Category: Industry News

Thursday, December 29, 2011

| December 29, 2011

TALKERS Top Talk Media Industry Stories for 2011. 

TALKERS looks back at the top talk radio/media stories of 2011. It was a year marked by financial stress, corporate shuffling, format flips and the relentless march of technological change.

1.  Radio Faces Continued Economic Hardship.  Mired in debt and hampered by soft advertising sales, most radio broadcasting companies found 2011 to be challenging.  Marked by cutbacks, limited budgets and job insecurity, talk radio – as well as all commercial radio – was a tough business in which to work.

2.  Big Deals: Cumulus Closes Deal Buying Citadel.  This was an enormous deal by any year’s standards with far ranging impact and implications on station formats and personnel — highlighted by serious material changes in format and personnel at KGO, San Francisco.  Another significant deal of the year — Bonneville sells 17 Midwest/east major/large market stations to Hubbard Radio.

3.  The Invasion of FM by Talk.  2011 was the year that the long-awaited migration of talk to the FM dial actually could be called a “trend” with numerous AM bastions picking up accompanying FM outlets for their programming.  All signs point to this continuing in 2012 and beyond.  Read the entire story here.

Geraldo Rivera Still a Possibility at KABC, Los Angeles?  KABC, Los Angles talk host John Phillips’ recent e-mail to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan once again fires up the rumor mill leaving open the possibility that Geraldo Rivera – soon to be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – will also be heard on the company’s KABC.  KABC management released the new program schedule on December 23 with Phillips listed as the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host but now Phillips states he’ll do that shift through January 27.  After that?  No one’s saying.  So read into that what you will but if Cumulus is spending good money to develop a Geraldo radio show, why not put it on in the nation’s second largest market to give the sales team more to work with?  As for Phillips and his show that will follow Doug McIntyre’s morning program beginning next week, he tells Lycan, “The thought is your morning commute doesn’t end at 9:00 am, so neither will we.  McIntyre and I are good friends, and by that I mean he’s yet to run me over in the KABC parking lot with his car, so we’ll share the same ethos and won’t stop beating the drum about L.A. and OC issues that directly impact our listeners’ lives.”

WHAM, Rochester Adds More Bob Lonsberry and More Local News to Schedule.  Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester announces a new program schedule to begin in 2012 that adds another half hour of popular Rochester personality Bob Lonsberry to the schedule.  In addition to Lonsberry’s solo 9:00 am to 1:00 pm program, he’ll join the WHAM Morning News crew – Chet Walker, Shari Smith, Randy Gorbman and John DiTullio – for the new “1180 WHAM Free for All” show from 8:30 am to 9:00 am.  Additionally, the station expands the “WHAM Afternoon News” to a two-hour format from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Speaking to the changes, CC Rochester VP/GM Kevin LeGrett states, “We are very excited about this new 1180 WHAM lineup, which features 12 hours of local Rochester programming daily.  When it comes to Rochester’s adults, 1180 WHAM owns the franchise and consistently achieves excellent results for our listeners, community and advertisers.”

Brian Michel New Operations Manager at Clear Channel Atlanta.  The five-station Clear Channel cluster that includes news/talk WGST has a new operations manager.  Brian Michel comes to Atlanta from Salt Lake City where he was OM at Simmons’ stations there.  While he’ll serve as program director for country WUBL-FM, OM for the entire Atlanta cluster and  he’ll also be acting program director for WGST, which as reported earlier this week, may be getting an FM simulcast in the near future according to local rumors.

Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race, Iran’s Saber Rattling, 2011 Retrospective, Kim Jong Il Funeral Parade and Preliminary Holiday Retail Sales Figures Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday.  The fast-approaching Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the year of 2011 in retrospect, the funeral parade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and positive preliminary holiday retail sales reports were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

| December 28, 2011

Iowa Political Ad Money a Sign of Things to Come?  Radio and television broadcasters sure hope so as the Republican candidates for president spent some $10 million in Iowa this month in advance of the state’s caucuses next month.  Jennifer Jacobs’ article in the Des Moines Register doesn’t give a complete breakout of TV and radio ad spending so it’s difficult to know exactly how much radio has benefitted from the blitz, but here are some of the totals:  Rick Perry spent $2.86 million on TV; the super PAC pushing Mitt Romney spent $2.85 million on radio and TV; Ron Paulspent $1.37 million; a pro-Perry PAC spent $1.33 million; and Romney’s campaign spent $1.1 million.  That tally is not a complete total of all money spent but keep in mind that more cash will come to radio and TV in the days leading up to January 3.  The photo of Mitt Romney reading TALKERS in New Hampshire depicted above appeared on the February 2008 cover of TALKERS magazine’s print edition reflecting polticians’ strong interest in the election-charged medium of talk radio.  Let us hope that 2012 brings even more such interest as talk radio looks to precious campaign money as a form of relief from the financial struggles still facing most advertising-based media.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for continuing coverage and analysis of the advertising/financial component of Election 2012 all the way through November.

Walter Sabo Honors Lynn Samuels with Exclusive TALKERS Tribute.  Noted spoken-word programmer, radio executive and broadcast consultant Walter Sabo played a significant role in the discovery and career of the late Lynn Samuels filling in some of the information missing in most of the press coverage of her untimely death and further analyzing her unique talent.  He writes, “Lynn Samuels died and you will never hear anyone like her. That’s why she was a star…You could pull ANY part of her show and make a promo.  You know how long you have to hunt for a quote for a promo from most airchecks?  No trouble with Lynn; pick a random minute and you’d have a promo…”  Read the entire Walter Sabo tribute to Lynn Samuels here.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Adjust Weekend Schedule in the New Year.  Chicagoans will hear more of WGN’s daily stars on the weekends in 2012.  Program director Bill White tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that, when the station is not airing sports, highlights of Jonathon Brandmeier’s and Garry Meier’s programs will air on Saturday afternoons while Sunday afternoons will feature the week’s best of John Williams and Mike McConnell.  “We think it will be a great alternative to the infomercials and paid programs that air on Chicago’s other talk stations.  Of course we continue to provide live and local news, weather and traffic reports 24/7,” White tells TOC.  Other new weekend fare includes a 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday program hosted by Brian Noonan and “WGN Weekend Late Night” featuring weekly highlights from Bill Leff’s overnight program.  “Legally Speaking,” hosted by attorney Karen Conti, is one casualty and has already aired its last program.  White says Conti will still contribute to the station but her show has ended at WGN.  Conti hosted the program with her late husband Greg Adamski for years.  Adamski passed away suddenly last February.  Conti tells Feder she’s disappointed but is exploring other local media opportunities.

Cumulus Des Moines Swaps Morning Shows; Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside to FM News/Talk.  The current AM drive shows at Cumulus Media’s classic rock KGGO-FM and news/talk KWQW-FM are trading places on January 2.  Premiere NetworksBob & Tom move to KGGO-FM while Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside move across the hall to the company’s news/talk “98.3 Wow FM” (KWQW) to host “The Des Moines Morning News with Lou and Heather.”  Cumulus Media SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re excited to be able to bring 20-plus years of morning success to our news/talk station and can completely eliminate the music on their show in favor of more of why Des Moines-area listeners want to listen to Lou and Heather.  It’s for them and what they have to say.”

CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington, DC Airs Rock History Prior to All-News Flip.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes notes CBS Radio Washington began airing the special “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” after the Christmas music ended.  Just when the all-news format debuts is not known, but it’s expected to hit the air in mid- to late-January.   Hughes also reports the rumor that WJLA-TV, Washington senior assignment editor Gregg Micklos is taking the position of assistant news director at the soon-to-be FM news outlet.

2012 Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Run-up, al-Qaeda Iraq Attacks, Kim Jong Il Funeral and Bill Maher Tebow Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/27).  The run-up to the Iowa Caucuses for the GOP candidates for president, the Christmas Day bombings in Iraq whose responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda, the funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the flap over Bill Maher’s criticism of Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

| December 27, 2011

Radio Talk Host Lynn Samuels Dies at Age 69.  Longtime New York talk radio host Lynn Samuels passed away at her home in Queens on December 24 of apparent natural causes.  Samuels, who had been working at Sirius XM, was found by police after she failed to show up for her radio show earlier on Saturday.  There was no sign of foul play and friends tell authorities e-mails sent Friday indicate she didn’t appear troubled.  Samuels broke into commercial talk radio in the 1980s after working at Pacifica’s hard-left non-com WBAI, New York.  She hosted the Saturday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Buckley Broadcasting‘s WOR, New York for a period of time.  Then-PD John Mainelli was overhauling the programming at WABC, New York in 1988 when he brought her aboard.  He tells TALKERS she was working for nothing at WBAI when he found her, “She used to say that WBAI considered her ‘too conservative’ for them but she pulled in more money than anybody during the fund-raisers so they kept her on.  She was back-to-back with Rush Limbaugh on WABC for the first few years and their ratings grew precisely in tandem.”  Mainelli says subsequent management moved Samuels around the WABC schedule, eventually to weekends, before letting her go.  She held a daily show at Sirius XM for a number of years before being moved to the weekend.  Mainelli says that, like many other talk hosts, she cut her teeth calling in to talk shows, “In Lynn’s case, she frequently called Bob Grant and always got him so mad that he would ultimately hang up on her with his trademark, ‘Get off my phooooooooone!’  She was a grenade-armed sweetheart and steel-clad softie, incredibly mentally alert and curious about everything.  Endearingly quirky and funny as hell.  Listeners could never predict how she’d approach brand new topics, which is so unlike the knee-jerk partisan predictables of 2011.”  SiriusXM is honoring Samuels on a special edition of The Alex Bennett Program this morning (12/27), live from 7:00 am to10:00 am ET on SiriusXM Left/ch.127.  Veteran broadcaster Richard Bey, a longtime friend and colleague of Samuels, is filling as guest host of the show December 27-29 while Bennett is on vacation.  On Wednesday (12/28), they will join forces — with Bey continuing to serve as guest host and Bennett returning from vacation for one day to join him in studio — to salute Samuels’ life, ideas and legendary broadcasting career, throughout which, according to a SiriusXM spokesperson, “She spoke without a filter and with honesty, humor and passion.”

Kevin McCullough Appears on TALKERS TV.  Kevin McCullough, host of the daily nationally syndicated “Kevin McCullough Show” and co-host of the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough Show” with Stephen Baldwin, is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey on TALKERS TV.  The conversation took place at the recent “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row presented by TALKERS in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and Liz Claiborne, Inc. to raise awareness about the widespread societal problem of domestic violence.  The seventh annual installment of this major talk media event took place in the fashion showroom at Liz Claiborne, Inc.’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.  McCullough shows Casey and the TALKERS TV audience his fascinating array of portable remote equipment conveniently set up to allow him to communicate with his audience via several venues – radio and television – utilizing audio, video and digital elements, all operable by the host himself.  This informative must-see video can be viewed on the right side of this page.

Rumor:  Strong FM Signal Coming for WGST, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho is reporting that Clear Channel may be moving toward a new FM simulcast situation for news/talk WGST, Atlanta.  The station is currently simulcasting on a translator at 92.3 but the signal does not penetrate the northern suburbs of Atlanta.  Ho reports Clear Channel is quietly cutting the staffing at Regional Mexican “El Patron” – WBZY-FM at 105.3 – possibly with plans to move the station to a different signal and simulcast WGST on the 105.3 frequency.  Ho notes that WGST had an FM simulcast at 105.7 in the 1990s but that ended in 1999.

Clear Channel Combines Two FMs with AM in Mansfield, Ohio for WMAN-AM/FM.  Gone are classic hits FMs WXXR-FM and WSWR-FM as Clear Channel combines them with existing AM WMAN (1400) to create WMAN-AM/FM.  Market manager Bill Clark tells the Mansfield News Journal, “The motivation to make these changes is simple.  Younger radio listeners, those under 35, rarely visit the AM band.  Most were raised never having been aware that the AM band existed.  This gives us the opportunity to expose younger listeners to the spoken word format.”  In addition to Premiere Networks programs Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, the station also airs local morning drive host Rusty Cates and the early evening sports talk show “Sports Grill” with Aaron Hines.

KQV, Pittsburgh President and GM Robert Dickey, Sr. Dies at 84.  All-news KQV, Pittsburgh was purchased by Robert Dickey, Sr. and Richard Mellon Scaife in 1982 when they formed Calvary, Inc. to operate the station they believed they were saving from extinction.  Calvary has operated the station ever since with many of the station’s employees having worked there for decades.  Dickey died at his home in Oakland, Pennsylvania on December 24 after suffering a brief illness.  Dickey started in radio at KDKA, Pittsburgh in 1954.  He worked his way up in the business and eventually became general manager of WINS, New York and earned his place as part of the management team that created the “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” news format.  Dickey moved back to Pittsburgh in 1976 to manage Taft’s WDVE-FM and KQV.  When KQV’s all-news format appeared to be in trouble, he and Scaife formed Calvary and bought the station.

Friday, December 23, 2011

| December 23, 2011

WTMM-FM, Albany Host Bruce Jacobs Apologizes After Making Gay Joke.  Talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs finds himself  apologizing to the public (and probably fighting for his job) after referring to the WNBA teams the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury as the “Los Angeles Lesbians” and the “Phoenix Dyke-ury.”  Jacbos said in an on-air apology, “My comments yesterday were ridiculous, stupid and amateurish.  I apologize for even uttering the comments, whether you heard them or not, whether you were offended or not.”  He told the Albany Times-Union he doesn’t believe he should be fired for the remarks.  “We live in a society today where no matter what you say, you’re a bigot or you’re a racist.  I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory.  So obviously I think that’s ridiculous.”  Brian Noe, program director of the Townsquare Media sports talk station, e-mailed the paper saying, “Bruce’s insensitive statement is a serious matter that is being dealt with internally.”  The station is no doubt feeling pressure from LGBT advocacy groups and others to terminate Jacobs for the misstep.

KABC, Los Angeles Announces New Program Schedule.  Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles officially announces its new program lineup and, contrary to earlier reports, it will not include a simulcast of WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera.  Instead, evening host John Phillips moves from his evening slot to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He follows Doug McIntyre and Terri Rae Elmer in the morning drive position.  The rest of the day is: Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; current morning drive host Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show; and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara in the overnight slot.  Program director Jack Silver states, “The revamped schedule is a great way for KABC to start the new year.  The new lineup puts all of KABC’s incredibly talented hosts into time slots that highlight their strengths.”

WOR, New York Clears Dave Ramsey.  Beginning January 2, the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show will air on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York in the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “In these rocky economic times, New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions.  We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio, Dave Ramsey, to our award-winning lineup in 2012.”

Rush Limbaugh May Be Moving to Clear Channel San Francisco Talk Outlet.  Liners promoting Clear Channel’s newly realigned KKSF, San Francisco are reportedly hinting “America’s anchorman” is coming to the station along with the other changes in programming and the new call letters.  You may have noticed that Clear Channel left a “to be determined” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot in its announcement of the new schedule that we reported earlier this week.  Currently, Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO has the rights to the Premiere Networks program but it makes sense Clear Channel would want to bring the show into the company fold as it has done in some other markets.

ESPN Radio’s Dan Davis Retires.  He’s been one of the primary voices of ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter since 1999.  Now, Dan Davis – who began his radio career in 1962 at WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire – announces he’s hanging up the headphones to work on his golf game in Florida.  Davis joined ESPN’s radio network when it launched in 1992 and became its primary SportsCenter update reporter in 1999.

 

Talk Pro Tom Donahue Signs with Oracle Broadcasting.  Tom Donahue has been self producing webcasts and podcasts for the past six months but announced he’s joined Oracle Broadcasting as of this week (Dec. 19) hosting the live 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program.  Donahue tells TALKERS Oracle  “is a bastion of free speech and offers a full spectrum of talk shows.  Additionally, Oracle Broadcasting Network has a consistently solid, confirmable loyal listener base!  I intend to cultivate my ties with radio stations and really grow my affiliate base.”  Oracle is an internet-based network that Donahue says has the fidelity, transmission capabilities and sub-audible tone technology necessary to accommodate station automation.

More Holiday Fill-Ins.  CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York takes advantage of its summer promotion/talent search “Fantasy Phenom II” and gives two-hour shows to the runners-up from the contest next week.  Neeraj Joshi, Patrick Creighton, Mike McMaster and Pat Totaro will host a 1:00 am to 3:00 am shift during the week…..Nicole Sandler is filling in for Premiere Networks talk star Randi Rhodes through December 30.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Motley Fool Money” with Chris Hill is added to Radio One’s soon-to-be “News 92 FM” (KROI) in Houston…..“The Costa Report” with Rebecca Costa is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle as it returns to talk in January.

Payroll Tax Cut Issue/Congress Adjourns Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 19-23.  The failure of Congress to agree on an extension of the payroll tax cut before adjourning for the holidays landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was post-Kim Jong Il North Korea followed by the euro zone debt crisis and financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View the entire chart, including the most-talked-about people of the week, here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

| December 22, 2011

Dial Global Co-CEOs New Employment Contracts Revealed.  The three co-CEOs of Dial Global have signed four-year employment contracts with the now publicly traded company that pay each a base salary of $600,000 per year.  Spencer Brown, David Landau and Kenneth Williams will each get a bonus of $250,000 for this year with future discretionary bonuses based on half their annual salaries.  In addition, each is entitled to two years salary if he leaves the company.  There are other components such as $15,000 each for an annual country club allowance and a $1,250 per month parking allowance.

Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller to Publish New Book in 2013; Comedy Album Tops iTunes Download Chart.  Progressive talk host Stephanie Miller has a deal with Grand Central Publishing – a division of Hachette Book Group – to publish a book titled Sexy Liberal! to hit stores in 2013.  In a release from syndicator Dial Global, the book is described as follows: “Mixing the personal and the political, she takes on the politicians, the media, and the issues, with her own unique blend of fearless humor and optimism.”  Concurrent with the book announcement, iTunes reports Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, Volume 1 is the #1-selling comedy album in the iTunes store.  The album features comedy bits from Miller’s live stage show of the same name with comedians John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks and Miller herself.  WYD Media Management president Ron Hartenbaum says, “Today’s audience response shows how powerful and impactful marketing on radio can be.  We have a vibrant medium, we have an effective medium and we all need to remind advertisers how effective radio is in moving product.”  Hartenbaum notes it was announced the album was for sale on Friday, December 16 at 10:00 am and by 10:45 it had reached the #1 spot.

Clear Channel Names Steven Cutler to VP/Corporate Strategy Post.  The newly created position is created by CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman as he brings Steven Cutler into the company fold to “execute key initiatives and strategies as determined by the CEO and operating division leadership.”  Cutler worked with Pittman at the private investment firm Pilot Group.  He has worked in the investment banking industry and also has worked as a financial analyst.

Dave Ramsey Rewards Listeners in “Giving Challenge.”  Nationally syndicated financial talk host Dave Ramsey rewards three listeners with $5,000 each for charity work inspired by his Giving Challenge.  In early November, Ramsey encouraged listeners to “give like no one else” during the holidays, resulting in some 7,500 stories of how listeners had given of their time and money throughout the year and especially as the holidays approached.  Ramsey calculates more than $9 million and some 68,000 hours were donated by listeners reporting their charity work.  He then surprised three of the winners of The Giving Challenge with cash rewards of $5,000.  Those recognized were: Rayme Dorsey of Champaign, Illinois who organizes an annual golf tournament benefiting Crisis Nursery in honor of her best friend killed in a car accident two years ago at Christmas.  Crisis Nursery is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect;  JV Cotterell of Durham, North Carolina.  Cotterell founded Triangle Special Hockey to eliminate barriers that keep special needs kids from getting involved in hockey; and Alisha Ballinger of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Ballinger works for Knoxville Inner-City Kids Outreach which provides after school programs and service projects for inner city children ages K through 12.

Three New Talk Programs Debut on CRN Digital Talk Radio.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the debut of “The Pet Project” program hosted by well-known Los Angeles radio personality Tammy Trujillo; the current events-themed Mark Larson show and the Christian-themed Janet Mefferd show.  CRN describes Trujillo’s new weekly program stating the “award-winning newscaster and pet lover will talk with experts about the latest news on pet products, pet adoption, medical issues and much more about the amazing world of pets.”  Larson’s program will air daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and Mefferd’s show airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily.

Payroll Tax Cut Battle/Congress Adjourns, Iowa Caucuses and Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21).  The congressional impasse over extending the payrolls tax cut, the coming Iowa caucuses in the GOP race for president in 2012 and the implications of the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

| December 21, 2011

A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.  One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.”  In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s.  He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life.  To see this not-to-be-missed exclusive video presentation, click here.

Former KGO, San Francisco Hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem to Join Clear Channel Bay Area Station; New Lineups for KNEW and KKSF Announced.  The program schedules for Clear Channel’s Bay Area talk stations are official a month after the company announced it would swap calls, and change the image of progressive talk station KKGN.  As previously reported, the 960 AM frequency becomes KNEW and 910 AM will take the new call letters KKSF.  What’s new is that former crosstown KGO talk hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem will become part of the lineup at the new Newstalk 910 (KKSF).  The program schedules for the revamped stations are as follows:  KNEW – Premiere Networks‘ Glenn Beck, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dave Ramsey, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Premiere‘s Randi Rhodes, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Compass Media Networks‘ Norman Goldman, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Market Wrap, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Stephanie Miller, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Thom Hartmann, 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.  KKSF – Armstrong & Getty, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; to be announced, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Fox News Radio‘s Tom Sullivan, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Len Tillem, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and Gene Burns, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Regarding the changes, Clear Channel San Francisco director of operations Don Parker states, “Recent changes in the talk radio market gave us the opportunity to adjust our plans for 960 KNEW.  We are excited to broaden 960 KNEW’s position to appeal to a wider variety of Bay Area listeners…We are moving Newstalk 910 into the forefront of the talk genre in the Bay Area.  With the addition of Bay Area legend Gene Burns and ‘Radio Lawyer’ Len Tillem to the line-up, we are very excited about the future.”

Rumor:  Cumulus Planning FM Talk Flip in Twin Cities.  There’s no official word from the company but the talk is hot and heavy in the Minneapolis –St. Paul market that Cumulus Media will flip one of its music FMs to talk in 2012.  Cumulus owns classic rock KQRS-FM, active rock KXXR-FM and the classic hits trimulcast of WGVX-FM, WGVY-FM and WGVZ-FM which surround the market.  Both the rock stations have done pretty well in the latest Arbitron PPMs so a lot of the chatter has the lower-rated classic hits “Love 105FM” making the switch.  Stay tuned.

Wisconsin Public Radio Talk Host Jean Feraca to Retire.  The 28-year veteran of Wisconsin Public Radio announces she’ll retire in March from the organization she’s worked at since 1983.  Jean Feraca tells the Wisconsin State Journal, “It’s just time.”  Speaking to the paper, she hinted at job cuts that clearly have affected her work environment.  “I lost everybody in my team earlier this year, and it’s been difficult.  This is sensitive stuff and I have to think it through.”

Unresolved Payroll Tax Issue/Congress Recesses, Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, 2012 Presidential Race and Uncertain Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20).  Congress’ failure to extend the payroll tax cut and its leaving for holiday break, concern over a post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, the GOP race for president in 2012 and the down year for stocks and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing TALKERS magazine research.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

| December 20, 2011

WQAM, Miami Host Sid Rosenberg Serving Unpaid Suspension.  Sid Rosenberg’s been off the air at WQAM, Miami for several weeks now with a lot of speculation as to why.  Now, according to Jose Lambiet’s Gossip Extra, the Beasley Broadcasting sports talk host is serving a six-week unpaid suspension for a plugola deal to pay off a gambling debt.  Lambiet cites a source connected to the station reporting that Rosenberg had a debt of about $100,000 to a sports betting organization and he was going to pay off the debt by plugging the operation on his program.  The details of the arrangement were spelled out in a fax to Rosenberg at the WQAM offices that the source says Rosenberg accidently left on the fax machine.  It was discovered “before he did any damage,” according to the source.  Rosenberg is scheduled to return to the air on January 2.

Phil Tower Returns to Program Director Post at WOOD-AM/FM and WTKG, Grand Rapids.  Clear Channel has been looking for a new program director for its Grand Rapids, Michigan news/talk duo of WOOD-AM/FM and WTKG since Paul Cashin left in August.  Now a familiar face returns to the building as Phil Tower takes over the PD post he held for so many years.  Tower was most recently general manager of publications/multimedia at Stafford Media Solutions.  Prior to that he was general manager of the nationally syndicated Allen Hunt show.

WBAL, Baltimore Talk Host Ron Smith Dies at 70.  It’s only been two months since WBAL talk host Ron Smith announced he’d been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.  He passed away on December 19 at his home in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania after several weeks in hospice care.  Smith spent more than 25 years at WBAL and was an institution in the market as a talk radio host and, in later years, as a columnist with the Baltimore Sun as well.

Rumor: WMAL, Washington Talk Host Chris Plante to Be Syndicated.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports rumors of a plan by Cumulus Media to syndicate Chris Plante’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk show to other stations on some sort of limited basis.  It could be that Cumulus is taking a page from Clear Channel’s playbook and is planning to distribute programming to smaller regional markets emanating from large markets like DC.  Hughes also reports talk of more job cuts coming to the Cumulus cluster in Washington.

Dave Ramsey to Buy Nashville Office Building.  The Tennesseean is reporting that nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey – through a company called Andy’s Union, LLC – is buying a four-story office building in downtown Nashville for $1.6 million.  The building is known locally as the Jackson law office since it sits on the site of what is believed to have been the law office of Andrew Jackson.  The current building was built in 1996.  Ramsey’s plans for the building are unknown.

“The Costa Report” Clears Seattle on Fisher’s KVI, Seattle.  When KVI returns to a talk format in January, it’ll air the weekly “Costa Report” program being distributed by Broadcast Affiliate Sales.  The program is described as “a weekly news talk program which features a one-hour interview with a world leader or expert, followed by a second hour of call-ins from listeners.”  It’s hosted by Rebecca Costa who states, “Americans are sick and tired of the rage-a-holics who have hijacked talk radio, hosts who, day after day, spew hateful, divisive rhetoric which has torn the country apart.  ‘The Costa Report’ is the voice of the ‘rational center of America’ – citizens who don’t care if a solution comes from the left or the right as long as it really works.”  Costa is a sociobiologist and author of The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction (Vanguard Press 2010).

Wrappin’ With Jack!  This mass of people you see here are gathered at Northside Ford in San Antonio for the 13th annual Wrappin’ With Jack event in which listeners gather to wrap donated gift items for children and adults through the Family Services Association of San Antonio.  KTSA’s Jack Riccardi proudly notes that some 600 people showed up to volunteer their services.  “We set new records for participants, gifts donated, and for the first time in our 13 years, we managed to ‘adopt’ 100% of the families FSA was hoping to serve.  I think our growth is largely due to the unique call-to-action: You don’t have to donate money or a toy to participate (although many people do) – all we ask is that you show up and help us wrap, while enjoying live Christmas music performed by local musicians and treats served by local restaurants.  Although the radio station gets behind ‘WWJ’ logistically, it’s mainly a talk show host appealing to his listeners for help in a worthy cause, and people responding to the intimacy and immediacy of that.”  The event took place on December 13 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Steve Gill Launches “Generous Hearts” Charitable Program.  Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill recently created the Generous Hearts charitable organization in conjunction with local charities Nashville Wraps and A Generous Heart.  Since November, it has raised $20,000 in cash for the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, 750 turkeys delivered to the Nashville Rescue Mission and has offered aid to six homeless Sumner County families to bring Christmas to life this season.  Gill says Generous Hearts is aligning with a regional food bank’s mobile pantry to help feed Middle Tennessee’s hungry families.  Gill states, “The ‘Generous Hearts’ project initiative, throughout 2012, is to raise funds as well as provide increased visibility to people and organizations in need.  As an active community member, ‘friend-raising’ is as vital as fundraising.”

