Category: Industry News

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

| November 28, 2012

“The Answer” Gets Manhattan Street-Level Presence.  Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” has Manhattan street-level presence as the PM drive show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are now hosting their show from a studio in the department-store type window setting at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown Manhattan.  Pictured here are  Sliwa (r) and Lichtman (l) hosting a recent edition of their program.  Salem Communications vice president director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce states, “This not only gives our hosts a bird’s-eye view of Midtown Manhattan, but allows literally thousands of daily passersby to see ‘Curtis & Jeffrey’ and ‘WNYM AM 970 THE ANSWER’ prominently displayed in the heart of our listening area.  This marquee location on 7th Ave and 33rd Street, is located across from the Long Island Railroad, Penn Station, a subway hub, Macy’s and is around the corner from the NJ PATH train.  The value of this degree of exposure and publicity for our station and two of our best known hosts is incalculable.  It’s also across from the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, which on any given night might host the Knicks, the Rangers or innumerable other sporting and entertainment events.”

Russ Rollins and Dirty Jim Re-Up with WTKS, Orlando; Daniel Dennis Exits.  The Monsters in the Morning program at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando is one talent fewer after co-host Daniel Dennis declines to sign a new three-year contract with the station.  Program founder and host Russ Rollins, along with co-host Dirty Jim, both signed new three-year deals to continue broadcasting the AM drive program on the station but Dennis tells the Orlando Sentinel he didn’t want the contract but would rather have continued as an at-will employee.  He hosts a weekly internet talk show called, “A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan” that can be heard at tomanddan.com.

Alan Eisenson Exits Clear Channel Sacramento.  Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson leaves his position as operations manager for Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster where he served as operations manager for news/talk KFBK-AM/FM and talk KSTE.  Eisenson was also in charge of programming at CC’s San Francisco talk outlets KKSF and KNEW.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM brings iconic film star and polarizing historical figure Jane Fonda to its “Town Hall” series.  The actress will be part of the “SiriusXM Town Hall” on Thursday, December 6 at 10:00 am when she’ll sit down with journalist Perri Peltz and speak about her new yoga DVD and take questions from the audience…..On Thursday, November 29, radio pro Turi Ryder will sit in for John Williams on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program…..ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” is preparing to do something it hasn’t done in 17 years: Win the coveted November sweeps.  Broadcasting & Cable reports the show is beating NBC’s “Today” in both total audience and viewers 25-54 as the end of the sweeps approaches.

CNN Has a New Chief: Jeff Zucker.  That’s not official but The New York Times and Deadline.com are reporting that Time Warner has agreed to terms with former NBCUniversal CEO and current executive producer of Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show, Jeff Zucker.  The official announcement is expected to be made very soon.  Zucker would replace Jim Walton at CNN.  Walton announced he would leave the cable news channel at the end of the year.  CNN has been roundly beaten up in the consumer press for its woes in the prime time ratings race but it should be noted that, ratings aside, CNN continues to be a profitable operation for Time Warner.  Still, Zucker’s charge would be to revitalize its prime time ratings that have fallen farther behind Fox News Channel and are regularly challenged by MSNBC.

ESPN Begins Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research; Announces $1 Million Donation to the Cause.  Yesterday began sports entertainment broadcaster ESPN’s Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research and the company announced it is committing $1 million to the fundraising effort for the endowment fund.  ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer made the announcement on Tuesday, November 27 and Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg made it public via their radio and TV program that day.  ESPN’s sixth annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research – a multiplatform initiative which drives awareness of and donations to The V Foundation for Cancer Research – tipped off yesterday at 7:00 pm ET with a simulcast of former NC State coach Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs speech across ESPN domestic media networks, as well as on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square.  The week will conclude with the Jimmy V Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona Extra on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4.  For more information on Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research, visit ESPN Media Zone.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Holiday Giving Campaign.  The organization that exists solely to assist broadcasters in need is announcing the start-up of its Holiday Giving Campaign.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America – which disbursed more than $675,000 in assistance last year – is urging broadcasters to become members and to spread the word about this campaign.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The Broadcasters Foundation exists solely to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need.  These are individuals who we have worked with over the years, and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances.  Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases.  I urge every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”  Over the past 60 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy.  In addition, one-time emergency grants are provided in the aftermath of a devastating circumstance or natural disaster, like the Joplin tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy.  Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times.  To become a member, make a personal donation to the Guardian Fund, or a corporate contribution to the Angel Initiative, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250, info@thebfoa.org, or visit the website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, OECD Global Economy Report, Black Friday/Cyber Monday Numbers, Benghazi Attack/Susan Rice-GOP Meeting, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/27).  The battle in Washington over tax hikes and entitlement program changes; the OECD global economy report that predicts slow growth over the next two years; initial numbers from holiday season’s two big shopping days; the spat over U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s meeting with GOP leaders; and the $500 million Powerball jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

| November 27, 2012

Whither Laura Ingraham? Affiliates Hear Tammy Bruce Today.  The Talk Radio Network star has left the air amidst saying that she is leaving TRN, perhaps with plans to be back via another avenue in the near future.  Although the departure seems abrupt, it comes as no surprise to industry observers who have long known of the not-so-secret friction that has existed for years between Ingraham and TRN’s top management.  TALKERS has reached out to Talk Radio Network for information but has yet to receive a response.  Former TRN syndicated talk host and current popular internet talk personality Tammy Bruce is filling in on the network slot where Ingraham’s program aired.  On her website, Ingraham has posted the following message.  “After more than 9 years with the distributor Talk Radio Network, I decided it was time to move on.  After much thought and reflection, I have decided to pursue my first loves — modern dance and the xylophone.  In the highly unlikely event that these efforts do not prove fruitful, I intend to return to radio.  Seriously — to the more than 300 stations that carry the Laura Ingraham show and to all my loyal listeners, I feel the time is right to expand and retool my radio program and to explore other syndication options, which I am now actively pursuing.  During this brief hiatus, my team and I will continue to deliver thought-provoking and entertaining analysis via my website.”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco Names Chris Townsend PM Drive Co-Host.  With the departure of Brandon Tierney to CBS Radio Sports Network for the morning show beginning in January, the Entercom sports talker fills Tierney’s spot as co-host of the afternoon “The Drive” show with midday co-host Chris Townsend.  He’ll partner up with Ric Bucher in the afternoon slot and Matt Steinmetz will host the late-morning “The Pulse” solo, at least for now.  Townsend was upped from his evening show at “95.7 The Game” in September to the late-morning slot.  In addition to his daily talk show work, he hosts the Oakland A’s radio pre-game show “The Dugout.”

WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Shares Cardiac Diagnosis with Listeners.  Last week, long time Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle told his audience that he’ll be undergoing a procedure to have a pacemaker/defibrillator put in after being diagnosed with Brugada syndrome – or as Bauerle describes it to TALKERS – the “he was so healthy and he just dropped dead” disease.  Bauerle says he’s always believed in being honest with his audience.  “I have a very close bond with people who’ve listened to me because I do not pretend to be something I am not and the real people appreciate the truth in the era of spin.”  So he explained that he had a routine EKG prior to planned elective surgery when doctors discovered he has the syndrome that can cause a sudden and fatal arrhythmia.  Bauerle, still in his 40s, recently signed a long-term contract extension with Entercom’s WBEN back in October.  We at TALKERS wish him the best in dealing with this condition.

Bay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Debuts Weekend Talk Radio Show.  San Francisco-based media blogger Rich Lieberman’s 415 Media has been the source of opinions and news scoops for Bay Area media (and beyond) for years.  He’s also made a number of enemies in the region who don’t like his style or his willingness to publish speculation about their business.  Now, Lieberman is taking to the air at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz with a three-hour weekend program that airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings.  Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA the show will be guest-oriented.  He opened the first program speaking to KTVU-TV, Oakland evening news lead anchor Frank Somerville who discussed his adopting a black daughter.  He also interviewed KKSF talk host John Rothmann.  Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA, “Next weekend, I will be talking with actor Patrick Warburton as well as Alan Colmes, formerly of ‘Hannity & Colmes.’  Colmes has a new book out, and we’ll also take a look back at the 2012 presidential election…The show is guest-oriented right now.  I wanted to charge it up during the holidays and start with a splash.  But in the long run, the zeitgeist of ‘The Rich Lieberman Show’ is going to be my rants and opines, and talking about those topics with callers.”

Bonneville’s Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM Adds Mixed Martial Arts Program to Lineup.  The fast-growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA), especially among young men, has a number of sports enterprises exploring the possibility the sport can draw audience on a level worthy of dedicated programming.  Bonneville’s “Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM” is adding a new program to its lineup beginning Saturday, December 1 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm called “The Power MMA Show” hosted by Jim Grieshaber, along with world-class MMA fighters and former ASU wrestling stars Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson (pictured here, Bader at left, Simpson at right).  The station describes the show as one that “will focus on the biggest stories of the week, the lives of fighters – from superstars to local talent, the growth of Arizona into an MMA hotbed and more.”  Written and video content will be hosted on a new MMA section at ArizonaSports.com, with a team of Power MMA contributors providing local and national coverage.  Bonneville Phoenix vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “MMA is one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in the world.  We’re thrilled to launch the first-ever show of its kind in this market, hosted by world renowned experts and top notch fighters. This is going to be fun.”

Sports Talk’s Dino Costa Sparks ‘Battle’ with Chris Russo at SiriusXM.  Sports talker Dino Costa – whose program airs on Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Radio” on SiriusXM – has been getting some attention lately for his on-air jabs at the channel’s namesake and founder Chris Russo.  A two-part interview with Costa appears on ShermanReport.com and Costa speaks frankly with publisher Ed Sherman about his battles with Russo – admitting to calling him a “has-been” on the air – and their strictly “professional” relationship.  The bomb-throwing is even more interesting since Russo operates the channel and could oust Costa if he wanted.  Costa is also not shy about expressing his desire for a bigger role in the sports talk world.  Read the entire interview here.

Washington Tax Battle, Post-Sandy Clean-Up Costs, Liberty University-ObamaCare Case and Morsi’s Egyptian Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26).  The struggle between the Obama Administration and House Republicans over coming tax hikes and spending cuts; the price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey; the Supreme Court’s ordering lower court to reconsider Liberty University’s argument ObamaCare violates school’s religious freedom; and the power grab by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 26, 2012

| November 26, 2012

CBS Sports Radio Network Announces National Morning Show: Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson.  When the CBS Sports Radio Network officially begins on January 2, former New York Giants great Tiki Barber, sports talk personality and current KGME, San Francisco afternoon co-host Brandon Tierney and longtime ESPN broadcaster Dana Jacobson will make up the morning drive show airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Sports Radio has been able to attract some of the most renowned names in the business, and Tiki, Brandon and Dana are just the latest example of the network’s star power.  We’ve assembled an impressive group of professional athletes and accomplished broadcasters to bring fans unrivaled sports commentary, and the most entertaining lineup in all of sports radio.  The launch of CBS Sports Radio provides an additional way for us to use our content, debuting original programs to millions of listeners across the country on day one.  The network’s reach in the major markets is unsurpassed, and the marketplace has taken notice of our depth and broad range of offerings.”  CBS Radio is announcing the morning show will clear on such outlets as: WIP-AM, Philadelphia); WFOM-AM, Atlanta; WXYT-AM, Detroit; WJZ-AM, Baltimore; KFNZ-AM and KJQS-AM, Salt Lake City; and WSJZ-FM, Orlando.

Another Look Back at the Harsh Reality of Sandy and its Intense Relationship with Radio.  American voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes.  That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “pause” button to politics: Sandy.  Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake.  It is impossible to factor precious loss of lives and the shattering of countless dreams into the billions of dollars of wreckage caused by one of the unkindest of oxymorons – a so-called “perfect storm.”  As another testament to our democracy, the November 6 election went off without a hitch and the country would ready itself for one of its proudest traditions – setting aside a day of thanksgiving (albeit followed by the dubious recent sales custom known as “Black Friday”).  Radio stations though in locales that include the country’s #1 market – New York City – are continuing to focus on what has been consuming them since (roughly) Saturday, October 27.  Suffering through Sandy was brutal.  For many, enduring the aftermath is considerably worse.  As the radio industry returns from the Thanksgiving weekend, TALKERS takes another look back at the our medium’s intense relationship with the “weather event” that was so dominant a factor in current events that it even upstaged a presidential election – as seen through the eyes, lives and dedicated work of broadcasters at CBS Radio‘s all- news WCBS-AM, New York and Cumulus Media‘s news/talk WMAL, Washington, DC.   To read TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s epic article click here.

WTDY-AM/FM, Madison Drops News/Talk; Stunting with Christmas Music.  The Wisconsin State Journal reports that “several broadcasters” have been let go by Midwest Family Broadcasting as the simulcast of news/talk programming on WTDY AM 1670 and WTDY FM 106.7 ended late on Wednesday and was replaced with Christmas music.  Talk personality John “Sly” Sylvester and news director Amy Barrilleaux both communicated via social media that they had been let go by the station and that it is flipping formats but that they knew no more.  Midwest Family owns seven stations in the market that include: rock WJJO; AC WMGN; rhythmic CHR WJQM; country WWQM; WLMV Spanish music; and oldies WHIT.  The word on the street is that the simulcast will become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate on January 2 but that has not been confirmed.

ESPN in Agreement for Exclusive Rights to College Football Playoff Contests.  The sports giant announces it has reached agreements in principle to obtain exclusive rights to broadcast the games and the affiliated programming for the college football championship and playoff games that will begin after the 2014 season and begin in January of 2015 when the new playoff system begins.  ESPN Radio will be part of the broadcast of these games.  The announcement was made Wednesday by ESPN president John Skipper and Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS and the future college football playoffs.  Skipper states, “Because of college football’s widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games.  We are ecstatic at the opportunity to continue to crown a college football champion on ESPN’s outlets for years to come, the perfect finale to our year-round commitment to the sport.”  ESPN is in the midst of a four-year agreement for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).  The network televises all five games from the current format, including the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls, as well as the BCS National Championship Game.  The two BCS National Championship Games on ESPN (2011, 2012) have generated the two largest audiences for any program in the history of cable television.  The new playoff will be administered by the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and independent institutions.  The agreement in principle is subject to completion of definitive documentation and all necessary approvals.

Stephen King-Owned WZLO and WZON, Bangor Progressive Talk Simulcast Splits.  “The Pulse” website states the stations have split their simulcast of progressive talk and are featuring Christmas music on the FM signal with a “BIG surprise” the station will reveal after Christmas.  The stations have been a simulcast for the past 2 ½ years – first as a sports talk station, then as the progressive talk outlet.  The FM side had been playing a triple A format prior to the simulcast.  WZON at 620 AM continues to air a progressive talk format featuring a local morning show with Don Cookson, WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Cox Media’s Clark Howard and Leslie Marshall.

April NAB Show to Feature Q&A with News Corp’s Chase Carey.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces the spring NAB Show scheduled for April 6-11 in Las Vegas will feature a question-and-answer session with News Corporation president and chief operating officer Chase Carey.  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will conduct the session.  Smith says, “As a leading executive of one of the world’s preeminent media companies, Chase Carey has valuable insight into today’s multi-platform global media environment.  I look forward to our conversation at the NAB Show and hearing Mr. Carey’s vision of what the future holds for the media business worldwide.”  Carey has served in his role at News Corp since July of 2009.  Prior to that he was president and CEO at DIRECTV, Inc.

French-Language Quebec Talk Host Suspended for Anti-Semitic Incident.  CHMP, Quebec late night talk show host Jacques Fabi has been suspended from his program after allowing a female caller to his program make anti-Semitic statements.  The caller was responding to Fabi’s discussion of the violence in Israel and Gaza and blamed the Jews, then went on to intimate that Hitler should have been allowed to finish the job.  Fabi never stopped her and, according to complaints to the CRTC and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, seemed to encourage her rant.  The CBC reports station spokesman David Crete said, “The comments that were aired earlier this week are unacceptable…hosts and journalists are subject to ethical rules.  If they are not met, penalties are applied.”  It is not clear how long Fabi’s suspension will be.  CHMP is owned by Cogeco.

British Broadcaster Fined for Anti-Gay Remarks.  The British agency that regulates broadcasting content – Ofcom – levied a $6,400 fine against the company that owns a Leeds, England station that serves the South Asian community.  The incident stems from a program hosted by Rubina Nasir – known as Sister Ruby – in which she interpreted passages in the Koran that indicated homosexuals should be punished – physically and mentally – for practicing their sexuality.  Ofcom ruled the statements made during the broadcast were likely to “encourage or incite the commission of a crime.”

Rock 102 Thanksgiving Tradition.  WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts morning drive team Bax & O’Brien helped gather food and money for those in need in the area with the broadcast of their annual Mayflower Marathon food drive over the Thanksgiving week.  Hosts Mike Baxendale (center) and John O’Brien (far right) are pictured here announcing a donation of $10,000 to the Open Pantry – a local organization that provides food to those in need.  The annual charity event is a signature of Saga Communications’ “Rock 102” and the Bax & O’Brien morning show during which the duo broadcast continuously for two days while encouraging listeners to fill a Mayflower moving van with food staples for the hungry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

| November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at TALKERS.  All of us at TALKERS want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude at Thanksgiving to the hard-working, dedicated members of the radio industry and its associated fields who support and encourage us in this endeavor as readers, contributors and sponsors.  PLEASE NOTE:  Our regular weekday mid-morning emailed newsletter will not be sent out tomorrow (Thanksgiving) or Friday – but the home of TALKERS (www.talkers.com) will be updated with major breaking stories should they occur, as is the case 365 days per year.  We sincerely hope you all have a wonderful holiday with loved ones and reflect on how fortunate we all are to have the opportunity to be in a business and medium that is so vital to preserving the public’s well-being as well as bringing entertainment, happiness, information and opinions to millions each and every minute of the day.  May we all have the courage, strength, intelligence and will to keep the spark of radio and talk media glowing through these challenging times and into the promise of yet another golden era.

Andy Stuart Exits Clear Channel Toledo Market Manager Post.  More changes at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster a little more than a week after news/talk WSPD programmer and talk host Brian Wilson was let go by the company.  Toledo market manager and regional market manager in Northern Ohio Andy Stuart announces he’s leaving the company to take a CEO post at a new technology firm that he and his superiors are not naming due to the secretive nature of the tech business, according to the Toledo Blade.

Salem Communications Prepares to Flip WMUU, Greenville to Conservative Talk.  The class C FM at 94.5 that Salem Communications is buying from Bob Jones University-affiliated Gospel Fellowship Association covers a huge part of the Greenville-Spartanburg region.  Salem tips via Facebook that the station will be imaged as “Conservative Talk 94.5 FM” and will begin airing the Salem Radio Network slate of conservative talk shows featuring Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett on Monday, December 3.  The station currently airs a beautiful music format.

WTN, Nashville Raises $120,000 for Nashville Rescue Mission.  Cumulus Media news/talk WTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” pulled in more than $120,000 for the Nashville Rescue Mission during its 2012 Radiothon on Monday, November 19.  Vice president and market manager Mike Carpenter states, “We are more than pleased with the results of this year’s Hunger to Hope Radiothon for the Nashville Rescue Mission.  Our gracious listeners and clients helped raise over $20,000 above and beyond our original goal.  We are very proud to be a part of this effort to support the community through the Nashville Rescue Mission.”  The station reports that the effort was spearheaded by talk show personality Michael DelGiorno and the broadcast included all four of the station’s prime daytime hosts, utilizing commercial time as well as much of their normal program content to push for donations.  The lineup included Ralph Bristol from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Michael DelGiorno from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Phil Valentine from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Additionally, Michael DelGiorno broadcast live from the Nashville Rescue Mission for an hour with Ralph Bristol, pre-empted the Mike Huckabee show by extending his program an hour, and then returned to the studio to raise $45,000 in the final hour of the radiothon at 6:00 pm.

KKLA, Los Angeles Personality Frank Pastore Injured in Motorcycle Accident.  Former major league baseball pitcher and Christian talk radio personality Frank Pastore is in critical condition at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident on Los Angeles’ 210 Freeway on Monday evening.  According to The Sun, Pastore – who hosts the PM drive slot on Salem Communications’ KKLA, Los Angeles Christian teaching outlet – was hit by another car while riding his motorcycle and thrown from the bike.  Just how extensive his injuries are is not known at this time.

KJAC, Fort Collins Inks Deal with Colorado State University.  Front Range Broadcasting sports talker KJAC, Fort Collins “105.5 ESPN” strikes a deal with Nelligan Sports Marketing to serve as the flagship station for Colorado State University athletics.  The deal will have KJAC broadcast football and men’s and women’s basketball play-by-play beginning in July of 2013.  The contract also calls for production and airing of weekly coach’s shows.  Games will also air on Front Range’s KDSP, Denver “102.3 ESPN.”

More Holiday Fill-In Work.  Progressive talk host Nicole Sandler is sitting in for Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes on her nationally syndicated program for today’s pre-Thanksgiving Day program.  Sandler is also scheduled to host Rhodes’ program around the Christmas holidays December 17-21, December 26-28 and on New Year’s Eve day.

WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville Raises $54,000-Plus for Cancer Charity.  Seven Bridges Radio’s sports talk WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville “1010XL” raised more than $54,000 for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund – New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s charity that benefits children battling cancer – during its radiothon on October 25.  Pictured here are staffers manning the phones at the 1010XL offices during the one-day radiothon.

Israel-Hamas Violence, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, and Thanksgiving Holiday Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20).  The ongoing attacks between Israel and Hamas; the battle in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; the possible security effects of the PetraeusBroadwell scandal; the Benghazi investigation and Petraeus’ involvement; and the Thanksgiving holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

| November 20, 2012

Holiday Season Provides Opportunities for Seasoned Talk Pros.  The holidays hold ample opportunities for pro talkers looking to get that on-air “audition,” to hone their skills and keep their name out there.  A great example of this is talk show host and former Republican Congressman from Arizona J.D. Hayworth who has a busy holiday week schedule on the fill-in circuit.  On Wednesday he’s in for Sirius XM’s Mike Church from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and for Pete Kaliner at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  On Thanksgiving Day he’ll sub for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Buzz Bissinger from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Friday J.D. is in  for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive, for Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and in for Sirius XM’s David Webb from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  On Saturday, he’ll do the evening shift from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm at WPHT.  Hayworth – who hosted a popular program at KFYI, Phoenix in his home town – can be contacted at 602-615-6956.

ESPN Audio and Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta Bring Colin Cowherd Back to the Market.  LFM’s sports talk outlet WQXI “790 The Zone” creates some relief for its local talent in the middle of the day by adding ESPN Audio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning December 3.  The station’s “Mayhem in the AM” morning show has been airing until 11:00 am with the “Red Zone” midday program airing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  The station also will be carrying select weekend programming from ESPN beginning on Saturday, December 1.  WQXI program director and Atlanta Falcons Radio Network executive producer Bob Richards says, “‘790 The Zone’ is proud to become the new home for ESPN Audio and Colin Cowherd in Atlanta.  Combining ESPN and Colin with being the flagship station of the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Chik-Fil-A Bowl and our top-rated local drive-time shows creates an unbeatable combination of local and national talent and content.”

Social Media Rant Earns WNWS, Jackson, Tennessee Host Suspension.  Mid-morning talk host Bill Way – host of the “It’s Your Turn” program on The Wireless Group’s WNWS, Jackson, Tennessee – is suspended for “a few days” after writing a derogatory Facebook post about President Obama.  The Jackson Sun reports that Way wrote, “A short message to Obama voters. To vote for him with a 9.2 unemployment rate, a (expletive) of Benghazi lies, $16,000,000,000 in debt and an israeli war, (a derogatory reference to the sex scandal involving David Petraeus), a pimp walking prez married to cheetahs daughter…expect what you will most certainly get. bye bye medicare. hello homeless.. I love America except for the idiots.”  Way did not finish his program on Monday morning.  He apologized on the air before another host finished the program.  Station general manager Larry Wood stated, “WNWS-FM learned about the comments Bill Way made on his personal Facebook page.  In no way do they reflect the positions or thoughts of any of us at WNWS-FM.  We certainly don’t condone the comments from Bill and appreciate his public apology.  We’re discussing his comments and apology. Considering the gravity of the situation, for now, by mutual agreement, Bill is taking a few days off.”

Marijuana Radio Show Celebrates 5th Anniversary.  The Lanny Swerdlow-hosted “Marijuana, Compassion and Common Sense” program aired its 5th anniversary program on Broadcast Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda, California (Riverside/San Bernardino market) on Monday evening.  Discussion on the unusual program centers on medical marijuana issues and the reform of marijuana laws.  When station CEO Fred Lundgren was approached by Swerdlow with the show concept, he consulted his attorney who advised him the show could not promote the sale of anything illegal in California or be heard in a state where medical marijuana is illegal.  Lundgren says that even though the issue is a thorny one in the market, the First Amendment was his guide and he allowed the show to air on his station.  He reports it to be one of KCAA’s most popular programs.  Monday’s anniversary show featured Dennis Peron, “father” of the medical marijuana movement in California, and Anna Boyce, a retired nurse who was the public face of Proposition 215 back in 1996 when the issue was placed before the voters.

Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Sponsors “Kids 2 Kids Christmas.”  The holiday charity promotion “Kids 2 Kids for Christmas” encourages families in Southeastern Wisconsin to take their children shopping for toys for kids in the region who are less fortunate.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee is operating the campaign now through December 15 with locations throughout the city where toys can be dropped off.  During last year’s campaign, more than 10,000 toys were collected and the station has set the same goal for this year.

Odds & Sods.  “Grease” stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John will take part in Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Town Hall” program on December 12 where the two will answer fan questions about their careers, including their roles as Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsen in the movie “Grease” as well as their new holiday album “This Christmas.”  Travolta and Newton-John will donate the artist proceeds from the album equally to their respective charities – the Jett Travolta Foundation and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence goes live with its web feature documenting Rhode Island’s top “turkeys” of 2012 – the most infamous newsmakers of the year.  The station says WPRO reporter Dee DeQuattro created “this interactive click-through that features the most infamous newsmakers of 2012 and some of their failed schemes that have earned them a place on the turkey list…From people who gobbled up your tax dollars to those who got the stuffing knocked out of them this year, 630WPRO.com will have all the juicy details.”

‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal, Israel-Hamas Violence, Obama Cabinet Status, and San Francisco Public Nudity Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19).  The challenge Washington faces avoiding broad tax hikes and automatic spending cuts before the New Year; the state of the David PetraeusPaula Broadwell scandal; escalating violence between Israel and Hamas; changes in the Obama Administration Cabinet; and proposed legislation to limit public nudity in San Francisco were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Arbitron: Sandy Increases Radio Listening in New York

| November 19, 2012

COLUMBIA, Md. — Radio listening increased in the New York radio market as the Super Storm Sandy made landfall during the evening of Monday, October 29th.

70 percent increase in radio listening as the storm hit the coast

Compared to the week prior, the average number of people using radio* in any quarter hour from 7PM to Midnight on the storm night (10/29) increased 70 percent.

Read More

Monday, November 19, 2012

| November 19, 2012

Tribune Gets FCC Cross-Ownership Waivers; Chicago Market Granted Permanent Waiver.  The Federal Communications Commission granted the cross-ownership waivers in five markets that the media company needs to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  In a statement, Tribune CEO Eddy Hartenstein says, “We are extremely pleased with today’s action by the FCC.  This decision will enable the company to continue moving forward toward emergence from Chapter 11, a process we expect to complete over the course of the next several weeks.”  The commission granted a permanent waiver in Chicago while allowing one-year waivers in Los Angeles, New York, South Florida and Hartford.  Technically, the one-year waivers in the four markets cited mean Tribune will have to sell either its newspaper or broadcast outlets there within the year but the FCC is working on loosening the restrictions against cross-ownership in the top 20 media markets and industry observers seem to believe the change will take effect soon.  The permanent waiver in Chicago means Tribune is not necessarily forced to sell a media outlet – many suspected its lone radio property news/talk WGN would be the first to go on the block.  However, what Tribune’s plans are after it exits bankruptcy are unknown and a sale of WGN, Chicago and/or any of its newspaper and TV holdings are a distinct possibility.

Arbitron Releases Report Clearly Showing Increase in Radio Listenership During Super Storm Sandy.  Radio listening data released by Arbitron for the New York Metro during hurricane Sandy shows how strong radio listening is during a natural disaster and the ability for radio to keep communities informed even when the power goes out.  The report provides data for the entire New York Metro as well as a breakout of counties hardest hit by the storm as it made landfall during the evening of Monday, October 29.  It shows a 70% general increase in listening as the storm hit the coast and an even greater percentage of increase along the coastal communities hardest hit.  When the lights went out, when TV and desktop PCs were no longer available, many New York area residents turned on their battery powered radios.  Many radio stations along the path of the storm, regardless of their regular format, revamped their programming to provide their listeners with weather updates, news and emergency information.  In the wake of the storm, radio remained an information lifeline to the residents of New York, particularly in the coastal areas of the market.  Average radio listening on Tuesday, October 30 in New York was 1,525,500 persons in any given quarter hour between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight, up 8% from 1,406,700 persons 6-plus the week before.  The average audience in the NY coastal communities (Monmouth, Fairfield SN, Nassau-Suffolk, Staten Island and Middlesex) totaled 670,200 on the Tuesday (6a-Mid) following landfall (10/30) which is 38% higher than the average of all Tuesdays year to date.  The Average in the NY coastal communities (Monmouth, Fairfield SN, Nassau-Suffolk, Staten Island and Middlesex) totaled 651,200 on the Wednesday (6a-Mid) following landfall (10/31) which is 35% higher than the average of all Wednesdays year to date.  For full details on this important story click here.

