG, Tampa; and sports talk WHOO, Orlando – as well as its two Internet publications. Tuuri, who will report to Genesis president and CEO Bruce Maduri, previously served with Cox Media Group as a VP/GM for its Tampa operations. Maduri states, “Howard’s background and quality of experience are a tremendous fit for our organization. He has been a valuable member of our Leadership Team, and this appointment confirms our commitment to grow and realize the vision of a truly integrated media content company.”
The Presidential Race, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Battle Against Islamic State/Syrian Civil War, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president; low oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the effects of the ongoing Syrian civil conflict; North Korea’s weekend launch of a satellite missile; concerns over a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; and Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 and controversy over the Doritos commercial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
RAB/Borrell: Radio Digital Revenue to Rise 14%. According to a study by Borrell Associates on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue rose 11.4% in 2015 to more than $550 million. The study also predicts radio’s digital revenue will improve by 16% this year. This fourth annual report is titled, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” and concludes the average market cluster made $951,756 in digital sales last year, with the average station making $231,210. Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell summarizes, “All signs point to the radio industry mobilizing even more in the interactive space. Eighty-two percent believe there is strong potential – the highest we’ve ever seen; 62% believe that their sales teams’ ability to sell digital products is solid – up from 52% a year ago; and 37% believe their digital strategy is headed in the right direction – up from 27%.” The full study is available to RAB members, but here are some of the juicier takeaways: One-third of stations surveyed believe their sales reps are talking to the wrong buyers when trying to sell digital products. Three years ago, two-thirds believed that was the case; Only 16% believe that radio sales suffer because reps are forced to sell digital advertising. That’s down significantly since 2014, when more than half felt that way; Conversely, 24% believe that digital sales suffer because reps focus on radio advertising. Three years ago, twice as many felt that way; And the average radio cluster received 0.26% of all locally spent Internet advertising. There were some, however, achieving 15 times that – up to nearly 4%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to be radio’s fastest growing sector. Stations that are laser focused on increasing revenue beyond their core broadcast business are experiencing the benefits. The results from this study provide us with insights of where efforts are paying off and what additional training is needed for radio to continue with this trajectory. The RAB is here to help with that knowledge and training.”
Service King and Motel 6 Win Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards. This was the third annual Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards designed to recognize excellence in audio creativity and celebrate brand advertisers and radio creative. Westwood One asked listeners to vote on their favorite audio commercials airing in the Westwood One Super Bowl 50 broadcast. In addition, Westwood One commissioned a Nielsen study of 3,030 consumers who rated all 45 commercials on a series of key attributes. Listeners voted for Service King’s “Mission 2 Hire” ad as their favorite Super Bowl commercial. The ad promotes Service King’s Mission 2 Hire program, which is dedicated to hiring 500 veterans at Service King locations around the country. Hear the ad here: http://thesoundawards.com/service-king/. Motel 6 was rated the most likeable ad in the Westwood One-commissioned Nielsen study. The brand’s “Designer Dogs” ad features long-time Motel 6 narrator Tom Bodett, who promotes Motel 6’s great rooms and low rates while poking fun at trendy dog breeds with silly names. The Motel 6 ad also received top consumer ratings for relevance, engagement, and memorability. Here is a link to hear the ad: http://thesoundawards.com/motel-6-3/.
Bill Bennett to Give Up Daily AM Duties; Hugh Hewitt Moves to Morning Drive at SRN. Ending an 11-year run as host of Salem Radio Network’s morning drive program “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” Bennett will step back a bit from the mic as of April 4 when he becomes senior correspondent. He’ll produce a daily feature titled, “Making America Work,” that will also be formatted as a one-hour weekend program. In the series, he’ll interview successful American business owners and entrepreneurs. Moving to the morning drive daypart (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) will be current early evening host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt will re-locate to Washington, DC for the new program. Salem Media Group notes Hewitt’s “radio career has taken off in the last year with a new-found love for breaking news and what to think about it. He was given an opportunity to expose his great knowledge and talents to the country when he was selected as a panelist on the CNN presidential debates. He has already conducted more interviews with the presidential candidates than any other host, and has become the ‘go to’ show for this campaign.” Hewitt comments, “In 25 years of broadcasting on television and radio I have never been as excited as by this opportunity to build on the enormous platform Bill Bennett has constructed. It is already a show for influencers across the country, and I plan to maintain that influence, making this a ‘must listen’ for every mover and shaker in America, from a stay-at-home mom or dad to CEOs and government leaders.” Bennett says of his time on the radio, “Engaging in an illuminating and entertaining conversation with the American people has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding episodes of my career. I now look forward to another phase of work with the Salem Radio Network. The seminars and in-depth discussions in our new ‘Making America Work’ series that we are planning for 2016 and beyond will write a new chapter in radio. I simply want to express my gratitude to Salem for its continued confidence in me and to my audience – the greatest radio audience in America – for its loyalty and its candor, intelligence and goodwill.”
WYAY, Atlanta’s Michael Graham Offers to Consult Candidate to Oppose Georgia Legislator Who Defended the Klan. According to a piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, WYAY, Atlanta “Newsradio 106.7” late morning personality Michael Graham has advertised in the Jackson Herald his willingness to put his political consulting acumen to use for a candidate who will challenge Republican State Representative Tommy Benton. This comes after Benton defended the Ku Klux Klan while discussing proposed legislation he authored to protect institutions named after Confederate military figures and revert street names back to their original names, if they honored such historical people. One street was named after Confederate General John B. Gordon, an early Georgia Klan leader. In discussing the issue, Benton defended the Klan, saying it “made a lot of people straighten up.” He also said it “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order. I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.” Graham’s ad requests any Jackson County resident wishing to challenge Benton’s seat to contact him. Graham promises to donate his time and political consulting expertise as well as help promote fundraising. Read the AJC story here.
Presidential Race, Super Bowl 50, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and European Anti-Islam Rallies Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to Sunday night’s Super Bowl 50; North Korea’s launch of a long-range satellite missile; concerns over the Zika virus and a potential pandemic; and the anti-Islam rallies held in Europe over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One Provides Radio Coverage of Super Bowl 50. The exclusive radio play-by-play of Super Bowl 50 was provided by Westwood One. As part of its post-game program, WW1’s James Lofton (right) interviews Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (left) who was named MVP of the game.
Odds & Sods. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports iHeartMedia Indy market manager Rick Green is being promoted to a regional president post for the Mid-Atlantic region where he’ll be based in Richmond, Virginia. A new Indianapolis market manager should be named soon…..The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman is reporting that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman just re-signed to broadcast New York Yankees games on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for two more seasons……iHeartMedia promotes longtime company sales pro Sherri Griswold Holladay to the regional vice president of sales position for the Mid-South region…..Beasley Media Group names Steve Griesbach director of engineering for the Las Vegas cluster. Griesbach most recently served with Cumulus Media’s Green Bay, Wisconsin station group.
Scheduling Announced in Nielsen v Bubba Suit. Both sides of the $1 million suit by Nielsen against Tampa-based morning personality Bubba the Love Sponge are digging in for a fight. Now, we know the timeline for the legal skirmish. If the matter goes all the way to trial, it’ll start next January 3. Before that, however, there are discovery deadlines, a mandatory attempt to settle via mediation and a pre-trial conference in December. Nielsen probably has lawyers on retainer, but this is still going to be expensive for both parties.
Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 1-5. The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was Russia’s Syria military operations. At #3 was the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the recently negotiated nuclear agreement, followed by concerns over the Zika virus at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. At its South Florida cluster, Entercom appoints Katerina Perez general sales manager of alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark” and sports talk WAXY-AM, “The Ticket.” Perez is a native Canadian who spent most of her life in South Florida. Most recently she was SVP of sales at iHeartMedia’s Seattle cluster. Entercom South Florida VP/market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Katerina has a proven track record of success and will be a valuable addition to our management team. Her experience, relentless focus on the customer and her sales management skills will enable us to develop more impactful advertising campaigns for our clients and substantially grow our business.”…..Hugh Hewitt got some love from USAToday recently. The publication wrote a profile piece of the Salem Radio Network-syndicated talk personality as the result of his increased presence in the national media this election season. As regular TALKERS readers know, Hewitt has been participating in the GOP primary debates produced by CNN (and simulcast for radio by SRN). As the story indicates, Hewitt has also been a much-sought-after political pundit by such program hosts as CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, and NBC’s Chuck Todd. Read the USAToday piece here.….Beasley Media Group promotes Katy Lollis to director of sales for the company’s Fayetteville, North Carolina station group. Market manager Mac Edwards states, “Katy has been a valued employee of our company for nearly a decade. Her experience, market insight and incredible work ethic have always been highly valued and deeply respected. Now, we are confident Katy will take our sales team to new heights in 2016 and beyond!”
Comprehensive Holiday PPM Overview. RadioInfo and TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2015 PPM survey. The move to all-Christmas or Christmas-intensive music playlists on the part of AC, hot AC and CHR stations brings about an annual “anomaly” to the radio ratings. Kinosian has detailed the performances of AC, hot AC and country stations recently but this report also shows the effects on other radio formats – including sports, news/talk and all-news. Kinosian writes, “Among other tidbits, this comprehensive analysis summarizes all stations that finish #1 and #2 in Holiday 2015; differential between the top two spots; and perhaps most vital of all – formats most dramatically/negatively influenced by all-Christmas music programming. For that, we have broken it out by format and by each PPM-market.” See the entire report here.
National Radio Talent System’s Student Initiative Heads to Pacific Northwest. The Dan Vallie-founded National Radio Talent System heads to the Pacific Northwest in conjunction with Hubbard Radio. Four previous institutes have taken place in the South and the East but June 13 -22 the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will take place at Central Washington University in Washington State. Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris comments, “Compelling and relatable on air talent is what separates local radio from all other audio entertainment services. Our investment in the National Radio Talent System at Central Washington University is an extension of Hubbard Radio’s commitment to do our part to nurture and grow the talent pipeline for the industry. We are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and his team in this important initiative.” The school’s assistant dean of student development Keith Champagne says, “Having a nationally award winning college radio program in KCWU-FM, the partnership with Hubbard Radio and the National Radio Talent System was simply a perfect match. Giving student broadcasters opportunities they can’t find anywhere else is a cornerstone of Central Washington University. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will be another great example of that.” The Radio Talent Institute says its curriculum builds upon “the already quality education students are receiving at the university and through working at their college radio station. All sessions in the Institute are taught by professional broadcasters in each of their areas of expertise.”
Alliance for Women in Media Announces New Board Members. New board members have been announced for the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation. Kristen Welch, SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications will continue the role of chair for both organizations. Continuing as chair‐elect of AWM/F is Sarah Foss, vice president of product management and media at Imagine Communications in New York City. The treasurer of AWM/F is Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corp. in New York. The treasurer‐elect of AWM/F is Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships in New York City; and past chair of AWM/F is Kay Olin, principle of Kay Olin and Associates, in St. George Island, Florida. Serving directors at large of AWM are: Robin Alston, director of business & legal affairs, A&E Television Networks; Karla Ballard Williams, founder and CEO of YING; Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency; Sandy Girard, vice president of entertainment at SiriusXM; Susie Hedrick, SVP sales, North America at Wide Orbit, Inc.; Annie Howell, founder and co-president at The Punch Point Group; Jill Luckett, SVP program network policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Kimberly Maki, corporate vice president, corporate communications & public relations, Bright House Networks; Laura Martinez, senior director, affiliate sales, Cumulus/Westwood One; Christine Merritt, president, Ohio Association of Broadcasters; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink/RBR-TVBR; and Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer, CBS Corporation. Serving as directors at large of AWMF are: Karla Ballard Williams; Valerie Blackburn, project manager, CBS Radio; Heather Cohen; Michelle Duke, vice president, NAB Education Foundation; Sandy Girard; Annie Howell; Jill Luckett; Kimberly Maki; and Christine McLaughlin, of counsel, Sciarrino & Shubert, PLLC.
Report: iHeartMedia Considering Securities Sale to Retire Debt Due in 2019. According to a report from Bloomberg News, iHeartMedia is looking at a plan to offer up for sale securities in one of its units to help retire some $1.4 billion in bonds. The report states that the company would create a subsidiary called Broader Media LLC. Existing debtholders would be offered the opportunity to exchange for the new obligations. According to Bloomberg, $8.3 billion in debt is coming due in 2019 for iHeartMedia. “iHeart’s plan would erase $192.9 million of 5.5 % unsecured notes due December 2016 that are already considered current,” a source told Bloomberg. “The proposal is also intended to retire the company’s $190 million revolving loan due December 2017, the $850 million of 10% unsecured notes due January 2018 and the $175 million of 6.875% unsecured notes due June 2018.” Read the Bloomberg piece here.
Greater Media Promotes Buzz Knight to SVP of Program Development. Fourteen-year Greater Media staffer Buzz Knight is promoted to SVP of program development for the company. Knight’s new duties include responsibility for “overseeing programming development for all of Greater Media’s radio properties and collaborating with the individual stations to build winning content, digital and brand management strategies.” Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth comments, “Buzz has done an outstanding job overseeing our programming brands across the company over the past 14 years. His insight and leadership plays an important role in the continued success of our company.”
Iowa Caucuses Aftermath/Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, $1.7 Billion Iran Payment Controversy, Zika Virus Concerns, Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case, Ken Stabler CTE Issue, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses, the focus on the New Hampshire Primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the U.S. military policy on defeating Islamic State; the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the nuclear agreement; fears about a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; the status of the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby; the results of the post-mortem on NFL great Ken Stabler and its effect on football’s CTE problem; and the week’s activities leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
MIW: Women Gaining in GM and SM Roles; Stagnating in Programming Management. According to data from the most recent Gender Analysis Study from the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (culled from data from M Street Publications), since 2004 the number of women serving in general manager positions has risen from 14.9% to 17.3% in 2015. However, a tally of women in program management positions shows a negligible increase of 10.9% in 2015 compared to 10.7% in 2004. MIW spokeswoman Kay Olin states, “Tracking the leadership roles of women in media brings awareness to the continued need to reach back and lift up. There is an incredible talent pool of strong and capable female leaders and they stand ready to make a difference. It is the responsibility of all of us in the media industry to make sure that we are conscientiously and consistently practicing inclusion.”
Odds & Sods. After just a year hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM, Fresno “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400,” Christopher Gabriel exits the station. On his Facebook page, Gabriel states, “Hey folks, here’s a little news: PowerTalk 96.7 and I have parted ways as of this morning. I want to thank them for the opportunity to come to Fresno, work with a ton of talented radio artists and have some fun California adventures. So… what’s next? I guess we’ll see!”…..Former NBA star Dennis Rodman will appear as a special guest at WIP, Philadelphia’s “Wing Bowl 24” tomorrow (2/5) at the Wells Fargo Center. The competitive eating event is pitting last year’s champion, Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, former champ Molly Schuyler, and the infamous LA Beast, against the field of local eaters. Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos will act as the commissioner of Wing Bowl 24. Local rock legend Tommy Conwell will perform the National Anthem. Rodman will also be appearing at the WIP/SugarHouse Casino official after party of Wing Bowl 24. WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese will broadcast from SugarHouse Casino from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the casino will feature food and drink specials all day long.
National Signing Day Remote for WQAM, Miami. Remote broadcasts can present any number of technical and/or programming challenges, but the afternoon drive air staff at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM, Miami was able to put on a brave face and forge ahead as it broadcast on Wednesday (2/3) at a local Twin Peaks restaurant. The “Hochman, Crowder, and Krantz” show broadcast live for National Signing Day – the day when top high school athletes announce which college they’re going to attend. Surrounded by the hard-working service staff at Twin Peaks are (from l-r): Channing Crowder, Zach Krantz, and Marc Hochman.
Former Talk Host Benjamin Dover Dead at 57. Former Texas talk show host Benjamin Dover died back on January 1 after complications from pneumonia, according to an obituary published in the Dallas Morning News. Dover was born Lance Blumen. As his obit states, he got into the consumer advocacy business after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1989. He not only hosted a radio program on such signals as KLIF and KRLD-AM in Dallas and KFI, Los Angeles, he was a columnist for the Dallas Morning News from 1998 through 2004.
Michael Harrison Interviews Television Historian Jim Benson, Host of Radio’s Syndicated ‘TV Time Machine.’ In a wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from “What’s My Line?” to the future of television and time travel, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison discusses the role and impact of television in our society with historian Jim Benson. Benson is the host of the long-running KCBQ, San Diego radio show “TV Time Machine” that has just gone into national syndication. Since 2003, Benson has been exploring TV’s past, present and future on radio and has tremendous insights into how the medium has impacted generations of Americans and how each generation – from the Boomers to the Millennials – approach it differently. To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
2015 a ‘Remarkable Year’ for SiriusXM. Those were the words of SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer from yesterday’s investor conference call on the satcaster’s fourth quarter financial report. Meyer said, “2015 was an incredible year for SiriusXM. We exceeded all of our original operational and financial goals, and we are predicting continued growth in subscribers and all of our financial metrics this year. Last January, we told you to expect 1.2 million net new subscribers. We actually delivered 2.3 million, taking our paying subscriber base to an all-time high of approximately 29.6 million. Lower-than-expected churn and higher auto sales were the primary drivers, and both new and used car conversions set new records for the fourth quarter and the full year. We told you that we would do approximately $4.4 billion of revenue in 2015, and we actually reached nearly $4.6 billion. We told you we would attain $1.6 billion of adjusted EBITDA and our final result was $1.66 billion. And we told you we would deliver $1.25 billion of free cash flow, and we exceeded that, too, with $1.3 billion. Quite frankly, 2015 was a remarkable year, and we did what we said we would do and more. And this year, you should expect more of the same. We expect continued growth, even as we make substantial investments across many areas of our business. We expect to end 2016 with about 31 million subscribers and about $4.9 billion of revenue.” Though Meyer didn’t offer how much SiriusXM is paying for Howard Stern or the recently re-signed NFL deal, he noted that those – along with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and FOX News – are now secured at “a fixed rate” for years to come. Meyer also talked up the company’s SiriusXM17 platform with investors. “Some of you may have seen our demonstration in Las Vegas at CES…For those of you who don’t know, SiriusXM17 is our next-generation platform for audio services that combines the benefit of satellite radio with two-way LTE connectivity in future cars. It enables the seamless mixing and matching of satellite and IP-delivered content. It allows us to obtain usage data from the radio in the car and let the users have a more personalized experience, including search and recommendations. All of this will make our world-class content more discoverable and accessible in the car while maintaining ease of use. Today, we’re doing significant in-field user testing and working with the engineering teams at various OEMs to implement SiriusXM17. Believe me, we know better than anyone the changes in the OEM world take a long, long time and to build up meaningful numbers in the fleet of enabled vehicles for SiriusXM17 will take many years.”
The Iowa Caucus Results/Presidential Race, Zika Virus Threat, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, European Refugee Troubles, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; ongoing concerns about the potential spread of Zika virus; the low price of crude oil and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the controversy over reports of violence perpetrated by Syrian refugees in European host nations; and the run-up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Chad Benson Show Adds Hours for Primary and Debate Coverage. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is adding two extra hours of live programming on three days this month for coverage of the upcoming Democratic debate and the New Hampshire primary. Benson’s Radio America-syndicated program airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET daily, but on February 4, 9, and 11, the show will air live until 11:00 pm ET for expanded coverage of the debate and primary. Radio America says stations that currently do not carry the show but would like to air debate or primary programming can reach out for information about carriage at 800-807-4703 ext. 250.
New Wayne Allyn Root Show Debuts on KBET, Las Vegas. National talk media personality Wayne Allyn Root’s new daily radio show, “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show,” premieres on Monday (2/8) on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas “790 AM Talk Radio” at 6:00 pm. Silver State CEO Ed Stolz comments, “2016 has become the year of the DC outsider and ‘power to the people.’ Wayne Allyn Root speaks to those trends. He is the anti-politician, the anti-Obama and a champion of the forgotten middle class. Wayne has enjoyed a remarkable career as a candidate, author, commentator, international business speaker and businessman, while arguing persuasively for a more limited federal government. He is a perfect fiery, dynamic, charismatic and high-energy personality and patriot with a popular agenda for our country’s future.”
Odds & Sods. Re-tooled evening shows launch on ESPN Radio next week. The “Jorge & Izzy” will air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET featuring Jorge Sedano and Israel Gutierrez. Sedano’s been with ESPN hosting a solo show and co-hosting with Mark “Stink” Schlereth. Gutierrez currently hosts a Sunday ESPN Radio show with fellow ESPN NBA reporter Amin El-Hassan. Also on February 8, ESPN Radio reporter and host Ian Fitzsimmons will join the nightly Freddie Coleman show from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am…..Westwood One is presenting an exclusive simulcast of tonight’s “CNN Democratic Town Hall” from Derry, New Hampshire with Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. CNN’s Anderson Cooper moderates the event that airs from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..At the Athens, Georgia cluster of Cox Media Group’s radio properties, Kisha Hardwick is named the new digital sales manager. The company says she’ll work with the leadership team to “deliver integrated marketing solutions to valued clients while developing new profitable revenue opportunities for the” cluster that includes CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” sports talk WRFC “960 AM The Ref,” adult contemporary WGMG “Magic 102.1 FM,” news/talk WGAU, and country WNGC…..Beasley Media Group welcomes promotions pro Jeff Hickcox back to its Southwest Florida cluster where he is serving as director of promotions and special events. Beasley Southwest Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “With more than 25 years of radio experience in our dynamic Southwest Florida cluster, Jeff knows how to pitch, promote and host our events like a pro!”
Cumulus Flips WFAS-AM, White Plains to Sports. Using CBS Sports Radio content, the Cumulus Media news/talk station goes all-sports. Exiting as a result of the change is morning drive personality Bob Marrone. He writes on his NewRochelleTalk.com site that he plans to continue the program and expects to make an announcement about the show’s new home in the very near future. There’s no comment from Cumulus on the change, but usually format flips such as this are budget related.
‘Mike & Mike’ Get New Studio Look; Molly Qerim Officially Joins Show. Morning sports talk hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg – a.k.a. “Mike & Mike” – will begin working from a new set on Monday, February 8 (pictured here). This set is in Bristol and not Manhattan as ESPN had originally planned last year. The general speculation is that budget cuts put the kibosh on moving the show to New York. As hinted by ESPN late last year, “First Take” host Molly Qerim officially joins Mike & Mike for the 8:00 am and 9:00 am hours of the 6:00 am to 10:00 am show. ESPN explains the move stating that Qerim “will present a variety of content including news and breaking news updates and the hottest trending topics on the sports social media scene. Each edition of ‘Mike & Mike’ will end with an interaction between the show’s hosts and First Take’s Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, facilitated by Qerim, to bridge the transition between ESPN2’s morning programs.” (“First Take” follows “Mike & Mike” at 10:00 am.) Also, the main ESPN cable channel will launch a new show at 7:00 am on February 8 titled, “SportsCenter:AM.” ESPN says it has “a new format for ESPN’s signature news and information program designed to serve sports fans as they go about their early morning routine.”
Media Monitors: Fiorina Led Political Radio Buys in Iowa; Hillary Tops in New Hampshire. More data from Media Monitors is released with regard to political ad buys in the primary season in both the Iowa region and the New Hampshire market during the month of January. The company reports that Republican Carly Fiorina’s Carly for America super PAC bought 1,435 spots in the Des Moines, Quad Cities, and Omaha markets leading up to yesterday’s Caucuses. Democrats Bernie Sanders (955) and Hillary Clinton (771) followed Fiorina’s lead. The rest of the pack looks like this: Ted Cruz, 1,044 (317 from PACs); Donald Trump, 509; and Ben Carson, 632 (312 from a PAC). Looking at New Hampshire, data was culled from the Boston and Portsmouth-Dover markets. Hillary Clinton ran 2,535 spots from January 1 to 31. Bernie Sanders followed with 2,211. The Republicans ran far fewer spots starting with Donald Trump at 260, the Marco Rubio super PAC Conservative Solutions airing 253, and Ted Cruz airing 240 with added help from super PAC Courageous Conservatives (87) and the Keep The Promise (76). Chris Christie bought 24 spots and his super PAC America Leads added 233 ads. Finally, Carly Fiorina’s Super PAC aired 220 spots.
Profile: Compass Media Networks and Premiere-Syndicated Personality Joe Pags. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a personality profile of WOAI, San Antonio-based, syndicated talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo. Although he’s officially based at iHeartMedia’s heritage news/talk WOAI, Pags (pictured here enjoying his avocation as a saxophonist) is heard in numerous markets during weekdays and across the country on iHeartMedia’s “The Weekend with Joe Pags.” Pags didn’t start in radio; his television news career led him into the genre. Though he says his desire to express his opinions is what made him take a pay cut to leave TV for radio, it’s apparent that his proclivity for humor is a primary motivator. To be sure, Pags is a conservative, but he doesn’t consider himself a traditional “conservative talk host.” He says, “At the end of the day, I want the biggest possible audience and I want listeners to get something from what I am delivering. Caller after caller agreeing with everything you say is bad, boring radio and listeners will shut you off. I cannot do Obama-bashing for three hours – I just do not have it in me.” Read Kinosian’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. The weekly New York-focused political talk show “Effective Radio with Bill Samuels” is syndicating and will be heard in Westchester County on WVOX, New Rochelle Mondays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The program – featuring host Bill Samuels (left) and co-host Morgan Pehme (right) – debuted on Sunday mornings on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” in October…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio show, hosted by Chris Hill, is added to the program schedule at Salem Media Group’s WWMI, Tampa “AM 1380 The Biz.”…..Yahoo! Sports Radio is among the sports radio networks broadcasting from the NFL’s radio row in San Francisco this week. Personalities Sean Salisbury, Steve Bunin and others will broadcast in advance of Super Bowl 50 on Sunday…..Cumulus Media Dallas reports its charitable works for the calendar year 2015 totaled more than $1.2 million. Its stations – country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” “99.5 The Wolf,” news/talk WBAP, “The New Hot 93.3,” sports radio KCTK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” news/information KLIF, and sports talk KESN “ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM” – together raised funds, supplies and awareness for multiple charitable organizations through events and on-air and online promotions throughout 2015, including: $205,449 for Cook Children’s Hospital of Fort Worth; $303,157 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and Norm-A-Thon, which raised $500,400 for Austin Street Center.
Iowa Caucuses/Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Zika Virus Scare, Cheap Oil/Financial Markets Activity, Marijuana Verbal Memory Study, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). Monday’s Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; the battle against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email server for State Department business; concerns over the Zika virus in South America and the possibility of a pandemic; the low cost of oil and its effect on the world’s financial markets; the conclusion of a study indicating regular marijuana users can be affected with poor verbal memory later in life; and the run-up to this weekend’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Kitchin Departs as The Blaze CEO. In a company-wide email, Kraig Kitchin describes the reason for his exit as chief executive officer of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is owing to outside business obligations. He writes, “The Blaze deserves and needs an exclusively focused leader. That is something I cannot provide, given existing commitments I choose to honor.” The co-founder and former chief operating officer of Premiere Radio Networks says he is not leaving The Blaze. “I will stay, working every day as the interim head of sales with a focus on finding the right person for that position, assisting in the transition, on advertiser growth, program development, and industry relations.” In a separate email, Beck remarks, “I know much of what has happened since December 2014 has been structural and behind the curtain. We were a company swimming in debt. With the hard work of Kraig, [Beck advisor and president of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts] Jonathan Schreiber, and now [chief financial officer Misty Kawecki], we will be debt-free by summer. This is miraculous and takes all of the downward pressure off of us.” Kitchin’s replacement, digital startup entrepreneur Stewart Padveen, joined Beck’s company last summer; he will be the fourth leader of The Blaze since late-2014. Kitchin took over operations of Beck’s subscription digital and cable television operation last June. Also stepping down, according to The Daily Beast, are director of advertising sales Jeremy Price, and director of marketing Liz Julis.
Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Boko Haram Murders 86 in Nigeria, ‘Grease: Live’ TV Show, Zika Virus Outbreak, and European Immigrant Troubles Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for State Department business; the weekend attack on a Nigerian village by Boko Haram that left 86 dead; the Sunday evening production of a live performance of the musical “Grease”; concerns over the spreading Zika virus in South America; the violence and crime being associated with Syrian refugees in European countries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
StreamGuys-Cox Media Group Partnership Produces Platform for Digital Broadcasts and On-Demand Content. Streaming media provider StreamGuys and Cox Media Group have partnered to produce a “turnkey SaaS streaming platform for live ad-supported broadcasts, on-demand podcasts, and detailed business metrics and reporting across its entire radio network.” The platform is now live across all 60 CMG radio stations in 11 markets. A statement from the companies indicates StreamGuys has “built a rich toolset around its robust, reliable cloud-based content management and delivery network in alignment with the broadcaster’s goals. [Stream Guys’] SaaS approach cleanly and cost-efficiently integrates several recent, innovative StreamGuys SGsuite products and services into the network that enrich streaming player data, accelerate podcast creation, enhance royalty reporting, and monetize streaming initiatives.” CMG senior director of digital audience Tim Clarke comments, “In StreamGuys, we have found an ideal technology partner that understands the same opportunities we see to evolve our radio products. Their infrastructure and technology, along with competitive pricing and expertise in broadcasting, give us incredible flexibility in the management and delivery of our network-wide streaming initiatives.” Clarke also states that StreamGuys’ HTML5 multimedia player – SGPlayer – has rich metadata support that “delivers the relevant information that online audiences seek alongside the audio stream, including song/artist data, album art, recently played tracks and social media links for sharing the experience with other listeners. SGplayer is also an approved Nielsen SDK player, delivering client-side analytics that offer greater insight into online listener demographics than what was possible before.” For on-demand content, StreamGuys’ SGrecast software allows multiple operators to quickly turn linear broadcasts into podcasts and side channels of any length, with near-immediate turnaround to consumers. Clarke notes SGrecast has been “a phenomenal success,” and is used for brief news, traffic and weather in every market; and 24/7 rebroadcasts of high-profile shows after initial airings. StreamGuys EVP Jason Osburn says, “We are elated to deliver a comprehensive SaaS [software-as-a-service] service that, along with our turnkey support, will at once help Cox Media Group solve problems and generate new ideas to push online radio and podcasting forward.”
Odds & Sods. Like most other sports media, SiriusXM is present this week in Santa Clara and San Francisco for the build-up to Super Bowl 50. In addition to programming emanating from NFL Radio Row on the satcaster’s NFL Channel all week, play-by-play of the game will air in seven foreign languages including: Spanish, French, Hungarian, Japanese and Cantonese…..The seventh annual “Let’s Kick Hunger Day” radiothon produced by CBS RADIO’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis and Taste of the NFL took place on Thursday, January 28 and raised more than $261,901 for hunger relief. The seven-year total raised from the event is more than $1.4 million. The event is an all-day live radio broadcast designed to generate awareness of hunger in the heartland and to raise funds to help end it. The proceeds benefitted Second Harvest Heartland.
Michelle Jerson to Host Lifestyle Show on ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC. The new program launches on February 7 at 2:00 pm on Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Dubbed “Michelle Jerson’s Passport,” the program is being promoted as “a fresh new lifestyle show” that will “focus on travel, wellness, dining and the arts.” In a press statement, the station notes that Jerson “has represented brands like Travelzoo.com in television and radio segments across the country, showcasing destinations, resorts, airlines and tour companies. She is a longtime travel writer and contributes content to Foxnews.com, The Daily Meal, The Examiner, and her website, Passport Romance. Michelle has spent much of her radio career hosting lifestyle and relationship talk shows on ‘New Jersey 101.5’; WJFK, Washington; and SiriusXM and reporting for Howard Stern’s news team.” Jerson comments, “I am extremely excited to combine all of my passions into one show and can’t wait to bring New Yorkers a fun, entertaining program that will enhance their everyday lives. A huge thank you to Jerry Crowley, Phil Boyce and Darren Yelin for making this happen.”
Talk Hosts Broadcast from SHOT Show in Las Vegas. A number of talk radio personalities broadcast from the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas during the 38th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades Show held January 19-22. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) interviewing National Shooting Sports Foundation president and CEO Steven Sanetti (right). Other hosts broadcasting from the radio row were Compass Media Networks host Lars Larson, Radio America personality Dana Loesch, Zimmer Radio’s Gary Nolan, KMED, Medford, Oregon morning driver Bill Meyer and more. Sanetti comments, “America’s firearms industry and the 2nd Amendment have a great friend in talk radio. Our radio row operation adds an extra measure of excitement to the SHOT Show and it’s a real pleasure to have so many broadcasters joining us.”
Radio News Pro Bob Schuman Dead at 65. The industry is mourning the death of radio news pro Bob Schuman. His wife reports that he passed away on Saturday (1/30) at his home in suburban Detroit after a battle with congestive heart failure. During his career, Schuman worked at Detroit signals including WJR, WOWF, WYCD and WOMC. He also worked at WNOE, New Orleans; WSAI and WKRQ, Cincinnati; KLIF, Dallas; WROR, Boston and WZGC, Atlanta. Schuman is pictured here receiving a plaque commemorating his induction into the WYCD Hall of Fame upon his retirement from the station. View this video of Schuman’s farewell from WYCD, produced by Art Vuolo, here.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 25-29. The activities of the candidates for president – highlighted by Thursday’s GOP debate and candidate Donald Trump’s choice not to participate – were the most-talked-about story during the week. At #2 was the low price of oil and its effects on the world’s financial markets. Coming in at #3 was the boycott by some black entertainment industry figures of this year’s Academy Awards show, followed by U.S. immigration and refugee policy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
Frontlines of Freedom Adds New Affiliates; Hosts Honored Veteran Guest. The Talk Media Network-syndicated “Frontlines of Freedom” program announces the addition of 10 new affiliate stations, pushing its station roster to 105. The weekly military and veterans talk show is hosted by Denny Gillem, LTC, U.S. Army (Retired). Gillem states, “Our goal is the same today as when we came up with the idea for Frontlines of Freedom: To assist our listeners in better understanding the role of our military, and the challenges our nation faces.” New affiliate stations include: WWRC, Washington; KBNP, Portland; and WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng reports that the program recently hosted a special guest. “You need to have great content to attract and retain an audience, and the colonel’s interview this week with Chris ‘Tonto’ Paronto, one of the heroes portrayed in the movie 13 HOURS: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, is another example of our commitment to delivering compelling stories and information through ‘Frontlines of Freedom.’” Program host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is a graduate of West Point and is an Airborne Ranger. He served 22 years in the US Army, including two tours in Vietnam, where he earned seven awards for valor and two Purple Hearts. He also served as a Mideast War Planner and later ran the ROTC program at the University of Tampa.
Odds & Sods. During Super Bowl week, FOX Sports Radio announces it will again present programming from the Bay Area in the build-up to next Sunday’s championship game. “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “Jay Mohr Sports,” J.T. The Brick, and the Jason Smith show with Michael Harmon will broadcast live from radio row at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, while the Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show will emanate from the site of DirecTV’s remote broadcast at the historic Presidio in San Francisco…..Greater Media promotes Ellen Rubin to senior vice president and general counsel for the company. She’s been with Greater Media since 2003. In 2007 she was promoted to VP and general counsel. Chairman and CEO Peter Smyth states, “Ellen is a brilliant attorney who has been a key player in shaping Greater Media’s future. We are fortunate to have someone like Ellen in our company.”
WPRO-AM, Providence Talk Host Buddy Cianci Dead at 74. The colorful former Providence mayor who turned his political experience into a talk radio career in the city has died, according to WPRI-TV, Providence. Buddy Cianci – diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014 – died at Providence’s Miriam Hospital early today (1/28). Cianci hosted the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM. He was with the station for most of the past 10 years, taking a required break from his radio gig to again run for mayor in 2014 and returning after his defeat in the election. His first foray into talk radio took place between his two stints as mayor at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talker WHJJ. WRKO, Boston-based, independently syndicated talk radio star Howie Carr issued the following statement regarding Cianci’s death: “Buddy Cianci was the antithesis of political correctness, which is why his passing is such a great loss for Providence, the state of Rhode Island, and talk radio. They’re not making them like Buddy anymore. He was one of a kind, sui generis.”
Talk Programmer Jack Landreth Exits KMBZ, Kansas City PD Post. Talk radio pro Jack Landreth leaves the program director position at Entercom’s Kansas City talk duo KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM “Talk980.” Landreth arrived in KC in January of 2012 after programming such news/talk outlets as KXNT, Las Vegas and KTSA, San Antonio. He writes in a memo to his staff, “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last four years as a team. Record ratings in our target demos have shattered all we thought we could do.” He can be emailed at: Jack.Landreth@me.com.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York adds “The Frommer Travel Show” to its Saturday programming schedule. The show, featuring Frommer Media co-president and editorial director Pauline Frommer and Frommers.com editor-in-chief Jason Cochran, will be locally produced and air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio program with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota “Brainerd Business Radio” beginning this weekend…..CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh station group is presenting its eat.drink.WESTMORELAND event this Saturday (1/30). Attendees get to enjoy samples from more than a dozen of Westmoreland County’s finest restaurants plus new products, wines, beers and more. News/talk KDKA-AM afternoon drive co-host Robert Mangino is serving as emcee.
Presidential Race/Trump to Skip GOP Debate, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Volatility, European Immigrant Issues, Joseph Fiennes-Michael Jackson Flap, Oregon Militia Standoff, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The activities of the candidates for president, highlighted by Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in tonight’s Fox News Channel debate; low oil prices and the tumultuous world financial markets; the immigrant problems facing some European nations; the controversy over white actor Joseph Fiennes being cast in a film about Michael Jackson; the deadly turn of events in the Oregon Wildlife Preserve militia standoff; and the run-up to Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WGN, Chicago Extends Blackhawks Broadcast Deal for Five More Years. Chicago news/talker WGN and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announce the signing of a five-year contract extension to keep Blackhawks play-by-play on the Tribune station through the 2023-24 season. The Blackhawks have been heard on WGN since the 2008-09 campaign. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Many, myself included, believe that WGN Radio and the Chicago Blackhawks have the best partnership in sports. This renewal is testament to that. It’s an honor to formally extend this relationship and we look forward to celebrating many more Blackhawks wins with our WGN Radio listeners.” Pictured here are (from l-r): sports director Dave Eanet, producer Ross Cochran, news anchor Andrea Darlas, director of sales Jeff Hill, director of marketing Jackie Paulus, programming director Todd Manley, morning show host Steve Cochran, and de Castro.
WABC, New York Names Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk Midday Hosts. There’s no official word from Cumulus Media but TALKERS magazine is hearing the new show starts tomorrow (1/27). Filling in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart left vacant by the November departure of Geraldo Rivera are the duo of Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk. Of course, McGuirk is the longtime executive producer of the WABC-based “Imus in the Morning” and Rosenberg was a longtime cast member on the Imus program. Most recently though, Rosenberg had been a personality on sports talk WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale where he hosted morning drive. He exited that station in December. Rosenberg and McGuirk did some fill-in work together at WABC and apparently passed the audition.
New Cumulus Media Programming Management Philosophy Gives Local PDs ‘Control Over the Day-to-Day Programming of Their Stations.’ Today’s missive from Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner includes announcements about new corporate level programming personnel plus the news of VP stripes for many of the company’s corporate level programmers. But the monumental shift in local management philosophy is noted front-and-center. In announcing the addition of new staffers in the “key areas of research, strategy and format-specific expertise,” Berner states, “Who knows their markets better than the people who live and work there? We believe that the injection of more local insight and more effective corporate support into our programming decisions will drive improved ratings outcomes for our stations. Consistent with this view, Cumulus program directors will now report to market managers and will have control over the day-to-day programming of their stations which has not been the case in the past. Our corporate programming team, with its specialized resources and expertise, will be led by Mike McVay and will support the markets in the execution of this content strategy and in the creation of programming that surprises and delights — and delivers ratings.” Joining Cumulus are radio pros Dr. Ed Cohen, vice president, ratings and research; Doug Hamand, vice president, programming operations; Cat Thomas, vice president, CHR and hot AC; Ralph Cipolla, vice president, analytics; and Ken Johnson, vice president, urban. Cohen joins from Nieslen Audio. Hamand was an SVP of programming with iHeartMedia. Thomas was VP of programming in Las Vegas for CBS RADIO. Cipolla operated his own Cipolla Analytics. And Johnson comes from Cumulus’ own WUHT, Birmingham. At the same time, the company shuffles some managers around and gives VP stripes to others. They are: Val Garris, former vice president, programming, is promoted to vice president, analytics; Greg Frey, former corporate program director, is promoted to vice president, programming operations; Aaron Roberts, former vice president, programming partnerships, is promoted to vice president, programming communications/partnerships; Emily Boldon, former vice president, Stratus music programming and corporate program director, is promoted to vice president, AC. Troy Hanson, former corporate program director, rock formats, is promoted to vice president, rock; Brian Thomas, former corporate program director, country and classic hits, is promoted to vice president, classic hits; Charlie Cook, former operations manager, Cumulus Nashville, is promoted to vice president, country; Bill Hess, former corporate program director, news/talk, is promoted to vice president, news/talk; Scott Jameson, former corporate program director, classic rock, is promoted to vice president, classic rock; Bruce Gilbert remains SVP, sports for both Cumulus Media and Westwood One; and John Kilgo continues as vice president, label relations.