NRG Media’s KKAR, Omaha Raises Funds for Child Saving Institute.  On Friday, December 16, news/talk KKAR, Omaha held a radiothon to raise funds for the Child Saving Institute that provides a safe haven and healing for thousands of innocent young victims of family crisis, neglect and abuse.  Program director Neil Nelkin says the event raised $60,000 for the institute.  “The listeners of KKAR delivered again this year.  Despite the economy, the listeners opened their hearts and their wallets to make a difference for a wonderful cause that will brighten the holidays of hundreds of children in need throughout Omaha.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

| December 19, 2011

Filling in for the Holidays.  Today marks the beginning of “holiday fill-in season” on talk radio which pretty much runs through the rest of the year.  It is the time when a significant percentage of full-time hosts working at individual radio stations (and even syndicated hosts for that matter) take all or part of their annual vacations.  This process provides fill-in hosts and part-time weekend and bench hosts with the opportunity to get out there and hopefully shine.  It also has the potential to provide listeners with fresh voices and perspectives.  And it always presents already overworked programmers with the challenge of keeping their schedules flowing and appealing.  They want someone who is professional and interesting – but they also want someone who won’t upset the applecart of stationality or listener expectations.  WGN, Chicago PD Bill White explains, “I equate a fill-in host to someone hosting a dinner party in someone else’s home.  Fill-in hosts should be respectful of the regular host’s audience but not rearrange all the furniture.  We also look for fill-in hosts who will be comfortable and compliment the regular host’s audience.”  Thus, qualified substitutes are a valuable commodity at this time of year when the demand for their services is drastically increased, especially when most stations’ air staffs have been cut back or depleted due to the economy and PDs must look for help from outside.  For example, one of the industry’s most popular substitutes, former congressman and KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on 12/20 and 12/28.  He’ll be heard on hosting local shows on KXNT-FM, Las Vegas on 12/23 and 12/29-30; WLS, Chicago on 12/24, 28-30; WGST, Atlanta on 12/26; KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego on 12/27; and WPHT, Philadelphia on 12/28-30.  Demand for quality substitutes is so high that some hosts already doing full-time work use it as an opportunity to pick up extra income and exposure.  As if he is not already doing enough on his “regular” gigs, hard working and extremely talented Clear Channel talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA, Denver; and “The Weekend”) fills in for Premiere Networks syndicated star Glenn Beck on 12/20, 23, 28 and 30. This year’s holiday season coming in the thick of the big election cycle creates even more pressure to keep stations on track.  Greater Media-owned WTKK-FM, Boston PD Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “It’s important at 96.9 FM-WTKK to provide our audience with relevant shows throughout the holiday season that are timely and topical.  Our host vacation schedules are scattered and their fill-ins are often regular participants to their shows and share similar philosophies.  Since January 2012 is a huge month for presidential politics and New Hampshire is our neighbor, I think it’s imperative to keep 96.9 Boston Talks ‘primarily’ intact and compelling.”  At Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno, PD Skip Essick likes to avoid throwing curves to listeners, “I try and keep programming as normal as possible.  This year it will not be as much of a challenge with Christmas Eve and Day on the weekend – same thing over New Years.  But, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving – which was designated as a company holiday – I ran full staff with regular programming.  I’ll do the same for Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and the numerous Monday holidays throughout the year.  In a nutshell – if our listeners are at work, so are we.”  Some hosts prefer to work over the holidays and at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York, program director Scott Lakefield tells TALKERS that’s the case.  “For instance, John Gambling began a ‘tradition’ of sorts of taking his ‘holiday’ vacation in January.  He will be live 12/27-30.  Generally speaking, though, my theory is to try to do ‘best-of’ compendium shows during vacation times, with the exception of drive-time when information is a bigger component and it is thus necessary to be live.  Guest hosts in my experience drive far more listeners away than hearing some ‘classic’ moments from their favorite hosts does.”  In the sports talk radio world this situation can be particularly compelling since so many outlets have a high percentage of local full-time hosts and thus more slots to fill.  Plus, opinions and personality categories in sports talk are often more idiosyncratic than general news/talk, making it more challenging to find the proper fit.  CBS-owned Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh PD Terry Foxx tells TALKERS, “Holiday fill-in for us is very important.  I match up our part-time hosts based on how I feel they will entertain and incite opinions from our fans in certain day parts.”  Some stations have fill-in hosts with a history at the station such as veteran TV/radio personality Wayne Powers who subs for Keith Larson on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte 12/26-30…  and the list goes on.  J.D. Hayworth, who is looking to get back into the business on a regular basis as either a local or syndicated host, tells TALKERS, “As a genuine ‘broadcasting baby boomer,’ I remember the ubiquitous Robert Q. Lewis on TV game shows: most frequently, a panelist…but quite frequently, a guest host…and eventually a regular host!  So, I’m being ‘Lewis-like’ over the holidays!  During my years at N.C. State, the joke was Lou Holtz recruited me at right tackle, but I ended up ‘left out!’  So…I’m used to waiting on the the bench, but very happy to get loads of holiday airtime. I’m certain these appearances will help me leave the bench and get back in the game full time!”

John Thompson Ends Regular Talk Show at WTEM, Washington.  The iconic former Georgetown University basketball coach and talk host in the DC market since 1999 will step away from his regular show on Red Zebra’s WTEM in February to pursue other interests.  Red Zebra director of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “While a sad day for the station, we fully support Coach Thompson’s decision to move on to other projects.  As Coach and I discussed at the time of his decision, this is not a retirement.  His fans will still hear Coach Thompson on ESPN980 from time to time.  Thompson’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daily with co-host Doc Walker.  Sapienza doesn’t state what the station’s plans are after Thompson steps down.

Chattanooga’s Brewer Media to Drop News/Talk on WPLZ-FM Citing Expense of the Format.  It’s been three years since the locally owned Brewer Media put a news/talk format on WPLZ-FM, Chattanooga.  Owner Jim Brewer II tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he would have needed more staff to be competitive in the market.  “I think we offered a good product and I will miss having news/talk in our building…being a small, single market cluster, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure.”  The station will flip to an unspecified music format in the new year and will lay off talk hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes as well as PD Gary Poole, news director Louis Lee and a couple other employees.  Brewer Media owns three other FMs in the market including sports talk WALV – ESPN 105.1.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WWCS, Pittsburgh to Sports; Affiliates with Fox Sports Radio.  Birach Broadcasting has been airing a Spanish music format on the signal but flips to sports on January 1 as Fox Sports 540.  It’ll take most of the Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed lineup – Zakk & Jack, the Dan Patrick show, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT the Brick plus Premiere NetworksJim Rome.  FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin states, “After a short hiatus, Fox Sports Radio is thrilled to be heard again in the great city of Pittsburgh!”  The network was previously affiliated with Clear Channel’s WBGG.  In addition to CC’s WBGG, CBS Radio operates sports KDKA-FM in the market.

Dr. Jenn Berman to Host New VH1 Program “Couples Therapy.”  Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and host of the Sirius XM talk show, “The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn,” is the host of a new cable TV show produced by Irwin Entertainment, the producers of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”  The program will follow the travails of five celebrity couples and they go through therapy with Dr. Jenn Berman.  Shows hit the air in the spring.  Dr. Berman tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this exciting venture on VH1.  I’m looking forward to being that connecting link between viewers and the process of examining the challenges of a celebrity relationship.  I think people will be very surprised by how much they identify with these celebs and their personal struggles.”  Couples taking part in the program are: DMX (Rapper) & Tashera Simmons, Linda Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) & Charlie Hill, Chris Nirschel (“The Next Food Network Star”) & Angelina Pivarnick (“Jersey Shore”), Kasey Kahl (“Bachelorette”) & Vienna Girardi (“The Bachelor”) and Reichen Lehmkuhl & Rodiney Santiago (“The A-List: New York”).

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Named to State Travel Commission.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces WJIM, Lansing-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels – heard throughout the state via the Michigan Talk Network – will serve on the Michigan Travel Commission.  “One of the key components to building a better and stronger Michigan is to continuously promote all the attractions our state has to offer, including our beautiful lakes and great landmarks.  Michael Patrick Shiels is a great addition and uniquely positioned to be a great asset to the commission.”  In addition to his radio work, Shiels is a travel writer and founder of TravelTattler.com.  Subject to approval by the Michigan Senate, Shiels will serve the remainder of Jim Berryman’s term through September 2014. Berryman recently resigned.

Ira Weintraub Takes PD Role at WTKA, Ann Arbor.  Cumulus Media Ann Arbor names APD and morning show producer Ira Weintraub program director for sports talk outlet WTKA – The Ticket 1050.  Market manager Matt Spaulding says, “Ann Arbor is a market with a tradition of providing compelling, passionate and relevant broadcast products to the listeners of southeast Michigan.  Ira Weintraub has absolutely earned this promotion and we are confident that he will help lead WTKA to many more years of broadcasting success.”

WGN, Chicago’s Milt Rosenberg Hosts 2011 Retrospective Tonight.  “Extension 720” host Milt Rosenberg hosts a special edition of his program this evening (12/19) titled, “WGN Year in Review” with fellow WGN personalities Garry Meier, John Williams and David Kaplan.  The hosts will look back on the stories that made the year 2011 from the Rod Blagojevich case to the death of Osama bin Laden to the hiring of Theo Epstein as the Cubs’ general manager.  The program airs at 10:00 pm.

Friday, December 16, 2011

| December 16, 2011

Will Howard Stern’s Role on “America’s Got Talent” Hurt NBC’s Ability to Sell Ads?  By now you know that it’s official that Sirius XM’s Howard Stern is replacing Piers Morgan on the very successful summer talent search program, “America’s Got Talent.”  It didn’t take long for the Parents Television Council to react (they probably had the press release ready weeks ago!).  PTC president Tim Winter stated, “In an act of desperation for a flailing network, NBC has hired Howard Stern – a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity – as a judge on a prime-time talent competition.  The once-proud broadcast network has lost its way and has made it clear it holds no concern whatsoever for children and families.  It also risks losing millions in advertising dollars.”  We are not sure about the “flailing network” part – “America’s Got Talent” was the number one non-sports program among the four networks last summer and NBC has probably seriously considered what Stern’s effect on the program will be.  Certainly Stern won’t be interviewing porn stars on the TV show but he does come with a reputation and if the PTC and other groups decide to mount a serious campaign against NBC, will they be able to hurt the network over Stern’s reputation and not what actually transpires on the show?  Stay tuned.

Occupy KGO Draws Protesters to San Francisco Studios.  Earlier this week TALKERS reported the planned Occupy KGO event scheduled for yesterday (12/15) in reaction to Cumulus Media’s firing of Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro, Gil Gross and several other talk hosts as the station moves to a newsier format.  The protest took place and, according to Matthew Lasar of RadioSurvivor.com, there were about 50 people gathered outside the studios at the height of the activity (accompanying photo from RadioSurvivor.com), including recently dismissed talk host John Rothman.  Lasar says Rothman told him, “Our hope is that Mickey Luckoff, our former president and general manager, is in the process of putting together a deal which would take all of us to one station and hopefully we will go with our advertisers, and we’ll begin all over again.” KGO issues the following statement regarding the protest: “KGO listeners are passionate about their station.  We appreciate their input and feedback as we evolve from a news/talk format to more news and information.”  Occupy KGO protesters say they’ll be back on December 30 for another march.

New KABC, Los Angeles Lineup: Geraldo in, Elder to PM Drive and More.  The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan reports reliable sources tell him the new lineup for Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is set and will debut in January.  Already known is that Doug McIntyre and Terri-Rae Elmer will host “McIntyre in the Morning.”  Lycan reports that Geraldo Rivera – emanating from WABC, New York – will host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on delay.  Other changes include evening host John Phillips moving from his current slot to a one-hour 9:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Premiere NetworksSean Hannity remains in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot followed by Larry Elder, who moves to the PM drive daypart from late mornings.  Current AM driver Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show following Citadel Media NetworksMark Levin in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm position.

Female Demo Innovator Debbie Nigro Targets 40-Plus Female Audience with “Still a Babe” Concept.  One of the holy grails in talk radio programming is figuring out a dependable method of connecting with the underserved, under-reached female market.  If anyone out there has experience and a degree of success in this arena, it’s radio pro Debbie Nigro of “Working Mom on the Run” fame.  Now Debbie Nigro has turned her attention to reaching women ages 40-65 with her StillaBabe.com initiative.  The veteran of WPIX-FM, New York and the aforementioned nationally syndicated “Working Mom on the Run” program which made a big buzz in the 1990s says the “Still a Babe” concept comes from the sum of her life’s experiences.  She tells TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian, “It is about figuring out how to enjoy your life through it all and being around people who bring out the best in you.  I have great instincts about people and have so much information to share.  My revenue will come from media, product sales, offline events and licensing.  This is a collective power of the purse.  Women want to play with whom they trust.  I let my guard down so they know who I am.”  Nigro’s track record warrants industry attention.  Read more and see her very cool video presentation here.

“Free Talk Live” Jumps into the Fray Between Mark Levin and Michael Savage.  You already know that TRN host Michael Savage offered New Gingrich $1 million to quit the GOP race and, in response, Mark Levin offered Savage $100,000 to quit his radio program.  “Free Talk Live” host and founder Ian Freeman isn’t asking either host to quit his job for money.  Here’s his offer: “‘Free Talk Live’ will give $1,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if Mark Levin and Michael Savage will have lunch with an Orthodox Muslim and also an undocumented immigrant that is working to feed his or her family.  Levin and Savage will have to video record their encounters and do less than 40% of the talking in each conversation.  Each host can earn up to $500 for St. Jude by submitting one video for their lunch with the Muslim and another for the immigrant.  Upon public upload to YouTube and once verified that the host listened in a video to at least 60% of the conversation, $250 will be given to St. Jude.  If by 2012 the hosts have not accomplished this goal, ‘Free Talk Live’ will raise at least $1,000 to be given to St. Jude in the name of peace, freedom, and compassion for other humans.”  If you’re interested in hearing more about this offer from Freeman, e-mail him at ian@freetalklive.com.

Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Leases Irving, Texas Studio Space for Production and Live Events.  Since moving his personal residence to Texas, Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck has been working to relocate his Mercury Radio Arts production company to the Lone Star State and now it appears he’s found the space.  The Studios at Las Colinas is an existing facility that’s been home to the production of Hollywood films (“Robocop,” “JFK” and “Talk Radio” to name a few).  Mercury Radio Arts will lease space there for his GBTV studios from Muller Entertainment Studio Operations.  The site comes complete with a 500-plus seat theater for live performances and Beck will invite live audiences for tapings of his eponymous GBTV show.  He will also produce his radio program from the location.  In a release, Beck says, “I have come to know and respect the people of Texas and could not be more excited about GBTV studios – the future home of GBTV and a multi-platform destination for the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment.  We are proud to become part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are eager to become good neighbors and members of the local community.”

Cumulus Media Networks Names Jerry King Director of Operations in Dallas.  Mike McVay recently left his consulting firm McVay/Cook & Associates to take the SVP of corporate programming at Cumulus.  Now another McVay/Cook executive joins the Cumulus fold as Jerry King leaves his VP of operations and programming post there for the director of operations position with syndication arm Cumulus Media Networks in Dallas.  King will oversee the network’s Dallas operations, as well as the program directors and the 24/7 satellite delivered radio programming in fourteen different formats originating from Dallas beginning January 1.  Mike McVay states, “Jerry’s multi-format experience and expertise of the radio industry makes him a perfect fit for running our worldwide satellite operations as well as our diverse programming.”

Greater Media Introduces Anthony Michaels as New WLNK-FM, Charlotte PD.  The talk-intensive Hot AC station features Bob & Sheri in AM drive and Matt and Ramona in PM drive.  Anthony Michaels is the evening host and has served as interim PD for the station.  Now, Greater Media Charlotte VP and market manager Rick Feinblatt announces Michaels’ new role as program director.  “Anthony has done an amazing job as interim PD, along with his duties as APD and a night air shift. We look forward to him taking the station to the next level under his leadership.”  Michaels replaces Kris Abrams who exited the post four months ago.

2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 12-16.  The battle between GOP primary candidates and the issues being discussed as part of the 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart this week.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  Also on the chart this week at #2 is the threatened government shutdown/payroll tax cut issue.  At #3 is the Iraq troop withdrawl and at #4 is NTSB cell phone ban proposal.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is picked up by Pamplin’s KKOV, Vancouver, Washington…..“The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” adds WGDJ, Albany; WILS, Lansing; WGHN, Grand Haven, Michigan; and KSZL, Barstow, California.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

| December 15, 2011

WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position.  Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff.  In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow.  Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process.  A story’s execution will be determined at its origin.  It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile.  In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer.  Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7.  No other radio station in America does this.  And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained.  The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.”  Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America.  She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”

NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News.  Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom.  According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations.  Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering.  These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences.  The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.”  NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world.  These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”

Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns.  Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues.  The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016.  S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due.  When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.

CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation.  The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country.  Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners.  The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.”  CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment.  Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience.  This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV.  She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America.  WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc.  The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company.  Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre.  To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.

Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show.  The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.”  It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses.  According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday.  It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.

KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January.  The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra.  The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible.  The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products).  If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.”  Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.

Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports.  The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com.  Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX.  On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports.  Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports.  Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”

NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14).  The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

| December 14, 2011

Mark Levin Attacks Michael Savage Over Gingrich Offer; Raises Question of Legality of Savage’s Actions.  In response to Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s offer of $1 million to Newt Gingrich to drop out of the GOP race for the presidential nomination, Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin broadcast an offer to Savage to quit his radio program for good for the sum of $100,000.  Now, clearly Levin is toying with Savage in the spirit of a good old fashioned radio war – according to the Daily Caller, he stated on his program, “Let me tell you, that’s extremely generous on my part because he’s already going nowhere…That’s right — he’s losing affiliates left and right.  That’s what happens when you take your audience for granted and take your affiliates for granted.”  But Levin also asked if Savage’s offer to Gingrich was a “legal bribe.”  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the federal government generally leaves the policing of elections to the states but that some states have statutes prohibiting this behavior.  South Carolina, for example, specifically prohibits offering or accepting or attempting to offer or accept money or other forms of compensation to induce a person to file or withdraw from an election.  Violation could mean a fine of $10,000 or up to a year in jail but Weisman says the likelihood of a South Carolina prosecutor seeking charges in this instance would be slim.  They would probably interpret it as a radio stunt and not what the statute was intended to prohibit.  Nonetheless, at least in South Carolina, Savage’s offer is technically illegal.

Cumulus Media Networks Partners with Benztown Branding.  This partnership brings together two of the industry’s largest production and imaging operations.  Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus will manage the affiliation and ad sales for all of the Benztown Branding imaging and production libraries and in return, Benztown will manage the production of Cumulus’ stable of production services.  Additionally, Cumulus will handle ad sales for Benztown programs including: “Roundtrip with Dave O,” “Dr. Bruce Hensel,” “The Storm Report,” “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire,” “The Bring It Minute with Tony Horton” and “Race Report Update.”  Cumulus inked a deal to manage ad sales for Benztown’s “Melissa Etheridge Radio Show” earlier this year.”  Cumulus Media Networks production libraries and imaging services affected by this deal include: Adrenaline, Ambush, Horsepower, Goldmine, Avalanche and Turbulence.  Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast services Dennis Green says, “This partnership is an outstanding opportunity to enhance the portfolios of both companies by combining some of the most talented and creative producers and designers in radio with our dedicated sales and affiliation teams.  Benztown brings tremendous category knowledge to the table and has an extremely successful track record of delivering innovative services for stations.  Working together allows us to broaden the scope of our collective efforts.”

Cincinnati Talk Host Andy Furman Resigns from WQRT.  Andy Furman has hosted the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm talk show on Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Florence, Kentucky for the past two years.  He tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that his last broadcast is Friday, December 16 but that he can’t say more because he’s “in a precarious situation.”  Kiesewetter surmises Furman has a new deal that he can’t talk about just yet.  Furman was a longtime sports talk host at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati but exited that station three years ago.  He’s been hosting some weekend programming for Fox Sports Radio Network in addition to his work in Cincinnati.

Jeff Weber to Resign from Blue Star Media Post.  Blue Star Media owns and operates the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network as well as stations in the Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut market and in Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Boston.  Jeff Weber has served as executive vice president of the company for the past 10 years but says he’ll step down at the end of the year.  “I am extremely proud of our company’s growth since I joined it.  It’s been very gratifying to see us increase the affiliate base of 112 stations airing BTRN’s programming to more than 1,000 now carrying the shows of LTRN and BTRN.  In addition, the acquisition of our four radio properties helped round out a solid company.”

Clear Channel Brings Progressive Talk to Milwaukee on an HD-3 Channel.  One of the country’s more successful progressive talk outlets is Clear Channel’s WXXM-FM, Madison, Wisconsin – 92.1 The Mic.  Now, the company announces it’s simulcasting the station to the larger Milwaukee market on the HD-3 channel of Hip Hop WKKV-FM.  Operations manager Tim Scott says, “92.1 The Mic is arguably one of the most successful progressive talk stations in the country.  The upcoming presidential election and the political atmosphere in this state makes now the perfect time for progressive talk to expand its message to Wisconsin’s largest market.”  It’s interesting to note that WXXM-FM almost flipped from progressive talk several years ago but a strong outcry from fans of the station convinced CC management that Madison was a market worthy of keeping the format.  92.1 The Mic features a stable of syndicated talk including Dial Global’s Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz plus Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes plus local talk host Doug Cunningham.

WTDY, Madison Gets FM Simulcast.  Mid-West Family Stations takes the 106.7 frequency licensed to Mount Horeb, Wisconsin west of Madison and airs news/talk WTDY on the signal to complement its 1670 AM signal.  WTDY-FM at 106.7 is a class A FM situated pretty far to the west of Madison.  Fortunately, that part of Wisconsin is pretty flat.

 

TALKERS Offers Free Ads for Open Jobs.  As a service to the talk media industry, TALKERS is making its online Jobs section available to any and all legitimate employers with positions to fill beginning immediately.  Broadcasters and talk media-affiliated businesses with job openings should send position descriptions, requirements and contact information to TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at: kevin@talkers.com.  Also, be sure to let us know when the position is filled so we can pull the ad off our site.  TALKERS keeps all job posting information strictly confidential and reserves the right to reject any ad for any reason.

2012 Presidential Race, Iran/U.S. Drone Case, End of U.S. Iraq Involvement and Euro Zone Debt Crisis/Markets Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13).  The ongoing battle between GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the U.S. drone Iran claims to possess, the coming end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, the euro zone debt crisis and the reaction by the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research by TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

| December 13, 2011

Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage Offers Newt Gingrich $1 Million to Drop Out of Race.  TRN nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage says he’s putting his money where his mouth is and is offering former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the presidential race.  Savage says he’s been enumerating the reasons on his radio program why Gingrich cannot win a campaign against President Obama – only Mitt Romney can – and since that, in his opinion, is the most important problem the country faces, he’s making the financial offer.  “If Newt Gingrich really loves this country as much as he says he does, if he really wants what is best for America, he will set his ego aside, call me and accept my offer.  His continued candidacy spells nothing but ruin for conservatives, Republicans and all true American patriots.”  Savage is giving Gingrich 72 hours to accept.  There’s no word from the Gingrich camp but one competing syndication executive (who prefers to remain anonymous) says Gingrich better read the fine print, “It would be too bad if Newt deprives GOP primary voters of his ideas and energy, only to find out he’s getting $1 million worth of unsold Savage Nation t-shirts and jerky treats.”

Sacramento Occupy Protesters Target Clear Channel Sacramento.  Organized by activist Sue Wilson’s Media Action Center, people upset by the loss of progressive talk programming were encouraged to “occupy” Clear Channel stations across the country yesterday (12/12) by asking to see the stations’ public files to learn about complaints to the stations and about the stations’ sales of political ads to candidates.  About 11 protesters made their concerns known to KFBK, Sacramento management and, in an orderly fashion, inspected the station’s public file.  Sheriff’s officers were on hand and protesters were not allowed to occupy the station.  As is often the case, many people misunderstand a station’s obligation to provide programming that appeals to all citizens – a misunderstanding promulgated by the old Fairness Doctrine (now off the books).  Wilson is quoted in the Sacramento Bee saying, “All our voices need to be heard.”  But TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it succinctly to a Bee reporter stating, “Fairness is not guaranteed by the First Amendment – freedom from government censorship is.”  In what is apparently a separate movement, some Bay Area residents are planning an Occupy KGO event on Thursday (12/15) to protest Cumulus Media’s recent changes at KGO, San Francisco, although their argument doesn’t seem to imply unfairness – just anger at the changes made to the station’s programming.

Geraldo Rivera to KABC, Los Angeles Too?  Respected Southern California radio trade writer Don Barrett is reporting that Don Imus said on his program that Geraldo Rivera – officially announced to be taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at WABC, New York in January – will also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles.  Barrett writes that it wasn’t clear whether in which daypart Rivera would be heard but that it obviously raises the question of whom it may affect at KABC – specifically Larry Elder who hosts the late morning program there.  Stay tuned.

Clark Howard Clarification.  A number of industry readers may have glossed over yesterday’s story published by TALKERS about Dial Global financial talk host Clark Howard’s program and come away with an incorrect conclusion.  Howard’s show is still three hours long.  What’s changing is that Howard is repurposing some content for the third hour so that he can cut back on some of the long hours he’s putting in due to the multitude of media ventures in which he’s involved.

Bob Agnew Joins Carey Brothers as GM of On the House Media.  Longtime sports and talk programmer Bob Agnew has been named general manager of James and Morris Carey’s “On the House Media” syndication firm.  Agnew, who has served as program director of such diverse outlets as KNBR, San Francisco and KXNT, Las Vegas, will be responsible for developing the sales staff, managing affiliate relations, new business development and programming at the Brentwood, California firm that has syndicated the popular talk radio home improvement show “On the House with the Carey Bothers” for more than a quarter century.  He will also work closely with the operation’s PR firm Kleber and Associates with regard to media relationships, client services and the expansion of the website.  Upon making the announcement, James Carey tells TALKERS, “Morris and I and our entire team are thrilled to have Bob Agnew ‘take the reins’ and lead our media franchise as it enters its 26th year.  We have had the pleasure of knowing Bob for over 20 years and have enjoyed an enduring professional and personal relationship.  Bob’s unique combination of management, leadership and people skills make him superbly qualified to guide On the House Media in realizing its full potential.  As one of the leading radio programmers in the U.S., Bob ‘gets’ what local radio stations – programming and sales – need to make their businesses successful.  We are confident that Bob’s keen insight will be of tremendous benefit to our radio affiliates, marketing partners and audience.”  OTH is a multi-media operation with a four-hour live Saturday show, weekday tips, podcasts, accessible on iPhones and iPads with the new OTH app.  OTH has 140 radio show affiliates and 125 affiliates taking the daily tips.

Clear Channel Names Bob Stohrer Chief Marketing Officer for Clear Channel Digital.  Stohrer will work with Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lekamp.  He’ll oversee the national marketing plans, brand execution and social marketing efforts for CC Digital with an emphasis on iHeartRadio.  Lekamp states, “Bob’s extensive experience in both brand positioning and creative development brings the innovative vision and tactical expertise that will increase brand awareness, drive growth and unlock our full potential moving forward.  We look forward to the leadership and insight he will bring to the Clear Channel Digital team.”

CBS TV Expands “Face the Nation.”  Bob Schieffer announced that CBS TV is turning its “Face the Nation” Sunday morning issues program into a 60-minute program beginning in April.  The show has been a 30-minute production since its inception.  Schieffer said on last Sunday’s program that the show will expand, “because more and more of you have been turning to ‘Face the Nation’ during this campaign season, so we thank you.”

Holiday Program Available to Stations.  A three-hour program called “The Gift” is available to radio stations across the country for air between December 24 and 26.  The program is produced by the Fisher House Foundation and created especially for the holiday season.  It features interviews with wounded warriors Matt ZajacTammy Duckworth and Dale Beatty; the mother of an injured service member, Becky Ziegel; and a father who lost his son in combat, Robert Stanton.  The stories – equally heartbreaking and inspiring – are vehicles to a greater understanding of the sacrifices our military and their families make every day, so that our nation may be home, safe and with their own families during the holidays.  Fisher House Foundation chairman and CEO Ken Fisher says, “Just one percent of Americans serve in the military, protecting and safeguarding a population that does not fully appreciate the depth of sacrifice these people make.  These people are true heroes.  We want to let the world know just how much they do for us every day, and ensure that if they have a need, that it is met.”  The Fisher House Foundation raises money to create housing for the families of wounded service personnel so they have a place to stay near them while they recuperate.  Stations interested in carrying the program should contact Ron Rivlin at: ron.rivlin@cumulus.com.

Obama on “60 Minutes,” SCOTUS to Hear AZ Illegal Immigration Law Challenge, Weekend GOP Debate and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12).  President Obama’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” program, the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments challenging Arizona’s illegal immigration law, the GOP presidential candidates debate that took place over the weekend and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, December 12, 2011

| December 12, 2011

Cumulus Brings Geraldo Rivera to Radio at WABC, New York.  Geraldo Rivera has done a lot of media in his career (including WABC-TV) but he’s never hosted a regular radio talk show.  Beginning in January he’ll get his chance with the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program following Don Imus and leading into Rush Limbaugh on Cumulus’ WABC, New York.  Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York TimesBrian Stelter the company’s research indicates “people are interested in hearing a different perspective, a different voice, a more balanced opinion” and although Rivera is actually a registered Republican, he’s more liberal than WABC’s Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.  Dickey also states he expects Rivera to draw in younger listeners and females to the station.  Rivera’s program will be a New York-only show but Dickey doesn’t discount the idea of going into syndication with Rivera if the show is a success.  Rivera tells the Times, his show will have two positioning statements that help define him as a different kind of radio talk show host: “I’m Geraldo and I’m not always right” and “Not red, not blue, but red, white and blue.”  Rivera still works at Fox News Channel where he’s been a correspondent since 2001 but his “Geraldo at Large” show airs just once per week though he also does daytime reporting and makes regular appearances on the channel’s midday “Happening Now” program.  The late morning slot at WABC opened up when the station let Joe Crummey and Patty Steele go last week.

KABC, Los Angeles Confirms New Doug McIntyre Morning Drive Show.  The host of the nationally syndicated Cumulus Media Networks late-night show “Red Eye Radio” begins his duties as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC, Los Angeles in January.  Last week Cumulus announced it would merge the Eric Harley and Gary McNamara-hosted “Midnight Radio Network” program with “Red Eye Radio” and Doug McIntyre would leave those duties.  Now, speculation that McIntyre moves back to morning drive at KABC – the program he hosted from 2004 to 2009 – is confirmed.  News pro Terri-Rae Elmer – who announced her exit from Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI last week – is co-host of the new program.  In a release, Cumulus says, “The show will feature McIntyre’s unique sense of humor and ability to get to the heart of the biggest stories affecting Los Angeles and Orange County.”  McIntyre says, “I’m excited to return to the morning drive with leading radio station, KABC.  I look forward to keeping my audience informed and entertained as they wake up with me each morning.”  Current KABC morning host Peter Tilden appears to be staying with the company in a capacity to be announced later.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Morning Host Al Gardner to Program Merlin Media’s Philly Station.  Philadelphia native Al Gardner has been co-hosting the morning drive show at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM since 1997.  In January he’ll return to his hometown to take on the vice president of programming position at Merlin Media’s WKDN-FM Philadelphia – a station Merlin is expected to flip to an all-news format.  The Charlotte Observer reports the 64-year-old Gardner has been doing some consulting for the recently formed Merlin Media and Gardner tells the paper of his new gig, “This is a pinch-me job.  It couldn’t be better.”  Greater Media is letting Gardner out of his contract a year early to pursue the Merlin position.  As for WBT, program director Carl East tells the paper sports anchor Jim Szoke will take on a bigger role on the morning program alongside current morning co-host Stacey Simms.