Clear Channel Ends FM Simulcast on KOGO, San Diego.  The former country outlet “U.S. 95.7” flipped to a simulcast of Clear Channel’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego a year ago. Now, that ends with the FM side going all Christmas music and the word on the street is that after the holidays the station will return to a music format of some sort.  Adding an FM signal to a news/talk station – especially a venerable one such as KOGO – generally gives the station a ratings boost.  It appears that hasn’t been the case with KOGO and Clear Channel San Diego management must see an opening in the music landscape it’s willing to target.  We’ll see where it goes after the holidays.

KSCJ, Sioux City Talk Host Randy Renshaw Retires.  Talk show host and newsman Randy Renshaw retires from his long-time gig at Powell Broadcasting’s KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa.  Renshaw has been with the station twice – the first time back in 1983.  He tells the Sioux City Journal that turning 62 on November 18 was a good reason to end his radio career and that he’d been contemplating retirement since age 55.  In addition to news duties, Renshaw hosted the 8:00 am to 11:00 am “Open Line” program.  With his departure, Mark Hahn takes over hosting the local talk show.

How to Get a Radio Brand-Building Website.  TALKERS columnist and noted digital radio consultant Chris Miller serves up a new article offering powerful tips on how radio web designers can create sites that contribute toward building their station’s or program’s brand without distracting from it or diluting it.  He covers the process on four basic but vital fronts: layout, content, graphics and interaction.  Miller asks, “What’s the difference between your site and Google, YouTube and Facebook?”  He states, “Those sites have a clear reason for being, and clean, well-organized content.”  He strongly suggests, “Get your page looking more Facebookish, or YouTubeEsque, and you’ll go a long way toward building your website numbers.”  Miller offers some nuts-and-bolts actions to get more people back more often and clicking on more content.  Read the entire article here.

Opinion: Talk Radio Must Expand Beyond Politics to Survive.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan responds to the effects of the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident and the recent news involving Dial Global and its citing Limbaugh’s comments in a SEC filing.  Stephan says the March incident has cost him “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and that the industry must do a better job of convincing agencies and advertisers that all talk radio should not be lumped together.  Read Stephan’s piece here.

Filling in This Week.  At Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, longtime St. Louis radio veteran and Chicago native JC Corcoran fills in on Garry Meier‘s PM drive slot on the station on Wednesday and Thursday.  He’ll also sub for WGN’s Mike McConnell on Monday, November 26.  Corcoran can be reached at jc@jcontheline.com.

Lotus Communications Donates $50,000 to Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club.  The cash donated to the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club was not a fundraiser of contributions from listeners but a gift from Spanish sports talk KWKW, Los Angeles owner Lotus Communications.  The station recently launched a major partnership with the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club.  After KWKW’s community service personnel learned that the Club was in desperate need of funds in order to provide after school programs, station management decided to step in with a $50,000 check.  The money wasn’t raised by listeners.  Station president James Kalmenson decided to make a difference in the community KWKW serves by adding a line item to its operating budget.  “One of the founding principles of our company has been to be of service to our community.  As a result of the donation, the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club was able to greatly expand its services for the local community.  Word quickly spread and the attendance immediately tripled and continues to thrive today.”  KWKW has also launched a PSA campaign this month that will continue throughout 2013.  Additionally, the station will sponsor the Club’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner, which typically feeds more than 300 people.  In December, KWKW will donate 500 toys to the Club’s Christmas Toy Drive.  They’ll also broadcast live at the Club on December 7 to encourage people to drop off toys, all of which go to children ages 2-16 at the Club’s annual Christmas event.  KWKW personalities Armando Aguayo, Mario Amaya, Halim Zadat and Erika Garza will attend both the Thanksgiving and Christmas events.  Pictured here with kids from the club are KWKW PD/OM Juan Rodriguez (l) and KWKW president James Kalmenson (r).

Friday, November 16, 2012

| November 16, 2012

Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke Comments Cited in Dial Global’s SEC Filing.  Talk radio has long been saddled with the label of “controversial programming” that makes it a difficult sell on the national level.  Agencies have numerous other marketing options through which clients can get out their message.  Especially for family-oriented goods and services, why take a chance on “controversial programming?”  But Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments last March brought renewed bad PR to the format and, as was discussed at both of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminars this year (June in NYC and October in Los Angeles), the scarlet letter weighs heavy upon the talk radio business.  So much so that Dial Global – in reporting to the SEC – cited Limbaugh (not by name) as part of the reason the company is taking a $67.2 million impairment charge.  Here’s what the company says: “We normally perform the required impairment testing of goodwill on an annual basis in December of each year.  As a result of several factors, which had a significant impact on our fourth quarter bookings and sales, we performed an interim analysis of our goodwill carrying value as required by ASC 350, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other.  We believe our 2012 results were adversely impacted by, among other things, late cancellations in ad buys (which we believe was a by-product of the election and renewed economic uncertainty), competitive factors, such as a greater diversity of digital ad platforms (into which ad budgets have flowed) and increased competition from our major competitors, and advertisers’ response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in March 2012.”  Talk radio is unlikely to become “family friendly” in the eyes of agencies anytime soon and talk sellers appear resigned to having to carve out new niches of advertisers and work hard to get and keep them.  For big corporations with a lot of debt, that’s not a comforting thought.

Dial Global Voluntarily De-Lists from the NASDAQ.  As a result of the company’s low volume of trading combined with other factors, including the associated costs of maintaining its listing on the NASDAQ, Dial Global announces it will undertake the delisting process beginning on or around November 26 and be completed on or around December 6 of this year.  Dial Global will remain a publicly traded company – it reports no plans to go private – but the stock will be traded on the OTC Pink Sheets.

Envision Radio Networks Develops “America Weekend” Program.  Calling it the “next generation of weekend talk radio,” Envision Radio Networks says the new “America Weekend” program is “a break from the usual brokered programming and rerun political fare of most news/talk stations, ‘America Weekend’ covers the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners while maintaining revenues from paid hosts.”  Envision states the show provides six hours of live programming on both Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm EST and accommodates up to four local expert slots per hour, with frequent break-away points for sports, weather or other local programming. Since the programming is broadcast live via satellite, ‘America Weekend’ is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen.  Anchoring the show will be “top-level, nationally recognized” hosts joined by high-profile guests.  Programmer and consultant Kipper McGee is executive producer of the show and he states, “It’s been said that ‘weekdays are for ratings, weekends are for revenue.’  However, now we’re seeing the damage that poorly rated weekend programming is causing weekday shows.  Listeners are forced to find other weekend options, and increasingly are not finding their way back to the radio station.”  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “‘America Weekend’ is all about maintaining revenue opportunities for radio stations from long-form brokered programs in a new and innovative way.  We have always believed that there is a better way for radio to monetize its Saturday and Sunday programming without sacrificing quality.  Finally, ‘Content is King’ again on weekends.”  Interested stations can visit www.envisionradio.com or contact Melissa Bachtel at 216-831-3761 or melissab@envisionradio.com.

CBS Sports Radio Network Names Damon Amendolara Overnight Host.  When CBS Radio’s new national sports network debuts on January 2, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” evening host Damon Amendolara — “D.A.” — will be the network’s overnight host manning the 2:00 am to 6:00 am shift.  Amendolara has been with the Boston sports talker since it debuted in 2009.  He is also the sideline reporter for the New England Revolution on Comcast and a frequent guest and fill-in host for CSN’s Sports Tonight/Sports Sunday.  He serves as an anchor on CSNNE’s “Pregame Live” and “Postgame Live,” appears on Fox 25 Boston, while contributing to NFL Films and the NFL Network’s Top 10 series, ESPN News’ Air Check and NFL Films Presents on ESPN.  CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “D.A. is an all-star in Boston and his energy and understanding of the sports world will no doubt translate to a national platform.  Damon is certainly the man to keep listeners engrossed overnight, and his work at stations across the country, covering a multitude of different sports, will be beneficial to our listeners.  His success and following on our local radio station and his charitable endeavors in the community prove he will make a great addition to our already outstanding lineup at CBS Sports Radio.”

WTOP Newsman Donates iPhone to Newseum.  It’s unclear whether WTOP, Washington news reporter Neal Augenstein was the first American radio news reporter to use the iPhone as his “sole” reporting tool, but Augenstein sure has attracted a lot of interest after it became known how he was using the device.   Poynter.org reports the donation to the Washington, DC museum of news and related technology.  Newseum Curator of Collections Carrie Christoffersen tells Poynter.org, “We collect all sorts of things that relate to changes in news technology.  It was really interesting to us, since he’s doing all of his audio interviews, editing, video work, all on his iPhone, with some supplement from an iPad.  He’s enabled himself to be very, very on-the-go.”  There are no immediate plans to display the device but Christoffersen says their exhibits are always changing.  Augenstein is pictured here being interviewed recently for Talkers TV about his use of the iPhone for reporting.  Check out the cool five-minute video here.

Odds & Sods.  Radio pro Turi Ryder fills in on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago for midday talk host John Williams today…..Filling in today for Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries is KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock.

Inside the Locker Room.  In the photo here, KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio Network hosts Petros Papadakis (l) and Matt “Money” Smith (r) interview Los Angeles Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (second from left) and Jerry West (second from right) at a recent live listener event.  Abdul-Jabbar and West offered Lakers faithful their takes on the team’s new coach and the team’s prospects for the 2012-13 season.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” weekend program is added to the lineup at KAVA-AM/FM, Pueblo, Colorado; WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire; and KOHI, St. Helens, Oregon…..“America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is picked up by WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…..Fox Sports Radio Network programming is added to new affiliate KOPJ, Portland…..ESPN Radio programming is picked up by Cox Media’s WDBO-AM, Orlando.

Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 12-16.  The ever deepening scandal involving ex-CIA director David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  At #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation.  At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” Washington lawmakers are facing followed by Obama Administration Cabinet changes at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly ranking of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

| November 15, 2012

Radio Comes Through for Charity for Holiday Giving and in Times of Disaster.  Radio is a business and making a profit is the first goal of any business.  But radio stations and radio corporations have a documented history of giving back to the communities they serve through the organization of charitable giving.  That service is evident even during difficult economic times as stations large and small regularly step up to the plate to take time out from creating entertaining programming while risking losing listener interest in order to do charitable work.  This year the industry is seeing a confluence of disaster relief needs and the annual holiday charity programs.  Relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy include such assistance as: CRN Digital Talk Radio’s $2,351 donation to the cause; Townsquare Media-owned New Jersey 101.5’s ongoing “Restore New Jersey” campaign; Cox Media Group’s $75,000 donation to relief organizations; Geraldo Rivera’s recent live “radiothon” on Cumulus Media’s WABC; CBS’s radio and TV stations’ daylong phone bank; CBS Philadelphia partnered with Live Nation/Comcast Spectacor to offer concert tickets to the Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler show on November 19 in exchange for donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund that brought in $30,000; as well as Clear Channel’s planned 12-12-12 concert in New York City.  Disaster relief is not the only cause that radio rises to assist.  Radio’s charitable projects include aid to organizations that individual stations have chosen to work with regularly – such as KGO, San Francisco’s long-running annual radiothon to fight leukemia — plus regular holiday-oriented giving programs.  The following are just a few that have come to our attention recently:

Cumulus Nashville to Program Radiothon for Local Rescue Mission.  News/talk WTN, Nashville will host a radiothon on Monday, November 19 beginning at 5:00 am and running through 7:00 pm to raise funds for the Nashville Rescue Mission.  Morning host Ralph Bristol begins the day and the fundraising continues with hosts Michael DelGiorno, Dave Ramsey, and Phil Valentine all committing their shows to raising funds for the Rescue Mission’s programs.  In addition to his own show, Michael DelGiorno will participate with the other WTN personalities throughout the day.  DelGiorno’s extra duties start by broadcasting live at the Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am with Ralph Bristol live from the studio.  He then hosts Dave Ramsey from 9:00 am to 10:00 am at the station.  His normal show then gets extended to 1:00 pm effectively preempting the Mike Huckabee show.  And then to close out the Radiothon, DelGiorno returns for the final push from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles Raises $135,000 for Paralyzed Veterans.  Sports talk outlet KLAC, Los Angeles held its fifth annual Paralyzed Veterans of America Live Radiothon and Online Auction recently, calling in local and national celebrities to help raise a record $135,000 for the charity.  KLAC and Fox Sports Radio Network personalities Steve Hartman, Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Petros Papadakis and Rob Dibble hosted the radiothon and were joined by Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda; rocker Eddie Money; Lakers legend James Worthy; model Leeann Tweeden; and boxing great Ray  “Boom Boom” Mancini, among others.  Pictured here are (from l-r): KLAC’s Steve Hartman, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, KLAC’s Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and KLAC producer Sam Betesh.

 

WEEI, Boston Recognized for Cancer Charity Work.  Entercom’s sports WEEI, Boston was recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance of New England for its work bringing attention to and raising funds for the treatment and cure of the disease as part of its annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon held in conjunction with cable’s New England Sports Network each August.  This past August, the 11th annual two-day event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the Global Lung Cancer Coalition and I’m so proud to accept this award on behalf of all of us at WEEI.  Cancer affects us all, and we are blessed to have had such tremendous success shining a light on this terrible disease through the efforts of the Jimmy Fund radio-telethon.  I want to thank everyone at the GLCC for their support. It means a great deal to our entire staff.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Wolfe; Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots; and Rich Monopoli, LCA New England co-director.

FCC Chairman Genachowski Asks Commission to Approve Cross-Ownership.  The change in rules would be permanent for companies operating radio-TV-newspaper combos in the top 20 markets.  Stations such as Tribune’s WGN, Chicago have been living on temporary exemptions to the law forbidding such cross-ownership for years.  FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is asking the commissioners to approve the move without a public meeting vote as soon as today and the change could take effect tomorrow (11/16).  Bloomberg reports that for Tribune, the vote would be a requirement for the company’s exit from bankruptcy protection.

Conclave Names Seasoned Radio Pro Bob Shannon Executive Director.  Veteran radio broadcasting executive Bob Shannon has been named the Conclave’s new executive director.  He succeeds the organization’s first executive director, Tom Kay, who recently retired after almost four decades of service.  In announcing the appointment, Conclave board of directors chairman Mark Bolke says, “There obviously is no replacement for Tom Kay and his shaping the Conclave organization for the past 37 years.  The executive selection committee was presented with a list of excellent candidates from which to choose.  Bob Shannon represents the consummate broadcasting professional with a shared vision and passion to move the Conclave into a new era.  We are thrilled to name him as our new executive director.”  Shannon, whose consulting company bobshannonworks is based in Minneapolis, is also president of SpotMedia Services, a former executive vice president at TM Century, and the author of Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996.  On accepting the position Shannon states, “As a student of radio I’ve long admired Tom and what he’s done at the Conclave.  Moving forward my goal is to build on his vision by expanding our online activity and looking very closely at how radio and our learning conference are addressing changes in media.  This is a very exciting time, ripe with opportunities for those who know how to create compelling content.  Stay tuned!”

Newsmax Steps Up Audio and Video Content; Terrestrial Radio Programs in Development.  Months ago TALKERS reported on the digital initiatives going on at conservative media firm Newsmax that include its video channel Newsmax TV.  Now, the Chris Ruddy-led media organization is announcing the further development of these ventures.  Newsmax says it will soon be expanding to an online 24/7 network.  The online TV network will focus on simulcasting radio content online.  It will also develop its own radio shows for Newsmax TV and broadcast these on terrestrial radio as well.  In 2013, the company plans to significantly ramp up its online TV presence and radio activities and has constructed a state-of-the-art broadcast studio in its New York offices.  Staff for the projects includes Chad Wilkinson as executive producer of programming; Tamara Karcev as director of affiliate relations for radio programming.  In addition, former WABC, New York program director John Mainelli is consulting the project.

Wayne Powers Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  After four years as regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte, Wayne Powers removed himself from the station’s roster in February in order to run as a Republican for an At-Large seat on the Mecklenburg County Commission.  After a May primary win, Powers came up short in the November 6 general election.  “It was tough to beat the huge straight-ticket Democrat vote here in the DNC convention city,” says Powers.  He returns for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, guest hosting WBT’s Keith Larson show.

Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Israel-Syria Conflict, and New Chinese Leader Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14).  The expanding David PatraeusPaula Broadwell scandal; questions about the Benghazi attack and Petraeus’ role in the investigation; Congress and the Obama Administration begin tackling the ‘fiscal cliff’; the violent conflict between Israel and Syria; and the change in Chinese leadership as Xi Jinping succeeds Hu Jintao as secretary general were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

| November 14, 2012

Salem Communications Pays $4 million for WJKR, Columbus.  Salem Communications’ new FM talk outlet in Columbus, Ohio is costing the company $4 million according to the FCC filing.  The Radio One station is being LMA’d by Salem until the deal closes.  Salem installed its conservative talk format on November 1 and dubbed it “98.9 FM The Answer.”  In addition to its numerous news/talk AMs, Salem owns FM outlets that program primarily Christian formats.  The new Columbus acquisition is the first FM signal for the secular news/talk format for Salem.

Mike O’Meara Returns to DC Airwaves in January.  Dave HughesDCRTV.com reports that Washington, DC radio personality Mike O’Meara will be back on the terrestrial airwaves in the market in January with a two-hour evening program airing on Metro Radio’s WTNT.  O’Meara and former partner Don Geronimo dominated Washington, DC talk radio during their time together on CBS Radio’s then-hot talk WJFK-FM before Geronimo took time off following the untimely death of his wife Freda.  O’Meara has been producing a popular podcast via his mikeomearashow.com site along with Rob Spewak, Buzz Burbank and Oscar Santana – all of whom are reported to be part of the WTNT program as well.  O’Meara briefly returned to terrestrial radio last year when he hosted mornings at Cumulus Media’s classic rock 105.9 The Edge.  However, the station dropped music to become the FM signal for WMAL.

Consumer Electronics Show Preview – The Radio Connection.  Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke covers the huge Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas in January for TALKERS magazine.  But November always brings the preview of the show and Holland was there as well.  He says radio should pay attention for several reasons.  The most obvious reason is to get a line on what’s going to be hot for Christmas so AEs can target the appropriate retailers.  Holland says the Consumer Electronics Association forecasters predict tablets will dominate this holiday season.  The CEA is saying sales of tablets will be up 112% over last year.  TVs are going to be big with 20% of American adults saying they plan to buy a television this holiday season.  Read more from Holland Cooke here.

Progressive Shows May Find Another Home in Seattle.  The news that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle will flip formats in January – not confirmed by CBS but the station will likely become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate – has left a sour taste in the mouths of numerous progressive talk hosts and their syndicators.  But the local blog SeaTacRadio.com reports that KLAY, Tacoma is planning to add some of the progressive talk shows – reportedly WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller and the Ed Schultz show – currently heard on KPTK to its program schedule.  As numerous CBS Radio and Cumulus stations prepare to flip to sports talk in January, KPTK is just another victim of the companywide desire for affiliate stations.  While consumers and the consumer press bemoan the proliferation of sports talk (“How many sports stations do we need in this market?”), the answer is that CBS Radio and Cumulus need to have affiliates in as many markets as possible to be able to sell a national sports talk product to national clients.

Main Street Radio Networks Partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales.  Main Street Radio Networks enters into a deal with Broadcast Affiliate Sales for the latter to handle its marketing and affiliate sales for current and future programs.  The network syndicates “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” and the “Doctor Evelyn Higgins Show.”  Recently the company announced it was working with Salem Radio Networks for distribution of its programming.  Main Street president Jane Silk says, “We know BAS will be a great addition to our rapidly growing radio network.  Everyone at BAS has an extensive history in the radio industry and an unmatched sales record. Partner Mike Tyler was elected to the NAB Board of Directors and his father John Tyler is the creator of the first ever satellite delivered radio network. These people are the best in the business.”

John McConnell Joins InterNetwork Broadcasting for App Development.  Former ABC Radio Networks SVP of programming John McConnell is working with InterNetworks Broadcasting on the development of its Blurt app.  The app that lets you record and share 10-second audio updates with the world and McConnell has joined its leadership team in further development of the app.  He’ll focus his efforts on new content and distribution partnerships and overall business development.  Blurt co-founder Clark Burgard states, “John boasts an impressive track record in radio broadcast and digital media, and his experience will surely enhance our efforts to bring an audio experience to text-based social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.  We’re thrilled to welcome him to the Blurt team.”

Entertainment Radio Network Partners with Men’s Health Magazine to Create Weekly Show.  Men’s Health, the well-known men’s magazine, announces a partnership with Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) to create “Men’s Health Live,” a weekly, one-hour branded show that will be distributed across terrestrial radio and a variety of on-demand audio channels.  Slated to premiere in January 2013, the program will cover the latest news in health, fitness, nutrition and all things men. Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and Men’s Health contributing editor Gregg Stebben will co-host the show.  Moore tells TALKERS, “ERN is the perfect partner and platform to bring the Men’s Health brand’s must-have advice and information for guys to the airwaves on a weekly basis.  Guys live in their cars, and with today’s connected dashboard, we’ll be there with them, making sure they reach their ultimate destinations safely, and with abs.”  Alan Taylor, CEO of ERN adds, “We are thrilled to be working with Men’s Health. This strategic partnership will add yet another pillar of strength to the largest men’s magazine brand with the addition of a radio and digital audio platform. It will further enable Men’s Health to expand its core audience through our many audio distribution partners such as Aha Radio, Stitcher Radio, iTunes and others.”

Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, Obama Administration Cabinet Changes, and ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13).  The growing David PetraeusPaula Broadwell scandal; the investigation into the Benghazi attack; imminent changes in the Obama Administration Cabinet; and the ‘fiscal cliff’ challenges facing the administration and Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

| November 13, 2012

Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip?  Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays.  No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio.  If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12).  It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.

Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons.  Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson.  Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career.  Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners.  We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”

KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant.  Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising.  As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black.  Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction.  “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.”  Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast.  Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter.  See the next story…

The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station.  The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle.  Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy?  Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side.  Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.”  Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.

Opinion Piece:  Five Trends About to Make a Buck.  Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.”  They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ.  For the juicy details, click here.

Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number.  Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats.  WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years.  After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).

St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests.  The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts.  The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX).  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play.  He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance.  Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time.  Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it.  If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it.  Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”

Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension.  Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since.  Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM.  The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM.  Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition.  We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”

CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal.  According to Dave HughesDCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal.  By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County.  In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage.  Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.

Timely Guest.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school.  Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.

Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12).  The widening David PetraeusPaula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 12, 2012

| November 12, 2012

Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland.  The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality.  According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively).  TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland.  Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation.  I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!).  I love all of you, my loyal listeners.  It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.”  The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.

Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland.  Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming.  Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily.  Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us.  We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”

Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo.  News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years.  Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta.  Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners.  I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”

Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk.  The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo.  The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate.  WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.

Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter.  One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way.  He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them.  Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.

WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program.  During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief.  WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).”  McPhee says,  “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.”  Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army.  I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”

LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough.  Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN.  The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.

 

Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio.  Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews.  He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.

Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership.  Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC.  “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.”  Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change.  Read his opinion piece here.

Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal.  The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station.  The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved.  The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years.  Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

| November 9, 2012

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

Lincoln Financial Media Re-Signs Two at KKFN, Denver.  Sports talk outlet “104.3 The Fan” KKFN, Denver inks new deals with midday co-host Scott Hastings of the “Drew and Scott” show as well as with morning drive co-host Joel Klatt.  Klatt also handles pre- and post-game programs for Colorado Rockies baseball and does college football color commentary for Fox Sports and his new deal is structured to allow him to continue in those roles.

 

Dave Ramsey Storms Seattle.  In what is being termed his last live event of the fall season, nationally syndicated financial talk sensation and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey recently performed in front of a record crowd his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Seattle.  Ramsey spoke to the crowd about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter Rachel Cruze joined him on stage.  Affiliate KTTH says it saw direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station.  President and GM Carl Gardner says, “Up close and personal, Dave made a big impression on our clients and his listeners.  He knows how to build a loyal following – one person at a time.”  Ramsey is pictured above with the staff of KTTH.

Francis Rose in for John Batchelor Tomorrow.  WFED, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Francis Rose sits in for Cumulus Media NetworksJohn Batchelor tomorrow night.  Rose – who as a media pro superserving federal government employees on Hubbard’s WFED has a view like few others of Washington, DC culture – is available for guest shots on how the federal government, both executive branch and Congress, are handling the aftermath of the election and the fiscal cliff.  He can be contacted at frose@federalnewsradio.com.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Radio America’s Peter Schiff show is picked up by KQMS-AM/FM Redding, California; WCCF, Punta Gorda, Florida; WBCH, Hastings, Michigan…..Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones joins the program schedule at KFNX, Phoenix…..WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish show is now heard on WSJM, Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Michigan…..Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is added to the program schedule at WFJX, Roanoke, Virginia and WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is picked up by WHTH, Heath, Ohio (Columbus)…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon is added to the program schedule at KGY, Olympia, Washington and WLOB, Portland, Maine…..Dial Global’s “America This Morning” and “America This Week” – both hosted by Jim Bohannon – are picked up by WXDE, Lewes, Delaware…..Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage is picked up by KFNX, Phoenix…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” is added to WXDE, Lewes, Delaware; KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California; and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire.

The Presidential Election Tops the Talkers TenTM for Week of November 5 – 9.  The race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was the congressional races and the ballot issues.  At #3 was the looming tax increases followed by the deficit issue at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

| November 8, 2012

WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Names Larry O’Connor AM Drive Co-Host.  Breitbart.tv editor-in-chief Larry O’Connor is named the new co-host of the “Mornings on the Mall” AM drive show on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington.  Program director Bill Hess announces O’Connor – who’s been sitting in on the morning show a lot lately – partners up with Brian Wilson effective immediately.  Hess states, “Larry began his career in the theater business.  The opportunity to marry his talents as an entertainer to our daily discussion of subjects of interest to our audience makes this an exciting move.  Larry’s new media experience and expertise is icing on the cake!”  O’Connor says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to be joining Brian Wilson, producer Heather Smith and the entire ‘Mornings on the Mall’ team that Bill Hess has assembled at the legendary WMAL in Washington, DC.  Starting my day having a conversation with the people of this community and then continuing my vital work as an editor for the Breitbart News Network is truly a dream come true and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Howard Stern Plays Games with Radio Hall of Fame.  Robert Feder writes in his Time Out Chicago column that iconic radio personality Howard Stern is keeping the National Radio Hall of Fame guessing as to whether or not he will show up at the Chicago institution on Saturday when he is inducted with the class of 2012.  Stern has been vocal – okay, downright nasty – about having been passed over four times in the past after having been nominated.  Hall chairman Bruce DuMont tells Feder, “We would hope that Howard would show up.  He certainly deserves to be in the Radio Hall of Fame.  We’ll be delighted to welcome him and honor him.  I hope that he rises to the occasion.  We think we did the right thing, and I hope he does the right thing, too.”  Stern’s presenter will be Chicago Bears defensive tackle and longtime fan Amobi Okoye.  The induction ceremony takes place at the Museum of Broadcast Communications Saturday evening.  Also being inducted this year are “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross; WLW, Cincinnati legend Gary Burbank; Ron Chapman, Dallas radio icon; Jack L. Cooper, radio’s first black disc jockey (deceased); Art Laboe, Los Angeles oldies pioneer from Hot 92.3 FM; and Luther Masingill, Chattanooga, Tennessee radio great for more than 70 years.  Regarding Stern’s keeping the Hall of Fame in the dark about whether or not he will show up and accept the honor, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “He did the same thing to TALKERS when we presented him with the Freedom of Speech Award several years ago.  Of course we gave him the award anyway and his friend, the very gracious and eloquent actor George Takei, showed up and accepted it on his behalf.  We understand that being the eternal ‘outsider’ is part of Howard Stern’s schtick – an act that has contributed greatly to the culture and business of this industry.  But Howard has also been pretty nasty, aloof and the first to complain when his ‘king-of-all-media-arse’ is not kissed above and beyond his receiving fame, honors and enormous compensation and, frankly, it is an act that is getting old…especially during these difficult days for radio when it is facing a number of existential crises and threats.  Radio needs its stars on both sides of the microphone to step up the plate.  C’mon Howard!  This business has been very, very good to you.  Be a mensch and start giving back a little bit.  Do the right thing. Show up in Chicago and let them know you’re coming.”

Radio Small Part of CBS Corp; Moonves & Co. Still Bullish on Radio Though.  During yesterday’s conference call after the release of CBS Corp’s Q3 numbers, president and CEO Les Moonves indicated the company is still very high on radio – especially news and sports – even as the radio division was the sole dull spot in the company’s third quarter report.  The division is down 5%.  Speaking about the acquisition of Merlin’s WRXP, Moonves stated, “We took a significant step in our major market strategy with the acquisition of 101.9 which now gives us another strong signal in the nation’s number one market.  It has been renamed WFAN-FM and is now the FM home for what is already the number one sports radio station in the country.  This new station will also be a key part of the CBS Sports Radio Network that will be launching nationwide in January.”  When asked about the role of radio in the long term for CBS, Joe Ianniello, executive VP and CFO said “I think from a radio perspective, it’s absolutely producing content.  Sports and news – it’s key to the overall CBS strategy.  We have a large-market focus, so I think it fits very nicely.  Obviously, we like the margins.  Obviously, these brands are going online, and it’s living outside of just the local region.  So we’re very bullish on radio.”