Michael Harrison and Herman Cain Dissect Politics, Economics, Race Relations, Talk Radio, the Media Circus, and How to Make a Great Pizza. WSB-AM, Atlanta and nationally syndicated radio talk star Herman Cain (WYM Media Management) joins TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the hit PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two talk about a variety of today’s hottest subjects tapping into Cain’s wide-ranging experience as a former front-running GOP 2012 presidential candidate, businessman (CEO, Godfather’s Pizza; VP, Pillsbury; president, National Restaurant Association; chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City), political strategist (member, Jack Kemp Commission; advisor, Bob Dole presidential campaign), best-selling author, newspaper columnist, and radio talk show host. They discuss politics, economics, race relations, and the media circus that surrounds elections and distracts the public, elected officials and the candidates from focusing on the truly important issues. Cain has just written a new book, The Right Problems: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On (Post Hill Books, 2016) in which he provides a blueprint for voters to ask the right questions of candidates and hold them (and the media) to higher standards in dealing with the crucial issues facing America. To hear the entire interview, click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Herman Cain Releases Pertinent New Book and Launches Talk Radio Tour. As indicated in the story above, WSB-AM, Atlanta and WYM Media Management syndicated talk show host Herman Cain has released a new book, The Right Problems: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On (Post Hill Books, 2016), in which he provides a blueprint for voters to ask the right questions of candidates and hold them (and the media) to higher standards in dealing with the crucial issues facing America. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who just interviewed Cain on the weekly Podcast One program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” (see story above), “Herman is a fantastic guest and this is a wonderful time to tap into him as a resource for talk shows looking to lift the conversation above the mudslinging and professional wrestling-style dialogue that has marked the 2016 presidential election even more so than any in recent memory. His experience and current successful career on radio makes him ‘one of us’ and regardless of whether or not you agree with his conservative ideological stand, he touches on the really important issues and does so with and intelligent, gentlemanly charisma that made him such an unexpected standout in the last presidential cycle. I loved talking with him on ‘Up Close and Far Out.’” To arrange a radio interview with Herman Cain, please contact Lisa Reichert at 678-565-5335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Miller Begins Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour 2016. Syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller announces the launch of her 2016 Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour kicking off at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison on February 27. Miller will be joined by John Fugelsang and the comedy duo Frangela. She says, “America has spoken. The 2016 Republican presidential field has officially become so ridiculous that it has created a national comedy state of emergency that only America’s #1 Comedy Tour, Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour can answer. We hear your cry USA, and we’re on our way!” Miller says additional dates for the tour will be announced shortly.
Len Berman and Todd Schnitt Celebrate One-Year Anniversary. The WOR, New York morning team of Len Berman and Todd Schnitt celebrated their one-year anniversary on the job together. The program received a number of congratulatory calls from such celebs as: veteran WNBC-TV, New York news anchor Chuck Scarborough; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; and Radio Hall of Famer (and former Schnitt employer) Scott Shannon. Pictured here are (from l-r): WOR program director Tom Cuddy, executive producer Natalie Vacca, assistant program director Scott Lakefield, Schnitt, and Berman.
Presidential Race/Democratic Town Hall, Battle Against Islamic State, Missouri Professor Charged, Planned Parenthood Videos Case Twist, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Oscars Boycott, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The activities of the candidates for president and Monday evening’s Democratic Town Hall in Iowa; the fight against Islamic State and new intelligence on other militant Islamic organizations in the region; University of Missouri assistant professor Melissa Click is charged with assault for confrontation with reporter during the November 9 student protests; in a legal twist, a Houston grand jury indicts two people involved in creating the videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood representatives breaking the law; the effects of sinking oil prices and the Chinese market plunge on the rest of the world’s financial markets; the controversy surrounding the boycott of the Academy Awards for a lack of minority nominations; and the NFL’s conference championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 18-22. The activities of the candidates for president were the top story on news/talk radio during the week, claiming the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business. Coming in at #3 was the sinking oil prices and the response of the world’s financial markets followed by the Oscars boycott at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Hits Austin. Packing the Riverbend Centre in Austin, Texas, nationally syndicated radio talk host Dave Ramsey presented his Smart Money event last night (1/21). Along with financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan, Ramsey’s program addressed how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future. Entercom Austin’s news/talk KJCE partnered with Ramsey to promote the appearance. Station general sales manager Bob Woche commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Dave Ramsey and Chris Hogan to a sold out Smart Money in Austin. Their message about life, family and finances resonates with our listeners and it shows with packed events like this one. I’m confident everyone in attendance will leave fired up and ready to tackle their financial challenges.” Pictured here with Ramsey (center) are Woche (left) and KJCE sales manager Jennifer Buck (right).
Round Three of Holiday PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of Holiday 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was December 3 – December 30. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Industry Pro Tony Garcia Launches Spot Shoppe. Having the capability to produce good creative quickly has become a growing issue for radio. This is especially true as bottom line pressure increases and head count at stations decreases. To help stations overcome this challenge, 35-year industry veteran Tony Garcia’s Global Media Services (www.globalmediaservices.co) has begun offering a service called Radio Spot Shoppe. The concept for Spot Shoppe was the result of conversations Garcia had with broadcasters about the pressing need for better creative and the shortage of time, resources and manpower at the station level. He tells TALKERS, “At some point, the conversation always comes around to creative. We hear the same voices on spot after spot. We lean on the same voices, the same production staff, and the same people to write all of the commercials we air. Spot Shoppe gives stations the ability to outsource some of their stuff, freeing up staff as well as bringing new voices to their stations.” He explains that Radio Spot Shoppe gives stations the ability to select from three levels of service depending upon their needs: script writing, commercial production, and imaging. Scripts and produced commercials will be delivered on a next-business-day basis. Imaging clients will receive one page of imaging per week. “I know there are other services available to broadcasters,” says Garcia. “The difference is we are 100% custom. We write and produce everything from scratch. We don’t cut and paste or recycle commercials from other markets. Our goal is to provide custom creative and a high level of affiliate service,” he concludes. Radio Spot Shoppe is available to stations on a market-exclusive barter or cash basis. Stations wanting to learn more can visit www.radiospotshoppe.com or contact Tony Garcia directly at 303-557-1961, or Tony@globalmediaservices.co.
Jim Benson’s ‘TV Time Machine’ Radio Show Hits on Television’s Past, Present, and Future. The weekly, one-hour syndicated radio show produced by Jim Benson may sound from its title like an homage to television’s Golden Era, but Benson says his program is “a radio show about television’s past, present, and future.” In a story published today (1/22), Benson is profiled by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian. He says his highly produced radio show about TV requires thought and preparation. “There is the challenge of translating something that is visual to an audio medium. If you do it correctly, it works. That is what makes the show unique, entertaining, and intimate.” Like radio, the face of television is changing with the times and Benson says his curiosity about what’s out there drives him to interesting discoveries. “I want to be comprehensibly well versed in all aspects of television, especially current-day TV. In addition, it allows me to discover great television – sometimes long before the mainstream audience does. I interviewed [the creator of AMC drama series ‘Mad Men’] Matt Weiner before the show became such a huge phenomenon. Our 90-minute interview was during its first season. My wife was in advertising on Madison Avenue for 20 years. I knew she would have tremendous insights he would appreciate, so we had a three-way conversation about advertising.” Read more about Benson’s career in television history and his approach to his weekly radio show here.
Marv Nyren to Lead Sales Effort at Pubcaster WBEZ, Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago radio pro Marv Nyren is entering the public radio sphere. The former WLUP-FM and WKQX general manager is assuming the president of corporate sponsorships role at Chicago Public Media, which operates WBEZ-FM. In this role he’ll oversee the sales staff. Nyren worked for Emmis for seven years and exited when WLUP-FM and WKQX were sold. He’s been with Tribune Broadcasting as director of group sales and marketing for television division since last July. Read Feder’s story here.
Odds & Sods. It’s a milestone for CBS Radio News’ “Looking at the Law.” The daily feature with attorney and Harvard Medical School professor Neil Chayet launched on April 1, 1976 and this week produces its 10,000th broadcast delivered to listeners around the country and on the Armed Forces Radio Network around the world…..Talk KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri “The Eagle 93.9” is anxiously awaiting the start of Major League Baseball’s Spring Training. Pictured here is Branden Rathert (right) with St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (left) during a recent interview. Rathert hosts the “Wake Up Columbia” program on the Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group-owned station.
Bernier Marks 25 Years. WNDB, Daytona Beach PM drive talk personality Marc Bernier marked 25 years on the air yesterday (1/21) with a special live broadcast from News Journal Center in Daytona Beach. Pictured here is Bernier (far right) with his “Super Volusionaries” panel of 12 opinion makers who ran through the day’s news and politics just before the big celebration. The event was held before a live audience and broadcast on the radio.
Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Sinking Oil Prices/Tumultuous World Financial Markets, Flint Water Contamination Controversy, Battle Against Islamic State, El Chapo’s Fast-and-Furious Gun, and Spike Lee/Jada Pinkett Smith-Led Oscars Boycott Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The activities of the candidates for president; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the continuing fall of crude oil prices and the negative effects on the world’s financial markets; the controversy over the lead-contaminated water supply in Flint, Michigan; the battle against Islamic State and the organization’s ongoing destruction of ancient ruins; the discovery of a Fast-and-Furious weapon in Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s arsenal; and the call for a boycott of the Oscars for its lack of black nominees were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WIP’s Josh Innes Suspended for Use of Racial Slur. WIP, Philadelphia afternoon drive host Josh Innes is being suspended for three days for using a racial epithet. Sports talker Innes apologized on the air shortly after comparing Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (who is white) to a “house negro” for attending new Eagles coach Doug Pederson’s press conference. CBS RADIO said in a statement, “Comments made by Josh Innes during his WIP-FM program yesterday in regards to Eagles center Jason Kelce were inappropriate and unacceptable. We do not condone or approve of those comments.”
Round Two of Holiday PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of Holiday 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was December 3 – December 30. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
WISN, Milwaukee Produces ‘Rebutting a Murderer’ Podcast Series. The case of Wisconsin convict Steven Avery is getting another treatment from radio journalist Dan O’Donnell at Milwaukee news/talk outlet WISN. Taking the perspective that the sensational Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer” is biased, O’Donnell uses his podcast series to rebut the film producers’ conclusion that Avery’s guilt was manufactured on poor evidence. O’Donnell is a non-practicing lawyer and radio journalist who was assigned to cover Avery from his release in 2003 through his (and his nephew’s) conviction in 2007. The iHeartMedia-owned station says that the podcast series mirrors the Netflix programs as a 10-part series “which combines the best parts of ‘Serial’ with the buzz of ‘Making a Murderer’ and the unique perspective of a law-school educated journalist who was there covering it all, bringing to light pieces of evidence the filmmakers left out or glazed over.”
Hartman Named GSM at Cox Jacksonville. Promoted from local sales manager to general sales manager at Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville radio operations is Nichole Hartman. The company says she “will lead a team of talented multi-media sales professionals who are experts in consumer behavior, representing seven radio stations and CMG Local Solutions. She will also serve as brand manager for WAPE, WJGL “Eagle 96.9,” and classic R&B “Hot 99.5 (W258CN). Cox Jacksonville DOS Bob DeBlois says, “Nichole’s hard work, willingness to take on all challenges and dedication to her team and our clients has developed her into not only a great manager for us but a shining star in our company. Her passion and enthusiasm for success is contagious.”
New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards Salutes the World’s Best Radio Programs. In addition to the announcement that the New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards are open for entries, comes news that there are three new categories this year. Those include: Biography/Profiles, Climate Change & Sustainability, and Music. Category Groups include: News Programs, News: Reports/Features, Information Documentary, Entertainment, Talk Programs, On-Air Talent, Craft, Programming Format, Morning Drive Programming, Promotions, Spots, Opens and ID’s, Online, Satellite, Audio Books, Audio Podcast, and Student. The worldwide competition honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs has been taking place since 1982 and receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from 32 countries around the globe. Radio program awards executive director Rose Anderson states, “New York Festivals recognizes the ever-evolving nature of the radio industry. Time does not stand still in the radio industry – new ways of reaching listeners and new ways of telling the important stories of our day drive change. So, every year, we work with our advisory board and we update some categories as well as create new ones. It is an organic ecosystem. We embrace the new while keeping the best practices of what has come before.” Anderson says the three new categories will provide a platform for those with a distinctive voice and point of view regarding issues and topics of interest. Anderson continues, “In our ever-changing world, radio is the original social media. There is a universal language of radio which connects us all – giving us the ability to meet directly in each other’s imagination and guided by the textures of sound to understand each other…One thing that is most important to us is that we make NYF’s Radio Program awards a destination for people all over the world who are creating radio that is interesting, innovative, and of very high quality – because at the end of the day, it is the quality of the entries which gives any competition its value,” New York Festivals Radio Awards enlists jurists from all over the world to become members of the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury includes some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. The New York Festivals Radio Awards Advisory Board is comprised of prominent international executives recognized as thought-leaders in the radio broadcasting industry. These individuals function as a sounding board for the competition’s executive director, offering suggestions for category updates and sharing ideas, trends, and other concerns that impact radio broadcasting. Their guidance insures that the competition is relevant and in step with the ever-changing radio industry. The ceremony for the World’s Best Radio Programs takes place at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York on June 20. The deadline for entries is March 18. To enter, log in here and find all the information you need. Press inquiries can go to Gayle Mandel at: email@example.com.
Wheeler Broadcasting Gives Roanoke Second Sports Talker. According to a report in the Roanoke Times, the market is getting a second sports talk station as Wheeler Broadcasting flips from R&B on WPLY-AM. The format will also be simulcast on translator W247AD at 97.3 FM. Currently, 3 Daughters Media operates crosstown WGMN “ESPN in VA.” Wheeler president and GM Leonard Wheeler tells the paper it will be airing DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show plus Fox Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd and other FSRN programming.
Odds & Sods. The syndicated feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” hits the 200-affiliate station mark. The Westwood One-syndicated program has been airing for the past year and features Rogers, the former Michigan Republican congressman Chair of the House Intelligence Committee…..After a brief absence in market, “Dr. Chambers on Call” – hosted by Dr. Joseph Chambers – launches this weekend on KABC, Los Angeles in the Saturday 12:00 noon timeslot. The program previously aired for five years on crosstown KFWB…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio program with host Chris Hill is now airing on KITZ, Silverdale, Washington serving the Puget Sound region…..Legendary golf coach and best-selling author Hank Haney signs a new multi-year deal with SiriusXM that will expand the presence of his radio show on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel. Haney and other leading instructors and golf personalities will now air seven days a week from 10:00 am to 11:00 am ET throughout the year…..Westwood One News is simulcasting CNN’s town hall on Monday, January 25, when the Democratic presidential hopefuls will face voters in Des Moines. The event is hosted by the Iowa Democratic Party and Drake University and takes place a week before the highly anticipated Iowa caucuses.
Cool Job Opportunity. At the Greater Media Charlotte station group there’s a rare opportunity for a production director for news/talk WBT and hot AC WLNK. The ideal candidate is experienced directing voice talent and must work well in a fast-paced environment and effectively juggle multiple projects. The production/imaging director must possess exceptional imaging and commercial production skills and use creativity to enhance station brands. Concept development, voiceover, and copywriting skills required. Strong communication and interpersonal skills and should possess: the ability to create original ideas and see them though the production process; extensive experience with digital editing equipment; skill at developing marketing concepts; experience in coaching and directing voice talent; the ability to develop systems for organizing production elements; knowledge of VCreative, Adobe Audition, Audiovault, and Marketron or similar systems; sense of time management and ability to meet regular deadlines; basic knowledge of traffic processes and the capacity to interface with traffic and continuity directors. A minimum five years major market production and imaging experience preferred. Charlotte market experience a plus. Send resume and mp3 to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please. EOE.
Time Magazine Recognizes Dave Ramsey Podcast. Dubbing it one of the top 10 podcasts on iTunes in 2015, Time magazine gives the Dave Ramsey podcast recognition for its popularity. The Ramsey podcast averages more than 2 million downloads per week. Numerous publications, including iTunes Charts, Digital Trends and Stitcher, list the Dave Ramsey show among the most frequently downloaded and streamed podcasts. Ramsey Media vice president Brian Mayfield comments on the news. “We are excited to see the development of a completely new audience in the digital space. Our roots are embedded in radio where we began, and our audience continues to grow. This recent success on the digital side allows us to introduce our show to the next generation of listeners. Our goal is simple: we want to be there for our listener when, where, and how they want to listen. Digital distribution allows those constantly on the go the ability to listen to their favorite programs on their time schedule. We offer a variety of solutions including podcast, a dedicated channel on iHeartRadio, online audio streaming, and an online video channel.” Mayfield says that these efforts combined with the existing radio audience reaches a total audience of 11 million listeners every week.
Mike Francesa to Leave WFAN, New York When Contract Expires. New York sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa tells Fox 1’s Katie Nolan that he will exit CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York when his contract ends in December of 2017. On Nolan’s “Garbage Time” podcast, Francesa also tells Nolan that he has spoken with CBS brass about exiting early but the two sides haven’t found terms for an exit that are mutually agreeable. He also says it won’t be the end of his sports talk career, just the end to his time with WFAN. Fox Sports reports the news from the taping of Nolan’s video podcast that will be published tomorrow (1/21).
Cumulus Promotes McCann to Market Manager and Cohen to VP of Sales in Washington. Two are promoted in the executive ranks at Cumulus Media’s Washington station group. Jake McCann moves up to vice president/market manager from his VP of sales post and Beth Cohen is upped from director of sales to VP of sales for the cluster. Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati states, “Jake McCann and Beth Cohen are the leadership team needed to achieve our goals in D.C. In the past year, they’ve accomplished that and more. Both promotions are well deserved. We look forward to their continued contributions as they advance the growth trajectory of Cumulus DC.” Cumulus owns hot AC WRQX “Mix 107.3” and news/talk WMAL-AM/FM in the market.
Presidential Candidates Radio Ads Tracked by Media Monitors; Hillary Clinton Top Spender. Two of the nation’s earliest primary elections – the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary – are just weeks away and Media Monitors reports it is tracking the radio ads for candidates heard in markets within or near those states during the first 15 days of January. Media Monitors reports the following: Hillary Clinton numbers from Des Moines and the Quad Cities show a total of 482 spots run with none run in the adjacent Omaha market. Radio spots for Ted Cruz, whose numbers from Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha totaled 218 that were part of the Cruz For President buy, however, his Super PAC – Keep The Promise ran a total of 26 spots in the three Iowa markets. Donald Trump radio spots that ran in Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha totaled 187 ads. Bernie Sanders did not buy Omaha, but ran spots in Des Moines and the Quad Cities totaling 123 spots. Marco Rubio’s Super PAC – Conservative Solutions – also ran in Des Moines, Omaha and the Quad Cities to the tune of 74 units counted. And finally, Mike Huckabee’s Super PAC – Pursuing America’s Greatness – aired 50 times in Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha. Targeting New Hampshire voters, Hillary Clinton ran 1,110 spots in both Boston and Portsmouth-Dover. Bernie Sanders was next with 899 spots in the two markets. Marco Rubio’s Super PAC aired 358 ads. Next was Ted Cruz with 109 spots appearing in Boston and Portsmouth-Dover. Donald Trump played 76 times in the Portsmouth-Dover and 10 times in Boston. Chris Christie aired 24 spots in Portsmouth-Dover, while his Super PAC – American Leads – ran 21 spots in Portsmouth-Dover and Boston. Mike Huckabee did not run any spots in Portsmouth-Dover or Boston.
Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Oscars Boycott, Flint Water Scandal, 13 Hours Film, Sinking Oil Prices/Tumultuous Financial Markets, and Battle Against Islamic State Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). The activities of the candidates for president; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for sensitive State Department business; the Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith-led boycott of the Academy Awards for the lack of black nominees; the lead water contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan; controversy surrounding the Benghazi film, 13 Hours; the continuing drop in oil prices and the activity in the world’s financial markets; and the battle against Islamic State were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dan Zampillo Exiting WTEM, Washington. There are more changes coming to the Dan Snyder-owned sports talker WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” Program director Dan Zampillo – on the job since April of 2015 – is leaving the company, according to numerous reports, including one from the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg. Citing an internal memo, the Post reports Zampillo will stay on as a search for his replacement commences. Recently, station manager Rick Carmean exited and the company has eliminated that position. Zampillo came aboard from SiriusXM’s sports programming division after Chuck Sapienza resigned the PD post during the bizarre “Man Cave” episode. To refresh your memory, “The Man Cave” show – co-hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid – got off to an inauspicious start in March. The launch of the show was delayed by two weeks during which there were reports Dan Snyder didn’t like the idea because Reid was critical of the Redskins while writing for the Post. Sapienza quit during this time. The show was eventually cancelled in October. Read Steinberg’s Post piece here.
Round One of Holiday PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of Holiday 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 3 – December 30. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Michael Harrison and ‘America’s Digital Goddess’ Discuss the Culture of Technology. Nationally syndicated radio star and newspaper columnist Kim Komando of WestStar TalkRadio Network joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as a special guest on this week’s installment of PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” (1/19). The two conduct an in-depth discussion about the state of the digital era as we are experiencing its unfolding in the early decades of the 21st century from both technological and cultural perspectives. Highlights include a prognostication of where the technology is headed going forward. Will humans increasingly merge (physically, mentally, spiritually) with silicon technology as chips are increasingly embedded not only in our clothing and all around us in the “Internet of Things” – but in our bodies as well? How can parents, who are natives of the 20th century, exercise control and guidance over their digitally precocious children, who are natives of the 21st century? What is the present state and future of privacy? Komando, whom Harrison describes as a “remarkable woman,” discusses her early days as a teenage prodigy in New Jersey who graduated high school at 15, headed west on her own, and went on to build a multi-million dollar empire blazing new trails in radio and contributing greatly to the advancement of this amazing new era. To listen to the entire conversation, click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.
Talk Host Kevin Jackson Named Fox News Contributor. Independently syndicated talk personality Kevin Jackson joins the Fox News organization as a contributor. The news was announced to Fox News Channel viewers on last night’s edition of “The Kelly File” with host Megyn Kelly. Jackson has made numerous appearances on FNC shows over the years, including “Hannity” and “Fox & Friends.” Jackson comments, “I am grateful and proud that Roger (Ailes) appreciates my talent enough to have added me to the Fox News family. What a great honor to have Fox News as part of my distribution platform. My message has been leaking through for some time and this should help me to extend that message a lot further.”
Odds & Sods. As reported by Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch, Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis news/talker WIBC-FM names Chris Davis news director. Davis, who most recently was news director for the News Mississippi Network, takes over for Mike Wilson who left the radio biz…..Westwood One is providing radio play-by-play for this weekend’s NFL conference championship games on Sunday. WW1’s doubleheader coverage begins at 2:00 pm ET.
CBS RADIO Names Dave Pugh Phoenix Market Manager. His exact title is senior vice president/market manager and director of sales of CBS RADIO Phoenix, and Dave Pugh takes over for Tim Pohlman who recently was moved to the same post at CBS RADIO Chicago. CBS RADIO chief operating officer Scott Herman states, “Dave has an established track record of driving revenue, developing sales strategies and cultivating client relationships, which is evident through his impressive career and outstanding reputation. His leadership skills, along with his extensive knowledge of digital will greatly benefit our Phoenix stations. We are thrilled to have Dave join the CBS RADIO team in this key position.” Pugh most recently was RVP for San Francisco-based Veritone Media. He also served with iHeartMedia in the San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Detroit markets.
Fast-Approaching Primaries Bring Talk Radio Role into Spotlight. There are differing opinions on how large of a role talk radio plays in the election process – especially during the primaries when candidates are trying to appeal to a party’s base. Regardless, of one’s opinion on that, there’s little doubt that talk radio personalities command a lot of attention – and a lot of blame – from the mainstream press during this period. An example of that is writer and SiriusXM talk host Dean Obeidallah’s opinion piece published by CNN.com, titled “Why Glenn Beck Fears Donald Trump,” in which he uses Beck’s dislike of Trump as a candidate to support his feeling that Trump is so potentially harmful that even Glenn Beck doesn’t want him to be the GOP nominee. It’s interesting that Obeidallah writes in his piece, “This may be the first and possibly the last time that I agree with Beck.” This is illustrative of the extreme polarity in today’s political discourse in the media in America. Obeidallah’s comment – while probably intended to be hyperbole – implies that if a media personality is on the other side of the political fence from him, there can’t possibly be anything upon which they agree. However, the reality is probably that the majority of American voters don’t feel this impenetrable divide. Yet, the media dialogue suggests a very different tone – one that it may feel in Washington, DC and then project onto the electorate. Read Obeidallah’s piece here.
Salem’s AM 1280 The Patriot to Celebrate 15 Years with Live Event. The Twin Cities news/talker WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot” will celebrate its 15th birthday in March and Salem Media is throwing a “Birthday Bash” open to listeners on Monday, March 21 at Orchestra Hall from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The event is being sponsored by Lifestyle Financial & Tax and the station is selling VIP dinner tickets so fans can participate in a meet-and-greet with station hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. Station GM Nic Anderson comments, “We are excited to have our entire 8:00 am to 8:00 pm daily lineup in town for what will be a great evening in celebration of the station’s 15th birthday.”
Odds & Sods. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show is now being syndicated by WYM Media Management. Cain’s program had been syndicated in the past by Westwood One…..The Shelton, Washington news/talk simulcast KMAS and K277CZ undergoes a brand change as owner Olympic Broadcasting teams up with local broadband provider iFIBER Communications to operate the station. The new brand is “iFiberOne NewsRadio.”
Presidential Race, Sinking Oil Prices/Tumultuous Financial Markets, Flint Water Scandal, Battle Against Islamic State, Sean Penn’s ‘El Chapo’ Interview, Oscars Boycott, Martin Luther King Holiday, the NFL Playoffs, and Glenn Frey Passes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). The activities of the candidates for president; plummeting oil prices and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the scandal involving high levels of lead in Flint, Michigan’s water supply and local officials’ awareness and denial of it; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the Rolling Stone-published interview of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman by actor Sean Penn and Penn’s appearance on “60 Minutes”; the Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith-led boycott of the Academy Awards for its lack of black nominees; Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; the weekend’s NFL playoffs; and the death of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Sean Penn’s El Chapo Interview/60 Minutes Appearance, Presidential Race/Sunday’s Democratic Debate, Sinking Oil Prices/Tumultuous World Financial Markets, U.S.-Iran Relations, 13 Hours Film, and NFL Playoffs Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The Rolling Stone-published interview of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman by actor Sean Penn, Guzman’s subsequent arrest and Penn’s appearance on “60 Minutes’; the activities of the candidates for president and Sunday’s Democratic debate; sinking oil prices and the tumultuous world financial markets; the aftermath of Iran’s capture and release of U.S. sailors in the Persian Gulf; the Benghazi film 13 Hours; and the weekend’s NFL divisional playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
‘Stink’ Joins KKFN, Denver for AM Drive. Former NFL guard Mark “Stink” Schlereth is joining Bonneville’s Denver sports talker KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” alongside current morning personality Mike Evans to co-host the morning show. Schlereth had co-hosted radio programs for ESPN – he still works for the sports giant on the TV side – with both Jorge Sedano and Mike Hill. This gig brings him back to a daily radio show. Schlereth played for the Denver Broncos on its teams that won Super Bowls 32 and 33 and KKFN program director Armen Williams comments, “Mark represents everything that “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” stands for, which included a strong connection to the Broncos and the Denver community.”
Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick Winning His Fight Against Cancer. “News Radio 740” KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick continues to show his determination and unwavering commitment to beating cancer with 2016 off to a strong start. Patrick recently shared with his “Houston’s Morning News” audience, and his syndicated afternoon audience during the Matt Patrick show (heard on KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas/Ft. Worth) that the latest test results have shown much of the cancer significantly eliminated, and in some areas completely resolved. Last year, Patrick reported that he’s receiving treatment for the malignant tumors at the world-renowned M.D. Anderson clinic in Houston. The 35-year radio pro took a short hiatus at the end of 2015 to undergo brain surgery, and multiple rounds of chemo, before returning to both shows full time in November. Continuing to work through additional treatments, Patrick then added regular television appearances on Houston’s “FOX 26 News” back into the mix last week, in addition to his two daily radio shows.
Odds & Sods. The regionally syndicated Scott Hamilton show is now airing on WSJS, Winston-Salem in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart. Hamilton is a sports columnist for the Winston-Salem Journal and his program is currently carried on Crescent Media Group’s trimulcast of WSML, WFMR, and WCOG in the Greensboro and High Point markets. Now, Crescent brings it to the Triad area on WSJS…..Three of Bubba the Love Sponge’s attorneys defending him in the defamation suit brought against him by former radio rival Todd Schnitt have been suspended from practicing law by the Florida Supreme Court. The Court is still considering permanently disbarring them. Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut were asked by the Court to show why they should not be suspended while the court considers their permanent disbarment. Adams is not challenging the suspension. The three were found to have orchestrated a DUI charge against Schnitt attorney C. Philip Campbell during the high-profile case in Tampa. The Tampa Tribune reports the three have until the end of this month to file their briefs arguing against permanent disbarment.
CMG Raises Rainey to Radio Division Director/National Sales. Regional national sales manager for Cox Media Group stations in Tampa and Jacksonville Jodi Rainey adds corporate duties as the director of national sales of the radio division’s 60 stations. Cox Media Group regional vice president Susan Larkin comments that, “Jodi is a proven leader in our company. In this role, she will be able to collaborate with our national sales team and partners at Katz Radio Group to execute our strategic goals with laser focus.” Rainey remarks, “I am looking forward to working closely with our talented group of national sales managers and our Katz partners. CMG continues to put forth great traditional radio products as well as new offerings in client research, events, and the digital space. We have a great opportunity to further develop our relationships and bring value to national advertisers.” Rainey previously was general sales manager for the company’s Tampa alternative outlet WSUN and account executive for CMG’s Atlanta and Tampa clusters. Before joining Cox Media Group in 1999, Rainey worked for Katz Television Atlanta.
Darla Jaye Leaves KMBZ-AM, Kansas City. After more than 10 years in the market, talk personality Darla Jaye exits the morning show at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-AM “Talk 980.” Jaye’s show was the only live-and-local program heard during the weekdays on KMBZ-AM. The station is simulcasting the “Kansas City’s Morning News” program with E.J. Becker and Ellen Schenk from sister news/talk KMBZ-FM.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 11-15. The activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story of the week on news/talk radio, landing at the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the expanding FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for state department business. Coming in at #3 was President Obama’s final State of the Union address followed by the Iran-U.S. Navy incident at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Radio Part of New Deal for Michelle Beadle’s ESPN. Sports giant ESPN announces company personality Michelle Beadle has inked a new, multi-year contract to continue her co-hosting duties on the cable TV channel’s “SportsNation” with Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley. The company says, “In addition to her ‘SportsNation’ duties, Beadle will join ESPN senior writer — and ‘SportsNation’ and espnW contributor — Ramona Shelburne for their new national radio show called ‘Beadle & Shelburne.’ The new radio show will premiere February 14, airing 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET from ESPNLA 710’s Los Angeles studios.” ESPN original content SVP Connor Schell comments, “Michelle is truly one of the most authentic voices in sports and the connection fans have with her is something she has earned through the enthusiasm and insight she brings to her job every day. Michelle is a tremendous talent within the ESPN family and will play an important role in the evolution of ‘SportsNation’ going forward.”
Industry Mourns Death of Retired KCBS Anchor Al Hart. The voice of Al Hart was well known to news radio listeners in the Bay Area. He worked at KCBS, San Francisco for 34 years, starting in 1966 – two years before the station flipped to all-news – and retired in 2000. Hart died on Thursday (1/14) at the age of 88 after a long illness. KCBS morning anchor Stan Bunger says, “Al was the broadcaster I wanted to grow up to be. His positive energy and his passion for serving the audience were an inspiration every day. I’m very, very lucky to have had him as a mentor and friend.”
Ed Schultz Returns to Television Via RT America. Former MSNBC personality – and longtime talk radio host – Ed Schultz is heading back to the little screen via the cable network RT America. He’ll do an 8:00 pm nightly show titled, “News with Ed Schultz.” Schultz has been podcasting since ending his syndicated radio show more than a year ago. On joining RT America, Schultz says, “I am very excited to be joining RT. The network is firmly established outside of US corporate media and is not afraid to give a platform to diverse voices, stories and perspectives to its viewers, even if it ruffles some mainstream feathers. I can’t think of a better fit than a news broadcaster that bullishly pursues issues that matter to hardworking Americans.” RT America is financed through the Russian government.
Joey Hudson Named Salem Greenville GM. Upstate native Joey Hudson is appointed general manager for Salem Media Group’s Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina stations news/talk WGTK-FM “Conservative Talk 94.5” and classic hits WRTH, “Earth FM.” He’s worked with Salem and SRN’s Mike Gallagher for many years.
Cashin Picks Up ‘ESPN Palm Springs’ PD Duties. At the Alpha Media cluster in Palm Springs, California, Paul Cashin is adding programming duties for sports talk “ESPN 103.9” K280CV, Cathedral City to his duties. He also programs news/talk “K-News 94.3” (simulcast on KNWQ-AM and K232CX, Desert Hot Springs). Cashin comments, “I am thrilled that we have added ESPN Radio as a great brand here in Palm Springs. Combined with our already dominant ‘K-News 94.3,’ we are primed to dominate sports and news for the Coachella Valley.”
NBC Sports Radio Announces New Daily Lineup. Effective February 8, NBC Sports Radio is launching a new daily program schedule that includes a new Eastern Time afternoon drive program hosted by Chris Mannix. The other big change is the move of “ProFootballTalk Live with Mike Florio” into the AM drive slot (live on the East Coast from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and delay broadcast on the West Coast). “Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs” moves into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart. “Under Center with Mark Malone” shifts to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot followed by “Going Deep with Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman” from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. The Scott Seidenberg show debuts in the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot and Jon Stashower moves to the morning show as the network’s lead update anchor from 6:00 am to 11:00 am ET.
Odds & Sods. Tomorrow (1/15), Westwood One begins presenting reports on the 25th anniversary of the Persian Gulf War. Operation Desert Storm – to free Kuwait from the Iraqi invations – ran through the end of February 1991, when President George H.W. Bush declared an end to combat operations. Westwood One News is providing affiliates a series of one-minute reports looking back on the fighting and what it meant at the time and in historical context. Westwood One News national security correspondent Chas Henry (left) – an officer in the U. S. Marine Corps during the operation – conducted interviews with former Secretary of State Colin Powell (right), who was an Army general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs and a senior military adviser to President George H. W. Bush. The series will also address the health issues many veterans of the conflict complained of suffering, now recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and bundled under the term “Gulf War Syndrome.”…..A new podcast from content producer DGital Media debuts former NFL stars Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Jamie Dukes. A fresh “Ochocinco and Dukes” podcast will be published each Tuesday and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher and the TuneIn…..The nationally syndicated program “The Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill is added to the program lineup at STARadio’s KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana…..Sports media pro Aaron Jackson is named to “The Drive” afternoon sports talk show on Townsquare Media’s WEZQ, Bangor, Maine “The Ticket.” He’ll work with Jim Churchill and Jeff Solari, replacing Wes Hart. Jackson previously worked in the market as sports anchor on WFVX-TV “FOX 22.”
Covering the Benghazi Movie Premiere. Pictured here at the enormous AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas is Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup. He was among the press filing live reports from Tuesday evening’s world premiere of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi as 30,000-plus turned out.
Obama’s State of the Union Address, Presidential Race, Iran-U.S. Sailors Incident, Sean Penn-El Chapo Interview, Record $1.5 Billion Powerball Jackpot, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Al Jazeera America to Shutter, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). Critique of President Obama’s final State of the Union Address and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s response; the activities of the candidates for president; Iran’s capture and release of U.S. sailors in the Persian Gulf; actor Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone interview with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot; sinking oil prices and the activity on the world’s financial markets; news agency Al Jazeera’s April closing of its American brand; and this weekend’s NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
MIW Radio Group’s 2016 Mentoring Program Kicks Off. This will be the 15th year of the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) group’s Mildred Carter Mentoring Program that matches up-and-coming women in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio. A total of four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for this year. Of those, at least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate, and one spot designated for a digital candidate. Lindsay Cerajewski is the 2016 MIW Radio Group’s Mentoring Committee and Director, Partnership Marketing & Branded Content for Emmis Digital in Chicago. She says, “We look forward, each year, to this application process. Not only do we anticipate hearing from many qualified applicants, we are encouraged by the caliber of radio professionals reaching out to us for this unique opportunity to gain valuable insights, knowledge and access to some of the most influential women in radio.” For mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply, you can visit: http://tinyurl.com/goqgjlb. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 5, 2016.
Supreme Court Denies TRN’s Appeal of Savage Decision. This is a case that goes all the way back to talk host Michael Savage’s 2010 suit to be freed of his contract with Talk Radio Network, claiming the company did not properly execute the right-to-match provision in that contract. Savage won in arbitration in 2012 and was victorious at the Appeals Court level before TRN took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. On Monday (1/11), the Supreme Court denied TRN’s petition to hear the case, leaving the Appeals Court’s decision stand. Savage, who’s been working for Westwood One since October of 2012, was awarded $863,454, plus other monies owed him by TRN, plus ownership of his archives by the arbitration panel. Speaking to WND.com, Savage states, “After many, many years and over a million dollars of legal fees, justice has prevailed. TRN has never paid me one dime of the money they were supposed to pay me.”
iHeartMedia Re-Organizes Senior Executive Structure; Four Promoted to Division President. Saying that these structural changes will “push both decision-making and resources closer to the markets, with every market now better aligned to deliver more focused resources closer to their listeners and advertisers,” iHeartMedia announces the elevation of four EVPs of operations to division president titles, overseeing four new geographical regions. New division presidents are: Hartley Adkins, president of the Northeast Division and Corporate Operations will also oversee multi-cultural and strategic initiatives and communication for the Regions, working closely with Corporate teams; Greg Ashlock, president of the West Division, will also serve as the senior business leader representing the company in the Western U.S. across all divisions; Matt Martin, president of the Central Division, will also continue to oversee the company’s Sales Operations Center as well as direct and develop the company’s internal training programs; and Tom McConnell, president of the Midwest/Southeast Division, will also continue to work with the Regions on operational needs. iHeartMedia says the new structure replaces its Major and Regional Market groups organization. Now, the company will be comprised of four geographic Divisions, each led by a new Division President. The Divisions are strategically organized into 36 Regions that will address the needs of both listeners and advertisers based on geography. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The new structure under the leadership of Hartley, Greg, Matt and Tom adds nimbleness and new resources for our markets and stations. We are taking advantage of our size and unparalleled assets to empower our people and our markets by giving them better access to all our cutting-edge resources, from digital to data, our programmatic automated ad buying system, research and technology and more, letting them take advantage of the big investments we’ve made and use them to benefit their listeners and advertising partners in their region.”
KFI, Los Angeles Tweaks Show Times; Bill Carroll Not Being Replaced. With the recent departure of midday personality Bill Carroll (announced last week), iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles talk outlet is shifting the show times to cover his three-hour show. Bill Handel hosts mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; duo Gary Hoffman and Shannon Farren air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; afternooners John & Ken are on from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and evening host Tim Conway Jr. now hosts the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show.
Ramsey Sells Out in the Windy City. The 2016 edition of nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money tour began with a sold out crowd in Chicago on Tuesday (1/12) at Willow Creek Community Church. Ramsey’s event focused on “how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future.” Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. The event was a part of Hogan’s Retire Inspired book tour, which launched in New York on January 11. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” to promote the Chicago appearance. Station GM Jeff Reisman says, “WIND was thrilled to have Dave and Chris Hogan share their financial wisdom to more than 4,500 attendees. Dave’s daily radio program provides practical and actionable financial advice so people can stop living paycheck to paycheck and provides sponsors with an established and highly credible forum for their commercial message.” Pictured here with Ramsey are Salem Chicago director of sales Michael Mann (left) and Reisman (right).
David Chancellor Teams with Air Temkin on ‘ESPN San Antonio.’ Market sports broadcasting pro David Chancellor is joining Ari Temkin as co-host of the midday show “The Hardline with Ari and Chance” on KZDC “ESPN San Antonio,” airing daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Chancellor is an award-winning sports anchor for WOAI-TV “News 4 San Antonio.” Alpha Media San Antonio station manager Bob Brown comments, “David has had a periodic presence on ‘ESPN San Antonio’ for some time and we realized a long time ago that he’s a TV guy who really gets radio. We couldn’t be more pleased to have David join us full time as the co-host of the new, three-hour version of ‘The Hardline with Ari and Chance.’”
O’Reilly Brings in Philly Perspective in Cop Shooting Case. Covering the shooting of Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett by alleged gunman Edward Archer – a suspect who has told police he shot Hartnett “in the name of Islam” – Fox News Channel personality Bill O’Reilly welcomed WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall (pictured) to his show for the latest details and a local perspective.
Odds & Sods. Chicago Cubs radio play-by-play voice Pat Hughes has been honored as the 2015 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association…..At Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton, “New Jersey 101.5,” Fred Bennett exits the president and chief revenue officer role. Taking over for Bennett is Ron DeCastro who was most recently with CBS RADIO serving as general sales manager for CHR WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio.”