Dial Global Star Clark Howard Cuts Live Portion of Program to Two Hours.  Saying he’s been burning the candle at both ends, money guru Clark Howard tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho he’s cutting back on his radio work and will only do two hours of live programming daily.  Affiliates that want to continue with three hours will get a third hour composed of best-of segments from the live show content.  Clark Howard tells Ho that he’s just finished touring to promote his latest book, “Living Large in Lean Times,” and he recently had to take two weeks off after a bout with laryngitis.  Howard, with some 600 radio affiliates, is a busy guy.  In addition to his radio work, he does TV segments for 15 Cox-owned TV stations, hosts a weekend show on cable TV’s HLN and operates the digital media station clarkhoward.com.

Robert Wuhl and Doug Urbanski Shows to Be Dropped by Dial Global.  That’s not the official word from Dial Global, it’s what TALKERS is hearing through the grapevine.  Both Robert Wuhl’s and Doug Urbanski’s shows were Westwood One properties that came to Dial Global with the merger of the two companies announced back in August.  Lean times make broadcast companies assess where they are spending money and we can only assume that the shows are not bringing in the kind of cash required to justify their continuation.  It’s expected the shows’ affiliates have been quietly notified so they can make programming plans for 2012.

WWRL Morning Host Mark Riley on TALKERS TV.  In an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey on the scene at last Thursday’s “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row, the veteran New York City broadcaster discusses the evolution of Big Apple urban talk radio as well as his own.  Mark Riley points out that his AM drive program is heard by a variety of listeners including both African Americans and whites. He talks about the positive aspects of being local in the nation’s largest market and the spectrum of issues covered in a major metropolis including the impact of guns and violence in daily city life.  Riley was one of more than 20 talk media personalities participating in the seventh annual radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence presented by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor, Liz Claiborne, Inc. at the company’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.  See the interview with Mark Riley now at TALKERS TV in the column on the right side of this page.

WGN, Chicago Partners with Ad Agency for Holiday Fundraiser.  Tribune Company talk station WGN, Chicago is partnering with ad agency Schafer/Condon/Carter to present “Carols for KidsSM” on Thursday, December 15 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.  During that time listeners are encouraged to join WGN and Schafer/Condon/Carter staffers for the mass caroling event, the second hour of which will be broadcast live on WGN.  The event included carols and entertainment from Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison and Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, WGN Radio’s Orion Samuelson and more.  Donations to the “Neediest Kids Fund” will be accepted on site during the event and online at www.SCCCarolsForKids.org.  Lou Malnati’s will also be providing slices of pizza for all attendees for a suggested donation of $3 per slice.  WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “We are so pleased that Schafer|Condon|Carter used its creativity to come up with this wonderful concept and chose the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ as its beneficiary.  We look forward to working with them to continue to raise money for the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ and help children all over Chicagoland.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

| December 9, 2011

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row a Big Apple Smash.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine presented “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held yesterday (12/8) in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event was one of the largest and most successful, bringing together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or recorded interviews for delayed broadcast.  They spoke with a non-stop parade of more than 60 experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse.   This year’s participants included: Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, NY; Andy Spano of WVOX, New Rochelle, NY; John Harper of  WNTK, Keene, New Hampshire; Deb Colitti of the Deb Colitti Show;  Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; and Dan Patterson of KoPoint.  Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service broadcasted throughout the day on several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the line-up this year for the first time were representatives of college talk radio with Farhan Husain and Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead (Hofstra University); Nichole Murphy of WLIU, Brooklyn (Long Island University) and Alyssa DiNubila of WNEK, Springfield, MA (Western New England University).  Included among those who took live and recorded feeds from the event were Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” plus many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events and this year’s installment topped all others.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”

Joe Crummey and Patty Steele Out at WABC, New York.  There’s no official word from Cumulus but late-morning talk show host Joe Crummey and recently added co-host Patty Steele are gone from the lineup at WABC and it appears the station is filling in with various local talent for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program until a permanent decision is made.  Crummey was brought in from the West Coast by former program director Laurie Cantillo who left the station earlier this fall.

Terri-Rae Elmer Leaves Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles – Possibly for KABC?  Hot rumors in Southern California have longtime KFI news anchor Terri-Rae Elmer being paired up with Doug McIntyre for a new morning show at Cumulus’ crosstown KABC in the New Year.  There’s nothing confirmed there but McIntyre’s scheduled departure from the company’s “Red Eye Radio” and its statement that it has plans for McIntyre are fueling the rumor.  Back to KFI, Elmer has been the news anchor and sidekick for KFI’s John and Ken for years.  Her position is being filled by Shannon Farren, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.

Tim Conway, Jr. Signs Deal with KFI, Los Angeles.  The OC Register’s Gary Lycan reports KFI evening host Tim Conway, Jr. has signed a contract to do his 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program on the Clear Channel station for three years.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci is quoted saying, “Tim has created a unique space on KFI that is getting record high ratings and delighting fans all over Southern California.  Not only is he number one in ratings, he’s number one at covering local news – whether it’s power outages, the eviction of the Occupy L.A. campers or the implosion of Kim Kardashian‘s marriage.  Listening to Tim’s show is like getting a free sample of what tomorrow will bring.  He is always way out front of the big stories and it’s always uniquely entertaining and done in classic Tim Conway Jr. style!”

Dennis Winslow Leaves Traverse City Stations to Focus on Consultancy.  Winslow has served as program and operations manager at Northern Radio’s WSRJ-FM/WSRT-FM, Traverse City, Michigan and its sister music FMs classic hits WFCX/WFDX for the past five years.  Now, assistant program director and host Rich Nadeau takes over his duties as Winslow concentrates on his Winslow Programming Strategies business.  Cluster general manager Charlie Ferguson says, “Dennis has done an excellent job of guiding both The Fox FM and You – FM for the past five years.  The stations have improved every aspect of our operations on his watch and we’re truly grateful for his help.”

Former Los Angeles-Area Financial Talk Host Indicted on Fraud Charges.  This is pretty much the same story you’ve heard a dozen times before – only the names, and the language are different.  John Farahi hosted “Economy Today” on Persian-language KIRN, Simi Valley, California from 2005 to 2010.  The Los Angeles Times reports Farahi – through his New Point Financial Services – promised clients their money would be invested in corporate bonds insured through the Troubled Assets Relief Program.  But prosecutors allege Farahi spent the money on personal expenses and some highly speculative investments in which he lost millions.  The scheme is reported to have lost some $20 million of investors’ money.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Compass Media NetworksNorman Goldman show becomes the PM drive show at Clear Channel’s KKZN, Denver…..The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is picked up by KBDE-FM, Waco, Texas; and WCSO-FM, Columbus, Mississippi…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” adds KNST, Tucson…..The independently syndicated Burnie Thompson show is added to WBOB, Jacksonville.

2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM Chart of Week’s Top News/Talk Stories.  The 2012 race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 5-9 according to TALKERS magazine research.  Following at #2 was President Obama’s Kansas speech.  At #3 was the payroll tax cut issue and the U.S. deficit and at #4 was the Euro Zone debt crisis.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  To see the entire chart, click on the banner below.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

| December 8, 2011

Arbitron Client Conference: “Radio Retains 93% of Audience Through Spot Breaks.”  That good news comes from the study, “What Happens When the Spots Come On?” from Arbitron, Coleman Insights and RCS/Media Monitors.  But what it means is not that 93% of listeners stay through a whole stop set.  Some go away and some new ones come in with the aggregate being that only 7% of the listenership disappears during a given spot break.  The study analyzed 17.9 million spot breaks and 61.9 commercial minutes in the 48 markets using the Portable People Meter.  But programmers and sales managers are being cautioned not to interpret the data as meaning that people aren’t bothered by too many spots and that 93% will sit through anything.  One thing the study appears to confirm is that spoken-word radio such as sports, news/talk and all-news do a better job of keeping their audiences through stop sets.

KDKA, Pittsburgh Program Director Marshall Adams Exits.  After six years with CBS Radio’s legendary KDKA, Pittsburgh, program director Marshall Adams announces his contract with the station is up and he is leaving for other opportunities.  Adams states, “It has been a privilege working for this heritage station which, as a child, gave me my first impressions of radio.  It was a dream come true every time I was able to crack the mic for a KDKA newscast.  I am very grateful to CBS Pittsburgh market manager Michael Young for giving me this terrific opportunity. I am going to miss the staff very much. They’re an incredibly talented group of people and each one of them has enriched my life.”  There’s no word from CBS Pittsburgh who will take over the PD position at KDKA.

Cox Media Group Adds Sports Content to WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia.  Cox Media Group removes much of the syndicated news/talk programming from WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia and re-positions the station as “Bulldog 103.7 North Georgia’s News, Sports & Information Station.”  Premiere NetworksJim Rome is added for middays and Yahoo! Sports programming fills in the evening and overnights.  Martha Zoller’s news/talk program moves from the 7:00 am to 11:00 am slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  The morning news program with Tim Bryant expands to 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  America’s Radio News Network’s all-news block airs in the PM drive slot.

Clear Channel Names Two to Management Roles in Spokane.  Clear Channel announces Dan Manella is the new market manager for the Spokane, Washington cluster and Michael LaCrosse takes on the operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk KQNT.  Manella most recently served with CBS Radio in Chicago as general sales manager at WXRT-FM and as senior AE at sports WSCR.  LaCrosse most recently served as operations director at Cumulus’ WLS-FM, Chicago.

On the Set of Modern Family.  Talk Radio Network and KFI, Los Angeles radio personality Phil Hendrie recently taped an episode of the hit TV show “Modern Family” in which he plays the character “Boots.”  Hendrie is pictured here on the set of the program (from l-r) with actor Ed O’Neill, director Michael Spiller, Hendrie, and actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson.  On appearing on the program, Hendrie says, “It’s not hard to figure out why ‘Modern Family’ is a hit show.  Everyone, Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, all of the crew, they were kind, complimentary and helpful.  Very, very positive people to be around.  I’m so grateful for the experience.  Thanks ‘Modern Family!’”

2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue, Jerry Sandusky Arrested on New Charges, Iran’s Nuclear Program and Blagojevich Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7).  The GOP field of candidates for president, the debate over the payroll tax cut extension, former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky arrested on more sexual abuse charges, Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions and the lost CIA drone and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence on corruption charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

| December 7, 2011

Merlin Media Enters the Philly Market.  The Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is not deterred by slow starts in New York and Chicago and will bring what many suspect is an all-news FM outlet to Philadelphia after agreeing to buy Family Stations Inc.’s class B WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey.  Merlin announces in a release that it is searching for radio pros with the line – “Merlin Media is now actively looking for staff that can pronounce Schuylkill, Wissahickon, Manayunk, Tredyffrin, Gwynedd, Pennsauken and Bryn Mawr.”  If Merlin does go with a news format, CBS Radio’s KYW is currently news leader in Philly topping the recent Arbitron PPM for November with a cume of more than 1 million and a 7.4 AQH (persons 6+).  The sale price has not been announced.  Harold Camping’s Family Stations Inc. recently agreed to sell WBGR-FM, Annapolis, Maryland to CBS Radio which will debut an FM news station there in the New Year.  The price for that station was $8.5 million and although there’s no official word on the price Merlin is paying for WKDN, reports are circulating it’s in the $22 million neighborhood.

Cumulus Media Networks Names Gary McNamara and Eric Harley New Co-Hosts for “Red Eye Radio.”  This is a consolidation of two late-night radio shows owned by Cumulus Media: the “Red Eye Radio” show founded by talk host Doug McIntyre and the WBAP, Dallas-based “Midnight Radio Network” (known to many fans over the years as the “Midnight Trucking Radio Network”) program hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara.  Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Adding Eric and Gary to our versatile lineup of talk programming is a fantastic opportunity for the network and provides two dynamic personalities to our affiliates.  This is another daypart where we can offer high-quality solutions to stations looking for relevant content that connects with local audiences.  We truly appreciate the road map Doug has created for delivering overnight listener engagement with ‘Red Eye Radio’ and we’re proud that he will continue to be part of our company.”  The company isn’t prepared to say what McIntyre’s new duties will be but reiterates he will remain with Cumulus.  He also hosts the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour on WABC, New York.  The combined affiliate bases will put the new “Red Eye Radio” program on about 150 affiliates and airs live from 1:00 am to 6:00 am Monday through Sunday beginning January 3, 2012.

Courtside Entertainment Group/Dial Global’s “Loveline” Adds Simone Bienne to Show.  The long-running “Loveline” late-night radio show co-hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood adds British sex and relationship therapist Simone Bienne to the program.  Bienne works with Pinsky on the CW Network program “Life Changers.”  Courtside Entertainment Group managing partner Norm Pattiz says of the addition, “Since taking over the program six months ago, we have committed ourselves to increasing its audience and broadening its appeal while maintaining its edgy, entertaining and irreverent approach.  ‘Loveline’ is an advice show like no other and the addition of Simone will help us reach more stations, more advertisers and more audience.”  Courtside produces the program and Dial Global is the exclusive distributor and national ad sales rep.  It airs live Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.

NBC O&O TV Stations to Partner with Non-Profit News Organizations.  According to the Los Angeles Times, in an effort for Comcast to show federal regulators it is committed to strengthening local and public-interest programming after its acquisition of NBCUniversal, some 10 major market NBC TV O&Os will partner with non-profit news organizations for enterprise and analytical reporting.  One example is KNBC-TV, Los Angeles working with Southern California Public Radio to use stories produced by each other and, in some cases, working with each other on stories.  A similar arrangement is being started between WCAU-TV, Philadelphia and WHYY, Philadelphia.  The Times story notes the model for this is a relationship between KNSD-TV, San Diego and the internet news organization Voice of San Diego which have been sharing content for some time.  KNSD-TV pays Voice of San Diego $3,700 per month.  It’s not clear how much money will change hands – if any – in the new deals described above.

Southern California Talkers Invited to Attend Nathan Pacheco Performance.  Those who attended the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum were treated to a surprise appearance by Disney Pearl Records rising international superstar Nathan Pacheco, whose lunchtime performance of “Nessun Dorma” was received with a thunderous standing ovation.  The young opera singer has been gathering worldwide attention and acclaim with the current release of a single, “O Holy Night,” performed with British star Katherine Jenkins, a forthcoming album release produced by Leo-Z (Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli), and numerous concert and television appearances.  TALKERS has just learned that this exciting artist will be performing a concert titled “Home for the Holidays” at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles on the evening of  Sunday, December 18 and Disney Pearl Records would like to make tickets to this special event available to attendees of the recent LARTF.  The first five LARTF attendees who contact Larry Harris at 360-417-8138 or e-mail at talkharris@olypen.com will each receive a pair of free tickets to this wonderful concert.  This offer is only appearing this morning (12/7) on this TALKERS headlines report — so act quickly. If you did not see Nathan Pacheco at the Talkers event check out a video of “The Making of Nessun Dorma” at  http://nathanpacheco.com/videos.php.

2012 GOP Candidates, Trump-Moderated Debate, President Obama’s Kansas Address and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/6).  The field of Republican candidates for president, the proposed Donald Trump-moderated GOP debate, President Obama’s national address from Kansas and the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

| December 6, 2011

Arbitron Reports Radio Listening Up; 1.4 Million Listeners Added.  According to Arbitron’s RADAR 111 National Radio Listening Report, 1.4 million more Americans ages 12-plus are listening to radio on a weekly basis compared to the RADAR report released one year ago.  “The number of persons 12 and older listening to radio each week now reaches an estimated 241.3 million, representing 93% of the population 12 and older,” according to Arbitron.  The report concludes, “In addition to adding 1.4 million weekly listeners during the past year, radio listening among key demographics continues to hold steady.  Compared to the December 2010 RADAR report, teens aged 12 to 17 remains consistent at 22.8 million, or 92% of that demographic’s population.  Radio listeners aged 18 to 34 increased slightly versus the December 2010 RADAR report.  Radio now reaches 66.3 million weekly listeners in this age range, that’s 93.4% of this demographic.”  The report also highlights the large increase of Hispanic listeners – more than 1 million 12-plus — from year-to-year.  Arbitron states the sample size for RADAR is 395,502 persons 12-plus which is “designed to provide more stability for key demographic estimates, dayparts and Market-by-Market Analysis reports, which report all individual DMAs®.

John B. Wells Joins “Coast to Coast AM” Air Staff.  Premiere Networks announces long-time “Coast to Coast AM” fill-in host John B. Wells becomes a regular host of the Saturday weekend edition of the program.  Wells becomes part of the staff after current weekend host Ian Punnett announces he must reduce his duties with the program to seek aggressive treatment for a debilitating case of tinnitus with which he’s suffering.  He’ll continue to host one weekend program per month.  (Punnett also continues to co-host the morning show at Hubbard Radio’s KTMY, Minneapolis with his wife Margery.)  On joining the program, Wells says, “Spending Saturday nights talking to millions of ‘Coast to Coast’ fans is a dream come true.  After guest hosting the show off and on for the last few years, it’s a real honor to officially join the ‘Coast to Coast’ and Premiere Networks crew.  This is going to be a lot of fun and a real adventure!”

Norman Goldman Snags Denver Affiliation.  Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman becomes the PM drive personality at Clear Channel’s KKZN, Denver.  Goldman’s program has been in national syndication for two years and is heard in major markets including Chicago, San Francisco and Boston as well as numerous others.  Of his newest affiliation, Goldman says, “We are thrilled and excited to be part of the live programming schedule offered daily by AM 760, Colorado’s Progressive Talk.  Our highly engaged, socially connected audience expects to interact with and comment about the live events happening around the world and respond in real time.  My sincere thanks to KKZN PD Dan Mandis for this amazing opportunity to make great live radio.”  Compass Media Networks notes Goldman began his program in 2009 with the pledge of serving local affiliates.  “Throughout the past 24 months, Goldman has held rallies, Town Halls, advertiser appearances, and events – at no charge to his stations.  His emotion-filled message of hard work, tenacity and passion for justice resonates with listeners and advertisers alike.”

Fox Sports Radio Adds Bobby Bones and Andy Roddick for Weekend Show.  Tennis great Andy Roddick partners up with Austin, Texas-based syndicated CHR morning show host Bobby Bones for a weekend program on Fox Sports Radio Network beginning on January 7, 2012.  Roddick and Bones are long-time friends and the two have talked sports on Bones’ morning show numerous times.  They also subbed on FSRN this past summer.  Bones says, “I can’t wait to get paid to talk about sports, especially since Andy and I have been doing it for free for years.  We’re pretty excited to get to use real microphones and be heard by a real audience, on Fox Sports Radio!”  Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We are proud to bring the amazing talents of Bobby Bones and Andy Roddick into the Fox Sports Radio family.  This unique duo will blow the minds of the sports talk radio audience.”

CBS Radio Names Neil Salvage Head of Digital Sales.  Neil Salvage comes to CBS Radio from CityGrid Media where he was executive vice president of advertising.  In his new position he will oversee all sales efforts on a national and local level related to CBS Radio’s digital assets, including the division’s websites, a variety of mobile assets, and online streaming initiatives.  CBS Radio president of sales Michael Weiss states, “In Neil, we have succeeded in hiring an incredibly seasoned local advertising pro with experience at well-respected companies such as Citysearch, Yellowpages.com and BellSouth.  With his background we’re confident we can acquire new clients whose focus is deeply rooted in digital marketing, and claim a greater share of incremental dollars in 2012 and beyond.”

Radio-thon for the Troops.  Cumulus’ WMAL, Washington, DC morning program personalities (from l-r) Brian Wilson, Mary Katharine Ham and Bryan Nehman work a remote broadcast on December 2 as part of the day-long 8th Annual WMAL Fisher House Radio-thon.  The station raised $256,000 for the Fisher House Foundation which provides housing near military hospitals for the families of convalescing and rehabbing military personnel who’ve been injured in the line of duty.  Program director Bill Hess states, “WMAL’s listeners have contributed more than $3.7 million over the past eight years through fund drives and events.  It’s a cause about which we – and our very supportive listeners – feel quite strongly.”  WMAL talk host Chris Plante also worked the radio-thon as part of the station’s effort.

Cain Suspends Presidential Race, Euro Zone Downgrade/Financial Markets Response, Putin’s Political Future and Iran Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5).  Herman Cain’s suspension of his presidential campaign, the S&P downgrade of 15 Euro Zone countries and its effect on financial markets, Vladimir Putin’s political future in Russia and the tension over Iran’s military buildup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 5, 2011

| December 5, 2011

“Johnny B” Takes Over Mornings on WGN.  Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces Chicago radio legend Jonathon Brandmeier replaces Greg Jarrett as host of the morning drive program effective December 9.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “Jonathon Brandmeier is a Chicago superstar and we’re thrilled to have him on the air at the station where he belongs.  Johnny’s high energy, humor and unique Chicago experience make him an exceptional fit as ‘The Voice of Chicago’ evolves with another generation of listeners.”  Brandmeier had a successful 14-year career at WLUP-AM/FM but in 1997 the station made a change and he worked at WCKG-FM, Chicago before moving to Los Angeles to host programs at KLSX-FM and KCBS-FM.  He returned to WLUP-FM to host mornings from 2005 through 2009.  He’s also hosted various television projects and recorded numerous music/comedy projects.  The change in mornings at WGN and the ousting of Jarrett represents another move away from the programming brought to the station under the leadership of former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels and the PD he brought to WGN, Kevin Metheny.  Jarrett moved to WGN in June of 2009 after spending more than eight years at KGO, San Francisco in the news department.  WGN notes changes in the news department includes news anchor Steve Bertrand moving to mornings with Brandmeier and Jim Gudas shifting to middays/afternoons.   While Chicagoans may welcome the return of Johnny B to the radio, some will be upset with the replacement of husband-and-wife team Steve King and Johnnie Putman in the 12:00 midnight to 5:30 am slot with Bill Leff.  King has been with WGN for more than 25 years and Johnnie almost as long.

Clear Channel and Cumulus Partner Up for Two-Pronged Deal.  The New York Times is reporting that Clear Channel and Cumulus – the two largest radio operators in America – have struck a deal that will give Cumulus spots for its SweetJack daily-deals program on Clear Channel radio stations and that will put Cumulus radio stations on CC’s iHeartRadio platform.  Cumulus has SweetJack operating in 16 markets with plans to expand.  Recently, Clear Channel struck a deal to work with daily-deals operator LivingSocial.  Under the terms of the deal, all 570 Cumulus stations in 120 markets will be available on the iHeartRadio platform.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is quoted saying the deal provides “one more data point that proves radio is not a laggard, that we do see the future, and that we’re moving toward it in a smart and fast way.”  SweetJack was created by Cumulus in April and has local market salespeople working in all 16 markets.  Cumulus reports it has approximately 1 million users at this time.  Clear Channel and Cumulus have a revenue-sharing deal for SweetJack.  Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says of the service, “SweetJack is our exciting new social commerce platform.  It’s a break-through brand in a sea of sameness that’s fueled by the power of radio to connect local merchants with consumers.  This agreement with Clear Channel enables us to scale SweetJack into a true nationwide platform which we believe is essential to competing successfully in this rapidly growing space.”

KGO, San Francisco Update: Peter Finch and Doug McIntyre in for Nights.  In the wake of last week’s blockbuster news of the dismissal of four of its longtime talk hosts for a more news-intensive program schedule comes the news that former KFOG-FM, San Francisco morning host Peter Finch is the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm news anchor and Doug McIntyre’s “Red Eye Radio” is in for the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot.  McIntyre’s show is a Cumulus Media Networks production and costs the station nothing – in fact, it gives the company a nice San Francisco affiliate.

Kevin Straley Joins TuneIn as VP of Programming.  The former XM Satellite Radio and WRKO, Boston programmer becomes vice president of programming for the free service that allows users to listen to music, sports and news from around the world.  Kevin Straley – who most recently was founder and president of KMS Media Partners – will work with audio content distributors to optimize their digital strategies.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We’re thrilled to welcome Kevin Straley to the TuneIn executive team.  His track record of building strategic relationships and working with audio partners in innovative ways will help us take the company to the next level.”  TuneIn describes itself as a service that “offers over 50,000 AM, FM, HD and internet radio stations and more than one million on-demand shows and programs streaming from every continent.  The company’s mobile applications are highly ranked worldwide.  TuneIn is available in 10 languages across all major smart phones and tablets, connected home stereos, smart TVs, connected automobiles and online at tunein.com.  Straley says, “Now, more than ever, audio content creators are looking for complimentary platforms to deliver their content to the growing audience that embraces digital…TuneIn is a powerful way to drive new listening and new opportunities for everyone.”

New Host for KLAC’s “Dodger Talk” Program Expected.  The Los Angeles Daily News reports Josh Suchon and Joe Block will not be retained to host the “Dodger Talk” post-game show as the Dodgers transition to Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles this season.  The Daily NewsTom Hoffarth reports former big league manager Kevin Kennedy is likely to be the new host of the show for the 2012 season.  Kennedy is a Fox Sports baseball analyst.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches “Holiday Giving Campaign.”  The 60-year-old foundation that provides aid to broadcasters and their families in need, is kicking off its “Holiday Giving Campaign” encouraging donations and memberships at this time of year.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The sole purpose of the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need.  Through the generous support of individuals and corporations in our industry, we can maintain the ability to help colleagues whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances.  I ask every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”  This year the foundation will grant more than $675,000 in assistance – an increase of 35% over last year with more requests arriving daily.  Current recipients include the family of a 20-year broadcast veteran who died of a sudden massive stroke, leaving two children and a wife who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis; an elderly couple who have outlived their savings and are saddled with enormous medical costs; and a man who in the prime of his life and at the peak of his career became paralyzed by a tragic accident that has left him confined to a wheel chair.  To make a donation, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or call 212-373-8250.

Friday, December 2, 2011

| December 2, 2011

It’s the End of KGO as We Know It.  Since KGO, San Francisco has changed very little over the past 20 years, any change to the legendary Cumulus-owned station would seem monumental.  That’s why the dismissal of KGO talk hosts Gil Gross, Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro and John Rothmann as the station morphs into a news-intensive station is so shocking to an industry that’s seen plenty of change lately.  KGO director of news and programming Paul Hosley tells the San Francisco Chronicle, “What we are doing is adding a tremendous amount of news content to KGO.”  Mid-morning talk host Ronn Owens is not part of this wave of change and, according to 415 Media editor Rich Lieberman, he has a “personal services” contract with the station that runs through January of 2013.  The Chronicle reports a KGO insider said that KGO has “lost its way” and hopes to reinvigorate itself with a news-driven format.  The station’s positioning statement changes from “Newstalk 810” to “KGO 810 – the Bay Area News and Information Station.”  KGO’s dominance in the ratings began to fade with the arrival of Arbitron’s PPM in the San Francisco market – a sign that a station with KGO’s rich heritage and special place in the hearts of San Francisco radio listeners benefitted from the diary method.  The changes at KGO began with the exit of longtime operations director Jack Swanson in October.  It would be easy to dismiss Cumulus’ moves as being budget related, but all-news can be an expensive format to operate and KGO will be competing with CBS Radio’s KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM on that front.  Stay tuned.

Cumulus Cuts in Charleston Eliminate Local Host.  Charleston, South Carolina news/talk WTMA eliminates the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm local talk show hosted by Rocky DiSabato – known as Rocky D.  The gap is filled by expanding the carriage of Dial Global’s Clark Howard and Neal Boortz shows to cover the three hours.

Merlin Media’s Chicago News Station Changes Calls.  All-news WWWN-FM, Chicago is now WIQI, although the station remains positioned as “FM News 101.”  Merlin Media’s application for the change was requested on November 14 and it officially took place on December 1.

KBLI/KBLY, Pocatello/Idaho Falls/Blackfoot, Idaho Adds Local Shows.  The Riverbend Communications duo known as Newstalk 690/1260 announces the addition of three local programs to its lineup:  news and program director Tim Lewis hosts the new “Idaho’s Morning News” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; former KIFI-TV managing editor Carissa Coats hosts “Idaho’s Midday News” from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; and Mark Richardson is the host of “Idaho’s Afternoon News” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Richardson and his father Mel co-host the “Probing America” show that airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  They will also produce a weekend version of the show.

WOAI, San Antonio Begins Elf-Louise Radio-thon.  Clear Channel news/talk WOAI hosts a two-day radio-thon today (12/2) and tomorrow at the North Star Mall to raise funds to purchase gifts and sundries for San Antonio families in need during the Christmas season.  WOAI personalities Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo and Charlie Parker will take part as will personalities from CC’s San Antonio music outlets.  The Elf Louise Christmas project was begun by Louise Locker in 1969 when she was a student at Trinity University.  Then, she and friends aided 13 families.  Now, the project uses 5,000 volunteers and distributes some 60,000 gifts each year.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Chart of News/Talk Radio’s Top Weekly Stories.  The GOP contenders to face off against President Obama in next year’s election were the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of November 28 – December 2.  Coming in at #2 was the pending government shutdown.  At #3 was the Euro zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activity followed by Black Friday/Cyber Monday at #4.  The Talkers TenTM, a chart of the top stories and people of the week, is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

| December 1, 2011

KTRS, St. Louis Personality JC Corcoran Suspended for Twitter Activities.  There’s no official word from CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis but the reports from St. Louis-area media seem to confirm that afternoon host JC Corcoran has been suspended from the station for two weeks after engaging in a back-and-forth Twitter argument with listener-followers in which he used foul language.  The incident started when Corcoran declared Cardinals star Albert Pujols would re-sign with the team by November 18.  When that didn’t happen, Corcoran was taken to task for his prediction on Twitter and his responses including questionable language went out on the internet.  This case illustrates that even though the “letter” of FCC rules applies specifically to over-the-air language on terrestrial radio, the “spirit” of the law can now extend to social media activities as well giving the morals clause found in most talent employment contracts expanded relevance.  Talk show hosts beware – you are what you tweet!