CBS Announces New York TV/Radio-Promotes Phone Bank to Benefit Red Cross.  CBS Corporation’s two New York television stations – WCBS-TV, New York and WLNY, Riverhead, New York (Long Island) – in concert with the company’s radio stations (WCBS, WINS, and WFAN) will organize a phone bank on Thursday, November 8 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm to seek donations for the American Red Cross to help with the organization’s relief efforts.  Red Cross representatives will be on site at the CBS Broadcast Center accepting pledges  joined by CBS Radio and television personalities who have tirelessly brought coverage of the storm to residents across the Tri State area.  Additional members of the CBS family will also be present to lend a hand to the pledge drive.

WWRL, New York to Air Special “RL Cares” Program.  Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk outlet WWRL, New York will air a one-hour special broadcast on Friday, November 9 from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm from its studios in New York City called “RL Cares” and hosted by Dr. Fritz Galette.  The clinical psychologist and on-air personality on “The Dr. Fritz Show” (Thursdays at 10:00 pm on the station) will host a program dedicated to health and social services available in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Featured guests will include representatives from the Office of Emergency Management and The American Red Cross. Both organizations will disseminate information on what services are available to WWRL listeners.  Station general manager Adriane Gaines says, “The impact that SuperStorm Sandy has had on the Tri State area is immeasurable. The economical and emotional toll of the storm has greatly impacted the daily lives of residents in the tri-state area.  After more than a week, many are still without power, homeless and living in shelters and unable to obtain gas for generators or to drive their vehicles.”

Bruce B. Demps to Exit Radio One.  After six years serving as regional manager (Atlanta/Philadelphia)/vice president of urban radio powerhouse Radio One, veteran broadcaster Bruce B. Demps will be leaving the company on November 15.  Demps tells TALKERS that his career has been “a great ride” and that he has been “truly blessed.”  He goes on, however, to say, “My plan is to retire unless something unforeseen at this time motivates me to get off the sofa and the golf course.  The past six years have been amazing but my career did not start with this company and in all likelihood it might not end with it.”  He can be emailed at brucedemps@gmail.com.  Demps is pictured here in a 2011 photo with Radio One chairperson and founder Cathy Hughes.

WSAU, Wausau, Wisconsin Talk Host Pat Snyder Loses State Assembly Bid.  And the conservative talk host tells the Wausau Daily Herald that he thinks his image as a right-wing talk show host actually hurt, rather than helped, his campaign.  Pat Snyder lost to 35-year-old school teacher Mandy Wright by 900 votes.  Snyder tells the paper, “In the back of (the voters’) mind, they thought the old, radio conservative host would show up.”  During the campaign, Wright requested equal time compensation from Midwest Communications when Snyder remained on the air past the 60-day window.  The station granted her commercial time in response and Wright was happy with the arrangement.

Election Aftermath, Markets Tumble, Sandy-Affected Area Hit with Snow Storm, and Benghazi Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  The aftermath of the re-election of President Obama; the financial markets take a big drop; Sandy-ravaged parts of the Northeast are hit with an early snow storm; and the Benghazi investigation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

| November 7, 2012

Conclusion of Election Raises Inevitable Questions.  The dramatic and contentious election of 2012 has finally come to a conclusion.  As President Barack Obama prepares to begin his second term as the nation’s chief executive with control of the House and Senate split between the parties, inevitable questions arise about the path and positioning of news/talk radio in the new political environment.  How does the re-election of Obama impact the agendas of conservative and liberal talk radio?  How long will it take before political presidential jockeying overtly begins as the periods between election cycles grow shorter?  What are the economic implications of this election?  How will the economy affect the radio industry in general?  Will the current advertising agency hostility toward conservative talk radio intensify or dissipate?  What will be the new, unexpected issues that dominate on-air conversation as we move beyond the deafening chatter of Election 2012?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has already begun fielding these questions from the nation’s radio-watchers in the mainstream press.   According to Harrison very little will change in terms of the on-air party lines: “As much as I encourage talk radio to expand the menu of its subject matter and spread out into a diversity of formats and subjects – which I actually believe will happen in the coming year or two — don’t expect to see a sudden change or modification of positioning among the ranks of established, opinionated political hosts.  These next two years will be no picnic for the president.  If you look back at Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – two polarizing figures in American politics – their second terms were far more turbulent generating more contentious media conversation than their first.  Even Ronald Reagan had his Iran-Contra issue in his second term.  You can probably expect the same with Obama.”  Harrison expects the next congressional election to start immediately and the next presidential election to begin shortly thereafter.  “Biden might be flirting with the idea of running in 2016 but you can count on all eyes and ears being focused on the Clintons and perhaps another Bush.”  As far as the economic picture is concerned, Harrison is optimistic stating, “I think things are destined to improve regardless of who is president.  Let us all do our best to make the radio industry relevant and prosperous in the exciting days and years ahead.”  Of course there will be a spectrum of contrasting views on this subject.  For example, TRN talk show host Jerry Doyle tells TALKERS that he plans to call out a number of his fellow conservative hosts on his show today for “being cheerleaders for the GOP and not questioning some of their positions that are tarnishing the Republican brand.”  He uses the analogy, “I love Corvettes, but I won’t be buying one because of all the as***les driving them today.  The same thing with the Republicans – I find it hard to call myself a Republican because of so many of their ridiculous opinions and terrible candidates that fly in the face of today’s reality.”

Will Obama’s Re-Election Cause Programmers to Reflect?  Consultant Holland Cooke makes strong statements about what the re-election of Barack Obama should mean to talk radio hosts and programmers.  He says, “Heavy early voting and long lines yesterday say ‘Hear me!’ to talk radio’s default I-talk-you-listen model,” and Cooke states that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative.  Do you agree or disagree that there’s a lesson in the election results for talk radio?  Before you answer, read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

Radio One to Flip WMOJ, Cincinnati to Sports in January.  Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WMOJ, Cincinnati “Mojo 100.3” has gone all Christmas but after the holidays the station will not return to “jammin’ oldies” but will be an outlet for CBS Sports Radio Network’s new 24/7 sports talk format.  Program director Steve Harris tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that the opportunity to do sports on FM was too great to pass up.  The station is expected to carry the bulk of the national lineup – John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall – but Harris says there has been no decision made about whether to do a local AM drive show or take what CBS Sports Radio Networks has to offer in that daypart.  Cincinnati currently has two AM sports talk outlets – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate, and WCKY, an ESPN Radio affiliate – in addition to news/talk WLW which airs a fair amount of sports programming as well.

New Jersey 101.5 Partners with Governor’s Office in Storm Relief.  Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is announcing its own “Restore New Jersey” and restorenewjersey.com are officially working with Governor Chris Christie’s and his wife Mary Pat’s “Sandy NJ Relief Fund.”  The station’s group marketing director Ray Handel says the station is immediately beginning to inform listeners about donation efforts.  He issues this statement: “New Jersey 101.5 will continue to be involved with restoring New Jersey from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  We informed millions of Jersey listeners on news and survival information before, during and after the storm.  The station served as a lifeline to millions who lost power, and gave those millions a voice.  Now as our attention turns to long term recovery, we introduce ‘Restore New Jersey,’ an on-going fundraising effort that will be featured on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com for at least the next six months.  We will be working with Governor and Mary Pat Christie so we can partner with their ‘Sandy NJ Relief Fund.’  Governor Christie is very much a part of NJ101.5, as he has a monthly show on our station.  The governor has received much praise in his leadership during this crisis.  This past Saturday the governor introduced this state wide charity, and we feel this will merge perfectly with the state wide help New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Restore New Jersey’ will provide.  All funds raised will stay right here in New Jersey, and we think New Jersey 101.5 can really take the lead with this effort.”

NAB ‘Licensed to Serve’ Newsletter Recognizes Broadcasters Covering Sandy.  The National Association of Broadcasters released its most recent “Licensed to Serve” newsletter detailing many of the efforts of broadcasters – both radio and television – that provided news and information to the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy.  NAB EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton and his staff have put together an excellent summary of the work done by over-the-air broadcasters in serving the needs of their communities.  Wharton is passionate about the role of radio and television broadcasters in times of crisis and the NAB’s work showcasing it in this regard serves the broadcasting community well.  See the NAB’s “Licensed to Serve” page here.

Radio Personality Robinson to PM Drive on KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Tall Cotton Media’s new sports talk KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas “103.9 The Game” names radio personality Robinson PM drive host.  He comes to sports talk radio after a career in rock radio at Entercom’s Rochester, New York music outlets classic rock WCMF and rock WBZA.  Tall Cotton took over ownership of the outlet in September from Catherine Joanna Flinn.  The station is a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate.

Red Zebra Extends Play-by-Play Deal with Georgetown.  The Hoyas will be heard on Red Zebra’s Washington, DC sports talk duo WTEM and WSPZ “ESPN 980 and SportsTalk570; Powered by ESPN” for seasons to come as the two partners extend their contract.  Under the terms of the deal, Red Zebra will broadcast the school’s men’s basketball games.  Red Zebra president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “We are excited to team with Georgetown University and Coach Thompson’s squad as they continue the tradition as one of the best teams the area has to offer.”  The Hoyas open their season Friday, November 9 aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators.  All Hoya games will be broadcast by Rich Chvotkin who is in his 40th season calling Georgetown games.

Longtime KSL, Salt Lake City Weekend Gardening Show Host Larry Sagers Dead at 63.  Horticulture expert and radio talker Larry Sagers, whose weekend gardening program the “Greenhouse Show” co-hosted with Tim Hughes was a mainstay for years on KSL, Salt Lake City has succumbed to his long battle with mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with exposure to asbestos.  Sagers was a horticulture agent with the Utah State University Extension and an extremely popular local figure.

The 2012 Election and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Dominate News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/6).  As is usually the case on a presidential election day, the election itself – not only the presidential race but the Senate and House races as well as controversial ballot issues around the nation – dominated the discussion on news/talk radio on Tuesday.  Additionally, there was still considerable talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast where New Jersey and New York are still recovering from the storm.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

| November 6, 2012

Radio News Services Prepare for Election 2012 Coverage.  Fox News Radio announces its schedule for coverage of the 2012 election.  The network will provide live coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET.  Fox News Radio senior national correspondent Rich Johnson and political analyst Jeff Birnbaum will co-anchor the coverage along with Fox News Channel’s Heather Nauert who will be reporting on the race results.  In addition, many of the FNR affiliates across the country will be covering the election as well as the congressional and gubernatorial contests.  ABC News Radio will also begin its live coverage at 7:00 pm and it will run until 1:00 am unless longer coverage is deemed necessary.  ABC’s Aaron Katersky is anchoring with assistance from correspondents Vic Ratner, Ann Compton, Steven Portnoy and Alex Stone.  As we reported last week, America’s Radio News Network is providing election coverage to affiliate stations.  The team of John McCaslin, Lori Lundin and Chris Salcedo will broadcast “Election Night 2012” to affiliates from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am ET.  McCaslin states, “Before the winners are even announced, we will have for listeners the final state-by-state exit polling – including crucial battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia – as quickly as the polls close in each state.  Once the voting stops, we will be able to closely examine various exit-polling data and get a clear signal of the ultimate results.  Take the all-important race for the White House: if President Obama or Mitt Romney were to win certain key battleground states – with the right combination, this could be as few as two of the states – we would be able to suggest which candidate will be taking the oath of office on January 21, 2013.”

Talker Warren Ballentine to Interview President Obama Today.  President Obama will push a get-out-the-vote message when he visits with Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine on his talk show today in the 11:00 am ET hour.  Yesterday, TALKERS spoke with SiriusXM and WOL, Washington talk host Joe Madison who said President Obama has made himself and his cabinet available to urban talk outlets such as his during the course of the president’s term.  Ballentine, a lawyer by trade, is heard on 37 affiliate stations across the country.

ESPN Radio’s Jim Durham Passes Away at 65.  Jim Durham was the lead play-by-play analyst for “The NBA on ESPN Radio.”  He died over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas.  No cause of death has been announced.  Senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Radio Mo Davenport says, “Jim was a respected play-by-play specialist who combined a tremendous gift for storytelling with a Hall of Fame voice.  He’s been a dedicated friend and a trusted teammate to so many at ESPN for two decades and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his wife Helen and the entire Durham family.”  In 2011 Durham was honored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the Curt Gowdy Media Award, presented annually to members of the print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.

Talk Host Michelle Jerson Promoting New Web Venture.  Relationship talk host and news reporter Michelle Jerson – who has worked at such outlets as WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5; WJFK, Washington and SiriusXM’s Howard 100 channel – has developed a new web venture at her site called PassportRomance.com.  The content-rich travel website combines her experience as a relationship host and travel expert.  As the former television, web, and radio correspondent for Travelzoo.com, she is now giving readers  first-hand accounts and ideas of where to travel if they are single looking for love, seeking the perfect first trip with a new partner, or planning a romantic honeymoon or anniversary close to home or abroad.  Jerson is also creating radio segments to promote her site and will appear on Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9” on the morning show with Al Gardner and Lionel this Friday.  Stations interested in booking Michelle as a guest can reach out to her at michelle@passportromance.com.

WZON, Bangor Morning Host Lives in “Hobbit Hole” to Raise Awareness of Those Who can’t Afford Heat.  Talk host Pat LaMarche hosts “The Pulse Morning Show” on WZON-AM/FM, Bangor Maine and she’s been living in a “hobbit hole” – basically a non-insulated and unheated garden shed – to raise awareness and funds for those in the region who have trouble heating their homes during the brutal Maine winters.  LaMarche tells local TV outlet WABI that all funds raised will go to help winterize homes, especially of the elderly, disabled and homes with children.  LaMarche is bundled up and is hosting the program from inside the wooden shed and she tells the TV station that it’s very uncomfortable and difficult to function due to the cold.  She says for families with children, it’s even more challenging.  “If you had to go to school every day and your choice is cold water or going to school un-bathed and kids make fun of you, and your life is extremely unpleasant because you’re cold and then you get picked on at school.”

Romney vs. Obama, Voter Fraud Issues, Sandy Aftermath, and Libya Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5).  The final push before election day between President Obama and Mitt Romney; allegations of voter fraud in early polling; the aftermath of Sandy in the hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey; and the investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 5, 2012

| November 5, 2012

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Promotes Dan Potter to AM Drive Show.  There’s been a lot of movement among Cox Media Group staffers between properties lately.  It started with long-time KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa program director Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando at the end of the summer.  Then it was announced that WDBO morning host Jim Turner would retire and KRMG AM drive personality Joe Kelley would move to Orlando to take over the morning show there.  Now, KRMG announces that it is promoting “Tulsa’s Afternoon News” host Dan Potter and he will slide into the morning drive chair beginning November 19.  Potter says, “Under Joe Kelley’s leadership, the ‘KRMG Morning News’ has become the single most important morning show in Oklahoma, both in terms of content and listenership.  I hope to continue the growth Joe started and to attract new listeners to the show.  I am humbled, honored and very excited for this opportunity.  I anchored newscasts on a similar morning show in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 15 years and am constantly impressed by KRMG’s commitment to covering breaking news better than anyone.  You could take this newsroom and this product and put it in any major market in the country and be competitive.”

ESPN Audio Debuts New PM Drive Show with Jonathan Coachman.  A new sports talk show from ESPN Audio debuts this afternoon hosted by ESPN studio anchor Jonathan Coachman.  The 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET show will have Coachman initially joined by a rotating array of ESPN on-air personalities to present three hours of personality-driven opinion, analysis, humor and interviews covering the news of the day, as well as interaction with listeners via e-mails, texts and calls.  The program is available to terrestrial affiliates as well as being heard via the ESPN app, espnradio.com, TuneIn and SiriusXM.  During his time at ESPN, Coachman has hosted “NBA Tonight,” “College Football Live,” “NASCAR Now,” and “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.”  Coachman says of the new venture, “To say I am excited about ‘Coach’ & Company would be an understatement, but it’s going to be about our entire team – our production team and the team of fans at home – who will all have a hand in hopefully making it a successful show.  I am very serious about sports, but people can expect above all else a show that is fun.  And, with my background in the WWE, I feel I can really bring an entertainment value to the show in a strong way.”

Clear Channel’s Columbia, South Carolina Country Jocks Pull Double Duty; Host PM on News/Talk WVOC.  Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash – known to their country WCOS, Columbia listeners and Rush & Nash, hosts of the “Morning Rush” program – begin a new chapter in their careers hosting the “Afternoon Rush” on sister news/talk WVOC.  The station parted ways with PM drive host Keven Cohen last week.  Rush and Nash will continue to host their morning program on “My Country 97.5.”  In a statement, Kelly Nash says, “This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed of for years.  We can play the world’s greatest music for the greatest music fans in the morning and talk with the most passionate radio listeners every afternoon.”

WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne Names Ryan Reker PD.  Federated Media’s heritage WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne, Indiana announces the hiring of Ryan Reker as program director.  Reker comes to the station after a management shuffle that saw Gregg Henson (now at Clear Channel’s WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh) exit the post and Federated’s own Woody Zimmerman oversee the station briefly before being reassigned to oversee the company’s Warsaw, Indiana cluster.  Reker most recently served as program director and morning host at Maverick Media’s classic rock WEGE-FM and as program director of sports talk WWSR-FM, both in Lima, Ohio.  Reker also worked at Clear Channel’s news/talk WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids and Entercom’s sports WSSP, Milwaukee.  He says of his new position, “WOWO is a unique station with very unique listeners.  I love the reputation and passion they’ve built with the community.  I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to work with such a great group of broadcasters.”

How to Write a Professional Radio Facebook Post (Part 2).  Radio digital consultant Chris Miller was so amazed by the high level of interest in his previous TALKERS piece, “Start Doing THIS Right NOW on Facebook,” published here last week, that he decided to share a few more tips to help you get your radio station’s pages and posts right!  Miller writes, “A lot of us radio folks see the value in social media.  Still, many could use some help working it in a way so you’re building your brand, instead of just spinning your wheels.  Many of the mistakes businesses make on Facebook have to do with how your write what you post.  We tend to speak in marketing-ese or like we’re scripting a promo.  That’s a huge error that may have people consistently hiding your content.”  Read Miller’s entire article explaining how to write a post that works for you, here.

President Obama Friendly to African American-Targeted Radio.  President Obama is credited with being the first presidential candidate to seriously use social media to assist his election and re-election efforts but he’s also been a user of radio programs that target the urban audience.    SiriusXM talk radio star Joe Madison (whose program is also heard on terrestrial outlet WOL, Washington, DC) tells TALKERS magazine the president reached out to him early and often.  “His administration nurtured a relationship with black talk radio since he first took office.  I have had access to most members of his cabinet.  They have addressed issues related to the black community and the general population.  Contrast that with Romney’s campaign, we have not received a single news release or response to appear on my show.”  In fact, Madison will host the president on his radio show today.  Madison says he believes the get-out-the-vote effort targeted to black radio by the Obama campaign appears to be working.  “I believe the early voting we’ve seen in our community is due to black talk radio encouraging our audience to vote.  Yesterday in Dade County, Florida, voters were in line until 1:00 am.”

Report:  Actor John Cusack to Produce and Star in Film About Rush Limbaugh.  The Huffington Post reports that actor John Cusack’s company, New Crime Productions, is putting the finishing touches on the script of a movie about Rush Limbaugh tentatively titled “Rush.”  The story quotes actress/director Betty Thomas (who also directed Howard Stern’s “Private Parts”) saying she will direct and that production starts sometime next year.

NBC Sports Radio Names Stan Van Gundy NBA Senior Analyst.  The former head coach of the Orlando Magic joins the NBC Sports Radio network as senior analyst for the NBA.  Stan Van Gundy will call into network shows each week during the NBA season.  He’ll talk exclusively to NBC Sports Radio affiliates and co-host for an hour every Friday during the NBA season, on a show soon to be announced.  NBC Sports Ventures senior vice president Rob Simmelkjaer states, “We are thrilled to add one of the most respected and outspoken coaches in the NBA to the NBC Sports Radio roster.  Our listeners will get to enjoy Stan’s unique insight into events and storylines around the league on a weekly basis.”

 

KABC, Los Angeles’ Doug McIntyre Emcees Bennett Film Opening.  KABC, Los Angeles morning drive host Doug McIntyre had the opportunity to emcee the Los Angeles opening of the new Tony Bennett documentary titled, “The Zen of Bennett” before a sold-out crowd at the Landmark Theater.  McIntyre tells TALKERS, “The distributor of ‘The Zen of Bennett’ is a fan of the documentary I made with my wife, ‘Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.’  Since I had a background in music — specifically the Great American Songbook and jazz, and have a ton of experience doing these kind of interviews (Robert Redford, Betty White, etc.,) – he recommended me to Tony’s manager, Danny Bennett.  I had met Tony a number of times before but this was the first chance I had to really spend some time with him, a thrill for me, probably less so for Tony.”  McIntyre says the event was not a KABC promotion but the station did give away tickets to the premiere.

“Free Talk Live” Celebrates 10 Years on the Radio.  “Free Talk Live” – the evening and weekend independently syndicated talk program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – celebrates its 10th anniversary.  Freeman writes, in a memo to affiliates and the industry, that the program began in Florida after a format change at the station at which he was working.  “In 2001, rock WYNF, Tampa flipped to hot talk and was using content from Orlando’s successful ‘Real Radio’ WTKS-FM as well as the other ‘Real Radio,’ WZZR-FM in West Palm Beach.  After a year of this, I approached management, Big Jim Davis and Ron White, and pitched the idea of a local show for the weekend.  I said we’d be willing to do it for free.  They gave us the green light and ‘Free Talk Live’ was born, at first on Sunday nights.  The response from the audience was so spectacular that it was within the first few weeks that we were asked to take over weeknights.  Clear Channel ended up flipping the format of the station back to rock in 2003, but FTL continued online, then on another station in town, then another, until I approached the Genesis Communications Network and asked them if they were looking for new programs.  We started in syndication as a weekend show and within a few weeks were offered weeknights.  Since then we have continued doing our live Saturday show (our most popular) and added a live Sunday show as well.   We’ve grown to over 110 AM/FM affiliates and are also heard all week on XM.”

Odds & Sods.  Former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current WWL, New Orleans PM drive co-host Bobby Hebert was ejected from the press box at Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game for ignoring warnings not to create a disturbance by cheering.  The Times-Picayune reports the press box was stuffed with 947 credentialed media people and police escorted Hebert out in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 21-17 loss…..Proving that she CAN hang with Democrats, on Friday night (11/2), KRLA, Los Angeles morning drive host Heidi Harris sang in the Barbra Streisand concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  She was in the choir for “Make Our Garden Grow.”…..Kim Komando, host of the eponymous nationally syndicated weekend computer talk show is appointed to the Phoenix-located Musical Instrument Museum’s President’s Cabinet. The President’s Cabinet is comprised of Valley leaders who provide guidance and support to MIM’s president and director, Dr. Bill DeWalt.  Komando joins the ranks of other notable Phoenix-area business leaders and philanthropists and will assist MIM with furthering its mission.

WNIR, Akron Host Tom Erickson Mourned.  Talk show host Tom Erickson died on Saturday (11/3) after a long battle with peritonitis.  He was 58.  Erickson was the evening host on Media-Com’s WNIR, Akron.  He worked for nearly 30 years in the radio and television news end of the media business and became a talk show host at WNIR in 2001.  He was on medical leave to deal with his health issues and last appeared on the radio in early June.

From WMAL’s Swing State Road Show.  Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC has been touring the “swing state” of Virginia broadcasting from diners across the commonwealth as the election approaches.  The tour wrapped up on Friday with the final road show broadcast featuring former House Speaker (and former presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Breitbart columnist and WMAL guest co-host Larry O’Connor, Gingrich, and WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” host Brian Wilson.

Friday, November 2, 2012

| November 2, 2012

The Week of Sandy for Broadcasters in the Northeast; Broadcasters Associations Tout Virtues of Local Radio and TV.  Natural disasters bring the importance of radio to the fore and Hurricane Sandy was no different.  Even as we write this, broadcasters in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are – days after the storm – struggling with ongoing issues of lack of electricity, fuel shortages, staff with homes damages and destroyed, and more.  In fact, contacting broadcasters in the affected areas to report how they are getting by is a challenge since all of their resources – such as they are – are being used to perform the function of emergency broadcasting.  However the degree to which the storm affected the hub of media in this country – New York City — threw another wrench into the works.  Even though radio stations were able to get information out one way or another – for example, all-news WINS using sister station WXRK’s signal when its transmitter went down – broadcasting companies were hampered by the lack of electricity and the business end of operating a station or network remained, and in some cases remains, challenging.  New Jersey Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Paul Rotella is using the disaster to raise the FM chips in cell phones issue.  “This deadly disaster points out the absolute necessity of having FM chips in cell phones activated, which would turn every cell phone into an emergency ‘transistor’ radio. (Many cell phones already have FM chips either installed or easily implanted and activated.) I understand that cell phone carriers want to make money off of consumers with streaming rate plans, etc., but maybe they could light the FM chip up in times of emergency so that more people can receive emergency information that only our local broadcasters are capable of transmitting to everyone. It’s worth exploring.”  New York State Broadcasters Association president David L. Donovan notes in a press release touting the value of over-the-air broadcasting that 25% of cell towers in 10 states were affected by the storm, relegating the public to using battery-powered radios and TVs to get news and information.  (The flood image is courtesy of Cox Media Group Connecticut from a video of the group’s coverage of the storm and its aftermath.  See the entire video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9PvdYKvkc)

CBS Radio Names Ryan Maguire KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh PD.  Rising sports programming star Ryan Maguire has been tabbed by CBS Radio to handle the PD position at Pittsburgh sports talk outlet KDKA-FM “SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.”  Maguire fills the shoes left by Terry Foxx who moved to Atlanta to program CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet WZGC “92.9 The Game.”  Maguire currently serves as PD for Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.”  Prior to that he programmed Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee “Sports Radio 1250” and Cumulus Media’s WTKA, Ann Arbor “The Ticket 1050.”  CBS Radio SVP and market manager Michael Young states, “Ryan has a very impressive track record in programming sports radio stations.  He has produced strong ratings and successfully developed a number of dynamic on-air sports personalities.  Furthermore, Ryan has an uncompromising passion for sports and his leadership will well serve Pittsburgh sports fans.”  On his new gig, Maguire says, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity and privilege to be a part of ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh.  Western Pennsylvania is home to some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the country and I’m looking forward to seeing KDKA-FM continue to be a big part of their sports experience.”

Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers.  Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry.  They should consider radio station ownership!  Although it is a tough sales-driven business and there are daunting obstacles to obtaining financing, ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt. It is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business.  According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and a New Mexico-based brokerage firm (MyMediaBroker.com) and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers.  Read the entire TALKERS interview with Sandi Bergman here.

It’s Official:  WFAN, New York Broadcasts on 101.9 FM.  CBS Radio took over WRXP 101.9 FM under an LMA at midnight last night and the nation’s first full-time sports talk station WFAN, New York is now heard in the region on FM.  CBS Radio is buying the class B FM signal from Merlin Media for $75 million.

Keven Cohen Out at WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ousts PM drive host Keven Cohen from news/talk WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  Cohen announced his departure from the station via his Facebook page stating, “An hour ago, Clear Channel relieved me of my duties and fired me.  Obviously, I am devastated.  I am not getting the chance to do so on the radio, so I want to thank all of you for the love and support you have offered my way over almost 19 years at WVOC.  Please keep the Cohen family in your prayers.  This will be a significant challenge.”  WVOC has not announced its plans for PM drive at the station.

Now That You’re in Sales…  Because all radio staffers are in sales now – or should be, according to radio consultant Holland Cooke – if they want to keep their jobs.  But as Cooke writes, just because you’re a talent doing personalized spots doesn’t mean you have job security these days.  So, what’s a talent to do?  Still more, says Cooke.  “Offer to write copy.  You got your on-air job because you’re good with words, right?  That could make you handy to have around if yours is one of many stations where the creative department fell victim to a recent bloodbath.  Too often, account reps are writing spot copy, and too much of it sounds like…well, spot copy.”  Also, have you accompanied a sales rep on a call?  No?  Uh-oh…better read more of Holland Cooke’s wise advise for air talent here.

Steve Kelley to Prove Colorado is a Swing State.  Steve Kelley, along with Bill Rogan and Murphy Wells, hosts the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver.  Kelley is a well-known Denver radio personality who has performed various stunts for charity in the past.  Now, Kelly has begun an effort to break the world record for time spent swinging – a tongue-in-cheek nod to Colorado’s political status as a “swing state” and with the desire to highlight the need for all registered voters to cast their ballots.  Kelley will report on his progress live on the air and plans to finish his attempt sometime Saturday evening.  In past stunts, Kelley has rode a pogo stick from Boulder to Denver and sat in every seat in both the old and new Mile High Stadiums.

Welcoming Herman to Tulsa.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa held a live local event with some of its showcase talent to welcome talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain to the market where he’ll take over as host of the Cox-syndicated Neal Boortz show in January.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Cox Media star Clark Howard, Boortz, Cain, and Cox Media radio news director of the Washington Bureau Jamie Dupree.

Hurricane Sandy Destruction Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 29-November 2.  The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the NY/NJ/CT Gas Shortages.  At #3 was climate change controversy followed by the presidential race polls and predictions at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across the country and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish is added to the program schedule at WCMY, Ottawa, Illinois and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire…..Independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the lineup at KBZZ-AM/FM, Reno.