Presidential Race, State of the Union Address, Sean Penn ‘El Chapo’ Trip, Battle Against Islamic State/Istanbul Bombing, Sinking Oil Prices/World Financial Markets, Record Powerball Jackpot, and NFL Playoffs/Alabama Wins College Football Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/12). The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to President Obama’s final State of the Union speech last night; the controversy surrounding actor Sean Penn’s trip to Mexico to interview drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the fight against Islamic State and the terror bombing in Istanbul; plummeting oil prices and its effect on the world’s financial markets; the $1.5 billion record Powerball jackpot; and the NFL playoffs and Alabama’s victory of Clemson in the College Football Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Harrison: Trump’s a “Shock Jock” That’s Now Running for President. TALKERS publisher/founder Michael Harrison was invited to comment on the Donald Trump presidential candidacy yesterday (1/10) on the CNN media analysis program, “Reliable Sources.” The premise of the segment was to discuss whether or not it was conservative talk radio that specifically set the stage for Trump’s surprisingly successful showing in the polls because the medium taps into the anger and frustration felt by a large number of Americans about the state of the country and the politicians in Washington, DC. The insinuation was that conservative talk radio was stoking the aforementioned anger thus providing what program host Brian Stelter described as “fertilizer” for the early stages of Trump’s campaign. Harrison disagreed that talk radio’s early coverage of Trump’s candidacy gave him the boost that launched his domination of the GOP field or that talk radio was fueling anger in the first place. According to Harrison, the anger and frustration of American citizens has been building for a very long time now and that it isn’t just the far right that is angry, stating a case could be made that Bernie Sanders (popular among progressive hosts) appeals to a broad, angry segment of the left. Harrison said it was a wide variety of factors that led to Trump’s success in the polls and that talk radio is but “one of many media” that are playing into it. Harrison described the media, including talk radio, as basically serving its own “strategic” interests, thus giving tremendous coverage to Trump to capitalize on his proven appeal as a ratings attraction. Harrison said, “Donald Trump is responsible for Donald Trump’s success and if any media can be credited with fueling it, you must credit NBC’s “The Apprentice.” Speaking off-air, Harrison states, “The original premise of the segment was that conservative talk radio was one of the seminal causes of not just widespread anger in America – but hate as well – and that Trump is now feeding off of that… a suggestion that I cannot get behind whatsoever.” Harrison adds, “Trump has all the skills of the great so-called ‘shock jocks’ who have been stirring up controversy for years. He’s a talented blend of Howard Stern, Don Imus, and Rush Limbaugh all rolled into one extraordinary attraction. Does that make a great talk media entertainer? Yes. Does that make a great provocateur? Yes. Does that make a great stimulator of important conversation? Yes. Does that drive great ratings in a fragmented media marketplace? Yes. Does that make a great president? God help us if we actually have the chance to find out.”
PodcastOne Reports 1.5 Billion Downloads in 2015. Actually, the advertiser-supported podcast network says that its download total for 2015 surpassed the 1.5 billion mark for its approximately 200-program lineup that includes shows featuring: Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Radiolab, Bret Easton Ellis, Freakonomics, Heather Dubrow, Brandi Glanville and more. PodcastOne states it worked with more than 100 major brand partners in 2015. Chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “When we started this journey three years ago, we wanted to be able to provide national advertisers and our programming partners a single destination for consumers to experience the best that podcasting has to offer. So far, so good. We’re grateful to our hosts, producer-publishers and, of course, our partner Hubbard Broadcasting. We look forward to doing our part in making 2016 the year of the podcast.”
The Presidential Race/Trump-Cruz Birther Flap, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Intensifies, Sean Penn-El Chapo Controversy, Obama State of the Union, Battle Against Islamic State, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, NFL Wild Card Weekend, Record Powerball Jackpot, and David Bowie Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). The activities of the candidates for president and the related “birther” issue between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz; the intensifying FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server use; the controversial interview between actor Sean Penn and Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman; President Obama’s Tuesday State of the Union Address; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; plummeting oil prices and the effect on the world’s financial markets; the NFL’s Wild Card weekend games; the record $1.4 billion Powerball jackpot; and the death of rock legend David Bowie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
JP Peterson Joins WDAE, Tampa to Co-Host Midday Show with Ron Diaz. The iHeartMedia Tampa sports talker adds broadcast sports pro JP Peterson to the midday show, partnering up with current show host Ron Diaz for “The Ron and JP Show.” The station notes that Peterson has covered sports in the Tampa Bay market since 1997, most recently hosting “Extra Inning” and “Inside Pitch,” the Tampa Bay Rays pre- and post-game shows on WDAE. He previously served as the lead sports anchor for WFLA-TV, Tampa where he also did sideline reporting and studio work for the Buccaneers Preseason Broadcasts, covered the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup Finals, four Final Fours and four NCAA National Football Championship Games. WDAE APD John Mamola states, “WDAE is thrilled to add JP Peterson to an already established and successful show and as part of iHeartMedia Tampa. We look forward to Ron and JP’s successful future entertaining Tampa Bay listeners with a lighter side of the sports we all care so deeply about.”
Australian Rock Radio Legend Trevor Smith Shares “Down Under” Perspective of Radio, Music, Politics and Pop Culture. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined on this week’s installment (1/12) of PodcastOne’s hit program for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out,” by Australian rock radio legend Trevor Smith. Smith, a former program director of the legendary Sidney FM album rocker, Triple-M, is now head of the Australia-based production house Aloha Media (www.alohamedia.com.au/radio/), producers of major syndicated radio programs and specials heard on hundreds of radio stations across the nation/continent. The long-time friends engage in an extensive discussion of all things media from a Land Down Under perspective – radio, music, politics, and pop culture. To listen to the entire conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Rush Limbaugh Turns 65 Today. Happy birthday wishes go out to Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh, who celebrates his 65th birthday today (1/12). The news/talk giant will have been in national syndication for 28 years this August and has long and often been credited will breathing fresh life into the news/talk format and, many would also argue, extending the lifespan of the AM band in America.
PodcastOne to Launch Dramatic Series Called ‘Chilling Tales.’ This new partnership between PodcastOne and Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – a premiere multi-media brand specializing in the production of audio entertainment, short films and published works – will bring both published and unpublished literary projects to life with the new scripted series “Chilling Tales: The Podcast.” The program is being narrated by Master Broadcaster and host of the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival, Steve Taylor. Chilling Tales founder and director Craig Groshek comments, “Our content has been made possible over the last few years by dozens of voice actors, actresses, authors, editors, composers and sound designers. We’re thrilled to join the PodcastOne family and share our passion for storytelling with an entirely new audience. We can’t thank Norm Pattiz and rest of the PodcastOne team enough, and we look forward to what the future brings with this new platform partnership.” Pattiz says, “I have long wanted to do a series rooted in literature. These are great works. Not only are we giving voices to stories that went unpublished but deserve to be heard, but, from the content to production value, there’s nothing like this in the podcast arena.”
Salazar Joins Entravision as Political Outreach Director. Former Fox Television Washington, DC account executive Marta Salazar is named political outreach director of Entravision Communications. Salazar will oversee political advertising sales for the company’s radio and television stations. The company’s chief revenue officer Mario Carrera remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Marta to Entravision and have her skills and experience to lead our political sales efforts. Her strong foundations in local market broadcast, in addition to her unique experience in political media, make her the ideal candidate to be our political outreach director. Marta joins us during a presidential election cycle as the United States Latino vote continues to increase in influence in our key battleground markets. We are well positioned and look forward to Marta’s leadership in this important and growing part of our business.” Salazar states, “I am thrilled to be joining the Entravision organization. I am both honored and excited to be at Entravision and look forward to working with the team to help further expand the U.S. Latino voice in this exciting and dynamic political climate. I feel fortunate to be joining such a respected company, committed to both the United States Latino community and to top quality media platforms.” During the 2012 political election season, Salazar – a Florida International University graduate – was responsible for Scripps’ national political advocacy media sales. Entravision owns 23 radio outlets in California; 12 in Texas; four each in Arizona and Colorado; three in Nevada; and two each in Florida and New Mexico.
Odds & Sods. Digital platform Glimmerglass Radio launches its own green-focused radio program in conjunction with its second anniversary. Glimmerglass radio founder John Kosmer calls his platform “a self-contained online streaming talk radio station broadcasting about 50 shows 24/7.” The new program, “Green American Living,” is the only program Glimmerglass Radio produces itself. Kosmer adds, “Our new ‘Green American Living’ show offers radio stations and their listeners extensive in-depth green news reporting on issues that are becoming increasingly important to people around the world. The independent shows aired on Glimmerglass Radio comprise one of the most comprehensive radio green news gathering services in America. ‘Green American Living’ now brings the breadth and scope of that green news reporting to a regularly scheduled, one-hour broadcast intended for distribution.”…..Talk radio personality Hugh Hewitt’s associate producer – Marlon Bateman – has exited the Salem Radio Network in order to join the press operation of GOP presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Marco Rubio…..Sun Broadcast Group’s Marilu Henner (right) is pictured here with rocker Eddie Money (left) who appeared as a guest on her nationally syndicated radio program recently…..Powerball-mania has America talking and SiriusXM is airing a special program tonight at 6:00 PM ET on its Insight channel 121 called, “Dumb Luck Radio: An Idiot’s Guide to Instant Billions.” SiriusXM says the show will be a “live, one-hour, call-in special broadcast, to answer listeners’ questions including, ‘What happens if you actually win the Powerball jackpot?’” SiriusXM’s Kenny Curtis will host and guests will include: psychiatrist Dr. Michael Aronoff discussing the mental health aspects of acquiring unimaginable wealth; plus Eric Bradlow on statistics and a player’s real probabilities of picking the right numbers; and Kent Smetters will explain the best option – lump sum or annuity, finding the right financial investor and investing wisely to protect one’s winnings.
Kristi Lee’s Exit from Bob & Tom Show Official. On December 16, TALKERS magazine reported that there were rumors Bob & Tom Show cast member Kristi Lee might not return to the program after the holiday break due to a negotiations breakdown. Now, comes word via the Indianapolis Star that Lee has officially left the show, though her statement to the paper indicates she exited “to pursue new opportunities.” Bob Kevoian retired from the show in December and the nationally syndicated program is continuing with Tom Griswold and Chick McGee. The Star reports WTHR, Indianapolis news anchor Pat Carlini – a former Bob & Tom cast member – has been filling Lee’s role on the show, but there’s no indication whether or not the move is permanent.
WLW, Cincinnati Hearing Criticism Over Roethlisberger Bit. Dredging up six-year-old allegations of sexual misconduct by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, iHeartMedia news/talker (and Cincinnati Bengals flagship) WLW, Cincinnati aired a mock PSA that warned young females of Roethlisberger’s presence in the area. Needless to say, much of the criticism of the bit was not out of concern over Roethlisberger’s reputation but because some believe the bit treated the issue of sexual assault lightly by using it as the basis for a joke. Here’s the copy from the bit: “This is a severe Ben Roethlisberger update from 700 WLW. The Tri-State is currently under a severe Big Ben warning from now through early Sunday morning. The Steelers quarterback has been spotted in the downtown Cincinnati area. All females ages 18-40 are to use extreme caution, especially if heavily consuming alcohol. Males should also be on the lookout, just in case. If you see Big Ben and he flashes Little Ben, you are asked to report it to authorities immediately. He poses the greatest threat to 18-to-40-year-olds, especially those with boob jobs in the downtown Cincinnati area. You are safe if you live in Butler or Clermont counties, pretty much anywhere in Kentucky and most of southeast Indiana.”
Obama Guns ‘Town Hall,’ Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Probe Heats Up, Philly Cop Attack, NYC Gang Rape Case, Record Powerball Jackpot, Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards, and NFL Wild Card Action Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The aftermath of the CNN/White House produced “town hall” on guns in America; the activities of the candidates for president; the increasingly damning content of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her personal server; the attack on a Philadelphia police officer by an allegedly radicalized Muslim man; the case of a New York woman gang raped at an NYC playground; the fervor over the record Powerball jackpot; the anticipation of and coverage of Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards; and the weekend’s NFL wild card games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Jeremy Grunin Assumes AM Drive Role at WOBM, Lakewood Township, New Jersey. Ocean County, New Jersey champion Jeremy Grunin takes over the morning drive program on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WOBM, Lakewood Township. He replaces the husband and wife team of Bob and Marianne Levy. Marianne Levy remains with the station co-hosting the Preferred Home Health Care-sponsored “Preferred Company” show that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Grunin is an investor, developer and the executive director of the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation with over 20 years’ experience in retail sales and management, business development, investment and leadership capacity building. About his new gig, he comments, “I am thrilled to be partnering with the great team at Townsquare Media on WOBM-AM. I am looking forward to the upcoming months of building on Bob and Marianne’s loyal listeners with new ways of connecting our great residents and visitors to the Jersey Shore.”
Experts Discuss the Future of Media. TALKERS magazine sales and marketing specialist Al Herskovitz joined a panel of broadcasters at a recent forum presented by the Brandeis University National Committee in Sarasota, Florida, to discuss the future of the media. A standing-room-only crowd greeted the panelists. According to event chairperson Anne Sherwood it was “the largest crowd ever to attend one of our forums.” Pictured here from (l-r) are: media broker Burt Sherwood, Herskovitz, former president of ABC Television James Duffy, Florida Media Roundtable chairman Irwin Starr and (standing) Anne Sherwood.
Hugh Hewitt Sits on ‘ABC This Week’ Panel. Nationally syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt is pictured here on the set of “ABC This Week with George Stephanopoulos” yesterday (1/10). The Salem Radio Network personality has been getting a lot of national facetime, including appearing on CNN’s GOP primary debate panels.
Odds & Sods. Florida talk personality Marc Bernier is celebrating his 25th anniversary on WNDB, Daytona Beach with a special broadcast and reception on January 21. The event is taking place at the News Journal Center in Daytona with a live broadcast of his afternoon drive program and a private reception to follow…..Westwood One announces it is making some changes to its “Real Estate Today” – the official radio program of the National Association of Realtors. The program has a new host in Stephen Gasque and is being redesigned with some new features to appeal to a wider segment of home buyers and real estate investors. The program currently airs on 180 stations nationwide.
KFI’s Carroll Announces His Departure. With approximately 90 seconds remaining in Thursday’s (1/7) broadcast, KFI, Los Angeles midday talent Bill Carroll revealed he is leaving the iHeartMedia talk property effective immediately. In addition to sharing his reason for departing KFI (#9, 3.4, 6+, December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM), Carroll implored his listeners to grant an election-day request. “Hey, I wanted to say one thing before I wrap up the show today,” Carroll began, as he sought to “explain” his “cryptic New Year’s Day tweet” which many people asked him about on Facebook. “[My wife Sylvie and I] have been considering this for a while and we came to the conclusion that it is time to get closer to home.” Carroll’s father passed away in 2010; Scotland born/Canada raised Carroll joined KFI in February of that year. “I did not get to see him much,” he lamented. “My mother is older so we are leaving. We still do not know exactly where we are going to land [but] this is my last show – maybe we will talk again in the future.” That led Carroll to rhetorically ask, “Can you just do one final favor for me? For God sakes, when I am gone, do not elect Donald Trump. You are better than that. Do not let anger sweep you away. Do not elect Donald Trump. I came to live among you because I admire you for your graciousness, your openness, and your religious freedoms. Don’t elect Donald Trump – I am begging.” It is unclear how long it will be before KFI program director Robin Bertolucci names a permanent replacement for Carroll; apparently, several guest hosts will be utilized in the station’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm slot. Prior to his six-year KFI tenure, Carroll worked in Toronto at CILQ “Q-107,” and CFRB-AM. The 56-year-old Carroll appears at #47 on TALKERS’ 2015 “Heavy Hundred.”
Obama ‘Guns’ Town Hall Top News/Talk Story of the Week. Thursday night’s “town hall” on gun control presented by CNN and the White House along with President Obama’s announced plans to use executive power to alter some gun laws were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the Saudi Arabian and Iranian diplomatic break and the growing rift between Shiite and Sunni-majority Middle Eastern states at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Present Special Program ‘Beyond Making a Murderer.’ The Netflix original program “Making a Murderer” is attracting large audiences across the country but in Wisconsin, where film subject Steven Avery is currently incarcerated, the case is now the subject of a special program to be presented this weekend on E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. The special, “Beyond Making a Murderer,” will present update coverage of the case of convicted murderer Avery. The station says it has covered the Avery story since the beginning. The Netflix series has sparked a petition demanding a presidential pardon, curious tourists are traveling to Wisconsin, and critics are claiming there’s more to the story. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “The story of Steven Avery is not only a big story in our backyard but also a story of national significance. WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and we are leading the way with exclusive interviews and expanded local coverage to advance the story.” This weekend, “Wisconsin’s Morning News” host Gene Mueller will anchor a two-hour special “WTMJ Presents: Beyond Making a Murderer” that will air on Saturday at 7:00 pm and on Sunday at 11:00 am, immediately prior to coverage of the Packers vs Redskins playoff game. WTMJ executive producer of news Erik Bilstad will anchor coverage live from Manitowoc, Wisconsin with one-on-one interviews, videos and exclusive digital coverage. WTMJ program manager Eric Brooks adds, “‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station’ is working to go beyond the documentary, to talk with the people involved in the case and give our audience updated information. We are talking with family members, justices, jurors, law enforcement, and prosecutors to learn everything new we can. WTMJ is providing content for not only our Wisconsin audience, but for those interested worldwide.”
Radio’s Hot New (Old) Format: ‘The Puddle.’ In an opinion piece published today (1/8), ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes about the sensational amount of global interest in Periscope’s “The Puddle” – a camera shot at a puddle of water in the U.K. Price says the people watching the puddle on their smartphones have “rediscovered the magic of radio…If you really believe all radio is local – and GREAT local radio is all about making compelling content out of the everyday events and observations in the communities it serves — then ‘the puddle’ can be seen as a metaphor for what radio’s core mission has always been, and which it used to execute better than any other medium.” Read his entire piece here.
Kibler Named iHeartMedia’s EVP Multi-Cultural Marketing. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia‘s Texas major markets Kelly Kibler is appointed executive vice president of multi-cultural marketing. According to iHeartMedia chair and chief executive officer Bob Pittman, “Kelly has been a constant innovator in this company. She is the perfect choice to head up our focused multi-cultural advertising efforts at the market level. Her success as executive vice president of operations, as well as in her role as a sales leader and market president and her leadership of numerous iHeartMedia initiatives, have enabled her to grow her career with us. We look forward to her using all of her experience and relationships to build this new capability for our company.” The bilingual Kibler comments, “I could not be more excited to take on this new position at iHeartMedia, using the tools and experience we’ve developed in Texas and applying them across our 150 markets in a space that continues to grow in both importance and footprint across America.” Kibler began her career in 1991 at Telemundo. Before becoming iHeartMedia’s executive vice president of operations for the company’s major markets in Texas, she was a market president in Dallas, San Diego, and Las Vegas.
Emmis Confirms Layoffs; Executive Pay Cuts. After a fiscal third quarter report that showed a 5.1% drop in radio net revenue, Emmis Communications is confirming that it has laid off 32 company staffers and instituted pay cuts for corporate senior executives. During the recent conference call with investors, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan stated, “We’ve made some changes and they’re very painful changes. This is always very, very hard for us.” The moves are designed to trim some $5.3 million from the radio sector’s budget.
Rich Broadcasting Adds Three Signals to News/Talk KID, Idaho Falls. The announced expansion of Rich Broadcasting’s heritage news/talk KID, Idaho Falls will expand the reach of the station within the Idaho Falls market and some 90 miles east to the Jackson, Wyoming market. The company says, beginning Monday, KID “Newsradio” will be heard on KQEZ-FM in Idaho Falls and to KSGT-AM, Jackson and translator K242BU at 96.3 in the Jackson market. KID, Idaho Falls is also simulcast on KIDG-FM, Pocatello, Idaho. Rich Broadcasting president Richard Mecham says, “KID has served the eastern Idaho market since 1928 and we are both pleased and excited to substantially expand its impact and coverage with the addition of three more frequencies, which not only will substantially expand its geographical reach but also, and very significantly, will enhance its nighttime coverage. With the addition of 106.3 FM, it now will be heard regionally from Ashton to Pocatello. Additionally, we are very pleased to expand the KID brand into the Teton County radio market, and in the process enhance the synergy between the eastern Idaho and Jackson markets. We look forward to providing to our listeners the very best in news and information for years to come.”
CES 2016 Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Las Vegas where this week he’s been attending the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Today he writes about the ubiquitous phone camera, drones, the head-on challenges facing television, and new technologies that are doing what radio stations traditionally helped people do. Read Holland Cooke’s entire report here.
Odds & Sods. The digital production field and studio tool suite Control Room Pro is now being used at stations including CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York; Bonneville’s WTOP-FM, Washington; iHeartmedia’s WIOD, Miami; and news/talk WHO-AM and sports KXNO-AM in Des Moines, The suite of tools is produced by Harris Media and is repped by AdLarge Media…..Next Thursday and Friday (1/14-15), (and for the second time in the last three weeks!) Sid Rosenberg and “Imus in the Morning” executive producer Bernard McGuirk are sitting in for “Curtis & Kuby” co-hosting the midday show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York.
Pittman to Receive BFoA Golden Mike Award. Jackson, Mississippi native Bob Pittman began his radio career at the age of 15 and the iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer is set to be honored with the Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s 2016 “Golden Mike” award. Broadcasters Foundation vice chair Dan Mason declares, “Bob is an extraordinary broadcaster. As an architect of today’s iHeartMedia, Bob’s focus on innovation – and his deep belief in broadcast radio – has expanded radio into new areas and platforms. We are proud to recognize his contributions to broadcasting.” Pittman states that, “Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium. [It is] the best friend in the seat next to them and their trusted companion and information source across multiple platforms. I feel extremely fortunate to be in broadcasting during the most exciting time in our industry’s history. I am grateful to the Broadcasters Foundation for this honor, and I thank them for their deep commitment to supporting our broadcast colleagues in their times of need.” Pittman programmed WMAQ, Chicago and famously became program director at WNBC, New York at the age of 23. Also included on his impressive, extensive resume is being co-founder/programmer of the team that created MTV; CEO of MTV Networks; AOL Networks; Six Flags Theme Parks; Quantum Media; Century 21 Real Estate; and Time Warner Enterprises. He was chief operating officer of America Online and later of AOL Time Warner. Pittman was named one of Advertising Age‘s “10 Marketers Who Changed American Culture”; received the Robert F. Kennedy “Ripple of Hope” award; and he was named one of LIFE Magazine‘s “Five Original Thinkers of the 1980s.” He will receive his “Golden Mike” award next month (2/29) at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.
Broadcaster Poe Declares Congressional Candidacy. Former Florida Democratic Party chair Bob Poe made his intentions official yesterday (Thursday, 1/7) that he is seeking to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district, which is based in west Orlando. The 61-year-old Poe comments that, “Many people are aware that I’ve been blessed with a tremendous amount of success in my life – but what most people don’t know is that my success had some humble beginnings. I come from this community. I became successful because of what I learned in this community, and I think I bring a very different perspective of how we grow the economy. I didn’t graduate from college, but I built a technology business that I’m proud of and that keeps people safe, because I never quit. Too many politicians today are too busy playing the game of musical chairs – running for one office and then another – to truly stand up and fight for us.” Prior to a nine-year run as president of Emergency Communications Network, Poe spent three years as vice president and general manager of WMMO, Orlando; four years as director of broadcasting and sponsorship sales for the NBA‘s Orlando Magic; and 12 years as vice president and general manager of Orlando talk station WKIS and the Florida Radio Network.
Top Management Changes at CBS RADIO Chicago; Tim Pohlman to Lead Cluster as Zimmerman and Day Exit. Today, CBS RADIO COO Scott Herman announced that Tim Pohlman is assuming the SVP and market manager position at the company’s Chicago cluster. This news comes a day after the staff was notified that Rod Zimmerman was let go as was VP and director of sales Mark Day. Pohlman has served with CBS in the same capacity at its Phoenix station group for the past six years. The initial press release from CBS did not mention Day’s exit but the company later stated that it does not have a replacement for him yet. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the changes are the result of underwhelming fiscal performances by the stations in the group. The 63-year-old Zimmerman had been with CBS RADIO since 1978. He ascended to the market manager position in 2003. CBS RADIO operates all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, sports talk WSCR, CHR WBBM-FM “B96,” country WUSN “US 99.5,” triple A WXRT, and classic hits WJMK. CBS says news of Pohlman’s replacement in Phoenix will come at a later date. Read Feder’s account here.
Emmis’ Fiscal Q3 Radio Revenue Down 5.1%. In announcing its fiscal third quarter figures, Emmis reports that its radio net revenue for the period was down 5.2% compared to local radio market revenue which rose 0.2%. The company says the battle in Los Angeles between its hip hop KPWR and iHeartMedia’s recently launched competitor KRRL has affected revenue there and was “substantially all of our radio division’s shortfall against its markets.” The Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Austin clusters all beat their markets for the quarter. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “Radio industry growth has been disappointing in 2015. Our markets are down 2.4% through the first eleven months of 2015. This general decline, coupled with the competitive situation in Los Angeles, led us to take a series of steps yesterday, including staff reductions and pay cuts for senior executives, to restructure our expenses to better align them with the current operating environment. We remain confident that we have the best team in media and the solution, in NextRadio, to return the radio industry to growth. Our ratings are quite strong in most of our markets, and our investments in content, sales hiring and training, and NextRadio and Digonex will begin to yield stronger results in 2016.”
Salem to Launch ‘1570 Wellness Radio’ in the Twin Cities. Calling it a first-of-its-kind format, Salem Media Group is launching “Wellness Radio 1570 KDIZ AM” on Monday, January 11 at 7:00 am. Salem says the station will be “the first of its kind to dedicate its entire format to health and wellness programming.” Salem Media Group Twin Cities general manager Nic Anderson states, “We’re thrilled to be on the forefront of such an exciting opportunity for our company and the Twin Cities. Health and wellness is a point of emphasis in the Twin Cities and we believe the Twin Cities will both greatly enjoy and benefit from our daily programming.” Featured programming includes “Dr. Asa On Call,” airing weekdays from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Salem says, “Dr. Asa’s show currently is the fastest-growing, health-related talk show in the country with more than 2 million weekly listeners every week.”
Dave Ramsey to Air in Middays in Seattle. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s daily program begins airing in the Seattle market from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on Salem Media Group’s KLFE “AM 1590 The Answer,” effective Monday, January 11. Salem Seattle general manager Andrew Adams says, “Dave Ramsey is a welcome addition to the AM 1590 The Answer lineup. Every day Dave offers up real, workable solutions to money issues and they’re presented in an easy to understand manner, so that anyone can benefit from listening to his program.”
Postell Promoted to Senior VP Sales. Director of sales Ann Postell is boosted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia Sacramento. According to iHeartMedia Sacramento market president Sara McClure, “Ann has demonstrated that she possesses the leadership skills needed to successfully lead a sales organization in today’s environment. As senior vice president of sales, Ann will be the centerpiece in the growth of our business in the years ahead. I look forward to working with her in that effort.” Executive vice president of operations Hartley Adkins comments, “Ann’s sales talent and leadership will be a true asset to the iHeartMedia Sacramento team. She has demonstrated the desire and motivation to lead the sales efforts; I know she will inspire the team to not only meet but to exceed revenue expectations.” Postell remarks, “I am fortunate to advance in such a dynamic media company. I look forward to working with Sara McClure and the iHeartMedia team in developing solutions for existing and new clients. I am thrilled to be a part of iHeartMedia’s visionary strategy.” Prior to working for iHeartMedia Sacramento, Postell held sales and sales management positions in New York City, San Francisco, and Boston. With each station’s 6+ December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM share and market rank in parentheses, iHM Sacramento’s cluster includes news/talk KFBK (#2, 8.3); urban-rhythmic oldies KHYL “V-101.1 (#10, 3.6); adult hits KQJK “Jack-FM” (#14, 2.8); KBEB “B-92.5 #1 New Country” (#16, 2.6); and talk KSTE (2.4, #17).
SRN’s Hugh Hewitt to Appear on CNN’s ‘Guns in America’ Town Hall Coverage. There’s much more political television in Hugh Hewitt’s future, starting with tonight’s appearance on CNN’s special program following President Obama’s town hall broadcast on guns. The Salem Radio Network personality will join several other national political observers in analyzing the president’s town hall. Also this week, Hewitt will be in New York City appearing on ABC TV’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. Hewitt will also be a featured questioner on CNN’s next Republican presidential debate on March 10, at the University of Miami in Florida. Regarding tonight’s broadcasts, President Obama will join CNN’s Anderson Cooper for an exclusive one-hour, live town hall on gun control at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia titled “Guns in America.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “With ongoing appearances on ‘Meet The Press,’ FOX News Channel, ‘Face The Nation,’ CNN and elsewhere, Hugh Hewitt has become a fixture on the national political scene that adds to his already established credentials as one of America’s best radio talk show hosts.”
Obama Guns Town Hall, Presidential Race, N. Korea H-Bomb Claim, Saudi-Iran Break/Shiite vs Sunni Tensions, Chinese Stock Crash, Oregon Armed Protestors Standoff, and Record Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The White House and CNN-produced televised town hall on guns taking place this evening; the activities of the candidates for president; North Korea’s claim that it has test-detonated a hydrogen bomb; the diplomatic break between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the larger Shiite-Sunni tensions in the region; the Chinese stock implosion and the world financial markets’ reactions; the ongoing armed protestor standoff at an Oregon wildlife sanctuary; and the record $500 million Powerball jackpot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CES 2016: Disrupt, or Be Disrupted. Radio consultant Holland Cooke continues his reporting from Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronics Show 2016. In today’s report, Cooke presents highlights from presentations by the Consumer Technology Association’s Gary Shapiro, Netflix’ Reed Hastings, and General Motors’ Mary Barra. It was during Barra’s presentation that the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV (pictured) was rolled out. For those broadcasters watching the evolution of the “connected car,” Cooke writes that this vehicle syncs with the owner’s smartphone as you approach it and “Apple Play and Android Auto are built-into a dashboard screen ‘bigger than iPad air.’” Read Cooke’s entire report here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime New York City radio engineer Frank D’Elia announces he’s retiring from Cumulus Media’s WABC and WPLJ, New York after a 40-year career at the heritage Big Apple stations, effective January 29. D’Elia has served as WABC’s senior production engineer for the past 32 years…..Salem Radio Network is presenting three prime-time specials covering the Iowa Caucus, and the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. The Iowa Caucus special will air on February 1 featuring Steve Deace in Iowa. New Hampshire primary programming will emanate from Washington or New Hampshire on February 9 with Hugh Hewitt and the South Carolina program will be hosted by Mike Gallagher on Saturday, February 20 from Gallagher’s base at WGTK in Greenville. All programs will air from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET…..This weekend Westwood One Sports is presenting its exclusive coverage of the National Football League’s Wild Card Weekend games. Scott Graham hosts the pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows for all eight broadcasts…..ESPN Radio is launching a new weekend lineup this Saturday that includes the debut of espnW’s “The Trifecta with Spain, Jane and Kate.” The program, airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET, is hosted by espnW writers Kate Fagan, Jane McManus and Sarah Spain. Fagan will also co-host “Will & Kate” with ESPN contributor Will Cain, airing Sundays from 7:00 am to 10:00 am ET.
Radio Pro Rich Minaya Launches Campaign to Fight Colon Cancer. Long time radio pro Rich Michaels – WGR, Buffalo; WTAM, Cleveland and a.k.a. Rich Minaya at WIOD, Miami – has been fighting Stage 3 colon cancer since the spring of 2015. He recently started a campaign to “Drop Your Pride! Drop Your Drawers.” Minaya says, “Many people, especially men, are still reluctant to get screened for colo-rectal disease, but it is one of the most beatable cancers – if you catch it early.” After a brutal bout with chemo, Minaya was found to be cancer free on December 28 and he tells TALKERS, “Avoid the pain and agony for your family, loved ones and fans. Get screened. And encourage your listeners. Old schoolers hate the idea, but it may save a life.” Minaya can be reached at: email@example.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte has a rare opportunity for an anchor/reporter with news/talk WBT-AM/FM. The ideal candidate is a news reporter with experience anchoring and reporting radio news on air who also has the ability to generate content for populating station websites. This position is for a radio newsroom employee familiar with working under regular newscast deadlines. Good news writing skills are a must. Primary job duties include, but are not limited to, anchoring regular on-air news shift, mainly but not exclusively weekdays. Candidate will be required to assemble and deliver, using Newsroom computer system, regular half-hourly local newscasts, including audio. The news reporter’s role requires coverage of and generation of news stories for use in newscasts during other dayparts, including recording stories for next day’s use. This includes the ability to write and feed stories from the field, if necessary. In addition, position requires web and social media skills with the upmost attention to updating station’s website with news content. Send resume and mp3 to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. Or email to : firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please!
KFWB, Los Angeles Reportedly Sold. According to Los Angeles radio maven Don Barrett, there is finally a buyer for KFWB and it involves Charlie Banta-led Mercury Capital Partners. The Los Angeles Times also reports the story but does not name a buyer. The Times writes that staffers were told about the sale on Tuesday (1/5). As many TALKERS readers are aware, KFWB has been in the KFWB Asset Trust (while still benefitting CBS RADIO’s bottom line) for a long time. Some in the market have griped that CBS hasn’t been trying very hard to sell it and was basically getting away with violating the ownership limit. Regardless, in September of 2014 the station flipped from news/talk to sports talk as “The Beast 980” and is serving as the flagship for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, as well. Barrett Tweets that the new owners will assume control in February and since Mercury’s M.O. is ethnic programming and brokered radio, we’re likely to see a format change next month. That would put local sports talk personalities Fred Roggin, Bill Plaschke, Jeanne Zelasko, Chris Myers, Wes Clements and more out on the street. The Times reports that a format change is a certainty.
‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego Names Kevin Acee Evening Host. San Diego sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mighty 1090” is naming San Diego sportswriter Kevin Acee the host of its evening program, “Trending Now.” Acee is a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, a position he will continue to hold. Acee also spent seven years as the San Diego Chargers beat writer and two years covering San Diego State football. Station VP of programming and operations Mike Shepard comments, “Kevin is a multi-media sports voice in San Diego who has the unique ability to connect and provide insight to sports fans on a variety of platforms. ‘Trending Now’ is the perfect showcase of his many talents, and we enthusiastically welcome Kevin to the full-time, all-star lineup on San Diego’s Sports Leader.”
Associated Press Offers 2016 Radio Campaign Kit. A new service for this year’s presidential election is being offered by the Associated Press. It’s called the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit, and AP calls it “a turnkey advantage that gives radio members election returns and AP journalists’ digital and on-air reporting on the presidential campaign in the months leading to Election Day and the inauguration of the 45th president in January.” AP has already inked Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington, among other stations. AP says that subscribers will receive verified vote counts in their home state and surrounding areas in primaries and the November 8 general election up to 12 times an hour via online maps and other modules. The modules will show delegate counts for both political parties, the popular vote, Electoral College totals for U.S. president and the balance of power in the U.S. Congress. In addition to dynamic election-night maps, the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit provides a suite of embeddable white-label interactives for use on AP members’ digital and on-air properties, optimized for display on mobile devices, desktops and tablets. AP director of election services Brian Scanlon comments, “The AP’s 2016 Radio Campaign Kit represents an important step for us as we continue to push to make our services responsive to our members’ needs around big-event stories such as the presidential campaign.” Interested stations can contact Paul Memoli at AP via email at email@example.com or phone 212-621-6923.
Odds & Sods. Springfield, Illinois talk personality Ray Lytle exits Saga Communications-owned news/talk WTAX in a budget-related move. Lytle had been with the station for the past two years after previously serving with Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WMAY…..CFRA, Ottawa legendary personality Lowell Green is retiring from his daily radio show at the Bell Media talk station. The 79-year-old Green began his career in the news department at CFRA in 1960. He became a talk host six years later and has been hosting the Lowell Green show on the station since 1993. He won’t be in full retirement mode as he’ll continue to make appearances on the station…..Weekend technology talk show “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” announces the addition of some new affiliate stations as WGKA, Atlanta “AM 920 The Answer”; WRKO, Boston; and CKLW, Windsor, Ontario/Detroit are now carrying the program.
New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards Opens Entry Process. In addition to the announcement that the New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards are open for entries, comes news that there are three new categories this year. Those include: Biography/Profiles, Climate Change & Sustainability, and Music. The worldwide competition honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs℠ has been taking place since 1982 and receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from 32 countries around the globe. Radio program awards executive director Rose Anderson states, “New York Festivals recognizes the ever-evolving nature of the radio industry. Time does not stand still in the radio industry – new ways of reaching listeners and new ways of telling the important stories of our day drive change. So, every year, we work with our advisory board and we update some categories as well as create new ones. It is an organic ecosystem. We embrace the new while keeping the best practices of what has come before.” Anderson says the three new categories will provide a platform for those with a distinctive voice and point of view regarding issues and topics of interest. Anderson continues, “In our ever-changing world, radio is the original social media. There is a universal language of radio which connects us all – giving us the ability to meet directly in each other’s imagination and guided by the textures of sound to understand each other.” New York Festivals Radio Awards enlists jurists from all over the world to become members of the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury includes some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. The ceremony for the World’s Best Radio Programs takes place at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York on June 20. The deadline for entries is March 18. To enter, log in here and find all the information you need. Inquiries can go to Gayle Mandel at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obama Gun Control Plan, Presidential Race, ‘White Anger’ Report, Saudi-Iran Diplomatic Break/Shiite-Sunni Tensions, Oregon Armed Protestors Standoff, Battle Against Islamic State, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The executive order gun control plans announced by President Obama; the activities of the candidates for president; the Esquire/NBC News “American Rage” poll determining white Americans are the “angriest”; the diplomatic break between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the reported growing rift between Shiite and Sunni countries in the Middle East; the case of the armed protestors occupying an Oregon wildlife preserve; the recent military actions against Islamic State-held parts of Iraq; and this weekend’s NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CES 2016: Home and Health. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting from the enormous Consumer Electronics Show and today he files a story tipping us to some of the new technology and gadgets that some believe will be ubiquitous in both our homes and our cars in the not-too-distant future. Cooke writes that many of the technological helpers for around the home can be operated from the “remote” device most of us already carry – the smartphone – and that device is where “smart broadcasters are also publishing.” Read today’s full report here.
Curtis Sliwa to Host WABC, New York’s ‘The Drive at Five.’ The “Drive at Five” program takes the place of “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” and debuts this afternoon (1/5) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. The station calls the show a “fast-paced, comprehensive look at the stories and people that have New York talking.” Curtis Sliwa will continue his role as co-host of “The Curtis and Kuby Show” with Ron Kuby airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. In September of 2014 the station aired “The Ride Home” with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby at 5:00 pm. Kiernan exited and Cosby did the show solo until moving to weekends with Doug McIntyre (also heard at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles in morning drive) taking over the one-hour show in March of last year. Sliwa states, “My job will be to take people from their suites to the streets and re-connect them with everything that has transpired while they’ve been working their 9-to-5 jobs.”
Spike Eskin Relinquishes On-Air Duties at WIP-FM, Philadelphia. According to a report at Philly.com, WIP, Philadelphia program director Spike Eskin is leaving his on-air role on the Josh Innes program as he absorbs some of the responsibilities of ousted operations manager Andy Bloom. In a budget-related move, Bloom’s OM position was eliminated by CBS RADIO. Eskin and former Philadelphia Eagle Hollis Thomas worked on air with Innes. Thomas remains on the show and the station moves Marc Farzetta from Angelo Cataldi’s AM drive show to afternoons to handle news updates and other duties on the program.
Settlement in Nielsen vs Bubba Case ‘Unlikely.’ According to the most recent court filings that detail the schedule for the discovery process and pre-trial hearings in the civil fraud case being brought against Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen Audio, the two sides seem to agree on one thing: a settlement in the $1 million lawsuit is “unlikely.” Nielsen is suing Bubba on civil charges of fraud, conspiracy to defraud, interfering with business and contractual relations and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act as the result of his tampering with the PPM ratings process in the Tampa market. Although Bubba admitted to the tampering he says Nielsen is unable to prove damages and the $1 million figure was pulled out of thin air. Nielsen wishes to depose Bubba for up to 14 hours over two days and Bubba says he’s not willing to do that so the court will have to rule on the deposition schedule. If this does go to trial as it’s expected to do, it’ll be in January of 2017.
What do Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Stephen K. Bannon Have in Common? Answer: They are the only three radio talk show hosts to make the prestigious Mediaite “25 Most Influential in Political News Media” list. The list includes leading names from the world of news-gathering and news-delivering organizations including internet, television and radio. Rush Limbaugh came in at #8; Sean Hannity showed strongly at #15; and Stephen K. Bannon appears at #19. Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC (parent company of the Breitbart News Network), is the host of the weekday morning show “Breitbart News Daily” presented on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio Patriot Channel. The 6:00 am – 9:00 am ET show covers the hottest topics of the day featuring Bannon moderating contributions and features from Breitbart correspondents around the nation and world. To see the entire Mediaite list, please click here.