News/Talk KFBK, Sacramento Gets FM Signal.  As the historic AM station prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary early next year, Clear Channel announces it is ending the Hot AC on KGBY-FM and begins simulcasting news/talk KFBK on the signal as FM NewsTalk 92.5 today (12/1).  Vice president and market manager Jeff Holden states, “Today is a milestone for Sacramento broadcasting as KFBK expands to the 92.5 FM frequency to better serve the local community.  The void for quality, local and full service news and talk on FM has now been filled.  This will give a younger audience access to one of the most influential stations in, not only, Sacramento but all of Northern California.  KFBK has demonstrated leadership over the past 90 years and it continues with the same dedication and progressive nature that makes it unique.   KFBK will now reach the nearly 70 percent of the market that doesn’t tune into the AM band.”

WFLA, Tampa Adds Jock Corey Dylan to AM Drive Program.  Former WPOI-FM, Tampa DJ Corey Dylan is now part of the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLA, Tampa.  The St. Petersburg Times reports Dylan joins Jack Harris and Tedd Webb as co-host on the “AM Tampa Bay” program and will serve as a lifestyle reporter for the station as well.  Program director Steve Versnick tells the paper, “We wanted to change the co-host role and Corey seemed a perfect fit.  She’s got a sterling reputation in the market and a broadcast journalism degree.  So while it might seem like stretch to go from an ’80s station to news/talk, her background and interest seem perfect.”

Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Zeroes in on Congressional Seat.  WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia talk host Martha Zoller is preparing to take leave of her talk radio career to run for Congress in Georgia’s newly created 9th Congressional District.  Zoller is still heard on Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM but has exited the Georgia News Network from which she was syndicated across the state.  Zoller says Cox attorneys say she can stay on the air until she’s officially qualified as a candidate in May but realistically expects to have to leave her program prior to that time.  Zoller reports she has excellent name recognition in the district – 62% of likely primary voters in the conservative district have heard of her – as she will face a battle against State Representative Doug Collins and possibly others in the Republican primary election.

Dial Global’s Bill Press to Remain on San Francisco Affiliate.  Yesterday we reported Clear Channel’s plans for its AM talk stations in San Francisco that include the end of progressive talk outlet Green 960 (KKGN).  Dial Global notes that although much of the progressive talk that’s currently heard on that station will be relegated to the KKSF-FM HD-2 signal and online, the Bill Press show will be heard in the early morning daypart prior to Premiere’s Glenn Beck on KNEW 960 in the new year.

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams Organizes Holiday Food Drive.  Upon learning that food banks and pantries across the country are reporting a shortage of peanut butter, WGN talk host John Williams is organizing the “Peanut Butter & Jolly” drive to rally his listeners to donate peanut butter to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Peanut butter is sought after because of its protein content, appeal to children and long shelf life.  All day today (12/1), Williams will encourage listeners to donate to one of the many participating locations around Chicagoland that will be delivered to the depository tomorrow.  Williams says, “Everyone wants gifts at Christmas, but these people just need food.  If you give to this campaign, we can all say Merry ‘Chrithmath!’”

2012 Presidential Race, European Debt Crisis, Occupy L.A. Ousted and Penn State Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30).  The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the ongoing efforts to deal with Europe’s debt crisis, the clearing of the Occupy Los Angeles protesters and additional allegations in the Penn State sexual abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.  Pictured here is ABC Radio News correspondent Alex Stone covering the Los Angeles Police Department’s breakup of the Occupy L.A. camp.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

| November 30, 2011

Clear Channel to End Progressive Talker KKGN in San Francisco.  The progressive talk programming currently heard on KKGN, San Francisco – Green 960 – will not go away entirely; it’ll be available online and on the HD-2 channel of sister oldies KKSF-FM, but since so few people have HD radios anyone seeking shows such as Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann and Compass Media NetworksNorman Goldman will have to find them online.  The “death” of Green 960 comes as Clear Channel makes other changes to its Bay Area talk programming.  In the New Year, KKGN flips calls to KNEW, picks up the Fox News Radio affiliation and a new lineup including Glenn Beck in AM drive, followed by Dave Ramsey, then Premiere’s Randi Rhodes (the only holdover from Green 960), and Fox News Radio’s John Gibson.  Back at what is currently KNEW (910 AM), that station will take on new calls KKSF and become “San Francisco’s Talk 910 – KKSF.”  Armstrong & Getty (piped in from Sacramento) remain in mornings with Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan and a local PM drive show yet to be announced.  What does this mean for the progressive format?  Obviously it is a setback for the struggling format, simply because of the loss of a major market.  Some observers will point to this situation as an example of the format’s inherent weakness by saying it can’t even make it in San Francisco – one of the most liberal regions in the nation.  However others will note that it is harder for a radio format targeted to a political orientation to make it in an area heavily populated by like-minded people because it doesn’t serve a unfilled need.  Radio, being a niche medium, often works best in an area where the targeted audience is in the minority and it thus serves to galvanize a critical mass necessary to support a format.  That is likely the case in San Francisco.

Detroit Media Personality John Mason Hosts PM Drive on WCHB-AM/FM.  Longtime Detroit radio and TV personality John Mason is the new PM drive host on Radio One’s urban news/talk WCHB-AM/FM.  Mason most recently hosted the morning drive show on Radio One’s WGPR-FM until late October when the company flipped the format to hip hop.  Mason is known for his work as an R&B disc jockey but tells the Detroit News he’s ready for the challenge, “Talk is different – I’m comfortable with it.  Quite frankly, the timing is in the vibe of the universe.  It’s a progression for me.”  Mason’s program airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

ESPN Affiliation Bumps Local Sports Duo in Denver.  When ESPN programming moves from Lincoln Financial Media’s KEPN to Front Range Sports Network’s KDSP-FM in January, morning hosts Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller will be off the air.  The two KCNC-TV sports anchors currently host the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program but the infusion of ESPN programming that is coming with the new affiliation  will put ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on the station from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  The Denver Post reports the two would like to land another radio sports talk gig in town.  With four sports talk outlets in the market, they may be able to latch on somewhere else.  Stay tuned.

Sean Baligian Returns to Sports Talk in West Michigan.  Sean Baligian exited the Clear Channel sports talk simulcast of WDFN, Detroit and WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids back in October after his show with co-host Ryan Terpstra was cancelled.  Now, Baligian returns to Clear Channel’s WMAX-FM to host the PM drive show.  Terpstra, who had been hosting the PM drive show solo, will not be a co-host with Baligian but remains with the station in a different capacity.  Baligian tells the Grand Rapids Press, “I like the idea of doing my thing again, just doing my show.  I think that’s going to be the biggest difference.  It’s just kind of me.  No disrespect towards Terp, but it was enticing just to do the solo show again.”  Baligian says the show will not be simulcast to Detroit and will focus on West Michigan.

Kevin Matthews Podcast Show Now Available Via Steve Dahl’s Internet Station.  Chicago radio fans can now get podcasts from two of its famous (or infamous) broadcasters from one source.  Steve Dahl has been podcasting for a couple of years now and the two tell Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that Kevin Matthews is producing a weekly podcast as part of the $9.85 monthly fee for Dahl’s content.  Matthews – who had an 18-year career on Chicago radio – had been hosting a morning drive show in Grand Rapids until he was recently let go in a budget move.  Now, “Kevheads” need look no further than dahl.com for Matthews’ show.  Matthews tells Feder, “My vision is to provide unique content, my personality.  What is so exciting about this adventure is no rules. A podcast may last 45 minutes, maybe two or three hours.  Content is key.  I know when to exit a program.”  Steve Dahl says he hopes to expand.  “I’m hoping that after we post his first show and he sees the response, he’ll start thinking about making it a daily show.  We are set up to do that technically…This is the future of personality radio and anybody who is delivering good content will sooner or later be charging for it.”  Matthews returned to Grand Rapids – the city where he got his start in radio – after losing his Chicago radio job.  He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and says he prefers to take things more slowly these days.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Does Live Remote Charity Toy Drive.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s ESPN 101 (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis is taking its “Fast Lane” afternoon show on the road to five different locations over the course of five days to solicit toy donations to benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.  WXOS-FM program director Kent Sterling says, “We have some of the best jobs in the world, but the most rewarding part of our work is when we dedicate ourselves to helping those who often do without – especially during the holidays.”  Pictured here are (from l-r) show hosts Bob Ramsey, an unidentified man, Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.

Occupy L.A. Cleared, 2012 Presidential Race, Michael Jackson Doctor Sentenced and European Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29).  The police action to clear the Occupy Los Angeles protesters, the GOP candidates for president in 2012, the sentencing of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray and the ongoing European debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

| November 29, 2011

Controversial Host Tarsha Jones Fired by Clear Channel; Legal Tangle Ensues.  Clear Channel terminated controversial urban radio host Tarsha Jones – known as Jonesy on the air – after a Philadelphia businesswoman accused Jones’ program of misidentifying her and accusing her of criminal acts that she says adversely affected her businesses.  Jonesy hosted the AM drive show on WUSL-FM – Power 99.  In the aftermath of an October incident during which young women from different neighborhoods in Philadelphia had gotten into fights, at least one caller to Jones’ program identified Tracey Parson as having beaten up young girls.  Parson – who runs a group of child care facilities – has filed a suit in Common Pleas Court claiming Jones repeatedly defamed her and her Kiddie Kare businesses and that action led to death threats to her and loss of business.  Police have said Parson was never a suspect and Parson’s suit alleges Jones’ program purposely devised a campaign to “destroy people’s lives, reputations and livelihoods.”  Jones is no stranger to controversy.  She was suspended from WQHT-FM, New York over the “Tsunami Song” that parodied Asians in the wake of the Sri Lanka tsunami.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the rights of stations and hosts to publicly comment are very strong, “The legal threshold for Parson’s claim is challenging.  Her legal team would have to prove Jones acted maliciously or with wanton disregard for the truth and that is harder to do than many people think.”  From the station’s perspective, depending on the language in Jones’ contract, she may be able to collect on any monies due her by Clear Channel even though she’s been let go.  Weisman says a good example of the talent being protected in this regard is that of Don Imus back in 2007.  Although Citadel fired him for the “nappy-headed hos” incident, his contract contained language that forced the company to pay the remainder of this deal.

Talk Host Bill Manders Let Go from KKOH, Reno.  Cumulus-owned KKOH, Reno – known to most without the extra “K” as KOH – drops PM drive host Bill Manders and program director Dan Mason takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.  Manders, who’s been with KOH since 1994, tells KOLO-TV, “It’s part of the business.  It certainly wasn’t shocking, and it wasn’t a surprise.  But it’s caught me a little off guard.”  KOH general manager Andrew Perini declined to comment to the Reno Gazette-Journal calling the situation, “Too complicated.”

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Retires Due to Cancer.  A little more than a month after announcing to his listeners that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Ron Smith does his last radio program and retires to home hospice care.  Despite the grave diagnosis, Smith said he would go ahead with treatment and continue doing his radio program as long as he was well enough.  The 69-year-old Smith recently announced he was ceasing chemotherapy and would continue with palliative care.  He has been a talk host at Hearst’s WBAL since 1984.  He also worked as a columnist for the Baltimore Sun since 2008 and penned his final column on November 17.

Fox News Radio Names Emily Wither Jerusalem Correspondent.  Fox News Radio announces it brings former freelance multi-media journalist Emily Wither aboard as Jerusalem correspondent.  Wither has worked for numerous news organizations including ABC, NBC, Sky News, CNN, ITN and the BBC.  In her new position, Wither will file daily reports on the Middle East region for Fox News Radio.  She takes over for Courtney Kealy who moved to Fox News’ New York headquarters as a national correspondent for Fox News Radio.

KPAM, Portland’s Bob Miller Begins “Operation Santa Claus.”  For the 9th year in a row, KPAM, Portland morning drive host Bob Miller is spending this week raising funds for military families hurt by loss of income due to deployment.  The station notes “Operation Santa Claus” has raised more than $1 million over the past nine years and is setting a goal of $135,000 for this year to aid the market’s military families in need.  Working with the Salvation Army, Miller says 100% of the proceeds go to area families.  “The need for ‘Operation Santa Claus’ funds for families of our troops has increased exponentially.  I am thrilled and gratified every year to see how generous our listeners are, no matter what the economy is doing.”

KNX, Los Angeles Begins Remote Series.  Following on the lead of former sister news/talk KFWB (now in a trust and for sale), CBS Radio’s KNX debuts “KNX on Your Corner” – a series of remote, daylong broadcasts designed to take an in-depth look at different communities throughout Southern California.  The first stop is Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley on December 9.  The station states, “From Studio City to Woodland Hills, the day’s programming will focus on the rich history and variety of businesses along Ventura Boulevard. Community leaders and local residents will be featured guests and KNX will broadcast live much of the day from Jerry’s Restaurant & Deli (16650 Ventura Boulevard) in Encino, a longtime favorite on the boulevard.”  KNX will broadcast live from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Rep. Barney Frank to Retire, NATO’s Deadly Pakistan Strike, Holiday Shopping Figures, European Debt Crisis and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/28).  Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank’s announcement of retirement from Congress, the NATO friendly fire strike that killed Pakistani troops, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reports, the building tension over the Euro Zone debt crisis and the GOP field for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 28, 2011

| November 28, 2011

Randy Michaels Gets $650,000 Settlement from Tribune Co.  Former Tribune Company CEO – and current Merlin Media LLC CEO – Randy Michaels is getting a $650,000 settlement from Tribune after being ousted from the company this past fall.  Michaels sought the pro-rated portion of his 2010 management incentive bonus — $900,000 – arguing he was terminated without cause.  Tribune considered challenging the assertion with which it disagreed but decided to settle to avoid a drawn out legal battle.  Michaels will also get $50,000 to cover his legal fees.  According to the Chicago Tribune, part of the settlement includes a non-disparagement clause, provisions to protect Tribune’s intellectual property and a limit of its future liability to claims brought by Michaels.

Report: NBC Still Negotiating with Howard Stern to Judge “America’s Got Talent.”  The New York Post is reporting that NBC is still in talks with Howard Stern to bring the Sirius/XM personality aboard its “America’s Got Talent” program to take the place of Piers Morgan who’s exiting to concentrate on his CNN duties.  Some industry watchers are skeptical that NBC would pay Stern $20 million and move the show from Los Angeles to New York to have Stern join the show but the Post says some sources close to the process say creator and executive producer Simon Cowell really wants Stern for the role.  Neither NBC nor Cowell are commenting stating their policy of not addressing ongoing negotiations in the media.

KTAR-FM, Phoenix Adds Two Local Programs to Weekend Schedule.  Bonneville’s KTAR-Phoenix announces the addition of two new local programs to the Saturday schedule.  Author and business owner Steve Henry hosts his eponymous program from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm focusing on small business and the role it plays in the country’s economy.  Henry states, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our show to one of the best news stations in the country.  It’s time to take back control of our financial future by starting our own small businesses and investing in ourselves.”  Henry’s program is followed by current KTAR producer and on-air contributor Rob Hunter paired up with Phoenix market radio pro Mark Devine for the Rob and Mark show.  Hunter says, “Mark and I come from different perspectives in life as he’s a dad raising two kids and I’m recently married.  This dynamic will provide a fun, interesting and relatable Saturday afternoon show for the KTAR audience.”  KTAR-FM vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the additions, “Unfortunately in our business, most media companies are filling weekends with more syndicated shows and less local programming to save money.  At KTAR, we see the world differently and believe strongly that weekends provide the perfect opportunity to develop new, engaging local content for our audiences regardless of expense.”

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast speaking with a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse.  This year’s participants include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Curtis Sliwa of WNYM (The Apple), New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;”  John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;”  Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of “The Lisa Wexler Show;”  Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; Dan Patterson of KoPoint and  Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service who will be broadcasting throughout the day to several hundred of the news service’s affiliates.  Joining the lineup this year will be representatives of college talk radio with WRHU, Hempstead of Hofstra University; WLIU, Brooklyn of Long Island University and WNEK, Springfield, MA of Western New England University in attendance. Included among those who will be taking live and recorded feeds from the event are Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” with several more to be announced.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”  Talkers.com will provide full coverage of the event.

Connecticut Talk Host Lisa Wexler Joins WFAS, White Plains, New York; Station to Flip to Talk.  Cumulus’ WFAS, White Plains currently airs soft AC but will flip to talk soon and former WSTC, Stamford/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Wexler exited WSTC and WNLK when Cox Media Group agreed to sell the two stations to Sacred Heart University which is taking them non-commercial.  Wexler will broadcast live from the “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row in New York City on December 8.  The event is designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and is produced by TALKERS magazine in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Back to WFAS, the Westchester County station will reportedly also air Dial Global’s Clark Howard as part of the talk lineup.

WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Brings Former Flyers Lindros and LeClair Together to Benefit Children’s Hospital.  Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet “97.5 The Fanatic” is bringing former Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros and John LeClair back together for a series of events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with sponsor TD Bank.  Lindros and LeClair will appear on Mike Missanelli’s PM drive program from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14; they’ll be part of a charity luncheon at Morton’s The Steakhouse the following day; and will appear at a public signing at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania on Friday, December 16.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events will benefit the hospital.  WPEN-AM/FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “It’s really going to be great.  For Eric and John to partner with the station and to do so for a terrific cause such as CHOP is really tremendous.  I know the listeners will enjoy the opportunity to attend these events.  We’re very excited.”

Milwaukee Media Writer Tim Cuprisin Passes Away at 53.  Tim Cuprisin covered radio and TV for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 23 years before accepting a buyout from Journal Communications in 2009.  Since exiting Journal, he’d been continuing to cover the Milwaukee radio and TV beat via the blog OnMilwaukee.com.  The Chicago native died on November 23 after complications from advanced melanoma.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

| November 23, 2011


Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester.  Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties.  Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role.  He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse.  Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.

Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather.  Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage.  Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever.  This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.”  WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC.  They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.

Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield.  The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial.  Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM.  The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.”  To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.

WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent.  Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.

 

 

KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday.  It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday.  Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  But wait there’s more!  Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22).  The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

| November 22, 2011

October Northeast Storm Knocks Two Weeks Out of November PPM in Hartford.  Arbitron delivers the news to the Hartford market that the November 2011 PPM report – consisting of the time period October 13 through November 9 – will not include the two weeks of October 27 through November 9 during which a substantial portion of the market was without power.  In a message to clients, Arbitron writes, “Arbitron has carefully monitored Average Daily In-Tab and other performance metrics throughout this interval.  Based on these metrics, Arbitron will be releasing a November 2011 Hartford-New Britain-Middletown report based exclusively on November Weeks 1 and 2 (October 13-October 26).”  It is painfully ironic that radio – relied upon during times of emergencies such as these and often lauded for its tremendous dedication to keeping listeners in the market informed under difficult circumstances – is at the mercy of a ratings system that relies upon electricity at a time when stations in the market should get credit for the huge number of people who used it during that period.

CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Kevin Wall PM Drive Host.  Several months after parting ways with longtime station personality Alan Stock, CBS Radio Las Vegas announces the new permanent PM drive host at FM News Radio 100.5 KXNT is Kevin Wall.  Most recently at Border Media Partners’ KTSA, San Antonio, Wall has also served as a fill-in host for Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett and Fox News Radio.  KXNT program director Andrew Paul states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Kevin join our team.  Kevin is talented, bright, articulate and an excellent communicator.  Heading into next year’s general election, we face a critical juncture in our nation’s future.  Kevin will be able to relate the important issues to Southern Nevada through his informative and entertaining style.”  Also from KXNT, Jason Pothier is named the new producer for Kevin Wall’s “Live and Local” program.  Pothier spent eight years in Boston as a producer at WEEI, WRKO and WXKS.  Samantha Stone joins the station as the new morning news anchor.  She worked for many years in Reno as a reporter/producer for Nevada Newsmakers and a reporter for Vegas PBS and Cumulus’ KKOH.  Trevor Smith also joins KXNT as a news reporter after spending the past four years as news director at KZBI-FM in Elko, Nevada.

Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to KNST, Tucson; Drops Spanish Music on 97.1.  Beginning Monday, November 28 the Spanish language music format at KTZR-FM ends and a simulcast of KNST begins.  Clear Channel Tucson market manager Shanna McCoy states, “Bringing our heritage News Talk KNST 790 to 97.1 FM will help us deliver the most powerful programming lineup in the market.  We’re committed to bringing our listeners the absolute best programming.”  Market operations manager Chris Pickett says, “KNST will join the growing movement of great news/talk programming moving to FM.  This is an important time for listeners to tune in with a presidential primary coming in February, and I can’t think of a better time to make the change.”  Journal Broadcast Group has been operating news/talk KQTH-FM in the market since April of 2007.

MSNBC Names Meghan McCain Contributor.  The daughter of Senator John McCain has been a media figure for some time now and has been a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV.  Now MSNBC puts her on the payroll as a contributor.  In a statement, Meghan McCain says, “I couldn’t more be more excited to be joining the MSNBC family.  It’s a unique opportunity to share my perspective as a Republican on a network I respect and have built a relationship with over the past two years.”

Jim Bohannon Recognized by RTDNA.  Dial Global talk personality Jim Bohannon – host of the “America in the Morning” news program and his eponymous overnight talk show – is being honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a Special Recognition First Amendment Award.  Bohannon and three other journalists will be honored at the RTDNA’s 22nd annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 15 in Washington, DC.  The RTDNA states, “Bohannon is the originator of National Freedom of Information Day, a concept he first presented to the national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists at their 1979 convention in New York City.  Bohannon has broadcast dozens of programs about freedom of information issues.”

BookMarc from Miami. Sirius/XM talk host Bob Edwards (l) chats with WNDB, Daytona Beach talk personality Marc Bernier (r) about Edwards being forced out of NPR.  Bernier took his special program about books to the Miami Book Fair International where he interviewed 43 authors over the course of the weekend.  Broadcasting live from Miami-Dade College, the site of the nation’s largest book fair, it was Bernier’s seventh visit to the annual event as he conducted 10 hours of interviews on Saturday and Sunday live on WNDB and produced streaming video of the event on kenneytv.com.

Super Committee Fails, Markets Tumble, 2012 Presidential Race, Egypt Unrest, and Freeh to Head Penn State Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21).  The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to come to terms on federal spending cuts, the financial markets’ reactions to Euro Zone debt and the Super Committee’s failure, the 2012 presidential race, new political unrest in Egypt and Louis Freeh’s appointment to lead the Penn State sex abuse scandal investigation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

| November 21, 2011

Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined.  An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station.  After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.”  The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.”  In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4.  TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.

Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article.  A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections.  The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush LimbaughSean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation.  The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal.  Read the Politico story here.

RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3.  That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%.  The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.

“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened.  It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit.  The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football.  With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax.  However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness.  “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault.  We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years.  They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.”  The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.

Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.  The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years.  On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy.  Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986.  He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects.  Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties.  Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades.  It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.  Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”

Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio.  According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company.  Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello.  According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.

Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios.  Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center.  The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.

Friday, November 18, 2011

| November 18, 2011

A Complex Web of Debt.  There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings.  According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million.  AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas.  AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.”  Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt.  It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy.  Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.

The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case.  When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber.  RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law.  The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues.  There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.”  It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.

Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts.  Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman.  Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up.  Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation.  What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech.  The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter.  One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.”  The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.

Catching Up with Regis!  ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program.  Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!

‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18.  The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

| November 17, 2011

The D.C. All-News Battle is On.  CBS Radio will take on Hubbard Broadcasting’s stranglehold on all-news in the Nation’s Capital in January when it unveils a brand new FM news station at 99.1 on the dial.  CBS is moving its “El Zol” Spanish station from 99.1 to the recently acquired WFSI-FM, Annapolis, Maryland signal at 107.9 it purchased from Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  Hubbard’s WTOP brand (which includes its tremendous digital initiatives) has been dominant in the news game in D.C. and nowhere is that more evident than in its first-place finish in the revenue race among all American radio stations as it billed $57 million in 2010.  Now, CBS Radio brings its years of all-news experience to town.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Radio’s history in all-news is rich in tradition and recognized nationwide for its excellence.  There is no one more regarded in this field, nor anyone with the journalistic expertise and capability to put forth a product with such instant credibility.  We have perfected this format over many decades and we’re thrilled to expand the options for the D.C. community who have a distinct passion for news.”  CBS moves WCBS, New York assistant director of news and programming Robert Sanchez to DC to program the station and brings Michelle Komes-Dolge aboard to serve as news director.  Komes-Dolge is a veteran D.C. news person who served with WTOP-FM in the past.  CBS Radio operates successful all-news operations in New York (WCBS, WINS), Los Angeles (KNX), Chicago (WBBM-AM/FM), San Francisco (KCBS), Philadelphia (KYW), Detroit (WWJ), and Boston (WBZ).  The growth of all-news and the emergence of head-to-head competitive major market battles promises to focus a new level of industry attention on the competitive elements that make a difference in determining success in the format.  Stay tuned!

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy. Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced today that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  Smith delivered the news to his listeners earlier today (11/17).

America’s Radio News Network Adds Daily Election Feature.  “Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda” is the name of ARNN’s new 90-second feature that airs four times daily during all four of ARNN’s news programs.  Billed as providing “listeners with all the latest on the 2012 presidential campaign schedules, media events, policy issues, latest polling numbers and debate coverage along with other election details and information,” the feature will be heard on ARNN’s 215-plus affiliate stations.  ARNN executive vice president John McCaslin says, “We trust that the ‘Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda’ will keep ARNN’s listeners well informed on the latest news and the whereabouts of their favorite 2012 presidential candidates, whether it is President Obama or one in the large field of GOP White House hopefuls.  Given the dismal U.S. economy and continuing recession, plus other hot-button issues such as national security, we are already experiencing unprecedented interest in the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign.”

KYW, Philadelphia Adds Three to its Newsradio Hall of Fame.  CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia announces the induction of Bob Kelly, and the late Karin Phillips and Jack O’Rourke into its KYW Newsradio Hall of Fame.  Director of news and programming Steve Butler and director of sales David Yadgaroff gave the awards to Kelly, who served as an account executive for 20 years and to relatives of Phillips and O’Rourke, who died within days of each other in September.

Former WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Host Matt Mittan Announces Digital Effort and Terrestrial Affiliate.  Matt Mittan hosted the “Take a Stand” show on Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville until a few weeks ago when he left the station after personnel cuts at the cluster cost him producer/sidekick Agnes Cheek.  Now, Mittan and Cheek, who’ve been producing a podcast, will begin streaming their show and have announced WHKP, Hendersonville, North Carolina (south of Asheville) will pick up the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hour of the show.  Mittan says that although the program is produced in their downtown Asheville studio, they plan to take it on the road across Western North Carolina.

Clear Channel Raises More than $700,000 for Fisher House.  Capping a week-long fundraising effort November 7-11 culminating on Veterans Day, Clear Channel Radio put its 850 radio stations to work to bring in more than $700,000 for the Fisher House Foundation.  Ken Fisher is chairman of the foundation and he comments, “We’re grateful for Clear Channel’s support of our military families again this year.  Clear Channel’s remarkable reach and continued support is an amazing force for our military families that will continue to help veterans and their families across the United States.”  Fisher House provides housing close to hospitals for families of military personnel who are receiving treatment for injuries suffered in battle so they can be near their loved ones during that time without incurring huge expenses.  CC has helped raise more than $1.2 million for Fisher House in the last two years.

2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Shutdown, European Debt Threatens U.S., and Marines in Australia Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16).  The 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the shutdown of the Zurcotti Park encampment in New York City and what it means to the ‘Occupy’ movement, the continuing threat to the U.S. and world economies by the European debt crisis and President Obama’s plan to station U.S. Marines in Australia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

| November 16, 2011

It’s a Jungle Out There.  Tight money, a stressed-out population and aging listeners are creating burgeoning sales opportunities for talk media in financial services, crime control, medical and health services industries.  Even as traditionally strong radio advertising categories such as restaurants, retailers and auto dealers are becoming a tougher sell than they used to be, smart and aggressive sales departments are re-evaluating their sales targets.  Although the mantra in talk is “lower the demos” – the truth is the older folks have a significant percentage of the money and they are the ones listening to talk radio.  Rather than apologize for this handy little fact, perhaps talk account executives should be trumpeting it loudly.  Read more here.

Phil Boyce Out at TRN.  After a three-year stint as president of programming at Talk Radio Network, Phil Boyce has announced his departure effective immediately.  Boyce released the following statement to TRN employees:  “I want to wish every member of the TRN family best wishes. I have enjoyed my three years getting to know and work with all of you.  This is a great team and I know more success is forthcoming.  Wherever I go you will always be in my heart and I am sure we will stay in touch.”  Boyce joined TRN in November of 2008 after a 14-year run programming WABC in New York where he also served as VP of newstalk programming for Citadel and ABC Radio.  In that capacity he established himself as a major national news/talk radio programming force playing a significant role in the careers of a number of top talents including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.   Prior to that Boyce programmed WJR in Detroit.  Boyce tells TALKERS, “I hope to announce my future adventure shortly.  In the meantime I want to spend a little time on that ‘secret island’ Jack Swanson recommended to me.”  The island to which Boyce refers is the geographical euphemism to which the former KGO, San Francisco operations manager joked he was headed upon recently departing his long-held position at that heritage station.  Boyce can be reached at philboyce1022@gmail.com.

Jake Russell to Head Up Davis Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina Cluster.  Tom DavisDavis Media, LLC is the buyer for Sea-Comm Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster of four stations: news/talk simulcast WNTB-FM/WLTT-FM plus three music FM outlets.  Davis brings aboard former Take on the Day, LLC exec Jake Russell to become what he calls “our local owner-operator” for the cluster.  Davis also owns two music FMs in Williamsburg, Virginia and has built a strong internet presence he cross-promotes with the radio stations combining for a media company philosophy that he calls “Hometown Driver.”  Davis says the Williamsburg operation has been very successful and he believes the Wilmington stations will be the perfect radio cluster to drive his local media company model.  The FM news/talk simulcast features local morning drive host Chad Adams plus syndicated Dial Global hosts Neal Boortz and Clark Howard, Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, Cumulus Media’s Mark Levin, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.  Davis Media begins operating the stations under an LMA prior to closing.