 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

| November 1, 2012

Jeff Kuhner Officially Named New WRKO, Boston AM Drive Host.  As TALKERS reported yesterday, Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee are out as morning drive duo at the Entercom news/talk outletand now WRKO confirms the moves of late morning talk host and Washington Times columnist Jeff Kuhner to the AM drive slot.  Kuhner has been a weekly guest and fill-in host on the station since January of 2012.  He began doing a daily 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WRKO in August.  Entercom VP and market manager Jeff Brown states, “This caps off a season of positive change for WRKO.  It’s the right move for our two most important customers – our listeners and our advertisers – and needless to say, I’m excited about our future.”  In addition to his work at the Washington Times, Kuhner is the president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank.  He did his doctoral work at Ohio University and taught U.S. history at McGill University in Montreal from 1998-2000 before deciding to make a career change to journalism.  He has made numerous national radio appearances and served as a frequent guest host on “The Savage Nation.”  Vice president of programming for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe states, “Jeff has made an immediate impact in a very short period of time and has demonstrated that he’s ready for a bigger platform.  The positive reaction to his 11:00 am hour has been simply overwhelming and his fearless, honest brand of talk makes him appointment listening.”  Kuhner will continue to host the 11:00 am hour as well.  As for Todd Feinburg, he had been with WRKO since 2003 hosting in different dayparts, the last several years in AM drive with Tom Finneran and most recently with McPhee.  He is considered one of the most capable and versatile talk show hosts in the business.  He can be emailed at todd@toddtalk.com.

America’s Radio News Network Adds Election Night Coverage.  Special election night programming is being added to America’s Radio News Network on Tuesday, November 6 as the team of John McCaslin, Lori Lundin and Chris Salcedo will broadcast “Election Night 2012” to affiliates from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am ET.  McCaslin states, “Before the winners are even announced, we will have for listeners the final state-by-state exit polling – including crucial battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia – as quickly as the polls close in each state.  Once the voting stops, we will be able to closely examine various exit-polling data and get a clear signal of the ultimate results.  Take the all-important race for the White House: if President Obama or Mitt Romney were to win certain key battleground states – with the right combination, this could be as few as two of the states – we would be able to suggest which candidate will be taking the oath of office on January 21, 2013.”

New Jersey Radio Stations Move into Day Three of Hurricane Sandy Mode.  Meteorologists are saying that Hurricane Sandy could have been much worse and indeed some of the early models called for prolonged rain and wind well north and west into the mainland U.S.  The broadcasting community is well aware that New Jersey and New York took the brunt of Sandy and today many Garden State radio stations are still working on generator power as the clean-up gets underway.  New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella tells TALKERS that he’s proud of the people who are still working hard in the often-overlooked aftermath of a storm like this.  “Our broadcasters responded magnificently almost without exception.  What was so poignant about this tragic weather event is that although our beloved New Jersey Shore got ravaged it’s really interesting to see how many broadcasters were at their posts manning their stations while their own homes were being destroyed.  It’s nothing less than awe-inspiring, the dedication of the broadcasters here in New Jersey.”

Nebraska Secretary of State Denounces KFAB, Omaha Satire.  Responding to a satirical radio interview in which late morning host Scott Voorhees spoke with a phony U.N. elections observer named Steve Apple about the United Nations’ monitoring of voting in the Ohama area, Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale called the content of the bit “completely false” and stated, “I want to make it clear that the U.N. has no right to send election observers to the United States, much less any whom are ‘armed and in uniform.’  It is also untrue that Omaha was targeted due to serious concerns about civil rights violations.”  During the bit, Voorhees’ conspirator states the U.N. observers may asked for I.D. and pat down voters if they feel they may have illegal campaign literature.  During one point, a caller asks why Omaha is being observed and the fake U.N. observer states that the fact that the Midwest has no blue states indicates the likelihood of voter fraud.  While Gale called the stunt reckless, saying, “This is a serious time in America, right before a presidential election.  Spoofing the process demeans our democracy.  People don’t need further distractions as they prepare to cast their votes.  They need straightforward and honest information on which they can rely.”  Voorhees tells the Omaha World-Herald that he did it to call attention to questions about international election observers.

Salem Communications Officially Takes Over Columbus FM; Flips to Conservative Talk.  Last week TALKERS reported that Salem Communications was planning to flip soon-to-be-acquired WJKR, Columbus to a conservative news/talk format using Salem Radio Network programming and that’s what happened at midnight last night.  Salem is buying the station from Radio One but took over today under an LMA and is positioning the station as “98.8 FM The Answer.”  Salem’s vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “This will be the fifth ‘Answer’ station we have launched at Salem, along with New York, Los Angeles, Riverside and Dallas.  Salem continues to be a leader in the news/talk format, and this new station will be the first FM news/talk station in the company fold.  ‘The Answer’ imaging voiced by legendary Lonnie Perkins will sound great coming out of an FM speaker.”  The station will air the SRN programs — Bill Bennett‘s “Morning In America”; Mike Gallagher; Dennis Prager; Michael Medved; and Hugh Hewitt; plus Dial Global‘s Dennis Miller from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and Compass Media‘s Lars Larson from 12:000 midnight to 3:00 am.

WERQ, Baltimore’s LaDawn Black Returns as Relationship Expert on Bill Cunningham TV Show.  “The Love Zone” host LaDawn Black is back for a second season as a relationship expert on WLW, Cincinnati talk host Bill Cunningham’s eponymous nationally syndicated television talk show.  Black hosts the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show on Radio One’s hip hop WERQ, Baltimore “92QJams.”  She is a best-selling author of such books as Stripped Bare: The 12 Truths That Will Help You Land the Very Best Black Man (One World/Ballantine) and Let’s Get It On: 15 Hot Tips and Tricks to Spice Up Your Sex Life (One World/Ballantine) and contributed to episodes last season and will contribute to more shows during Cunningham’s second season.

Main Street Radio Network Inks Distribution Deal with Salem.  Independent syndicator Main Street Radio Network informs TALKERS that its programming operations will now be distributed by the Salem Radio Network (SRN).  This includes its flagship daily show, “Battle Line with Alan Nathan,” and its popular weekend program, “The Dr. Evelyn Higgins Show.”  Jane Silk, president of Main Street Radio Network says, “We’re exceptionally pleased to have our programming now distributed by the Salem Radio Network.  SRN’s longevity and steady prominence in the radio industry are renowned and we look forward to all the mutually promising horizons attainable through this new relationship.”  SRN VP of operations Charles Mefford adds, “SRN is thrilled to assist in the production and distribution of ‘Battle Line with Alan Nathan’ and ‘The Dr. Evelyn Higgins Show.’  It’s always exciting to add quality shows to the growing list of program producers who daily rely on the Salem Radio Network for outstanding production and distribution services.

Presidential Race Polls, Sandy Aftermath, Climate Change Controversy, and Benghazi Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/31).  The resumption of presidential race polling; the effects of Hurricane Sandy on its victims and on the political races; climate change as a cause of Hurricane Sandy; and the quest for answers in the Benghazi attack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

| October 31, 2012

TRN’s Jerry Doyle Says Consolidation is Stifling Objectivity.  Speaking to legendary Southern California radio newsman and current PodJockey personality Brent Seltzer on Talkers TV at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jerry Doyle says he believes the vertical consolidation of the talk radio business is stifling objectivity much the same way consolidation stifled creativity in Hollywood in years prior.  “It’s killed objectivity to a degree, where you become a cheerleader for whatever side it is that wants to see their side win.  I would like to think of myself as — what we should be doing more of in the business – as a coach.  A cheerleader will cheer for you when you drop the ball in the end zone but on a critical fourth down, they don’t ask the cheerleaders what they think, they ask the coach…I think we need to coach more and by people just cheering for their own side it allows those sides to be lazy and get away with mistakes…and I think healthier competition has a better outcome for all of us…I think that we have a responsibility in the bully pulpit that we have, to speak the truth.”  See Brent Seltzer’s entire interview with Jerry Doyle in Talkers TV on the right side of this page.

Interim WGN, Chicago GM to Address Staff Today.  A week after Tom Langmyer was ousted, interim GM Jeff Hill will meet with the entire staff of the station in Campbell Hall at Tribune Tower this morning.  Hill spoke with Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder and says his goal is to rally the troops, dispel some rumors and explain the bankruptcy process and what it may mean for station staffers in the future.  Hill tells Feder, “I am dedicated to the success of this radio station and to serving the needs of the listeners, the advertisers and the employees here.  I’m a little exhausted by the kicking around that we’ve dealt with from a lot of outside sources, and think that we need to stay as positive and as focused as we can.”  The news that afternoon host John Williams would give up his WGN gig to focus on his WCCO, Minneapolis show came on the heels of Langmyer’s departure and Hill must deal with the staff’s concern about the future of the station.  Hill is combating chatter on message boards that Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen will attend the meeting to begin preparing the staff for job cuts.  Hill tells Feder, “I don’t know where the message boards come up with this, but that is by no means the case.  I’m sure there are people out there that want to create havoc and confusion and distress amongst current staffers or want to create headlines that aren’t there.  But the memo came from me to our staff. In my conversations with Nils he has said flatly that it’s my meeting and my agenda.”  But Hill does say he’s not eager to have the “interim” removed from his title since a sale of WGN is possible and new owners would want to make those types of management decisions.

Chalk One Up for the CHR Station.  Consultant and brilliant radio idea man Walter Sabo – a resident of Manhattan – tells TALKERS that from the perspective of a person who lives in New York City and whose life was seriously disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, he found the absolute best and most valuable coverage and information provided by any station of any format on either the AM or FM dial during the blackout and aftermath of the storm was – believe it or not – Clear Channel’s CHR outlet, Z100!  Sabo says, “They did a much better job of conveying the real news and helpful information to the listener than any other station – some of which, of course, weren’t even on the air because they weren’t technically prepared for such an emergency.  Z-100 provided blocks of about 20-25 minutes of really important information – the stuff people need to know – followed by a top five song.  Then when the song was over, they went right back into providing the information I needed for me and my family…transportation updates, health concerns, school and road closings, and safety guidance for another 20 minutes or so.  It wasn’t long-winded, superfluous filler, but rather vital facts and stuff people could use.  And then they would play another top five song. This went on throughout the day.”  Sabo states, “It was brilliant – a credit to good radio – and they are to be congratulated.”

Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers.  Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry.  They should consider radio station ownership!  Ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt.  As a matter of speculation, it is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business.  According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and the New Mexico-based brokerage firm MyMediaBroker.com and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers.  She states in an exclusive interview that will be carried in its entirety tomorrow (11/1) in both TALKERS and RadioInfo, “In the large markets, AMs can be purchased for a fraction of the price they sold for five years ago.  I have listings for AMs in top 10 markets that are priced very reasonably, and, one of those sellers will carry some paper.  There are some great groups in medium and small markets that can be purchased at a six-to-seven-times cash flow multiple, and many of those sellers may offer some portion of seller financing.  In my opinion, a first-time buyer should consider looking into small markets where the station or group is the only show in town.  Local businesses will support a local owner first and foremost, especially if the station group is enmeshing itself into the community and schools.  It is a good situation where he operator does not have to deal with the competing stations going for the same local dollar.”  Bergman points out, however, that sales is the key to making it: “The very most important factor in operating a station or group is sales.  Without adequate sales, the owner can very easily miss the loan payment.  Miss the loan payment, you lose the station.  This must be kept in perspective at the very onset of ownership!  A new owner/operator needs to keep operating costs in check and make the loan payment.  It is also important to keep all bills current.  It is not an ideal situation in any marketplace to have a reputation for being behind on bills.  Not good for business.  First-time owners/operators should become entirely involved in the communities they serve, and give on-air time to local clubs/organizations.  Many operators sell sponsorships for public service announcements which is good business.  Broadcasting local high school/university sports is most always a “ticket” to advertising and overall business success in radio.  Combine these items with superb local news coverage, and you’ll have the local advertisers in your pocket.”  Read the entire interview with Sandi Bergman here tomorrow.

Arbitron and Magic Broadcasting Settle Dispute.  Magic Broadcasting, LLC and Magic Broadcasting Alabama Licensing, LLC owned stations in the Dothan, Alabama market before selling them in February of this year.  Previously, Arbitron had taken legal action against Magic for copyright infringement and breach of license agreement.  In a suit filed last November, Arbitron alleged that Magic Broadcasting improperly used proprietary or copyrighted Arbitron materials, information, and data after the expiration of its license agreement with Arbitron. The lawsuit was filed as part of ongoing Arbitron initiative to protect its intellectual property rights.  Now, the two sides agree to settle the complaint for an undisclosed sum.  Magic also agrees not to engage in any activities that would infringe, misappropriate, or breach Arbitron’s intellectual property rights in any of its reports, data or software.  Magic acknowledges that its on-air personalities are not authorized to refer to Arbitron ratings data and agree to refrain from making any unauthorized use of Arbitron’s ratings data in the future.  Arbitron agreed not to pursue legal action against Magic as long as Magic complies with the terms of the settlement agreement.

Hulk Hogan Settles Suit with Radio Host Bubba the Love Sponge.  Pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan and talk radio star Bubba the Love Sponge have reached a settlement over the release of a video of Hogan having sex with Bubba’s then-wife Heather ClemTMZ reports that a settlement has been reached but does not publish the details.  The story states that Hogan is still suing Heather Clem and the gossip sit Gawker for $100 million.  The video is some six years old and shows images of Hogan and Clem having sex in Bubba the Love Sponge’s home.  It was recorded with a security camera unbeknownst to Hogan – making it illegal under Florida law – and how Gawker got a hold of it remains unclear.  However a lawyer for Bubba the Love Sponge says Bubba did not release the video and does not condone the release of it.

Home Improvement Hosts The Carey Brothers Offer Tips to Sandy Victims.  Nationally syndicated home improvement talk hosts James and Morris Carey – hosts of “On the House” – are offering to give advice to radio listeners affected by Hurricane Sandy via stations in the East.  Program general manager Bob Agnew says the Careys can address “the issue of survival without electricity, how deal with issues such as restarting pilot lights for furnaces when power returns, how to salvage areas affected by the flooding, safety tips when going back into their homes and more.”  The Careys are available to stations via ISDN beginning at 8:00 am EST and interested parties should contact producer Kate Wolfson for requests at 877-612-8280 ext. 705 or by email at kate@onthehouse.com.

Industry Mourns the Death of Greg Jessen.  Cumulus Media VP/market manager for Green Bay, WI, Greg Jessen has died after a courageous battle with cancer (10/28).  Funeral services will be held in Green Bay on Friday (11/2) at Malcore West Funeral Home.  A fund has been established by Greg’s radio family in Green Bay, the “Kyle and Andrew Jessen Fund” as a way to honor Greg’s memory and care for his sons.  For information please contact Jeff.Schmidt@cumulus.com

 

Mike & Mike “Gangnam Style.”  ESPN Radio and ESPN 2 morning drive stars Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic dressed up as versions of South Korean pop star Psy for today’s Halloween program.  In addition to merely looking the part, they produced their own version of the internationally popular music video and posted it on ESPN.com.  This screen shot captures Mike & Mike in all their pop video glory!

Sandy Aftermath, Presidential Polls, Campaign Resumes, and Benghazi Attack Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30).  The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; the presidential polls and the resumption of the campaign; and the controversy over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

| October 30, 2012

Greater Media New Jersey Follows Through on Storm Pledge.  The New Jersey cluster of stations owned by Greater Media promised listeners they would be ready when Hurricane Sandy hit the Garden State.  The company issues a morning-after public statement confirming to the public it was there when the residents of the region needed it and that the stations are still working for the region.  “Greater Media New Jersey stations (1450AM WCTC, MAGIC 98.3, WDHA-FM, WMTR-AM, MAGIC 100.1 and WRAT-FM) were prepared in advance with multiple redundancies to assure the public that there would be uninterrupted content delivery. As a result, there was no down time- if power went down- we were ready. In addition, we did not have any equipment issues- we were prepared.  Our programming remains live and local.  We will continue to provide constant updates to listeners and are partnering with local authorities to provide the latest information. In addition, we are also encouraging listeners to call-in updates from the ground.  Our stations have become the gathering point in our communities for immediate information.  We plan on initiating a huge campaign to help the community recover.  However, right now people are still being rescued. We are in immediate mode.”

East Coast Radio Stations Rise to Cover Hurricane Sandy.  With more than 6.5 million people in the Northeast without power at one time or another and Federal Emergency Management Agency director Craig Fugate saying in an interview that people should listen to the radio for local information, stations across the Northeast – especially in the hard-hit coastal cities – stayed on the air with generator power and kept residents up to speed with the progress of the storm.  Stations with a hard-earned reputation for being the source of local news and information had people on board early as the slow-moving storm approached the coast.  At Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington, vice president of programming Jim Farley says even before Hurricane Sandy came ashore, the station’s website WTOP.com logged more than 2 million pageviews on Sunday with 280,000 unique users.  As the storm hit the coast WTOP simulcast its audio on two additional signals – WFED’s 1500 and WWFD 820 in Frederick, Maryland.  Further up the coast at Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7, Providence program director Craig Schwalb says the station aired wall-to-wall coverage on air and online. The website included live audio and video streaming, Twitter feeds with updates from local townships, and an Instagram feed with photos from the impacted Southern New England area. WPRO’s coverage also included a team of full-time reporters canvassing impacted areas and staffing an auxiliary studio at Providence Emergency Management Agency.  Inland at CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford on Monday evening, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy was on the air talking to residents, answering questions about power outages and generally assuring the public that he was there to listen.  In New York City where Lower Manhattan was under several feet of water, Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR remained on the air and, as you can see in the photo here, morning show co-host Joe Bartlett was on the air into the evening putting callers on the air via a cellphone held up to the mic because the station’s phone system was out.  This is but a small sample of the numerous stations that remained on the air and, even as you read this, are continuing to serve their listeners with much-needed news, information and a friendly voice or two.  (The photo in the headline at the top of this page was sent by New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella and shows the storm hitting at Jenks Inlet, New Jersey.)

WFAN, New York to Hit the FM Airwaves on Friday.  New York sports radio fans will hear the nation’s first full-time sports talk outlet in crystal-clear FM for the first time on Friday, November 2 as CBS Radio will begin a simulcast on 101.9 WRXP.  CBS Radio is buying the station from Merlin Media for $75 million in order to give WFAN an FM signal and takes over under an LMA on Friday.  The move puts the market’s two major sports talk operators – WFAN and ESPN O&O WEPN – on the FM band together.  WEPN went on FM in April simulcasting on both bands but separated its AM signal in early September which airs the ESPN Deportes Spanish language sports programming.

KFYI, Phoenix Talk Host Mike Broomhead Wins Local Accolades.  Phoenix Magazine’s “Best of the Valley” issue names KFYI afternoon drive talk host Mike Broomhead “Best Right-Wing Talk Radio Ringmaster” in its most recent poll.  KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “Phoenix Magazine is telling the Valley what we already know, Mike Broomhead is a voice of the ‘every man’ – listeners like him and they can actually have a conversation with him, no matter their political beliefs.”

Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” Produces Annual “Ghost to Ghost” Show.  On Halloween night tomorrow, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory will broadcast his annual special “Ghost to Ghost” edition of the program.  Listeners will be treated to scary guests, ghost stories and a compelling night of open-line callers.  Noory states, “’Ghost to Ghost’ is one of my favorite ‘Coast to Coast AM’ traditions.  I’m excited to talk with our scary guests and share tales of ghostly encounters with our millions of listeners – it’s sure to be a frightening and entertaining Halloween night.”

Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Talk Show Cancelled.  The Warner Brothers-distributed daytime talk show “Anderson Live” will not continue into a third season.  Facing increased competition in the daytime talk show battles, CNN star Anderson Cooper’s program will cease production at the end of this season.  TheWrap.com reports the program will continue to produce episodes through next summer but will not be back in the fall.  Cooper says in a statement, “I am very proud of the work that our terrific staff has put into launching and sustaining our show for two seasons.  I am also grateful to Telepictures for giving me the opportunity, and indebted to viewers, who have responded so positively. I look forward to doing more great shows this season, and though I¹m sorry we won’t be continuing, I have truly enjoyed it.”  Katie Couric, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst are among hosts doing daytime TV talk shows this season.

Bloomquist Media Inks Non-Profit Client Treehouse.  Treehouse is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of foster children across the state of Washington.  Bloomquist Media is signing on to produce a one-hour holiday program for radio and the internet to highlight the powerful personal stories of young people who – despite having entered foster care through no fault of their own – have overcome incredible obstacles to build rewarding lives with the help of Treehouse and its various programs.  The program will be made available to radio stations across Washington State to air over Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Randall Bloomquist says, “We are honored to partner with such an incredibly important and effective organization.  Treehouse has made a difference in the lives of thousands of kids in foster care by helping them reach their full potential and advance towards important life goals while providing childhood experiences that all kids deserve.  We look forward to helping Treehouse do even more good work in Seattle and across the state by tapping the power to radio to spotlight its vital mission and great success.”

ESPN Deportes Debuts Boxing Show.  ESPN Deportes premiered “A Los Golpes” on Monday, October 29.  The program features David Faitelson and Bernardo Osuna with special guest analyst Julio César Chávez Sr.  It’s a 30-minute series produced in Los Angeles – a place ESPN says is home to some of the nation’s largest boxing communities.  The program is designed to capture all the weekend’s action and serve as a post-fight arena filled with expert opinion, debate, analysis and boxing tips.  Viewers will be able to interact with the program by phone and online.

The Truckers Love Daliah!  Pictured below is nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs with the emcee of the recent “Truck Drivers Social Media Convention” in Las Vegas.  Daliah tells TALKERS that her program has a very large trucker fan base via SiriusXM and she was asked to speak about social media at the recent confab.

Monday, October 29, 2012

| October 29, 2012

Radio Stations Across the Northeast Totally Focused on Hurricane Sandy.  Or at least radio stations with a shred of competitiveness, pride, community concern and a modicum of resources are focused on the storm and its impact on their listeners.  Considering how much the consciousness of the radio broadcasting industry has been raised this past couple of years regarding the medium’s role in providing community support during natural disasters coupled with the amount of time the industry has had to prepare for this slow-developing storm, we can expect the next couple of days to be among modern radio’s finest hours. (Image courtesy NOAA)

New Jersey Broadcasters Association to Sandy:  Bring it On!  NJBA president Paul S. Rotella tells TALKERS that New Jersey broadcasters are prepared for the storm stating, “Are we ready? Of course; that’s because we usually stand ready, often prepared for anything—that’s what local radio is all about: being prepared, being nimble, and being informative, with real information our listeners need. It’s amazing how dedicated local broadcasters are, especially in New Jersey where local radio means so much to our state!  We’ve been preparing since Friday. As you know, our great NJ broadcasters have responded to extreme and hazardous weather events magnificently in the past and we expect them to continue this fine tradition of selfless service in the face or Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.”  Read the entire text of Rotella’s statement here.

New Jersey Likely Ground Zero as Sandy Moves Inland; Broadcasters Foundation Steps Up to the Plate.  Slow-moving Hurricane Sandy has already taken more than 60 lives in the Caribbean and it is moving north and is expected to turn west and move inland hitting the coast of New Jersey first as it sweeps up the Eastern Seaboard.  The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has been in communication with stations in the state helping them prepare for coverage of the storm.  NJBA president Paul Rotella relates that the FCC is available “24-7…during the storm to answer calls about service outages, to assist where possible in restoring any lost service, and to issue emergency authorizations for temporary facilities.  As we have written before, the FCC has been helpful in past disasters — seemingly able to bridge bureaucratic barriers that might otherwise delay the restoration of communications services.”  Rotella also alerts broadcasters in the region that the Broadcasters Foundation of America may be of assistance to broadcasters in need.  “Broadcasters Foundation of America president Jim Thompson asked that I reach out to those state associations in the path of Sandy to remind them that the BFoA is there for broadcasters in times of unexpected need, especially broadcasters caught in the crosshairs of the approaching storm, or in its aftermath…As you may recall, the BFoA responded rapidly to the deadly tornadoes across the Midwest last year with $41,000 in emergency grants dispatched almost immediately after the tornadoes hit.  Emergency grants can be used to buy food, clothing and even emergency shelter, especially for broadcasters suffering substantial and even catastrophic loss in the wake of the storm.  Broadcasters (and even association execs) may apply for an emergency one-time $1,000 grant by contacting Jim or his staff.  As you know, Jim’s dedicated team reviews and responds to emergency grant applications quickly and with unmatched compassion.  You and your members can reach Jim at 212-373-8250 or via email: jim@thebfoa.org.”

Orlando Radio Institution Jim Turner to Retire from WDBO.  Jim Turner has been with Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando since it was a music outlet joining the station as afternoon jock in 1972.  He made the transition to morning drive host 12 years later and was chosen by then program director David Bernstein to lead the station as it changed from a music station to a news and information outlet.  Now, 40 years later, Turner will retire from the radio business and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa morning host Joe Kelly will take over the morning role at WDBO.  Kelly will join WDBO on November 19 and will transition into the morning role.  A final broadcast for Turner has not been announced.  WDBO program director Drew Anderssen states, “Jim is a broadcast icon.  He has been revered as one of the premier morning hosts in America for many years, a true professional, and a great man.  We stand by Jim in celebration of his 40 years of community service and dedication to Central Florida as he begins to write a new page in his life.  He will truly be missed as the daily voice of morning news in Orlando radio.”  In Tulsa, program director Levi May begins the search for the replacement of Joe Kelly.  May states, “We are very excited about the opportunity to bring new, outstanding talent to KRMG and further grow our listening audience.  KRMG is dedicated to being Tulsa’s number one station for news, weather, and traffic and we will always remain committed to that pledge.”

Martha Zoller to Return to Radio in 2013.  Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller left her radio show on WXKT, Gainesville this year to run for Congress in the 9th Georgia District.  She lost a close race in the Republican primary and now says she will return to the radio in January of 2013 though she’s not saying where just yet.  In the meantime, Zoller will appear on Talk Radio Network-produced morning program “America’s Morning News” tomorrow morning to discuss the Campaign to Fix the Debt.  Zoller sits on the steering committee for the campaign.

Premiere to Handle Ad Sales for 24/7 Comedy.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s 24/7 Comedy format will have ad sales and national syndicated handled by the company’s Premiere Networks.  24/7 Comedy debuted in 2010 and currently had about 30 affiliates and boasts a library of more than 15,000 comedy bits.  Clear Channel president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott says, “24/7 Comedy provides stations with the unique opportunity to own comedy in their market with an audience engaging format.  Comedy has universal consumer appeal across all forms of media, so we’re excited to deliver this ratings-winning format to more radio stations across the U.S.”

Salem Preparing for LMA of Columbus FM; Conservative Talk Lineup Appears Likely.  The domain 989TheAnswer.com registered to Salem Communications seems to indicate that the company will flip Radio One’s WJKR, Columbus “JackFM” to its conservative news/talk format positioned with its “The Answer” slogan.  Salem, which is purchasing the station from Radio One, will assume operation of the station on Thursday, November 1 under an LMA and it’s expected the slate of Salem Radio Network programs – Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager – will occupy the program schedule.

Start Doing This Right Now on Facebook!  It’s a common belief that Facebook has drastically cut back on how many people see radio’s branded posts, so that broadcasters using the platform have to buy more advertising.  That may well be the case!  However, the Facebook folks are not only concerned about money, they’re also concerned about their version of time spent listening.  They want users to visit more often; and they want them to scroll further down their news feeds than they do now.  They may be limiting how much stuff people see from commercial enterprises, so that it doesn’t crowd out what they see from their friends and family.  In any event, according to radio digital consultant Chris Miller, radio can overcome these obstacles.  So, Miller presents TALKERS readers with the state-of-the-art techniques that will help you get seen more, and engaged with more often.  If you’re doing it right, that will then lead to more on-air and online usage of your radio station, which is the ultimate goal.  To read Chris Miller’s exclusive article, click here.

Comedian Adam Carolla Joins Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel Program.  Comedian, radio host and producer of the one of the most popular podcasts Adam Carolla is becoming part of Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” as a contributor.  Bill O’Reilly – who still maintains a talk radio presence with his Courtside Entertainment-distributed “Talking Points” daily features – already uses comedian and Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller as a contributor.  Miller usually appears on Wednesdays while the Hollywood Reporter states Carolla will likely be a regular part of Monday’s programs.

WQAM’s Dan Sileo Gets TV Shot.  WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo appears on the little screen this weekend when he joins the ACC Network when he appears on the pregame show from Charlotte with hosts Jeff Fischel and Dorsey Levens.  The program hits the air at 11:00 am ET on Saturday.

 

 

Gone to the Dogs.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller is living in a cage at the Canyon County Animal Shelter to promote the shelter’s Mission Pawsible Challenge that involves getting the most pets adopted out to families.  It’s part of the 3rd annual ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.  By saving the most lives in the challenge, the shelter could win up to $100,000 that would go to helping feed, home, and keep all of the animals at the shelter healthy!  Miller is spending the 25th through the 31st of October in the cage you see here while broadcasting his program each morning.  Miller tells the Idaho Press he “would be lost” without his dogs Alabama and Carolina, so doing whatever he could for the shelter seemed right.  “We’ll be here to the final hour, the final minute, the final second, to get as many of these four-legged family members a forever home.”

Interview with Michael Smerconish for mobile devices

Interview with Michael Smerconish for mobile devices

| October 26, 2012

WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish is interviewing President Barack Obama today at 12:00 noon ET for the seventh time and the fourth time since he took office in 2009. He will be given 15 minutes with the president. Today’s interview will be broadcast on the Michael Smerconish program this afternoon at 1:00 pm ET. Getting an interview with the chief executive, even by phone, is a major deal on radio but Smerconish is one of the few radio personalities to have the privilege to do a no-holds-barred discussion with the president about the issues in a rare sit-down session actually in the Oval Office. In an exclusive interview with Smerconish conducted this morning at 9:00 am ET, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the host about his mindset, the state of partisan news/talk radio, and about what goes into preparing for a discussion with the commander-in-chief.