Cumulus Names Rob Brown AM Host at WFTW, Fort Walton Beach. Fort Walton Beach news/talk WFTW “NewsTalk 1260” will launch a new morning drive program next Monday (1/11) featuring longtime local broadcast personality Rob Brown. His eponymous show will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Brown has been serving as a field reporter for local station WEAR-TV. He’s worked in radio in the Florida Panhandle doing news and sports at sports talk WTKE “The Ticket.” WFTW operations manager Hayden Green says, “Rob Brown is a native of the area. He knows the players, he knows the people and he knows great radio. We’re excited to have him on the team and excited about the future of NewsTalk 1260 WFTW.”
Entercom Promotes Three Programmers to Vice Presidents. Three Entercom Communications programmers are awarded vice president stripes today: Jim Fox in Sacramento, Mike Moore in Portland and Bob Barnett in Rochester, New York are promoted to VP of programming for their respective markets. Jim Fox joined Entercom in Sacramento as station manager of active rock KRXQ in 2003 and began overseeing all Entercom Sacramento brands as OM in 2013. Mike Moore joined Entercom to program country KWJJ in Portland and was upped to operations manager for the cluster in January 2013. He also serves as Entercom’s director of country programming. Bob Barnett is a 33-year programmer who oversees all programming for Entercom Rochester. Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton comments, “Jim, Mike and Bob are outstanding leaders with impressive track records of success in their markets. They have each earned this recognition. I could not be happier for them and look forward to many more years of working together.”
CES 2016: Radio vs Robots. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas and the annual Consumer Electronic Show. As Cooke says, driverless cars are one of the big “oh wow” items at the show. How the car of the future will affect our hunger for the information and entertainment radio provides while driving isn’t certain yet, but the possibilities they suggest should cause radio people to think about their product. Read Cooke’s report here.
Obama Gun Control Policy, 2016 Presidential Election, Battle Against Islamic State, Oregon Wildlife Refuge Standoff, Iran-Saudi Diplomatic Break, World Financial Markets Activity, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). President Obama’s plans to use executive orders to amend gun laws; the activities of the candidates for president this year; the ongoing battle against Islamic State and debate over terror attack prevention; the standoff between armed protestors occupying an Oregon wildlife sanctuary; the break of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the growing Shiite-Sunni rift in the Middle East; turbulent world financial markets open the New Year; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Harrison set to Address Radiodays Europe Conference. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison has been named one of the key solo speakers at the forthcoming Radiodays Europe conference set for Paris, France March 13-15 at Le Palais des Congrès de Paris. Billed as “The World’s Greatest International Radio Conference,” Radiodays Europe is an annual gathering for radio professionals with 1,300 participants from 60 countries. It is the meeting point for the European radio industry, both private and public, and a destination for radio people from around the world. Harrison’s presentation, titled “Lessons Learned by American Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era,” will cover both the successes and failures experienced by US radio during its transition into the digital era. Harrison will offer insight into the radio industry’s challenge of successfully integrating its assets and services into an internet-based culture while preserving and enhancing its iconic role as the primary audio medium. Can it be done? Harrison states, “Of course, it can! I intend to lay out the big picture of radio’s path forward with realistic and cautious optimism. I look forward to this opportunity to speak with broadcasters from around the world.” For registration and other information about Radiodays Europe, please click here.
America’s First Internet Radio Billboard? It is according to The New Normal principal Tom Leykis who says the electronic billboard (shown at left) that overlooks the northbound 405 Freeway in Carson, California is the first in America to promote an Internet radio show. The billboard, which just went up on Monday evening (1/4), promotes Leykis’ daily afternoon program.
Cumulus Shuffles Talent at WBAP and KLIF in Dallas; Rick Roberts Debuts Show on WBAP. The new program schedule at Cumulus Media’s news talkers WBAP “News/Talk 820AM” and KLIF “News & Information 570AM” launches today. Westwood One-syndicated “Savage Nation” moves from afternoons on WBAP to the same 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot on sister KLIF. That move bumps Grant Stinchfield’s “Stinchfield Report” to the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot on KLIF. Meanwhile, at WBAP, Rick Roberts assumes hosting duties for the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm daypart. Roberts was most recently with iHeartMedia at KTOK, Oklahoma City. During the 1990s, Roberts served on air at crosstown KRLD. Other changes at KLIF include Premiere Network’s Glenn Beck show starting an hour earlier at 8:00 am, the return of the Laura Ingraham show at 11:00 am plus the addition of Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory airing from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am.
iHeartMedia Denver Promotes Ross Kaminsky to KHOW Mornings. A financial markets expert by trade, Ross Kaminsky had been hosting a weekend program at iHeartMedia’s KOA, Denver for the past several years. Effective today, Kaminsky assumed the morning drive duties at sister talker KHOW, taking over for Mandy Connell who is now the midday personality on KOA. She just took over market legend Mike Rosen’s show. Kaminsky spoke to Denver’s alt-weekly Westword, in which he says, “I’ve greatly benefited every step in my short radio career so far from people willing to give me a chance, and put me on the air, even when they didn’t have great reason to know what I could do. I’m appreciative to all those people, and I still remember who every one of them is.”
CES 2016 Gets Underway in Las Vegas. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS from the enormous Consumer Electronics Show 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This morning he writes: Even this place can barely handle the crowd. Last year, CES strained ‘Vegas hotel capacity and bent the airline ticket cost curve. “This is the biggest thing here all year,” a cabbie grinned. So this year they capped attendance at last year’s 176,000 of us. And they even changed their name! What was “The Consumer Electronics Association” is now “The Consumer Technology Association,” because there’s more to tech than gadgets. The world’s biggest retailer doesn’t own a single store: Amazon dot com. Google and Uber are verbs, not gadgets. Uber – which now equals “car” to a growing worldwide customer base – has a bigger market cap than General Motors. The world’s biggest taxi fleet doesn’t own any cars…it’s a social network. The physical layout here — in the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center and other Exhibit Hall locations along The Strip — demonstrates where technology and we are taking each other:
- There’s 40% more floor space than last year for health & wellness exhibitors. Hey, we’re getting older.
- 80% more space than last year for virtual reality;
- 25% more acreage for Automotive: Nine auto makers and over 100 auto tech companies are here;
- Also bigger than ever: 3D printing.
- And three times the exhibit space for…you guessed it: drones.
More than 2,200 companies’ products are on-display. 80% of them are small businesses, many of ‘em start-ups that presidential candidates call “the risk-takers.” Many of THEM are lining-up for ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank,” which is doing open auditions here. Tech is big business, $285 billion this year in the USA alone, and I’ll tell you all about it all this week, here; and on “America in the Morning,” the Jim Bohannon show and Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” and my client stations. Follow my real-time Tweets from CES @HollandCooke.
Rosenberg Out at WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale. Longtime New York broadcaster and morning host at sports talk WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale since 2012 Sid Rosenberg has been let go from the station. The move took place over the holidays and Palm Beach Broadcasters has replaced him in the morning drive daypart with FOX Sport Radio’s “Daybreak with Andy Furman and Mike North.” Rosenberg worked for years on the “Imus in the Morning” program.
Odds & Sods. The FM simulcast of Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne, Indiana changes from WFWI-FM at 92.3 (until recently using the calls WOWO-FM) to the translator W298BJ at 107.5. Federated has launched a classic hits format on WFWI. The new classic hits format features Mike Ragozino as morning drive personality. He’d been serving as afternoon personality and program director at Alpha Media’s sports talk KXTG-AM, Portland…..Entercom announces that after a three-month national search, the company has named Tim Neverett as the new play-by-play host for Boston Red Sox radio broadcasts on the WEEI Sports Radio Network. Neverett will work with color man Joe Castiglione, who’s been part of the broadcast team since 1983. Neverett – a New Hampshire native who attended Boston’s Emerson College (and lettered in baseball for four seasons) – beat out some 200 other applicants for the plum gig…..A lack of enough revenue to keep the show going is what management at news/talk KFQD, Anchorage is citing for the end of the “Bernadette Live” program hosted by Bernadette Wilson. Station manager Joe Campbell tells the Alaska Dispatch News that the 8:30 am to 11:00 am show was not generating enough revenue to continue in 2016.
Michael Harrison Rings in 2016 – Discusses Scams and Cyber Fraud with Steve Weisman. It’s a brave new world out there and the internet is rewiring our human nervous systems, let alone giving criminals around the world powerful and insidious new tools to steal from unwitting victims. On the latest installment of the Podcast One hit series “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison talks with famous attorney and professor Steve Weisman about the latest hi-tech, low-tech, and even no-tech scams being cooked up for us in 2016. To listen to it in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand columns of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Saudi Executions/Iran Diplomatic Ties Severed, Oregon Standoff, New Year’s Holiday, and NFL Playoff Push Among Weekend Talk Topics. The recent execution of 47 in Saudi Arabia – including a Shiite cleric – and the diplomatic problems the move has created; the standoff between armed protesters at an Oregon wildlife refuge; the New Year’s holiday; and the final weekend of NFL games before the playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS magazine Closed for the Holidays. The offices of TALKERS magazine will close on December 24 and will reopen on Monday, January 4. During this holiday break, we will monitor all calls to our offices at 413-565-5413 and emails to email@example.com. We wish all of our readers, business partners and friends working in the radio industry a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
CBS Appoints Michael Simon to Senior Advisor Post. The actual title of Michael Simon’s new position with CBS RADIO is senior advisor, data analytics and political advocacy. Previously, he led Barack Obama’s presidential campaign’s analytics team. In this role with CBS, he’ll work closely with senior management to enhance CBS RADIO’s overall data analytics capabilities, as well as create new data-driven ad products and strategies for political campaigns, candidates, and related committees and organizations. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez says, “Michael is one of the foremost experts in data analytics whose expertise will quickly elevate our efforts in transforming our vast collection of user information into more meaningful business applications. The ongoing assessment and development of cutting-edge data collection systems will lead to smarter programming and marketing decisions, and optimized advertising purchases in the future. With the 2016 election race underway, now is the ideal time to develop new efficiencies across our data management platforms and business-to-business application tools.” Simon is a data analytics entrepreneur based in New York City. He is a regular commentator on big data, politics and business intelligence, and has been featured in media including The New York Times, “PBS NewsHour,” USA Today, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, Mashable, Slate and the Cook Political Report, and has been an invited guest speaker at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the World Economic Forum of Young Global Leaders.
Kauffman Upped to DOS at Entercom Sacramento. General sales manager at the Entercom Sacramento station group since March of this year, Stacey Kauffman is promoted to director of sales. Sacramento VP and market manager Lance Richard comments, “In a short time, Stacey has made a powerful impact with Entercom Sacramento. Her business and sales management skills have enabled us to improve our sales execution, develop more impactful advertising campaigns for our clients and grow our business and market share. I am thrilled to be able to promote from within and reward Stacey’s success.” Before joining Entercom, Kauffman held various management and sales positions with Hubbard Broadcasting in Chicago, Emmis Communications and Merck.
Round Two of December PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of December 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was November 5 – December 2. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Christmas in Greenwood. It has been a busy holiday season for WCRS, Greenwood, SC co-owner and morning host Anne Eller. The industrious, talented and entrepreneurial woman operates not only a dynamic local talk station in the beautiful “small town America” market, but a unique jewelry store as well. Eller spices up her programming on WCRS synergizing the two assets with on-air jewelry and collectible items auctions that have been wildly successful over the Christmas gift-giving season. Eller is pictured at left in the eclectic store – Sharp Facets Gallery – with the famous and beloved WCRS mascot, Gracie.
2016 Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Black Lives Matter Minnesota Protest, the Christmas Holiday, Refugee and Immigration Policy Criticism, and NFL Action/Odell Beckham Suspension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/22). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the results of the most recent polls; the ongoing battle against Islamic State military forces; the legal case over Black Lives Matter’s wish to protest at the Mall of America near Minneapolis; the coming Christmas holiday; the U.S. policies concerning refuges from Syria and the nation’s larger immigration matter; the playoff push in the NFL and the controversial suspension handed to Odell Beckham Jr. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Andy Bloom Exits WIP-FM and WPHT, Philadelphia OM Post. This is being termed a budget-related move as programmer Andy Bloom – until Friday the operations manager for sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT – exits the CBS RADIO Philadelphia station group. There’s lots of speculation in the Philly media about why Bloom was let go and what this will mean for WIP and WPHT. Bloom tells Philly.com, “It is part of another restructure and strictly a budgetary move. That has happened across the industry over the past several years. It’s been an incredible 8 years with CBS Philly.” Philadelphia Business Journal wonders what this means for news/talk WPHT citing its November 2015 PPM (6+ AQH share Mon-Sun 6A-12M) rating of 1.5. The mag reports Bloom previously noted the current lineup has only been in place for a year and needs time to gel. Local news and opinion site Crossing Broad wonders what Bloom’s exit will mean for WIP, especially afternoon drive personality Josh Innes. Kyle Scott opines that Innes’ future at WIP could be affected by this change, “[H]e was Bloom’s guy and given a long leash with which to do his sometimes-sports thing. I’m assuming a successor will not be as lenient as Bloom. One would wonder if Josh would even want to stick around. A general turmoil has surrounded the station since he came on-board, and most of Bloom’s decisions since can be traced to Innes’ presence.”
Anthony Cumia Arrested on Domestic Battery Charges. New York radio personality Anthony Cumia was arrested on Saturday on charges of strangulation, criminal mischief, unlawful imprisonment and assault. He’s pled not guilty to all and his attorney tells the New York Post, “Mr. Cumia emphatically denies the allegations brought against him and is optimistic that when the truth comes out he will be exonerated.” This comes after a woman described as Cumia’s girlfriend used the app Periscope to request police assistance at Cumia’s Long Island home after claiming Cumia broke her hand, took her phone when she tried to call police and held her captive. The woman uses the handle Dani Golightly. Cumia was released on his own recognizance and ordered to stay away from the woman. Cumia was fired from SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony show last year after he authored a series of racist Tweets and they went viral.
iHeartMedia Goes Sports in Denver on Former ‘Real Talk 760.’ The calls change from KKZN to KDSP and the new sports talker is branded “Denver Sports 760.” Local programming will include longtime iHeartMedia Denver personality Dave Logan co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program with Susie Wargin and Andy Lindahl hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. (Lindahl also hosts “PrimeTime Sports” on sister KOA from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.) Also airing on the station will be: Dan Patrick from 7:00 am to 10:00 am; “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “Jay Mohr Sports” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; “Ferrall On The Bench” from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; Ben Maller from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am; and “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North from 4:00 am to 7:00 am. iHeartMedia Denver market president Tim Hager states, “We’re excited to serve our listeners, partners and advertisers with a new station featuring original Denver Broncos content and the biggest names in sports.”
California Environmental Regulations Preventing KSCO, Santa Cruz from Addressing Flooding Problem. KSCO, Santa Cruz, California station owner Michael Zwerling is in a tough situation, stuck between California environmental laws and the need to keep his station on the air with current weather conditions creating flooding problems for his transmitter. Zwerling was prevented by sheriffs from digging a trench that would allow flood waters to drain as they usually do after a citizen complained to police about potential violations of the environmental laws. A look into the law indicates Zwerling will have to try to convince officials that his station – as a facility licensed to serve the public – is worthy of protection as well. KSCO has long been recognized as one of the nation’s most community-involved as well as marketing-innovative local talkers in the nation. Zwerling says the solution does not involve harm to the beach or the marine life but activists have risen to challenge his desire to do the minor excavation necessary to abate flood waters. Hear his appeal, broadcast over the KSCO airwaves, here.
Karter Named Radio One Cincinnati OM. Inbound from iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, Kenard Karter will assume operations manager duties of Radio One Cincinnati. Radio One vice president of programming Colby Tyner comments, “We are excited to be working with Kenard; he is a very smart programmer with a lot of creative energy. Our team in ‘Cinci’ can’t wait to get started.” Station manager Mitch Galvin notes, “Kenard will be bringing strong leadership to our station cluster and a drive to win.” According to Karter, “I am truly humbled and excited about the opportunity to lead the Cincinnati radio brands that the Radio One family has afforded me. I am proud to join a team that is so full of passion and promise.” Prior to his WGCI-FM stint, Chicago native Karter – who begins his Cincinnati duties in three weeks (1/11) – spent four years at San Francisco urban contemporary KMEL, where he was the station’s assistant program director/mid-day talent. Radio One Cincinnati consists of urban contemporary WIZF “101.1 Cincinnati’s Hip-Hop & R&B,” urban-rhythmic oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and WDBZ “Your Talk Station 1230 The Buzz.” According to 6+ stats in the latest (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM report for Cincinnati, WIZF ranks #8 with a 4.6 (+.7) from October and its best performance since June (also 4.6); WOSL is #13 (2.5); and WDBZ is #22 (.4). The (6+) market leader is iHeartMedia talker WLW (10.2).
Cumulus Brings New HR Exec Aboard. Human resources pro Todd C. McCarty comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent position as SVP of global human resources for Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, in making the announcement of McCarty’s appointment, “Cumulus has tremendous assets with our reach to 245 million listeners across 90 markets and our outstanding audio content and brands. However, it’s critical that, as we move quickly and efficiently to build on our strengths, we retain and attract top performers on and off-air, and support and motivate them to deliver exceptional performance across all disciplines and markets. Todd stands out among his peers in terms of qualifications and experience and we are fortunate and delighted that he will be leading our effort to consolidate and centralize our key human resources disciplines into a department that has the capabilities and focus to deliver the services and solutions we need to grow our business.” McCarty has served in similar positions at The New York Times Company and The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated Stephanie Miller show is now being aired on the CRN Digital Talk Radio network from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET. Miller’s show is syndicated WYM Media Managemen…..Live radio coverage of the CBS Sports Classic college hoops event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was provided by Westwood One Sports. Pictured here calling the games for the network are WW1 sports announcer John Sadak (right) and CBS Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb (left) as North Carolina beat UCLA 89-76 and Ohio State upset Kentucky 74-67. WW1 reports more than 300 affiliate stations carried the games…..Andi Poch joins CBS Local Digital Media to serve as SVP Sales. Poch is being charged with managing and executing the overall digital advertising sales strategy for the division. She’ll work closely with the local digital sales teams for CBS RADIO’s 117 stations and the 29 CBS Television stations, as well as the entire national sales group. She comes from Townsquare Media where she was SVP, integrated/digital sales and strategy…..At Townsquare Media, the company brings Susan Kravitz aboard to serve as SVP, head of national digital sales and will oversee the company’s national digital and branded entertainment sales efforts. Kravitz was most recently head of global sales at Say Media.
Entercom Offers New Employee Benefits. Beginning in 2016, Entercom Communications Corp. will begin offering qualified employees three significant new additions to the benefit plan designed to further enhance the quality of life for its staffers. They are: 1) Personal Volunteering Time – a half-day off each quarter to volunteer for a non-profit organization of their choosing; 2) Discounted Stock Purchase Program – Entercom employees will be able to purchase Entercom stock at a 15% discount through a payroll deduction plan; and 3) Student Loan Reimbursement Program – $1,000 per calendar year to reduce outstanding student loans for employees who have graduated within the past eight years. Company CEO David Field states, “We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and make Entercom a better and stronger organization, and that includes enhancing the quality of life for our team. We have examined benefits programs from leading companies all across the country in a wide range of industries and have honed in on a few highly compelling programs that we think will make outstanding additions to life at Entercom. We are very excited to be delivering these new benefits to our people.”
Making Merry in Vegas. Pictured here enjoying the festivities over the weekend at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas holiday party are (from left to right): director of sales Cory Cuddeback; market manager Tom Humm; news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer; and nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs.
Democratic Primary Debate, Star Wars Film Opens and Miss Universe SNAFU Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The coverage of and the aftermath of Saturday night’s Democratic candidates’ debate; the record-breaking opening weekend of the new Star Wars film; and Steve Harvey’s mistake misidentifying the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations airing live talk shows.
Bloomberg and CBS RADIO Partner to Make WNEW-FM, Washington into ‘Bloomberg Radio.’ A new agreement between CBS RADIO and Bloomberg results in the launch of “Bloomberg Radio” on WNEW-FM, Washington. The transition from CBS RADIO-programmed all-news to Bloomberg’s programming means the station will deliver “business and financial news along with non-partisan coverage of politics, policy, power, and influence to Washington, D.C.” The programming will also be heard on WJZ-HD2 at 105.7. In a press statement, Bloomberg says this deal “marks the launch of Bloomberg Radio on its first FM station. Led by Bloomberg’s Washington bureau and the company’s global news operation, Bloomberg 99.1 will draw upon the strength of reporting from 2,400 journalists in 150 news bureaus across 73 countries. Bloomberg News, one of the world’s leading financial news organizations, produces 5,000 stories a day and has received more than 800 awards since it was founded in 1990, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting.” The station will also air an audio simulcast of Bloomberg TV’s “With All Due Respect” with hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Global head of Bloomberg Television & Radio Al Mayers comments, “As we enter this critical election year, there’s no better time to introduce Bloomberg Radio to Washington. On the heels of recent expansions in Europe and Asia-Pacific, this launch marks an important step in our mission to extend the reach of Bloomberg Radio into the most important regions of the world. We will tap into the deep expertise of our Washington bureau to provide insights and analysis on policy and politics that listeners cannot easily find elsewhere.”
WABC, New York Names Rita Cosby Political Editor. This new title comes with expanded duties for Emmy-winning journalist Rita Cosby at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. As political editor, Cosby will “cover the 2016 U.S. presidential race and other major political stories, bringing the freshest angles and key newsmakers to WABC Radio, including exclusive interviews with the most important and intriguing candidates.” WABC says Cosby will continue to host her eponymous Sunday morning show and will debut a new weekly election round-up show, “Election Central with Rita Cosby,” on Sunday, December 20, at 7:00 pm. Her first guests will include GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. She’ll oversee a weekly political column for “Election Central,” 77 WABC Radio’s weekly political e-newsletter, and contribute interviews to Westwood One News Network. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Rita’s vast political experience and unparalleled access to the major political players continue to make her a huge asset to 77 WABC in this expanded position.”
BIA/Kelsey Releases 2016 Local Media and Advertising Predictions. Advertising and marketing research and advisory firm BIA/Kelsey is releasing its predictions about local media advertising for 2016. The company says that this report “contains more than 20 predictions for the year ahead, offering insights for BIA/Kelsey’s key coverage areas, including mobile, social media, online media, search, online video, programmatic advertising, software, print media, small-business marketing, local media sales, broadcast media, publishing and the on-demand economy. As a teaser, the firm offers its Top 10 predictions (the whole report can be purchased) for 2016. The Top 10 highlights selected nuggets on the impact on local media and advertising by millennials, mobile payments, Facebook, Google, data-driven ad sales, yellow pages, ad attribution, programmatic advertising, the on-demand economy and online video. Some of the highlights investigated in the report include predictions that: Millennials will drive the next wave of marketing innovation; data-driven local ad sales becomes the new normal; the march of programmatic continues; and more. See more here.
‘Mike & Mike’ to Be Inducted into NAB Broadcasters Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas next April 19, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, hosts of ESPN Radio’s daily morning show “Mike & Mike,” will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The program celebrate its 15th anniversary in March of this year. NAB EVP of Radio John David comments, “Golic and Greenberg, with their mix of sports savvy and humor, have been informing and entertaining fans for more than 15 years. The two have seamlessly combined their passion for sports with radio, and we are honored to add them to our distinguished Hall of Fame.”
Michael Medved Discusses His Battle Overcoming Throat Cancer and Other Compelling Issues. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Networks talk star Michael Medved gets “Up Close and Far Out” with Michael Harrison on the new installment of the hit PodcastOne series posted today (12/15). In a touching, candid conversation, Medved talks about his battle against throat cancer this past year that threatened not only his voice, but his life as well – including how it opened a whole new vista of understanding and appreciation to his thought processes and philosophy. In addition, Medved and Harrison talk about Donald Trump and his impact upon the Republican Party and the conservative movement in America. They also get into a broader conversation about Medved’s alternate career as a movie critic including the role he played in bringing awareness of Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” to historic infamy as the worst picture of all time. To listen to this not-to-be-missed media freaks’ delight in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Adds FOX Sports Radio Programming. San Francisco sports talk outlet KGMZ “95.7 The GAME” is adding FOX Sports Radio show to its program schedule. The Entercom sports talker will add the Ben Maller show to its late-night daypart airing from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am as well as “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” airing from 3:00 am to 6:00 am. Additionally, KGMZ is airing FOX Sports Radio weekend programming from personalities including: Anthony Gargano, Lincoln Kennedy, Michael Harmon, Jason McIntyre and others.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 14-18. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday’s GOP primary debate tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the terror threats school districts including New York, Los Angeles, and Houston received. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the U.S.’ refugee and immigration policies at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
DGital Media Partners with Cox to Distribute Herman Cain Show. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show will be syndicated and marketed by DGital Media beginning January 4, 2016. Cox Media Group and DGital Media are agreeing to have DGital Media serve as the exclusive advertising sales representative and its affiliated company WYM Media be the exclusive distributor, handling affiliate marketing. CMG director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs comments, “It is great to be working again with [DGital Media president] John Murphy and the rest of the DGital Media team. My particular experience with them is they are the most original thinkers of any audio company I’ve had the privilege of working with.” Cain’s program is currently heard on some 120 affiliate stations.
‘For Our Daughters’ Re-Ignites Campaign Against WPRO’s John DePetro. According to a piece at GoLocalProv.com, the organization For Our Daughters is renewing its efforts to get late morning talk host John DePetro off the air at Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence. This battle is an old one and the organization, which according to GoLocalProv.com is led by a number of prominent union leaders, is one with whom DePetro’s clashed on issues in the past. Organization chairwoman Maureen Martin issued the following statement, “Since we started, we estimate we have cost the station close to $150,000 in lost advertising revenue. However, we are disgusted that John DePetro is still allowed to spew his hate speech on the air at WPRO-AM. The lack of action by station management on this issue shows their willingness to empower a unrepentant misogynist. Their continued employment of Mr. DePetro implies their tacit assent to DePetro’s statements. Since our campaign started two years ago, DePetro has continued to berate women and minorities on a daily basis. This can no longer be tolerated. To that end, we have decided to ramp up our campaign to once and for all remove Mr. DePetro from the air.” For his part, DePetro says, “I host a very popular, successful, daily talk show where I allow the public to speak out on current events in the news. The content of my show is family friendly, and I speak with people of all ages and backgrounds. Once again, a group of union supporters and other ultra-liberal individuals, have targeted me and in an attempt to silence me.” Read the GoLocalProv.com piece here.
Chicago Talker Garry Meier to Begin Digital Venture. Chicago radio legend Garry Meier – 13 months removed from his most recent gig at Tribune’s wgn.fm digital platform – is entering the world of digital audio on his own with an online radio show and podcast beginning in 2016. He recently posted his plans on his website. He writes, in part: “As I examined the media landscape, I decided to do something that a great friend and mentor told me to do 10 years ago…onto the Internet…and while I wasn’t ready to make the leap a decade ago, I thought the time is right now to go digital, since everything in the media world is migrating there. It is migration that just about every state will accept. At this point in my career, I want to try something completely new that offers me more control and freedom and also is the wave of the future. While gas prices remain low, my excitement heading into this new chapter is very high. Another familiar voice will be part of the broadcast, as Leslie Keiling returns to do news. I’m happy to have her join me. It might not be the way you listened on traditional radio but breaking away from all of that, I think, is a good thing…so hello from the 50 trillion-watt WIFI.”
PodcastOne Shows Honored with iTunes Awards. This year, seven programs from PodcastOne are being honored in the iTunes Best of 2015 selections. The competitive list, compiled from a collection of more than 250,000 worldwide podcasts, features “The BIG Podcast with Shaq,” named one of the Best Recent Debuts, and “Steve Austin Unleashed” and WNYC-produced “Here’s the Thing,” named with the Best Classics. Celebrating the Most Downloads are “The Adam Carolla Show,” which recently re-upped with PodcastOne for five additional years, as well as “The Dan Patrick Show” and WNYC-produced “Freakonomics” and “Radiolab.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “We are very proud of the network roster we have built in the last few years. From production, to distribution and advertising partnerships, all of our programs deliver compelling content that keeps all eyes (and ears) on our collective 200 podcasts.”
Odds & Sods. News/talk KLZ, Denver is adding David Leach’s “The Strident Conservative” commentaries to its programming. The Crawford Broadcasting-owned station is also featuring Leach as a regular contributor to its daily afternoon drive program…..A new podcast featuring Yahoo! Sports personality Adrian Wojnarowski is being produced, distributed and repped by DGital Media. Titled, “The Vertical Podcast with Woj,” the weekly program will focus on the NBA. DGital Media chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As a fan of the NBA, and as a fan of audio, I’m always searching for incredible storytellers who will provide a credible and intimate take without all the noise. We are incredibly honored to partner with a game-changing talent like Woj and a top brand like Yahoo! Sports.”…..The web series “Brown Bag Wine Tasting with William Shatner” takes three honors at the recent 7th Annual TASTE Awards. Shatner, CRN Digital Talk Radio, and producer Scott Sternberg partnered to create the show and sold it to Ora TV. CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO and president Michael J. Horn – who is also a sommelier – assists in the selecting and procuring of the wines…..SiriusXM is broadcasting 38 live college bowl games beginning with this Saturday’s Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. The satcaster is also airing the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.
AdLarge and Touchdown Radio at the Heisman Dinner. Pictured here at last weekend’s 2015 Heisman Dinner are executives from AdLarge Media and 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta. The former University of Miami star and AdLarge are partners in Torretta’s Touchdown Radio for which AdLarge serves as exclusive ad rep. From left to right are: chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith; Torretta; co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld; and VP of business development Frank DeSantis.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate, Freddie Gray Mistrial, Obama Gun Control Plans, Battle Against Islamic State, School District Terror Threats, Fed Ups Interest Rates, and Federal Student Drug Use Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday evening’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the mistrial in the first of six police officers to be tried in Baltimore in the death of Freddie Gray; President Obama’s meeting with former New York Governor Michael Bloomberg in formulating new gun control orders; the military campaign against Islamic State and concerns about radical Islamists among Syrian refugees; the terror threats being received by school districts in the U.S.; the hiking of interest rates by the Fed for the first time in nine years; and the just-released federal report on high school student drug use indicating marijuana use tops cigarette smoking for the first time were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Baltimore Talk Radio Figure Brian MacDonald Dead at 67. Heart failure is the reported cause of death for former WBAL and WCBM, Baltimore programmer and personality Brian MacDonald. MacDonald got his start in radio programming Baltimore Community College-owned public station WBJC-FM. He served as PD and afternoon host at WBAL from 1975 to 1985, then worked at crosstown WCBM on air for three years before leaving the radio industry.
Price: Weighing Public Safety vs Risk of Assisting Threatmongers in Reporting to Your Listeners. The recent terroristic threats against the New York City and Los Angeles public school districts – which turned out not to be true – present a bit of a potential problem for radio stations and news organizations. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes today in TALKERS, “Critical to the discussion is the hard reality that those who make these threats are banking on a response from both authorities AND the media. Thankfully, even in these troubled times, most threats are hoaxes made to seize on public fear. The hoaxers find out about that response the same way the rest of us do – through the media. SO what to do? As with most professional challenges, the process begins with an internal conversation, specific to your station and market. For example, do you have a policy document to guide your decision making in such dynamic breaking news situations?” Read more here.
Cumulus Media Names Suzanne Grimes to President of the Westwood One Division and EVP of Corporate Marketing Roles. According to Cumulus Media, this new role of president of the Westwood One Division “creates a unified structure that maximizes opportunities across the division’s national content and sales platform.” Steve Shaw, president of Westwood One, will continue to lead ad sales, and Charles Steinhauer, COO of Westwood One, will continue to lead operations, both reporting directly to Grimes, who in turn reports to company CEO Mary Berner. Grimes was most recently president and COO of Clear Channel Outdoor. Berner states, “When it comes to anything in media, Suzanne’s the full package. With 30 years of experience building content businesses into high-performing brands, she brings valuable perspectives from leadership roles in outdoor, mobile, social, digital, print and experiential sectors for both public and private companies, so she’s a natural choice for these important roles. I look forward to her contribution as we build a stronger, more operationally focused organization.”
Newly Re-Organized Corporate Structure at Cumulus Includes Tommy Page and Mike McVay Taking on New Responsibilities. As part of her memo to Cumulus Media staff of Suzanne Grimes’ new role, CEO Mary Berner also explained some of the other changes atop the corporate structure at the company. Working for Grimes will be the company’s chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard and VP of social media Lori Lewis. Berner announces Tommy Page’s new title will be SVP of brand partnerships & NASH in which he’ll continue his role as leader of platform events initiatives and brand partnerships, corporate marketing function, and new duties including the development and execution of the NASH brand strategy. Berner says the company is creating a new Office of Programming in which SVP of content & programming Mike McVay will operate to “lead our content strategy across the platform, including talent recruitment and development and label relations.” Tom Schurr, SVP of operations, will work with McVay in a new role overseeing the business aspects of programming, including organization and prioritization, resource allocation, and budget responsibilities. Berner concludes, “Our belief with regard to ratings is that more local insight and more effective corporate support will result in an improved outcome. The new Office of Programming will be responsible for executing this strategy to drive ratings growth and will be rolling out more details in the coming weeks.”
Jim Bohannon to Exit ‘America in the Morning’; Continues Late Night Show. Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Bohannon is cutting back on his duties for Westwood One and is leaving the hosting role for “America in the Morning” after the December 18 broadcast. He is continuing his work as host of the late night Jim Bohannon show. He signed a multi-year contract extension with Westwood One in February of this year. Bohannon has been the sole host of “America in the Morning” since its first broadcast in 1984. The morning magazine program airs on more than 250 stations nationwide. Taking over for Bohannon is the show’s regular guest host John Trout. He officially begins on Monday, January 18, 2016. Bohannon comments, “It’s time for me to cut back the daily schedule a bit and focus my attention on the research, interviews, and calls for my weeknight Jim Bohannon show. But I’ll still be contributing my daily feature, the ‘Offbeat,’ and my newsmaker interviews to ‘America in the Morning.’ Listeners will love John Trout as host. He’s got a stellar track record and he’s been a terrific fill-in. The show is in great hands and I wish him much success.”
Tom Leykis’ New Normal Projecting Another Profitable Year. New Year’s Eve will be the sixth anniversary of The New Normal – the audio content company founded by radio legend Tom Leykis after exiting his CBS RADIO talk show in 2009. Leykis has long been a vocal proponent of the digital delivery system for taking audio content into the future. Today, he reports that as 2015 winds down, The New Normal is financially continuing on an upward trend. Leykis tells TALKERS that revenue is up for the third straight year. Profits will increase from $23,000 in 2014 to almost $100,000 in 2015. He adds, “This means that, for the second year in a row, we will be more profitable than the top two radio companies combined.”
Odds & Sods. Are there wrinkles in the future of the Bob & Tom Show post-Bob Kevoian? TALKERS sources are hearing that negotiations between the syndicated program’s management and staff are hitting snags. Kevoian announced his retirement at the recent Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony and although the show is moving forward with Tom Griswold continuing his role, rumors are that negotiations for contract renewals with longtime cast member Kristi Lee and contributor Ron Sexton are facing challenges…..Software platform provider Mediaocean announces it is integrating iHeartMedia within its Spectra platform. As a result, within one central system, ad agencies are able to seamlessly manage, research, and buy local digital audio inventory across the iHeartMedia digital platform. Mediaocean says users will be able to compare iHeartMedia’s audience data side-by-side with other digital audio platforms to better plan campaigns and engage the right audiences at the local level.
Covering the GOP Debate. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen here gesturing as he makes a point while speaking with Salem Radio Network personalities Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager and Michael Medved (who are out of the picture to the right) while SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup holds the mic. The exchange took place during SRN’s exclusive radio distribution of the Republican presidential debate. SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared on the CNN debate panel asking questions of the GOP hopefuls.
Run-Up to Last Night’s GOP Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Refugee and Immigration Policy, Los Angeles and New York Schools Terror Threats, Battle Against Islamic State, Freddie Gray Trial, Government Shutdown Threat, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The build-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; debate over policy regarding refugees from Syria and over immigration in general; terror threats against the New York and Los Angeles public school districts and criticism over LA’s decision to cancel school; the battle against Islamic State; the wait for the verdict in the case against the first of six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray; the move in Congress to avert a government shutdown; and the hype over the new Star Wars film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Howard Stern Renews with SiriusXM in Landmark 12-Year Audio/Video Deal. The wait is over – Howard Stern and SiriusXM are announcing the two sides have agreed to an extension to keep Stern’s live program on the satellite radio service for another five years. But the new deal also includes an agreement that will allow SiriusXM to use Stern’s extensive audio and video library – drawn from performances, specials, and shows spanning his more-than-30-year broadcasting career – for the next dozen years. The details of the video plans will be announced at a future date. This will be SiriusXM’s first venture into the video realm. Under the new deal, Stern’s show will continue to be broadcast live exclusively from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET, with replays throughout the day, and on demand online and through the SiriusXM app. Additionally, Stern will continue to produce his Howard 101 channel, which includes current and classic episodes of the Howard Stern show as well as original special programming throughout the day. Stern is currently working a three-day week and the press release does not indicate any changes there so we’ll assume that remains the same. Also, the financial details are not being announced. Stern says, “As a broadcaster, it does not get better than working at SiriusXM and I’m truly excited for the future with this great company. I happen to think that its best days are ahead…I am living a dream here on satellite radio and Jim Meyer is my life partner and the baby we are about to have is our new streaming video app. The joy we are going to bring you in the very near future will make you feel like Christmas is every day. Ho, Ho, Howard…out.” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “Howard is better than ever. Howard is a one-of-a-kind interviewer, who always delivers a provocative, engaging and headline-grabbing show. We look forward to providing fans even more and deeper ways to experience Howard, and his world-class talent and insights.” Noting that the deal has been worked on for months, Stern agent Don Buchwald adds, “Jim, Scott, and I have been discussing this arrangement for some time. Obviously, the terms and conditions of a deal of this nature required a lot of give and take, as well as creative thinking on everyone’s part, and I am grateful to them both for the hard work they invested to make this deal a reality. Howard and I are excited to enter into this cutting-edge and truly unique broadcasting agreement with SiriusXM that I believe will further the legacy of Howard Stern.”
Art Bell Tells TALKERS He Doesn’t Want to Be Off the Air. Legendary late night talk host Art Bell abruptly quit his most recent return to a regular program on Friday (12/11), stating that he’s been the victim of attempts on his life that make it impossible for him to do the program. The sudden end to “Midnight in the Desert,” which was steadily picking up affiliate stations, caused some in the business to think, “Oh no, here we go again.” But Bell tells TALKERS magazine he wants to be on the radio. Citing three incidents on October 21, November 23 and December 8, Bell says his wife has said, “Enough.” Bell says, “If this jerk is caught I will be back, if not I will wait for some time to pass without incident and then do some non-scheduled shows. I would like my fellow radio people to know this is not what I want.”
Kirby Wilbur to Host Late Morning Show on KVI, Seattle. Last month, Sinclair-owned KVI-Seattle announced that market conservative talk pro Kirby Wilbur would return to the air and KVI in the New Year. Now, the station announces Wilbur will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, effective January 4. Wilbur will be joined for the first hour by current morning drive host John Carlson, then host the next two hours solo. The station is dropping Glenn Beck’s Premiere-syndicated show to make room for Wilbur. KVI program director Rick Van Cise states, “It’s clear our listeners want more local conservative conversation on Seattle radio. And who better to have back-to-back than two of the original Northwest conservative voices who made KVI great.” Wilbur has been off the radio for the past six years. Most recently he’s been the Washington director for Americans for Prosperity heading up the Washington, DC-based National Journalism Center. Wilbur comments, “I’m glad to be back with a new knowledge of the workings of the other Washington as we address local and national issues affecting all of us here.”
WOWO, Fort Wayne Switches FM Frequencies. This is a bit of a downgrade as far as market coverage is concerned since the move of news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne’s FM simulcast is from class A FM WFWI to 75-watt translator W298BJ at 107.5 FM. The heritage station has been heard on WFWI’s 92.3 frequency since Federated Media signed it on in March of 2012. Program director Ryan Reker says, “It’s just a different place to listen to us. The change from 92.3 FM to 107.5 FM means our listeners will need to update their radios to get the same news, weather and talk coverage they listen to now.” WOWO-AM is heard very well throughout northeastern Indiana on its 50,000-watt 1190 kHz signal. No plans have been announced for WFWI-FM’s new format.
Talk Host Kate Delaney Talking Pete Rose Across the Country. Nationally syndicated general issues show host Kate Delaney is guesting on scores of radio shows today (12/15) because of her sports expertise and her knowledge of the Pete Rose decision that came down yesterday from the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office. The commissioner is continuing the ban on Rose working in baseball because of his cover-up of his gambling on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Prior to her “America Tonight” program, Delaney spent a good part of her career in the sports media world covering 15 Super Bowls, 10 Final Fours, 10 U.S. Opens and numerous other sporting events. She also served as sports director of KRLD, Dallas and did a stretch at sports talk WFAN, New York. In addition to her regular show Delaney currently does a weekend shift on the NBC Sports Radio Network.