Neil Larrimore Exits KMBZ, Kansas City.  Program director Neil Larrimore leaves his position at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City – a job he’s held for the past eight years.  Prior to joining KMBZ, Larrimore served as APD at Cox Media’s WHIO, Dayton.

Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Debut TV Show.  KDWN, Las Vegas mid-morning talk host Alan Stock tells TALKERS he’ll begin a daily interview program on local cable channel Vegas TV (channel 14) beginning January 17.  More details to come as the program gets closer to launch but Stock compliments employer Beasley Broadcasting for allowing him to work in another medium that will help him to build on and promote his daily radio program at KDWN.

2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Eviction, Obama Australian Trip, Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yestereday (11/15).  The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the eviction of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protestors, President Obama’s trip to Australia and his plan to expand the U.S. military presence there, and Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

| November 15, 2011

Radio Not Alone in Cuts; CNN Eliminates 50 Positions.  Changes in technology and an analysis of its own efficiency have caused CNN to cut some 50 positions in the trenches according to a report in TVNewser.  After a three-year study of the news organization’s operations, senior vice president Jack Womack writes in a memo to staffers, “Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online.  As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta.”  The report notes 12 positions in the Washington, DC bureau have been eliminated as well as jobs in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

All-New Cumulus Down 1.9% in Q3.  In a conference call with analysts, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey reported that third quarter revenue for the newly acquired Citadel group of stations was down 2.3%, the Cumulus Media Partners stations – the old Susquehanna group stations that made up CMP which Cumulus finished purchasing in August, down 3.4% while Cumulus proper was down 0.6% in the third quarter compared to the same quarter one year ago.  Dickey reports the company is ahead of schedule with its plan to achieve almost $52 million in “synergies” before January.  He states, “We now have a true national platform with a large and liquid market capitalization and a flexible, covenant-light debt complex that is designed to optimize free cash flow and de-risk the equity.  Our team is making excellent progress on the Citadel integration and is energized by the upside potential of our newly transformed platform.”

RAB Names Erica Farber Executive Vice President.  The Radio Advertising Bureau announces it is consolidating its Membership, Professional Development and Services units into one big group and that former Radio & Records publisher and CEO Erica Farber joins the organization as EVP as of January 1, 2012.  RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley says of Farber’s joining the organization, “I am thrilled about Erica joining the management team of the RAB.  We are at a pivotal time as we look to serve the industry and ensure our product offerings meet the demands of an evolving medium.  There’s no better executive for the role than Erica.”  In related moves at the RAB, Sheila Kirby exits the RAB’s Professional Development Group to take the senior vice president of sales training and development post at CBS RadioMichael Weiss, who serves as president of sales at CBS Radio says, “Sheila and I have worked together for close to 20 years, and there is no one I respect more when it comes to motivating a team to perform at their absolute best.  Working closely with Sheila, our sales force will have a clear advantage in the marketplace and advertisers will benefit greatly working with such a sophisticated group of salespeople dedicated to constructing integrated programs that guarantee results.”  Also from the RAB, Ron Ruth shifts from a full-time position with the RAB to a consulting role.

“The Broadside” Hosts Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent Fill in at WBAL, Baltimore.  Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent began their internet program, “The Broadside” several months ago.  Now, as Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore is airing various programs in its 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, Langer and Newgent host their program on WBAL on November 14, 15 and 25.  Langer, who serves as president of the Institute for Liberty and the Small Business Political Alliance and was named by Campaigns and Elections as a Top Influencer in Maryland in 2011 and Newgent, who writes for TheExaminer.com and RedMaryland.blogspot.com and does research and analysis of politics and policy, say their plan “is to expand the horizons of traditional conservative talk, bringing in discussions (and guests) whose focuses are not only politics, but also movies, music and sports.”

CBS Radio Transitions ESPN High Desert to AM Signal; Goes All-Christmas on FM.  The ESPN High Desert sports talk outlet KVFG-FM, Victorville, California shifts to KRAK-AM as ESPN 910 so the FM signal can flip to an all-Christmas format.  There’s no indication what the group’s plans are for the FM signal after the holidays but it seems likely this is a prelude to a change to a music format.

Fox Sports Radio Los Angeles Raises Funds for Paralyzed Veterans.  AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. (KLAC) announces it raised almost $100,000 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America during its radiothon on November 9.  All the money raised during the “Loose Cannons” and “Petros & Money” shows that day will benefit the charity that provides rehab, access to services as well as research to cure spinal cord injuries.  Pictured here (from l-r) are “Loose Cannons” Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Los Angeles Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs.  Robitaille was one of a number of local sports celebs who appeared on the program to help the cause.

SCOTUS to Hear Health Care Reform Arguments, 2012 Presidential Race and ‘Occupy Oakland’ Shut Down Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14).  The United States Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments on President Obama’s Health Care Reform law, the 2012 presidential race and the shutdown of the ‘Occupy Oakland’ protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 14, 2011

| November 14, 2011

Arbitron Releases Most Recent “Radio Today by the Numbers.”  Arbitron lays out a graphically colorful and intense case for the power of radio in general, citing such eye-popping stats as “241 million Americans listen to radio each week – that’s 93% of everyone in this country listening to radio  each week.”  Arbitron states the report helps broadcasters “tell radio’s compelling story,” helps “agencies understand how radio excels at delivering their ads,” and helps “advertisers learn how radio reaches their customers at the right time.”  The report culls its data from Arbitron’s RADAR 110, Scarborough Research’s Release 1 2011 and the Arbitron/Edison Media/Scarborough Research report “The Road Ahead” released in June of this year.

Bill Cunningham’s TV Show Beating Anderson Cooper in Three Major Markets.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter writes that Anderson Cooper’s eponymous daytime talk show has been picked up for another season and he wonders if WLW, Cincinnati talk host Bill Cunningham’s foray into national daytime TV talk will also continue.  Kiesewetter says Tribune president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton tells him they are not ready to discuss their strategy yet as “we have a different strategy than a traditional distributor,” although he notes Cunningham’s ratings success versus Cooper.  Cunningham beat Cooper in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in both household ratings and persons 25-54 in the first two weeks of the November sweeps.  The daytime TV talk show format pool will get even more crowded next fall when personalities such as Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, Jeff Probst, Bethenny Frankel and Trisha Goddard debut TV talk shows.

Sports Talk Broadcasters Jared Max and Steve Buckley Honored by OUT Magazine.  As part of its OUT 100 feature – designed to recognize “the most inspiring people of 2011” – ESPN New York (WEPN) sportscaster Jared Max and Boston Herald columnist and WEEI, Boston regular Steve Buckley are featured.  Both came out during 2011 and the magazine writes, “When Charles Barkley voiced his support for gay marriage and his disdain for homophobia in the sports world, ESPN Radio veteran sportscaster Jared Max took the opportunity to make a ripple himself when he came out on air.  Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley also made the decision to come out in his column (it was his mother’s idea, he says) and followed that up by saying he made the biggest mistake of his life by not doing it sooner.”  Max (top) and Buckley (bottom) are pictured here in a photo from the magazine.

 

CBS TV to Re-Tool “The Early Show” with Addition of Charlie Rose and Gayle King.  According to a report in The New York Times, CBS TV is in the process of revamping its “Early Show” program as a result of the show’s flagging ratings – down 6% from the same period one year ago – and that will include the addition of PBS icon Charlie Rose and Oprah Winfrey Network talk host Gayle King.  The report cites those close to the program speaking anonymously who say the two-hour news show will still be hosted by Erica Hill and Jeff Glor but will take a more serious, newsy approach in a conversational tone that CBS execs say is working for its “CBS Evening News” and “Face the Nation” programs.  The new program is expected to debut sometime early in 2012.

Friday, November 11, 2011

| November 11, 2011

Blogworld New Media Expo/Los Angeles Hosts Thousands of Communicators.  It’s true that the majority of the attendees of last month’s Blogworld New Media Expo in Los Angeles last month don’t make a full-time living with their digital efforts but, as consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from Los Angeles, that is changing quickly and ad dollars “are simply following listeners from The Old to The New.”  Cooke reports what Ford chief marketing officer Jim Farley has to say about new Fords with built-in digital media access, relates thoughts from Edison Research VP/strategy & marketing Tom Webster (keynote speaker at the Blogworld/L.A. event) on understanding digital media and boils down what talk pros can learn from these confabs.  Read Holland Cooke’s report here.

Howard Stern Being Considered for Judge Role on “America’s Got Talent.”  Piers Morgan is stepping down from his role on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent” to focus on his nightly CNN program and The Wall Street Journal reports NBC is in talks with Sirius XM talk star Howard Stern to take over Morgan’s role on the program alongside Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne.  The paper reports Stern is asking for $15 million per year and to move the show from Los Angeles to New York.  Though the report states the discussions are serious, Howard Stern has a knack for inserting himself into stories like this leaving industry observers to wonder if this is another publicity stunt at which Stern excels so well.  Stern was reportedly considered for a judge role on Fox’s “American Idol” several years ago, as well.

KPAM, Portland to Broadcast Live from ‘Occupy Portland” Eviction.  Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams issued an order giving the ‘Occupy Portland’ protesters until midnight Saturday to leave two downtown parks or be evicted by authorities.  KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow says the station will begin live coverage at 11:00 pm on Saturday evening with anchor and news director Tim Hohl at the radio station studios joined by midday host Victoria Taft, KPAM reporter Mark Provost and Portland Tribune columnists’ Jim Redden and Peter Korn.  Glasgow states, “This is an excellent opportunity for our listeners to enjoy live coverage as it happens at ‘Occupy Portland’ and get the very latest breaking news while the historic event comes to a head.  This type of local programming continues to be our promise to our listeners, that we are the leaders in local breaking news as ‘The Voice of Portland.’”

President Obama to Appear on Westwood One Sports’ College Hoops Broadcast.  Sportscaster Jim Gray will interview President Obama during halftime of this evening’s college basketball game – the Quicken Loans Carrie Classic – being played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier stationed in San Diego.  Tonight’s Veterans Day game tips off Dial Global/Westwood One’s coverage of the 2011-2012 college basketball season.

MSNBC Reportedly Won’t Let Pat Buchanan Promote His Latest Book.  MSNBC personality Pat Buchanan has been appearing on other cable news/talk channels – CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network – but he won’t be allowed to plug his latest book on the network for which he works.  According to TVNewser, an MSNBC executive says the network has made a conscious decision not to allow Buchanan to plug Suicide of a Superpower (Thomas Dunne Books 2011) because some consider the book’s message to be bigoted.   The theme of the book is described on Amazon.com this way: “America was born a Western Christian republic but is being transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.”  The groups CREDO Action and ColorofChange.org are pushing for MSNBC to fire Buchanan for his views and “long history of bigoted rhetoric.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WSJRN’s “The Daily Wrap  from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner”  picks up 16 new affiliates including WHJJ, Providence; Buckley Broadcasting’s Hartford, Connecticut simulcast of WDRC/WMMW/WWCO/WSNG; KQV, Pittsburgh; and WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show adds KKOV, Portland to its roster of affiliates…..the Kevin McCullough show is added to the program lineup at WGCF-FM, Paducah, Kentucky; KAPG-FM, Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas; and KJSB, Jonesboro, Arkansas…..Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” picks up WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; and WTHQ, Brookport, Illinois.

Special Veterans Day Broadcast.  WXKS, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz (l) is pictured here with United States Marine Corps General John Kelly (r) at Katz’s special broadcast live from the Fisher House at the V.A. Hospital in Boston.  Katz broadcast a special tribute for the 236th anniversary of the USMC and had an emotional interview with General Kelly whose son Robert was killed in action one year ago.  The general was at the Fisher House to dedicate a garden in memory of his son.

 

Herman Cain Accusations/2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 7-11.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 7-11 was the combined story of the accusations of sexual impropriety by candidate Herman Cain, the 2012 presidential race and Wednesday evening’s GOP debate.  Coming in at #2 was the Penn State scandal followed by the Euro Zone economic jitters and Silvio Berlusconi resignation followed by the financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  Click the banner below to view the entire chart.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

| November 10, 2011

National EAS Test Proves What Many Suspected.  The national Emergency Alert System test that happened (in many places, anyway) at 2:00 pm ET yesterday, showed where the holes are in the system.  There were numerous places where the primary entry point stations did not receive the test and therefore whole regions did not air the test.  But that’s what yesterday’s exercise was all about.  A joint statement from the FCC and FEMA noted, “The Nationwide EAS Test served the purpose for which it was intended – to identify gaps and generate a comprehensive set of data to help strengthen our ability to communicate during real emergencies.  Based on preliminary data, media outlets in large portions of the country successfully received the test message, but it wasn’t received by some viewers or listeners.  We are currently in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and will reach a conclusion when that process is complete.”  Stations have 45 days to report to Washington how the test went at their station or in their market.  For those markets where the test did go off, there were complaints about poor audio quality that made it hard to understand what the message was.  In other places the audio was missing completely.

Restructuring at Cumulus Media Networks Ousts Maureen Lesourd.  With the company since 2009, Maureen Lesourd joined then-Citadel Media Networks as vice president of programming and distribution and was in charge of its 24-hour music formats.  She exits along with 24/7 formats operations director Chris Miller, affiliate relations staffers Brian Curry and Dave Allison as well as finance manager Brian Kaefer.

Former ABC News Political Director Hal Bruno Dies at Age 83.  Hal Bruno served as political director at ABC News from 1978 through his retirement in 1999.  His election coverage and political reports were a staple of ABC Radio’s news content during that time.  Bruno fell on Friday, November 4 and died after complications from the incident on November 8.

 

Euro Zone Jitters/Financial Markets Activity, Penn State Scandal, Herman Cain Accusations/GOP Debate and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9).  The concern over the Euro Zone’s ability to fix its debt problem and the effect on the world financial markets, Joe Paterno’s firing and the Penn State abuse scandal, Hermain Cain’s defense against accusations of sexual misconduct and the GOP debate plus Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

| November 9, 2011

Courtside Entertainment Delivers Blockbuster O’ Reilly Special.  Bill O’Reilly’s “National Radio Election Town Hall” scored big Monday night on 169 top talk stations including WOR, New York; WPHT, Philadelphia; KLIF, Dallas; WTKK-FM, Boston; and WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta.  This marked the first radio special from Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group in the post-Westwood One era. The program featured O’Reilly’s live interviews with all of the major Republican presidential candidates, listener calls and a straw poll taken during the program.  The results showed #1 Herman Cain, #2 Newt Gingrich, #3 Mitt Romney, all tightly bunched at the top.  Courtside managing partner Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “It’s great to kick off our programming boutique with Bill O’Reilly doing a show of this caliber.  I’m also happy to be working with the folks at Dial Global who distributed the show.”  Courtside also owns and produces “Loveline” and is launching the “One Minute Clinic” with Dr. Drew Pinsky, which is already airing in New York and Chicago.  Norm Pattiz’s special address at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum was a huge hit as radio professionals remain fascinated by his colorful history and extraordinary contributions to the business model of modern syndication.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Few people have shaped the radio business in the past 35 years like Norm Pattiz.  Even though he has stated that Courtside Entertainment is not designed to be another Westwood One – but simply a vehicle with which he can remain involved in radio and dabble in projects of special interest to him – we should all pay close attention to this latest endeavor of the master.  If this O’ Reilly project is indicative of things to come, we can expect Courtside Entertainment to be an influential force for positive industry growth and innovation.”

Dial Global and CBS News Renew “The Osgood File” Deal.  Dial Global and CBS News agree to an extension of their deal to distribute Charles Osgood’s “The Osgood File” to radio stations across the country.  The feature is heard four times daily on some 350 stations including in all of the top 25 markets.  Dial Global co-CEOs Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams comment, “Charles Osgood is a true media icon and it is our privilege to deliver his legendary voice to millions of radio listeners each day.  More than a valuable asset to Dial Global’s advertisers and affiliates, Charles Osgood is an asset to American journalism and we are proud to continue our partnership.”

KLAC, Los Angeles Honors American Service Personnel with Radio-thon.  AM570 Fox Sports Los Angeles (KLAC) is broadcasting its fourth annual commercial-free radio-thon and online auction to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America in honor of Veteran’s Day on Friday.  The broadcast takes place today (11/9) from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm PT on the station and special guests will include NFL great Eric Dickerson, Dodgers first baseman James Loney, Lakers guard Shannon Brown and NBA Hall-of-Famer James Worthy.  The station’s goal is to raise $120,000 for the PVA.  KLAC general manager Don Martin states, “This is a chance to give back to our family members, friends, neighbors and fellow Americans who have become paralyzed while fighting for our freedoms.  This is our way of giving thanks for their ultimate sacrifice.”

Cumulus Providence Stations Host Fundraising Luncheon for Female Veterans Facility.  News/talk WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence (along with its sister music FMs) is hosting the inaugural Women’s Warrior Luncheon on Veterans Day on Friday to raise funds for the operation of the Holly Charette House.  Marine Lance Corporal Holly Charette was killed in action at age 21 while serving in Anbar province, Iraq.  She was the seventh Rhode Islander and the first Rhode Island woman to give her life in duty to her country in Iraq.  She was nicknamed “The Marine Who Brings Good News” for her cheery, positive spirit and military occupation as a mail carrier.  She had been assigned to checkpoints in Fallujah where she and a group of fellow Marines were struck by a suicide bomber on June 23, 2005 while returning to their base.  The Holly Charette House, located in Johnston, Rhode Island, was named in her memory and is a home that provides transitional housing for in-need female veterans.  WPRO program director Paul Giammarco says, “The Holly Charette House will forever be a reminder of our need to honor our returning woman heroines, and that freedom isn’t free.  WPRO is incredibly proud and humbled to be associated with such a worthy and noble event and we look forward to supporting the Holly Charette House and this event for years to come.”

Penn State Abuse Scandal, Euro Zone Stability/Berlusconi Resigns, Herman Cain Assault Accusations and Obama-Sarkozy Live Mic Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8).  The explosion of accusations of sexual abuse of young boys by a former Penn State football coach, the Euro Zone economic stability and the resignation of Italy’s Berlusconi, Herman Cain’s campaign and the sexual assault accusations against him plus Obama’s and Sarkozy’s griping about Netanyahu while unknowingly on live mics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Sedano Sandwich.  That’s WAXY, Miami morning drive host Jorge Sedano squished between pro wrestling legends Shawn Michaels (l) and Triple H (r).  The duo were in Miami at WAXY promoting the coming “Wrestlemania 28” which will be broadcast from Miami in April of 2012.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

| November 8, 2011

Critiquing Talk Hosts a Challenging Two-Way Street.  Many talk radio programming pros agree that critiquing – or air checking – talk show hosts is something that is almost a lost art in the current talk radio environment.  Both at the network and the station levels, programmers working with talent to improve their on-air product is challenging enough given the egos of the managers and talent and the myriad programming philosophies out there.  But add in the hectic schedule of today’s talk PD and “challenging” becomes a mild term for the state of the talent critique.  TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian speaks with programming pros including Salem Radio Networks VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup, Sound Mind chief Kraig Kitchin and others about the state of critiquing talk talent.  Read the story here.

Roger Hedgecock Moves to KFMB, San Diego in New Year.  We have a clearer picture of what’s happening in San Diego now.  Yes, as reported earlier, longtime KOGO PM drive host Roger Hedgecock will move his Radio America-syndicated program to Midwest Television’s crosstown KFMB beginning January 2.  KFMB program director Dave Sniff says of the move, “KFMB has always been about mirroring our community, and Roger is synonymous with San Diego.  No host reflects the views and concerns of San Diegans better than Roger.”  Sniff does not mention current PM drive host Rick Roberts in the release.  Meanwhile, Hedgecock stays on the AM side at Clear Channel’s KOGO – which began simulcasting on FM this week – while LaDona Harvey handles the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on the FM side.  So far, it’s the only split of programming for KOGO’s AM and FM broadcasts.  Also, KOGO debuts talk host Bryan Suits in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and Bob “Sully” Sullivan in the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.

Willy Daunic Joined by Joe Dubin for PM Drive at Sports WPRT-FM, Nashville.  The Cromwell Group’s new FM sports talk station in Nashville adds market television sports personality Joe Dubin to “The Sports Revolution” program hosted by Willy Daunic.  Dubin will serve as co-host and executive producer.  Daunic worked at crosstown WGFX-FM with George Plaster’s “The Sports Zone” program before Plaster left the station suddenly just prior to the CumulusCitadel merger.  Daunic stayed with Cumulus briefly but the two sides could not agree on a contract.  Daunic says, “I am glad to have Joe aboard to launch “The Sports Revolution.”  His energy and enthusiasm are going to be an asset.  He also loves Nashville having grown up here, and has built a great following over the years.”  Dubin worked in Nashville TV for 15 years and has won two Murrow Awards and a local Emmy.

WBAL, Baltimore to Try Out Marc Unger in Evening Slot.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports comic, actor and Baltimore sports talk personality Marc Unger is getting an on-air tryout at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  Beginning tonight (11/8), Unger will host a program dealing with politics, social issues and sports in the time slot where the station had been airing reruns of its midday Ron Smith program.

Sign of the Times?  As the media landscape changes and delivery of content moves inexorably from analog over-the-air to a digital combination of wired and wireless, perhaps this photo of America’s first licensed commercial radio towers coming down is truly worth 1,000 words.  WBZ, Boston director of news and programming Peter Casey photographed the felling of WBZ’s first towers atop the old Westinghouse plant in Springfield, Massachusetts – some 85 miles west of Boston – as a piece of radio history is dismantled.  What you see here is one of the two 100-foot towers that served as the original transmitters for WBZ when it began operation 90 years ago.  We posted photos of the two towers atop the buildings in September as CBS Radio’s WBZ celebrated its 90th anniversary on September 19.

New Cain Accusation, Iran Nukes, Penn State Scandal, Italy Economic Trouble and ‘OWS’ Movemement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  The latest accusation of sexual misconduct by GOP candidate Herman Cain, the reports of Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons program, the Penn State sexual assault scandal, Italy’s contribution to the Euro zone economic problems and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

| November 7, 2011

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together some 20 talk radio and TV hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast interviewing a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage sexual abuse.  Major broadcast participants at this event over the years include Dr. Joy Browne of WOR RadioAlan Colmes of Fox News Radio and Fox News ChannelDoug Stephan of “Good Day,” Mark Riley of WWRL in New York, Thom Hartmann of Dial GlobalLionel of LionelMedia.com and WPIX-TV Channel 11 in New York, Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and many more.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”  Broadcasters interested in participating in this year’s installment of “It’s Time to Talk Day” should e-mail Barbara – barbara@talkers.com – while space is still available.

Cumulus Cuts Hit Providence, Detroit and Colorado Springs Markets.  The staffing cuts at Cumulus-owned stations continue and while most of the following staff reductions have not been officially confirmed, here are some of the folks on the news and talk side who are reportedly out:  At KVON, Colorado Springs, news and on-air staffers David John McCoy and Jackie Craddock are out (although at the time of this posting their names still appear on the station website); in Detroit, WJR news anchors Donna Barbera and Dayna Clark plus reporter John McCulloch have been let go;  and in Providence WPRO/WEAN-FM evening producer and fill-in host Tony Cornetta is out as is digital reporter Bob Plain.  More cuts are expected to come in these markets so stay tuned.

KOGO, San Diego Adds FM Simulcast.  Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego is heard on the FM band beginning today (11/7).  The company drops country on KUSS-FM at 95.7 and KOGO is now branded “FM News and Talk 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO.”  Clear Channel San Diego president and market manager Debbie Wagner says, “AM 600 KOGO has an incredibly strong brand in San Diego with its award-winning news and talk format.  The simulcast of KOGO on 95.7 FM allows us to provide complete expanded signal coverage of KOGO’s market leading news and talk programming to better serve our local community as well as our advertisers.”  The station is also announcing the addition of KFI, Los Angeles weekend talk host Bryan Suits and Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of a new local daily program.  Longtime KOGO talk host Roger Hedgecock – whose program is syndicated by Radio America – is not mentioned in the press statement from Clear Channel, which leads to the next item…

Roger Hedgcock Announces Move to KFMB, San Diego. Roger Hedgecock has been a part of Clear Channel’s KOGO San Diego since its flip to news/talk in 1994.  For the past several years he’s been syndicated nationally by Radio America but still operating from his base at KOGO.  Now, Hedgecock tells TALKERS that, as rumored, his nationally syndicated program will move its San Diego base to the PM drive slot at crosstown KFMB beginning in the new year.  Rick Roberts currently hosts the PM drive show at KFMB and there’s no announcement from the Midwest Television-owned station on his status.  Hedgecock is excited about the move and states, “KFMB offers me the TV connection and, with their new 8.2 cable station, the simulcast that will be available (probably March) for all digital devices.”

Clear Channel’s Sports KJR, Seattle Expands to FM.  Clear Channel drops country on KNBQ-FM, Seattle and begins a simulcast of sports KJR.  CC expects the move to improve the station’s geographic reach in the metro – not to mention the younger demos listening to FM.  KJR PD Rich Moore says, “This is an extremely exciting day for our brand, clients and listeners.  It has always been our goal to deliver the most compelling and entertaining sports talk to the Puget Sound region.  We will increase our coverage and will now broadcast KJR in crystal-clear FM, providing more fans our unique local content with a Louder Sports Voice.”

Longtime KDKA, Pittsburgh Talk Host Perry Marshall Passes Away.  KDKA, Pittsburgh program director Marshall Adams tells TALKERS legendary KDKA talk personality Perry Marshall passed away at age 86 after suffering a heart attack while on a cruise several weeks ago from which he never recovered.  “Perry was an institution in local radio, hosting the ‘Marshall’s Office’ overnight talk show for 25 years on KDKA, in addition to work on stations WWSW, WTAE, WJAS, WEEP, KQV and WIND Chicago…I think we all agree a big piece of Pittsburgh radio history died today with him.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

| November 4, 2011

 

Clear Channel Announces New “Brand Management” Team; Talk Programmers Darryl Parks and Ken Charles Named to Management Roles.  The company’s new “brand management team” consists of a brand manager and a brand coordinator for each of the 11 format categories.  Darryl Parks – longtime programmer at WLW, Cincinnati and recently promoted to vice president for news/talk operations – is named brand manager.  Clear Channel Miami-based Ken Charles assumes the brand coordinator role.  The company says these managers serve as the in-house format experts, “The team will help manage the highly effective Premium Choice Network, which imports and exports programming innovation and excellence from region to region, market to market and station to station providing the highest quality research, talent and programming otherwise unavailable.  The team will also be available to consult with select stations and to assist Clear Channel’s senior vice presidents of programming as needed throughout the country, and will gather and share format-specific content, information and resources throughout the field.”

CBS Radio’s Q3 Revenue Flat.  The radio division of CBS Corporation is reporting flat revenue for the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter in 2010.  The company says in a statement, “CBS Radio revenues were flat compared to the same prior-year period, also reflecting lower political spending, offset by growth in domestic auto, retail and financial services.”  Chief financial officer Joe Ianniello says, for the fourth quarter of this year, the radio division is pacing up in the single digits which matches the third quarter increase offset only by the loss of political advertising.

Salem Communications Reports 6.8% Q3 Revenue Increase.  Compared to the same quarter last year, Salem Communications is reporting third quarter income of $54.9 million – a 6.8% increase.  In a conference call, CEO Ed Atsinger stated he’s pleased with the radio division’s performance which provided $44.8 million of the quarterly income at an increase of 3% over the year prior.

Saga Communications Revenue Essentially Flat in Q3.  With net operating revenue down 1% and net income up 3.9% for the third quarter of this year compared to the same period one year ago, Saga Communications reports the quarter was basically flat.  During a conference call, CEO Ed Christian noted that the company was able to pay down $13 million in debt during the third quarter.

Radio Christmas Special to Benefit Fisher House Foundation.  “Great radio for a great cause.”  That’s how Fisher House Foundation describes its innovative Christmas special, “The Gift,” which is being produced by Bloomquist Media in conjunction with Cumulus Media.  The three-hour radio tribute to America’s warriors and their families revolves around the compelling and uplifting stories of three service members who picked up the burden of defending our country after 9/11, suffered serious wounds and have returned to live happy productive lives – thanks in no small part to the love and support of their families.  Among those profiled is Army infantryman Matt Zajac, who has returned to college, rock climbing and scuba diving after losing both legs in Iraq.  Zajac’s father spent 19 straight months at his son’s side as he recovered.  “The Gift,” which is hosted by KGO, San Francisco personality Gil Gross, also features insight from two past Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier, who was nearly killed in a car-bombing in Iraq and has seen firsthand the courage and resilience of our wounded warriors and military families.  “The Gift” is more than just compelling holiday programming.  By airing the show, stations will help raise the profile of Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other services to the families of wounded warriors while they recover at military and VA hospitals.  “The Gift” is made available on barter in exchange for Fisher House PSAs that will air in the week after Christmas – the biggest time of the year for charitable giving.  For more information on “The Gift,” click here http://marketing.rnsales.com/thegift/gift.html

CNN Retools Morning Programming; New Anchors and Producer Aboard.  CNN is announcing its plans for the morning shows on the cable news/talk channel.  Shannon High is leaving her position with NBC’s Peacock Productions to become producer of CNN’s new morning shows and Soledad O’Brien returns to mornings anchoring the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program.  That’s preceded by the new 5:00 am to 7:00 am program co-anchored by Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin – the latter coming to national cable from WMAQ-TV, Chicago.  The new morning programming is expected to debut early in 2012.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added live in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot to the lineup at Cox Media Group’s WOKV, Jacksonville…..Genesis Communications Network’s Josh Tolley adds KMET, Banning, California and WDKM, Adams, Wisconsin…..“Both Sides Now,” hosted by Mark Green and featuring Arianna Huffington and Mary Matalin, is added to the 9:00 pm Saturday slot at Buckley’s WOR, New York.