Friday, October 26, 2012

| October 26, 2012

Interviewing the Commander in Chief.  WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish is interviewing President Barack Obama today at 12:00 noon ET for the seventh time and the fourth time since he took office in 2009.  He will be given 15 minutes with the president. Today’s interview will be broadcast on the Michael Smerconish program this afternoon at 1:00 pm ET.  Getting an interview with the chief executive, even by phone, is a major deal on radio but Smerconish is one of the few radio personalities to have the privilege to do a no-holds-barred discussion with the president about the issues in a rare sit-down session actually in the Oval Office.  In an exclusive interview with Smerconish conducted this morning at 9:00 am ET, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the host about his mindset, the state of partisan news/talk radio, and about what goes into preparing for a discussion with the commander-in-chief.  Listen to their conversation here. (If you are on a mobile device – please click here).

To hear Michael Smerconish’s interview with President Obama, click below.

WQXI, Atlanta Promotes Keith Allen to APD.  The Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet announces “Mayhem in the AM” producer Keith Allen is adding the assistant program director duties to his responsibilities.  He’ll continue to produce the morning show.  Program director Bob Richards states, “Keith has produced the biggest brands in the market.  He understands our target demo and is one of the key factors in making ‘Mayhem in the AM’ the top-rated sports talk show in Atlanta over the past year.  Keith’s appointment to this position is one of many exciting changes taking place at ‘790 The Zone.’”  Allen came to WQXI three years ago.  Previously he served as producer at sports talk WBNS, Columbus.

WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts 16th Annual Breast Cancer Special.  This will be the 16th year WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards has hosted the multi award-winning breast cancer special.  It takes place Sunday from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is presented by Walgreens.  WGN states, “The live, three-hour town hall meeting examines where we are in the fight against breast cancer featuring a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.  Special guests include: breast cancer survivor and actress Maura Tierney; Dr. Kathy Albain, medical oncologist, Loyola University Medical Center; Dr. Claudia Perez, assistant professor surgery, surgical oncology, Loyola University Medical Center; Deborah Cornwall, author of the new book, Things I Wish I’d Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out; and LauraJane Hyde, chief executive officer of Gilda’s Club Chicago.

Get Well Wishes to WIBA, Madison’s Mitch Henck.  Morning talk show host Mitch Henck is off the air at Clear Channel’s news/talk WIBA, Madison this week after suffering a mild stroke early Monday morning.  The Wisconsin State Journal reports co-workers held a get-well-Mitch discussion on the radio this week and news director Robin Colbert said, “”He’s in the hospital, but he is recovering and getting stronger and better every day.”  Henck hosts the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on WIBA.

Al Gore’s Current TV on the Block.  The New York Post reports the cable channel owned by former Vice President Al Gore, CEO Joel Hyatt and other private investors is up for sale.  Hyatt tells the Post, “Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company.  This year alone, we have had three inquiries.  As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.”  The story notes Current TV is interviewing investment banks but has yet to launch a formal sales process.  The Post reports ad revenue for 2011 for the cable channel was estimated at $16.9 million.  It is available in approximately 60 million homes.

Dave Ramsey Delivers in Denver.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey recently presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live” event in Denver to a record crowd.  This presentation centers on “how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.”  Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage.  Local stations KLZ, Denver and KRDO, Colorado Springs benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in the region.  KLZ station manager Mike Triem states, “The listeners of ‘560 The Source’ get to learn daily from Dave and they set aside that time each day and week to grow their knowledge about finances and about life.  The ‘Living a Legacy’ event gives our listeners the opportunity to learn from Dave ‘live.’  These listeners will be able to establish a lasting legacy for their children and what their friends and co-workers will ‘take away’ from knowing them.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): KLZ’s Mike Triem, Dave Ramsey, KRDO program director Mike Lewis, and Jon Acuff.

Welcoming the Candidates to Nevada.  KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive talk show host Alan Stock is pictured here with Governor Mitt Romney backstage at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada.  Stock was invited to welcome the crowd for the Romney/Ryan Rally in Henderson where some 8,000 supporters gathered.  KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “It’s always great to have your station and its talk personalities involved in the local community, but to have one be asked to participate in an event of this magnitude, makes me realize the integral role KDWN plays in Las Vegas.”  Stock was elated at the opportunity to welcome the candidates to Nevada, saying, “It was an incredible experience to be part of an historic event like this, to be in the presence of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and to feel the energy of the crowd that came out to support them.”

Odds & Sods.  Drew Belzer exits ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles where he’d been serving as a reporter/anchor and host after nine years with the station…..CBS Radio’s sports talk WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia inks a deal with Villanova University to carry play-by-play of the school’s men’s basketball and football that begins with the 2012-13 basketball season.  Games and special Villanova basketball and football talk shows will air on WIP’s AM 610 signal…..The Washington Post reports CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and Hubbard’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” will share carriage of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards.  Both teams’ games will air on both stations unless there’s a conflict, then the Capitals will air on WJFK and the Wizards will air on WFED…..A1R Psychic Radio earns a “special thanks” credit from the executive producer of NBC/Universal’s “Trisha Goddard Show” for its help contributing to the Halloween edition of the show dealing with psychics and mediums.

Washington Programmer and Personality Bernie McCain Mourned.  Bernie McCain was the first program director of Radio One’s WOL, Washington when it flipped to a talk format.  He also served as a personality on the station.  He came to WOL from crosstown WWRC.  McCain died of kidney failure on October 13 at the age of 75.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish program is added to the schedule at KGY, Seattle…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added to the program schedule at Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando.  Other stations adding Dean include: KLFE, Seattle; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KFAB, Omaha; WELI, New Haven; and WSCC, Charleston, South Carolina…..Dial Global‘s’ “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger is picked up by KJRB, Spokane and KNEZ, Reno…..WGDJ, Albany adds Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage to the program schedule…..Mass Wave Media Group’s “Scott and Tim” overnight talk show featuring Scott Chambers and Tim Sutton is added to the program lineup at WTDR, Talladega, Alabama and WGAD, Gadsden, Alabama…..KIVA, Albuquerque adds the “Out Loud Minute” by talk personality Malcolm Out Loud.

Presidential Race Polls Top Talkers TenTM for Week of October 22-26.  Talk of the numerous polls tallying support for the presidential candidates was the #1 story on news/talk radio this week, according to TALKERS.  The second most-talked-about story was the Benghazi attack controversy.  Coming in third was the aftermath of the presidential debates and at #4 was the Mourdock rape comments.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

| October 25, 2012

Radio in the Northeast Should Be Prepared for a Potential Perfect Storm.  Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days.  This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” – a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs.  This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea.  The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread.  Now is the time to prepare.  Howard B. Price of ABC News urges broadcasters in the Northeast to learn the lessons of two radio group operators, who faced serious operational challenges following the EF-5 tornado that leveled a third of Joplin, MO in May 2011, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, whose impact was felt across the Northeast for days.  To read his timely and informative article click here.

CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports Talker Debuts.  WZGC-FM, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” sprang to life yesterday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET with the PM drive show “Game Time” with Carl Dukes, Kordell Stewart and Rachael Baribeau the first show to hit the air.  The trio talked Georgia sports, national sports and introduced the rest of the air staff to the listening audience.  The station lineup consists of: “Opening Drive” hosted by Rick Kamla, Randy Cross and C.J. Simpson in morning drive; Jerome Jurenovich and Jamie Dukes from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Mac & Jason at Night” with Mac McDonald and Jason Goff from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm; “Overtime” with Jim Murray from 10:00 pm to 2:00 pm; and “The Mitch Evans Experience” from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.  Programming the latest CBS Radio sports talk FM to go on the air is Terry Foxx.

KJRB, Spokane Drops Talk Shows for All-News Programming.  Mapleton’s news/talk KJRB, Spokane, Washington is eliminating most of its talk shows for an all-news approach.  The station drops TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Jerry Doyle and Cox Media’s Neal Boortz for TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network news blocks airing from 3:00 am to 7:00 pm.  The station maintains its local financial program from 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm and the KHQ-TV local news simulcast from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm.  It also continues to air The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner in the evenings and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” program.

Columbus Sports Talker Fired After Inappropriate Tweet.  Dispatch Broadcast Group has fired sports talk host Scott Torgerson about a week after he Tweeted, jokingly, that he wished for the firing or death of ESPN’s Desmond Howard.  Torgerson – former co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” PM drive show on WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” – was initially suspended after the Tweet began to create a firestorm of criticism.  Ironically, the station used Twitter on Wednesday (10/24) to notify its fans that Torgerson was no longer with the company.  As AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder notes in his blog, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit – a former Ohio State quarterback and still beloved personality in Columbus – got involved in denouncing Torgerson’s Tweet and that probably added to the momentum necessary to make Dispatch let Torgerson go.  The fact that WBNS is an ESPN affiliate may or may not have been a contributing factor.  As of now, Mike Ricordati continues to host the PM drive show solo.  This is not the first case of a talent being fired for an insensitive or inappropriate Tweet and it won’t be the last.  Hosts who are hired to push the envelope and also use social media to do so for the purposes of promoting their act and their program have to be careful.  There are certain subjects that must be avoided.  Wishing death, injury or some other personal assault on someone – even as a joke – is likely to get the host in trouble and probably fired.

Larry King’s Third Party Candidate’s Debate Produced by Ora TV.  One way to look at it is that broadcasting legend Larry King’s days of hosting A-List politicians and celebrities for his interviews and debates is over as he has moved to the digital television network Ora TV.  But others might see fledgling internet TV stations as the future and all it will take is a smash internet TV show to capture the public’s interest and the medium will begin to compete seriously with broadcast and cable TV.  Now, Ora TV seems to be shooting for niche programming and Tuesday’s broadcast of King moderating a third party candidate’s debate provided that.  King hosted Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party for a program in which the four largely explained how they differ from the Democratic and Republican party candidates.  The debate was broadcast from the Chicago Hilton Hotel with a live audience.  King explained at the start, “We think all voices should be heard.  I think this is a noble cause.”  CSPAN did air the program on cable TV in the U.S.  Pictured here are Kristina Tobin, chair of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation (l) and Larry King (r).

Karel Joins Huffington Post Live Web Program.  Long Beach, California-based talk host Karel – heard on KGO, San Francisco and in syndication across the country – appeared on the Huffington Post’s half-hour roundtable talk show “HuffPost Live.”  The webcast program is hosted by Huffington Post’s Jacob and Alyona and usually features talent from afar piped in via web video batting around the issues of the day.  Karel is pictured here in his home studio via webcam on the “HuffPost Live” program.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio extends its deal with the NFL’s Chicago Bears to continue airing Bears play-by-play and other Bears-related programming on its Chicago signals.  The games will continue to be heard on all-news WBBM-AM/FM with programming such as “Bears All Access” airing on sports talk WSCR “The Score.”  The terms of the new deal was not announced…..Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to SiriusXM for his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program.  This is the eighth season Krzyzewski has hosted the program on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog channel.  For last night’s season opener, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino were guests…..Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis “FM NewsTalk 97.1” is working with Americans for Prosperity on a promotion to sell gas to 200 lucky listeners for the “pre-Obama Administration” price of $1.84 per gallon.  FM NewsTalk 97.1’s Randy Tobler will broadcast live from the Country Club Car Wash in O’Fallon, Missouri from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday, October 27.

WPRO, Providence Hosts Rhode Island Candidates Debate.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosted the candidates for the 1st Congressional District in Rhode Island for an hour-long, uninterrupted debate.  Pictured here at left is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and, at right, Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in the studios at WPRO.  Not pictured is moderator and WPRO news director Bill Haberman who facilitated the contest.  In addition to airing the debate live on the radio with analysis during the Matt Allen program that followed the debate, WPRO provided a video stream and a live, interactive Tweet chat at 630wpro.com.

Benghazi Terrorism Question, Presidential Race Polls, Debate Aftermath, World Series and Hurricane Sandy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24).  The conflicting reports of who knew the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism and when they knew it; the presidential race polls; analysis of the presidential debates; the Giants-Tigers World Series; and the looming threat to the U.S. from Hurricane Sandy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

| October 24, 2012

Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group forms Podcast Giant Launchpad Digital Media.  Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz (pictured below at left) enters into a partnership with digital, online and podcast sales pioneer Kit Gray (below at right) to form a new division of Courtside Entertainment Group called Launchpad Digital Media.  Courtside states that the podcast platform includes some of the biggest names in digital entertainment including: Adam Carolla, Bill Burr, CBS News, Afterbuzz TV with Maria Menuounos, Jay Mohr, Dr. Drew, Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Mark & Lynda, Brian & Jill, and Penn Jillette.  Launchpad will also be home to the Sideshow Network, The Fake Mustache Network, Riotcast Network, Splitsider Network and the Toad Hop Network making Launchpad one of the industry’s largest players.  Kit Gray will serve as president and COO of Launchpad Digital Media.  In a statement announcing the new company, Pattiz says, “Podcasts represent one of the fastest growing segments of digital media.  Kit Gray has a great track record of success in this important space and brings with him not only knowledge and energy, but the revenue and cash flow to prove it.  He brings Courtside instant access not only for our existing programs but for the development of future programming that will live on the Launchpad platform.”  Gray states, “Forming a partnership with Norm Pattiz, the founder of Westwood One, with his incredible vision and history of working with the top talent is an unbelievable opportunity.  This partnership, as a division of Courtside, allows us to offer all of our existing clients more resources to expand their products and deliver more audience to develop the advertiser support that will benefit us all.”  Speaking about this new effort, Patty Newmark of Newmark Advertising says, “The digital space for audio is growing exponentially and has allowed us to extend additional opportunities to our clients.  Having a highly respected leader of the radio industry like Norm Pattiz form a new venture with Kit Gray, an expert in the area of digital media, is very exciting.  These two innovators working together will create important opportunities within the changing media landscape.”  Courtside notes that Kit Gray has represented programming that exceeds a half-billion podcast downloads annually.  He’s worked with media agencies throughout the nation, served as a division manager for Clear Channel (Katz 360 Digital), was the director of advertising for Verizon’s EV-DO networks Amp’d Mobile and was the recipient of the “Seller of the Year” award for Katz Media Group.

Mel Karmazin to Leave SiriusXM in February.  Just how and when Mel Karmazin was going to leave SiriusXM was really the question – that he was leaving was pretty much a foregone conclusion to most industry watchers.  Now we know Karmazin will exit his CEO role with the satcaster and he will resign from the company’s board of directors on February 1, 2013.  In a public statement, Karmazin says, “SiriusXM is an extraordinary company with an incredible team.  It is an honor to come to work here every day where we truly deliver the best radio on radio.  I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished.  Given where we started, it is amazing that SiriusXM has grown to become the largest radio company in the world.  With a deep bench of corporate talent, a roster that includes the most in-demand on-air personalities and a wide range of exclusive programming, SiriusXM has never been better positioned than it is today.  We continue to grow our subscriber base to record levels and our financial position has never been stronger.  Importantly, the commitment to delivering innovative new products and technologies is very strong.  SiriusXM has a strong foundation to build on for the future and there is a great team in place to keep the company moving forward.  I am confident that SiriusXM’s best years are ahead.”  The press release includes a statement from SiriusXM board chairman Eddy Hartenstein.  He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Mel for his significant contributions to the company.  Under his leadership, the company underwent a transformative merger and a financial restructuring that has enabled SiriusXM to deliver significant value for shareholders.  Our record breaking financial results are a testament to Mel’s leadership and strategic planning and we continue to exceed our expectations with all-time high subscriber numbers.  Thanks to Mel, we are well positioned for long-term growth and value creation.  We will miss Mel – and the board wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.”

More Changes at WGN, Chicago as John Williams to Leave Midday Show.  John Williams will continue with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the end of the year but, beginning in January, he and his family will return to the Minneapolis area and Williams will give his full attention to his afternoon drive show at CBS Radio’s WCCO which he’s been doing from Chicago for some time.  WGN program director Bill White states, “John is a great broadcaster and has been a valued member of the WGN Radio family.  While we are sad to see him go, we are happy for John and his family that they are able to return to Minneapolis, where they lived before moving to Chicago.  We wish him all the best and know that he will continue to shine in his role at WCCO.”  Williams indicates this is a decision he’s been considering for a while.  “I decided some time ago to do just one show – as well as I can – and that one will be at WCCO. Both stations and staffs deserve as much.”  WGN is seeking his replacement and expects to name the new host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program in the coming weeks.

Shamrock Communications Officially Announces Today’s Launch of KNEWS in Reno.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported the debut of one of four new FM signals Shamrock Communications is putting on the air in the Reno market.  The company officially announces the launch of KNEZ-FM “107.3 KNews” today and 13-year radio veteran Sean Patrick is a big part of the station.  Patrick, who is the station’s news director, will also host the PM drive show as well as serve as the voice of Wolf Pack football and the Reno Bighorns.  Director of broadcast operations for the station is Willobee Carlan.  Sean Patrick states that with the ever-changing political climate, people want something new, “There’s too much confrontation on the airwaves and not enough conversation. We will bring a much more level-headed conversational tone to political talk.  Neither side is 100% right nor 100% wrong.  We want you to be a part of the conversation.  KNEWS Reno is ‘The Conversation Station!’”  The station will air Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck in AM drive followed by Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries in the evenings.

Mark Levin-founded Landmark Legal Foundation to Sue EPA.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Mark Levin explained the Landmark Legal Foundation’s intent to sue the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on his program on Monday.  Levin stated the suit centers around new environmental rules set to kick in for which the public has not been given notice.  According to The Examiner, the Landmark Legal Foundation requested the documents through the Freedom of Information Act months ago but the records have not been turned over.  The organization also petitioned the federal court to block administrator of the EPA Lisa Jackson and her agency from issuing any new regulations until the agency releases the documents.

WEEI, Boston Debuts New Baseball Show.  Playing the “hits” in New England on a sports talk station means talking about Red Sox baseball no matter what time of year it is.  To that end, Entercom Boston vice president of programming and operations Jason Wolfe announces a new weekly program hosted by Kirk Minihane and WEEI.com Red Sox insiders Rob Bradford and Alex Speier called “Red Sox Hot Stove.”  The one-hour program debuts tomorrow night and airs from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Thursdays through February 14.  Wolfe says the program will be focused exclusively on the Red Sox and will include regular interviews with Sox GM Ben Cherington as well as many other Sox beat writers and columnists who will provide unique information and insight.  “This is has been a very difficult season for Red Sox fans, but it also means that the off season will be incredibly meaningful.  There will be more Red Sox talk this off season than in any other in recent memory given the needs of the team, and this show will provide listeners with the most up to date information as it happens.”

Nationally Syndicated Host Dr. Ken Kronhaus Featured in AARP/Crest Health Campaign.  As host of the nationally syndicated Stephan Multimedia weekend production “Good Day Health” and frequent contributor to Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” syndicated morning show, Dr. Ken Kronhaus is a well-known voice in health media.  Now, he is working with AARP and Crest on a campaign featuring Dr. Kronhaus that includes custom content provided by him promoting the idea that the mouth is the gateway to your overall health.  Dr. Kronhaus also serves as AARP health-editor-at-large.

Post-Debate Analysis, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Controversy, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23).  Analysis of the candidates’ performance in the final presidential debate; the most recent polls of the presidential campaign, new information indicating the White House knew the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was terrorist related; and the turbulent week of activity in the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

| October 23, 2012

Tom Langmyer Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago After Eight Years.  The vice president and general manager of Tribune’s only radio property – WGN, Chicago – left his position yesterday.  Tom Langmyer didn’t comment specifically to TALKERS about the reason for the move but the change appears to have been WGN’s and not Langmyer’s choice.  Langmyer joined WGN as general manager in March of 2005 after rising from program director to vice president and general manager of CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis.  Now, Langmyer exits after a meeting Monday with Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen.  Langmyer issued the following statement to his staff upon his exit:  “I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the privilege of working with you.  WGN is a very special place, and I’m very lucky to have spent nearly eight years as part of it! . . . Looking forward to new challenges ahead!”   Like many major market radio stations, WGN has been a turbulent place over the past eight years with four program directors during that time and four different morning drive hosts – not to mention the Sam Zell-engineered takeover of Tribune that brought former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels to the helm of the company and the financial trouble that put Tribune into bankruptcy.  Langmyer’s departure comes as Tribune nears a long-awaited exit from bankruptcy.  There is speculation Tribune will attempt to sell some of its properties and the lone radio station in its portfolio may go “on the block.”  As far as management is concerned, director of sales Jeff Hill will serve as general manager in the interim.  You can reach out to Tom Langmyer at tlangmyer@gmail.com.

New Talk Outlet Debuts in Reno.  After eight years of work and a fair amount of resources invested, Shamrock Communications goes live with one of the four FM stations it is building for the Reno, Nevada market.  KNEZ-FM “107.3 K-News” features a mostly syndicated lineup consisting of Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, local talk show host Sean Patrick, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.

Michael Savage Re-Enters National Syndication Tonight.  Following a protracted battle to get out of his contract with Talk Radio Network, talk host Michael Savage signed with Cumulus Media Networks to distribute his program.  The new syndication effort begins tonight as Savage’s live broadcast time moves to 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.

 

America’s Radio News Network Names Lori Lundin Mid-Morning Co-Anchor.  Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network adds news pro Lori Lundin to the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET news block as co-anchor alongside Ernie Brown.  Prior to joining ARN, Lundin was anchoring mornings nationally on Fox News Radio for over four years.  Before that, she was an award-winning reporter on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento.  She received the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association award for her breaking news coverage while reporting for the station.  ARN EVP of news and programming John McCaslin states, “I first heard ARN’s new co-anchor, Lori Lundin when she was anchoring top-of-the-hour and breaking news stories on Fox News Radio.  ARN is extremely fortunate to have somebody of her caliber join the team – a news anchor who possesses a rare, unwavering reputation for accurate, complete, and unbiased reporting.  Lori Lundin is the exception, not the norm, for members of the Washington Press Corps.”

Business Talk WZAB, Miami Host Sentenced in Pot Growing Case.  Edward Woodson, who hosts the 7:00 am to 8:00 am hour on Salem Communications’ business talk WZAB, Miami “880 The Biz,” pleaded guilty to running a marijuana growing operation out of his Miami Shores, Florida home.  The 50-year-old lawyer and real estate investor will serve three years’ probation, one of those under house arrest and pay some $25,000 in fines.  Woodson brokers the morning drive hour for his program and is not an employee of Salem Communications, but a client.

7 Talk Radio Takeaways from Presidential Debate.  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how what is shaping up to be a very close presidential contest – not to mention some hotly contested congressional races – should be played for the “tight game” it is.  Holland says, “Smart talk stations promoted debate coverage by reminding that, “IF YOU’LL BE IN THE CAR TONIGHT…”  Certainly anyone with the choice would have watched rather than listened.  And going forward, it continues to make sense to approach campaign coverage as car radio.  Assume that you’re sharing attention.”  See more of Holland Cooke’s 7 takeaways here.

Calling in the Experts.  Talk host Michael Castner (r) is pictured here with intelligence expert Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer (l) during Shaffer’s visit to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s studios.  Shaffer appeared on “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” to discuss the controversial Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

 

 

Compass Media Networks Announces College Hoops Schedule.  Beginning with the December 6 Vanderbilt vs. Xavier matchup and running through the March 9 Duke vs. UNC game, Compass Media Networks is offering 15 regular season men’s college basketball games this season.  The network also has exclusive radio coverage of the Big Ten Conference tournament.  Compass says it has an exclusive, multi-year agreement with Learfield Sports – one of the country’s largest broadcast rights holders with colleges and that the deal enables it to pick from among the best games to broadcast (using Compass’ own unique production and broadcast crew); “virtually all basketball games Compass is broadcasting feature top-ranked teams and compelling matchups.”  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann states, “Kudos to our team for selecting such incredible games.  From the opening tip to the culmination of our coverage in March as the Big Ten Tournament returns to Chicago, this will be a great season.”  See the entire Compass college basketball schedule here.

ESPN’s Dan Shulman Re-Ups.  The voice of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” will continue with the sports media giant after agreeing to a multi-year deal.  In addition to Dan Shulman’s role on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Shulman will continue with his play-by-play work for men’s college basketball as well as his ESPN Radio duties calling the post-season games and the World Series.  Regarding the 2012 NSSA Sportscaster of the Year, ESPN SVP and executive producer Jed Drake states, “Dan’s one of the most talented and versatile play-by-play commentators in our industry.  Dan’s voice has become unmistakable, his storytelling ability is top notch and his penchant for making his colleagues better is an incredible asset to ESPN and to sports fans.”  Shulman (r) is pictured here with ESPN’s Doris Burke (l) and Dick Vitale (c).

The Final Presidential Debate, the Latest Poll Numbers, the Continuing Investigation into the Benghazi Attack, Anita Dunn ‘Conflict Issue’ and Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Medals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22).  The buildup to the final presidential debate before the November 2 election; the latest poll numbers concerning the presidential race; the ongoing investigation of the Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans; former Obama Administration communications director Anita Dunn’s controversial status handling PR for firms lobbying the White House; and Lance Armstrong’s being stripped of his seven Tour de France medals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 22, 2012

| October 22, 2012

TALKERS TV EXCLUSIVE:  KFI/KTLK Program Director Robin Bertolucci Receives “Woman of the Year” Award at New Media Seminar in Los Angeles.  In what was one of the many highlights of a power-packed day at the recent TALKERS New Media Seminar in Los Angeles last Thursday (10/11), KFI/KTLK program director Robin Bertolucci received the prestigious “Woman of the Year” award.  The award was presented to the popular and highly-accomplished programmer by last year’s recipient, syndicated talk star Stephanie Miller.  The official name of the award, which has a tradition going back to the late 1990s, is “The Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman.”  It was named in honor of the late Judy Jarvis, an independent talk show host and pioneer in the remarkable growth of syndicated talk radio in the nineties, who succumbed to cancer at the peak of her career.  The exclusive video recording of the entire ceremony including Miller’s hilarious (and raunchy) presentation and Bertolucci’s humble and thoughtful acceptance speech can be seen now in the TALKERS TV box at the top of the column on the right side of this page.

CBS Sports Radio Network Names John Feinstein Late Morning Host.  Best-selling author and well-known sports talk media personality John Feinstein will be the host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daypart on CBS Sports Radio Network’s national sports talk format beginning January 2, 2013.  CBS Radio describes Feinstein’s show as “commentary on the world of sports from the man who has covered most of the major – and many of the not-so-major – events in the world of sports during his more than 30 years as a sportswriter.  The show will be heard on over 50 stations nationwide, including many in major markets.  In addition to his role as host, Feinstein will continue to contribute his personalized musings on the world of sports to the hourly ‘CBS Sports Minute’ feature heard on CBS Sports Radio stations.”  Feinstein is author of such best-sellers as A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled.  He also writes for the Washington Post, Golf Digest and Golf World.  He has been co-hosting a regular sports talk program with Bruce Murray called “Beyond the Brink” on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Radio since March of this year.  CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz, says, “John is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of and passion for all aspects of sports.  As a best-selling sports author and journalist, he has relationships with, and an open line to, some of the most fascinating names in sports.  John has a way with words, a trademark sense of humor and never is shy to offer an opinion, which will engage listeners and translate on the radio.”  Feinstein joins Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall as part of the format’s lineup.

KTLK, Los Angeles Host David Cruz Joins in LULAC Anniversary.  The nation’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for Hispanics – the League of United Latin American Citizens – celebrated its 25th anniversary in Hollister, California on Saturday, October 20 recognizing a quarter century of service in the Northern California county of San Benito.  Clear Channel Los Angeles talk host David Cruz, who hosts the PM drive program on KTLK, Los Angeles and a Sunday evening program on sister news/talk KFI, helped the organization celebrate.  Cruz has been twice honored as a recipient of the LULAC Outstanding Achievement in Media Award.  He states, “LULAC stands alone as the strongest voice for Hispanic civil rights in America today and I am honored to once again help acknowledge the hard work and dedication of its members who work daily to ensure the American dream is alive and well for all in our country.”

Start Spreading a Virus – in a Positive Way.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke asks if you are a “sneezer.”  That is, someone who spreads ideas.  He takes this concept from author Seth Godin and relates it to radio.  Being an idea spreader is a good thing and Cooke says, similarly, there are numerous ways to build your “tribe” through the internet.  He suggests four simple ways to get your message out to the many in your audience without making them feel diminished.  Read his piece here.

Not All Web Hits Are Created Equal.  Getting people who love your radio brand to also love your website should be the primary goal of a programmer.  Consultant Chris Miller says he sees too many radio brand websites that feature content on the front page that is not something the station P1s are going to get excited about.  On the other side, he applauds Bonneville’s recent move to give journalist and KIRO-FM, Seattle morning news anchor Linda Thomas a new position that commits her skills as a news person and writer to the company’s digital destination.  Miller states, “Linda’s a quality journalist and a solid radio pro.  This is a dramatic move, but not just because of the digital commitment.  This is also about integrating content across platforms in a way that listeners expect; but that a lot of us in radio simply don’t get yet.”  Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.