Odds & Sods. San Francisco all-newser KCBS-AM is being honored with a special finalist citation by the 2016 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for reporter Doug Sovern’s “Unholy Water,” a series of investigative reports that exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese’s installation of an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary’s Cathedral that poured water on homeless people at night to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways, in the middle of the worst drought in California history. The CBS RADIO-owned station will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by veteran newsman Tom Brokaw at Columbia’s Low Library on January19, 2016…..Former WFED, Washington afternoon drive personality Francis Rose is handling a lot of fill-in work this week and next. Rose is sitting in for Larry O’Connor on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s “Drive at Five” all this week, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week. Rose is also in for Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon tonight and that company’s John Batchelor on Wednesday and Friday of this week…..The 27th annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle to benefit Treehouse raised more than $512,000. Treehouse is a nonprofit organization that addresses the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care…..In advance of tonight’s GOP primary debate, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Michael Medved (left) and Dennis Prager (right) are seen at right broadcasting from the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Salem Radio Network is partnering with CNN to provide the audio to radio stations across the country. All five SRN daytime syndicated personalities are broadcasting from Las Vegas. Additionally, SRN is presenting both pre- and post-debate programs co-hosted by Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher. Hewitt is also serving as one of the media panelists on the debate…..Premiere Networks announces it is broadcasting four college bowl games. Available to sports stations nationwide, Premiere will distribute the live play-by-play for the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, all of which are produced by RedVoice Productions LLC…..Cumulus Media announces that the 2015 Mitch Albom S.A.Y. Detroit Radiothon raised $1,002,748 during last Thursday’s event. Albom is afternoon drive host on the company’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. This was the fourth year of the charity broadcast and included special guests Hugh Jackman, Paul Stanley, Billy Bob Thornton, Jane Pauley, JK Simmons, Craig Ferguson, Alice Cooper, Dr. Phil, Tim Allen, Howard Schultz, Dave Barry, John Pizzarelli, Mayor Mike Duggan, Bruce Cornblatt, Kevin Eubanks, Charles Woodson, Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Stan Van Gundy, Brad Ausmus, Dan Gilbert, and Bernie Smilovitz. Pictured here is Mitch Albom (at center) on the remote set during the radiothon.
2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit Agreement, Battle Against IS/Islamic Anti-Terror Alliance, Refugee/Immigration Issues, Looming Freddie Gray Verdict, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the build-up to tonight’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the temporary spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown; the agreement that came out of the Paris Climate Summit and the larger topic of global warming; the battle against Islamic State and the news of a Saudi-led anti-terror coalition; the status of Syrian refugees and the issue of immigration policy in the United States; the expected verdict in the first phase of the Freddie Gray trials in Baltimore; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Art Bell Ends Latest Talk Show Effort Citing Attempts on His Life. Quite suddenly on Friday evening, Art Bell posted on his ArtBell.com website that he would not be going on the air that evening – or ever again, in fact – and explained that he and his family are in danger after recent attempts on his life. Here’s what Bell posted: “I am sorry to have to announce this but I will not be on Tonight or any other night, yes I am going to hang it up. Whoever this crazy person is, they are not stopping and it has come to the point that we as a Family do not feel it is worth the risk. While I think the person or persons are after me, my Wife and now my Daughter are really scared, the other night after the latest incident my Daughter was off in the corner of her bed scared to death as the Police cars came screaming up. I will not put my Family through this. As you all know I dearly love what I do but not at the expense of never ending Terrorism. I want to thank those of you who have shown so much support and it has been my joy, short as it has been to have cracked that Mic open for a last time. This was a Family decision. The girls stuck with me and still would but if one of them were harmed because of what I love doing my life would be over.” Bell had returned to AM/FM radio with a late night program called “Midnight in the Desert” via his Dark Matter Radio Network earlier this fall after years away from broadcast radio. To say this is controversial in the minds of his fans is an understatement. Chatter on the website DreadCentral vacillates between those who are sympathetic to Bell’s claim and those who simply don’t believe a word of it. Regardless, Bell is off the air, seemingly for good. The network intends to provide programming to affiliates for the next 30 days with Rowland Communications Network airing either previous Art Bell-hosted shows or Heather Wade hosting the program.
Three More Years at Salem for Mike Gallagher. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mike Gallagher will remain in his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program on the Salem Radio Network through the end of 2018 after signing a three-year extension. He’s currently heard on some 300 stations nationwide, including new affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Gallagher states, “After 15 years with Salem, I’m still amazed at how fortunate I am to have a radio home at this amazing company. I’m ecstatic and humbled to be continuing for at least another three years with this world-class organization.” Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce comments, “Mike is one of the most talented, entertaining, and informative hosts in the country. What a pleasure it has been to be reunited with him at Salem, and be able to have a small part in the next generation of his talk show host career.”
Legal Analysis: What Do Sam Goldwyn and Geraldo Rivera Have in Common? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman offers his take on the suit against Cumulus Media filed by ousted WABC, New York talk host Geraldo Rivera:
Sam Goldwyn was a legendary movie producer from the early days of Hollywood. In fact, the G in MGM was for Goldwyn. Goldwyn died in 1974. Geraldo Rivera is a legendary and prize winning investigative reporter and media personality who is very much alive. So what do they have in common? Sam Goldwyn was quoted as saying that “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” Once you get over trying to figure out the logic of this statement, the essential truth remains that relying on and proving an oral contract is a difficult task indeed. Geraldo Rivera recently filed a lawsuit in state court in New York alleging that Cumulus Media, Inc., the owner of WABC – 770 AM radio in New York breached an oral, one-year contract with him pursuant to which he was to be paid $600,000 for 2016. In addition, he alleges that Cumulus locked him out of his studio at WABC where he already was working as a talk show host. Geraldo alleges that he had negotiated the contract with then vice president of Cumulus, John Dickey during a lunch meeting in July. However, the contract was never reduced to writing and nothing was signed by the parties. In the fall, there was a change of management at Cumulus in which its founder and CEO Lew Dickey along with John Dickey no longer were involved in active management of the company. Although Cumulus has not, as of the writing of this, responded officially to Rivera’s complaint in court, Cumulus has responded with a statement by Davidson Goldin on behalf of the company which states, “We offered Geraldo Rivera a new contract commensurate with the value of his show and our offer was repeatedly rejected.” As for locking Rivera out of his studio, no contract requires a radio station to give air time to someone under contract. All the station is required to do is to pay the talent. In this case, it would appear that Cumulus would have rather eaten the rest of Rivera’s present contract which would terminate under its own terms at the end of December rather than permit Rivera to air his grievances over the air. As for Rivera, he has stated, “It is not about the money. Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in salary.” What are the real facts? That will be determined in court where Goldwyn’s comment may take on new meaning.
Bubba Lawyers Again Filed Motion to Dismiss Nielsen’s $1 Million Suit. On Friday (12/11), lawyers for Bubba the Love Sponge filed a motion to dismiss the $1 million fraud suit filed against their client by Nielsen Audio. Bubba’s attorneys say that Nielsen can’t prove that it has been damaged by their client’s ratings tampering incident, that allegations of additional attempts to tamper with the ratings have not been proven and Bubba’s already been punished for the one case to which he’d admitted. They also point to Nielsen’s statements after the tampering became public knowledge that the company was able to root out the panelist in question and the rest of the market’s ratings were not adversely affected as proof Nielsen can’t show damages. This filing comes just days after Beasley Media Group re-branded Bubba’s flagship station WBRN, Tampa from “Bubba 998.7” to “98.7 No Rules Rock,” bringing into question whether the business relationship between Bubba and Beasley in Tampa will continue in the New Year.
NYMRAD Issues Third Quarter State of the Market Report. The latest edition of this quarterly report from the New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association is a “comprehensive analysis of the New York marketplace designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its prominent role in the local advertising landscape.” NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan states, “In third quarter, retailers effectively used radio leading up to the holiday shopping season. Radio has always done a terrific job of reaching people on the go, and is a huge benefit for influencing consumers closest to their point of purchase.” Regarding radio advertising in the market, the report’s “research on the department store, mass merchandiser, home improvement, and fast food sectors found that exposure to radio ad campaigns increased sales, number of buyers, and dollars spent. For department stores alone, sales increased by 10%, the number of buyers increased by 3%, and dollars spent per customer increased by 6%.” See the report here.
Odds & Sods. The patriotic rock band Madison Rising is beginning its preparation for its 2016 national tour with the release of its “Soldier’s Christmas” song and video. The presentation honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, along with their families who endure their loss throughout the year and during the holiday season in particular. The band (pictured at right) is on a mission to reignite authentic American culture through great rock music. Its new album American Hero (RED) is dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, along with the police, firefighters and other first responders. The band just completed a 70-city tour, and is preparing to launch its next stretch on January 9…..Toledo market sports talkers WLQR-FM, Delta, Ohio, flips affiliations from CBS Sports Radio Network to ESPN and begins airing much of the latter network’s sports talk shows. The Cumulus-owned station is keeping local personalities Bob Frantz (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mike Miller (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) on the program schedule…..There’s end-of-year programming available from ABC News Radio with programs including: “Playback 2015” with Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky; a year-end edition of “Perspective”; “World News This Year”; “2015 As it Happened”; “The Economy 2015 Year in Review” with ABC News’ chief business and economic correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and ABC News correspondent Richard Davies…..KEGL, Dallas “The Eagle” afternoon personality Russ Martin is thanking police for their work rescuing him after he was the victim of a home invasion. A story in the Frisco Enterprise reports that three masked men ambushed him outside his home, bound him and stole items from his house before escaping in Martin’s 2010 Dodge Challenger. The men have not been apprehended yet. Martin was not harmed.
‘Tis the Season for Sports Talk Radio. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes in a column posted today that this time of year represents what can be a boon for sports talk radio. With the NFL’s season zeroing in on the playoffs and basketball, hockey and college sports also in high gear, the opportunities to get creative from a sales standpoint are numerous. He notes some of the sponsored segments he’s recently encountered during play-by-play broadcasts. “‘The collision of the game’ sponsored by a vehicle repair shop; The ‘injury time-out’ sponsored by a medical group; ‘The gem of the game’ (the best play) sponsored by a jewelry store. I even heard one that was called ‘The catch of the game.’ It was sponsored by a bait and tackle shop! Laugh if you must, but this special creativity has to be acknowledged.” Read the entire column here.
Sid Mark Signs Contract Extension to Continue Hosting ‘Sound of Sinatra.’ The program has been airing in one form or another in Philadelphia for the past 59 years – the last 16 on CBS RADIO’s WPHT – and radio pro Sid Mark will continue to host the nationally syndicated “Sound of Sinatra” after recently inking a contract extension. Mark comments, “My thanks to the management of WPHT, our sponsors and, of course, my listeners for making this possible. Look forward to a big bash for the 60th.” CBS RADIO SVP/market manager for Philadelphia David Yadgaroff adds, “What Frank Sinatra is to music, Sid Mark is to radio. We are so happy to continue the tradition that Sid started 59 years ago.” As legend has it, “The Sounds of Sinatra” began with a call from a listener, who suggested that Mark spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra,” which presently airs on WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s still heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast and is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.
Bringing Joy to the Ugly. Nationally syndicated (GCN) talk star Dr. Joy Browne invited listeners to enter photos on Facebook for her annual “Ugliest Christmas Sweater” contest. She came up with two winners – both who work as interns at the York Theatre Company’s current Broadway production of a musical titled “Plaid Tidings.” Pictured (l-r) Daniel Lees, Dr. Joy Browne, and Lucas Camp. York Theatre Company’s slogan is “Where musicals come to life.”
Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit and Tomorrow’s GOP Debate Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The passage of a week-long spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown after this week; the ‘Paris Agreement’ climate deal inked among the U.S. and 185 other countries; and tomorrow night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas were some of the top news/talk stories discussed on weekend talk radio programs, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KOA, Denver’s Mike Rosen Dials Back Radio Duties; Mandy Connell to Assume Midday Show. Denver talk radio icon Mike Rosen is stepping down from his daily midday talk show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” after close to 30 years with the station. Rosen – also a longtime columnist for The Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post – will continue to work with the company’s Denver talk stations as a contributor, a regular weekend host and a political commentator. He’ll also serve as an occasional guest host on both KOA and sister KHOW “TalkRadio 630.” Rosen comments, “Doing my brand of radio, with 24/7 research and show prep, takes a work week of more than 60 hours. After 35 years on-air, I’ve decided to give myself a little more well-earned leisure time as I pass my 71st birthday. I’ve been with KOA for almost 30 years and have loved every minute of it. It’s a wonderful station with a glorious history and a great team of people. I couldn’t bring myself to just walk away from it, and a full-fledged retirement wouldn’t suit a Type-A guy like me. So, I’m delighted to still have a presence with KOA as a part-time, on-air contributor. While this may disappoint my long-time loyal listeners, to whom I’m eternally grateful, I hope they will find a little of Mike Rosen at least better than none at all.” KOA program director Greg Foster is moving current KHOW morning drive host Mandy Connell to Rosen’s midday show, effective January 4. He comments, “Mandy has a knack for creating solid, entertaining shows. Nobody can replace Mike Rosen, but we’re confident that Mike’s fans will connect with Mandy and she’ll bring a new perspective to KOA NewsRadio.” Foster has not announced who will assume the morning show duties on KHOW.
Geraldo Follows Through on Promise to Sue Cumulus for Breach of Contract. After being “locked out” of the WABC, New York studios in late November with Cumulus Media apparently deciding it was ready to end Geraldo Rivera’s midday talk show on the station, Rivera said he would sue Cumulus Media for reneging on its deal to extend his contract through 2016. Bloomberg Business is reporting the suit was filed on Wednesday (12/8). Cumulus has not commented on the matter but Rivera says, in a suit filed in New York, that his agent negotiated a deal to extend his $600,000 per year deal with then-Cumulus EVP John Dickey, which he alleges new Cumulus leaders broke upon assuming control of the company. Back in November, Rivera threatened the suit via his Facebook page on which he wrote: “It is not about the money…Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.”
Elisa Jaffe Named Afternoon Anchor at KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle. Seattle all-news KOMO-AM/FM lost a valued broadcaster this past August when Jane Shannon passed away unexpectedly. Now, the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned station announces that KOMO-TV news pro Elisa Jaffe will co-anchor the afternoon drive program with Tom Glasgow from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. KOMO-AM/FM program director Rick Van Cise states, “Elisa is known and respected around the Northwest for her decades of hosting KOMO-TV’s ‘Northwest Afternoon’ and anchoring and reporting on KOMO 4 News. She brings the perfect balance of personality, news credibility and compassionate storytelling to KOMO’s drive home.” Jaffe comments on her new position, “I could never fill our friend Jane Shannon’s shoes but it’s an honor to follow in her footsteps.”
Odds & Sods. Filling in today on iHeartMedia’s South Florida sports talker WINZ, Miami is former WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower who hosts Andy Slater’s 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program…..Good Karma-owned sports talker WUUB-FM, West Palm Beach “ESPN West Palm” announces Miami Dolphins EVP of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is joining the station for a weekly edition of its “ESPN West Palm Tonight” program as a recurring guest. Tannenbaum will join host Jeremy Marks-Peltz Thursdays at 6:20 pm through the Super Bowl. He’ll discuss the latest news from the Miami Dolphins and the NFL, and give his perspective as a current front office executive, and former agent and general manager…..FOX Sports Radio syndicated sports talk host Jay Mohr is nominated for a Grammy Award for his recent comedy album Happy. The actor and comedian released the album that’s the result of his one-hour comedy special filmed during the Santa Barbara LOL Comedy Festival. It features a “hilarious set of intimate stand-up comedy stories about his marriage to Nikki Cox, raising two kids, and great lessons in ironic behavior. This special aired on Showtime Comedy and has the distinction of being written entirely by Cox, who for years has been Mohr’s trusted collaborator and creative partner.”
Trump Muslim Ban Proposal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 7-11. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal that all Muslims be prevented from entering the country to prevent terrorist strikes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates. At #3 was the San Bernardino shootings aftermath, followed by the Paris Climate Summit at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Guardian Fund Annual Appeal Underway. Most broadcasters are aware of the outstanding work that the Broadcasters Foundation of America does aiding broadcasters and their families who are beset by unforeseen disasters or medical emergencies. Now, in an appeal to the industry titled, “Taking Care of Our Own,” Guardian Fund chairman and Whitney Media president and editorial director William O’Shaughnessy cites BFoA vice chair Dick Foreman who says, “It’s really all about taking care of our own.” O’Shaughnessy states, “We are broadcasters. And on that, and that alone, do we base our appeal to assist the hurting and almost forgotten in our own tribe.” The BFoA reports that “last year, relying on your essential and vital contributions to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund, we dispatched almost $850,000 in life-sustaining grants. We need your urgent assistance to continue that mission.” It’s simple to make an online contribution by going to the BFoA’s site here.
Salem Cleveland Names Isaacs GM. After spending nine years at the company’s Atlanta operation as director of sales, Kevin Isaacs transfers to Salem Media Group Cleveland to become general manager. Salem vice president of operations Mike Moran states, “Having worked with Kevin since he joined the company, I have seen first-hand his business skills, passion, creativity, and leadership. Kevin brings the added benefit of being a native Ohioan with deep ties to the state. I believe with Kevin we have a leader who will guide our Cleveland team and this cluster to new heights.” In advance of his Atlanta tenure, Isaacs was director of sales for iHeartMedia Greensboro and general sales manager for Susquehanna Radio properties in Houston and Indianapolis. None of the four stations in Salem’s Cleveland cluster – talk WHK, religious WHKW, religious WHKZ, and contemporary Christian WFHM – appears in the latest (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM report.
Sickles Named Alpha Media Corporate Marketing Manager. Previously director of urban promotions and community affairs for Alpha Media Louisville, Valerie Sickles is upped to the corporate level where she is now corporate marketing manager. Alpha says Sickles will remain based in Louisville and will focus “mainly on the East Coast and centrally located Alpha markets with brand/station marketing, contesting, promotions and event facilitation.” She’ll report to Alpha vice president of marketing Randi P’Pool, who comments, “I’ve worked with Valerie for quite some time at the market level and have been impressed with her passion, drive and energy. She’s a great addition to the Alpha marketing team and I’m very excited to have her on board to help us continue growing all of our live and local brands.”
Odds & Sods. John Candelaria is promoted to operations manager for the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas cluster. In this position, he’ll work with news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer…..Joining the Sunday night program schedule at Beasley Media Group’s WHFS-AM, Tampa “MoneyTalk 1010” is “The Dougherty Report” with host Elizabeth Dougherty. Dougherty describes her as a show “about people, not politics and focuses on issues and news of the day with no political rhetoric.”
Trump Muslim Ban Proposal, 2016 Presidential Race, San Bernardino Shootings Aftermath/Gun Control, Chicago Police Protests, Russia’s Military Involvement in Syria, Paris Climate Summit, Report on State of Middle Class, and New Star Wars: The Force Awakens Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The furor over GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the investigation into the shooting deaths in San Bernardino and the political issue of potential gun control legislation; protests in Chicago over the shooting deaths of black men at the hands of police and the political fallout from the controversy; Russia’s military role in the Syrian civil conflict and its targeting of Islamic State; the climate summit in Paris and the issue of global warming; reactions to a recent Pew Research study pointing to the continued shrinking of the American middle class; and anticipation of the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Pioneer Wendy King Dies at 92. The co-host of the KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh late-night show “Party Line” died on December 5 after a brief hospital stat at age 92. Wendy King, along with her late husband Ed King, co-hosted the program on KDKA from 1951 until her husband’s untimely death at age 50 in 1971. The show took its name from the old party line telephone service in which neighbors shared a common phone line. The broadcast technology of the times didn’t allow callers to the show to actually be heard on the air so the King’s would paraphrase what callers would say. Like so many shows of its era, the program wasn’t about political events but consisted of the kind of chatter you’d hear at a party – neighbors sharing stories with neighbors – plus a healthy dose of contests in which callers could take part. King was honored for her work in the industry at the 2010 Talkers Conference in New York City with a special video tribute produced by Art Vuolo. Photo: KDKA.
Hillsdale College Launches Talk Radio Initiative. The Hillsdale, Michigan conservative liberal arts college is preparing to bring its low-power FM radio station WRFH into the lives of its students. Operating since this past summer and airing exclusively patriotic music, the station is poised to begin becoming a part of the school’s journalism studies. Although the school does not offer a Journalism major – it prefers all students major in traditional liberal arts — Hillsdale’s John Miller (a former 18-year staffer at The National Review) says the radio station will offer a hands-on approach to this form of broadcasting. “We have a demanding core at the college. You learn journalism by doing journalism — not by sitting in a classroom listening to a professor rattle on about it. We do a little bit of classroom instruction, but we try to put students in a position where they can practice journalism at our campus paper or at the radio station. I teach a class about writing style, but we do not lard up our curriculum with all kinds of courses that justify our jobs. I am one of the few professors on campus who does not possess a PhD. I got this job because of my work experience.” How the station came into being and what the school’s plans are for the station is an interesting story. Read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s piece about “Radio Free Hillsdale” here.
Russ Rollins Re-Ups with iHeartMedia’s ‘Real Radio 104.1’ in Orlando. The ringleader of the “Monsters in the Morning” show on iHeartMedia’s hot talker WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” announces he’s inked a three-year extension with the station. Russ Rollins says he’s had offers to go to other stations in other markets but he’s never entertained them because his heart is with WTKS and he’s proud of what his show has accomplished over the past 24 years. “We introduced a multi-cast show that is goofy and fun. With songs, skits, bits, jokes, swerves and live events no radio show has been able to reproduce – a show not meant to change the world, just meant to brighten your day. I’m proud to say this is what ‘Real Radio 104.1’ has become today…Real Radio has been the gold standard and the anomaly in this industry. No other market has been able to reproduce what we at ‘Real Radio’ have created. I’m proud of that.”
KXTG-AM, Portland Signs New PM Show ‘Fletcher and Chop.’ A new afternoon drive sports talk show begins on Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM, Portland “750/102.9 The Game.” Current Alpha Media Portland personalities Fletcher Johnson and Pork Chop sign a multi-year deal to host “Afternoons with Fletcher and Chop.” Johnson has been with Alpha Media since 2009, and Pork Chop since 2011. Alpha Media EVP of programming, Scott Mahalick says, “It gives me great pleasure to once again be able to promote from within the ranks of Alpha Media and showcase the talents of two of our rising knowledgeable sports experts. What sets them apart is the humor, entertainment and unique perspective these two Portlanders bring to the audience.”
Salem Media Group Takes KDZR, Portland Conservative Talk and Business. The former Radio Disney outlet in Portland, Oregon is now airing a conservative talk and business talk format featuring talk shows from Salem Radio Network. Salem announced its intent to purchase the station (along with four other former Radio Disney properties) back in September. The station is airing SRN’s Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Steve Deace, and Eric Metaxas plus business shows hosted by Ray Lucia, Moe Ansari, Del Walmsley and Bill Gunderson. Station general manager Dennis Hayes says, “We are proud to be launching our new station to serve the Portland community with quality news and business programming.”
Odds & Sods. From New York City, talk personality Kevin McCullough reports that his program “After Hours with Kevin McCullough” is doing well in its new time slot on Salem Media Group-owned WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” McCullough says his show moved from the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot in early November…..There’s a new head of comedy at SiriusXM as the satcaster announces Jack Vaughn is the SVP of comedy programming. Vaughn comes to SiriusXM from his most recent position with New Wave Entertainment where he was SVP, production and distribution. There he was the creator of Comedy Central Records, the Grammy Award-winning record label that was home to comedians such as Mitch Hedberg, Amy Schumer, Jim Gaffigan, Dane Cook, Kevin Hart, Lewis Black, Daniel Tosh, and Denis Leary among others…..ABC Radio is presenting a special series titled, “Countdown to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” It runs through Friday, December 18 with each feature including “audio from legendary Star Wars cast members, past and present as well as various interviews from celebrities who share their love for the franchise as well as their excitement about the new film.”…..WAMU, Washington public radio talk personality Diane Rehm is retiring after next fall’s presidential elections. Rehm began hosting the midday show on American University’s WAMU in 1979. Her show is syndicated to approximately 200 stations across the country.
Trump ‘Muslim Ban’ Proposal, 2016 Presidential Race, San Bernardino Shootings Aftermath, Islamic State Using U.S.-Made Weapons, Paris Summit-Climate Change Controversy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens Hype, and Golden State Undefeated Streak Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/8). The furor of Donald Trump’s unwillingness to back down on his call to stop all Muslims from being granted entrance into the U.S.; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing investigation into the background of the two shooters in the deadly San Bernardino slayings; a report that Islamic State is using old, U.S.-made weapons; the negotiations taking place in Paris at the climate summit and the controversy over global warming theories; the intense interest in the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens; and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors continuing its undefeated season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Affiliate Roundup. News from WYM Media states that both the Thom Hartmann show and the Leslie Marshall show are now being heard in the Phoenix market on KPHX. Also, effective today (12/9), the Stephanie Miller show is being heard daily in morning drive on KCAA, Loma Linda, California and its translator K293CF, Moreno Valley at 106.5 FM…..“Into Tomorrow” with host Dave Graveline begins airing on WRKO, Boston on Sunday mornings beginning this weekend.
The Importance of Musical Soundtracks to Films. Two of modern cinema’s leading composers, the multi-award-winning brothers Mychael and Jeff Danna, join Michael Harrison in this week’s installment of PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” The Danna Brothers composed the stunning soundtrack of the new Disney/Pixar animated feature “The Good Dinosaur” and discuss the techniques that went into creating a soundscape for the larger-than-life computer imagery generated in this latest animated epic. The fascinating conversation also delves into the role movie music plays in manipulating the emotions of the viewer as well as the rise of “World Music” as a genre influencing pop culture in Western society. To hear the entire conversation please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Williams to Program Denver’s KKFN & KEPN. Currently the program director of Townsquare Media Albany (New York) sports outlet WTMM-FM “104.5 ESPN The Team,” Armen Williams will join Bonneville Denver’s KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN “1600 The Zone” in a similar capacity the middle of next month. According to Bonneville Denver vice president and market manager Bob Call, “Armen brings a perfect balance of winning sports radio programming, plus an exceptional knowledge of digital media. Armen has worked with a number of high-profile sports personalities through his career, plus he developed some solid NFL play-by-play network experience.” Williams – who co-hosts WTMM’s afternoon drive show in addition to his PD duties – states, “I am excited to be part of one of the best sports radio brands in the country. ‘The Fan’ is a first-class organization and Bonneville is a great company. I am looking forward to working with the extremely talented staff to continue giving Denver sports fans the highest quality of sports talk radio.” Before his tenure at Albany’s “Team,” Williams was a producer for CBS Radio-owned KRLD “The Fan,” Dallas, where he worked with the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network; he previously worked in the promotions department at KESN “ESPN Radio,” Dallas. According to 6+ stats from Denver’s most recent (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM results, KKFN ranks #16 (3.6, up one full-share from September‘s 2.6) and KEPN is #33 (.1); Entercom classic rocker KQMT “The Mountain” is #1 with a 6.3 (6+). The only stations listed in Nielsen Audio’s summer 2015 report for Albany are five iHeartMedia outlets.
Gallagher Meets Cruz on Campaign Trail; Salem Preparing for December 15 GOP Debate Coverage. While in South Carolina on the campaign trail, GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stopped to speak with Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher in Greenville. Gallagher (right) is pictured here conducting the one-on-one with Cruz (left). (A Monmouth University study has Cruz polling ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa right now with 24%.) Meanwhile, Salem Radio Network has exclusive radio distribution of the CNN/Facebook Presidential Debate at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. SRN says Bill Bennett, Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt will all originate their programs from the hotel on December 14 and 15. SRN’s Hewitt will serve on the CNN debate panel as well. SRN SVP Phil Boyce will serve as live announcer for the network’s radio coverage, and SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup will be executive producer of all on-site SRN shows and the CNN/Facebook Debate coverage.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Raises $316,000 for Fisher House Foundation. Last Friday and Saturday (12/4-5), Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington held its second annual “Operation Fisher House 2015 Radiothon” and raised $316,000 for the charity that builds and provides group homes for families of America’s wounded servicemen and women as they undergo treatment. The station reports that over the past 12 years WMAL listeners have donated almost $5 million dollars to the Fisher House Foundation. Station program director Bill Hess comments, “Our listeners step up year after year. Their response to our talent and the stories of these heroes and their families is incredibly rewarding.”
More Than $277,000 Raised at Annual WOAI Elf Louise Broadcast. The Elf Louise Christmas Project charity was founded in 1969 and this year iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI, San Antonio held its 20th annual two-day radiothon on December 4 and 5 to raise funds for the charity that helps buy Christmas presents for more than 19,000 children in the area. In addition to listeners donating money, several benefactors helped, including local attorney Thomas J. Henry whose family pledged to match 25% of every donation up to $200,000 and ended up donating $50,000. Pictured here at the broadcast are (from l-r): WOAI personalities Cari Laque, Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo and charity founder Louise Locker.
Odds & Sods. Programmer Jeff Beck is promoted to operations manager for the Alpha Media Fredericksburg, Virginia cluster that includes news/talk/sports simulcast WNTX-AM/W243BS at 96.5 FM…..Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle is hosting the 27th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon on December 10 to benefit the Treehouse, a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond. The past three years, KIRO Radio Foster Child Holiday Magic Program has raised more than $500,000 each year through listener donation and sponsor matching funds. “Ron & Don Show” co-host Don O’Neill says, “Each year at KIRO Radio we strive to give every foster child in Washington State a gift during the holiday season. A holiday gift is a symbol, a reminder to a young person that they are important, they are part of our village, and they have not been forgotten! We can’t wait to spread a little Holiday Magic again this year, with the help of all our great listeners throughout the Pacific Northwest!”
Obama’s San Bernardino Address, Trump Anti-Muslim Rhetoric/2016 Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Turkey-Russian Tensions, Iran Missile Test, NFL Action, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). Reaction to President Obama’s Sunday evening national address on the San Bernardino shootings; GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s post-San Bernardino statements about preventing any Muslims from entering the United States and the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the military campaign against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and beyond; the ongoing tensions between Turkey and Russia; allegations Iran has fired a test rocket in violation of the recently signed nuclear deal; the weekend’s NFL action; and anticipation over the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pioneering DC Sports Talker Ken Beatrice Dies at 72. A trailblazing radio sports talk host in Washington passed away at age 72 after a bout with pneumonia. Ken Beatrice hosted an evening sports talk show on WMAL-AM from 1977 through 1995. He worked another five years at crosstown WTEM, retiring in 2000. Beatrice is credited with providing WMAL with thorough and insightful coverage of the NFL’s Washington Redskins during the team’s successful years in the 1980s through early 1990s. Steve Repsher writes a homage to Beatrice in the Washington Post here.
Nielsen Client Conference Wrap-Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report summing up the events at the Friday sessions of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. In this piece, he reports on Edison Research president Larry Rosin’s one-on-one with progressive talk personality Stephanie Miller; Arnold Worldwide Global creative officer Jim Elliott’s presentation about creating advertising that works; a report on the music habits of Millennials from Nielsen Entertainment VP Insights and Analytics Julianne Schiffer; plus thoughts about the radio business from Millennial Zach Sang and Baby Boomer Mark Thompson. Read Holland Cooke’s entire report here.
Radio One Re-Brands One-Time Urban Talker WDBZ, Cincinnati ‘Praise 1230.’ And the format is mostly gospel music now on WDBZ “Praise 1230, Cincinnati’s Inspiration Station.” Gone are almost all of the secular talk shows that were heard when it was “1230 The Buzz,” except for live and local personality Lincoln Ware (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) and the Reach Media-syndicated Al Sharpton program. WLWT-TV, Cincinnati reports that callers to Ware’s program are promising a letter-writing campaign to the station, with one caller complaining that WDBZ was “the only voice we had.” However, Gospel music promoter Tracey Artis tells WLWT-TV, “I don’t think Radio One would have considered taking down that format if it was profitable for them.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Ramps Up Radio Appearances to Get Message Out. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was not the most radio friendly politician during his first 20 months in office. According to John Dawsey’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, he did less than 30 radio shows during that period. But, with sagging approval ratings, de Blasio has made 30 appearances in the last three months – even on radio shows hosted by conservatives. WOR, New York’s Todd Schnitt and Len Berman worked for 10 months to get de Blasio on the program and just had him on in November. Schnitt is quoted saying, “Now, he’s doing a full on PR offensive because his numbers are taking a hit. An outside consultant or some genius on the inside must have said to him, ‘We’ve got to boost the ratings here.’” Mayoral staffers say radio is a great medium to get the message straight to constituents. Read the whole piece here.
A Dickens of a Fundraiser. Last Tuesday (12/1), WTMJ, Milwaukee presented a live, radio play version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” before a sold out crowd at the city’s Turner Hall Ballroom. Station personality Charlie Sykes starred as Ebenezer Scrooge, the voice of the Green Bay Packers, Wayne Larrivee, served as the narrator. All of WTMJ’s hosts were joined on stage by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and other surprise guests. Proceeds from the event donated thousands of dollars to the station’s “Kids2Kids” program. Audio of the live performance will air on WTMJ on Saturday, December 19 and will play again on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Odds & Sods. Radio news pro Doug Limerick is retiring from ABC News Radio on December 18 after a 33-year career with the news organization. Limerick got his start in radio while still in high school. He got his first news gig as an anchor at WKIX, Raleigh. He then moved to WSGN, Birmingham; WBT, Charlotte; and WHDH, Boston before relocating to Washington and ABC’s WRQX in 1979. He started at ABC News Radio in 1982. ABC News Radio says its award-winning Cheri Preston will move to morning anchor duties effective Monday, January 4…..Talk radio pro Chad Wilkinson exits Newsmax where he’s been executive producer for the company’s Newsmax TV division for the past three years…..A former New Orleans radio staffer has been arrested for allegedly using photocopied ID information from radio station contest winners to create fraudulent accounts with cable companies and media services. Bryan Bienemy reportedly worked for sports talker KLRZ, New Orleans “ESPN 100.3” and also worked for the Cumulus Media station group in the market.
San Bernardino Aftermath and President Obama’s Sunday Address Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The aftermath of the deadly shootings in San Bernardino, the related issue of Islamic State-inspired terror attacks on American soil and President Obama’s Sunday evening address to the nation about the issues were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk stations over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
RIP Brad Saul. Radio pro Brad Saul passed away at his home in Chicago on Friday, December 4 at age 55 after a 25-year battle with multiple sclerosis. Saul was president and CEO of WebTalkRadio.net and was CEO of radio syndicator Matrix Media. He is survived by his wife Debbie, and his 16-year-old triplets, Gabrielle, Brennan and Griffen. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian writes more about Saul and his career here.
Cumulus Media Nabs Rob Stadler for WYAY, Atlanta Mornings. Market news pro Rob Stadler is joining Cumulus Media’s WYAY-FM, Atlanta “News Radio 106.7” to serve as executive producer and host of “The Morning News.” Stadler was the voice for morning news and information on crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” for almost 30 years. During that time, he was named “Atlanta’s Best Newscaster” 10 times by the Achievement in Radio Awards (AIR) while serving as the station’s news director. He also earned two Edward R. Murrow awards from the RTDNA for broadcast journalism excellence, and was also recognized by the Georgia Associated Press for “Best Newscast.” He’ll make his inaugural appearance for “News Radio 106.7” as host for the “Making Miracles Marathon” on Friday, December 11, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and he’ll begin hosting the morning show on December 16. WYAY program director Greg Tantum states, “Rob has been a part of the Atlanta morning landscape for nearly three decades – not only on the radio, but with his community involvement. Rob has the unique ability to blend his deep news background with the understanding of how to keep an audience engaged and entertained while dealing with nightmare commutes in Atlanta.”
Price: It’s Not IF Anymore…But WHEN. It may be a reality that no one wants to face, but ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column for TALKERS/RadioInfo today (12/4) that radio stations need to prepare for the possibility that an act of destructive violence can happen in their markets. In reference to Wednesday’s San Bernardino shootings, Price says that local news/talk radio stations he monitored stayed with national programs while the story was breaking. Yes, those shows were talking about the shootings, but he believes stations in the market should “own” the story in a way out-of-market stations don’t have to. “Even if we acknowledge the cost constraints that today make it so difficult to sustain a round-the-clock news operation at most stations, in my personal view, operators do a disservice to their communities if they don’t at least have a PLAN for flushing their formats and throwing any and every live body into coverage of catastrophic local events.” Read Price’s column here.
More from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke (pictured here) reports from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference (formerly the old “Consultant Fly-In”). This batch of notes comes from yesterday afternoon’s sessions and covers Dr. Ed Cohen’s presentation of data from his study, “The Class of 2015: Four Years in the Lives of Digital Natives”; podcasting and its relationship with radio; plus more research about the behavior of radio’s P1s. See Holland Cooke’s notes here.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl 24 Scheduled for February 5 at the Wells Fargo Center. What started as a small promotion 23 years ago has grown into one of sports talk radio’s biggest events that now fills Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center each year. The annual chicken wing eating contest has evolved to present winners in three divisions: the overall winner, the local winner and the collegiate winner. WIP morning show co-host Al Morganti, co-founded Wing Bowl 23 years ago with host Angelo Cataldi, and he says, “In a year where everything has seemed to go wrong with sports in Philadelphia, it never goes wrong at Wing Bowl! We win every year so if you’re disappointed with Philadelphia’s sports teams, you won’t be disappointed with this year’s ‘Game of Bones’ – Wing Bowl 24.” Tickets go on sale on December 8. This year’s event is presented by title sponsors Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino. Prizes this year include: For the overall winner, a 2016 Harley-Davidson FLSTF Softail Fat Boy Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson, a custom Wing Bowl 24 championship ring and $10,000 in cash courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers; the local winner receives a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown; and the top collegiate eater will win $5000 in cash.
Odds & Sods. After 18 years in morning drive Bob Levy and wife Marianne Levy are shuttering the Bob & Marianne in the Morning show on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WOBM-AM, Lakewood Township, New Jersey. Marianne Levy will continue her role with the station on the Preferred Home Health Care-sponsored “Preferred Company” show that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Taking over mornings on WOBM-AM is Jeremy Grunin, effective January 4. Bob Levy will continue to host the Sunday “Topic A” public affairs program that airs on WOBM-AM and sister AC WOBM-FM…..An FM translator is boosting the signal of Saga Communications’ sports talk simulcast (now trimulcast!) WISE/WYSE in the Asheville, North Carolina market. “ESPN Asheville” is now heard on W247BV at 97.3 FM…..Legendary New York sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo are teaming up for a charity reunion show at Madison Square Garden to benefit MSG’s Garden of Dreams Foundation. Sports talk fans have been anticipating some sort of reunion of the two after recent reports of friendly chat between them about the possibility. They haven’t worked together since their split in 2008 when Russo left CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The reunion event takes place on March 30…..NUVO managing editor (and Indy radio personality) Ed Wenck conducted an interview with Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom show to mark Kevoian’s retirement from the show and the business at the end of the year. This cool piece touches on everything from how Kevoian and Tom Griswold became radio partners to how their show took off at WFBQ, Indianapolis in the mid-1980s. Check it out here.
San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control Top Talk Radio Stories This Week. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30- December 4 was the deadly San Bernardino shootings tied with the related topic of gun control, tying atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the Paris climate summit followed by Russia-Turkey tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talk Radio Pro Rusty Humphries to Host ‘Trending Today USA’ to Launch in January. The new program comes from USA Radio Networks where CEO Floyd Brown has “tasked radio veteran Rusty Humphries with re-imagining the talk radio format.” The result is the new talk show “Trending Today USA” and will be hosted by Humphries beginning January 11. Humphries says, “This program will focus on what America is discussing, viewing and sharing in social media. Everything has been reimagined, from the network commercials, to the music, to the way the news is being presented –this will be talk radio for the social media mindset!” The company says the new show “will give affiliates programming that appeals to a multi-generational audience in the same way social media has done. It will provide advertisers and agencies with the audience they covet and make the show a commercial success.” Humphries adds, “Don’t get me wrong, there are some very talented people on the air today, but the industry needs some shaking up. Listeners have moved away from traditional platforms and are spending their time on social media. We’re producing a show which will not showcase my opinions, but will showcase the social news being devoured by Americans. I believe this show, and others like it, will restore talk programing to prominence. It will breathe life into a format aching for resuscitation. Americans are consuming news more than ever, but they are doing it on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. With that in mind, I have worked with a group of social media giants to craft a show that lowers the bellicose and increases the pacing and news. I am more proud of this program than anything I have done in radio to date.”