‘OWS’ Movement Top News/Talk Radio Topic for Week of October 31 – November 4.  The continuing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in cities around the nation stays in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the second consecutive week.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  Landing at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race and the allegations of harassment against Herman Cain.  At #3 was the Obama jobs bill and following up at #4 was the euro zone stability.  To see the entire chart, click the banner below.

 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

| November 3, 2011

Clear Channel Gets iHeartRadio into Select 2012 Toyota Vehicles.  Toyota calls it “Premium HDD Navigation with EntuneTM” and the multi-media system is only available in select 2012 Camry and Prius v models but it’s another step in putting internet-based programming into terrestrial radio’s last stronghold – the automobile.  Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “One of the exciting things about iHeartRadio’s presence into two of Toyota’s newest models is that it affords us another way to deliver on our promise to be wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect — and millions of them drive Camrys, America’s best-selling car, and Prius vehicles, the world’s best-selling hybrid car.  It makes perfect sense that Clear Channel would partner with Toyota to include iHeartRadio, the leading digital radio service, in these vehicles.”

WABC, New York Acting PD Says No Programming Changes Confirmed.  With the departure of program director Laurie Cantillo, assistant program director/web program director Chuck Armstrong is the acting PD.  He tells the New York Daily NewsDavid Hinckley that there are no confirmed plans to make any programming changes to WABC in the wake of Cumulus’ takeover of the station and the recent staff changes.  Cantillo made a concerted effort to bring live and local programming to WABC in evenings and on weekends.  Chicago-based Erich “Mancow” Muller did a live Sunday program on WABC and his program was cancelled.  Armstrong tells the paper, “We have a very strong lineup now.  Even with the syndicated programs, enough are based here that we have a good local sense.”

Appeals Court Rules Against FCC in Janet Jackson Case.  Yes, the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show case – in which some viewers saw a fraction of a second of nudity – is still in the courts.  Yesterday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled again that the FCC was wrong to fine CBS $550,000 concluding that the agency was changing its policy without warning in issuing the fine.  The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered a review of the case but Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell wrote, “An agency may not apply a policy to penalize conduct that occurred before the policy was announced.”  The FCC has argued that CBS was tipped by producers that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were planning something surprising and therefore knew of a situation that could be problematic.

Walkin’ the Walk.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (pictured at left here) is living in a homeless shelter this week to raise awareness and to encourage donations to the Boise Rescue Mission.  He tells TALKERS, “We’re doing the show live everyday plus blogging and multi daily videos.  Our purpose is to show the positive side of the staff and volunteers who take care of the homeless without government funding.  We’ve had a ton of folks come down to donate cash and turkeys.”  Miller says that, like all the other residents of the shelter, he has tasks he must do every day and you see him working in the kitchen in this photo.

CRC Broadcasting to Buy California Radio Stations.  Scottsdale, Arizona-based CRC Broadcasting – owner of business/finance talk KFNN, Phoenix – announces it is forming a California company called CRC Media West, LLC and is buying sports KXPS,  Palm Springs from Morris Communications for $250,000 and a construction permit for KPSF at 1200 on the AM dial from Either Mining Corporation for $75,000.  CRC founder and president Ron Cohen says he put KFNN, Phoenix on the air in 1988 “as the nation’s first radio station programmed exclusively for business, economic and investment-related topics.”  Cohen intends to debut KPSF as “Money 1200” when the construction process is complete and plans to continue operating KXPS as a sports outlet.

Cox Media Group Hawaii GM Mike Kelly Retires.  After 26 years working in the same market, Cox Media Group Hawaii general manager Mike Kelly announces he’ll retire at the end of the year, although he’ll stay with the company on a consulting basis into 2012.  CMG Group VP Jay O’Connor says, “It’s rare these days in broadcasting to find an individual who has been committed to and served a location for 26 consecutive years.  Over that time Mike has led our group through tremendous industry change, including the influx of FM signals in the 80s, local marketing agreements (LMA), Duopoly, consolidation in the 90s and early 2000s, and the great recession of the last few years.”  CMG Hawaii operates six stations.  A search for Kelly’s successor is on.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

| November 2, 2011

Entercom Reports a Flat Q3. Entercom Communications reports its third quarter revenue figures were down 2% to $100.4 million but CEO David Field stated in a conference call that when taking out the political dollars, the company’s revenue was basically flat compared to the third quarter of 2010. Last year’s big political spending in the fourth quarter has this year’s Q4 pacing down some 5%. Field also noted that recent flips of FMs to sports – in Boston with WMKK-FM and in San Francisco with KBWF-FM – have hurt the immediate bottom line but will have a positive effect in time. FM is clearly where Entercom has its bets placed for the future as Field said AM-only revenue – not including simulcasts – make up less than 6% of the company’s revenue.

Cox Media Group Sells Connecticut AMs to Sacred Heart University. This transaction, when considering Entercom’s statement about its AM-only revenue in the previous story, makes industry watchers really begin to question the value of smaller market AM stations. Cox Media Group announces it will sell WSTC, Stamford and WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut to Sacred Heart University but continue to own its FM music-formatted properties in the market. No price for the two AMs was announced but Sacred Heart will begin operating the stations under an LMA on Monday, November 5 with a closing expected in the first quarter of 2012. Sacred Heart owns WSHU-FM in Fairfield, Connecticut and seems very intent on continuing service to the communities as it takes over the stations. WSHU-FM general manager George Lombardi says, “As a public radio station, we consider ourselves to be a community resource, and we always look for ways to increase the service we provide our community. We are thrilled about this new opportunity, as we can now serve Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich with an expanded, more reliable broadcast signal than we ever had before and by bringing our award-winning local reporting, insightful news and talk, and programs. WSHU has been deeply rooted in Fairfield County for 30 years, and we look forward to expanding our services in lower Fairfield County.” Local talk host Lisa Wexler will do her last broadcast on Friday, November 4 and as the station coverts to a non-commercial operation, the commercial syndicated programming will disappear as well. It’s being estimated some 10 staffers will be let go from the stations.

Merlin Media’s WWWN, Chicago Makes Jeff McKinney Midday Anchor. Since the firing of Dave Williams at Merlin Media’s FM News 101.1 in Chicago, Lise Dominique had been filling in at the anchor position. Now, Chicago Radio and Media reports Dominique moves to weekends and fill in and Jeff McKinney takes over the slot. McKinney worked for years as a news anchor at WCCO, Minneapolis. Also, it’s being reported that senior AE Karen Moss – with the station (when it was WKQX) since 1993 – has left her position.

Red Zebra Renews with Georgetown University for Basketball Play-By-Play. Red Zebra Broadcasting and Georgetown University agree to terms to have Hoyas Men’s Basketball air on its WTEM, Washington and WSPZ, Bethesda, Maryland sports talk stations. Hoyas play-by-play voice Rich Chvotkin continues behind the mic for his 39th season.

2012 Presidential Race/Cain Harassment Allegations, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Financial Markets Activity, and ‘OWS’ Movement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/1). The allegations of sexual harassment being leveled against GOP candidate Herman Cain and other aspects of the 2012 presidential race, the problems solving the Euro Zone debt crisis and its effects on the world financial markets, and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

| November 1, 2011

WABC, New York Program Director Laurie Cantillo Resigns. There are few details about Laurie Cantillo’s exit from WABC, New York where she’s been program director since 2008. Cantillo tells TALKERS, “It’s been a privilege to work with my friends at this heritage radio station and I’m looking forward to my next stop on the road.” Whether Cantillo left on her own or was “forced to resign,” by her new Cumulus corporate bosses, she’s following a wise strategy of being gracious and positive. No word on a replacement for Cantillo yet.

Doug McIntyre Interviewed on TALKERS TV. Cumulus Media syndicated talk star Doug McIntyre is the subject of an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian at the recent groundbreaking Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum. In it McIntyre discusses a number of changes he sees happening in talk radio, most notably a move by news/talk hosts away from hyper-partisanship. He describes the move toward the independent middle as a “trend-let” since it really is just showing signs of getting started. You can see this interview now in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

John Rosso Exits Position with Cumulus. John Rosso has been with the syndication arm of the company since 1995 when it was ABC Radio Networks in various capacities. He was named president of Citadel Media Networks in 2009 and joined the Cumulus family with the acquisition of Citadel by Cumulus. Rosso sent a memo to his staff congratulating them on their success making the syndication arm profitable and stated he has discussed the possibility of consulting with Cumulus in the future.

Valerie Blackburn Takes on General Manager Role at KFWB, Los Angeles. Valerie Blackburn, who serves as the controller for CBS Radio’s six station Los Angeles cluster, is named general manager for the news/talk station that was formally transferred to the KFWB Asset Trust yesterday. KFWB has been moved to the trust while up for sale due to CBS Radio’s ownership of the maximum allowed number stations in the Los Angeles market. Blackburn says, “This is an incredible opportunity as KFWB continues to show growth. With the great talent of our news teams, Dave Ramsey, Les Brown and Bob McCormick, and assets like Clippers basketball and our lifestyle programming, I’m confident we will continue to build upon the momentum shown in the latest ratings released today.”

Clear Channel Los Angeles Names Andrew Jeffries Operations Manager. The Los Angeles cluster of Clear Channel stations has a new operations manager in Andrew Jeffries. Jeffries has been head of AC formats for 104.3 MYFM and KOST-FM at the cluster since 2008. Market manager Greg Ashlock says, “Andrew is a wildly talented programmer with a solutions-oriented mindset. His diverse experience across multiple formats will serve him well as he interacts with our cluster of top ranked stations in Los Angeles.”

Media Personality Danny Bonaduce to Host AM Drive at KZOK-FM, Seattle. The longtime television and radio star takes his pop culture radio broadcasting skills to CBS Radio’s classic rock KZOK-FM, Seattle beginning November 14. Danny Bonaduce lost his position in Philadelphia at rock WYSP-FM, when the station became a simulcast of sister sports WIP. KZOK-FM PD Carey Curelop says, “We’re excited the next leg of Danny Bonaduce’s very interesting journey through life is taking him to Seattle. Danny’s experiences as a public figure from a very young age means he has a perspective on life unlike anyone else. Through the good and the bad, nothing Danny ever does is boring. Folks in the Puget Sound are in for a terrifically entertaining show.”

WHO, Des Moines Host Simon Conway Goes to College. Actually, Simon Conway goes to several colleges on a tour of schools in the region. Today (11/1) his show is broadcast live from Drake University in Des Moines where, in front of a live audience, he will debate with two college Republicans and Democrats. “These students are our future leaders, but they are also talk radio’s future audience. It makes sense to engage them in the debate right now.” Conway’s show will emanate from Iowa State University on November 15 and, although the dates aren’t yet confirmed, the show will also be coming from the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa before the month is out.

Ringing the NASDAQ Bell. Dial Global staffers pose for a photo as company executives prepare to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ yesterday (10/31). The merged companies Dial Global and Westwood One began trading on the NASDAQ yesterday as DIAL. Dial Global co-CEOs Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams, along with Dial Global’s chairman of the board of directors Neal Schore, rang the bell to begin the day’s trading.

2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Movement, Euro Zone Stability and Syrian Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/31). The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, troubles with the Euro Zone’s debt solution and new questions about Syria’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 31, 2011

| October 31, 2011

Severe Nor’easter Cuts Power to Millions in Northeast; Radio’s Response to Disaster a Mixed Bag.  Many TALKERS readers are aware that the bulk of our editorial staff is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and we are smack dab in the middle of the massive power outages and road closures so many in the Northeast are dealing with in the wake of the Nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of wet snow on the region on Saturday.  As the region digs out, deals with the tremendous amount of downed trees, and utilities crews work to get power back TALKERS editors have been able to do a preliminary analysis of how radio handled the storm and its aftermath.  There were stations that did an exemplary job providing round-the-clock information about road closures, dangerous areas due to fallen trees and power outages.  We must recognize CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford whose morning drive host Ray Dunaway manned the overnight Saturday on the air with meteorologist Joe Furey keeping listeners up to date.  However, there were many stations and station clusters that – due to manpower issues, in many cases caused by previous decisions to cut staff – were able to provide little local content and defaulted to syndicated programming.  It is times like these that it becomes tragically clear that – apart from some shining examples of excellent public service – most radio groups have surrendered radio’s position as the first destination for news and information in exchange for bottom-line efficiency.

WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Exits.  The popular local Asheville, North Carolina talk host may not have been part of the mandated staff cuts Clear Channel handed down last week.  The Asheville Citizen-Times indicates it appears Matt Mittan left of his own accord, citing a statement from CC Asheville to that effect.  Mittan is tight-lipped about his exit but Citizen-Times writer Jason Sandford hints it might have been done in protest of the cuts that affected his show and other co-workers in the cluster.  Sandford goes on to compliment Mittan for the excellent work he’s done in the past handling public emergency situations that affected the station’s listenership.

Rush Limbaugh to Play Town Hall in NYC.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about his disdain for New York City’s politician and public policies but he’s returning to the Big Apple for a live event on November 29 at the historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street.  Dubbed “Rush Live,” tickets go on sale today at 12:00 noon for the 90-minute show.  A press release from Cumulus’ WABC, New York states, “The last time El Rushbo visited his New York audience was in 2005 to a sold out crowd.  While Rush isn’t bashful about criticizing New York politicians and tax policies, he jokes that he’s going ‘behind enemy lines’ because he loves his New York listeners and his flagship station.”

Radio One to Put All-News FM on in Houston.  This is the first time Radio One has programmed an all-news format and they’re doing it with the help of consultant Ed Shane.  Radio One will drop the gospel music on KROI-FM at 92.1 and debut “News 92 FM” around November 14.  The station has reportedly hired a stable of news pros including the former crosstown KTRH morning news team of J.P. Pritchard and Lana HughesDenise Bishop has been tapped to serve as the news director.

WCBS, New York Inks the Yankees to One-Year Extension.  MLB’s New York Yankees will remain on all-news WCBS, New York for the 2012 season.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick speculates that the one-year deal gives the two sides time to explore a long-term deal but he also states that the Yankees’ $14 million-per-season pact has not been profitable.  Whether CBS Radio views Yankees baseball as a cume-building loss leader or a drain on its finances may be answered if and when the two sides agree to a longer extension or the Yankees broadcasts come onto the open market.

WWRL, New York Adds LGBT-Targeted Programming.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York adds programming called “Equality Pride Radio” to serve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community.  The programming airs from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and debuts this evening (10/31) following the Al Sharpton program.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “WWRL 1600 has created ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ a media platform where the LGBT community will convey information and be celebrated for their ideas, energy and accomplishments.  We take great pride in the culturally diverse audience we serve with our current liberal talk line-up.  With the addition of ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ we further reinforce ‘RL’s format of informative and entertaining radio.”

Jim Ladd to Host “Farewell Show” on KFI, Los Angeles.  Southern California radio legend Jim Ladd will get a chance to say goodbye to his many listeners this Saturday afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – although not on Cumulus classic rock KLOS-FM from which he was let go last week.  Ladd tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan that KFI program director Robin Bertolucci asked him to do the show to give him the chance to say goodbye.  Regarding Ladd’s one-time show, Bertolucci says, “Jim is synonymous with great music and Southern California and I know a lot of his friends and fans want to connect with him.  Jim is a legend and it will be an honor to hear him rock KFI.”

Clear Channel Promotes Keriann Worley to Market Manager for Melbourne, Florida and the Keys.  Keriann Worley moves from her general sales manager post at Clear Channel’s West Palm Beach cluster to become market manager for the company’s Melbourne, Florida and Florida Keys markets.  Worley says, “I’m really honored that Hartley Atkins and Sherri Sanchez chose me to lead our Melbourne and Florida Keys markets.  It’s an exciting time to work at Clear Channel, and we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our market share with integrated solutions and iHeartRadio.  I am fortunate to lead a team that will embrace and utilize all our resources for continued growth and development.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

| October 28, 2011

Foreground Nature of Talk Radio and Emotional Intensity of Content Make it Desirable Environment for Advertisers.  Continuing with a fall tradition, the latest numbers have been compiled for TALKERS magazine’s annual release of its Talk Radio Research ProjectTM (TRRP).  Primarily designed as an in-house vehicle to provide the TALKERS editorial staff with intelligence about the national talk radio audience as a resource for general background and to help answer basic FAQs from the press (such as “What kind of people listen to talk radio?”), the publication began honoring requests from radio stations to share this information.  It has proven extremely valuable as a supplemental sales tool that provides a thumbnail qualitative overview of several leading spoken word formats’ audience profiles including demographics, political orientation, income, education and consumer tastes, habits and disposition.  These include the mainstay news/talk format as well as the recent additions of the sports talk and pop culture talk genres.  The latest figures indicate that news/talk radio maintains its historic position as the most reliable attraction to draw adult audiences and inspire them to action in all audio broadcast media.  So do the relatively recent additions of sports talk radio and pop culture talk radio (with several specific differences indigenous to these formats).  These spoken-word genres also deliver attentive and highly desirable audiences that consume foreground radio with passion and attention.  The people who regularly listen to news/talk, sports talk and pop culture talk radio are more than listeners –– they are radio fans!  In a nutshell, the foreground nature of commercial spoken word radio indicates that sponsors receive approximately three times the bang per advertising buck on talk radio than they do on music radio.  Other interesting aspects of this illuminating information include: sports talk listeners are culturally (and ethnically) diverse.  Caucasians constitute only slightly more than half the sports talk audience (51%) followed by African Americans (26%) and Hispanics (19%) making it one of the most multi-ethnic/racial buys in radio.  This is a crucially important aspect/asset of the sports talk audience that for the most part is lost on advertising agencies and radio sales departments which are still glued to selling demos as opposed to mindsets.  The ethnic diversity of sports talk radio’s listenership is a rare and valuable quality of the format that sets it apart from the rest of radio!  And if advertisers wish to reach “younger demos” via the power of spoken word, they simply need to turn to popular culture talk radio (still erroneously referred to as “shock jock” radio) strewn across the FM dial as talkative morning shows on otherwise music-formatted stations.  See the complete data here.

 Clear Channel Announces National Programming Platforms Personnel.  In concert with its latest round of company-wide layoffs of staff at the station level, Clear Channel introduces the corporate staff that is charged with creating programming for multiple platforms for its stations that is ostensibly designed to “improve local programming in smaller markets by using assets and resources in those markets that their competitors don’t have.”  Recently, Tom Poleman and Darren Davis were brought aboard to serve as president of national programming platforms and SVP/GM of national programming platforms, respectively.  They will be joined by the following staff: Guy Zapoleon, vice president of digital music programming; Dennis Clark, vice president of talent development; Zena Burns, VP of digital programming platforms; Darren Pfeffer, VP of music & entertainment marketing; Alissa Pollack, EVP of integrated music marketing at Mediabase, expands her role to include national programming platforms; Marissa Morris is manager, artist relations and promotions; and Melissa Webb, senior director at National Programming Platforms.  Tom Poleman states, “Clear Channel already has unmatched scale and promotional power.  Our competitive advantage is strengthened by our mission to be everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they want and expect.  Now, I’m proud to say that we’ve assembled an equally unmatched group of talent to lead our new National Programming Platforms division.  This division will enable us to be even more relevant and effective for our audiences, partners and advertisers, and build our national scale and reach by putting together products, events and relationships that nobody else can.”

KABC, Los Angeles PD Jack Silver to Program Sister KLOS-FM.  With the recent firing of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles PD Bob Buchmann, KABC PD Jack Silver tells Orange County Register columnist Gary Lycan he’s been named PD of KLOS-FM.  There’s no indication the assignment of duties to Silver is temporary but the rumors are starting in Los Angeles that changes may be coming to the classic rock outlet.  Those kinds of rumors often start after a round of firings but AM drive team Mark & Brian are very successful and although the production directors for both stations were also let go, it may just be that Cumulus has other plans for saving money in the production department at the stations.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish Signs with WYD Media; Renews Distribution and Sales Deal with Dial Global.  The effect on affiliates – as well as listeners – should not be noticed at all as talk host Michael Smerconish’s program is now produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management while Dial Global continues to handle affiliate sales and ad sales for the show.  Smerconish says, “We’re entering the most fascinating election cycle ever.  And yet, despite the intense media coverage, there remains a void when it comes to clear thinking and independent viewpoints.  I’ve been charting a course to fulfill that role.  I know Ron Hartenbaum shares my outlook.  For several months we’ve been speaking about the need to grow the talk radio tent by offering a forum not predicated on ideology or anger, and now we’ve decided to pursue that goal together.  I intend to rely heavily on his vast experience over the span of many years.  Industry-wide he is known for being smart, engaging and personable, and I think big things are about to happen to us both.”

Dave Ramsey Clears 500th Affiliate; KTTH, Seattle.  Independently syndicated financial talker Dave Ramsey announces his national program has hit the 500-affilliate mark with a deal to air on Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily.  Vice president of affiliate relations Suzanne Simms says, “The fact that the Dave Ramsey show now has 500 radio affiliates indicates the staying power that we have and have been touting all along.  The loyalty of our listeners coupled with the growth of our brand on a national level has contributed to this milestone.  The future bodes well for the Dave Ramsey show!”  Ramsey is currently touring the country promoting is latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).

Lars Larson Flips Seattle Affiliates.  Compass Media Networks’ Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson show moves to a new affiliate in Seattle.  As Dave Ramsey takes over the late-night slot at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle, Larson’s program takes up residence in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot at Inspiration Media’s “Freedom 1590” – KLFE, Seattle.  Station general manager Andrew Adams says, “All of us at ‘Freedom 1590’ are excited to have Lars as part of the station. Lars Larson has a larger-than-life persona in Seattle and we are already getting positive listener response to the move.”

On the Campaign Trail.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here to the left of presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich (at center) as he’s interviewed on the campaign trail.  Gallagher is “embedding” with several GOP candidates during the run-up to the primary elections in order to give his listeners a taste of the campaign trail.  Gallagher broadcast “from the road” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday (10/27) and will host Gingrich for a “live-from-the-campaign-trail” interview at High Cotton Restaurant in upstate South Carolina today on his program.  Salem Radio Network VP/news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Mike Gallagher’s unique, up-close-and-personal approach to the candidates will give SRN listeners a better understanding about the people seeking to become the next President of the United States.  This will go beyond sound bites and photo ops and take our audience behind the scenes for a perspective unavailable anywhere else in American broadcasting.”

Alan Stock to Emcee Las Vegas Veteran’s Day Parade.  For the past 12 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has emceed the nation’s second largest Veteran’s Day parade in Sin City and he’ll do it again this year on Friday, November 11.  Stock hosts the late-morning show on Beasley’s news/talk KDWN, a corporate sponsor of the parade.

OWS Movement Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 24-28.  The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is number one on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories heard on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from Talkers.  The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  Coming in at #2 this week is the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 is the Euro Zone stability/financial markets activity and following up at #4 is the Obama Administration’s economic policy.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

| October 27, 2011

Harsh Reality of Today’s Radio Business Forces Clear Channel’s Major “Reduction in Force.”  This latest round of firings is focused on Clear Channel’s small and medium markets and is affecting primarily on-air and programming staff.  Internally, Clear Channel stations are broken down into three categories: the majors, the mids and the small markets – the latter sometimes referred to by insiders humorously as the stations that are for sale.  But in this economy those small stations – many of which were purchased in the late 1990s as the then-Randy Michaels-led radio group was buying stations at an astounding pace – are for all intents and purposes under water.  The company analyzed each station in an hour-by-hour fashion to determine how much it costs to program and execute the product versus how much it is making.  Programs and hosts whose shows are in the black are likely to be retained; those in the red are those about whom you are reading today.  The company is not describing this strategy as cost cutting but leveraging the quality programming it owns and distributing it to the small – or regional – markets.  The reality is that Clear Channel has a lot of debt it must pay off and – not unlike the homeowner who bought before the housing bubble burst and owes more than his house is worth – must make drastic cuts and hope that it can continue to engage listeners and serve advertisers with “Premium Choice” programming from afar and managers doing more jobs within the same work day.  This situation is unique to neither Clear Channel nor the radio business.  The following list of people working in news or at talk stations for CC are reported to have been let go.  This list is not complete and doesn’t include those from music-formatted stations.  Reports indicate several hundred employees will be out when all is said and done.  The list: KFAB, Omaha PM drive host Tom Becka; Clear Channel Hudson Valley news director Cameron Hendrix; WERC, Birmingham, Alabama news director Mark Evans; WHAM, Rochester news anchor Beth Adams; WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Jim Reith; KWTX, Waco, Texas PD and morning host Shane Warner; WJBO, Baton Rouge, Louisiana mid-morning talk host Clarence Buggs; and WGY and WOFX, Albany assistant PD Steve Bleznyk.

Cumulus Los Angeles Cuts Include Legendary Jock Jim Ladd.  So far the cuts at Cumulus’ Los Angeles stations have not affected any air talent at news/talk KABC.  Production directors at both KABC and KLOS-FM – Howard Hoffman and Mike Sherry, respectively – are out as is KLOS-FM program director Bob Buchmann.  But Southern California radio fans are shocked to find legendary jock Jim Ladd – ironically, the subject of Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ” – has been sacked.  The 63-year-old Ladd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

Lionel Expands Role at New York’s WPIX-TV. What began as his doing a short form commentary running once per day on the evening news has expanded to multiple roles and appearances for the iconoclastic talk radio veteran and podcasting pioneer on the Tribune Company-owned Channel 11 in the Big Apple. Lionel has just debuted his weekday “5@5” segment on the daily newscast in addition to being featured on PIX 11 seven nights a week with fresh video commentary on its 10:00 pm newscast. Lionel, an ex-prosecutor and criminal defense trial lawyer, has also inaugurated his “Lionel’s Law School” segment. Plus, he appears weekly as PIX 11’s resident “News Decoder” on its Monday morning news broadcast and at pix11.com. Lionel’s commentaries are also broadcast nationally through Tribune Company’s affiliates including KPLR 11 in St. Louis. Lionel, a regular TALKERS columnist, has gained national attention as a talk “media station” groundbreaker with his lionelmedia.com.

Rusty Humphries Named National Radio Spokesman for Vietnam Memorial Effort.  The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is spearheading a campaign to build a multi-media education center adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.  In addition to his duties as national radio spokesman, Talk Radio Network host Rusty Humphries is leading the “Veterans Day Challenge” to raise funds for the center.  He will also serve as emcee at a gala benefit at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC on November 11 that will feature actor Tom Selleck.  Humphries’ father died in Vietnam in 1969 when Rusty was just three years old.  Humphries says, “Every time I’m in Washington, I visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, gaze up at my father’s name on Panel 34W, Line 84, and wish that I’d have gotten to know the man whose name appears there, my father.  The Education Center at the Wall will provide a living memorial to these heroes – not just the men and women like my dad whose names appear on the Wall, but all veterans, from Bunker Hill to the present day.”

Tom Marr’s Contract at WCBM Extended Again.  Veteran talk show host Tom Marr of WCBM, Baltimore has been given another extension of his unique contract until 2015.  Marr first signed a no-cut deal with the independently owned heritage station in September of 1977.  It was then extended until 2009.  Marr reached an agreement on July 3, 2008 with the late owner of WCBM, Nick Mangione, Sr., to extend through 2012.  Now Marr has signed an extension with WCMB president Mary C. Mangione that will run until 2015.  Upon signing the deal, WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. tells TALKERS, “Ownership is very pleased to have Tom’s commitment to remain on WCBM’s team.  Tom performs a public service that is informative, beneficial, and entertaining for our listeners.”  Marr comments, “I am delighted that my career will end with WCBM and the Mangione Family Enterprises.”  Pictured here at the signing ceremony are: WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. (standing); seated (l-r) are Mangione Family Enterprise attorney Joe LaVerghettaMangione Family Enterprise president Mary Mangione, and host Tom Marr.

Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  The victim this time is urban WXBT-FM at 100.1 and, of course, the entire staff of the music station as CC gives news/talk WVOC an FM presence.

Ric Edelman’s “Truth About Money” Public TV Show Heads into Season Two.  Author, broadcaster and financial advisor Ric Edelman will produce a second season of his public TV show that shares the same name as his nationally syndicated talk radio show – “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman.”  Season one hit public TV stations across the country earlier this spring and season two will be ready for air in April of next year.  Executive producer Russ Hodge says, “Public Television executives and viewers around the country were so taken with the solid financial guidance they received from Ric, they wholeheartedly endorsed the notion of our coming back for another season.  It’s no secret Ric is recognized as one of America’s top financial advisors, and in these uncertain economic times, viewers gravitate to his expertise and know-how.”

USRN Offers Kim Iversen Show in New Format.  “Your Time with Kim Iversen” has been available in syndication via United Stations Radio Networks talk-intensive music show for Hot AC stations since 2007.  Now, after partnering with Entercom – the company that created the show – to bring it into wider syndication earlier this year, USRN announces that show is available as a live feed or a “build your own show” format.  Beginning November 13, the live feed will be a two-hour, personality-driven talk show airing live from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Stations wishing to continue airing music in the show can use the show segments around music to build a five-hour program.  USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark says, “Kim is an amazing talent, but we found that programmers had varied opinions on how they wanted her show to air.  Some wanted strictly a talk block, others were happy with the Hot AC show and still others wanted her content mixed with CHR or alternative music.  Now, every affiliate gets their wish!”

ABC Digital Clients Now Get News from ABC Sports.  Stations subscribing to ABC Digital for news feeds for their websites now can get sports content from ABC Sports, according to ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones.  “By adding sports headlines to our lineup of ABC Digital choices, we’re enhancing our radio customers’ websites at no additional cost to them.  Several of our partners have expressed an interest in adding a recognized sports brand and we’re pleased to make ABC Sports – a name steeped in tradition – a new category they can add to their station’s website with the simple click of a button.”  ABC Digital service was recently launched by ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media Networks.  The ready-to-post online content is produced and updated 24 hours a day and includes breaking news, exclusive stories, photos and graphics. Stations also have the option to brand the service locally, monetizing the content through local sponsorships.