Tom Leykis Helps Nab Mail Thief.  Yes, you read that correctly, talk show host and digital media entrepreneur Tom Leykis was instrumental in police apprehending a suspected mail thief.  But the story gets even better – he did it with the help of “Adam 12” actor Kent McCord!  According to CBSLA.com, Leykis noticed a man who appeared to be stealing mail from one of his Hollywood Hills neighbors.  He quickly shot video of the suspect with his phone camera and sent it to his Neighborhood Watch Group which happens to be headed by – you guessed it – Kent McCord.  The “Adam 12” actor blasted the photos to neighbors and the suspect was apprehended about a half mile from where Leykis saw him.  On catching the suspect, Leykis is quoted by CBSLA.com, “So when there’s crime…who do I contact?  I contact Kent McCord. It was so cool.”

Jim Bleikamp Puts News and Information Station on in Brunswick, Maine.  The new news and information outlet is James Bleikamp-owned WCME, Brunswick, Maine and it being called Radio 9 WCME – referencing its 900 AM frequency.  Bleikamp tells TALKERS, “There are three key words in our programming plans at WCME – local, local and local.  In an era in which many radio stations air nationally syndicated programs, WCME will focus all of its energies on the Midcoast.  If it’s an event or a news story going on down the street, you’ll be hearing about it on WCME.  If a weather emergency develops on the Midcoast, we’ll cover it live from start to finish.  If a dog or cat is missing, we’re not too busy to mention it on the air.”  Bleikamp says the programming will be announced as it develops but the station will air “Midcoast Morning Buzz” in morning drive, a show he calls “a daily full-service morning show.  It’s a unique form of radio available nowhere else on the Midcoast.”

Live from the Swing State Road Show.  Pictured here are Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning hosts Mary Katharine Ham (c) and Brian Wilson (r) along with Cumulus Media Networks’ nationally syndicated talk host Mark Levin (l).  The trio was broadcasting live from the swing state of Virginia as part of WMAL’s “Swing State Road Show” in which the “Mornings on the Mall” program visited and broadcast from numerous diners throughout Virginia during the month of October.  Mark Levin’s program airs in the evenings on WMAL.

Friday, October 19, 2012

| October 19, 2012

Library of American Broadcasting Presents 10th Annual Giants of Broadcasting Awards.  George Beasley and Erica Farber Among Radio People Honored.  The President of the United States, the former Governor of Massachusetts, and a slew of luminous personalities from the world of politics attending the Al Smith Dinner last night at the Waldorf-Astoria were not the only “giants” to grace the premises of the East Side Manhattan landmark yesterday.  The national Library of American Broadcasting presented its 10th Annual Giants of Broadcasting honors, at a ceremony and luncheon yesterday (10/18) at the iconic hotel.  The event, attended by prominent members of the broadcasting, media and corporate communities, was positioned as “celebrating extraordinary leadership or performance in television and radio.”  The honorees join 140 “Giants of Broadcasting” who have been honored by the Library since 2003.  Bill Baker, president emeritus of WNET, New York and himself a Giant of Broadcasting, served as master of ceremonies.  Among the 10 honorees, radio was represented by George Beasley, chairman, CEO and founder of Beasley Broadcast Group and Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau.  Both presented upbeat but extremely humble acceptance speeches praising the other honorees and articulating optimistic pictures of radio’s vitality and future.  Other inductees included Ted Turner, Norman Lear, Andy Rooney, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, Dinah Shore, Sir Howard Stringer and Don Cornelius.  The Library of American Broadcasting (LAB) — located at the University of Maryland — is entering its 41st year serving as a major national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Their collection of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive. LAB is evolving from a conventional library into a “homepage” for the world at large, reaching thousands simultaneously through the Internet. Industry outreach includes lectures, symposia, print and the broadcast media themselves.  LAB’s chair is Virginia Hubbard Morris, president of Hubbard Radio. The president/CEO is Donald West, veteran broadcast journalist and former assistant to the president of CBS Inc. The dean of libraries at the University of Maryland is Patricia Steele, and the curator is Chuck Howell.

New England Talk Pro Steve Kass to PM Drive on WSAR, Fall River, Massachusetts.  Veteran talk radio host Steve Kass begins new duties as host of the PM drive show on SNE Broadcasting’s WSAR, Fall River, Massachusetts on October 29.  The move reunited Kass with programmer Paul Giammarco who serves as general manager at WSAR.  Kass and Giammarco worked together at Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence.  Kass also worked at Clear Channel’s WHJJ, Providence.  He states, “Coming back to WSAR is like returning home after being away for 32 years.  WSAR provided me with my first opportunity to be a radio talk show host.  What a year to start a new adventure in talk radio: Prop 2 ½, the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran, Governor Reagan, John Anderson, and State Rep. Andy Card, are but a few of the events and guests that occurred in 1979.  I have no doubt 2012 and beyond will be even more stimulating as we face so many challenges going forward.  Best of all being reunited with Barry Richard and Paul Giammarco, two certified broadcasting pro’s provide the icing on the cake.  Let the games begin.”

Jon Meterparel Leaves WEEI, Boston AM Show to Focus on Play-by-Play Career.  Longtime morning sports news anchor Jon Meterparel exits the John Dennis and Gerry Callahan morning show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and the WEEI regional network.  Meterparel has been the voice of Boston College football and basketball broadcasts for several seasons and said during his farewell to listeners that doing play-by-play has always been his primary career goal so he leaves WEEI to pursue that interest.

Talk Radio and the Presidential Debate: From a Radio Consultant’s Perspective.  Leading radio consultant Holland Cooke analyzes the most recent presidential debate from a media perspective and explains why the debates, coverage of the them by news/talk stations, and the aftermath of these contests are good for talk media.  Read Holland Cooke’s quick 10-point analysis here.

 

Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries Features “A-List” Guests in New Time Slot.  The nationally syndicated Rusty Humphries program began the week in its new time slot – 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET – and syndicator TRN is pumping up the program’s content with high-profile guests.  Featured this week were: former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; rocker Ted Nugent; Senator Rand Paul (R-KY); Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL); Ann Coulter; Jon Sununu; actor Kevin Sorbo about his book, “True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal”; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; U.S. Representative Allen West; Chuck Yeager; actor David Spade; Dick Morris; political pollster Frank Luntz; and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza.

ESPN Radio Preps for Exclusive MLB World Series Coverage.  The Major League Baseball fall classic will be heard exclusively on ESPN Radio and the sports giant is pulling out all the stops on production of the broadcasts.  ESPN says, in addition to the play-by-play provided by Dan Schulman and Orel Hershiser, the “Baseball Tonight” crew will also be broadcasting prior to and after each World Series Game.  In the photo at left, the “Baseball Tonight” set is on the scene at Opening Day at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles this past April.  Pictured are (from l-r): Karl Ravech, John Kruk and Barry Larkin.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles will host a live edition of the “KNX Business Hour” on at 8:00 am on November 16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center titled, “Secrets to Investing in Today’s World: Where to Put Your Money Now.”  KNX is staging this event to provide individuals with an overview of the economic outlook with regard to stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, precious metals, savings and retirement accounts.  KNX’s Frank Mottek will emcee and moderate and guests will include: Beacon Economics founding partner Christopher Thornberg; PIMCO executive vice president Tony Crescenzi; California Association of Realtors chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young; founder and president of Wedbush Securities Ed Wedbush; and TrendMax owner and portfolio manager Zachary Oxman…..TuneIn and London-based talkSPORT enter into an agreement for the former to carry all 380 Barclays Premiere League soccer matches in English, Spanish and Mandarin on its global internet service.  TuneIn will also air key FA Cup matches…..ESPN Audio and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association announce the two have signed a deal to have ESPN serve as the exclusive radio home of the AT&T Cotton Bowl for the next two years.  The Cotton Bowl matches the Big 12 against the Southeastern Conference and will be played on January 4, 2013 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

Steve Forbes Visits Idaho.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (left) poses for a shot with Forbes Media chairman and editor-in-chief Steve Forbes.  The business media leader was in Boise for an appearance at the Idaho center speaking about the U.S. and global economies.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the lineup at WERC-AM/FM Birmingham; KIDO, Boise; WZAN, Portland; KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California; WWNR-AM/FM, Beckley, West Virginia; and WXDE,  Lewes, Delaware…..CRN Digital Talk Radio’s Barry Farber show is added to the program schedule at WYPV, Petoskey, Michigan.

Presidential Debate Top Talk Topic for Week of October 15-19.  The second presidential debate was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the election poll numbers.  At #3 was the Benghazi attack investigation and following at #4 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio around the country and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See the entire chart here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

| October 18, 2012

Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin.  Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.”  Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution.  Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history.  The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power.  This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.”  Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so.  Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program.  In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin;  WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin.  With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.

Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins.  To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program.  Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins.  AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming.  As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place.  If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown.  NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming.  However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations.  Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.

Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns.  With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program.  Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22.  DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks.  He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed.  Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan.  I hope I get to work with him again one day.”  DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”

Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22.  Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin.  Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented.  He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’  He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.”  Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council.  Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.

WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet.  RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.”  It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.

Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters.  The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota.  The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region.  The building was purchased for $1.4 million.

Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition.  This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development.  Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast CompanyTina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013.  Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.  Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.”  Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place.  “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not.  We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it.  We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents.  This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever.  It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”

Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17).  Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

| October 17, 2012

Creating Content Available Nowhere Else at Bonneville Seattle.  News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle and parent company Bonneville announce a changing role for “Seattle’s Morning News” anchor Linda Thomas that puts the radio personality and journalist in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space MyNorthwest.com.  Bonneville says Thomas will “devote 100% of her time and energy to original enterprise reporting for radio and digital channels in a groundbreaking new role announced today by KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com.  As senior features reporter at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com, her role is to meet intriguing people and tell their stories.  In her role as digital journalist, Linda will continue her award-winning blog and file original reports to MyNorthwest.com covering topics from parenting and politics to technology and trends.”

During numerous presentations at industry gatherings, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has stated that what radio must do to survive this convergence of media and the changes in consumer behavior it is fostering, is to create content that is only available in one place – your radio station.  KIRO’s move combines this notion with the concept of a “media station” – a digital destination for unique multi-media content.  Bonneville’s radio and digital news director Peter Gammell says, “Original local reporting is what fuels KIRO Radio’s conversations and drives our users to visit MyNorthwest.com.  Linda has a proven ear for the compelling story, and she’s one of our most prolific reporters.  This role frees her to focus on what only she can do.”

Thomas relishes her opportunity to pursue her journalistic endeavors.  “I believe everybody has a story, and I want to know what’s yours.  I meet so many people whose stories have value, and someone hearing or reading them is going to have their life changed by their bravery and originality.”  Program director Larry Gifford states, “I’ve always been impressed with the compassion in Linda’s reporting.  She finds real, interesting people in the community, has a personal conversation with them and shares what she’s learned.  I can’t wait to hear who she introduces me to next.”

Thomas will continue her popular “News Chick” efforts.  Tweeting and posting on social media as “The News Chick,” Thomas is among the most-followed local journalists in the U.S., according to Bonneville.  The company says she promises her social media followers on Twitter @thenewschick and Facebook will continue to be fed her customary stream of sharable gems.  “The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.”  In addition to her longer-form radio and online feature reporting, social media are where she will continue sharing viral videos, photos, links to eye-catching stories from Seattle to Hollywood and around the world — along with Thomas’ famed fascination with her boots.

Cumulus Media Inks Agreement to Buy New York Market FM.  Pending approval from the FCC, Cumulus Media will have a third New York City station after closing on Family Stations, Inc.’s WFME, Newark, New Jersey.  Cumulus states in a press release that it will announce format plans for the Class B FM at 94.7 upon closing and expects that to happen sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.  Crain’s New York Business cites an industry insider saying Cumulus got WFME for a bargain: $40 million. Family Stations has undergone changes during the past year and is said to be cash-strapped after Family Stations chief Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions on the date of Christ’s reappearance last year failed on two occasions.  CEO Lew Dickey says, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.”  Of course, although Cumulus is remaining vague about the specifics of its programming intentions with the new acquisition, industry observers are actively speculating as to what might be in store for the Big Apple’s soon-to-be competitive commercial FM.  For years, through several ownerships, WABC program directors have privately confessed that they wished talk-formatted WABC had a NYC FM outlet for its programming.  But the fact that its only sister FM, hot AC WPLJ (95.5) has been such a consistent ratings and revenue success put up a roadblock to that happening easily.  Now with the New York talk market in flux per Clear Channel‘s soon-to-be-completed takeover of WOR and Cumulus launching new high-profile syndicated talk shows such as Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, and with the end of their contracts with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows looming – it makes sense that they would be looking for a new Gotham outlet for their considerably valuable talk properties.  Of course, this is just speculation.

Tavis Smiley Takes on WBEZ, Chicago in Open Letter After Public Station Cancels Weekend “Smiley & West” Program.  Talk media personality Tavis Smiley wrote an open letter to Chicago Public Media president and CEO Torey Malatia after the station cancelled his weekend program “Smiley & West,” co-hosted by Princeton professor Cornel West.  In the letter, Smiley reacts to his work being called “less than inclusive” and being compared to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but Malatia in response to WBEZ cancelling his program.  Read the entire letter here.

KTTH, Seattle Announces New Schedule; Names David Boze AM Drive Host.  Beginning in January, Seattle talk radio personality David Boze will have a new role with the Bonneville talk station.  Boze currently does a one-hour program at 3:00 pm on KTTH that serves as a local hour between Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity on the station.  In January, Boze will host the three-hour morning drive show and bumps Premiere’s Glenn Beck from the AM drive slot on the station.  Bonneville Seattle program director Larry Gifford states, “David is a stand-up guy with a traditional Northwest sensibility.  He’s someone you’d want as a neighbor – who happens to host a great radio show.  He always leaves me better informed and mentally energized.”  Boze, who began his talk radio career as a producer for Peter Weissbach at KVI in 1999, has been with KTTH for 10 years.  He says, “I try to live my life with the same traditional values as my listeners do; decency, liberty, hard work, and doing what’s right.  I want to create a friendly gathering place where people can digest the news and we can talk about important stories that other media misinterpret or miss altogether.”

Talk Radio’s Unique Sales Advantage.  H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz says the unique place talk radio occupies in the stew of formats is that it is a foreground format that brings a better value to its advertisers.  This is not a new concept but Herskovitz writes that talk sales staffers can be very creative in taking advantage of this in bringing new categories of advertisers to the format.  “It would be hard to believe that the Rolls Royce manufacturer or even the local Rolls dealer would want to buy a spot in that Sunday 5:30 am auto show,” Herskovitz states.  “But an Atlanta station saleswoman I know did sell that very program to a salvage yard in her market coupled with a weekday spot package and a handful of promos.  Now that’s creative salesmanship!”  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire piece here.

WHNZ, Tampa to Add Sports Talk from Fox Sports Radio.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHNZ, Tampa – currently airing a combination of brokered local shows and syndicated news/talk fare, begins adding Fox Sports Radio content to the station beginning with the overnight “J.T. the Brick” program airing from 1:00 am to 5:00 am.  In 2013, the station plans to add FSRN’s “Petros & Money” and “Fox Sports Tonight” programs to the lineup.  Program director Steve Versnick states, “We are excited to launch the powerful brand of Fox Sports Radio on WHNZ in Tampa Bay.  This adds star power to the station for us.”

Fox Sports Radio Changes “Loose Cannons” Lineup; Vic “The Brick” Jacobs to KLAC Duties.  The trio of Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – known as the “Loose Cannons” on Fox Sports Radio Network – will continue with just O’Brien and Hartman as Jacobs has been re-assigned to the sports news updates role at flagship KLAC, Los Angeles.  He’ll also serve as a reporter covering Lakers basketball.

Second Presidential Debate, Libya Attack Investigation, Malala Yousufzai Case, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  The second presidential debate from Hofstra University on Long Island; the ongoing investigation and controversy over the attack on the Banghazi consulate; the case of Pakistani wounded teen Malala Yousufzai; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

| October 16, 2012

Norm Pattiz Delivers Straight Talk About Talk Industry at TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles.  Presenting the keynote speech at last Thursday’s TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz told the crowd that packed the Steve Allen Theatre that Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke controversy has been a serious blow to the nationally syndicated talk radio business.  He said that although the hype in the consumer media has died down, people on the streets trying to sell “controversial” talk radio at the national level are finding it harder than ever and he fears the national talk syndication model may be permanently harmed.  He also commented on the current structure of major broadcasting companies burdened with a high debt load that hampers programming.  Pattiz said the days of two stations battling creatively in a market are almost gone because the corporations are singularly concerned with reducing their debt load and are not able to focus their energies on building and supporting programming and personalities with which they can compete in the advertising wars.  See Pattiz’ speech from the New Media Seminar in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.

WCCO, Minneapolis to Partner with Countertop Manufacturer for Street-Level Display and Studios.  According to a piece in the St. Paul Business Journal, CBS Radio’s news/talk WCCO and quartz countertop manufacturer Cambria are planning a showroom on the Second Ave. street-level space in the building that houses WCCO and CBS Radio’s other stations.  The story notes the retail space has been vacant since 2008.  A spokesperson for Cambria says the details of the partnership between CBS and Cambria will be made public over the next 90 days but it’s expected the space will have a slab gallery and could also contain a highly visible street-level broadcast studio.

Cleveland Browns Radio Rights Up for Grabs.  Crain’s Cleveland Business is reporting that the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, whose contract with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM and rock/talk WMMS expires after this season, are opening up the radio rights for play-by-play for bids.  Crain’s says “all signs are pointing to Clear Channel” retaining those rights, but it appears any serious bids from competitors may raise the price of the club’s radio broadcasts.  CBS Radio may be interested in adding a sports play-by-play franchise for its year-old sports WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”  The two companies were recently involved in bidding for Cleveland Indians play-by-play with Clear Channel coming out on top and winning a five-year renewal deal to keep the games on WTAM.

TRN’s Rusty Humphries Wraps “Obama’s Failing Agenda Tour.”  Nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries, seen here boarding a private jet, was part of the Americans for Prosperity-sponsored “Obama’s Failing Agenda” tour through several swing states this fall.  Humphries was part of the bus tour through Ohio and Florida and he says of his time on the tour, “I always welcome the opportunity to get out of the studio and talk one-on-one with the people in America to see exactly what they are feeling.  I could not have picked a better way to prepare for this new time slot, than by spending a few days listening to people’s frustrations about what is going on in our country and how they want real change.”  Humphries is referring to his new Eastern Time PM drive air time on Talk Radio Network.

Global Security Systems and iBiquity Digital Team Up for Comprehensive EAS Messages.  The system is currently installed and operational on two Greater Media HD Radio stations in the Detroit market where chief engineer Mike Kernen (pictured here in the Greater Media Detroit studios) says, “The combination of HD Radio Technology and capabilities provided by GSS offers the most complete alert and warning content in the broadcast radio environment.”  Global Security Systems, LLC (GSS) — the systems integrator and service provider of GSSNet, ALERT FM and Alert Studio — and iBiquity Digital Corporation, the developer of FM and AM HD Radio Technology and Active Radio, have teamed up to deliver this comprehensive Emergency Alert System (EAS) that provides emergency audio and text content over analog FM and HD Radio System.  The system is Common Alert Protocol (CAP) — compatible and Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) — compliant.  In addition, multi-channel HD Radio technology empowers emergency officials to potentially broadcast different languages using different channels during a crisis.  iBiquity Digital president and CEO Bob Struble states, “It’s particularly gratifying to know that by providing  expanded alerting capabilities of HD Radio System through our relationship with GSS, we are part of a comprehensive radio broadcasting solution that may save lives in local communities across the country.”

Tuesday’s Second Presidential Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Taliban-Wounded Pakistani Teen Case, and Freefall from Space Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15).  Tonight’s second presidential debate; the trends in the presidential race polls; the case of the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for advocating for education for women; and Felix Baumgartner’s freefall from 24  miles above the Earth’s surface were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 15, 2012

| October 15, 2012

Praise Pours In for Los Angeles Talk Conference Video Coverage to Come.  It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood this past Thursday (10/11).  Approximately 50 speakers — including Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin LaRue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012.  This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into east and west coast segments.  The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.  The event has drawn praise from numerous attendees including the following quotes:

“Everybody’s talking about what a great day it was!”

Norm Pattiz, CEO Courtside Entertainment

“A very interesting day of conversation and revelation from a whole lot of people.”

Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind

“I was glad I attended.”

Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media

“It struck the perfect balance of schmooze and panel-news and talk!”

Patt Morrison, KPCC, Los Angeles

“Thanks very much for putting on a great event.”

Jerry Doyle, TRN

“ It was well worth the trip from England.”

Graham Mack, BBC, Wiltshire

“An awesome day. It was superb. Can’t wait till the next one.”

Eric Stanger, VP Operations, Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks

“It was great and you know I will be there next time around.”

Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas

“A hell of a show!  Outta da park!”

Dr. Gina Loudon, Host, PolitiChicks

“What a great time I had. The event was a total success.”

Shadoe Stevens, Host, MentalRadio, SiriusXM

“Great Event !”

Steve Lehman, Business Rock Stars

“It was a memorable occasion!”

Sam Hasson, CEO, LATalkRadio.com

TALKERS magazine will provide extensive video coverage of the event including including panels, special presentations and additional interviews conducted on site beginning tomorrow.  The photo above is of the “Big Picture” panel featuring (from l-r): Don Martin, Ron Hartenbaum, Phil Boyce, Kraig Kitchin, Mike McVay, Harvey Nagler and moderator Michael Harrison.  View a gallery of more photos from the TALKERS New Media Los Angeles here.

Syndicated Talker Lars Larson Say Companies Need to Put Money Back into Programming.  In an exclusive audio interview conducted by consultant Holland Cooke at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, talk show host Lars Larson says that the most important thing he and all talk show hosts need is to have additional resources to bolster the sound and quality of their on-air product.  The successful host heard in Portland, Oregon on KXL and nationally via Compass Media Networks says, “If you take care of your listeners they will take care of you, ratings-wise.”  Larson also discusses the tenets of what he describes as “talk journalism,” positioning what he does as “information and opinion built from today’s news — solid information, no insanity.”  Listen to the complete conversation here.

Journal Broadcast Group Announces “RightWisconsin” Digital Initiative.  With WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes taking a leadership role in the new venture, Journal Broadcast Group announces it will soon debut a new blog dedicated to conservative political thought called RightWisconsin.  According to a story by Duane Dudek in the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes describes the effort as a “digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines here.”  Sykes says the blog will have a full-time staff and “multiple platforms including mobile tablet and social media applications.”  It also promises commentary from around the state, as Sykes says, “key stories that other media won’t cover.”  In the story, Sykes is quoted saying, “We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station.  In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure.”  Media Matters called the new venture a “small-scale version” of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital media effort.  Journal VP of radio and television Steve Wexler says of Sykes and WTMJ, “One of the reasons we are successful is because of the many things we are able to do…that have nothing to do with politics.  The talk shows in the middle of the day are right of center, because that’s where the demand is…I am agnostic as a broadcaster about politics.  I look for where there is a demand, and the demand in talk radio is for a more conservative point of view.”  There is no start date announced for RightWisconsin but already, the company reports interest from the community based on early reports of the project.

Townsquare Media Flips WENJ-AM, Atlantic City to Talk.  The Atlantic City market gets a news/talk outlet as Townsquare Media’s WENJ-AM, drops its simulcast of FM sister 97.3 ESPN South Jersey.  According to the Press of Atlantic City, the station will feature regional media personality Harry Hurley in morning drive followed by a slate of syndicated programs that include: Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; John Batchelor from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” for overnights.  The station will also return to its roots by taking back its original call letters WPG.  Hurley tells the paper, “The idea is that we are going to have a healthy blend of live and local that people enjoy and some of the biggest names in the country…Glenn Beck is not in this market. Sean Hannity is not in this market.  People are going to notice…We just love the idea of going back and reclaiming the heritage of WPG – for a new generation.”  The station plans to add more local programming between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Fires Up Florida Campaign Effort.  Conservative talk show host Michael Berry is responsible for a call-to-action for conservative-minded people who want to spend time in Florida helping those who support Mitt Romney for president get out and vote.  Berry states, “I just threw the idea out there, and listeners across the country responded with an overwhelming willingness to do it.  I was half kidding, because the logistics of such a trip are a nightmare.  But we brought in 50 listeners to volunteer to coordinate this, and what they’ve done is nothing short of amazing.”  The leadership created a website within a couple of days — www.WinFlorida2012.org.  Since Berry’s flagship station KTRH is in Houston, the group will caravan from there beginning on October 28 and arrive in Pensacola, Florida that night.  They will spend the week driving vans to assist locals in voting for Romney during early voting.  One KTRH listener, Kyle Coplen, was tapped by Berry to be a vice chairman for the committee, but he was unable to pay his own expenses.  With a pregnant wife, and a new business cleaning swimming pools, he wasn’t able to spare the $1,000 from his family’s finances for the trip.  Berry offered to pay his expenses for him, but he decided instead to use this as a “teachable moment” and earn the funds through hard work.  Coplen says, “I just made a simple flyer, saying ‘Will Work for Romney,’ which I thought was catchy.  I put the flyer on the doors of houses that had Romney signs in the yards.”  Requests for his work came pouring in, mostly by people impressed by his work ethic and unique need for money.  He says he turned down every offer of a donation, explaining that he wanted to earn his way there, “just as we need to earn our way out of our nation’s problems.”  Michael Berry states, “The stories of people like Kyle amaze me.  There are plenty more.  People want to make this country great.  They refuse to lose this election.  It’s truly inspiring.”

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Debate Viewing Parties.  On the heels of a successful debate viewing party at the Philly sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, WPHT morning host Chris Stigall is taking it one step further for tomorrow’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.  WPHT listeners and political debate fans will converge upon the Xfinity Live entertainment district in the sports complex area of Philadelphia (where the Wells Fargo Center, Citizen’s Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field are located) to watch the debate on a 32-foot, high definition screen.  Stigall and WPHT hosted the previous party at Chickie’s & Pete’s (Stigall is pictured here speaking to KTW-TV from the event) and said it was fun watching presidential debates as you’d watch Sunday afternoon football – complete with bartenders, free appetizers, prizes, and of course wall to wall TVs with the sound blaring.  Stigall says the Xfinity Live center is designed for concertgoers and sports fans to gather pre- and post-event and is hopeful for a big, raucous turnout tomorrow night.

Tom Leykis Shows Off Impressive September Online Numbers.  No, Tom Leykis won’t actually be playing the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California as the press release teases – but the number of people who sampled the show during three weeks in September – 115,684 – is enough to practically fill the iconic football stadium.  Leykis began employing Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which measures unique ip addresses, on September 8.  Leykis states, “It’s great to have accreditation for what we are doing.  Everyone else who does a show on the net brags about having hundreds of thousands of listeners, but they never put their money where their mouth is.”  Leykis, who spoke about his web-based radio program at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in Los Angeles last Thursday (stay tuned for more from that event, including coverage of Leykis’ participation), began his new show on April 2 after a 37-month hiatus from radio.  He says, “I figure at the rate we are going, we should have over 175,000 unique people listening to our show every month.  Again, these will be accurate and honest numbers, not some random Arbitron sample.”

Beasley Talk Hosts Honored by Street Name; Raise Funds for Military Families.  WRXK, Ft. Myers, Florida talk hosts Stan and Haney had the street leading to the Beasley Broadcasting facility in Southwest Florida named after them.  More than 200 loyal fans of the program turned out to christen “Stan and Haney Boulevard” and share in live music, food and celebration. The duo turned the event into a worthy cause as proceeds from the sale of “Stan and Haney Blvd.” t-shirts raised $2,100 for the Stan and Haney D.R.A.F.T. Fund.  Stan says, “Haney and I started the DRAFT Fund nearly nine years ago along with Captain John Lazzaro (USNR).  Thanks to our listeners and the Southwest Florida community we have distributed nearly $40,000 in assistance to local troops and their families.”  The duo are pictured here drinking champagne and announcing the unveiling of the new street sign.

Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas takes home some awards from the Electronic Media Awards held in conjunction with the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation.  KDWN morning host Alan Stock is recognized with the “Best Radio Talk Show Host” honor and KDWN program director John Shaffer picks up the “Program Director of the Year” honor as well as the “Best Morning Newscast” award…..SiriusXM broadcast live from New York Comic Con 2012 this weekend.  The broadcasts included celebrity interviews, exclusive panels hosted by SiriusXM hosts and fan reactions from the floor – inviting listeners and fans nationwide inside the biggest comics and pop culture convention on the East Coast…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” broadcast an interesting program over the weekend on Saturday hosted by John B. Wells that included four of the most influential musicians from the dawn of rock and roll.  Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, Leslie West of Mountain, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull spoke with Wells discussing living through the heyday of rock and what it was like being at the forefront of a musical movement that is still significant today.

Live from South Bend, Indiana.  ESPN Radio’s nationally syndicated morning team Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg broadcast their program from the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Friday, October 12.  Golic played football at Notre Dame serving as captain of the team during his senior year.  His sons Jake and Mike, Jr. currently play for the Fighting Irish and his daughter Sydney is a freshman on the swim team.  The duo broadcast in advance of Saturday’s contest between Notre Dame and Stanford from which ESPN’s “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” also emanated.  In the photo, Golic and Greenberg are holding a pair of swim trunks – a gift from Golic’s daughter Sydney’s swim coach.

Friday, October 12, 2012

| October 12, 2012

New Media Seminar Draws 275 in Los Angeles.  It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood yesterday.  Approximately 50 speakers — including the likes of Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin Larue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012.  This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into East and West coast segments.  The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.