Report from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Maryland at the Nielsen Audio Client Conference and he files this report with TALKERS. Some of the topics addressed at the conference include the growth of Black and Hispanic radio audiences, their loyal use of the medium and their importance to the future of radio; Washington urban radio icon Donnie Simpson’s thoughts about broadening programming; plus a granular look at a radio station’s audience and the importance of “Super Fans.” Read it all here.
iHeartMedia Names Sara McClure Sacramento Market President. The new market president for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group is Sara McClure, who takes over for John Geary, allowing him to return to his retirement. This is a promotion for McClure who was serving as SVP of sales for the cluster. She joined iHeartMedia in 2013 after 15 years with Entercom. She says, “I am thrilled to take this next step in my career. Becoming president of iHeartMedia Sacramento, which is my hometown, is very special. iHeartMedia is a company of opportunity where I can operate within a culture that is consistent with how I do business. I look forward to delivering results to our clients and fantastic products to our listeners, while creating an environment for our team that allows them to excel as part of a dynamic organization in a rapidly evolving industry.” iHeartMedia operates hip hop KHYL “V101.1,” news/talk KFBK, talk KSTE, adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and country KBEB “B 92.5.”
WGN, Chicago Names Steve Grzanich News Anchor. Veteran Chicago journalist and broadcaster Steve Grzanich joins the news staff at Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to anchor the daily 5:00 am to 6:00 am program, “The Opening Bell.” The station says the show will be a “fast-paced hour for investors, entrepreneurs, innovators and every Chicagoan who wants to better understand how their money moves around the planet and their workplace.” Vice president of programming and content Todd Manley states, “You will get much more than the numbers with Steve. You’ll get the plotlines and the characters that fuel the business world from one of our town’s greatest reporters.” In addition to anchoring “The Opening Bell,” Grzanich will be part of the Steve Cochran morning drive show working alongside news anchor Andrea Darlas. Grzanich spent 20 years with CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM and is a contributing reporter at Chicago-based Rivet Radio.
Hillsdale College Names Scot Bertram Station Manager for WRFH. The new radio station at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan has its general manager as the school hires Scot Bertram of WROK in Rockford, Illinois to assume the role next semester. Bertram is currently program director and morning host at the Townsquare Media-owned news/talk station. Bertram says, “The combination of Hillsdale and radio was immediately appealing. It fit like a glove — my interests, passions, and skills. I’m looking forward to working with the students, people who want to take part, want to learn more. The ability to speak extemporaneously and think on your feet, is a skill applicable to many professions.” Gold Bold Media Group founder and president Vince Benedetto, who donated the resources for Hillsdale’s radio station, says Bertram’s caliber is a tribute to Hillsdale’s reputation. “He has all the skill sets that are critical to getting the radio program off the ground for the college and doing something historic that they’re going to be working on.” In addition to his work with the station, Bertram will teach a broadcasting course as a journalism elective.
Sun Broadcast Group’s Jason Bailey Named Honorary Trustee for the Alliance for Women in Media. The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation announce Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey is the newest Honorary Trustee. The Honorary Trustee program at AWM/F offers senior executives the opportunity to engage and influence the strategy of AWM/F and its support of women in media. The program highlights ways to work together that are exclusive to Honorary Trustees and not available at any other partnership level through the Alliance for Women in Media or the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. AWM/F chair and SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications Kristen Welch states, “The Honorary Trustee program serves as an avenue for innovative, passionate media C-levels to get involved with advancing and supporting women in media. We are proud to add Jason Bailey to our Honorary Trustee program and look forward to seeing how his passion for innovation and radio are reflected in his contributions to the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation.”
Odds & Sods. Flint, Michigan news/talk WWCK “Supertalk 1570” fills the morning drive slot with market media pro Michael J. Thorp. He takes over for the retired Lou Lobsinger, effective Monday, December 7 at the Cumulus Media-owned station. Thorp worked for years in local television hosting the morning show on WJRT-TV…..Regine Schlesinger retires from CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM/WCFS-FM, Chicago after a 42-year career there. She was most recently a reporter and anchor for the station…..Yahoo! Sports Radio will launch new shows on the network beginning in January. A new program with host Joe Spano will air in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot; Matt Perrault moves from a fill-in role to hosting his own 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily show; Lewis Woodward joins the network for a “vital role during weekends,” and the new “Nothing But Net” show hosted by former NBA guard Troy Hudson launches next Thursday (12/10) from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Emmy Award-winning sports reporter and KNX, Los Angeles sports correspondent Randy Kerdoon launches a new weekly podcast on PodcastOne titled, “Talking About Cars.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Randy’s connections and knowledge of the auto industry is sure to be entertaining, and podcasts about cars are increasingly popular. He’s a radio pro right here in my hometown. It’s safe to say PodcastOne is populated with some serious car freaks, starting with Adam Carolla and including me, so we’re all hoping this hometown boy makes good.”…..One of talk radio’s favorite guests, Peter D. Kiernan, author of the best-selling Becoming China’s Bitch (Turner, 2012), has won two major independent book awards for his latest book, “American Mojo Lost and Found: Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By” (Turner, 2015). The prestigious 2015 Royal Dragonfly Book Award Contest recognized Kiernan in two categories: first place in the Business and Finance and Historical Non-Fiction categories.
Gifts, Gadgets, Gizmos and Hi-Tech Holiday Goodies. Noted media consultant Holland Cooke joins host Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne international hit for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out,” posted today (12/1). The two talk about the latest technological marvels that are the hot stocking stuffers this holiday season… and then some. They delve into the world of drones, driverless cars, and gadgets within the expanding “Internet of Things” that keep tabs on their owners — such as toothbrushes that inform your dentist about the health of your teeth, baby clothes that inform parents about the well-being of their sleeping child and refrigerators that order replacements when you are running out of milk. Harrison and Cooke cover a wide spectrum of items from low-tech 20th century devices such as the Slinky and yo-yos to the modern-day Apple Watch and the coming practice of embedding chips into the human body. They discuss the implications of this new unfolding era on privacy and other significant aspects of sociology. To hear the entire conversation please click here or click on the player boxes in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Syracuse Family ‘Wins’ Waffles with Wainwright. Last month, WSYR, Syracuse morning drive host Mark Wainwright urged listeners to invite him and the WSYR morning show into their home for a live broadcast and – waffles! Much to Wainwright’s surprise, numerous families competed to host the show on November 12. The “winning” family was John and Katie Femenella and their kids (Wainwright is pictured here at the mic with John Femenella at left). In addition to hosting the broadcast from their kitchen, Anthony Donofrio, executive chef of the Modern Malt, prepared breakfast for all. Wainwright says, “John and Katie and their kids were terrific. We could not have had a warmer or more enthusiastic reception. For much of the morning, it felt like the whole neighborhood showed up. When I compared notes with John later, we realized there might have been one or two crashers in the crowd. John thought they were Katie’s friends, and Katie thought they were John’s friends! Maybe they were relatives of the neighbors? Anyway, everybody was nice, and the Modern Malt folks were very impressed by the turnout. I really enjoy promotions where listeners are actively engaged, and this was a perfect example.”
San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Turkey Military Tensions, Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Controversy, and DiCaprio Bear Rape Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that took the lives of 14, plus the related issue of gun control; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military tensions between Turkey and Russia over the downing of a Russian fighter and allegations Turkey is buying oil from an IS-controlled region; the larger topic of the battle against Islamic State; the controversy over how to deal with refugees from the Syrian civil conflict; and the flap over a scene in the new Leonardo DiCaprio film in which some reviewers say DiCaprio’s character is raped by a bear were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Midwest Communications Names Areka Spencer to Corporate Position. Promoted from her role as news director at Midwest Communications’ WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is Areka Spencer, who will begin the New Year as national director of digital and on-air news content for the company. Midwest Communications national director of news/talk programming Jerry Bader says that in this newly created position, Spencer will oversee news content across all platforms and will also be responsible for innovating new digital Midwest Communications content. Bader adds, “What Areka has done for our digital content during her time in Sheboygan is nothing short of astounding. In her one short year in Sheboygan, WHBL has shot to the top in news story page views among all MWC stations. We’re excited to see her bring that talent and success to a company-wide level, as well as the high quality she will bring to the on-air content of our stations.”
WHO, Des Moines Morning Host Jan Mickelson Recovering from Stroke. Morning drive personality Jan Mickelson is off the air at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHO, Des Moines after suffering a stroke on Saturday (11/21). He posted the following message on Facebook: “We were trying out our new Power Pressure Cooker XL when I started slurring my words and got a bit dizzy. Suzy sat me down, called 911, and Ankeny Paramedics responded immediately. They took me to Mercy Hospital where they confirmed I’d just had a stroke. I had TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) which works by dissolving the blood clot as well as a relatively new neurological surgery which removes the clot from the artery. I was life-flighted to the University of Iowa Hospitals as they are the only facility in the state which performs the procedure. I’m recovering and doing well.”
Joe Walsh to Host Program on WVNJ, New York. This is a return to the New York market for the former congressman and current WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” talk show host. Joe Walsh begins hosting a daily 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET program on WVNJ on December 14 that will be a separate program from his WIND show. Walsh was heard in the New York market on Salem Media Group’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” from 2014 through June of this year. Walsh comments, “I’m excited to be back on the air in New York with our message of freedom on a great station like WVNJ. It will be the flagship station for our national expansion of the program into other markets throughout 2016.” Meanwhile, WVNJ director of operations Luis Felix adds, “The Joe Walsh program will be an additional member of our already powerful lineup. He brings a strong presence as we continue to build our offerings of New York’s most dynamic radio talkers.”
Trevor Carey Show to Air in Evenings on ‘Power Talk 96.7’ in Fresno. California talk host Trevor Carey is adding another show to his responsibilities with iHeartMedia. Already heard on the company’s Stockton-Modesto simulcast “Power Talk 1360” (KFIV/KWSX) in afternoon drive, Carey is hosting an early evening show on nearby simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR, Fresno “Power Talk 96.7,” effective December 7. KALZ-FM program director Jay Bohannon states, “‘Power Talk’ continues to expand our local programming. Adding Trevor Carey to the lineup that already includes Christopher Gabriel, Rich Rodriguez, Michael Der Manouel, and Larry Powell gives us even more opportunity to stay connected with our listeners in the Valley. Trevor Carey is a passionate personality whose roots in the San Joaquin Valley lend him great understanding of our issues, concerns and perspectives.”
DGital Media Adds Two to Sales Team. Audio content firm DGital Media brings two industry sales pros aboard to serve as SVP/account managers. Suzanne Kaufman and Christine Fontana will be charged with developing and managing client relations as well as creating custom brand solutions within DGital’s various audio platforms. Suzanne Kaufman was a founding partner of media agency MEC, serving clients including AT&T, Campbell Soup Co., Energizer Holdings, Activision, Ikea and Pfizer Consumer Products. Christine Fontana has been SVP, director at MediaVest for the past 17 years working with national brands including P&G, Coca-Cola, Walmart and Wendy’s. DGital Media co-founder David Landau says, “We couldn’t be more excited to have these two incredible talents join our management team. Sue and Chris are among the industry’s most knowledgeable media experts, passionate about audio and the potential of new channels to deliver advertising. We cannot wait to work with them to bring DGital to the next level in terms of brand involvement.”
Kim Komando to Speak at 2016 NAB Show in April. Nationally syndicated computer and technology expert Kim Komando is lined up to speak at next spring’s NAB Show in Las Vegas. Komando will address the Radio Luncheon on Tuesday, April 19 – a portion of the show sponsored by ASCAP. NAB EVP of radio John David states, “For over 20 years, Kim Komando has helped consumers navigate complicated new technologies, and in the process has grown an enormous fan base. Her unique perspective as a successful radio personality and technology expert is sure to be a highlight for luncheon attendees.”
‘Coast to Coast AM’ Christmas Album to Benefit Veterans. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late night show “Coast to Coast AM” – hosted by George Noory – re-releases its charity album “Holiday Magic Coast Style.” Proceeds from the project benefit various veterans hospitals across the U.S. The album was first released in 2014 and features traditional holiday songs and poems performed by fan-favorite guests of the program, including best-selling author Whitley Strieber, author and paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley, paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren, UFO Phil, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, actor/singer Pat Boone and others. Also included on the album is a special performance by Noory. The album can be purchased via Amazon.com.
Paris Climate Summit, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Turkey Tensions, the Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Controversy, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Chicago PD Scrutiny, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The climate talks taking place in Paris and the larger topic of man-made climate change; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing tensions between Russia and Turkey over the downing of a Russian fighter; the battle against Islamic State in the Middle East and at home; the controversy over policy regarding the handling of refugees from Syria; the continuing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Napa Valley Broadcaster Tom Young Dies at 94. Former KVON, Napa and KVYN, Saint Helena, California owner Tom Young died on November 30 at the age of 94. Young was a much-respected member of the Napa Valley business community and well-known for his charitable efforts. He and his wife Ita purchased KVON in the 1970s and built its sister FM, KVYN. They sold the stations in 1996.
Geraldo Exit from WABC, New York Appears Official. There’s been no announcement from Cumulus Media and we don’t really expect one. All of the information on this story comes from Geraldo Rivera himself. As TALKERS reported last Thursday, Rivera first said on his Facebook page that he was informed by new Cumulus CEO Mary Berner and Cumulus NYC market manager Chad Lopez that the company will not be honoring “the handshake deal I made with ousted company chief John Dickey, an agreement to extend my current contract for a year. The decision to renege on our deal on the eve of Thanksgiving is especially upsetting coming in the wake of my emotionally charged and highly rated coverage of the Paris massacre and frantic efforts by authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. Last year, The Village Voice named me the ‘2014 Best AM Radio Host in NYC’, writing in part, ‘Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say. The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards,’ which I’m doing here.” Since then, Geraldo added to his post, writing that he intends to make this difficult for the company. “That slight will not go unanswered. Trust me on this; it is not about the money. I have enough and give away to various charities more than most. But because of their unforgivable disrespect I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.” Geraldo goes on to write about the value of his show to the New York audience. “The pity is this misguided management has deprived my loyal New York audience a program that they have followed and engaged with during a turbulent time of crucial interest…” Whether Geraldo can prevail in court remains to be seen, but of course it’s within Cumulus’ right to fire or hire talent as the company sees fit.
David Boze Exits Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle. Saying that he’s leaving the station to pursue “ventures that can only be done in presidential years,” morning drive personality David Boze leaves Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle after 13 years with the station. He says, “I leave the station I helped found in the hands of a great company and good people. I am incredibly grateful for the loyalty and kindness of my listeners. It is a wonderful thing to meet them and realize we are already friends thanks to the power of radio. I’m also exceptionally grateful for my show sponsors, who have invested in my show year after year. Bonneville has been a great company to work for, and I will miss the people who have become such a meaningful, daily part of my life.” The company has not named a permanent replacement for Boze.
Lee Hammer Adds KGO and KSFO OM Duties. Already serving as operations manager and PD for sports talk outlets KNBR and KTCT, Lee Hammer is promoted from interim ops manager for sister talk stations KGO and KSFO to permanent OM for the pair. Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “Lee has been instrumental in leading KGO and KSFO over the past year while continuing to deliver record breaking ratings for KNBR. We are confident that with his considerable expertise in the talk format, he will take our news/talk stations to new heights.”
Odds & Sods. Former longtime KVI, Seattle talk personality Kirby Wilbur is soon to be back with the iconic conservative talker. It’s not known at this point what daypart Wilbur will be hosting. He was part of the original lineup of KVI as a conservative news/talk station. It’s for this period in history that it’s considered by many to be the first talk station to be purposely programmed as an all-conservative talk outlet…..Nationally syndicated talk host Kevin Jackson announces he is leaving USA Radio Networks and will self-syndicate his daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show.
Round Three of November PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was October 8 – November 4. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Some Talk Radio Pros Take Issue with Colorado Governor’s Placing Blame for Shooting on Media and Campaign Rhetoric. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, in addressing the deadly shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs over the weekend, hinted that talk show hosts and bloggers are in some way to blame for the deaths of the three victims and the nine people wounded. The governor said, in part, “Certainly it’s a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric we see on so many issues now, there are bloggers and talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over. Just intense anger. Maybe it’s time to look at how do we tone down that rhetoric. No one is going to try to reduce free speech in this country but that rhetoric — if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced – that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.” Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “Public officials who fail in their primary responsibility to protect the lives and property of the men and women who elect them should not use the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions on talk radio to scapegoat their own inadequacies.”
Legendary News and Talk Personality Brent Seltzer Recovering from Brain Tumor Surgery. Veteran radio personality Brent Seltzer, known most recently for his work on the nationally syndicated (GCN) “Brent & Meg Show” that he co-hosted with his wife Meg McDonald, is recovering from major surgery that took place in September at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank to remove a cancerous, golf ball-sized Glioblastoma Tumor Grade 4 from the front-left section of his brain. This is the part of the brain that controls memory and language. Seltzer’s colorful career dates back to the golden days of FM rock radio when he was a pioneer in the development of “rock ‘n’ roll radio style news” at such outlets as KGB, San Diego and KMET, Los Angeles among others. He has also achieved considerable critical praise for his modern-era, short-form and podcast series, “Still at Large.” Attendees at TALKERS conferences over the past four years will remember Brent & Meg as the events’ charismatic official greeters. This past June, they served as emcees of Talkers 2015. Seltzer (pictured here mugging for the camera after his surgery) tells TALKERS, “I have apparently been experiencing symptoms since September 2014 but it wasn’t until 11:15 am PT on Thursday, September 24, 2015 that my symptoms resulted in a seizure while sitting at my computer. I crashed like a small bird out of a big tree. If our ‘Brent & Meg’ radio show had not been on hiatus by that point, I would have had my seizure on the air. In the months prior to the seizure, I was apparently doing some things without a clear memory. My typing began to deteriorate and my quick recall for names, places and events often failed me. I ignored symptoms that were bothersome but seemed innocuous and unrelated at the time. But in truth, they were actually symptoms of a much bigger problem.” Seltzer, who is now recovering at home while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, adds, “I share these things to let everyone know that I have begun what we hope will be a stunning return. My recovery is an uphill battle which I’m very eager to face as I prepare for alerting everyone as to what has happened and what will come next and as much pain and discomfort I am in… I’m Popeye and nothing is gonna get me down!” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have known Brent all the way back to my radio days in San Diego in the early 1970s. He is one of the nicest, smartest and most talented guys I’ve ever met in this business. He and Meg are beloved members of our TALKERS family and we pray for his speedy and full recovery.” Brent Seltzer can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colorado Springs Shooting Dominates Weekend Talk Stories. The deadly shooting in Colorado Springs and the related debate over gun control were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations that air live and local shows and/or live national talk shows. Other topics included the Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday, and college and pro football, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Round Two of November PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was October 8 – November 4. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Dr. Deepak Chopra. In the new installment of Podcast One’s weekly series for “media freaks” posted today (11/24) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews noted “integrated medicine” guru Deepak Chopra. The discussion covers such “far out” topics as the mind-body connection, meditation, the nature of consciousness, alternative healing, quantum physics, and communications theory. The discussion coincides with the current release of two books by Chopra – the revised edition (20,000 additional words) of his 26-year-old groundbreaking Quantum Healing (Bantam, 2015) and the brand new Super Genes (Bantam, 2015). Harrison says, “Rising to the weekly challenge of doing this podcast is one of the most exciting, challenging and gratifying experiences I’ve ever had in my 48 years in broadcasting. To be able to say that at this point in my career… how cool is that? Last week, I spoke with Jesse Ventura, a few weeks ago it was Art Bell, this week – Deepak Chopra! We’ve had Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Harvey Nagler, Jimmie JJ Walker, Buzz Aldrin, even the guy running the Pluto fly-by, Dr. Alan Stern, on this show and more than 40 colorful contemporary figures from the arts, science, journalism and pop culture in less than a year. The diversity of this program’s guests and subjects lives up to its title… yet, it all ties into a no-holds barred examination of modern media theory and how the digital era is rewiring the human nervous system. Getting a handle on this one all-encompassing concept is fundamental to 21st century media practitioners in their quest to understand this brave new world in which we are communicating on a historically unprecedented level.” To listen to the conversation between Harrison and Chopra in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Jim Rome at Albuquerque’s ‘610 The Sports Animal.’ The photo here shows mentor Jim Rome (right) meeting mentee Mike Trujillo (left) at Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNML, Albuquerque “610 The Sports Animal.” Rome participated in a standing-room-only meet-and-greet at the CBS Sports Radio affiliate. Trujillo was a regular caller to Rome’s syndicated program. He also called KNML and eventually won a contest to host a sports show and is now the station’s PM drive personality, hosting “The Sports Bar.” Trujillo is definitely a Rome acolyte; in addition to the Jim Rome t-shirt he’s wearing here, he also sports a tattoo of Rome’s image on his calf.
Russian Fighter Shot Down, Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Debate, Obama in Paris/Climate Change Conference, Obama Administration Gun Control Plans, 2015 Presidential Race, Chicago Police Protests, and the Golden State Warriors’ Record-Breaking Start Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/24). The tensions created by the downing of a Russian military fighter by Turkish forces on the Turkey-Syria border; the battle against Islamic State and debate over strategies to prevent its terror attacks; the political controversy over allowing Syrian refugees to emigrate to the United States; President Obama’s visit with Francois Hollande in Paris and next week’s climate change conference; speculation about the Obama Administration’s plans to enact gun control legislation during its final year; the protests in Chicago after a white police officer is charged with the murder of a black teen; and the record-breaking season start for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WEEI, Boston Hopes to Re-Do Expensive Red Sox Deal. From a story in the Boston Herald by Gayle Fee comes news that Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary is hopeful sports talker WEEI-FM and the MLB’s Boston Red Sox can begin operating with a re-negotiated deal that takes some of the financial burden off the station. Fee reports that the station pays the Red Sox approximately $17 million per season and that steep figure has been tough on the station’s bottom line. The deal is almost 10 years old, having been inked in 2006 before the Great Recession began, before the Red Sox’ play on the field took a nosedive, and prior to WBZ-FM’s arrival on the scene as a sports talk competitor. The speculation is the station notified the team it would not pick up its option for the 2017 and 2018 seasons because of the cost and re-negotiations began. Zachary tells the paper they hope to have a new deal before Christmas. Read the whole piece here.
Round One of November PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was October 8 – November 4. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Radio legend Howard Stern tells the New York Daily News he hopes to remain on the radio but that’s about all he’s saying as the end of his second contract with SiriusXM comes to an end after December. Stern was quizzed on the status of his contract negotiations with SiriusXM by the Daily News at the 2015 Get Your Escape On event in NYC and said nothing can be known until the contract is signed. “I can just say I’m interested in continuing on the radio. Where I end up, I don’t know yet.” The 61-year-old broadcaster reportedly makes about $80 million a year from his satellite radio gig…..Matthew Sambolin is back in the fold at Salem Media Group’s New York duo to serve as operations manager, promotions director and social media manager for news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA “AM 570 The Mission.” Sambolin takes over for Mark DeBoer who stays with the stations as traffic manager…..Westwood One-syndicated talk host Michael Savage, reacting to an RT story in which Gambino crime family figure Giovanni Gambino, Jr. said the mafia would do its part to protect New Yorkers from IS terror attacks, hosted Gambino on his program on Monday (11/23). The pair also discussed Gambino’s work trying to get a screenplay he’s written turned into a movie in Hollywood…..“Free Talk Live,” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge, is airing live this Thanksgiving. Freeman says they continue their tradition of live content. “Your listeners deserve live content no matter what day it is.”…..George Noory, host of Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” says he’ll also be hosting live shows on the holidays this year. “Many people don’t have friends and family to spend the holidays with, so radio is a very special connection for them. Years ago, I made the decision to host live programming during this time of year, and I’ve keep that promise all my career so no one has to be alone.”
Paris Aftermath/ISIS Terror Campaign, Syrian Refugees/U.S. Immigration Policy, 2016 Presidential Race, Thanksgiving Holiday/Black Friday, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The aftermath of the Paris terror attacks and efforts to head off further attacks from ISIS; the policies surrounding relocation of Syrian refugees and the larger question of changes in U.S. immigration policy; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the coming Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday and the beginning of the holiday shopping season; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend. The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.
Cumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager. Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster. Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats. In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence; WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington. Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer. The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding. He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role. Bill is deserving of this recognition.” Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’ Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”
Bill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show. Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation. Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhart on an extended leave of absence. Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show. Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.” Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”
Detroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti. Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid. But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunch criticism of the team’s performance. Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways. ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade. CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a long time. It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.” Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true. It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal. But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management. Read it here.
Odds & Sods. Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM. The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.
Legendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88. As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s. He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998. Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010. Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959. He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.
Bill Payne Dies at 76. Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76. Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio. Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962. His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma. The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.
Changes Coming to the Herman Cain Show in January. TALKERS sources hear there are some changes coming to the WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show with the New Year. Cain will remain with Cox Media Group’s WSB hosting the late morning show but Westwood One will no longer serve as affiliate sales and ad sales rep for the national syndication of the show. TALKERS hears WYM Media will serve as affiliate sales rep and there will be a new ad sales rep, but that deal has not been inked yet.
Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit to Serve as Lions Flagship in 2016. Detroit Lions play-by-play has been heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WXYT-FM for the past 12 seasons, but starting next year, the games will be heard on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR. The Detroit Free Press is reporting the story and says many of the details are not known at this time. Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter are expected to remain in the booth going into next season.
New Talk Outlet to Debut in Bloomington-Normal and Champaign, Illinois Markets. The classic hits format will disappear from Smash Hit Media’s WWHP, Farmer City, Illinois on Monday and a news/talk outlet will spring up in its place. Former WRPW, Bloomington “Cities 92.7” morning drive personality Ian Bayne will serve as morning host on the new “Newstalk 98.3.” WWHP’s primary signal covers the area directly between the centers of the Bloomington-Normal and Champaign markets.
Art Bell and KABC, Los Angeles Collaborate for Thanksgiving Special. Los Angeles news/talker KABC and paranormal talk legend Art Bell are presenting “An Art Bell Out-Of-This-World Thanksgiving Special” on Thursday, November 26 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. This 12-hour special features programs hand-picked by Bell, who says, “We are thrilled to be back on the great 790 KABC, where we had great success. My loyal fans will love that I’m personally hand picking the best 12 hours of out-of-this-world radio.” Bell’s nightly program, “Midnight in the Desert with Art Bell” (syndicated by his own Dark Matter Radio), is airing on AM/FM outlets in addition to its internet home base.
Odds & Sods. The Grammy Award-winning band Train will perform at the official opening of CBS RADIO’s new New York performance space on Tuesday (11/24). The company announces the opening of the Adorama Live Theatre in Hudson Square in Manhattan, saying it will “serve as a showcase for artists, newsmakers, top athletes and other special guests.” It will play host to events from its six New York market radio stations, including sports WFAN and all-newsers WCBS-AM and WINS. The company says that in the coming weeks the theatre will present performances by Southside Johnny and Shaggy, as well as live interviews with Chris Martin from Coldplay and Charles Osgood, host of “CBS Sunday Morning” and the syndicated radio feature “The Osgood Files.” Today’s announcement marks the launch of CBS RADIO’s 11th performance space, joining outlets in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, among others…..Cumulus Media’s “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” in Nashville is presenting its annual “From Hunger to Hope Radiothon” on Monday, November 23 to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission. The station will share stories and invite listeners to make donations to the Nashville Rescue Mission. WTN says that through the years its listeners have raised more than $750,000 for cause.
TALKERS Magazine Presents the 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. Yesterday(11/19), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the fourth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from #1 to #100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 15 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. See the complete 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here!
New Fantasy Sports Platform Provides Radio with Turnkey Method of Tapping into Booming DFS Industry. Tampa, Florida-based FantasyNXS is providing a custom-designed way for radio stations, networks, and personalities to generate revenue from the booming fantasy sports industry. FantasyNXS is the first online mall for daily fantasy sports (“DFS”). According to company president and CEO, David B. Hirsch, “Our platform enables radio stations, networks and personalities to get into the DFS business at no cost and provides them with a new and engaging way to monetize their audience.” Hirsch adds, “When a broadcast entity joins FantasyNXS as a partner, we create a customized hub or ‘storefront’ for them that features their branding, content and contests. It also has its own, easy-to-remember URL on our site, which facilitates off-line promotion and advertising.” What distinguishes FantasyNXS from the current big dogs in the fantasy sports business – DraftKings and FanDuel? Hirsch tells TALKERS that FantasyNXS provides a different business model, more game formats and free-to-enter promotional contests. He states, “Our business model is completely different. Think of us as the first online shopping mall for daily fantasy sports. Our platform enables third parties to get into the DFS business for themselves. We build a customized hub or storefront for our partners on our website. We then create contests for them designed to appeal to their target audience. These contests appear in their hub and in the general game lobby for all FantasyNXS members to play. Our partners promote their contests by driving prospects to their hub. We administer the contests and take care of all compliance and back-office operations. We then split the net proceeds we earn from each contest with our partners.” Hirsch explains, “We also offer more game formats than anyone in the business, including Salary Cap, No Cap and Top-X. We also offer all three of these formats in our proprietary ‘Beat the Pro’ setting, which is ideally suited for radio celebrities. In ‘Beat the Pro,’ all of the contest’s entrants compete head-to-head, but collectively against the celebrity show host. Everyone who beats the celebrity splits a portion of the prize pool. ‘Beat the Pro’ offers a fantastic way for radio personalities to personally engage their audiences.” How do participating broadcasters make money? According to Hirsch, “FantasyNXS works off of a revenue split. Our partners earn a portion of the net proceeds we earn from the contests they promote. Also, our partners are credited as the referring affiliate for all FantasyNXS members who sign-up through their hub. This means recurring revenue every time one of these members enters any cash-entry contest in FantasyNXS. Our turn-key system can put a station into the DFS business with no cost.” Hirsch advises, “We can put radio entities into the DFS business, but they will have to actively promote their contests and drive prospects to their hub. The more they promote, the more money they’ll make.” Broadcasters licensed to states that forbid DFS or have network listeners banned from playing due to their local state laws can become involved in another, non-monetary version of the FantasyNXS platform that specializes in “social gaming.” Has the recent negative news about some states’ stances on fantasy sports impacted the millions of people who regularly play fantasy sports? “Of course,” states Hirsch. “In particular, the recent cease and desist letter presented to FanDuel and DraftKings by the New York State Attorney General has left a lot of fantasy sports fans on the sideline. In the coming months, you’re going to see more of this type of activity as our society comes to grips with the daily fantasy sports phenomenon. We ultimately believe that DFS will continue to thrive, but in a regulated environment.” Broadcasters interested in learning more about FantasyNXS can email Brad Fain at email@example.com or click here for more information.
Syrian Refugee Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 16-20. The political debate over U.S. policy toward Syrian refugees was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris. Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS and following at #4 was the investigation of the bombing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Desert. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Jesse Ventura Joins Michael Harrison for New Episode of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (11/17), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined by former Minnesota governor and prolific talk media personality Jesse Ventura for a conversation described by Harrison as, “One of the up-closest and farthest-out episodes of this show ever.” Ventura currently hosts a weekly program on Ora TV titled, “Off the Grid with Jesse Ventura,” (www.ora.tv) in which he serves up an unfiltered dose of his opinions and commentaries on the issues of the day delivered in his trademark tell-it-like-it-is “wrestling rant” style. Ora TV is the trailblazing video platform launched several years ago by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim with Larry King as an internet platform upon which the legendary King could continue his post-CNN hosting career. Harrison – an admitted professional wrestling fan – and Ventura talk about the old days of the entertainment-sport when the future movie star and governor was making his mark as a colorful “bad guy” in the ring and then as the first “heel” color commentator (prior to Ventura, all ring commentators were biased toward the fan favorites – known as “faces.”) Ventura broke new ground as an announcer who openly rooted for the bad guys – know in the profession as “heels.” The conversation moves on to some heavy, controversial and provocative subject matter. Ventura discusses how his high-profile, anti-defamation/unjust enrichment lawsuit against the late Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame (in which the court ruled in his favor) has led to him to presently being blackballed by the mainstream media. Ventura talks about his critical views on U.S. foreign policy, the George W. Bush Administration, hypocrisy, and several conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and the war on terror. He talks about his show, “Off the Grid,” and how the title is reflective of his current lifestyle in which he lives part of the year in Mexico, untethered to paved roads, government provided utilities and, to a large extent, the internet. He discusses his turning to atheism and pacifism…and leaves a tantalizing hint that he just might become involved in the forthcoming race for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party – which has shown interest in him as a possible candidate. To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Canzano’s ‘Bald Faced Truth’ Show Renewed with KXTG-AM, Portland. Sports talk personality John Canzano inks a contract extension with Alpha Media’s Portland sports talk outlet KXTG-AM “750/102.9 The Game.” The two parties say the new, multi-year pact will allow Canzano’s “The Bald Faced Truth” to continue in the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm time slot. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Renewing a seasoned professional varsity multi-media broadcast talent like John Canzano is the perfect centerpiece to The Game’s talent roster.” Canzano has been with “The Game” since its launch in 2008 and also serves as the lead sports columnist at The Oregonian and a sports commentator at Portland NBC affiliate KGW-TV.
Westwood One’s State of American Podcasting. Today, radio consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS on yesterday’s webinar presented by Westwood One titled, The State of American Podcasting. The webinar featured Cumulus Media/WW1 chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard with guests Stuart Last, VP of popular podcast and on-demand platform audioBoom; Jenna Weiss-Berman, director of audio at the pop culture website Buzzfeed; and Brendan McDonald, co-creator and executive producer of the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron.” The growth of podcasting is predicted to continue and the average age of podcast P1s is much younger than the average age of radio users (45) and television (57), according to Edison Research data. Read Holland Cooke’s takeaways from the webinar here.
Odds & Sods. Nashville-based, Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine was recently honored with another award for his screenplay, Derek Dickens & The Dream. The screenplay is the story of one man’s mid-life crisis that turns him into an international pop sensation when he takes on an imaginary persona through which he lives out his lifelong dream. The 50-year-old fabricates a 20-something British band, with himself at the lead, and it takes the world by storm. Valentine just won first place at the Nevada International Film Festival in Las Vegas. Not long ago, he took home top honors at the Colorado Film Festival and placed third in the Atlantic City Cinefest. Valentine comments, “I had no idea this little movie script would be so well received. I’m really delighted to see it’s doing so well. Maybe some Hollywood producer is paying attention and will bring this screenplay to the silver screen.”…..Nationally syndication morning show “Good Day with Doug Stephan” is offering a holiday “gift” to talk stations by making his program available to non-affiliates on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Eve and Day. Stephan says the program will be live on these morning and stations carrying the show will not be required to sign a contract, just call Bob K. at 774-643-6450…..Nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured at right) reports that 2.4 billion people worldwide do not have regular access to safe, public restrooms. She says, “Not only are they exposed to unsanitary conditions but also many women and children are vulnerable to assault when they’re trying to use makeshift, unsecured stalls. We’re raising awareness by posting pics of us on the toilet and reminding people how blessed we are to have safe sanitation.” Donations are being accepted at www.worldtoilet.org.
Syrian Refugees Issue/Immigration Policy, Paris Terror Attacks Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, Minneapolis Police Protests, Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Controversy, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The controversial debate over the handling of refugees from Syria in the U.S. and the larger issue of the nation’s immigration policy; the ongoing search for those responsible for the Paris terror attacks and debate over how to try to prevent further attacks; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the protests in Minneapolis after the shooting death of a black man at the hands of local police; demands by Princeton students that Woodrow Wilson’s name and image be disassociated from the school because of his racist policies; and action in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is seeking a continuity and traffic assistant. Ideal characteristics for candidates include: Enjoys analytics and puzzles, innately curious, meticulous with details, thrives in a fast-paced environment, works calmly and effectively under pressure, reacts quickly to meet tight deadlines, and diplomatic & determined with solid people skills. Position requires knowledge of computer skill and experience with broadcast inventory management and traffic software including Marketron, V-Creative, and Efficio is a plus. Email your cover letter and resume to director of sales Sandra Szoke at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Medved Renews with Salem Radio Network Through 2018. The nationally syndicated Michael Medved show – heard via Salem Radio Network from flagship station KTTH, Seattle – will continue to be syndicated by Salem through December of 2018, according to a statement from Salem Media Group released today (11/18). The program airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and is heard on more than 300 affiliate stations. Medved says, “I feel unbounded enthusiasm and gratitude at the prospect of three more years to connect with the most wonderful and engaged audience in talk radio. Especially after my recovery from throat cancer, the ability to speak to people about the issues that matter most is a gift that I cherish – and never take for granted. I know that the prayers and good wishes of literally hundreds of thousands of listeners have helped make possible my super-energized return. We’ll be sharing exciting and significant times in the months ahead.” Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce adds, “Michael’s radio program is a great example of intelligence and common sense. We are delighted to announce this program will be continuing, allowing Michael to entertain and inform his hundreds of thousands of fans for many years to come.”
Former Bubba The Love Sponge Cast Member at Center of Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Investigation. As reported by Tampa’s FOX 13 television, The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office say former Bubba The Love Sponge staffer Matt “Spice Boy” Loyd stole DVDs of former wrestling star Hulk Hogan having sex with Bubba’s not-yet-ex Heather Clem that he sold to such sites as Gawker and TMZ. The videos included Hogan making racist statements that got him fired from the WWE payroll. The story indicates Loyd and Bubba had a falling out and Loyd stole the videos and sold them to “make Bubba sweat.” Interestingly, no charges have been filed against Loyd. Read the FOX 13 piece here.
Howie Carr Radio Network Celebrates First Year Anniversary with Open House. Regionally syndicated New England talk giant Howie Carr marked his independent network’s first anniversary yesterday (11/17) with an open house party for friends, affiliates and sponsors during his regular 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm broadcast from his state-of-the-art studios in the Boston suburb of Needham, Massachusetts. Since last year’s launch, Carr has added 11 new affiliates bringing the total up to 24 – an accomplishment described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “monumental considering the massive coverage he has generated from one end of the region to the other, penetrating every important market from the New York border to the remote reaches of Maine. The guy is ‘local’ in six states covering almost 71,000 square miles.” Carr tell TALKERS, “I am grateful to all my many clients that stopped by to wish me well. We have been thrilled with all of the new affiliates that have come on board and we look forward to continued growth in 2016 so that our affiliates and clients can continue to grow.” Bob Maynes, director of marketing at Maine-based Mathews Brothers Company, makers of “wicked, awesome windows,” raves to TALKERS, “It’s been a remarkable first year with the Howie Carr Radio Network. His audience is our customer, and his radio footprint covers nearly all our marketing area, and we’ve seen time and again, tangible proof of the effectiveness of advertising with Howie. Plus, the entire team performs as well as the host, and that makes doing business with them a pleasure.” Pictured during the broadcast (l-r) are advertisers Valerie Polito and Jay Rainville of major New England-based supermarket chain Market Basket celebrating on-air with Carr.
Paris Terror Attacks Aftermath, Syrian Refugee Policy Debate, 2016 Presidential Race, Black Lives Matter Complaints, Obama Administration Gun Control Efforts, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The aftermath of the terror attacks on Paris including the reactions to refugees and immigrants in other EU countries; the American debate over handling refugees from Syria; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; complaints from Black Lives Matter that the Paris attacks are being given more media attention than their issues; reports the Obama Administration plans to push gun control legislation in its final year; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Compass Media Networks, LLC seeks to hire a financial controller. Position is based in Rye, New York. Three to five years’ experience in media finance required. CPA required. Send resumes to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Compass Media Networks, LLC is EOE.
Armstrong & Getty Top Goal for Fisher House Fundraiser. The weeklong Fisher House Foundation fundraiser held by KSTE, Sacramento-based morning drive talk hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty raised more than $544,000, pushing the show’s five-year total past the $2.3 million mark. The 5th annual Armstrong & Getty fundraiser was held last week with the stated goal of $500,000. Fisher House Foundation CEO Ken Fisher says that the money raised is important. “But just as important is the awareness they have brought to listeners about the needs of our veterans, military and their families – a reminder that as Americans we owe a huge debt to these men and women. The listeners of A&G have certainly taken that to heart. Joe and Jack were the catalyst for this important donation, but it was their listeners who made it happen. To all of you, on behalf of the thousands of lives you will touch, I say thank you.” Armstrong & Getty are also heard in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Honolulu, and San Diego.
Tom Gresham Joins Washington Times as Opinion Columnist. The column will be written on a bi-monthly basis by firearms experts, author and talk show host Tom Gresham for the conservative Washington Times newspaper. Gresham has a lot of experience writing about guns. At age 18 he began working as a columnist and became editor of Southern Outdoors Magazine. He’s served as editor for several other outdoor magazines, authored multiple books, including Weatherby: The Man, The Gun, The Legend, created and, of course, hosts the weekly radio program Guntalk, heard on more than 200 affiliate stations. Gresham states, “I’m delighted that the Washington Times is carrying an opinion column that refutes the constant support for more gun control being pushed by much of the media. Recent polls show that a large majority of Americans disapprove of additional gun laws. These readers are underserved in most papers.”