Barb Yoder Moves into GM Seat at Salem Communications’ Tampa Cluster.  A series of management promotions at Salem Communications means a promotion for Tampa and Sarasota cluster general sales manager Barb Yoder and an open GSM post at the stations.  Yoder moves into the GM post as former GM Chris Gould moves to the corporate level in the vice president of program development position based in Camarillo, California.  Gould replaces Ron Walters who is promoted to senior vice president, ministry relations.

Affiliate Relations Pro Rich Rapiti Victim of Dial Global-Westwood One Merger.  New York-based affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti lost his position as part of the consolidation of Dial Global and Westwood One.  He’s available for his next challenge and can be reached at rapiti@comcast.net or 973-809-3049.

Former Cap Cities/ABC COO Dan Burke Passes Away at 82.  Dan Burke and partner Tom Murphy are credited with building Cap Cities into a major broadcasting force and buying ABC to create Cap Cities/ABC.  The two ran the company for a decade before selling it to Disney in 1996.  Salem Radio Network VP of news/talk programming Tom Tradup remembers working for Burke when he was GM of WLS, Chicago.  “I will always remember Burke’s steely eyes and his tough questioning (especially at this time of the year during budgeting!) as we s-l-o-w-l-y turned WLS from the 23rd station in Chicago and put it on track to become a top-five news/talk giant.  He was firm but fair, and if people in Chicago enjoy WLS in 2011…they probably can thank Dan Burke more than anyone else for showing patience and for keeping others within the company from panicking as WLS grew and ultimately prospered in the #3 radio market in America.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

| October 26, 2011

Westwood One Founder Norm Pattiz Describes Beginnings of Westwood One. During his special remarks at last week’s historic Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20), Westwood One founder (and current CEO of Courtside Entertainment) Norm Pattiz shared the story of the early days of the ground breaking syndication firm that he started in one office in Westwood back in the late 1970s.  Telling the packed house of talk media professionals that he launched the company with “$10,000 and a working wife,” Pattiz describes how his background as a well-connected former L.A. television sales manager served to bring sponsorships to packaged radio programs — thus shifting the network radio business model from a direct cash to barter system and opening the door to the tremendous growth that followed.  He talks about Westwood One’s first show being an urban radio cross-over Motown special stating, “Being a television guy and not a radio guy, I didn’t know the rules of radio and if you don’t know the rules, you can’t be limited by them.”  Pattiz’s speech can be seen exclusively on TALKERS TV. If you are using a mobile device, click here to view the video.

Cumulus Budget Ax Chops Through Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Cumulus corporate dictates have taken a toll on the producer staff at news/talk WLS, Chicago and the programming and airstaff at sister oldies WLS-FM.  Afternoon drive “Roe & Roeper” executive producer Jock Hedblade and “Don Wade & Roma” morning drive show producer Zack Christenson both have been let go along with WLS-FM program director Michael LaCrosse and Chris Papendick, producer of the Greg Brown PM drive show on WLS-FM.  The other change includes operations director Drew Hayes remaining solely responsible for WLS and no longer overseeing WMAL, Washington as he has for the past several years.  Bill Hess was recently promoted to PD at WMAL.  Hayes’ oversight began when WMAL was without a programmer.

Q3 Reports:  Arbitron Up; Journal’s Radio Bright Spot in Down Quarter.  Arbitron reports third quarter revenue up 6.1% over the same period one year ago and states it expects revenue for the entire year to be up somewhere between 6% and 8%.  During a conference call, Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr noted that the company’s completion of the rollout of the Portable People Meter in the 48 top radio markets helped the company achieve its goals.  He also gave an update on the status of its Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement-sponsored project to develop a “single-source panel” for measuring TV, internet and mobile usage.  Kerr says they expect to present their work to CIMM during the fourth quarter.  At Journal Communications, while TV and publishing are languishing, radio has been pretty good to the Milwaukee-based company.  Radio was up 2.7% year-over-year while the company posted a 4.4% loss overall for the quarter.  Flagship news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee posted record ratings under the PPM as the station benefitted from the success of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, MLB’s Brewers and the recall elections across the state that brought in political dollars in a non-election year.

Michigan Sports Talker Sean Baligian Exits Clear Channel.  The “Sean and Terp Show” aired in PM drive on Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and was simulcast to Grand Rapids on WMAX-FM.  With Baligian’s departure from the company, Ryan Terpstra continues to host the afternoon show on WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids and WDFN will feature a series of guest hosts as the station seeks its next permanent host for the daypart.  Via Facebook, Baligian says farewell to fans and hopes to announce a new gig soon.  The program was originally “Sean, Terp and Killer” and recently lost co-host Tom “Killer” Kowalski who died unexpectedly in August of heart failure at age 51.

Journal Names J. Pat Miller Promotion and Marketing Manager in Milwaukee.  Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations announces classic hits WLWK-FM midday host and program director J. Pat Miller moves to a new position as promotion and marketing manager for the company’s WLWK-FM and news/talk WTMJ.  Journal states Miller “will work with the radio sales departments and programming teams to coordinate promotions, events and interactive platforms and will assume day-to-day oversight of the stations’ promotions department, as well.”  Programmer John Roberts joins Journal to handle programming at WLWK-FM.

Town Hall Takes on Los Angeles.  KRLA, Los Angeles’ sold out NTR event on Saturday evening (10/22) pulled a crowd of 1,400 into the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.  The Salem Communications station produced the annual “Town Hall” event that featured Salem Radio Network talk show hosts plus special guests.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: SRN’s Mike Gallagher, columnist, author and pundit Ann Coulter, SRN’s Dennis Prager, KDWN, Las Vegas AM drive host Heidi Harris (who served as moderator for the program), and SRN personality Michael Medved.  The panelists batted around the current hot news stories including the 2012 presidential race.  They also fielded questions from the audience.

‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 Presidential Race, Libya/Middle East Stability and Euro Zone Economic Tension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25).  The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the GOP candidates for president, political strife in Libya and the Middle East and the shaky state of the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

| October 25, 2011

Downsizing at Dial Global/Westwood One; Rumors of Cuts at Clear Channel.  The merger of Dial Global and Westwood One was bound to come with the elimination of some positions as both companies do pretty much the same thing: produce, affiliate and rep radio programs.  There are no confirmed firings but the word on the street is that about 40 of the now-combined companies’ 600 employees were let go from its New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices.  Meanwhile at Clear Channel, the grapevine is producing chatter that layoffs in medium and small markets are coming based on the company’s hour-by-hour breakout of cost-versus-revenue in the programming departments of its stations.  This could mean some local talent getting pink-slipped in favor of the company’s “Premium Content” – a euphemism for in-house syndication.

NPR’s Michele Norris Takes Leave from “All Things Considered” So Husband Can Work for Obama Campaign.  After a couple of high-profile PR gaffes, NPR is out front on this one.  Michele Norris’ husband Broderick Johnson accepted a senior advisory role with President Obama’s re-election campaign and in a quick response, Norris and NPR are agreeing that Norris will take leave from her co-host role on “All Things Considered” after Friday’s broadcast.  Norris will continue to work for NPR producing segments and features but will not be involved in any type of election coverage.  In a statement, Norris says, “This has all happened very quickly, but working closely with NPR management, we’ve been able to make a plan that serves the show, honors the integrity of our news organization and is best for me professionally and personally.  I will certainly miss hosting, but I will remain part of the ATC team and I look forward to contributing to our show and NPR in new and exciting ways.”

Clear Channel Names John Ivey Senior VP of Programming; Robin Bertolucci Extends PD Responsibilities.  Vice president of programming for the Los Angeles cluster John Ivey is promoted to SVP of programming for Clear Channel radio.  Ivey has been PD at CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles since 2001 and in his new position he’ll assist with CHR programming and talent development across the entire CC Radio operation.  At the same time, KFI program director  Robin Bertolucci re-signs with the company to continue leading the mega-successful news/talk station and its sister progressive talk outlet KTLK into the future.  Prior to joining Clear Channel Los Angeles, Bertolucci programmed the AM stations at Clear Channel’s Denver cluster.  CC Radio CEO John Hogan says, “For the past two decades, John has made innumerable contributions to our company’s success, especially over the last 10 years in Los Angeles at KIIS-FM, and Robin has led the iconic KFI brand to unprecedented audience growth and engagement.  As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers and we are pleased to have great programming management talent like John and Robin renew their commitment to the Clear Channel team.”

Syndicated Lex & Terry Morning Hosts Sue Seven Bridges WJXL, Jacksonville.  This one’s a contract dispute.  United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated morning hosts Lex Staley and Terry Jaymes were brought aboard Seven Bridges’ sports talk WJXL, Jacksonville in April of this year with what Lex & Terry say was a three-year deal.  Their show was pulled from the air on October 10.  The details of the contract aren’t clear but the duo have hired Jacksonville attorney John M. Phillips to handle the dispute.  Ironically, Phillips hosted a legal call-in show on WJXL called “Sports & Courts.”  Phillips states, “For months I have preached accountability on my radio show.  Whether someone is injured at the hands of another…or someone wants to simply get out of a contract because of personal preference, the law enforces accountability.  WJXL is accountable to Lex & Terry and hopefully this matter will be resolved soon.”  Syndication contracts are usually pretty clear in stating the terms for ending the deal so it’ll be interesting to see what transpires in this case.

Clear Channel Promotes American Express’ Second Annual “Small Business Saturday” Initiative.  The “Small Business Saturday” initiative is a campaign spearheaded by American Express to promote shopping at local, independent stores and businesses on Saturday, November 26.  A six-point promotional campaign begins tomorrow and runs through November 26 that includes: a public interest campaign across Clear Channel’s 850 radio stations, on-air advocacy by popular station personalities, the telling of local small business success stories, promotion via social media and digital integration, local advisory board activities and community events in local markets along with initiative partner Women Impacting Public Policy.  Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan states, “Our goal is to stimulate small business sales on the biggest shopping weekend of the year by reminding listeners of the impact on their communities.  The campaign is also intended to give a bigger voice to small business owners.”

Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 and WJLK-FM, Asbury Park Host “Home Cooking” NTR Event.  The two Townsquare Media stations are presenting the “Taste of Home Cooking Show” in conjunction with the popular food and entertaining magazine Taste of Home at Branches Catering in West Long Branch, New Jersey on November 1.  Listeners can buy tickets – including a VIP ticket for $50 per person – to sample dishes and get cooking tips from the magazine’s culinary specialist Eric Villegas who will demonstrate 10 new recipes.  VIP ticket holders will get a meet and greet with Villegas and an autographed copy of his new book, Taste of Home Christmas Cookies & Candy.

WWJ, Detroit Hosts “Resurrecting Detroit” Business Breakfast.  This one’s not an NTR event but a community goodwill promotion.  CBS Radio’s WWJ, Detroit produces the Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report written by the station’s technology editor Matt Roush.  The station has developed a program called the WWJ/GLITR UnWIRED coffee series and this particular breakfast is part of that.  The event will be held at Lawrence Technological University’s ULTC Gallery on Thursday, October 27.  Roush will moderate a panel discussion by local business leaders on ways to improve the city of Detroit and strengthen its business core.  WWJ station manager Pete Kowalski says, “WWJ remains committed to Detroit and we’re proud to present another great business breakfast.  This panel, with such stellar business leaders, will be discussing some truly innovative and transforming ideas for the city.  It promises to be a very exciting and inspiring event.”

WTVN, Columbus “Morning Monarch” Bob Conners to Retire.  Bob Conners has hosted the morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTVN, Columbus since 1978 – he began working at the station in 1964.  Now, Conners announces he’ll retire on November 30.  He tells his listeners he’s honored and humbled to have been able to do what he loves for so long.  WTVN program director Mike Elliott tells WBNS-TV, “Bob Conners has been a staple in Columbus radio for a very long time; consider the mold broken.  Bob always said, ‘Radio has been good to me,’ but Bob Conners was good for radio.”  Connors has been at it in AM drive so long his colleagues nicknamed him the “morning monarch.”  WTVN Saturday morning host Joel Riley will take over the AM drive show on an interim basis in December.

Monday, October 24, 2011

| October 24, 2011

Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects.  In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future.  Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project.  He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.  He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.”  He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting.  He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting.  He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.”  King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future.  To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.  Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.

Dial Global Completes Merger with Westwood One.  Friday, Dial Global announced it has completed its merger with Westwood One in a stock-for-stock transaction that sees the WON ticker symbol go away and, beginning today (10/24), the company is listed on the NASDAQ as DIAL.  Dial Global is being led by the management team of Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams.  The newly formed company includes all of the sports programming Westwood One has been known for over the years as well as the original talk content plus the entertainment programming and 24/7 music formats.  It also includes the Dial Global sales rep department and continues to partner with the now separate company Triton DigitalNeal Schore serves as chairman of the newly constituted board of directors and states, “Dial Global has always been focused on serving the ever-evolving needs of the radio industry and this transaction will expand the programming and service offerings sought by both radio stations and advertisers.  On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rod Sherwood and the entire Westwood One team, whose tremendous efforts have helped make this transaction possible.”  Dial Global’s majority ownership is Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and The Gores Group, LLC which own 44% and 31% of the common shares, respectively.

Cumulus Hammer Falls in New York.  News of the corporate dictate hit the industry grapevine late Friday that there have reportedly been about 15 job cuts at New York stations WABC and WPLJ-FM, though at this time only a few are known for sure.  Mancow Muller’s New York-only weekend show on news/talk WABC is gone from the lineup.  It’s believed that a number of the positions cut were administrative posts but it’s also reported that Jill Vitale (a.k.a Flirty Flipper – former Sean Hannity producer) was let go from her digital media post.  So far Cumulus corporate officers have visited Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as they undertake the process of determining where duplicative positions exit and where money is being spent that they believe is just not necessary.

Deepak Chopra Launches Online Radio Show with Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio.  Cinchcast, a company that provides solutions for businesses and consumers to create, share, measure and monetize audio content, today announced that Deepak Chopra has launched a new online radio show leveraging Cinchcast’s audio publishing and management platform and its online radio network, BlogTalkRadio.com. Deepak Chopra, a leading expert in the fields of spirituality and alternative medicine and New York Times best-selling author in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, has created Deepak Chopra Radio to provide an online forum for compelling and thought provoking conversations on success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being and spirituality.  According to Chopra, “Cinchcast’s technology and the BlogTalkRadio network are enabling me to create my own media platform.  The simplicity of broadcasting using only a phone enables me to bring together thought leaders from across the globe from the worlds of spirituality, science and politics to create and share a dialogue on today’s most important topics.”  Alan Levy, CEO of Cinchcast and founder of BlogTalkRadio tells TALKERS, “That’s the beauty of our technology, it turns the phone into a publishing platform making it easy for individuals and businesses to bring important conversations to life. We’re thrilled to have Deepak Chopra on the BlogTalkRadio network.”  Deepak Chopra Radio is now available at BlogTalkRadio.com, DeepakChopra.com and on iTunes. Cinchcast was developed by BlogTalkRadio to enable businesses with a simple and powerful solution to produce and share original audio content.  Headquartered in New York City, Cinchcast powers audio creation and publishing for companies such as United Business Media, Business Insider, SAP and Sears, and is the technology behind BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit www.cinchcast.com.

KGMZ, San Francisco Names Mitch Moss Producer.  Entercom’s 95.7 The Game – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces former KBAD, Las Vegas program director Mitch Moss is the new producer for its midday “The Wheelhouse with John Lund” program.

Timing Is Everything. On the night following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) presented Fox News national security correspondent and author Catherine Herridge (r) in a live town hall-style event to discuss the next threats against the U.S. and her new book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits (Crown Forum 2011).  Bernier tells TALKERS this was the 67th event in the long-running interview series.  It featured a book signing as well.

Paul Finebaum and Staff Visit Iowa Fan.  Birmingham, Alabama-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum – in the news a lot recently for his legal battle with the former Citadel Broadcasting and WJOX-FM – and some of his staff visited 33-year-old Robert Fisher on Friday, October 21.  Fisher, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a huge college football fan and a regular caller to Finebaum’s show that he’s able to hear via Sirius XM.  Finebaum, call screener Tammy Hethcox, and frequent Finebaum guest and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak flew from Alabama to Iowa in Lemak’s private plane to surprise Fisher at his parent’s home.  Finebaum tells the Cedar Rapids Courier that though a few hateful callers have taken issue with him putting Fisher on the air, most of the show’s fans have embraced Fisher.  Hethcox and Fisher have struck up a friendship as a result of his calls and Fisher was thrilled to meet Hethcox and argue in person over their respective love of college football rivals Alabama and Auburn.  Finebaum says, “Everybody loves the guy on the show.  He’s known from coast to coast.”

 

Friday, October 21, 2011

| October 21, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum Rallies So Cal Talk Media Industry.  Some 150 attendees and 30 speakers gathered yesterday (10/20) at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood to participate in the highly anticipated first-time event to discuss the state and future of talk broadcasting in Southern California.  Presented by TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, the power-packed, free event drew representatives from leading stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Ventura, Fresno and even markets outside the region including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and more.  Formats represented included news/talk, sports talk, all news, public radio, pop culture talk and a number of music radio personalities stopped by as well, adding to the color of a dynamic event described by many as a “grand slam home run.”  Solo speakers included Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, Holland Cooke, Michael Harrison and a wide variety of leading program directors, operations managers, and air personalities discussing the gamut of issues facing the region specifically and industry in general.  There were technical displays presented by Comrex Corporation and C. Crane Company and a lavish breakfast and lunch for the attendees provided by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “There has never been a radio conference quite like this — geared to a specific region, short and to the point, and absolutely free ­­– perfectly suited to these challenging times.  All of us at TALKERS are extremely gratified by the outstanding turnout and positive response generated by this memorable six hour event.”  There will be extensive coverage of this historic talk industry happening in the form of stories, pictures and video coming to Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.  Stay tuned!

Former KABC GM Bob Moore Launches Sales Consultancy.  Former KABC/KLOS-FM, Los Angeles president and general manager Bob Moore, who recently left his longtime position at the heritage Citadel outlets as a result of the company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media, attended the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum yesterday where he announced the launch of his new sales consultancy, Moore Money, LLC as well as TheVoicesNetwork.com.  Moore, a highly respected talk media management figure in Los Angeles for years, can be contacted at bobmoore27@gmail.com or 213-219-9856.

NPR Blamed for Firing of Documentary Program Host Over Protest Activities.  The problem is, according to NPR, it had nothing to do with the firing of “Soundprint” host Lisa Simeone.  Simeone was a freelancer for Soundprint Media Company which produces the “Soundprint” documentary program.  Simeone also hosts the WDAV-FM, Charlotte, North Carolina-produced “World of Opera” program from which she has not been let go.  That station states it has no problem with Simeone’s activities and her work with its opera program.  However, Soundprint Media distributes the “Soundprint” show to about 35 public radio stations via NPR and the company says it adopted NPR’s employee code for journalists because people associate it with NPR.  Simeone’s work with the Washington, DC-based protest group “October 2011” apparently violated that code.  NPR is making it a point to state that it had no contact with Soundprint management over Simeone’s relationship with the company.  Clearly, NPR wants to avoid another Juan Williams-like public relations problem.

Carl Anderson Named Clear Channel SVP of Programming for West Region.  Carl Anderson was most recently the senior vice president for programming and distribution at Citadel Media. He first joined Citadel as vice president of music programming in 2006.  Now he’s in charge of the programming for Clear Channel’s West Region stations and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have Carl join the Clear Channel team.  He joins a growing number of the best and brightest programmers, on-air talent and researchers on Clear Channel’s incredible team.”

WWJ, Detroit Presents “Michigan Money Summit” Live Event.  CBS Radio’s all-news WWJ, Detroit is presenting a free program on Saturday, October 29 moderated by WWJ-TV business editor Murray Feldman titled “Michigan Money Summit.”  The program consists of three panel discussions featuring local financial and real estate experts designed to answer tough financial questions to which Detroit-area listeners are seeking answers.  WWJ program director Robert Davidek says, “The stock market has had some of its worst and best weeks lately and we feel this is a great opportunity for people to gain valuable insight from experts about what to do.  And we’ll also be talking about the economy for the coming year.”

Talkers Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Neal Boortz picks up WCNF, Dothan, Alabama…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski” adds KMZQ, Las Vegas…..Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann’s program is added to KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard is now heard on WNDA, Louisville and KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish picks up KROF, Lafayette, Louisiana…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall is added to the program schedule at KFRM, Salina, Kansas.

The GOP Debate/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21.  The GOP candidates debate in Las Vegas and the 2012 presidential race landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM chart for this week.  Coming in at #2 on the chart is the ‘Occupy’ movement followed by the death of Moammar Qaddafi at #3.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio during the course of the week according to ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click on the banner below.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

| October 20, 2011

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Moves to the 8:00 pm Hour.  MSNBC brass are stirring up the pot in an attempt to boost its ratings by flipping “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show.”  Schultz will air at 8:00 pm ET and O’Donnell at 10:00 pm.  MSNBC president Phil Griffin believes Schultz’s style is a better fit for the 8:00 pm hour and a better lead-in to its highest-rated show, “The Rachel Maddow Show.”  Although O’Donnell’s program has more than doubled the ratings over CNN competitor Anderson Cooper, O’Donnell’s ratings in the 25-54 demo have dropped over the last month while Schultz’s have increased.  Griffin states, “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping up the day’s political dialogue.  Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick-off to primetime at 8:00 pm.”  The changes take place Monday, October 24.

KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Gets ‘Best of Tucson’ Honors.  This is the second year in a row that morning drive host Jon Justice has been honored with the ‘Best Radio Personality’ award and the third that he’s nabbed the ‘Best Talk Show Host’ award in the readers poll from Tucson Weekly.  KQTH-FM program director Ryan McCreddan says of the honors, “Congratulations to Jon Justice on his wins in the Tucson Weekly’s 2011 Best of Tucson!  Jon and ‘104.1 The Truth’ have some of the most loyal listeners in town and it shows over and over again with accolades like this.”

Fox Business Network Receives Orders to Differentiate from Fox News Channel.  It appears that Fox Business Network programming has been drifting toward the same appearance as its sister cable news/talker Fox News Channel.  So much so that EVP of programming Kevin Magee issued a memo to FBN staff to stop imitating FNC, according to Reuters.  Magee confirmed the memo to Reuters and told the news service that Fox Business has to continue to focus its programming on business-related issues and find its own voice.  In the memo Magee wrote, “The more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves.  If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.  Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.”  Fox Business has not fared well in the ratings compared to its closest competitor CNBC.

KOA, Denver Adds Broncos QB Tim Tebow to its Football Coverage.  The newest Denver Broncos starting quarterback will make four weekly appearances on KOA during this football season.  Tim Tebow will be heard on the station’s Broncos coverage Monday mornings, Friday afternoons (with former Bronco Dave Logan) on the game day pre-game show (taped, obviously) and live from the locker room after each game.

WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts Annual Breast Cancer Special.  For the past 14 years, WGN-TV entertainment reporter and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards has been hosting a special breast cancer program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’ll do it again on Saturday, October 23 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  The live, three-hour special will examine where we are in the fight against breast cancer and feature a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.

What Happens in Vegas…  The GOP primary race has been a boon for news/talk radio with all of the colorful characters and talk radio’s unique relationship with the candidates.  For Dial Global syndicated talk host Neal Boortz, his relationship with candidate Newt Gingrich is personal – Gingrich has subbed as a host of his program (as has candidate Hermain Cain).  Pictured here is Boortz (r) and Gingrich (l) at the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.

 

2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Aftermath, ‘Occupy’ Movement, Obama Jobs Bill and Exotic Animal Owner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19).  The aftermath of the Tuesday evening GOP candidates debate and the 2012 presidential election , the ‘Occupy’ movement, the battle over the Obama Administration’s jobs bill and the bizarre case of the Ohio exotic animal owner’s suicide and unleashing of dozens of wild animals were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

| October 19, 2011

Clear Channel Partners with LivingSocial for Discount Services.  Using the power of its vast array of radio stations, Clear Channel and LivingSocial enter into an exclusive agreement for LivingSocial be the sole daily deal provider on 500 stations in some 90 markets.  CC says it has more than 80 million listeners each week who stand to benefit from the great local values LivingSocial can let them know about.  Each day, local radio personalities will chat up the LivingSocial daily bargain for their market which can be accessed via the station’s website.  LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy says, “Radio stations are a primary means for people to find entertainment and learn what’s going on in their communities.  This matches perfectly with LivingSocial’s mission to help people find great deals and values around them.”  LivingSocial has about 46 million members and is a competitor of Groupon, the market leader at this point with about 115 million members.

Compass Media Networks Announces Expanded College Basketball Schedule.  Adding to its already hefty offering of play-by-play sports that includes NFL and college football games, Compass Media Networks says it will offer a slate of 15 high-profile college basketball games plus the three-day Big Ten Conference tournament in early March.  Compass’ games include some of college basketball’s highly ranked schools in the pre-season including: North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse and Duke.  It’s worth noting that college basketball may be the only option for hoops fans this winter if the labor issues plaguing the NBA continue.  The growing number of sports talk stations in the country is bringing about an increased demand for play-by-play product.  Compass CEO Peter Kosann says, “Kudos to our team for landing these incredible games.  We are thrilled to provide our affiliates access to these incredible broadcasts and appreciate all of the support from our participating conferences and schools.”

CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Produces Social Media Summit for Businesses.  “Social: The Now Media” will take place November 16 at the Hollywood Palladium and will be co-hosted by KFWB’s Phil Hulett and KNX’s Frank Mottek.  It promises to bring together leading experts on the use of social media to foster the growth of business.  “Featured speakers will outline best practices and present case studies to help business owners strategize and monetize using ubiquitous social media platforms.  ‘The Art of Online Reviews and Referrals,’ ‘How Social Media Impacts Consumers’ and ‘How People are Finding Your Business’ are some of the topics that will be addressed to help entrepreneurs understand how to generate customer loyalty and revenue.”  Speakers include Jim Lanzone, president of CBS Interactive; Kara Nortman, senior vice president of publishing for CityGrid Media; Steve Rubel, executive vice president of global strategy and insights for Edelman Public Relations and Hooman Radfar, CEO and co-founder of Clearspring.  CBS Radio attracted a sell-out crowd of 600 to its first social media summit last February.

Wisconsin Station Owner and Former Legislator Arrested on DUI Charge.  Randy Hopper owns news/talk WFIZ, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and a sister music station.  He also was a Wisconsin State Senator until he lost a recall election in the spring (his estranged wife signed the petition and helped stir the pot as part of a contentious and rather public divorce).  Hopper was arrested on Sunday after reports of a car driving erratically reached police.  According to the Fond du Lac Reporter, Hopper failed field tests but refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate, Hillary Clinton in Libya, ‘Occupy’ Movement and Global Financial Jitters Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/18).  The 2012 presidential race and last night’s GOP debate in Las Vegas, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Libya and her comment that Moammar Gadhafi should be caught or killed, the continuing ‘Occupy’ movement and the precarious state of the world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

| October 18, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talk Seminar Set For Thursday.  It is being described as “a new kind of industry gathering” — accessible, short and free (including breakfast and lunch) with a power-packed line up of speakers and agenda that could rival the largest of national conferences.  Set for Thursday, October 20th between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the one-day event, being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, promises to bring together a diverse variety of factions, formats and companies comprising the Southern California talk radio community and tackle a number of the hottest issues facing the industry today.  Filled to capacity within two weeks of being announced, the event will feature 30 leading industry speakers including solo presentations by the legendary Larry King of CNN; Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz of Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett of LARadio.com; consultant Holland Cooke of McVay/Cook Media; and a special guest appearance by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  The keynote speaker is KFI morning titan Bill Handel.  Eight major Southern California talk radio station programmers will be on panels including Cliff Albert of KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci of KFI, Los Angeles; Skip Essick of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Don Martin of KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio;  John McMullen of Dessert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Jack Silver of KABC, Los Angeles; David Sniff of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles.   Some of the radio personalities speaking will include Andy Dean of Premiere Networks; LaFern Cusack of SCBA and ESPN, Los Angeles; Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Tom Leykis of the New Normal;  Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Cumulus Media;  Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio;  John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia.  Rounding out the line-up of presenters and moderators are Jason Insalaco of KFI, Los Angeles; Bill Moran of Bill Moran and Associates; and Kevin Casey, Mike Kinosian and Michael Harrison of TALKERS.  There will be displays of the latest remote broadcasting equipment by Comrex Corporation and the latest radios by C. Crane Company.  Although the event has reached maximum registration capacity there will be ample opportunity for broadcasters around the country to see and hear much of the event’s activities in the form of stories, photos and videos at Talkers.com shortly after the event.  For the complete LARTF agenda, click here.

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Distribute WNYC, New York Programs.  Hot on the heels of the launch of its new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel announces it will begin making three of the more popular public radio talk programs from WNYC, New York available to users of the mobile phone app.  “WNYC News and Conversation” will feature “The Brian Lehrer Show,” “The Leonard Lopate Show” and the WNYC-Public Radio International production “The Takeaway.”  New York Public Radio vice president and chief digital officer Thomas Hjelm says, “We are delighted that Clear Channel will offer a selection of programming from WNYC on iHeartRadio.  We are committed to making our programming available to the widest possible audience.  Given iHeartRadio’s affinity with talk radio fans, it is an effective platform to extend the reach of our programming among news/talk listeners across the country.”

Sean Hannity Announces Holiday Concert Series to Benefit Troops.  Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is hosting an exclusive four-city concert series to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.  “Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops” includes three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, Oliver North and John Ondrasik of the group Five for Fighting, and more.  Concerts will take place at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom on November 27; Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on December 2; Washington, D.C.’s Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on December 3; and Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre on December 18.  Hannity says, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we also take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country.  These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.”  The concert series is being produced by Townsquare Media and benefits Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which goes to the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident.