“Those who do not adapt will be swallowed up.”  That was the admonishment of Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz in his Thursday morning keynote.  Consistently sounding a no-nonsense tone, Pattiz assured attendees that this is a very serious time.  Along those lines, Pattiz even mentioned that his comments that kicked off the enthusiastically well-received event would not be going for laughs.  Touching on a variety of bullet points, the former Westwood One honcho commented that, despite the fact audience size is unchanged, there is dwindling support for conservative talk radio from national advertisers.  “There were no 400-pound gorillas,” when Pattiz began in the radio syndication business.  Missing good old-fashioned radio wars, he noted that people “banged heads in a good-natured way.”  Importance of the product was heavily stressed by Pattiz, who emphasized that he “did not get in the business because of money – I’m a content guy.”  The idea of giving anything away for nothing “is ridiculous,” he remarked.  Despite cautioning the audience that his keynote would be straightforward, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ #1 fan could not resist lightening the mood on several occasions when, including when he stated, “You should not sleep well knowing that I am the chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security.”

A star-studded panel looked at the big picture of spoken-word radio, with CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler stating, “We are not in the radio business – we are in the content business.”  Content, however, must be memorable and compelling.  Provided that personalities “do not break their promises to listeners,” it is the opinion of Sound Mind CEO Kraig Kitchin that they will “continue to sell their books.”  Demos are not what Phil Boyce seeks.  “I chase ears,” commented Salem Communications‘ vice president/director, spoken word formats, who added, “People on the left want to kill talk radio.”  One of the key buzzwords, according to Fox Sports Radio vice president/programming Don Martin, is “bundle.”  The operations manager of Los Angeles’ KLAC commented that, from a branding standpoint, it is much wiser to use handles such as “Fox Sports Radio – LA,” or “ESPN Radio 710,” rather than, “The Zone,” or “The Ticket.”

The New Normal president/host Tom Leykis was among the “Modern Day Pioneer” panelists.  The popular talk host isn’t a fan of having television cameras in a radio studio.  The concept of viewing a radio show on television, is – in Leykis’ estimation” very similar to “watching socks dry.” Esteemed programmer and “Mental Radio” host Shadoe Stevens added, “It takes away the theater of the mind.”  Virtually everyone thought Mike Horn “was crazy” when the chief executive officer of CRN Digital Talk set forth the concept of providing audio channels to cable TV providers.  Next year, his company will celebrate its 30th birthday.  “You must have great programming and a way to promote it,” Horn remarked.

Look for extensive coverage of this historic radio gathering in the coming days and weeks in TALKERS and RadioInfo including video coverage and bonus interviews.

Competition in the Network Sports Talk Field Breeding War of Words.  A story in the New York Post illustrates the intense competition the arrival of two new major players (CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio) in the sports talk radio network business is having.  Reporting what the industry has known for some time – that the Cumulus distribution partnership with the new CBS Sports Radio Network will mean 47 new affiliates for CBS and would mean some affiliation cancellations for ESPN Radio – the two sides engaged in a little competitive posturing in the Post story.  Saying it will have about 100 affiliate stations when it debuts in January and positioning itself as the “most-listened-to sports radio network in the top 50 markets,” CBS is playing up its assets – namely O&Os in major and large markets.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason tells the Post, “ESPN affiliates are in small markets.  Maybe you find that adds up to a lot of audience.  Don’t forget that CBS Radio owns most of the top 10 sports stations in the US, and with Cumulus that’s formidable.  ESPN has had the market much to themselves, we’re the new entry and we think we put together formidable talent.”  ESPN Radio SVP of production and business Traug Keller responds, “This has no material effect on us.  There’s only three or four [Cumulus] stations in the top 50.”  He also tells the paper ESPN is already finding new affiliates in markets where current agreements are being terminated, including Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama.

Barclays Capital Analyst Downgrades U.S. Advertising Growth Forecast.  The ad industry as a whole will not grow as much over the next year and a half as previously predicted states Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente.  In a report issued yesterday, DiClemente stated he believes ad growth across all sectors will be just 4% this year compared to his original prediction of 4.6%.  For 2013, DiClemente says he believes ad revenue will rise just 1.9% compared to his previous 2.3% forecast.  He did not specifically report on projections for radio.  He did, however, give a positive outlook for News Corp. performance.

WSCR, Chicago’s Jason Goff to Take Night Host Position at CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talker.  Rounding out the lineup of CBS Radio’s WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” is Jason Goff, who will become the host of the evening show when the station debuts on October 24.  The lineup for the new sports talker was announced earlier this week with the exception of the evening slot.  Now, “The Score” fill-in host, writer, producer and reporter will move south for his own nightly talk show.  Goff has been with WSCR for the past 12 years and program director Mitch Rosen is obviously thrilled for Goff telling Chicago Radio and Media, “What a great story Jason Goff is.  From a caller in high school to an intern to a full-time producer/fill-in host, and now to a top market like Atlanta to be a full-time host!  This is a Hollywood story in progress, Jason will excel and I could not be more proud.”

Looking Into the Digital Crystal Ball.  Saga Communications made the news this past Wednesday when they anointed their program directors as “brand managers.”  Saga’s EVP Steve Goldstein, issued a memo that you read here in TALKERS.  It read, in part, “We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand.  And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of program directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.”  In today’s TALKERS, leading digital radio consultant Chris Miller writes about what this move actually will mean to the managers involved.  Looking into his digital crystal ball he predicts that before too long, brand managers will be judged on how much time people are spending with their entire brand.  Not just their broadcasts, but all the platforms that they manage.  He says that we will move into the era of the “new ratings” in which every click is trackable – no estimates – and stations will own the data without having to buy it from a third party (uh, oh Arbitron).  He also points out that this new era will open the door to new competition and an increased concentration on niches.  Fasten your seat belts because this is one fast ride!  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

Doug Hess Exits WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia.  News director and morning drive co-host Doug Hess is leaving Clear Channel’s news/talk WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia after 21 years doing local news in the market.  According to the News-Sentinel, Hess will take a position as communications and outreach coordinator with The ARC of the Mid-Ohio Valley.  Hess tells the paper he’ll miss the news business he’s been a part of for so many years.  “People depend on you to get this information out to them in a timely manner.  It is an important job and it has been a privilege to do it.”

Beasley Broadcasting Adds FM Signals to Southwest Florida’s 770 ESPN Radio.  WWCN, Ft. Myers gets some FM signal boost to help it cover Lee and Collier counties.  Beasley Broadcasting announces the ESPN Radio affiliate can now be heard on 98.1 FM in South Ft. Myers and Estero; 101.5 FM in Bonita Springs and North Naples; and 105.1 FM in Naples and Marco Island.  VP/market manager Brad Beasley states, “This is a big deal for Southwest Florida sports enthusiasts.  For the past 12 years, the only way to hear sports in our community has been on the AM dial.  Now our loyal listeners can also follow their favorite teams and events at multiple locations on the FM dial…and that’s awesome!”

Vice Presidential Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 8-12.  The anticipation of the vice presidential candidate’s debate and the post-debate discussion was the top news/talk story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the questioning of the facts presented by the Obama administration about the attack in Banghazi.  At #3 was the presidential race poll numbers followed by the aftermath of the first presidential debate at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

| October 11, 2012

Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Today.  Talk media practitioners from all over the country are gathering in Los Angeles today for the West Coast installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7).  The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller.  More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants.  Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote.  KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel will also deliver a solo presentation.  Some of the panel discussions to take place  include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more.  There will be more than 50 speakers and approximately 250 attendees at this event. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA takes placed today from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.  Check out the full agenda here.  Look for coverage of the event in both RadioInfo and TALKERS in the days ahead.

CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talk Announces Lineup and Start Date.  WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” will debut on October 24 and feature the following personalities in addition to Carl Dukes, whom we already reported is moving to Atlanta from Houston where he worked at Gow Communications’ KFNC.  Morning drive will be hosted by well-known TV NFL analyst and 49ers great Randy Cross, NBA-TV personality Rick Kamla, and former crosstown WBTS “95.5 The Beat” host C.J. Simpson.  The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot will feature former CNN Headline Sports, Fox Sports Radio and Atlanta Braves and Hawks analyst Jerome Jurenovich paired with former Atlanta Falcon and NFL Network personality Jaime Dukes.  Joining Carl Dukes on the afternoon drive show will be Rachel Baribeau, most recently with Cox Media’s WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart.  The evening show is yet to be announced but TALKERS hears other personalities to be part of the station in either analysis or fill-roles include NBA analyst Bob Neal, former NBA star Dennis Scott, former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, two-sport player with the Braves and Falcons Brian Jordan, and former Atlanta Falcon Ovie Mughelli.

Doug Stephan Syndicated Morning Show Reaches Quarter Century Milestone.  This month, Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day,” arguably the second longest running syndicated talk radio show in the country, begins its 25th year on the air.  Stephan and his crew will be celebrating this major milestone with an ongoing schedule of fun, games and trivia.  Every day for the next year, the show will feature clips offering a retrospective of the top news stories, songs, movies and TV shows from the past 25 years.  The celebration culminates in October of 2013 with contests that will be coordinated with “Good Day” affiliates enabling listeners from around the country to win trips and other assorted prizes. The show will also be highlighting other companies and organizations celebrating their 25th anniversary along with “Good Day.”  “‘Good Day’ is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago,” Stephan tells TALKERS, adding “The show’s success and longevity is a testament to our ability to keep it fresh and fun while keeping our audience informed.”

WLS-AM, Chicago’s Don Wade Preparing to Undergo Chemo and Radiation.  From the Windy City, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive host Don Wade – after a successful operation to remove a growth from his brain will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment soon.  His agent, Eliot Ephriam, says the course is not indicative of any bad news but simply the next step in the procedure for the 71-year-old talk personality.  In a statement, Wade says, “I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do to beat this thing.  Nothing has altered my most positive and optimistic attitude.  When they say jump, I say: ‘How high?’”  Meanwhile, Wade’s wife and radio partner Roma, thanks the many who’ve sent well-wishes.  “The outpouring of caring from thousands of you, our radio family, has filled our hearts and our home, our coffee table piled high and overflowing with love.  Your letters, cards, emails, messages, flowers and, most important, prayers lift our spirits every single day.  Thank you.”

Clear Channel Sacramento Knocked Off Air by Software Glitch.  The cluster-wide loss of transmitting signal that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento stations experienced yesterday were caused by a software malfunction, according to coverage in the Sacramento Bee.  President and market manager Dave Milner tells the paper the cluster recently moved into new studios that have a state-of-the-art software system that went down on Wednesday morning around 7:00 and lasted until engineers could repair the problem around 9:00 am.  Milner says the office received a lot of calls from people wondering what happened to their radio stations.  “It’s never fun to go through something like this but it makes you aware of how much people rely on you.”  The company operates news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE, classic hits KHLX, urban contemporary KHYL, and adults hits KQKJ.

Odds & Sods.  Journal Broadcast Group announces its “2012 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative” – a campaign that commits each of its television news operations and radio news/talk formatted stations to significant election coverage in the 30 days leading up to the November 6, 2012 general election.  News/talk stations taking part include: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee; KTTS-AM and KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KQTH-FM, Tucson; KFAQ-AM, Tulsa; KFDI-AM and KLIO-FM, Wichita…..Mark Mueller exits Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh where he’s served as the midday news/anchor and reporter since 2009.

Correction!  Yesterday TALKERS published the news that the FCC has approved Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  In the piece we wrote that WOR was New York’s oldest station, having gone on the air in February of 1922.  WGY, Albany program director Josh Everett writes to correct the record, stating that WGY-AM went on the air on February 20, 1922 – two days prior to WOR-AM signing on February 22, 1922.  Even though we were referencing WOR as New York City’s first station – we want to give credit where credit is due.  But wait! Former Citadel Wilkes-Barre chief engineer Phil Galasso writes to tell us we’re both wrong and that WABC – which first went on the air as WJZ – was first out of the gate on October 7, 1921 from the Westinghouse plant near Lackawanna Station in Newark, New Jersey.  He says WJZ changed its call letters to WABC on March 1, 1953.

Famous Dodgers Join “What’s Cookin’?” Broadcast.  CRN Digital Talk Radio’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” program recently broadcast from The Ranch restaurant in Anaheim and had some very special guests on the show.  Pictured here in the back row are: Former Dodger pitcher Charlie Hough, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” host and master sommelier Michael Jordan, third base coach and former Dodger All-Star Tim Wallach.  Seated at the table are Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” co-host Mike Horn.

Obama Confesses ‘Bad Night’ at Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, and Sandusky Sentencing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10).  The Analysis of the first presidential debate and President Obama’s admission he had a ‘bad night’; the latest presidential race polls; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

| October 10, 2012

Michael Savage Tells San Francisco Chronicle His Return to Radio is Imminent.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage (who won his freedom from TRN in arbitration recently) plans to be back on the radio within two weeks.  Savage tells the paper, “I’ve got to get back before these (presidential) debates are over.  And when I do, it will be bigger than ever.”  Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, says Savage is in negotiations with three “major players” but wouldn’t say which ones or what station might serve as a flagship.

President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Show this Morning. This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election.  In the opinion of the TALKERS editors, the President made several powerful news making comments.  To read a key excerpt from this exclusive interview, click here.

Programmer Marshall Adams Exits All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  Before joining the Cumulus Atlanta all-newser early this year, Marshall Adams served as program director at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  Now, the word is Adams has exited the fledgling all-news operations.  There’s no word from Cumulus who will take over the programming role at WYAY.

Mancow Show in Pre-Recorded Mode During Move to New Studios.  The Chicago-based and TRN-FM nationally syndicated Mancow program is airing taped shows this week as the program prepares to launch in its TV-radio simulcast format on October 22, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  Mancow’s show will emanate from the studios of Fox TV-owned WPWR-TV, Chicago with the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours being simulcast on TV.  Also, Feder reports that former “Ebert & Roeper” program executive producer Don Dupree has been hired as director and produce of the Mancow show.  Mancow’s program had been produced at Cumulus Media’s Chicago studios.

The Future of PDs: Brand Managers.  Perhaps the headline of this story should read the “present” of program directors as an increasing number of companies are adopting the title “brand manager” to describe the role of the radio station/group position historically known as “program director.”  With the likes of so highly respected and forward thinking a company as Saga Communications joining the ranks of those using this more expansive title RadioInfo recognizes the movement is shifting from trend status to a significant paradigm shift.  The concept is articulated by Saga Communications executive vice president Steve Goldstein in the following memo received by the company’s program directors in all formats, talk and music:

I have some very important and exciting news…

We truly live in a multi-platform world.  As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms.  Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day.  This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand.

And of course, all of this is on top of creating vital and compelling on-air radio with all of the moving parts of morning shows, music, talk programming, news, sports, etc.

So, we’ve been thinking a lot about how vastly different the job of the Program Director is in 2012 and where it is likely to go in the coming years.

We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand.  And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.

When you drill it all down, what it really means is that the PD is no longer just a PROGRAM DIRECTOR, but a multi-platform BRAND MANAGER.

And so with the notion that things will continue to evolve, we are making a formal title change for all of our PDs from Program Director to Brand Manager.    This change is intended to not only reflect how people in our business think about the position of PD but how PD’s think about themselves.

Managing the assets of a brand is what you do today, and we think this new title better reflects the change in responsibility and overall outlook.

We discussed this during our recent General Manager meeting in Florida and it met with tremendous approval.

Congratulations BRAND MANAGER.

Saga Communications owns and operates more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 markets.

ESPN Confirms Central Florida Affiliates.  ESPN Radio remains on the Central Florida markets of Orlando – on Cox Media’s WDBO-AM beginning November 12 – and in Tampa Bay on Clear Channel’s WDAE.  The moves come after Genesis Communications elected not to renew its affiliation with ESPN radio on WBHO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  As we reported yesterday, Cox Media is flipping the AM side of WDBO-AM/FM to sports as “ESPN 580 Orlando” and will carry the ESPN Radio lineup including Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, and SVP & Russillo.  WDBO has not announced a local PM drive talent as this time.  ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions Traug Keller says, “We’re pleased to team with Cox to broadcast ESPN Radio content on WDBO-AM 580, one of the strongest signals in the Southeast, and with Clear Channel to provide ESPN programming on 620 WDAE.  Our new affiliates in both Tampa and Orlando are a huge step up in signal strength, business acumen and our drive to grow our business with the best in the business.”

Tom Bauerle Re-Ups with Entercom’s WBEN, Buffalo.  Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle is becoming synonymous with talk radio in the market as the Buffalo native signs a long-term contract extension to remain with WBEN hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bauerle has been with WBEN since 2002.  He started his career in the market at Entercom sister WGR in 1982.  We worked for a few years outside the market at WTKN, Tampa-St. Pete and KMOX, St. Louis before returning to Buffalo in 1991.

XEPRS, San Diego “ESPN Radio 1700” Renews with ESPN for Three Years.  San Diego sports outlet ESPN Radio 1700 announces it strikes a deal with ESPN Radio to continue airing its programming in the market for another three years.  XEPRS is owned by Broadcasting Company of the Americas and carries Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Hill & Schlereth, overnight and weekend programming as well as MLB and college sports play-by-play. Broadcasting Company of the Americas VP/market manager Norman Feuer states, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with ESPN Radio.  As San Diego’s sports leader, it’s only fitting to have a strong bond with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports.’  Programming the quality of ESPN Radio deserves a home in San Diego. We are proud to have our stations as that home.”

WSSP, Milwaukee Adds Ted Davis to PM Drive Show.  Ted Davis has served as the voice of Milwaukee Bucks basketball for the past 15 seasons.  Now, he adds a regular role at Entercom’s sports talk WSSP “Sportsradio 1250” where he’ll be part of “The Big Show” afternoon program with Steve “Sparky” Fifer, Ramie Makhlouf and Gary Ellerson.  Program director Tom Parker says Davis will begin during the basketball season adding hoops analysis.  “Ted will weigh in on the day’s top Wisconsin sports stories.  Of course he’ll share his unique perspective on Milwaukee basketball.  Ted is a sports talk pro who knows what fans want and will tell it like it is.”

Odds & Sods.  Entercom promotes WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and WEEI-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts general manager David Oldread to director of sales and operations for the Worcester, Springfield and WVEI-FM Providence outlets for the Boston-based WEEI sports talk brand…..SiriusXM will broadcast a special “town hall” broadcast with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell live from SiriusXM studios on October 22.  NFL great Michael Strahan (also co-host of ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” and analyst on “Fox NFL Sunday” ) will interview Goodell and the commissioner will take questions from the live studio audience…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia donates $5,000 to Michael Vick’s Team Vick Foundation.  Vick says, “The city of Philadelphia embraced me, welcomed me here when the Eagles signed me – giving me a second chance to play the game that I love.  We at Team Vick Foundation are thankful to CBS Radio for supporting our work in the community and look forward to lasting partnership.”…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will air abbreviated editions of its “Sports Night” program to carry the two remaining presidential debates as well as the vice-presidential debate.  The VP debate is Thursday, October 11 and the two presidential debates are on October 16 and 22.

KDKA, Pittsburgh Hosts Marcellus Shale Expo.  The possibility of large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale is a major ongoing story for Western Pennsylvania and CBS Radio’s KDKA is hosting a Marcellus Shale Expo on Thursday, October 11.  The event is sponsored by Range Resources, a developer of natural gas extraction technology.  The day’s events will include panel discussions hosted by KDKA’s Mike Pintek and Robert Mangino and will include representatives: Frank Brooks Robinson, Jr., of the Governor’s Action Team; Petra Mitchell from Catalyst Connection and Rep. Jim Christiana from Beaver County.  Afternoon session panelists include Alan Eichler of District Oil & Gas Operations; Rep. Marc Gergely from Allegheny County and John Ubinger from PA Environmental Council.  Matt Pitzarella from Range Resources will serve on both panels.  Mike Pintek will broadcast his program on site from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Hearst Television President David Barrett to Receive Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2013 Golden Mike Award.  Awarded annually to a broadcasting executive who has championed the BFoA’s mission, the 2013 Golden Mike Award will be given to Hearst Television president and CEO David Barrett at a gala black-tie fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 25.  Broadcasters Foundation of American chairman Philip J. Lombardo states, “David has been a vigorous champion of the Foundation’s mission to help broadcasters who are in desperate need.  David’s exemplary leadership at Hearst, his commitment to the Foundation’s charitable cause, and his dedication to community service have earned him this acknowledgement.  We are proud to honor him.”

Newt Talks Politics with Alan Stock.  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and recent presidential candidate) poses for a photo with KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock at the Beasley news/talk station’s studios.  Gingrich appeared on Stock’s program to talk about the presidential race and took calls from listeners.

Presidential Race Polls, Obama ‘Big Bird’ Ad Controversy, Romney Foreign Policy Speech, and Jerry Sandusky Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9).  New polling data showing Mitt Romney gaining on or pulling ahead of President Obama; the controversy of the use of the Children’s Television Workshop’s Big Bird in an Obama ad; Mitt Romney’s recent foreign policy speech; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

| October 10, 2012

Merlin Sells WRXP, New York 101.9 to CBS Radio; Signal to Become WFAN-FM.  Not too long after the rumors of Merlin Media stations being put on the block by private equity backer GTCR, CBS Radio announces it has purchased WRXP, New York – currently operating as alternative “New Rock 101.9” – for $75 million.  The signal will become the FM signal for sports talk WFAN later in the fall when CBS assumes control under an LMA.  CBS will also change the call letters to WFAN-FM.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason says, “This is an extremely exciting opportunity to expand our radio presence in the nation’s largest market.  Sports is a very popular format and a huge growth category for our business.  As a result of this new asset, we look forward to ‘The Fan’ building on its position as the leading sports radio franchise in the country.”  In a memo to staffers, Merlin Media chief Randy Michaels says the inroads the rock format is making on WRXP are impressive but the need to reduce the company’s debt forced his hand in the sale.  Michaels also beseeches his staffers at the Philadelphia and Chicago properties to continue focusing on the job at hand, appearing to imply those stations are not for sale.  However, it’s unknown if those stations are off the block or not.  Last week, we reported rumors of CBS’ interest in both the New York signal (which turned out to be true) and the Philadelphia FM (ostensibly as a boost for all-news KYW).  About a dozen staffers work in the New York Merlin offices servicing the Philly station’s news and traffic operations and will remain there for at least the next 30 days.  Besides giving WFAN an FM signal, CBS hasn’t stated publicly what it will do with the 660 AM signal but it’s a safe bet that with the debut of CBS Sports Radio Network after the first of the year, WFAN-AM will carry the network programming and other New York sports play-by-play including remaining the flagship for New York Mets baseball.  CBS has the rights to New York Yankees baseball for WCBS-AM through next season.

Talk Radio Network Moves Rusty Humphries to PM Drive in Eastern Time.  With TRN’s Jerry Doyle being aired live by the network in the slot formerly occupied by Michael Savage, the company moves Rusty Humphries to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET live slot beginning Monday, October 15.  TRN states, “The 8th largest syndicated talk show in America replaces what was the 6th largest show, and in so doing, stations will get a highly entertaining, powerful and  proven show that they can sell locally with pride – a show that will also bring massive audience, with a host that will ‘superserve’ his affiliate’s needs.”  TRN CEO Mark Masters says, “Rusty Humphries is a critical part of the future of talk radio, he is a proven performer of extraordinary ability.  He is a master storyteller who balances humor with hardship, while never crossing the line.  He knows this is about business.”  TRN promotes Humphries’ expertise on foreign policy and military affairs with an “A-list” of contacts.  Humphries says of his new time slot, “Even though I will be live in afternoon drive, Monday through Friday 15 hours a week, when news breaks, something important happens or any other occurrences that will require my presence live in the re-feed slot at night, I will be happy to jump in there as well and do a second shift – I will not let any of my affiliates down.”

The “Talk Rumble” Is on Talkers TV.  As talk radio pros from around the country prepare to descend upon Los Angeles for the October 11 edition of the TALKERS New Media Seminar at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, the editors of Talkers.com are providing a glimpse back to the New York edition of the New Media Seminar that took place on June 7 of this year.  The video now appearing on Talkers TV is of the “Talk Rumble” featuring talk personalities batting around the hot issues of the day.  Taking part in this panel were: WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano; Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes; Talk Radio NetworksRusty Humphries; Compass Media NetworksTodd Schnitt; WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann; Ian Freeman of “Free Talk Live”; WOLB, Baltimore’s Larry Young; Premiere NetworksAndy Dean; and WWRL, New York’s Mark Riley.  See the video in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.

WDBO-FM, Orlando Officially Announces Programming Changes; AM 580 to Become Sports Talk.  With Clark Howard being bumped out of middays on Cox Media’s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – Howard’s longtime flagship – the new home base for Howard will be Cox’s WDBO with his return to live in middays.  As we reported last week, after being moved out of the midday slot into evenings earlier this year to accommodate the Mel Robbins program, Howard’s show now returns to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.  WDBO program director Drew Anderssen says, “All of our daytime programming will now be live, not tape delayed, allowing Central Floridians the opportunity to call in and hear perspective and information on breaking news as it happens.”  Following Jim Turner’s “Central Florida’s Morning News” program is Neal Boortz from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Mel Robbins from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; Howard; Premiere’s Sean Hannity from 3:00pm to 6:00 pm; “Central Florida’s Evening News” with Scott Anez from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  As for the AM 580 signal WDBO had broadcast on for all these years, it appears Cox has struck a deal with ESPN Radio to put sports talk on the AM signal.  Genesis Communications’ WHOO recently gave up its affiliation with the sports giant and that clears the way for ESPN to continue in the Orlando market on WDBO-AM.

Dan Patrick Celebrates 5th Anniversary with Fox Sports Radio Network.  Sports talk icon Dan Patrick celebrates his fifth anniversary of his sports talk radio show with Fox Sports Radio Network.  The DirecTV-produced program is available to DirecTV’s subscribers and the radio program has some 270 affiliates.  Premiere Networks SVP of programming Don Martin states, “We are very excited to share in this celebration with Dan.  The Dan Patrick Show is an integral part of the Fox Sports Radio lineup and we are proud to congratulate him on this special milestone.  We look forward to another five great years!”  Pictured here is Dan Patrick high-fiving his commemorative cake.

CRN Digital Talk Seeks Co-Host for “LA LA Land” Show.  Here’s an interesting gig for a Southern California radio person: CRN Digital Talk Radio is actively seek the next co-host for its for its hit show biz series, “LA LA Land,” for work alongside Brett Chapin.  The program airs live on Saturdays from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm PT and features “actors, filmmakers, musicians and many talented artists who help make Los Angeles the entertainment capital of the world.  The show also features some timely advice and perspective on the entertainment industry for all budding artists and those already in the know.”  Co-host Brett Chapin states, “Over the last two years we’ve been lucky enough to have two amazing co-hosts who have found a way to connect with our viewers in very specific ways.  We’re looking for a co-host who can connect with our listeners and viewers in similar fashion.  One of the most important things we’re looking for in a co-host is honesty.  The hosts that I respect the most are the ones who can be genuine and honest with their audience.  This is key.”  Prospective co-hosts may submit their video demos by e-mail to lalalandtalk@gmail.com. All entries must be received by Oct. 19 to be considered. Five finalists will be selected to co-host shows from Oct. 24 to Nov. 16. Viewers will be asked to vote on the finalists and the winner will be announced on the air on Nov. 24.  For more details go to www.CRNTalk.com/LALALand  or go to www.facebook.com/lalalandtalk.

Odds & Sods.  KYNO, Fresno drops the news/talk format and goes sports using ESPN content and branded 940 ESPN Radio…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway begins his “2012 Simon Conway Show College Tour.”  Conway took his show on the road last week, broadcasting from Iowa State University.  Today he broadcasts his program from Drake University.  “We’ll have College Republicans and Democrats around the table and a live audience.  Not only are these students our future leaders, they are also the future audience of talk radio, which is why we have chosen to engage them at their schools.”…..TALKERS hears nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs – whose program is based out of Las Vegas and distributed by Genesis Communications Network – will be seen on Showtime’s “Giglio’s” this month.  Next year she appears on an episode of History Channel’s “Pawn Stars.”…..This Thursday, Ronna Romney, Governor Mitt Romney’s former sister-in-law (who is also a former talk show host and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate) will co-host host “Michigan’s Big Show” starring Michael Patrick Shiels.  The syndicated morning radio and TV show originates from the AT&T storefront studio at Grand Traverse Pie Company in Downtown Lansing and airs on radio stations across Michigan and on Fox 47 TV in Lansing.  Shiels says, “Ronna was always bright and positive when she hosted her radio show.  Political talk radio could use more people with her demeanor and attitude.”…..The Orlando Magic’s games will not be heard in Spanish on religion-formatted WRLZ, Orlando.  Magic CEO Alex Martins tells the Orlando Sentinel the team was unable to get ratings data on the broadcasts in order to sell it so the team will move the broadcasts to the internet.

New Presidential Race Polls, Romney-Obama Debate Aftermath, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Turkey-Syria Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8).  The latest polls of independents and undecided in the presidential race; the continuing analysis of last week’s Romney-Obama debate; concern in the Middle East over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program; and the growing tensions between Turkey and Syria in the wake of recent violence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 8, 2012

| October 8, 2012

Talk Host Michael Smerconish Takes “Angry is Over” Campaign on the Road.  WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is known for being independent minded and not locked into party ideology.  Smerconish has been making it known via his radio show, TV appearances and newspaper columns that he believes the country is in real trouble due to the intensely divisive political climate both in Washington, DC and in the media.  He writes in part, “Recently, I have been engaged by many corporations, trade associations and academic institutions to address the cause of the polarized climate and how it can be fixed.  I’ve been calling my speech ‘Angry Is Over,’ and in hearing what I have to say, many audiences are surprised (but not doubting) when I cast significant blame on the talk radio and cable television industry.  Well, it’s true.”  Now, Smerconish is taking his “Angry is Over” message on the road with a live appearance in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 9 at the Scranton Cultural Center in what he terms the first live appearance of the tour.

Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Jason Furst PD.  The Charlotte news/talker announces programmer Jason Furst will take over the program director role at WBT-AM/FM on Monday, October 29.  He’ll replace Carl East who exits the station tomorrow.  Furst comes to WBT from Clear Channel’s upstate New York outlets WHAM and WHTK, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Greater Media Charlotte market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are excited to have Jason join the Greater Media Charlotte family.  His experience made him the perfect choice to lead the WBT-AM/FM team.”

Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno to Replace Premiere Shows with Local Talent.  Stating that the “expansion of its local programming will be phased in over the next 90 days,” Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM says it is accelerating its commitment to live and local programming.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is not renewing its deal with the stations for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other programs.  Peak and KMJ SVP and market manager Patty Hixson states, “We value program exclusivity and have long anticipated the opportunity to control our own programming locally rather than rely on national talk shows available in so many other places that can be taken from us at the whim of their owners.  Adding 105.9 KMJ-FM over three years ago allowed us to expose our local news and talk shows to the largest available radio audience with crystal clear reception.  Building KMJ NOW, our on-line local news platform, as well as KMJ’s Apple-delivered mobile app have given us tremendous reach to every computer and smartphone on the planet.  KMJ’s future lies in its local programming, and we know we have the best people in the business making it right here in Fresno 24/7.”  The move by Premiere Networks not to renew with Peak signals Clear Channel is preparing to flip an FM to news/talk in the near future.  Currently, CC’s lowest-rated FM is country KHGE.  But it also has three FM’s airing rhythmic AC, soft AC and modern AC in the market.

Radio Legend Bob Grant Retires, Then Unretires.  Talk radio legend Bob Grant, currently heard weekly on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday afternoons, teased that yesterday’s broadcast would be his last but changed his mind several hours later.  According to the New York Daily News, the 83-year-old Grant posted a message on his website on Friday stating, “I am not sick, I am just a tired of [being a] life member of the chorus…I will miss you as much as you say you miss me.”  He apparently had a change of heart and later stated that he would broadcast for the foreseeable future.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart Host “The Rumble 2012.”  “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and Fox News Channel star (and host of the Courtside Entertainment distributed “Talking Points” feature) Bill O’Reilly squared off in a debate of the issues on Saturday at George Washington University.  The event was broadcast via a web-only $5 pay-per-view.  A testament to the popularity of these two performers came in the form of numerous people being unable to get through to the server to access the live feed.  Dow JonesPeter Kafka, who writes the AllThingsD column, reports that many people had trouble viewing the show but states he was able to watch without much trouble.  At one point Nox Solutions, which hosted the webcast, Tweeted that due to demand, the servers had been overloaded.

Dave Ramsey Packs Long Beach Convention Center.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey presented his only Total Money Makeover Live program of the fall season to more than 9,000 fans in the Long Beach Convention Center for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles.  Station general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Yet another great Dave Ramsey event for KFWB!  Having such a successful day with over 9,000 people in attendance is a huge win for us.  We continue to value the close relationship we have with Dave and his team.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Rachel Cruze, speaker; Diane Sutter, trustee for KFWB; Valerie Blackburn, general manager for KFWB; Dave Ramsey; Danielle Mosher, marketing for KFWB; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager for KFWB; Jon Acuff, speaker and author; and Andy Ludlum, program director for KFWB.

Don’t Overlook the Unique Value and Power of Email.  Leading broadcasting digital media consultant Chris Miller advises radio programmers and marketers not be so blinded by social media that they “fall out of love” with good old simple email.  He writes in TALKERS today that email is still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if you target adults.  He suggests 1) Make your email a thing of value; 2) Give the listeners something to keep; and 3) Write it very simple and concise.  He also points out the inherent ability email has as a vehicle to carry advertising – something far less convenient to pull off on Facebook and Twitter.  To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.

Talk Host Debbie Nigro Begins New Venture Today.  Talk radio pro Debbie Nigro launches a new talk initiative today on Cumulus Media’s WFAS, White Plains, New York and online via the WFASam.com website.  Calling it “innovative female-driven but gender-friendly talk radio,” the new program is the brainchild of the woman who brought her “Working Mom on the Go” syndicated talk show to stations across the country during the 1990s.  This new show airs at 1:00 pm ET four days per week on WFAS.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Operating Internet Radio Station.  The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is operating what may be the country’s only chamber of commerce-owned internet radio station.  Radio host Richard Gerstner is the only employee of the station – and a part-time employee at that – but it’s been on the air for a year with the goal of driving new, local business relationships.  The station drew 12,000 unique visitors in its first year and chamber president Chris Phelan believes that means about one in every 10 or 11 county residents tuned in at some point.  According to a story in the Express-Times, the station currently airs only 10 hours of fresh programming each day, including its 8 am to 10 am daily “Good Morning Hunterdon” flagship program and 38 other shows hosted mostly by Hunterdon business owners.  The rest of the airtime is filled by re-runs.  Phelan says the station is helping to achieve the chamber’s main goal with the station: to build a sense of community.

Odds & SodsOpie & Anthony alumnus Rick Delgado begins a regular internet talk show called the “Ugly American Radio Show” via inravio.com.  Delgado most recently was producer and “third mic” for the “Paul and Young Ron Morning Show” at Clear Channel’s WGBB, Miami.  Delgado was executive producer of the Opie & Anthony show at WNEW-FM, New York from 1998 to 2002…..John Andariese retires from his position as the radio voice of New York Knicks basketball.  Andariese has been involved with Knicks basketball since 1972, serving as the play-by-play voice since the 1998-99 season.  A statement from MSG Networks says Andariese is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to focus on his advertising business.   Brendan Brown will take over the Knicks radio broadcasts…..The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes that former Houston Astros player and broadcasters Alan Ashby and Larry Dierker are among two of the possible candidates for the Astros radio booth next season.  The team announced Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond would not return next year.  Former MLB pitcher Steve Sparks is also on the list of possible broadcasters for the club…..SiriusXM is bringing actor/director/writer Chazz Palminteri aboard for his own four-week series called “Ask Chazz.”  The acclaimed star of stage and screen will answer questions about show business and will offer advice about the entertainment industry, as well as business, sports, life and anything else on listeners’ minds.

Friday, October 5, 2012

| October 5, 2012

Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today.  The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams.  The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.”  Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market.  ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England.  This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”

Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January.  The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content.  Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation.  Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia.  This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia.  We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state.  We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.”  Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.

ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’  Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009.  Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.”  He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority.  I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.”  In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.

Dave Ramsey Goes West.  Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events.  First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM.  Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station.  PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’”  Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church.  Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community.  Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience.  This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.”  Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.

Brown Corners Hickenlooper.  That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver.  Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions.  However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.

WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association.  Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers.  The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.

Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards.  The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio.  The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.

Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”

Odds & Sods.  Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel.  Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis.  After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog.  Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball.  The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately.  Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.

NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation.  Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System.  Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response.  By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.

14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate.  According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain.  Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in.  On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it.  Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.

First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5.  The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM.  The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2.  At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters.  Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

| October 4, 2012

September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.

  • In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
  • In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
  • In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
  • In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5).  The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well).  Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.

For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.

KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program.  Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.”  This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm.  Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October.  The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint.  The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives.  The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy.  Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”

WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’  Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week.  The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media NetworksRon Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory.  Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott BrownElizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race.  Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”

WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards.  Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish.  The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team.  Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers.  He gets it.”  The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York.  The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials.  For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.

Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group.  Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive.  Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas.  Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”

Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station.  KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith.  Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business.  Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.

Kuhner in Boston.  Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO.  Kuhner visited the station earlier this week.  WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming.  He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”

Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3).  Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

| October 3, 2012

Talkers New Media Seminar LA set for Thursday, October 11 is Sold Out!   The agenda is basically set and most of the sponsors announced for the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The venue is intimate and even kind of funky making for a very relaxed and informal environment – conducive to the kind of communicative and networking environment we hope to achieve.  The problem, however, is that unlike industry events that are held in convention centers and big hotels, we are working with a finite amount of seating and space which we are obligated by city regulations not to exceed.”  TALKERS New Media Seminar LA is scheduled for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.  Registration has only been open to working media. A registration “stand-by” list is being maintained until this Friday (10/5) for those willing to take a chance. Some sponsorships however are still available.  For stand-by registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  The agenda for the event is as follows:

9:00 am – 9:50 am
Bagel Breakfast Party
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli 

9:50 am – 10:00 am
Welcoming Remarks

Speaker:  Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS

10:00 am – 10:15 am
Morning Keynote

Speaker:  Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment

10:20 am – 11:00 am
Panel Discussion

“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio”

Moderator:  Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS

Panelists (in alphabetical order):

Phil Boyce, VP/Director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications

Ron Hartenbaum, President, WYD Media

Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC

Don Martin, VP Programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM KLAC, Los Angeles

Mike McVay, Senior VP Programming, Cumulus Media

Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News

11:05 am – 11:20 am
Special Presentation

“Interactivity and Video: The Key to Your Business Future”

Speaker:  Walter Sabo, Chairman, Sabo Media

11:25 am – 11:35 am
Special Presentation

“The Radio Personality as Entrepreneur”

Introduction:  Jeff Wasserman, President, Life Coach Media

Speaker:  Ken Rutkowski, host, “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles

11: 40 am – 12:20 pm
Panel Discussion

“The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012”

Moderator:  Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief, TALKERS

Panelists:

Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network

Heidi Harris, Host, KRLA, Los Angeles

Lars Larson, Host, Compass Media Networks/ KXL, Portland

Doug Stephan, Host, “Good Day”

Alan Stock, Host, KDWN, Las Vegas

Eric Weiss, president, The Weiss Agency

12:25 pm – 12:40 pm
Special Presentation

“Woman of the Year Award”

Introduction:  Carole Marks, CEO, Talk Media, Inc.

Presenter:  Stephanie Miller, Host, WYD Media

Recipient:  Robin Bertolucci, PD KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles

Sponsored by TuneIn

12:45 pm – 1:00 pm
Special Presentation

“Database Your Tribe…Now!”

Speaker, Holland Cooke, Consultant, Holland Cooke Media

1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Lunch
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli 

1:50 pm – 2:20 pm
Panel Discussion

“Making Money in Talk Radio:  Challenges and Opportunities”

Introduction: Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz

Moderator:  Brent Seltzer, Host, Podjockey

Panelists:

Bob Moore, President, Courtside Entertainment

Rusty Humphries, Host, Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta

Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz

More TBA

Sponsored by Michael Zwerling Media

2:25 pm – 3:05 pm
Panel Discussion

“The State of Talk Programming”

Moderator:  Kevin Casey, VP/Executive Editor TALKERS

Panelists (in alphabetical order):

Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno

Kevin LaRue, PD KSL, Salt Lake City

Andy Ludlum, PD, KNX, Los Angeles

Garret Lewis, PD/morning host, KNST, Tucson

Dave Sniff, PD, KFMB, San Diego

Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles

Sponsored by Premiere Networks

3:10 pm – 3:45 pm
Panel Discussion

“The Modern Day Pioneers”

Moderator:  Patt Morrison, Host/Interviewer, KPCC, Los Angeles; Columnist, Los Angeles Times

Panelists (in alphabetical order):

Ian Freeman, Co-Host, Free Talk Live

Sam Hasson, President/Founder, LATalkRadio.com

Michael Horn, CEO, CRN Digital Talk

Tom Leykis, President/Host, The New Normal

Shadoe Stevens, Host, Mental Radio, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio

Sponsored by CRN Digital Talk

3:45 pm – 4:20 pm
Panel Discussion

“The Art of the Show”

Moderator:  Bill Moran, President, Bill Moran & Associates

Panelists (in alphabetical order):

Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network

Bill Handel, Host, KFI, Los Angeles

Karel, Host, KGO, San Francisco

Neil Larrimore, PD, KFYI/KGME, Phoenix

Eric Stanger, VP Operations, The Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks

Sponsored by TRN

4:20 pm – 5:00 pm
Afternoon Sessions and Keynote

TBA

SPONSORS

Americans for Limited Government, BMX/XtreMedia, Brent’s Deli, Christie Communications, Comrex Corporation, CRN Digital Talk, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Focus Communications, Inc., Free Talk Live, LATalkRadio.com, Life Coach Media, Podjockey, Premiere Networks, Talk Radio Network, Talk Radio News Service, TuneIn, WYD Media, Michael Zwerling Media.

September PPM Numbers: Some Talk and Sports Highlights.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and notes the movement of some stations of interest to talk and sports radio watchers.

  • In market #7 Washington, DC, a nine-tenths August-September improvement helps propel American University‘s WAMU to #1, unseating Hubbard‘s WTOP-FM (#3), which slides -1.1 to 7.1, the news outlet’s lowest point since April’s 6.5.
  • For the sixth straight month, Washington Nationals’ flagship WJFK-FM (CBS Radio‘s “The Fan”) bests Red Zebra format rival WTEM (“The Team”), however, WTEM (#20) gains one-half share and WJFK-FM (#18) is down one-tenth.
  • In market #8 Philadelphia, gaining one-half share are CBS Radio’s “Sports Radio 94 WIP-FM” (3.7, #12) and public news/talk WHYY (3.5, #13).
  • For the seventh straight month, “Newsradio 1060 KYW” is in the 6.1 – 6.7 range (6.5, -.2 from August) and, as in August, the CBS Radio-owned facility is #1.
  • In market #9 Atlanta, in August, WSB-AM had a 4.8, which was its lowest 6+ share since registering a 4.2 in September 2010.  The Cox Radio talk outlet bounces back though with a +.9 to 5.7 and ranks fifth, versus #9 in August.
  • In market #10 Boston, remember “Rush Radio” on WXKS-AM?  That was how the Clear Channel talk station positioned itself for about one year, beginning in March 2010.  In mid-August of this year, Rush Limbaugh surfaced on cross-town WRKO and the Entercom talker gains nine-tenths to 2.4, its strongest 6+-share since March (2.5).
  • For the first time in the last seven monthlies, New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM (CBS Radio-owned “The Sports Hub”) overtakes Entercom format competitor WEEI-FM.  The two sports properties were tied in March (3.5) with WEEI-FM holding the upper hand from April through August.  In September though, WBZ-FM gains eight-tenths (4.5, #8) while Red Sox flagship WEEI-FM drops two-tenths (4.1, #9).

For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit the ratings section at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.

FCC to Consider Liberty Media Control of Sirius.  The FCC is calling for public comment on Liberty Media Corp.’s application to take de jure (legal) control of Sirius XM Radio.  Sirius did not sign that application, filed in August, but the Commission is deciding to move forward anyway.  Back in May, the FCC turned down a request for de facto (effective) control by Liberty, which now has an effective 48% stake in the satellite radio company.   Petitions to deny are due November 1, initial opposition due November 13, and final rebuttals by November 20, likely to be followed by several weeks of FCC deliberation.  The two companies have been at odds for a long time with John Malone’s Liberty looking to takeover Sirius.  In 2009, Sirius received a $530 million loan from Liberty to avoid bankruptcy.  There’s much speculation about Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin’s plans if Liberty gains control. His contract with Sirius is up at end of this year.  As reported yesterday, Karmazin is speaking at Liberty’s 2012 investor conference in New York on October 10, just two weeks before the first public comments are due at the FCC.

Saga Declares Special Cash Dividend.  The Saga board announces a special cash dividend of about $7 million — a dividend of $1.65 per Class A or B Common Stock.  Shareholders of record on November 15 receive the dividend, funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet, on December 3.  Ed Christian’s Saga, headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, owns or operates radio and TV stations in 26 markets and four regional radio networks.

Upgrade to FREE.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s latest piece for TALKERS is about some of the tools of the media trade – namely netbooks and tablets.  But it’s about more than that if you step back and look at the big picture.  He points to digital app expert Beth Ziesenis – AskBethZ – as someone who cuts through with her message (and her business) because she’s clearly focused on her objective.  Read what Holland Cooke has to say about these issues here.

 

Odds & Sods. SiriusXM will feature “Pete Dominick’s Electoral College Tour” on its POTUS channel prior to each presidential debate, beginning this evening in Denver.  Dominick is a stand-up comedian and regular on the POTUS channel and his special shows will emanate from the University of Denver, Hofstra University and the University of Virginia in which he’ll host a special one-hour forum with students and faculty – before the presidential debate and live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET – to talk about the issues that matter most to them in this election…..Chicago Bulls home basketball games will be heard in Spanish on Univision’s WRTO, Chicago “La Tremenda 1200” through the 2014-2015 season.  Omar Ramos and Matt Moreno have the play-by-play.

Benghazi Security Request Controversy, Presidential Debate Preview, Pennsylvania Voter ID Rule Blocked, and Iran Nukes Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2).  Controversy over a report the U.S. consulate in Benghazi requested more security but was denied prior to the attack on the Libyan embassy; Wednesday’s coming presidential debate; a part of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is struck down; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

| October 2, 2012

TRN Promotes Jerry Doyle to Network Slot Where Savage Aired.  Calling it the show with which “stations will get more light and less heat, a show that they can sell locally with pride, but also a show that will respect its stations, advertisers and audiences with a brilliance that sets great shows apart from good ones,” Talk Radio Network moves Jerry Doyle into the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT time slot formerly held by Michael Savage.  TRN states, “For too long, we’ve had to choose between ratings and salability, but no longer…Jet pilot, Wall Street investment banker for 10 years, Hollywood star for 12 years, former congressional nominee and now radio giant who has earned his right to this spot for close to nine years, Jerry Doyle is the future of talk radio.  He will bring massive audiences through word of mouth because he is brilliant and funny, showing both emotional and intellectual range that is beyond rare.”  As it announces Doyle’s move into the West Coast afternoon drive slot, TRN promises, “He understands the advertising business like few others; Jerry is a triple-rated William Morris Agency voice-over artist who has voiced national ads for AT&T, Chevrolet, TGI Fridays, Anheuser-Busch, Panasonic, The US Armed Forces and many others.  Jerry will work with his stations reading their ads and promos, because he understands radio isn’t about host ego, it’s about high levels of performance, and it’s about business.”  Michael Savage exited TRN last week after winning in arbitration to get out of his contract with the syndicator.  Filling in for Doyle’s program in his previous network time is Dr. Bill Wattenburg until a permanent replacement is named.

CBS Sports Radio Announces Scott Ferrall to Be Late Night Host.  When CBS Radio’s new 24/7 national sports talk network kicks off in January, longtime sports talk pro Scott Ferrall will hold down the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET slot with his “Ferrall on the Bench” program.  So far, we know the new CBS Sports Radio network will feature Jim Rome for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot followed by Doug Gottlieb from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “Scott is widely recognized as having set the standard for what a successful national evening sports radio show should be.  He’s got an amazing knowledge of sports that rivals even the most noted experts, and with his fast-paced style of high-octane sports talk, listeners and our affiliates are guaranteed to get the very best program each and every night.”  Ferrall is currently hosting a sports talk show for SiriusXM.  In the past he has worked for SportsNet New York, several NHL properties, Fox Sports Radio, and Sportsfan Radio Network, as well as major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh.

Don Wade Update from Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Don Wade came through his brain surgery successfully and is resting at home, according to wife and on-air partner Roma.  In case you missed it, the longtime WLS-AM morning personality was diagnosed with a growth in early September for which he underwent surgery last Thursday.  Now, the Wades’ agent, Eliot Ephriam, tells Feder, “The surgery went as expected and Don came out of it really well.  We’re awaiting the results of tests and that will determine what’s next.”  Don Wade is expected to remain at home for several weeks.  Station executives report the duo had good ratings news as the September PPM numbers indicate WLS-AM was #1 with listeners 12+ from 6:00 am to 10:00 am scoring a 7.0 share – the program’s highest ratings in more than four years.

Genesis Communications’ SportsTalkFlorida Aligns with NBC Sports Radio.  Several months ago, Genesis Communications stated it was going to drop the ESPN Radio affiliation for its sports talk stations WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  Now the company reveals its programming plans and its new affiliation with the fledgling NBC Sports Radio network.  The stations have been named “NBC Sports Talk 1040 The Team Tampa Bay” and “NBC Sports Talk 1080 The Team Orlando,” respectively.  The new lineup at the two stations includes: local host David Baumann in AM drive; DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; local host Whitney Johnson from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; for PM drive, WHBO airs local host Charlie Bernstein and WHOO broadcasts local duo Mike Tuck and Jerry O’Neill; both stations air NBC’s Erik Kuselias.  Both outlets are carrying sports news updates from NBC Sports Radio.

Clark Howard Returns to Middays at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  The Mel Robbins program, heard from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Cox Media’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando will exit that time slot and Clark Howard will return to that time slot beginning October 12.  Howard was bumped to the late night 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot back in March when WDBO brought Robbins aboard for a live midday program.

 

KOZN, Omaha Names Damon Benning Morning Co-Host.  Former Nebraska running back and 1996 Orange Bowl MVP Damon Benning is named co-host of the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show alongside Gary Sharp on NRG Media’s “1620 The Zone.”  Benning has served as an analyst on the Big Ten Network, NET Television, Cox Communications, and made numerous guest appearances on “1620 The ZONE” over the years.  Today he begins on-air duties on “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” with KOZN sports director Gary Sharp.  NRG Media Omaha market manager Andy Ruback says, “For years we have had Benning on the station as he has been a vital part of our broadcast team and our extensive Husker coverage.  Now, we will be able to take advantage of his expertise full time, all year long.”

WISN, Milwaukee Talk Host Mark Belling Faces Backlash for “Thug” Comments.  Community activists in Milwaukee are promising a rally on Thursday to demand an apology from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment talk host Mark Belling who hosts the PM drive show on news/talk WISN.  Activists in the market are upset with comments Belling made about Derek Williams – an African-American man – who died in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car.  An account from the Milwaukee Journal states Williams pleaded with officers for help saying he could not breathe but they ignored his pleas and he died.  The case was recently reclassified as a homicide.  Critics say Belling’s characterizing Williams as a “dirty, rotten thug” was inappropriate and not relevant to the care he should have received while in police custody.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas “Newsradio 1080” announces the hiring of award-winning weatherman Bob Goosmann as chief meteorologist for the station.  VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert states, “Bob lives and breathes North Texas weather and greatly respects KRLD’s commitment to accurate and dependable forecast information every ten minutes.  ‘NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’ listeners can rely on him, not only for accurate forecasts, but also for the information they need to stay safe when severe weather strikes.”  Goosmann most recently served as chief meteorologist for KDAF-TV, Dallas…..Clear Channel’s Quad Cities cluster enters into a deal with New Young Broadcasting Holding Company’s KWQC-TV, Davenport, Iowa that has the TV station producing news and weather content for news/talk WOC and other cluster stations in exchange for CC creating daily entertainment reports for the television station.

Clear Channel’s WTAM Scores Indians Renewal.  According to Northeast Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland has won the rights to Indians baseball – for how long, though, is not known.  The report has not been confirmed by Clear Channel.  WTAM – which has been the home of Indians baseball for the past 14 years – was reportedly getting a strong challenge for the play-by-play rights from CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”

Obama-Romney Debate Preview, Iran Nukes Threat, Potential New ObamaCare Challenge, and Fate of ‘Fast and Furious’ Guns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1).  The looming presidential candidate debate; concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; a new, potential  Supreme Court challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; and the charge that guns from the ‘Fast and Furious’ program ended up in Mexican drug cartel’s hands were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 1, 2012

| October 1, 2012

Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today.  Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am.  In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.

Gregg Henson Named PD at WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh.  Sports talk and news/talk pro Gregg Henson takes the programming reins at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh and sister sports talk WBGG “970 ESPN.”  Henson most recently served as director of programming operations at Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Henson says, “I’m excited to return to the Clear Channel family and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at ‘FM News Talk 104.7’ and ‘970 ESPN.’  Pittsburgh’s passionate and loyal Steelers and Penguins fans make this an exciting new opportunity.”  CC Pittsburgh OM David Edgar states, “Gregg has the skills and passion to lead our sports, talk, and news programming on all of our brands in Pittsburgh to new levels of success.  His past experience will be a great asset to the Clear Channel Pittsburgh team.”  Henson replaces Jay Bohannon who exited the cluster last month.

Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast.  This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.”  The program took place before a live audience of more than 2,000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville.  It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck.  Video of the show was streamed live online.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee.  He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo).  The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion.  A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together.  The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber.  Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo).  According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business.  Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”

Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit.  After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement.  Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract (see story below).  Talk Radio Network has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”) – at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.

Talk Host Michael Savage Produces First Internet-Only Broadcast.  Former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicate host Michael Savage – who won his arbitration case against the company last week to get out of his contract and left terrestrial immediately thereafter – produced his first Ustream-hosted webcast on Sunday evening (9/30).  Savage broadcast for about an hour.  His website encourages visitors to check back for announcements of future broadcasts.  The video is not being archived for repeat views at this time – so it must be watched live – and chatter on Ustream’s message board reveals some Savage fans are irked by that move.  Could it be that Savage is trying to create an appetite for a pay model?  The arbitrator’s decision voided Savage’s contract with TRN and allows him to work anywhere he likes.  Stay tuned!

TRN’s America’s Radio News Network Inks with Armed Forces Radio Network.  Talk Radio Network-owned America’s Radio News Network announces it has signed an agreement with Armed Forces Radio Network to serve as the top-of-the-hour news on the broadcast service for American military personnel.  American Forces Radio Network Worldwide director Jef Reilly, tells ARN, “The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you’re delivering that.”  ARN/ANN vice president for news John McCaslin says, “Our expanding team of news anchors, producers and board operators is extremely proud to enlist the trust of the millions of men and women of America’s armed forces, who every day put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for those of us here at home.”

Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time.  Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station.  WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore.  Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”

Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk.  Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy.  CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.

Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book.  Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it.  The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business.  The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie;  as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures.  He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one.  At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy.  Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.”   For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail  amir@foresterpublicrelations.com.

Friday, September 28, 2012

| September 28, 2012

Michael Savage Wins Suit Against Talk Radio Network; Leaves the Air Immediately.  Talk radio icon Michael Savage, who has been distributed by Talk Radio Network since he went into national syndication from his home base in San Francisco in the late 1990s, has won his legal battle with the company to be freed from his contract and has the right to seek other means of distributing his program.  Sources indicate there is no non-compete in effect and Savage is now free to work wherever he chooses.  Ranked by TALKERS magazine as the third most-listened-to talk show host in the nation, Savage states on his website, “After a grueling legal battle that cost him and his family dearly, Michael Savage can announce he won!  He is free at last.  Free to work with whomever he wishes in the radio industry from today forward.  Michael will not be heard on the radio for some time, but you can keep up with him by logging onto Michaelsavage.com every day for updates and by subscribing to his free newsletter.”  TRN CEO Mark Masters issued a statement in response, “We are all looking forward to announcing a bright future; radio’s October Surprise will begin on Monday, October 1st.”  Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, tells the AP that Savage has been fighting the network for two years to get out of a contract that was 10 years old and prevented him from switching employers.  Savage won the favorable ruling in arbitration.  Horowitz says the pact lacked protections afforded to artists and entertainers under California law and tied Savage to Talk Radio Network indefinitely.  As for the cost to Savage to which he refers to in his missive on the website, Horowitz says Savage spent more than $900,000 fighting his case but was awarded more than $1 million in arbitration.  Savage will also have access to his audio archives.  Still unclear is the exact amount of time Savage must remain off the air.

Jim Rome’s Jump to CBS Sports Radio Official.  As expected, syndicated sports talk icon Jim Rome is leaving Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Premiere Networks at the end of his contract (which expires at the end of the year) and will become part of the national slate at CBS Sports Radio.  The newly created national sports talk network will hit the airwaves on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 and Rome’s program will air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot.  Included in the new deal are Rome’s contributing to the “CBS Sports Minute,” 60-second hourly feature on the network as well as his providing commentary for CBS Sports and CBSSports.com.  Rome is also set to host a talk series on Showtime, due to debut later this fall.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “Jim would be at the top of any list highlighting sports radio’s most authoritative and opinionated hosts which is exactly why we’re thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports Radio.  We are building a network that showcases the incredible assets of CBS Radio and CBS Sports, and creating a strategic opportunity for growth in this untapped marketplace.  Jim’s presence in this marquee time period adds strength to our lineup and exceptional value to our advertisers.”

Changes at Sports Talk KFNC, Houston; Carl Dukes Exits PM Drive to Join CBS Radio’s New Atlanta Sports Talk FM.  The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports PM drive sports talk host Carl Dukes is leaving his role at Gow Communications-owned KFNC to become part of the staff at CBS Radio’s WZGC “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” in Atlanta.  At KFNC, midday hosts Fred Faour and A.J. Hoffman are shifting to afternoon drive in Dukes’ place and Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon will become host of the midday show.  Program director and PM drive co-host David Tepper will also move to the midday slot to work with Solomon.  Owner David Gow tells the paper, “Fred and A.J. have been ready for afternoon drive, and we think listeners will enjoy them in that time slot.  We are delighted to add Jerome. He’s one of the top voices in sports in this market.”

Armstrong & Getty Return to Air.  The KSTE, Sacramento-based morning show duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were back on the air at the Clear Channel station (and on their San Francisco simulcast outlet KKSF) re-iterating their two days off the radio had nothing to do with the bit they did on Monday’s program calling for people to post videos, cartoons and more critical of Islam and Mohammad.  There had been speculation in the industry that management took the two off the air in the wake of statements by people, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, condemning editorial comments bashing Islam and its tenets.  The two assured listeners they are allowed complete editorial control over their show and that they were off the air for other reasons they agreed not to talk about on the radio.