‘ESPN 980’ in Washington Reports 3 Million-plus Podcast Downloads; Adds New Content. Washington, DC sports talk station WTEM “ESPN 980” reports it notched more than 3 million downloads of its podcasts during the month of October. The Red Zebra Broadcasting station’s Tony Kornheiser show led the pack with more than 2 million downloads for the month. In addition to podcasts of all of its shows being available, the station is adding four new original podcasts and two aggregated podcasts. Director of programming Dan Zampillo states, “Creating original digital content and developing relationships with those doing it successfully is an important part of our mission to bring the best DC sports content to listeners on all platforms.”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated ESPN Radio morning show Mike & Mike broadcasts live from Ohio State in Columbus this Friday (11/20) prior to the Michigan State vs Ohio State game. It’s the fifth of six stops on the “Fall Football Tour.” It’s tied in to the “Mike & Mike at the College Football Playoff” contest that will allow one grand prize winner to accompany Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg to the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 11…..Sun Broadcast Group announces it is celebrating its 7th anniversary and promises big news at its agency and programming upfront event titled, “2016 – The Preview,” scheduled for this Friday in New York City…..Beasley Media Group announces Bob Turner joins the company’s Southwest Florida radio group to serve as general sales manager. He was most recently president of Azteca America, an international television network and spot sales company. Turner says, “Working with Beasley Media Group is a terrific opportunity. In Southwest Florida, businesses are absolutely thriving. The business surge in this market offers an abundance of untapped potential to my entire sales team. Our timing is ideal for a new level of sales success!”
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Makes PolitickerNJ.com’s 2015 Power List. Atlantic City talk radio personality Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine it’s an honor and a privilege to make PolitickerNJ.com’s 2015 Power List of the top 100 most politically powerful people in the state of New Jersey. It’s the 9th time the WPGG, Atlantic City morning host has made the list (he landed at #83 this year, up six places from #89 a year ago) and Hurley says, “Considering we’re the most densely populated state in America, with 9 million people, it’s a high honor, privilege and a very difficult list to make. In New Jersey, this Power List is the ‘gold standard.’ It’s the list you want to make in The Garden State.”
WGOW, Chattanooga’s Brian Joyce Assists Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots. WGOW, Chattanooga midday talk show host Brian Joyce (left) poses for a photo at a recent remote broadcast from local mortgage lender Peoples Home Equity at which he was helping collect toys for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. Joyce tells TALKERS the event resulted in a phenomenal turnout, at which they collected plenty of toys and cash donations for the program. Pictured here with Joyce are Marine Sgt. Donovan Walters (right) and, at center, Philip, whom Joyce describes as his “littlest/biggest fan” who comes to all of his remote broadcasts.
Paris Terrorist Attacks, Battle Against ISIS, 2016 Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Syrian Refugees/U.S. Immigration Policy, Russian Airliner Bombing, and Charlie Sheen AIDS Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16). The aftermath of Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris; military strikes on ISIS strongholds in Syria; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 tied with discussion about the Democratic candidates’ debate on Saturday; the state of Syrian refugees in the U.S. and debate over immigration policy in America; Moscow’s conclusion that the Russian airliner downed in the Sinai Desert was the result of a bomb; and reports that actor Charlie Sheen is HIV positive were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Paris Terror Attacks and Saturday’s Democratic Candidates Debate Lead Weekend News/Talk Discussions. Friday’s deadly terror attacks in Paris, the larger topic of the ISIS problem and Saturday’s Democratic candidate’s debate were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend. TALKERS magazine research reveals the two topics – at times intertwined – were front-and-center on stations airing live and local and/or live national talk shows on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.
Price: How Did Your Station Respond to France’s 9/11? Attempting to foresee the unforeseeable is part of what Howard B. Price is paid to do as director of business continuity for ABC Television. He’s written numerous articles about preparing for disasters and events that should affect your programming and/or your ability to operate a radio station as usual for TALKERS magazine. Today’s article addresses Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and how some stations failed to break programming in any way. He says localizing the story is part of how it should be addressed. “There were local stories springing from the events in Paris all over the US. Security around sports stadiums was being ramped up (one of the Paris attacks took place at a soccer game where the French president had been in attendance). More police were being dispatched to major transportation centers, and tourist areas known to draw big crowds. I live near a nuclear plant – and I sure wish my local station was updating me on security there. I live near a major bridge, the loss of which would severely impact our local economy…and disrupt transportation between New York City and points to the north, east and west. I live near major commuter rail lines, the loss of which would cripple the ability of people to commute to their jobs. I live in a community with lots of shopping malls. And parks. And movie theatres. And bars. Which in Paris and other places, have been the scenes of recent terror attacks. I’d like to know what my local officials are doing to protect us against similar attacks here. I’d like to hear what my neighbors are thinking and saying about it.” Read Price’s entire piece here.
Bubba The Love Sponge Files Motion to Dismiss $1 Million Nielsen Lawsuit. After Nielsen Audio filed its $1 million dollar civil suit against Bubba The Love Sponge for his admitted ratings tampering in the Tampa market which it claims has resulted in its “reputation and the reputation of its ratings reports” having been “damaged irreparably,” TALKERS legal analyst Steven J.J. Weisman wrote that Nielsen’s claims appear to be “very much a dramatic overstatement.” Since the initial tampering was discovered, Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa has been delisted from both the September and October PPM surveys, even though Nielsen stated to customers that the Tampa ratings were not compromised. Now, Bubba’s legal team files a motion to dismiss the fraud suit against him stating that Nielsen has not shown proof of ongoing ratings tampering. Bubba’s counsel also argues Nielsen’s filing in federal court is improper. “Nielsen cannot manufacture federal jurisdiction by plucking from mid-air the nice round compensatory damages figure of $1,000,000, and without offering a shred of support for this number. Instead, Nielsen promises that this isolated disagreement among private actors has harmed not just Nielsen but ‘the entire radio industry.’…Nielsen’s ‘entire radio industry’ theory of harm simply cannot serve as the basis for subject matter jurisdiction.” Nielsen claims it has more evidence of tampering that led to the October survey for Tampa being delayed and WBRN again being delisted but has not released that information publicly.
Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Master Series Features Live Broadcast. Last Friday (11/13), nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his EntreLeadership Master Series event at Ramsey Solutions’ headquarters in Nashville. As part of the event, his daily radio program was broadcast live with this special edition focused on leadership and business questions from callers, e-mails and event attendees. Ramsey Solutions says the EntreLeadership Master Series condenses “20 years of business and leadership wisdom into a seven-day event. Business owners and leaders who attend walk away with practical ideas that can improve their communication, organization, team culture, finances, negotiating and selling skills, marketing, advertising, and ability to make tough decisions. EntreLeadership combines the innovative spirit of an entrepreneur with the passion and drive of a leader. This philosophy is how Ramsey has grown his highly successful company and trained his leadership team since day one.” The photo here shows the Dave Ramsey show being produced during the EntreLeadership Master Series event.
Talk Radio Personality Austin Hill Dies Unexpectedly. Author, public speaker and radio personality Austin Hill died unexpectedly on Friday (11/13) from what appears to have been a cardiac event. Hill, who’s worked at such secular news/talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles; KSFO, San Francisco; and KFYI, Phoenix during his career, was hosting a daily morning drive program on the internet station www.myfaithradio.com. He was also serving as a regular fill-in host for WMAL, Washington’s “Drive at Five” afternoon drive program. Hill was in his early 50s and leaves behind a wife and his son, Graham, a high school senior.
Westwood One Invites Radio People to ‘State of American Podcasting’ Webinar. The webinar is on Wednesday (11/18) at 2:00 pm ET and is being moderated by Westwood One’s chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard with special guests Brendan McDonald, executive producer and co-creator, “WTF with Marc Maron”; Stuart Last, VP, audioBoom; and Jenna Weiss-Berman, director of audio, Buzzfeed. WW1 says the webinar is for marketers and advertisers, podcast creators and producers, and media and audio enthusiasts and will reveal insight gained from its commissioned studies of the podcasting platform, including: Never-before-heard insights on the podcast consumer; how marketers really feel about podcast advertising; where podcasts fit in the marketing mix; and competitive research from podcast advertisers. Register here.
WRKO, Boston Raises $357,000 for Fisher House Boston. WRKO, Boston held a day-long radiothon live from the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center on Friday (11/13) from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm to raise funds for the Fisher House Boston. The programming featured moving stories from veterans, their families and Fisher House Boston staff. In addition to WRKO listeners, Mark Wahlberg, Mike Eruzione, and others called with their donations that totaled more than $357,000. WRKO personalities Kim Carrigan, Barry Armstrong, Jeff Kuhner and Howie Carr anchored the day’s programs. WRKO operations manager Michael Czarnecki says, “Fisher House is an incredible organization, attending to the care and housing of families who have already made such a sacrifice for the American people. I am so proud of the WRKO and Fisher House staff for all of their hard work today. Once again the WRKO listeners demonstrate that they’re true patriots in their love of our country and support of our troops.”
Mizzou Protests and Race Relations Tie for Top News/Talk Stories of the Week. The protests taking place at the University of Missouri, the ouster of the school’s president and chancellor and the related topic of race relations in the U.S. tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 9-13 as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. At #2 was the 2016 presidential race and Tuesday’s GOP debate. Coming in at #3 was U.S. immigration policy and the striking of President Obama’s immigration order, followed by the Syria-ISIS violence at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Dinner with Curtis & Kuby. WABC, New York midday team Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby entertained listeners during an intimate dinner and political conversation event at Delmonico’s Kitchen on West 36th Street in New York. Forty of the duo’s strongest supporters reserved their spots for “Dinner with Curtis & Kuby: A Night of Political Entertainment and Fun,” kicking off Election Central. The two answered questions from the attendees and discussed the current political race, social issues, and much more. Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Curtis Sliwa, Cumulus New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez, 77WABC program director Craig Schwalb, and Ron Kuby.
Doug McIntyre and John Cleese Take the State Together. KABC, Los Angeles and WABC, New York personality Doug McIntyre (left) spent four nights last week performing with Monty Python legend John Cleese (right). The show played before packed houses in Beverly Hills, Redondo Beach, Thousand Oaks and Pasadena, California.
Odds & Sods. Detroit general manager Chris MacCourtney is promoted within Salem Media Group to operational vice president for the company’s radio division, effective January 1. MacCourtney is currently overseeing Salem’s Detroit duo – conservative news/talk WDTK “The Patriot” and Christian teaching WLQV “Faith Talk 1500.” When he begins his new duties, he’ll also be in charge of the operations of the company’s stations in Columbus, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky…..Entercom Kansas City extends its deal with the World Series champion Kansas City Royals for sports talk KCSP “610 Sports Radio” to continue serving as the flagship station for Royals play-by-play. The new four-year contract runs through 2020 and includes all 163 regular season games plus the team’s off-season “Hot Stove Show.”
World Famous Comic Strip Artist/Writer Guy Gilchrist Joins Michael Harrison on ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ The writer and artist responsible for producing the iconic “Nancy” syndicated newspaper comic strip for the past 20 years and was hand-picked back in the 1980s by Jim Henson to produce the newspaper version of “The Muppets,” Guy Gilchrist, joins Michael Harrison for an in-depth conversation about media and popular culture in the new installment of Podcast One’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out,” posted today (11/10). Harrison sets the stage looking back at the impact cartoons, comics and puppets had on his development as a “media freak” growing up in New York in the 1950s and 1960s. Then, he and Gilchrist discuss a variety of related issues including the critical “controversy” over the new weekly Muppets show launched this season on ABC-TV, the evolution of the beloved characters Nancy and Sluggo, as well as the state of political cartoons, cartoonists and Freedom of the Press in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris earlier this year. In addition, they talk about the impact digital media is having upon the newspaper comic strip industry. To hear this fascinating conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” players located in the right-hand columns of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Fox Radio and TV Host Brian Kilmeade Writes Historical Book About Thomas Jefferson’s Early American War Against Muslim High Seas ‘Terrorists.’ It is described as “the forgotten war that changed American history” and now it is the subject of a major new book about the fledgling American nation’s naval battles against Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers and Morocco – the Barbary Wars. The book is the fourth by Fox News Channel co-host (“Fox & Friends”) and Fox News Radio host (“Kilmeade & Friends”) Brian Kilmeade and co-writer Don Yaeger titled, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates (Sentinel, 2015). According to Kilmeade, “The challenges we face today are not so different than Jefferson’s, and we’ve much to learn from his boldness and from the courage of the Marines and sailors who died to protect their country.” To listen to an in-depth conversation between Brian Kilmeade and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about the book and the history it addresses, plus a lot more, please click
Cooke: C.T.A. in Santa’s Sleigh. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from the Consumer Technology Association’s annual preview of the enormous Consumer Electronics Show scheduled for Las Vegas in January. (Yes, the Consumer Electronics Association has changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association.) As Cooke notes, the data from the CTA is instructive for radio people. According to CTA research, the top five items being sought by consumers this year are (in order of desire): TVs, tablets, smartphones, notebook/laptop computers, and videogame consoles. Read Cooke’s entire report here.
WPHT, Philadelphia Adds Award-Winning Journalist Dawn Stensland to Rich Zeoli’s PM Drive Show. Respected television journalist Dawn Stensland is joining CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, as part of the afternoon drive show with Rich Zeoli. According to the company, she’ll join him to provide news, traffic and weather updates as well as her views on the day’s trending stories. Stensland joined CBS’ KYW-TV in 1997 and anchored afternoon and evening newscasts. She hosted the “CBS News Saturday” morning network broadcast in New York and in 2001, she began an eight-year run as the anchor of WTXF-TV’s “Fox Philadelphia’s 10 O’Clock News Hour.” She has numerous “Best of Philly” honors from Philadelphia Magazine under her belt. Station OM Andy Bloom comments, “Dawn is a well-known voice and face to the Philadelphia public. She has two decades of success in Philadelphia, New York and other major markets that will be an asset to ‘Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.’ In getting to know Dawn, I’ve been struck by her charismatic presence and infectious laugh. I think the audience will truly enjoy what she brings to the ‘Rich Zeoli Afternoon Show.’”
Colin Cowherd Performing for FOX Sports. The arrival of sports media personality Colin Cowherd at FOX Sports produced satisfying numbers in its first month for the company. According to FOX Sports and radio syndicator Premiere Networks, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” had a “total reach” of 19.5 million people between September 8 and October 9. Here’s how FOX and Premiere break it down: video clips of the show drew 11.7 million video views via Facebook, YouTube, FOXSports.com, FOXSportsRadio.com, the live-streaming FOX Sports Go app and Twitter video player; on television, a combined 5.8 million viewers watched at least one minute of the program on FS1 and FS2 (based on Nielsen data); and program podcasts ranked #2 in the Sports & Recreation podcast category on iTunes, netting 1.2 million downloads. On the radio, Los Angeles affiliate KLAC “experienced a 106% gain” in its time slot with Men 25-54 over the previous year.
Odds & Sods. Chicago radio legend Milt Rosenberg’s program at Kovas Communications-owned suburban talk station WCGO, Evanston will end soon with the company citing financial reasons for canceling the two-hour afternoon drive program. Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program aired for years on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…..iHeartMedia Denver extends its deal to broadcast University of Colorado sports for another four years. The deal extends Buffalos play-by-play on KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” with select games airing on sister station talk KKZN “Real Talk 760.”…..PodcastOne reports that the first episode of “Heather Dubrow’s World” – the new podcast from the “OC Housewives” star – debuted at #3 on the iTunes chart. PodcastOne says that Dubrow trended on Twitter when the episode was released resulting in hundreds of thousands of downloads.
Chris Krok in ‘The Office.’ WBAP, Dallas evening personality Chris Krok (right) is pictured in this selfie with actor John Krasinski (left) at this year’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Krasinski was the race’s Grand Marshal. Krok is celebrating his third year partnering with the track. This year’s “Krok and His Flock” offered listeners a chance to get a tour of the Sprint Cup Series Garage, a concert with Sammy Hagar and the opportunity to hold the American Flag during the National Anthem, all before watching the race.
2016 Presidential Race/Debate Aftermath, Immigration Policy, Hillary Clinton Wig Flap, Climate Change Controversy, University of Missouri Racial Tensions, Veterans Day, Russian Airliner Crash Investigation, and Early Snow Hits Midwest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and discussion about Tuesday night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; talk about the United States’ immigration policy; speculation about whether Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is wearing wigs; the threat of climate change and the international climate talks scheduled for December in Paris; the racial tensions at the University of Missouri; the observance of Veterans Day; the ongoing investigation into the downing of a Russian airliner in the Sinai desert; and early snow hitting the Upper Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cooke: Do What Cable Is Doing. Radio consultant Holland Cooke clarifies that statement. “I don’t mean do what cable news channels are doing, contrived political arguments. That’s being done to death there, and has become an unfortunate ‘Talk Radio’ caricature… I’m saying do what you see on basic cable channels and so-called ‘Over The Top’ (OTT) TV such as Netflix. And as I listened to Sony Pictures Television chairman Steve Mosko, the little voice in my kept whispering ‘podcasting.’” Cooke is reporting from New York for TALKERS magazine from the NAB Show/New York where Mosko was interviewed by former New York Times media writer (now doing a show on SiriusXM) Bill Carter. Read more of Cooke’s story from NYC here and watch for his report from the Consumer Electronics Association’s CES: Unveiled press event later this week.
WTMJ Provides Extensive Coverage of the Debate. Last night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee was covered in depth by E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ. The station held a listener event at its historic Radio City Studios. Midday host and editor-in-chief of RightWisconsin.com Charlie Sykes interviewed candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on the air. “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” host John Mercure anchored special debate coverage including on-site reporting and an in-studio appearance from GOP chairman Reince Priebus. Mercure is pictured here hosting one of the listener forums he conducted before, during and after the debate at the station. After the debate, WTMJ weekend host and RightWisconsin.com managing editor Collin Roth hosted a two-hour on-air program featuring listeners’ reactions to the debate and analysis with a panel of experts. The station says the WTMJ Voter Forum will be continued for future GOP and Democratic debates.
Cubs to ‘The Score’ Move Is Official. Rumor from earlier this fall reported by TALKERS that CBS RADIO is moving the Chicago Cubs play-by-play broadcasts from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR are confirmed in a press release by the company. The Cubs began airing on WBBM-AM after an exclusive relationship with Tribune’s WGN ended. With the Chicago White Sox’ move to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM beginning next season, CBS decided to shift the broadcasts of the Cubs to “The Score.” The Cubs made it to the National League Championship this season so continued success could be good news for WSCR.
Odds & Sods. The Tulsa radio cluster of E.W. Scripps names David Abel the new vice president and general manager. Abel moves to Tulsa from his most recent position with Apex Broadcasting’s Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina operations. In Tulsa, Scripps operates country KVOO and KXBL, classic hits KBEZ, CHR KHTT and news/talk KFAQ…..Salem Radio Network “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett took part in the Bloomberg education conference “Workforce 2016 and Beyond: Innovative Approaches to Retraining Millions for the Jobs of Tomorrow” on Tuesday (11/10). He spoke on a panel discussion (pictured here, Bennett at far left) addressing the education and workforce problems that exist in America today and expressed his belief that America needs to emphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the early grades to train and prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow…..Yahoo! Sports Radio cracks the Philly market with the addition of new affiliate WNJC which will begin airing the sports talk network’s evening, overnight and weekend programming, effective November 16…..Colorado-based WeedStream now airs on iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio app. WeedStream is an entertainment company focused on the legalized marijuana culture with WeedStream Radio, WeedStream TV and WeedStream Events.
Cumulus Media’s WABC Honor’s New York’s Veterans. WABC, New York is honoring America’s veterans with a special series of Veterans Day features. The special content features an interview with Kevin Lacz, an Iraq veteran and star of the award-winning hit film, American Sniper, and will air throughout the day today. In the series, Lacz discusses the importance of Veterans Day, the issues Veterans face today, and other related topics.
Armstrong & Getty Holding Weeklong Fisher House Foundation Fundraiser. The KSTE, Sacramento-based news/talk morning team Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – is hosting its 5th annual fundraiser for Fisher House all this week to commemorate Veteran’s Day week. Over the past four years, Armstrong & Getty listeners have donated more than $1.7 million to Fisher House to help them build new Fisher homes on the grounds of VA and military medical centers to help bring military families together as their loved ones receive medical treatment. This year, the goal is to raise an additional $500,000 for Fisher House and surpass the $2 million mark.
WEBY, Pensacola Presents Special Tribute Program to Vietnam Veterans. This special 10-hour program chronicles the Vietnam era and honors Vietnam Veterans through the lens of the American Forces Vietnam Network – the Saigon-based radio and television operations that served the troops. The program was aired on the Spinnaker License Corporation-owned WEBY, Pensacola in segments prior to today’s airing of the entire 10-hour program. It features recordings of these historical broadcasts including combat correspondents’ interviews with servicemen; interviews with veterans of the Vietnam War that have interesting stories about their service; and, adding background and color to the broadcast, many of the program hosts who proudly served in those very difficult circumstances have been interviewed to share their memories and experiences. The program was created by Mike Bates. He can be reached at MikeBates@1330weby.com.
2016 Presidential Race/Milwaukee GOP Debate, University of Missouri Tensions, Veterans Day, Syria-Russian Military Alliance, Status of Obama Immigration Order, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the run-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; the racial tensions on the University of Missouri campus and the resignation of the president and chancellor; the activities surrounding Veterans Day; the military relationship between Russia and Syria; the legal status of President Obama’s immigration order; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Compass Media’s Gordon Deal Celebrates 10th Anniversary Hosting Morning Show; Two Sides Sign Contract Extension. Nationally syndicated morning host Gordon Deal is celebrating the 10th anniversary as host of “This Morning –America’s First News with Gordon Deal” at the same time syndicator Compass Media Networks is announcing it has inked Deal to a multi-year contract extension. Regular TALKERS readers remember that the program was developed by the old Wall Street Journal Radio Network and then WSJ decided to exit the radio business, Compass took over syndication of the Deal-hosted show and helped push it to its current affiliate mark of some 300 news/talk stations in 95 of the top 100 markets. Deal comments, “Has it really been ten years? Wow! Pride and gratitude are the words that come to mind at a time like this. First, thank you to our affiliates, sponsors and listeners. Second, our team puts a tremendous amount of work into our program and I would be remiss not to sincerely thank all our contributors, producers, and staff.” Jennifer Kushinka serves as the program’s main news anchor and Michael Gavin is executive producer and contributor.
Salem Media Group Q3 Broadcast Net Revenue Up 1.9%. For the company as a whole, net revenue for the third quarter of 2015 was down 3% on income of $67.5 million. But Salem Media Group’s broadcast division’s net revenue was $49.2 million, up 1.9%. Salem’s digital segment saw revenue dip 1% and the publishing sector was down almost 30%. For the first nine months of 2015, net broadcast revenue was basically flat at +0.4%.
Price: When the Lights Go Out. Yesterday (11/9) was the 50th anniversary of the Great Blackout of 1965 – an event that cast some 30 million people into darkness in New York City, much of the Northeast and Ontario for as long as 13 hours. ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes that the anniversary is a good reminder for broadcasters to have their emergency plans updated and ready to implement. “That’s what we do, we broadcasters: We inform, we comfort, we calm an audience – help them through crises, and reassure them that things will turn out alright. And in so doing, we become an integral part of their everyday lives. But to do that, we have to have well-rehearsed emergency plans and protocols in place – and we have to resource them properly – to maintain our role as ‘first informers.’” Read Price’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Portland sports talker KXTG-AM “750 & 102.9 The Game” is now a CBS Sports Radio affiliate. The Alpha Media station is adding the network’s “Gio & Jones,” “Ferrall on the Bench,” and “After Hours with Amy Lawrence” shows to the lineup that features the Dan Patrick show, Jim Rome and “The Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano.”…..Westwood One names marketing and sales pro Erik Neubart senior director, sports marketing & sales. In this position, Neubart will work directly with the company’s agency client partners to create “innovative, multi-platform brand integrations and marketing solutions across the Westwood One sports assets —Westwood One Sports live play-by-play and the NBC Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio 24/7 sports talk formats. Neubart is based in New York City and reports directly to Julie Boruchov, VP, sports sales.
Art Vuolo Video Exhibit to Reside at Museum of Broadcast Communications. American radio chronicler Art Voulo is contributing his video library “A History of the American Disc Jockey” to The National Radio Hall of Fame, located within the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Well known as “Radio’s Best Friend” among radio pros, Vuolo has been videotaping radio personalities both on the air and behind-the-scenes since the late 1970s. This future exhibit is being spearheaded by Chicago broadcasting executives John Gehron of AccuRadio, Lisa Miller of Miller Broadcast Management, and Harv Blain of Vallie Richards Donovan Consulting, and will highlight nearly 40 years of Vuolo’s work with more than 700 disc jockeys from coast to coast, including many of radio’s most creative personalities. More than 1,000 videos will be available for viewing at the museum. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The trust Art Vuolo created between himself and hundreds of radio personalities while capturing their on-air magic in video form has turned into a treasure trove of memories everyone should be able to see. Many personalities are in the National Radio Hall of Fame; many more are deserved of nomination. The collection of work should be heard and seen by all who are interested.” Vuolo comments, “I am honored to present my video library to The National Radio Hall of Fame at The Museum of Broadcast Communications and am absolutely overwhelmed with the support of the radio industry.”
2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Starbucks Holiday Cups Controversy, U of Missouri President Resigns, Obama Immigration Order Blocked, UVA Fraternity Sues Rolling Stone, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the run-up to this evening’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; the controversy created by Starbucks’ decision to change its holiday cup designs to avoid potentially religious sentiments; racial tensions at the University of Missouri and the president’s decision to resign his post; President Obama’s executive order on immigration is blocked by a Court of Appeals; the University of Virginia fraternity named in the retracted gang rape story sues Rolling Stone for $25 million; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Announces News Staff Moves. The changes will mean a higher station profile for Mike Russell and a daypart shift for Becky Lynn. Bonneville’s Phoenix news and talk outlet announces that Russell will assume the host duties for the hour-long “Arizona’s Evening News” program and news anchor Becky Lynn moves from the mid-morning daypart to afternoon drive where she’ll anchor during the “Mac and Gaydos” show. Russell hosts the station’s weekend “Get Outdoors” program and serves as a fill-in talk host. Now, he’ll also be a regular content contributor producing written, audio and video content for KTAR.com, as well as producing daily radio features for “Arizona’s Morning News.” Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “Mike is a terrific talent and great person who is one of the emerging local voices in Arizona. And Becky Lynn’s veteran news chops and her natural warmth will play perfectly with Mac and Gaydos every afternoon.” Changes take effect on November 30.
WTOP/WFED, Washington Layoffs Official: Four Out, Five Empty Posts to Go Unfilled. On Friday (11/6), TALKERS magazine reported rumors of layoffs at Hubbard Radio’s Washington, DC operations at all-news WTOP-FM and news/talk WFED. The company confirms via memo from market manager Joel Oxley that these moves are financial in nature. As reported on Friday, WFED personality Francis Rose exits, as does traffic reporter Ari Ashe, director of digital media John Meyer, and producer Matt Wingfield. The company won’t fill the reporter role formerly held by Andrew Mollenbeck, the digital post previously held by Kerry Walter nor three open sales posts. Francis Rose tells TALKERS magazine that he has nothing but good things to say about his time with Hubbard Radio and WFED and he’s looking forward to his next opportunity and continuing fill-in work for Westwood One’s John Batchelor program.
Dave Ramsey and Tyler Media Partner for Sold Out Oklahoma City Event. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey was not able to be in Chicago on Thursday to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame – his daughter Rachel Cruze was there representing Ramsey – but only because he was busy bringing his Smart Money live event to the Oklahoma City market. Ramsey and Tyler Media-owned local affiliate KOKC combined their forces to promote the program held at the Crossings Community Church. Tyler Media VP of sales Jim Williston says, “Sell-out crowds have become synonymous with Dave’s Oklahoma City seminars — a testament to the power of his straight forward, real-life messaging. Dave connects in both a personal and personable way with his audience. He artfully combines and shares his knowledge with his wisdom. Those who invest the time always leave well equipped with actionable ideas — their only challenge is to actually have the discipline to employ what they have learned.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Williston, Ramsey; Tyler Media VP Tony Tyler, and Ramsey Solutions speaker Chris Hogan.
Newsweb Radio Gives Up License for WCFJ, Chicago Heights. The 1,000-watt station at 1470 kHz was declared unprofitable by Newsweb Radio, so the company is voluntarily turning the station’s license in to the FCC. WCFJ is just one of eight signals operated by Newsweb Radio in the Chicago market. It had been airing brokered ethnic and foreign-language content.
Salem Hosts Broadcast from Israel. Today and tomorrow (11/9-10), Salem Radio Network personalities Dennis Prager and Mike Gallagher will broadcast their programs from Israel as parent company Salem Media Group brings 500 listeners to the Holy Land on its “Stand with Israel” trip. Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella says, “America and Israel have had a special bond since Israel was originally founded. Our hosts have enormous affection for this country. We decided to invite our listeners to join some of our hosts on a legendary trip to the Holy Land. We are honored to lead this group on a trip they will never forget.”
KGO, San Francisco’s Ronn Owens Inducted into Hall of Fame. Pictured here at last Thursday’s induction ceremony at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago are Premiere Networks’ WHTZ, New York-based CHR morning drive personality Elvis Duran (left) and legendary KGO, San Francisco midday personality Ronn Owens (right). Both were inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame along with fellow inductees: Big Boy, a.k.a. Kurt Alexander, Bob & Tom, Clark Howard, and Dan Mason.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 4. Today (11/5), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: What is the future for women on talk radio? Consultant Valerie Geller says that developing shows hosted by women, like most new programs, takes time. “Oprah’s audience was made for women, hosted by a woman and got a huge female audience. You also have to give shows time to grow and find their audience. Both Rush and Sean had that. Many female hosts are given an opportunity, but management gets scared and pulls the plug too soon — shows take time to grow — you have to be willing to believe in, develop and then give a talent the time it takes to grow, male or female.” At Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, VP/content and programming Todd Manley says his station has numerous female voices – both in news and on talk host positions – and they’ve been brought aboard because they have specific attractive qualities. Wendy Snyder co-hosts middays and Patti Vasquez hosts solo at night. Manley says, “Wendy is just simply curious. She flies into every show without pretense. Plus, she has an engaging lack of filter, which works for her because she’s loving. Patti has an investigative gene and she’s quickly becoming Chicago’s favorite community activist. You throw in her comic genius and you get great laughs with the tears.” Read the entire piece here.
iHeartMedia Q3 Consolidated Revenue Down 3.1%. For the third quarter of 2015, iHeartMedia is reporting that although its consolidated revenue increased slightly during the period, unfavorable impact from movements in foreign exchange rates caused its reported consolidated revenue to drop to $1.57 million – down 3.1% compared to the same period a year ago. The iHeartMedia segment, excluding Americas Outdoor and Internation Outdoor, saw revenue increase $22 million, or 3%, excluding political advertising revenues. On a reported basis, revenue increased $16 million, or 2%, during the third quarter 2015 as compared to the third quarter 2014 driven primarily by sponsorship revenue related to the iHeartRadio Music Festival, barter and trade revenue and digital revenue. Partially offsetting these increases was a decrease in political advertising revenues, lower core broadcast radio revenue and prior year revenue from the radio towers sold this year during the second quarter of 2015.
Townsquare Media Q3 Revenue Up 4.2% on Pro Forma Basis. There are a number of ways to look at the third quarter financial numbers announced by Townsquare Media and the company’s acquisition of non-radio assets is important in sifting through the numbers. The 4.2% increase in net revenue on a pro forma basis means “pro forma for the acquisitions of WE Fest and NAME [North American Midway Entertainment] on October 31, 2014 and September 1, 2015, respectively, as well as for the divestiture of certain of our towers on September 1, 2015.” However, the company’s net revenue for Q3 increased over the same period a year ago by 9.7% (excluding the NAME acquisition) and 7.1% including NAME and on a constant currency basis. In a press release, chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We believe our third quarter performance again demonstrates the strength of our diversified strategy. Our results were in line with our guidance and our strong cash flow generation also allowed us to strengthen our balance sheet through the voluntary repayment of $20 million of our outstanding term loan debt.” Looking a little closer, local advertising net revenue increased just $0.6 million, or 0.7% over the same period a year ago.
Art Bell’s ‘Midnight in the Desert’ Clears on KABC, Los Angeles. Many in the talk radio industry are by now aware that late-night paranormal talker Art Bell has returned to hosting a nightly program that is being offered in syndication to AM/FM stations. The former host of “Coast to Coast AM” is putting his show on the internet via his ArtBell.com but recently began affiliate efforts. Now, TALKERS learns the show is now being cleared on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, delayed by an hour from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am PT. Bell recently spoke with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on Harrison’s hit podcast for media freaks called “Up Close and Far Out” on the PodcastOne platform. Listen to it here.
Radio One’s Radio Segment Down 6.6% in Third Quarter. Chief executive officer and president Alfred Liggins says the radio segment of Radio One continues to be challenged with its stations underperforming. The dip of 6.6% in net revenue compared to the markets in which they operate – down just 2.2% — should change in the future. “We are seeing some signs of stabilization in our Washington, DC and Houston clusters, as well as strong performances from Dallas, Philadelphia and St Louis. During the quarter we experienced double-digit ratings growth in 11 of our 15 markets, and our four largest markets showed ratings growth of 15% on average from July to September. This positive ratings momentum should lead to improved monetization in 2016.” The company’s TV One and Reach Media have performed better, helping to offset the radio sector’s performance. The company as a whole reports net revenue up 3.3% for the quarter. Liggins adds, “Fourth quarter core radio advertising revenues, excluding political advertising, are currently pacing (8.3%) YTY. We remain focused on correcting our underperforming radio clusters, while delivering increased cash-flow through overall cost containment, and revenue growth in the cable television business. I am excited that David Kantor has accepted the role as CEO of our radio platform, including our local stations, network and syndication business. Bringing together all of our radio assets under one leadership structure will enhance our ability to compete and transform our business for the future.”
Saga Communications Q3 Net Revenue Down 1.6%. The third quarter report from Saga Communications, Inc. shows the company’s net revenue was down 1.6% on income of $33.8 million. The company also reports that free cash flow increased 11.3% to $5.5 million for the quarter and station operating expense decreased $2.0 million to $24.3 million. For the nine month period from January through September 30, net revenue was down just 0.4% on income of $97.3 million.
Adam Carolla Re-Ups with PodcastOne. One of podcasting’s most successful personalities is continuing his relationship with the Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne advertiser-supported podcast network. Carolla Digital and Adam Carolla ink an exclusive sales and marketing deal for an additional five years. On top of repping the Carolla Digital lineup of programs, the companies will work closely on production and development of new programming. Carolla has been represented by PodcastOne since the company launched. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pattiz comments, “I learned one lesson very early in life – if you want to do something, do it with the best. I’ve been working with Adam since his ‘Loveline’ days and I hope that my obituary is read on his show first.”
Michael Harrison Talks About the State of Journalism with CBS News Radio VP, Harvey Nagler. In the latest installment of the international hit PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison engages in an in-depth conversation about electronic journalism in the digital age with CBS News Radio VP Harvey Nagler. Nagler is one of the most respected and decorated executives in the realm of radio journalism. The two discuss the role of news on radio today as well as radio’s changing role in the convergence of traditional platforms. It is a substantive conversation covering everything from media responsibility and the impact of citizen gatekeepers on the state of truth to the evolving mission of journalism schools and emerging opportunities for young people entering the field of news in this very new environment. Harrison and Nagler reflect upon the legacy of Edward R. Murrow and compare what he did in the 1940s and 50s to today’s multimedia 24 hour news cycle. Yes, they even mention Donald Trump and the public’s ever-increasing fascination for politics as an entertaining spectator sport in the current presidential election cycle. To listen to the entire conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KABC, Los Angeles to Be Subject of Panel Discussion at SoCal Media Convention. The convention at the Holiday Inn Media Center in Burbank is being presented by SPERDVAC – the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety And Comedy and it takes place this weekend. In addition to a lot of recreations of Golden Age of Radio theatre and celeb appearances, there will be panel discussions. One will feature talk about legendary Los Angeles station KABC. Moderating it will be radio pro and former KABC host Bill Moran. On the panel will be Eric Tracy, Carole Hemmingway, Tommy Hawkins, Royale Oaks, George Green, Ira Fistell, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (via Skype). Moran says they discuss what made KABC legendary and how the station’s talk programming has changed since it assumed the spoken-word format in the 1960s. For more information about the convention, visit sperdvac.com.
C. Crane’s Impressive New Building. The family-owned-and-operated C. Crane company has been in business since it was founded at the Crane family’s kitchen table in 1983 selling AM antennas for the love of talk radio. Pictured here, you see the staff of the AM/FM radio and accessories vendor posing during the ribbon-cutting outside C. Crane’s newly remodeled 14,000 square foot facility. Local dignitaries and employees decided they might as well celebrate Halloween at the same time since a big move like this is kind of scary. Company founder Bob Crane says the new digs provide improved efficiency and better access for customers to the new showroom. He says, “Our ability to design and manufacture new proprietary radio products has dramatically accelerated with the new facility.”
2016 Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Election Results, Russian Airline Crash, Syria-Russia Relationship, Illinois Cop Case, European Migrant Troubles-U.S. Immigration Policy, and Quentin Tarantino Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, including the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance hosting “Saturday Night Live” this weekend; the results of various gubernatorial and mayoral elections on Tuesday; the investigation into the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai and the possibility ISIS is responsible; the military relationship between Syria and Russia; the case of the Illinois cop, at first thought killed by attackers and now believed to have committed suicide to hide his theft of funds; the ongoing migrant troubles in European countries and U.S. immigration policy; and the flap over director Quentin Tarantino’s support of a rally against deadly police violence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 3. Today (11/4), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: What does it take to make it? Obviously, there are women working successfully in the news/talk genre as lead or solo host or part of an equal team. Mandy Connell of KHOW, Denver and WHAS, Louisville says a lot of it is luck applying at stations with open-minded programmers. “I have been very fortunate to cross paths with great PDs who believed in my abilities and were not dissuaded by my gender. Jim Watkins hired me first, then Kelly Carls, Dan Mandis and Greg Foster — none of whom cared that I was female. They just cared that I was good at what I do. I think as more women work their way through the talk radio landscape, the programming issue will solve itself.” Susan Monday hosts the midday show at WXDE, Lewes, Delaware. She believes women who want to succeed at talk radio should be aware how they sound on the radio. “It’s also important — not fair, but important — that a woman’s voice is the right kind of voice. Shrill is not a woman-in-radio’s friend. Luckily years of cheerleading destroyed any hope of shrill for me, but I still counsel women to check their tone when they get upset. Shrill makes me turn the dial. Unless it’s Mark Levin, for whom shrill is a normal speaking voice.” Also in this installment, hear from Salem SVP Phil Boyce, consultant Valerie Geller, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale’s Joyce Kaufman, Greater Media’s Phil Zachary, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Read the entire piece here.
Nielsen’s October PPM Format Report Shows Big Months for News/Talk and Sports Talk. Reporting on the results of its October 2015 PPM survey, Nielsen Audio delivers some stats about listenership based on format, and it bodes well for news/talk and sports talk stations. According to the ratings giant, “news/talk posted its best overall month in nearly two years — a 9.4% share of all listening, which was last matched in November 2013.” For October, news/talk was the most-listened-to format (persons 6+ AQH share). Country was second with 7.9 %, CHR came in tied for third with AC with 7.4%. In the 25-54 demo, news/talk finished fifth with 6.3% of 6+ listeners. Sports talk celebrated a huge jump in listening. “Sports stole the show in October, jumping a full share-point among all listeners aged 6+ from 4.6% in September to 5.6%. This marks a new record for the format. In the 25-54 demographic, October’s 6% (up from 5.1% in September) tied the record set in October and November of 2014.” See the Nielsen story here.
CBS RADIO Division Revenue Dips 6% in Q3 Report. The 2015 third quarter financial report for CBS Corp. was delivered on Tuesday (11/3) and the CBS RADIO division – part of the company’s Local Broadcasting segment that also includes CBS television stations – was down 6% compared to the same period a year ago. What affected the radio division’s revenue from last year to this? CBS attributes the drop to the generally soft radio advertising marketplace, the fewer radio stations it owns this year and less political advertising after last year’s mid-term elections. Political and sports are also very important to the television sector. The company reports the 7% decline in television revenue stems from fewer sports events and the decrease in political.
‘Stuttering’ John Melendez Joins Stephanie Miller Program; Jim Ward Returns. The move of executive producer “Boy Toy” Chris Lavoie to a new career in Palm Springs opens the door for former longtime Howard Stern cast member and “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” announcer “Stuttering” John Melendez to join the Stephanie Miller program as executive producer and co-host. At the same time, Miller is pleased to welcome the return of Emmy award-winner Jim Ward – the man of 1,000 voices – as her new co-host, effective November 16. Ward is known for his impersonations of political figures, celebrities, and newsmakers. Melendez began his duties today (11/4).
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York talk host and NY 1 TV personality Mark Simone will be teaching a master class on Frank Sinatra on November 18 as part of Hofstra University’s two-week symposium on the legendary singer. Simone hosted a long-running Sinatra show on ABC Radio and he’s been the host of numerous Sinatra specials on PBS…..Joining the menu of shows available from PodcastOne is actress Heather Dubrow, a star of the show “OC Housewives.” The weekly program is called “Heather Dubrow’s World” and the first episode features her fellow “OC Housewives” stars Tamra Barney and Shannon Beador…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles is producing “A Sandwich Generation Forum & Resource Expo” on Saturday, November 14 at the Burbank Airport Marriott Convention Center. TV personality Leeza Gibbons, KNBC-TV weatherman Fritz Coleman, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and prominent medical professionals, professors, attorneys, financial planners and authors are among the 25 speakers who will offer guidance for people facing the complex challenges of caregiving for aging parents and growing children.
2016 Presidential Race, Clinton Foundation Financial Questions, Russian Airliner Crash, U.S. and Russian Roles in Syrian Conflict, U.S. Immigration Policy, Troubled ObamaCare Co-ops, Chipotle E. Coli Outbreak, and Looming Paris Climate Summit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation’s finances; the investigation into the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Desert; the Syrian civil war and the roles of the U.S. and Russian military; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; reports of troubled ObamaCare co-ops; the outbreak of E. coli poisoning at Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon; and escalating discussion about climate change as the Paris climate summit approaches were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. SiriusXM Satellite Radio is seeking a producer for the Patriot Channel in its Talk Programming division. The person in this producer position will be responsible for all aspects involved in producing a successful daily talk show on Sirius XM Patriot including studio/technical operations, promotion, production, guest booking, and research. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Previous production experience within radio and/or live studio environment preferred. For more about this position and to apply, click here.
Beasley Seeing Red Over Second Straight Month of Delisting for WBRN, Tampa. The Tampa talk/rock hybrid that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive was delisted from the September PPM survey by Nielsen Audio after independent contractor Bubba (a.k.a. Todd Clem) admitted to tampering with the PPM panel. WBRN “Bubba 98.7” owner Beasley Media Group absorbed that blow even though Nielsen Audio admitted that the panelist in question did not affect the ratings because he was found out in time for the September report. Now, however, Beasley is upset with Nielsen’s decision to delist WBRN from the October PPM survey as well. BMG president Bruce Beasley states, “Since the initial incident was reported to Beasley Media, we have had a constructive dialog with Nielsen as we were also victimized by Mr. Clem’s actions. We instituted remedial actions against Mr. Clem which had been reviewed in advance by Nielsen. As Nielsen itself acknowledged, we cooperated fully with Nielsen to ensure the accuracy of their past and forthcoming ratings. Therefore, we were blind-sided and disappointed to learn today (11/2) that Nielsen Audio will exclude WBRN-FM from the October 2015 ratings. Nielsen has not shared with us, its longstanding client, any specific evidence of ratings distortion which could have had any impact on the October 2015 Ratings Report, thus suggesting that this action is related solely to the ongoing litigation between Nielsen and Mr. Clem. The fallout from this dispute may inflict collateral damage on Beasley, which, indisputably, has done nothing wrong.” The litigation Beasley refers to is Nielsen’s $1 million dollar suit against Bubba for “damages” suffered by Nielsen as a result of Bubba’s ratings tampering actions. With the release of the Tampa October 2015 PPM data, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the Tampa market are available here.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 2. Today (11/3), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: Is it blatant bias? Karen Hunter, an author/journalist, Hunter College professor and SiriusXM Urban View talk personality, says culture is a large part of it. “The men who are in charge of hiring primarily see women as only tackling topics that are women-oriented — domestic issues, relationships, child-rearing, shopping, cooking, etc. When the reality is that many women are heads of households and are making the tough decisions daily that men make. They are bosses and managers and leaders whose view of the world is as important as a man’s.” WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner and air personality Anne Eller adds more to the culture response. Historically, “from station owners, to station managers to talk show hosts to disc jockeys, men were out front and women were in support roles…I do believe all this is changing, but I believe our culture has been the reason.” Eller says where she is in the South, the woman as the boss is a challenging role. “In the South particularly, women that are leaders are not given the support they need by other women and in my role as a talk show host, quite often, I hear other women say, ‘Who does she think she is?’ It is a fine line between being ‘boss bitch’ and a female person.” In this installment, we also hear from Greater Media Boston market manager Phil Zachary and Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen. Read the entire piece here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 95 Years Today. Today marks the 95th anniversary of the KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh broadcast of the 1920 presidential election results between Democrat James Cox and Republican Warren Harding. The CBS RADIO-owned news/talk station is celebrating with a live broadcast from the Senator John Heinz History Center through 8:00 pm this evening. Westinghouse Electric Company, KDKA’s original founder and owner, will sponsor the event. The “KDKA Afternoon News,” hosted by Robert Mangino and Shelley Duffy will broadcast live from the Heinz History Center from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Current KDKA staff, talent and past personalities will attend the celebration. KDKA host Mike Pintek, who came to KDKA in 1982, will serve as master of ceremonies during which Westinghouse SVP of communications Cassie Hagen will showcase the Westinghouse contribution to the radio industry. Most radio people are aware that Westinghouse launched the world’s “first broadcast” delivering the 1920 election results. Plans were finalized with the Pittsburgh Post to acquire election returns by telephone. The election night broadcast began at 6:00 pm from a shack on the roof of the K Building of the Westinghouse Electric Company “East Pittsburgh Works” in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.
Champagne Toasts, Dinner and Big Names Turned Out Last Night (11/2) for the Dedication of the Hillsdale College Boyle Radio Studio in DC. Talk radio is alive and well and ready for future generations — thanks, in large part, to Hillsdale College. The Michigan-based liberal arts school is rooted in educating young people about the United States Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. And it’s betting on talk radio to be a driving force for free speech for generations to come. The independent college charted a course last night with the dedication of its new state-of-the-art Boyle Radio Studio, just a stone’s throw from the US Capitol on Massachusetts Avenue. The full-service facility is now officially part of the school’s extension in Washington, DC – The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship. The Monday night celebration included some big names turning out to show their support. Among them, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), who were also guests on Salem Radio Networks host Hugh Hewitt’s show. Hewitt inaugurated the Boyle Radio Studio with a live broadcast of his three-hour nationally syndicated program. With a lit up Capitol viewed from the school’s balcony, guests enjoyed a front row seat to Hewitt’s live broadcast, as well as dinner and tours of the facility. The evening activities capped off a full day of events that included two key presentations – “America’s Crisis of Constitutionalism” by Matthew Spalding, associate VP and dean of educational programs, the Kirby Center; and “The Future of Political Journalism” by John J. Miller, director, Dow Journalism Program. These were followed by a tour of the nearby Newseum in the nation’s capital. Speaker Ryan was very upbeat as he breezed through the crowd and shook hands before and after his radio interview with Hewitt. Ryan told the crowd he’s a huge fan of Hillsdale College and the Kirby Center stating, “They’re doing a fantastic job of teaching young Americans about our constitution and our founding principles.” Also in attendance was Bold Gold Media Group’s dynamic president/chief executive officer Vince Benedetto, a man described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “one of the most promising up-and-coming young radio group owners in the nation – the kind of individual who gives this industry hope for the future.” An active supporter of Hillsdale College and its passion for promoting talk radio and the Constitution, Benedetto, whose foundation funded Hillsdale’s brand new on-campus low-power radio station, WRFH 101.7 FM, and is contributing toward the DC extension, sees talk radio as the modern day town hall. He tells TALKERS, “I think the way to get more young people tuned into radio is to have more young people in radio. And so that’s what this is all about. It’s to create a ‘bench’ that we don’t have right now.” The full-service studio in Washington, DC won’t only be a place for students to learn their skills, it will also serve as a venue for out-of-town radio hosts to broadcast their shows free of charge when they’re in Washington. Details to come on how broadcasters can utilize this service to the industry. TALKERS has also entered into an agreement with Hillsdale’s Kirby Center as a DC location to produce and present occasional forums for on-air personalities and political figures to discuss the hottest issues of public policy. Harrison says, “We are thrilled to be able to look forward to re-instituting our series of Washington, DC-based forums that were so successful back in the 1990s with so distinguished a partner as Hillsdale College in 2016.” Hewitt, a huge fan of the school’s mission and a longtime friend with the school’s passionate president Larry Arnn plans to spend a lot of time there as well, telling TALKERS, “Whenever I’m in town, this is where I’m going to be broadcasting from. I’m very grateful to be a partner with Hillsdale College.”
DGital Media Partners with Stand Up NY Labs to form Comedy Voices Audio Network. The goal of this joint venture between Spencer Brown and David Landau-led DGital Media and Upper West Side comedy club Stand Up NY is to “produce, market and distribute original comedy programming.” Stand Up NY Labs is already producing comedy podcasts with A-list comics and this deal means DGital “will now have full production facilities in New York and will be involved in the production, distribution, marketing, events and sales of the existing audio platform as well as developing new content and events with the Stand Up NY comedy club.” Coming aboard DGital as vice president of the Comedy Voices division is John McDermott, who’s served as VP Comedy & Entertainment for SiriusXM. DGital chief content officer Chris Corcoran states, “We intend to build the leading digital audio platform in comedy with Stand Up NY Labs, which was conceived literally on top of legendary comedy club Stand Up NY.”
Mid-West Family Broadcasting Buys Four in South Bend Market. Through its affiliate WSJM, Inc., Mid-West Family Broadcasting is purchasing four radio stations and a translator in the South Bend, Indiana market from Gray Television Group for $5.5 million. The four stations – adult contemporary WNSN-FM, news/talk WSBT-AM, classic hits WZOC-FM, country WHFB-FM and translator W241AD (96.1 FM) – are currently pending acquisition by Gray from Schurz Communications.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated radio star and founder of TheBlaze media platform Glenn Beck is asking the Republican National Committee to consider TheBlaze TV as host of the ninth scheduled GOP presidential debate on February 26, 2016 in Houston. Beck says his network is “prepared to produce a new kind of debate, in both substance and distribution.” Beck would host the debate and – instead of journalists asking questions of the candidates – he “would invite the greatest new conservative thinkers and media voices in the country to question the candidates.”…..There’s a change in corporate structure at Nielsen Holdings. The company is eliminating the chief operating officer effective January 1, 2016 and current COO Brian West is resigning his post, effective December 31…..Salem Media Group acquires the financial website DividendYieldHunter.com. The company is adding that to its current portfolio of publications targeting investors under the Eagle Financial Publications banner. Eagle currently publishes products and services written by investment experts Mark Skousen, Doug Fabian, Nicholas Vardy, Bryan Perry and Chris Versace. Eagle also has three other financial websites: EagleDailyInvestor.com, DividendInvestor.com and ETFU.com…..Internet audio service Pandora strikes a deal with American Public Media to serve as the exclusive streaming partner for the podcast “Serial.” The relationship means not only will Pandora stream season two of “Serial,” but it will also stream APM’s “This American Life” and offer season one of “Serial” on demand. The launch date for season two remains a secret.
Lundgren: A Laptop and a Mic Don’t Make You a Broadcaster. KCAA, Loma Linda founder and owner Fred Lundgren says he’s not against digital technology — or even podcasting — but he bristles at the notion that uploading or streaming to the internet is equivalent to (or better than!) broadcasting via AM/FM radio. Read Fred Lundgren’s opinion piece here.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall and Co-Workers Enjoy Royals Series Win. Even though he wakes up mostly Phillies fans each weekday morning on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Chris Stigall is true to his hometown Kansas City Royals. He tells TALKERS magazine that he and his WPHT co-workers enjoyed watching the clinching game five at Citi Field on Sunday night. He says the Mets fans were gracious and they had a blast. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Stigall, WPHT PD Jared Hart, program executive producer Michael Cerio and WPHT news anchor and Stigall sidekick Paige Powers (also a KC native).
Obama Deficit/New Budget Deal, Russian Airliner Crash, 2016 Presidential Race, European Migrant Troubles/U.S. Immigration Policy, U.S.-Russia Military Tensions, Syria-ISIS Violence, Fred Thompson Dies, NFL Action, and Royals Win World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/2). The new, two-year budget deal and the Obama Administration’s raising the debt ceiling; the controversial crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Desert; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the aftermath of last week’s GOP primary debate on CNBC; ongoing migrant issues in Europe and debate over immigration policy in the U.S.; military tensions between the U.S. and Russia; the Syrian civil conflict and ISIS activity; actor, politician and radio host Fred Thompson dies; the weekend’s NFL action and the Kansas City Royals’ victory over the New York Mets to win the 2015 World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 1. Today (11/2), TALKERS magazine begins presenting a multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Before attempting to provide answers to that and other relevant questions, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison explains that when we say “talk radio” in this instance, we’re speaking about “political news/talk” radio. “Over the years, the popular sub-genre of ‘political news/talk’ radio has hijacked the broader term ‘talk radio’ in the minds of many. This is unfortunate because there are other viable forms of talk radio out there beyond traditional ‘news/talk’ – and the potential for expansion into even more realms of pertinent topicality is huge.” In this first part, KFI and KEIB, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci begins to answer the question from her perspective as a veteran programmer. “News/talk originally evolved around men who were primarily doing political talk. Many women are not into that. It’s not that they don’t care about politics or have strong opinions, but the divisiveness of that style can be off putting to many women. So, more men listening leads to more male-oriented talk which leads again to more men listening.” Read the entire piece here.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagship Stations. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a final look at the performances of stations serving as flagships for Major League Baseball franchises based on ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey. Since this report is not based on ratings from actual game time dayparts, it reflects the overall movement of a station with baseball listening as one possible factor. In this report, see charts illustrating the AQH shares of stations from September 2015 to October 2015, from October 2014 to October 2015, as well as the market ranks and how the flagships stacked up based on MLB divisions. Click here for the full report.
iHeartMedia Gives KOA, Denver FM Simulcast. There’s no longer an FM simulcast for Marco Broadcasting’s pot-themed classic rocker KBUD, Golden, Colorado “Smokin’ 94.1.” iHeartMedia is buying Marco Broadcasting’s FM translator K231BQ, Golden for $950,000 and it immediately begins airing the signal of the company’s Denver news/talk KOA. The news was announced during yesterday’s Denver Broncos pre-game show. iHeartMedia says in a press release, “The new 94.1 FM signal covers the Denver area. 850 AM is one of the most powerful stations in North America, and will continue to reach areas well beyond Colorado’s Front Range. In the coming weeks, KOA NewsRadio will expand its coverage on 94.1 FM in Boulder, resulting in full market coverage of 94.1 FM in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area.”
Frank Vulpi Named Market Manager for Cumulus Media Westchester. Radio management pro Frank Vulpi joins Cumulus Media as vice president/market manager for the company’s Westchester, New York radio stations. Vulpi comes to Cumulus from his most recent post as a sales executive with Bloomberg, LP. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Vulpi was VP/GM at United Stations Radio Networks. On his new position, Vulpi states, “It’s an exciting time to be a part of Cumulus Media. The company’s depth and breadth of offerings and creative solutions are well positioned to serve the interests of our advertising partners. I am very impressed with and fortunate to be associated with a team of high integrity managers who are concerned with the positive career growth of their team members.”
Sean Hannity Packs Vegas Casino for Live Event. The Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio and cable TV superstar was in Las Vegas last Friday doing his show from affiliate KDWN “News Talk 720.” Later that evening Sean Hannity filled the Orleans Casino Showroom with fans during the “An Evening With Sean Hannity” live event. The musical guests for the program included Lee Greenwood and Craig Campbell. Pictured here at the KDWN studios are (from l-r): KDWN morning host Chad Forster, KDWN PD John Shaffer, Hannity and KDWN morning host Dave Carney.
BIA/Kelsey: Total Local Advertising Revenue to Grow 3.75% in 2016. Details from the annual advertising forecast from BIA/Kelsey will be presented at the company’s Future of Local Digital Media conference in Los Angeles in December. Meanwhile, it says it is forecasting total local advertising revenue in the U.S. to reach $146.6 billion next year – up from $141.3 billion this year. Online/digital revenue will grow to $42.6 billion in 2016, representing 29.1% of total local media revenue, up from $38 billion in 2015. BIA/Kelsey says the “power brew” of mobile, social and video are the categories fueling growth in the local online/digital segment. BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “Mobile is the primary force behind the continuing increase in digital advertising, largely driven by social advertising. Mobile spending is growing faster than expected, cutting into the growth of other online advertising. For example, online spending on ads viewed through desktops is still increasing, but overall only at single digit growth rates as more of the attention of consumers and advertisers alike shifts to mobile. Local video spending on all platforms — mobile, online, TV over-the-air, cable and out-of-home — will grow, along with local video’s slice of the local advertising pie.”
Longtime WOND, Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Dies at 88. The broadcaster known as “Mr. Atlantic City” died on Saturday (10/31) at the age of 88. Pinky Kravitz had worked as a talk host at Longport Media’s WOND, Atlantic City since 1958. He had missed his first ever air shift back in May after undergoing open heart surgery. Kravitz chose to retire from WOND in August due to ongoing health issues. New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella says in a statement, “Long before there was a Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity there were broadcasters like our friend Pinky Kravitz, who kept the talk radio format alive and well and indeed vibrant for five decades, thus paving the way for the great talk radio resurgence we witness today. Legendary broadcasters like Pinky led the way in providing radio audiences with a rich and compelling listening experience. In the best tradition of broadcast – live and local – Pinky had an engaging warmth with his audience that transcended the airwaves, which he did almost every day for over half a century.”
Lawyer, Senator, Actor and Talk Host Fred Thompson Dead at 73. Although he was best known to most Americans as the fictitious district attorney Arthur Branch on the “Law & Order” franchise, Fred Thompson also worked in spoken-word radio. His first career was as an attorney. He served three terms as a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee. His radio work began in 2006 when he began with ABC Radio Networks filling in for Paul Harvey. He joined Westwood One as a talk show host in 2009, taking over the time slot formerly held by Bill O’Reilly’s “The Radio Factor.” That gig ended in 2011. Thompson died Sunday (11/1) from complications from a recurrence of lymphoma. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian spoke with Thompson twice for profile pieces. Read Kinosian’s story here.
Louisville Talk Host Joe Elliott’s WGTK ‘970 AM The Answer’ Program Cancelled. After five years on Salem Media Group-owned WGTK, Louisville, Joe Elliott’s program was cancelled by management. Elliott hosted the 8:00 am to 11:00 am program and announced his exit via Twitter. Elliott previously worked in the market hosting the evening program at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WHAS.
Odds & Sods. In Minnesota, Hubbard adds KBUN-FM, Blackduck as a simulcast to sister sports talk KBUN-AM, Bemidji which carries the Fan Radio Network programming based at iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis…..Former WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio host Michael Bower is sitting in for Andy Slater on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ, Miami today from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET…..Actor Danny Trejo was a guest on “Business Rockstars” recently speaking with host Ken Rutkowski about his new venture – a restaurant called Trejo’s Tacos…..The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame announces next May’s Class of 2016 inductees. The board of directors and the advisory council have chosen: Harry Chapman, Warren Medley, Dave Overton, Aaron B. Robinson Sr., Charlie Scott and Cal Young Jr. for the next class…..Boston University-owned news WBUR-FM, Boston’s names Anthony Brooks the NPR-affiliate station’s new senior political correspondent.
Beasley Media Group Q3 Financial Data Shows Mixed Results. Last December’s asset swap with CBS RADIO – in which it exchanged five stations in Philly and Miami for 14 CBS stations in Tampa, Charlotte and Philly – makes this third quarter financial report from Beasley Media Group a bit more complex. It’s required to report the five stations CBS received under discontinued operations for the 2014 third quarter, despite having operated them through November 2014. Therefore, on a combined basis, third quarter top-line revenue was up 7%, but on a pro forma basis third quarter net revenue decreased 4.5% while station operating income declined 12.2%. The company says, “The decline in pro forma revenue largely reflects weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, Fayetteville and Wilmington, which reduced operating leverage and impacted SOI. However, we continue to make progress with the Tampa-St. Petersburg and Charlotte integration initiatives and reduced combined station operating expenses in these markets by approximately $700,000, while company-wide cost reductions led to a 1.5% reduction in third quarter station operating expenses. We are now approximately 11 months into our integration and transition plan related to the asset exchange and despite it being more difficult and time consuming than expected, we believe our success in expense management combined with our ratings strength should lead to financial benefits from the swap in late 2016. In the meantime, we continue to make progress in reducing debt, while returning capital to shareholders. During the third quarter we made credit facility repayments totaling $3 million, reduced borrowings to $90.2 million at September 30, 2015 and declared our eighth consecutive quarterly cash dividend.” In issuing its forward looking statements, Beasley says it remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their markets revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our ratings and programming are in great shape and look forward to benefiting from the integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes put in place over the last year.”
Sean Hannity Packs iHeartRadio Theatre in Los Angeles. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Sean Hannity appeared in Los Angeles recently to a standing room only house at the iHeartRadio Theatre. Hannity is heard on iHeartMedia’s KEIB, Los Angeles and the station reports that listeners were treated to breakfast and more than an hour of political conversation, jokes, personal stories and Q&A with the Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality. Pictured here backstage at the iHeartRadio Theatre are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Los Angeles market president Kevin LeGrett, Hannity, and KEIB and KFI program director Robin Bertolucci.
‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Adds Two Personalities to Revamped Lineup. With the recent exit of longtime Detroit radio personality Drew Lane from the PM drive daypart last week, Greater Media’s sports talk WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1,” adds two new personalities to its new lineup. Drew Sharp joins Matt Dery for the new afternoon program and Sean Baligian is now part of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show with Tom Mazawey and Marc Fellhauer. Baligian has been hosting the afternoon show on iHeartMedia’s Grand Rapids sports talk WMAX “96.1 FM ESPN.” He also works for USA Hockey and is in his seventh year as the voice of Wayne State Football. Drew Sharp is a 30-plus year Detroit Free Press columnist. Program director Dave Shore says, “This new lineup is very exciting and we will continue bringing Detroit the most knowledgeable and most thought-provoking talent in sports radio.”
Round Four of October PPM Ratings Released. The fourth and final round of October 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio is released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. You can find all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Twelve Takeaways from this round of data at our sister publication’s site here. The October 2015 PPM survey covered September 10 through October 7.
Bringing Joy to the Visually and Hearing Impaired. Hardly a week goes by when past-recipient of the TALKERS Humanitarian of the Year award, GCN-syndicated talk star Dr. Joy Browne is not involved in a high-profile charitable initiative. This past Wednesday (10/28) America’s leading relationships talker performed the role of honorary ring master at the Big Apple Circus presentation of “Circus of the Senses” – a specially adapted performance of “The Grand Tour” – at New York’s Lincoln Center for children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and other disabilities allowing them to experience the joy and wonder of the circus. Dr. Browne (l) is pictured in full ringmaster regalia with Big Apple Circus regular ringmaster John Kennedy Kane (r). Browne tells TALKERS, “It was a wonderful experience introducing the show. Through the use of audio headsets, Braille descriptive programs, American Sign Language interpreters, and a special ‘touch session’ after the show, anyone and everyone could experience and enjoy the extravaganza!”
GOP Debate and 2016 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of October 26-30. Wednesday evening’s GOP primary debate and the 2016 presidential race tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 was Paul Ryan’s ascension to the Speaker of the House. Coming in at #3 was the congressional budget deal followed by the U.S.-Russian military skirmishes at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Dave Ramsey: Digital Audience Passes 2.5 Million Mark. Tallying up the various digital platforms on which the nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey radio show is heard, Ramsey’s organization reports that his “weekly digital audience already exceeds 2.5 million users.” Ramsey’s digital content is heard via daily podcasts, a dedicated channel on iHeartRadio, online audio streaming, and an online video channel. Ramsey Media vice president Brian Mayfield states, “While our main focus will remain on the continued growth and development of our program on radio, we must also be in constant evaluation, exploration, and development of new technologies and ways of reaching new audience. Forming strong working relationships with companies such as Spotify and Google are what we hope is just the beginning of our potential growth in the digital space as well as in radio.”
New, Locally Owned Brunswick, Georgia Talk-Music Hybrid Launches. Local attorney Denise Esserman is the licensee of WBQO, St. Simons Island, Georgia “93.7FM,” which launched on Friday (10/23) with an eight-minute promo montage that looped all weekend and included morning host Gordon Deal explaining, “Hello Golden Isles! We’re your new radio station.” The lineup includes such national talent as Deal, SRN’s Mike Gallagher, Cox’s Clark Howard, Dave Ramsey and Westwood One’s Phil Valentine. Esserman and radio consultant Holland Cooke fashioned the station to be unique in the marketplace and are using the talents of music radio and imaging pro Nick Michaels for the evening show. Esserman says, “At the end of the day who wants to hear about politics? And we didn’t want to be a jukebox. My teenage daughter must have 1,000 songs on her phone. So we wanted to do something special.” Michaels’ weekly classic rock show “The Deep End” is airing nightly from 7:00 pm on the station. Cooke tells TALKERS that “ever since Nick launched ‘The Deep End’ I’ve been telling him that it’s bigger than a weekend syndicated show, it’s a format! Now he and I are calling each other’s bluff.” WBQO’s weekend lineup includes: Doug Stephan, Dr. Ken Kronhaus, Dave Graveline, Larry Kudlow, “The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show,” “Real Estate Today,” Cigar Dave, Jill Schlesinger, Tom Gresham, Bob Brinker, and a “Meet The Press” simulcast.
WGIR, Manchester-based Jack Heath to Air on Binnie Media’s WNNH, Concord, New Hampshire. The WGIR, Portsmouth and WQSO, Rochester, New Hampshire-based “NH Today” with Jack Heath is now being heard in morning drive on Binnie Media’s Concord, New Hampshire stations WNNH and WEMJ. WGIR and WQSO are owned by iHeartMedia. NH1-Binnie Media EVP Lee Kinberg comments, “‘99.1 NH1 Newsradio is proud to join the ‘NH Today’ network. As we head into one of the most important elections in history, both for New Hampshire and the country, there is no better morning host to entertain and inform Granite Staters than Jack Heath, and we are pleased to have him in the 99.1 NH1 Newsradio lineup.”
Round Three of October PPM Ratings Released. The third of four rounds of October 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio is released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Columbus. You can find all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Twelve Takeaways from this round of data at our sister publication’s site here. The October 2015 PPM survey covered September 10 through October 7.
Salem Radio Network (SRN) Provides Satellite and Production Services to Independent Shows and Producers. Known throughout the industry as a producer/supplier of some of the most successful and highest-profile national, long-form and short-form talk programming with such talent as Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Eric Metaxas, among others, Salem Media’s Salem Radio Network also provides state-of-the-art satellite, production and distribution services to independent talent, shows, and producers looking to reach radio stations across America. The company has been doing this from Dallas since 1993, reaching both general market (AMC-8 – XDS platform) and religious (SES-2, formerly AMC-3 – Wegener Unity platform) radio stations. SRN exec Derek Anderson tells TALKERS, “Our distribution services are utilized by producers of many varieties of programming including general talk, political, sports, home and garden, health, and lifestyle genres.” Anderson adds, “We also have full, in-house studio production capability for live and pre-recorded audio, live web streaming, and podcasting services.” What makes SRN special in this arena? Anderson explains, “What separates SRN from the pack is our ability to hit multiple satellite platforms and provide turn-key radio broadcasts allowing a host to operate a fully functioning broadcast from a home studio (or on the couch) using our 24/7 production facilities. Connect with SRN over ISDN or IP codecs and we will play your elements, integrate your commercials, and manage your listeners’ phone calls while hitting any satellite platform or web streaming to your specific audience.” SRN’s roster of satisfied clients includes syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Cal Thomas who says, “Salem Radio Network has been distributing my daily commentary for more than a decade. I have found them to be professional and attentive and would highly recommend their services to anyone who is looking for a first-rate network with which to work.” To learn more about SRN’s satellite, production and distribution services, please click here or call Derek Anderson at 972-707-6904.
Hillsdale College Dedicates New Campus Station WRFH-LPFM. On Monday (10/26), Hillsdale College dedicated its new campus college radio station, WRFH 101.7 FM. The dedication was emceed by Professor John J. Miller, director of Hillsdale College’s Dow Journalism Program, and included remarks from Vince Benedetto, president and CEO of Bold Gold Media, and Dr. Larry P. Arnn, Hillsdale College president. The new station – which can be heard within a five-mile radius of the Hillsdale, Michigan campus, was made possible through a gift from Benedetto. Miller states, “The new campus radio station offers another great opportunity for our students here at Hillsdale. This station will give our students first-hand experience in the art of communicating over the airwaves to larger audiences. We are extremely grateful to Mr. Benedetto and his team for their gracious efforts in making this possible.” Benedetto comments, “We’re excited about the value this station will bring, not only to the students of Hillsdale as they learn the art and craft of radio broadcasting, but to the community as well. I can think of no college better deserving of this than Hillsdale. Their educational outreach defending liberty is something everyone in America needs to hear.”
National Radio Hall of Fame Announces Guest Presenters. The induction ceremony for the National Radio Hall of Fame’s class of 2015 is next Thursday at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago and the slate of guest presenters has been announced. National Radio Hall-of-Famer Neal Boortz presents to Clark Howard; fellow Nashville resident Blair Garner presents to nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey; former KGO, San Francisco president and GM Mickey Luckoff presents to KGO’s Ronn Owens; iHeartMedia’s Tom Poleman presents to WHTZ, New York-based personality Elvis Duran; Dan Mason Jr. presents to his father, former longtime CBS RADIO president Dan Mason; two longtime “Big Boy” radio show producers, William “Fuzzy” West and Jason Ryan, present to KRRL, Los Angeles’ Kurt “Big Boy” Alexander; former WFBQ, Indianapolis GM Chris Wheat and current iHeartMedia Indianapolis market manager Rick Green present to the Bob & Tom show’s Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold; and WXRT, Chicago program director Norm Winer acknowledges Scott Muni, the late, legendary air personality of WABC-AM and WNEW-FM in New York.
Madison Rising to Headline U.S. Marines Anniversary in Philadelphia. The patriotic rock band Madison Rising – whose videos have opened the last two Talkers New York conferences – will be headlining the Philadelphia Street Fair on November 10, marking the 240th anniversary of the U.S. Marines. Philadelphia is regarded as the birthplace of the Marine Corps and some 2,000 Marines and former Marines are expected to be in attendance. Madison Rising is in the midst of a 70-city national and international tour which included recent appearances in Japan and Korea.
CNN ‘Hero of the Year’ Candidate Joins Michael Harrison This Week on ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Chicago-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Ivankovich as “one of the most diverse, knowledgeable, articulate and all-around fascinating guests I’ve ever interviewed… he provides a one-stop, extremely substantive conversation covering health care, race relations, economics, government corruption, journalism, media and blues music – a truly amazing man.” Ivankovich is one of the 10 finalists in CNN’s annual “Hero of the Year” award for 2015. The Yugoslavian-born Ivankovich also goes by the nicknames of “Dr. Dan” or “Chicago Slim” and besides operating three clinics that serve some of the poorest residents in the most dangerous neighborhoods of Chicago, he also does his best to aid blues musicians and help them get proper coverage from the health system to suit their needs. He co-founded the Chicago Blues All-Stars (in which he sings and plays guitar) and it was through this that he came in direct contact with veteran blues musicians who, in spite of their fame and musical talent, are impoverished and in need of better health care. He often helps provide free care for them through his non-profit One Patient Global Health Initiative. Ivankovich is the guest on the newly posted (10/27) installment of the Podcast One international hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Romney Rules. Appearing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s President’s Speaker Series, Ann Romney (right) chats with WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (left). This was the 125th event in this series of broadcasts. During the discussion, the wife of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke about her battle with MS, life with Mitt, family, the Romney’s hopes for old friend and new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and the nature of politics today. Photo: Chi-Valry Wu.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate, Congressional Budget Deal, South Carolina School Arrest Case, Russia Threatening Transcontinental Cables?, Iran Invited to Syria Talks, U.S. Math and Reading Scores Dip, LA and NYC Cop Unions Boycott Tarantino Films, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). The run-up to Wednesday evening’s GOP debate in Colorado and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; controversy over the two-year budget deal agreed to in Congress; the aftermath of the arrest of a high school student in South Carolina and the firing of the officer who made it; concerns by the U.S. military over Russian subs detected near undersea communications cables; Iran is invited to talks with the U.S. and Russia over the Syria civil war; reaction to the dip in math and reading test scores of U.S. students; the Los Angeles and New York police unions boycott Quentin Tarantino films after the director calls police murderers at a rally; and the Royals-Mets World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WW1 Partners with CNBC for Tonight’s Republican Primary Debate. The third Republican primary debate takes place this evening (10/28) live from the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado Boulder and carries a money theme: “Your Money, Your Vote.” The debate is being produced for television by CNBC and the radio partner is Westwood One which reports that more than 160 affiliate stations are signed up to air the debate. WW1 presents some data from its simulcast of the October 13th Democratic candidates’ debate, noting “one out of 10 adults (10.8%), 18+, report listening to the Westwood One News’ Democratic debate coverage, representing over 26 million people ages 18+,” and “one out of 10 Millennials, 18-34 (9.8%) report that they were reached; one of 10 Generation Xer’s, 35-54 (11.5%) report that they were reached.” WW1 EVP of news & talk programming Bart Tessler comments, “We are thrilled to partner with CNBC and to provide voters access to this debate so they can hear the candidates’ positions on their money and other issues. We are also filling a void for those Americans who don’t subscribe to a pay TV service or who live in broadcast-only households. Our radio coverage offers tremendous reach.”
Jeff Sottolano Named VP of Programming for CBS RADIO. This is a promotion from his current director, programming position he assumed in January of this year. Prior to that promotion, Jeff Sottolano had been program director of sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia. He was also program director at rock WYSP, Philadelphia from 2008 through 2011 when he moved to WIP. About his new role as VP of programming, CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero comments, “Jeff has made significant contributions to our content platform, not just over the air, but also to our strong digital and live event assets. With today’s announcement, he will now be better positioned to take a leadership role as we continue to craft our growth strategy, one which is squarely founded on CBS RADIO’s best in class brands.”
WGN, Chicago’s Justin Kaufmann Explains Absence from Evening Show. The host of WGN, Chicago’s 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm program “The Download” pens an explanation/apology for his now-three-week absence from the show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us to Justin Kaufmann’s letter that reads, in part, “I made a mistake. As a husband, I let my wife and my family down. And I will also tell you that this issue is between me and my wife. Also please know that my lapse in judgement was not the reason I have been off the air. The fact that an individual tried to take advantage of my private situation, and make it public, was. That’s the consequence of a bad decision in the first place. And for that I apologize.” Part-time staffers have been filling in hosting the show since October 6. It’s not clear when Kaufmann will return to the air. Read Feder’s report here.
WTEM, Washington Cancels ‘The Man Cave.’ The Red Zebra-operated Washington, DC sports talker WTEM “ESPN 908” will return ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning to the AM drive and has cut ties with Chris Paul and Jason Reid, co-hosts of the seven-month-old “The Man Cave” show. The program had an inauspicious debut. Back in late February it was announced the duo would be joining the station’s programming schedule but then the show’s launch was killed and program director Chuck Sapienza exited the station. Jason Reid is a former Washington Post columnist who’s been critical of the Washington Redskins operation and Dan Snyder owns both the team and WTEM. There was chatter Snyder was not happy with Sapienza’s decision. Then in late March the show debuted, two weeks after it had first been planned. Now, seven months later, the program is cancelled with director of programming Dan Zampillo saying, “Unfortunately we were not able to obtain the consistent level of ratings success needed in morning drive over the last 7 months, and therefore felt the need to make this change.”
Round Two of October PPM Ratings Released – Minus Tampa, Again. The second of four rounds of October 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio is released for 11 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. As was the case in September, Tampa numbers are being delayed. The September delay (ratings came a week later minus WBRN-FM) was due to a ratings tampering charge against WBRN-FM-based Bubba the Love Sponge. This time Nielsen only tells clients the reason is for “completion of additional quality assurance steps.” You can find all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Twelve Takeaways from this round of data at our sister publication’s site here. The October 2015 PPM survey covered September 10 through October 7.
WVNJ 1160 ‘The Voice’ Gets Serious About Competing with Tuned-Up News/Talk Format in Big Apple. WVNJ 1160 AM – licensed to Oakland, NJ but covering a wide swath of the New York Metropolitan Area — has begun making moves that indicate it is getting serious about becoming more competitive in the nation’s number one market. The family-owned-and-operated, (Universal Broadcasting of NY) strategically located (in Teaneck), independent outlet pumps out a formidable 20k signal that can be heard throughout much of the Tri-State area including heavily populated portions of New Jersey, New York City, Hudson Valley, Western Connecticut, and Long Island. Recent additions to the station’s daily lineup, catching the eyes and ears of industry observers, include live clearances of syndicated major league stars Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck (11:00 am – 1:00 pm) and GCN’s Dr. Joy Browne (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm). Both have strong followings in the New York area. Other significant players now on-air include Doug Stephan, Alex Jones, Ian Freeman and Mark Edge of “Free Talk Live,” and Dr. Daliah Wachs, marking a partial departure from the station’s former reliance on brokered programming to constitute most of its schedule. Many of these changes are being initiated by the hiring of radio veteran and consultant Luis Felix as the station’s director of operations under a management/consultant agreement in which Felix is responsible for the day-to-day operations. Felix tells TALKERS, “There is still tremendous value in AM radio stations with large market reach.” He explains, “My plan is to appeal more to local listeners while offering the best national talent. The priority will be to target our local communities and offer opportunities for brokered broadcasts during certain times of the day. It’s a balancing act that can work. Just imagine brokered hosts on the same station with the industry’s leading talkers. Take Jerry Hickey from Invite Health Radio — he’s a pharmacist and nutritionist, but he loves radio. His radio show is produced utilizing professional broadcast ethics. This practice helps us maintain consistency in our quest to offer quality broadcast standards.” Felix adds, “I will also develop and expand our digital offerings so that our advertisers can achieve a better ROI. Combining top radio personalities with brokered programming, I believe, is talk radio’s winning combination. By finding efficiencies in our broadcast operations and enhancing our offerings, I may be able to turn things around. I’ve spent 34 years in this industry and have learned quite a few things. It’s in my blood.” Known on-air as Albert Lewis, the gregarious Felix’s career started back in 1981 as an intern at urban powerhouse WBLS, New York working for the legendary Frankie Crocker and includes subsequent positions at WWRL, WNYG and WGBB – all in the New York/Long Island Metropolitan area. He was also involved in designing the online local news site, DNAinfo.com, for Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts.
Herskovitz: Somebody’s Listening. Radio sales pro Al Herskovitz writes in a column for TALKERS that he believes a lot of talk radio’s “wounds” are self-inflicted. Not that new technology isn’t disrupting radio (not to mention the TV, newspaper, etc. industries), but proving that digital is an effective advertising vehicle is hardly a slam dunk. He provides an example from his work of a client so happy with the return on investment in a national talk radio campaign that he’s currently working on a renewal package for 2016 for that client. Read Herskovitz’s piece here.
Cool Job Opportunities – Howie Carr Radio Network Expanding Personnel Roster. TALKERS has learned that the Boston-based Howie Carr Radio Network – producer and distributor of the mega-successful, regionally syndicated Howie Carr Show — is adding to its staff with openings in the following positions: event planners and facilitators, full-time and part-time sales positions, part-time associate producers, and part-time marketing promotions. Interested parties should email their resumes to Kathy Carr at: Kathy@Howiecarrshow.com.
Talent Search! WGR SPORTS RADIO 550 is looking for the next great personality to add to Western New York’s sports leader. Are you talented, creative, driven and focused? Can you create compelling sports content and do you have a passion for connecting with sports fans? The ideal candidate will have 3 to 5 years sports talk experience, a deep knowledge of sports teams and the business of sports, plus a strong list of sports contacts. Must have excellent written and social media skills, work well in a team setting, and be reliable and disciplined. Are you that next great talent? Tell us your story and submit your materials including resume, aircheck and written samples to program director Allan Davis at: email@example.com.
2016 Presidential Candidates/GOP Debate, U.S.-China Military Tensions, South Carolina School Cop Case, Russia-Syria Relationship, Congressional Budget Deal, European Migrant Problems, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/27). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and tonight’s GOP primary debate; the military tensions between the U.S. and China over a U.S. Navy patrol near disputed islands in the South China Sea; the case of a school cop’s use of force on a disobedient high school student in South Carolina; Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian civil conflict; the proposed two-year budget deal agreed to in Congress; the flood of immigrants into Europe and the strain being put on resources in the affected countries; and the World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
John Cravens Exits ESPN’s WMVP, Chicago. He’d been in management at ESPN sports talk O&O WMVP for the past 10 years but now John Cravens is out as vice president and general manager of the property. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Cravens’ history with the station: general sales manager for four years until being boosted to VP/GM in 2009. Feder also writes that, although sources have confirmed his ouster, neither side is commenting and it’s uncertain whether his position will be filled or whether his duties will be picked up by others in the organization. According to figures from Miller, Kaplan, Arase, WMVP’s revenue dipped more than 11% from 2013 to 2014. Read Feder’s story here.
Steve Deace Show to Be Syndicated by Salem Radio Network. Iowa-based conservative talk show host Steve Deace’s nationally syndicated program will be distributed by Salem Radio Network beginning November 2, feeding live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. SRN says the Steve Deace show will air on many of its news/talk-formatted stations across the country and will be available to stations in other markets. On his new arrangement, Deace comments, “We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Salem, which is a leader in conservative multi-media. It’s the perfect fit for our message, which unashamedly proclaims the pillars of American exceptionalism — faith, family, and freedom. We are finally getting our shot at the ‘big leagues’ and look forward to reaching a new and bigger audience.” Deace is a columnist for Salem-owned Townhall.com and recently released the book, Rules for Patrio