Chicago Legend Steve Dahl Returns to Windy City Airwaves on WJJG.  Since exiting CBS Radio’s WJMK-FM, Chicago, Steve Dahl has been producing podcasts available at his own dahl.com website.  Now, the “Dahlcast” will be part of the lineup at WJJG, Chicago.  WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “Steve Dahl is a radio genius and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him and his team.  This is a huge victory for Chicago radio listeners.  These are Steve’s listeners.  I’d be delighted if 1530 WJJG reacquaints Dahl fans with Steve and perhaps introduces new fans.  That’s what radio is supposed to do!  And if you like Steve on 1530, you’ll LOVE getting the Dahlcast Daily.”  WJJG recently added Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Mancow to its daily program schedule.

WBAL, Baltimore Midday Host Rom Smith Has Cancer.  Ron Smith announced to his listeners today (10/17) that he went to the doctor after experiencing abdominal pain about two weeks ago and tests revealed a tumor on his pancreas.  His doctor said the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs.  When Smith asked his doctor if it was worth trying to fight, he replied that is was and he’s seen worse cases successfully treated.  Smith will undergo chemotherapy and will remain on the air as long as he is able.  The 69-year-old Smith has been at WBAL for more than a quarter century.

Cumulus Promotes Two.  Stu Gorlick moves from his post as vice president of sales at the company’s Poughkeepsie-based Hudson Valley station group to VP/market manager for the Danbury market.  Aaron Hyland leaves his position as VP/market manger at the company’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida to become vice president and market manager at the Hudson Valley station group.

 

Monday, October 17, 2011

| October 17, 2011

KGO and KSFO, San Francisco VP of Programming Jack Swanson and KSFO PD Ken Berry Exit Posts.  In an e-mail to his staff, longtime KGO and KSFO, San Francisco programmer Jack Swanson bids adieu to the stations he’s worked at for as long as most people can remember.  In the memo, Swanson – one of the most decorated talk programming veterans in the industry — praises his staff saying, “This has been a tremendous run.  Cumulus is inheriting the greatest staff in the radio industry.  To a person, they are all rock stars.”  Ken Berry served as news director at KGO until taking the KSFO PD post in December of last year.  Both are obviously victims of the Cumulus/Citadel consolidation ax.  Swanson says he plans to take some time off and come back to the industry refreshed and recharged ready for his next opportunity.  Meanwhile, the anxiety continues to grow among former Citadel employees currently on the Cumulus payroll as whispers of the dreaded word “bloodbath” grow louder in the hallways of the company.  Last week, longtime KABC/KLOS, Los Angeles president/general manager Bob Moore was let go in similar fashion feeding into the mounting fear.  Whenever there is consolidation between two recently merged companies there are going to be duplicative positions that common business sense indicates will require job cuts.  However, it’s also obvious to many observers that some people are being ousted primarily because they are making more money than their new employer deems practical to pay.  As the folding of Citadel into Cumulus takes place, TALKERS hears reports that some former Citadel station staffers find themselves meeting with Cumulus managers to basically “interview” for the positions they currently hold.  Obviously, this is the downside of what can happen in business – especially during tough economic times and is basically unavoidable. However, because of the size of this recent acquisition and the number of stations and personnel it involves, the present state of affairs at Cumulus is significantly contributing to the jitters being felt throughout the radio industry.  Stay tuned.

Liberal Activist Group Goes After Baseball for its Affiliation with Glenn Beck.  The group Americans United for Change is firing up a campaign to convince Major League Baseball to stop providing Glenn Beck with the video streaming platform to bring his GBTV to the internet.  It’s not common knowledge that Major League Baseball Advanced Media provides backend infrastructure, white label services, mobile app services and operational support to not only Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts but to ESPN3, March Madness on Demand, Tiger Woods.com among others and, of course, its own MLB.com.  Through its “Strike Out Beck” campaign, AUFC hopes to convince MLB Advanced Media to drop its affiliation with the talk media personality it claims is a purveyor of “unhinged anti-government conspiracies, fear mongering for personal gain, sexist remarks, and race baiting.”

Doug McIntyre Ruffles Political Feathers in Hard Hitting LA Op-Ed Piece.  Nationally syndicated Cumulus Media radio talk show host Doug McIntyre – also a regular columnist in L.A.’s second largest daily, the Daily News — wrote a page one editorial in yesterday’s Sunday edition blasting the Los Angeles city government as being “occupied by corruption.”  Tying into his premise that the protestors participating in the “Occupy Los Angeles” demonstrations are naively being “duped” by local politicians that he claims are merely acting like supporters of the movement but actually embody all the negative qualities against which the demonstrators are protesting.  McIntyre writes, “The Los Angeles City Council embodies everything that’s wrong with government in modern America. Our city is Exhibit A when it comes to special interest money tainting good government.”  Read McIntyre’s full column here.  McIntyre, whose “Red Eye Radio” late night program emanates from KABC, Los Angeles, will be a member of the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions” at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum this Thursday, October 20.  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison the panel also includes Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; investigative reporter Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles; and LaFern Cusack of the Southern California Broadcasters Association and ESPN, Los Angeles.  Considering the volatile nature of the issues facing the region which include immigration, economics, transportation, the environment and a slew of others, and the diversity of the panelists participating – the sparks will really fly!  For complete details about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.

Entercom’s WMC, Memphis Flips to Sports.  Speculation about the company’s plans for “Country Legends” WMC began last week when Entercom announced Premiere NetworksJim Rome show would move from sister sports WMFS-AM/FM to WMC.  Now, Entercom will manage two sports talk stations in the market it calls the Memphis Entercom Sports Network – WMFS-AM/FM affiliated with ESPN Radio and producing live and local programming in the afternoons (Eric Hasseltine followed by the Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins) and WMC affiliated with Fox Sports Radio Network and carrying Jim Rome.

Actress Janine Turner Begins Daily Syndicated Talk Show.  The Texas-born actress has been hosting a two-hour weekend talk show on Cumulus’ KLIF, Dallas since 2010.  Now, Janine Turner announces she’s beginning a daily program – “The Janine Turner Show – Where is Reason?” – that airs live at 2:00 pm ET and is available in national syndication via her eponymous radio network.  The show can also be heard online at janineturner.com.  Turner says, “I’m thrilled that the Janine Turner show has received such a positive response both from the critics and the listeners.  I think what makes my show really unique is that it features thought-provoking analysis about ‘Where is Reason?’ in our country, plus an inquisitive and conversational forum with a great lineup of guests – everyone from presidential candidates and authors to actors and constitutional scholars. And I absolutely love the opportunity to include callers from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and across the nation into the ‘Where is Reason’ dialogue.”

 

Friday, October 14, 2011

| October 14, 2011

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Arrested on Drunken Driving Charge.  In Ohio it’s called OVI – operating a vehicle impaired – and that’s the charge Middletown, Ohio police are filing against Randy Michaels after he was found by police in his car stuck in mud and water in a construction zone around 2:00 am on Friday (10/14).  Authorities noticed the smell of alcohol on Michael’s breath and administered field tests which authorities say he failed.  Michaels refused a Breathalyzer test.  He is expected to be in Middletown Court today.  Middletown is about 35 miles north of the Cincinnati area where Michaels reportedly maintains a residence.  The unconventional – some have called it “frat house” – workplace culture Michaels encourages is not surprising to many Clear Channel employees whom Michaels led for many years as president of that company’s radio division, but it ruffled the feathers of many Tribune Company employees when Michaels served as its CEO.  It remains to be seen if this incident will affect Michaels’ relationship with Merlin Media’s investors, especially in light of the mounting criticism facing the recent launch of the FM news operations in New York and Chicago and their disappointing early ratings.

Hispanic Group Pickets KFI, Los Angeles in Protest of John & Ken.  The National Hispanic Media Coalition held a press conference and peaceful protest outside the studios of Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles yesterday.  About 35 people picketed the station’s Olive Street facilities in Burbank.  The group tells L.A. Weekly that “at least three major advertisers are pulling out of the John & Ken show” and though the advertisers were not named there, the Los Angeles Times reports the activists say Verizon and AT&T have pulled advertising from the show and grocery chains Vons and Ralphs have agreed not to advertise on the show in the future.  The protest and boycott were triggered after immigrant advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera claimed to have received some 400 phone calls from John & Ken listeners after the duo gave out Cabrera’s cell number and asked listeners to tell him what they think of his support for the Dream Act which provides tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants.  Initially, Clear Channel Los Angeles management agreed to meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss the issue but the meeting was canceled after one leader demanded that John & Ken be taken off the air and CC market manager Greg Ashlock refused to acquiesce to an ultimatum.  Clear Channel did not address the issue of advertisers leaving the show but issued the following written statement, “Expressing your opinion is not a firing offense.  KFI stands behind John and Ken and their right to speak their minds — opinions shared, incidentally, by over a million California listeners each week and protected by the First Amendment.”  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This situation being faced by KFI in Los Angeles is a quintessential example of a whole slew of core news/talk radio concerns — special interest pressure, advertising boycotts, free speech rights, political correctness, and management resolve — all crashing together in one escalating story.  It warrants the industry’s undivided attention.”   The heated debate over illegal immigration as well as the managing of controversy in news/talk radio will be among the topics discussed at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20.

CBS Radio Reportedly Interested in Annapolis FM for All-Newser.  Rumors continue to swirl about CBS Radio’s interest in acquiring a DC-area FM – specifically Christian WFSI-FM, Annapolis – in order to put on its own FM all-news outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  WFSI-FM is owned by evangelist Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  The presence of CBS Radio Washington market manager Steve Swenson, who has a ton of experience in news having worked for years in various capacities at the company’s New York news stations WCBS and WINS, is lending credence to the rumor.

Clear Channel Promotes Brian Lekamp to President of CC Digital.   Brian Lekamp moves up from his post as EVP of digital media to the newly created position.  Lekamp’s duties include his responsibility for Clear Channel’s digital strategy – with its iHeartRadio service at the top of that — as well as the infrastructure, tools and social media integration for its local stations’ branded Internet properties.  He will also continue to work with key partners to develop cutting-edge tools and products for all of Clear Channel’s radio, media and entertainment properties.  Lekamp states, “At Clear Channel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business – they are smart, dedicated and focused on innovation.  The development of the new iHeartRadio was supercharged with our acquisition of Thumbplay in March and our strong integrated digital team will continue to develop new digital music products and experiences that support the iHeartRadio platform and Clear Channel’s network of radio station websites.  This is a team effort that I am honored to lead.”

CBS Radio Ups Mike Thomas to VP of Programming in Boston.  Mike Thomas has been PD at classic rock WZLX, Boston since 2006 and has programmed WBZ-FM – 98.5 The Sports Hub – since its debut in 2009.  Now, CBS Radio ups Thomas to vice president of programming for the cluster that also includes hot AC WBMX-FM, oldies WODS-FM and news WBZ.  SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “Since Mike’s arrival at WZLX in 2006, he has built the station into a consistent ratings powerhouse.  His launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009 has been one of the most successful in recent radio history, and the station being named ‘Sports Station of the Year’ at the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards was a tremendous accomplishment.  I look forward to using his strategic approach and programming insights to impact the overall CBS Radio stable of stations in Boston.”

CC Denver Produces Successful “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” Live Event.  The 2nd annual “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” was produced on Thursday, October 6 by Clear Channel Denver and entertained a sold-out house at the Comedy Works Landmark in Denver.  Personalities from the three Denver talk stations – KOA, KHOW and KKZN – batted around the hot issues of the day before the live audience.  Taking part were: Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, Mike Rosen, Dave Logan, Michael Brown, John Caldara and Rick Barber from KOA; Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman from KHOW; and David Sirota and Thom Hartmann from KKZN.  The event was heavily sponsored by local businesses and admission was charged.  Pictured here are progressive talk KKZN morning host David Sirota (l) and KOA midday host Mike Rosen (r).

Buckley Broadcasting’s Jennifer Buckley Named to RAB Board.  The daughter of the late Rick Buckley (once chair of the RAB board) is elected to the Radio Advertising Bureau board.  Jennifer Buckley is vice president and director of sales for WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” adds WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana for its brand new live Sunday evening show hosted by Mark Edge and Stephanie…..“The Career Clinic” with Maureen Anderson picks up affiliates WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky; KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; and KTUI, Sullivan Missouri.

2012 Presidential Race/999 Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 10-14.  The GOP race for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan’ topped the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  At #2 was the Iran assassination plot allegation.  Close behind at #3 was the ‘Occupy’ protest movement and at #4 was President Obama’s Jobs Bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click the banner below.

 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

| October 13, 2011

WOR Looking to Launch New Evening Show in 2012.  Pardon the mixed fruit metaphor, but plum talk show jobs like this don’t come up that often in the Big Apple as WOR tips TALKERS to its plans to fill 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm with a new show at the beginning of the year.  According to program director Scott Lakefield, the legendary station is completely open to all ideas as it looks to bring in someone or something new to fill that cool two-hour slice of its evening schedule.  Lakefield tells TALKERS that the timing of the move is being designed to coincide with forthcoming changes at the end of the year in the business relationship between Dial Global and Philadelphia-based talker Michael Smerconish whose syndicated program is currently in that slot. Lakefield points out that in keeping with the station’s present direction of focusing on locally-originated talent with a broad-based political/social agenda, the station would most-likely hire a non-syndicated talent such as it offers in morning drive with John Gambling and the recent addition of former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons.  “We are very encouraged by the response we are getting with these shows and feel that the station is filling a real programming void in New York news/talk radio programming.” Meantime, in light of this development, TALKERS checked with Dial Global to ascertain the status of the syndicated Michael Smerconish program learning that the changes ahead will simply pertain to the production and ownership of the successful show and not to its continuation as a syndicated offering in the new year.  According to Dial Global vice president Amy Bolton, “It’s moving from a Dial Global-owned product to being a repped product owned by an outside producer. We hope to announce the details shortly.  But it is all good.  In essence, nothing changes as we would still handle ad sales, affiliate sales and distribution.”  Michael Smerconish is a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and generally recognized as not only being the leading news/talk talent in Philadelphia but one of the hottest rising stars on the national talk media scene.

Clear Channel to Restructure Management in Medium and Small Markets.  Scuttlebutt in the industry that Clear Channel’s regional managers meetings in Atlanta would reveal some sort of management reorganization plan appears to be true and, though concrete details are still few, it appears the company will be employing more regional market managers to oversee its medium and small markets.  Sources close to the story indicate that each regional market manager will oversee anywhere between 10 and 15 markets in order to give each manager less to focus on than the current system which has fewer regional vice presidents responsible for many stations.  The new setup reportedly also includes a programmer to assist each regional market manager.  What this means for local talent and local programmers remains to be seen however, it would not be unusual to see some sort of programming consolidation where management feels it can contain costs without harming the on-air product.

WTKK-FM, Boston Expands Morning Simulcast with Regional Cable News Channel.  Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston shaves an hour off the Jim Braude and Margery Eagan-hosted morning drive show and adds another hour of its audio simulcast of New England Cable Network’s “NECN Morning News” program to the schedule.  The Braude and Eagan show now begins at 7:00 am.  WTKK-FM has been airing NECN’s “First Thing in the Morning” starting at 4:30 am followed by the “NECN Morning News” show from 5:00 am to 6:00 am.  Program director Grace Blazer says they added the additional hour due to positive listener response.  “Commuting New Englanders now have found a whole new way to start the day. 96.9 FM’s expanding commitment to local and breaking news, traffic, and weather followed by Jim and Margery’s perspective, live audience interaction, and real time attention to topical issues creates a listening experience not available anywhere else.  This seamless integration of content created by NECN and 96.9 FM represents the next generation of news and information delivered over multiple platforms for the benefit of listeners in a ‘right now’ world.  Greater Media Boston is proud to be a part of this innovation that will benefit its advertisers, listeners and the communities we serve.”

Monticello Media Helps Bring Concert to Region for Earthquake Benefit.  WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia PD and morning drive host Joe Thomas tells TALKERS his station and sister country outlet WCYK-FM spearheaded a drive that culminated with the town of Louisa, Virginia winning a nationwide competition for a free Alan Jackson concert to benefit families whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the August 28 earthquake.  Thomas says, “It was an overwhelming response.  Since FEMA turned Governor McDonnell down, I’m glad Louisa and all of Central Virginia was able to do something to help our own.”

GOP Debate/Cain’s 999 Plan, Iran Assassination Plot Allegations, ‘Occupy’ Protests, and Obama’s Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12).  The GOP candidates debate and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan,’ the allegations of an Iran-sponsored assassination plot, the ‘Occupy’ protests and the status of President Obama’s jobs creation legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey’s Book Tour/Live Events Continue to Draw.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey’s continuing bus tour of the country to promote his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), drew 750 fans to this book signing in Katy, Texas on October 7 with metro affiliate KSEV, Houston a partner in the event.  The next day, Ramsey attracted about 8,000 listeners to his “Total Money Makeover Live” program at Houston’s Reliant Arena in Houston.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

| October 12, 2011

Sirius XM Delay Broadcasts Audio Version of Rosie O’Donnell’s OWN Talk Show.  Rosie O’Donnell began a new talk show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Monday (10/10).  Sirius XM announces it will air “The Rosie Show” the day after it airs on OWN at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm on its Stars channel.  Winfrey relaunched the Oprah Winfrey Network on Monday and reports on the ratings for O’Donnell’s program indicate it averaged less than half a million viewers.  The New York TimesBrian Stelter writes that in her heyday hosting a talk show a decade prior, O’Donnell’s show reached “millions.”  OWN is a project of Winfrey’s and Discovery Networks and Stelter reports O’Donnell’s program must grow in order to become profitable.

WJXL, Jacksonville Goes Local in AM Drive.  Seven Bridges-owned sports WJXL, Jacksonville bumps United Stations Radio NetworksLex & Terry from the AM drive slot and moves local hosts Jeff Prosser and Dan Hicken to the morning slot.  The station airs “XL Primetime” with Joe C and Hacker in the midday time slot previously occupied by Prosser’s and Hicken’s “Sports Final Radio.”  Syndicated Lex & Terry were once based out of Jacksonville.  Their program now emanates from Dallas.

WGN, Chicago to Air Live Remote Chicago Blackhawks Shows.  The station – flagship for Chicago Blackhawks hockey – is producing six live remote broadcasts called “Chicago Blackhawks Live” with the first one taking place at Harry Caray’s Legendary Italian Steakhouse on October 24 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  “Sportsnight” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas host the show that is open to the public.  Special guests will be Blackhawks greats Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita as statues of the two are being unveiled outside the United Center just two days prior.

Chicagoland Station Owner Joe Gentile Passes Away.  Joseph J. Gentile was a car dealer who bought AM daytimer WKDC — licensed to suburban Elmhurst – in 1994 and changed the call letters to his initials (WJJG) in order to help promote his car business.  He found out he liked broadcasting and became the station’s morning host – a hobby he continued for years after retiring from the car business in 2003.  Gentile died Monday at age 87 of natural causes.  WJJG is operated by Chicago radio pro Matt DuBiel who serves as general manager.  The station recently announced it is adding Talk Radio Network’s “Mancow Experience” and Michael Savage shows to its lineup.

Iran Terror Plot, Obama Jobs Bill, 2012 GOP Presidential Candidates and ‘Occupy’ Protest Movement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11).  The Saudi ambassador assassination plot allegedly sponsored by Iran, the failure of the Obama jobs bill in the Senate, the Republican candidates for president and the ‘Occupy’ protests movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Running for a Good Cause.  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive hosts Brian Nehman (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (not pictured) ran the 2011 Army Ten Miler on Monday (10/10) to benefit the Fisher House Foundation.  Nehman is pictured here with Fisher House vice president Brian Gawne (r) after finishing the race.  The Fisher House Foundation provides housing for the family of military personnel so they can be near their loved ones while they are being treated for injuries suffered in combat.  To date, WMAL has raised nearly $3 million for Fisher House since 2004.

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

| October 11, 2011

WWWN-FM, Chicago Midday Anchor Dave Williams Exits Merlin Station.  The first high-profile firing at Merlin Media’s Chicago all-newser claims veteran news and talk radio pro Dave Williams.  Numerous reports indicate Williams was let go after a station visit from Merlin Media management that included CEO Randy Michaels but not COO Walter Sabo.  Industry watchers note that there’s been near constant tweaking of the on-air sound at Merlin’s WWWN-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York but the departure of Williams has triggered a change that appears to be taking the stations away from the “lifestylish” approach to news and toward a much more traditional all-news direction.  This, according to widespread street buzz, could put Walter Sabo’s future with Merlin in doubt as he is generally recognized as the architect of the innovative direction that has marked the company’s questionable starts in both Chicago and New York.  As pointed out here last week, although industry conventional wisdom indicates that it takes time – as much as a year or more – for spoken-word upstarts to gain ratings traction (especially groundbreaking ones), today’s economically stressed environment and “ADD/PPM world” pressure for instantaneous results would likely contribute to nervous investors and the knee jerk response to make changes…especially at an extremely high-profile operation as Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media.  Thus, the “big tweak” might be morphing into a significant format change.  Meanwhile, Williams, who spent most of his career working in news and talk radio in California at such stations as KNX, KABC and KFWB in Los Angeles and KFBK in Sacramento, is looking for his next opportunity after moving from California three months ago to become part of the new Merlin station.

Westwood One’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Partner for Live Shows.  The last time Bill O’Reilly did a series of live events, then-FNC employed Glenn Beck was his partner.  This time Dennis Miller – a man who is no stranger to the live stage – joins O’Reilly for the “Bolder and Fresher” tour with stops at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut; the Landmark Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City; and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.  It’s billed as “Bill O’Reilly, godfather of ‘no spin’ and in-your-face television, and Dennis Miller, the king of references and rants, are teaming up to take the country by storm!”  Tickets are not cheap for this event.  The cheap seats are $95 and the VIP tix are $500 but include a meet-and-greet, photos with O’Reilly and Miller and autographs.

Premiere Networks’ George Noory Publishes New Book Talking to the Dead.  The host of Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM” joins forces with paranormal experts and co-author Rosemary Ellen Guiley to author Talking to the Dead (Forge Books 2011) – the third book for George Noory.  According to Noory, the book “explores the colorful history and personalities behind spirit communications, weaving together spirituality, metaphysics, science and technology.”  Billed as a high-tech guide to spiritual communications, “Noory and Guiley use historical research to explore the science behind radio wave production and how radios carry supernatural voices; examples of successful spiritual communication around the globe; the possible existence of parallel universes from which we hear voices; the history of electromagnetic communication methods, including work by scientific giants like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla; and much more.”

Peak Broadcasting Goes Sports Full Time on KFXD, Boise.  KFXD has been positioned as KIDO 630 in the past as a sister sports and talk outlet to news/talk KIDO 580.  Dan Patrick’s DirecTV-produced show has been part of the lineup for years.  Now, Peak Broadcasting gives the station a separate identity and takes it sports full time as SportsRadio 630 The Fan.  The station keeps Dan Patrick in AM drive and uses content from Fox Sports Radio throughout the day except for the local Riley Corcoran show from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm and the Tester and Riley show (in which Dave Tester joins Corcoran) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

TRN’s Michael Savage Gains Clearance in Phoenix.  Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage is back in the Phoenix market on Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX in the afternoon drive slot airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Savage’s program was last cleared in the market on Clear Channel’s KFYI.

Obama Jobs Bill, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 GOP Candidates and Euro Zone Instability Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10).  The fate of President Obama’s jobs bill, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the battle for the Republican nomination for president and the policies to stabilize the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

 

Monday, October 10, 2011

| October 10, 2011

Civil Disobedience Nets Host Jail Sentence.  TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Ian Freeman, co-host of the nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live,” didn’t set out to spend 59 days in jail — but he believes so strongly in what he talks about on the air and how he lives his life that that’s exactly what he did.  Freeman served 59 days of a 90-day jail sentence (he got early release for good behavior) for obstructing a police officer who was arresting a young woman for an open container violation in Keene, New Hampshire.  Many talk show hosts have strong beliefs and “walk the walk,” but as someone who believes the government is too invasive in people’s lives (and positions his show as a reflection of that philosophy), Freeman makes a habit out of protesting police enforcement of victimless crimes.  He says the authorities in the New England community in which the national show is based see him as “a leader of people with such beliefs” and that’s why he believes a judge gave him a 360-day sentence with 270 days suspended.  Facing the consequences of his commitment was not only personally challenging, but professionally as well.  Freeman tells TALKERS being away from the show for 58 programs left co-host Mark Edge to handle the nightly broadcast with the help of guest co-hosts.  Most programs would be in trouble if their lead personality were gone for that period of time.  Freeman, who created the program, says the unique nature of “Free Talk Live” is that it’s not the “Mark and Ian” show.  He explains, “I didn’t want it to be a show about the personalities as much as it is about the ideas and the concept of open phones and a pro-liberty discussion forum…the idea of the show has always been to have it be able to continue in my or Mark’s absence.”  Freeman says that they have a great crew of friends and volunteers who helped Mark Edge during his time in jail and even though it was Edge’s first time sitting in the “first chair,” he’s heard nothing but good things about how the show went in his absence.  “We didn’t lose any affiliates while I was gone.”  In fact, Freeman says he had the opportunity to hear the show from jail on a local affiliate and had his first real opportunity to hear it as a program director instead of as a part of the show.  He even phoned in on the hotline from jail once or twice with programming advice!  Freeman tells TALKERS he certainly does not want to spend more time in jail but that won’t change how he handles the show or his own life.  “I still firmly believe that more people need to practice civil disobedience and non-cooperation.  I agree with the oft-cited statement that ‘all that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’  I just can’t sit idly by and watch as my peaceful neighbors continue to be caged for all manner of nonsense – whether it be an RV being parked in their yard, smoking a marijuana cigarette, drinking a little bit of beer – whatever…I can’t get on the air with listeners and advocate non-cooperation with the government if I’m not willing to do it myself.  That would make me feel like a hypocrite.”  “Free Talk Live” is a formidable independently syndicated national show with an impressive growth trend heard on 109 affiliates across the country on stations as disparate as conservative news/talk WSPD, Toledo and progressive talk outlet WXXM-FM, Madison.  In these days of both civil disobedience and peaceful demonstrations erupting on the streets of America and the fracturing of the rigid left/right political categories prevalent within the news/talk radio landscape, it stands out as an important emerging talk media industry entity.

WWRL, New York Broadcasts from ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protest.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York is broadcasting from the heart of the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest in Manhattan.  WWRL morning drive host Mark Riley is broadcasting his program this morning (10/10) from 6:00 am to 9:00 am from Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street between Trinity Place and Broadway.  Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated program will also broadcast from the same location from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm today.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “We feel it is particularly important to expand the platform for ‘RL’s culturally diverse audience by being on site of this historic movement.”  The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement began on September 17 and continues to be a major story on talk radio.

Cumulus Promotes WJR, Detroit GM to Market Manager.  Tom O’Brien is upped from his GM post at news/talk WJR, Detroit to market manager for the Cumulus properties in the Motor City that include music FMs WDVD and WDRQ.  Regional vice president of Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier says, “Tom has absolutely earned this promotion!  He’s led WJR to a new standard and has embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System with a vision of incremental growth.”  O’Brien has served as GM of WJR since February of this year.

Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) Partners with eBay Motors for Expanded Online Distribution.  In what is being described as “the first of many new programming and distribution opportunities” that the company is identifying for 2012 and beyond, Entertainment Radio Network, the Oregon-based syndicator of specialty shows covering primarily automotive, consumer electronics, popular science and technology subjects, announces its distribution partnership with eBay Motors, one of the internet’s leading automotive destinations.  Effective immediately, all ERN shows will be distributed through the modJOBS site on the eBayMotors.com landing page to 14 million unique visitors per month.  modJOBS is also supported via social media links to Facebook and Twitter.  ERN president (and former ABC Radio Networks EVP) John McConnell tells TALKERS, “eBay Motors has an extraordinary audience – nearly one billion page views per month.  I believe this kind of distribution is very much a part of radio’s future and we are thrilled that Entertainment Radio Network is the first to be working with eBay Motors new audio programming initiative.  We are all accustomed to talking about TSL (time spent listening), but now get ready to consider stickiness as well – eBay Motors’ average shopper spends 35 minutes per day online, often with credit cards at the ready.”  McConnell recently joined ERN CEO (and on air personality) Alan Taylor as president and a partner in the company.

CBS Radio and NFL’s Houston Texans Sign Long-Term Extension.  CBS Radio’s sports KILT, Houston and country KILT-FM will remain the flagship stations for Houston Texans football for many years to come as the team and CBS agree to a long-term extension of their deal.  Texans football has been affiliated with KILT for the past 10 seasons.

Andy Greenberg Begins Local TV Segment Based on Radio Feature.  KFAB, Omaha-based motivational radio personality Andy Greenberg – host of “Your Weekend HIgh with Andy Greenberg” – is now appearing on KPTM-TV, Omaha on the Sunday evening broadcast beginning October 16.  Greenberg transitioned to his current role as a speaker, trainer and broadcaster after 35 years in the sales and marketing business.  He says, “I am thrilled to be part of the Fox 42 Sunday Night News broadcasts that continue the Fox tradition of broadcasting innovations and have been the forefront and hallmark of the network and its affiliates.”

Salem Radio Network Celebrates Talk Format with “SRN Talk-Tober Month” Promotion.  Rock radio fans certainly remember the “rocktober” moniker assigned to the 10th month of the year on many AOR stations back in the day.  Now, Salem Radio Network honors the talk radio format in its own way declaring it “SRN Talk-Tober Month” and Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne joins the celebration by issuing a proclamation in honor of the Irving-based syndicator and all talk radio serving the metro area.  As part of the proclamation, Van Duyne states, “The talk radio industry in North Texas includes a number of talk radio stations including KSKY; WBAP-AM/FM; KRLD; and KLIF which strive to promote a free and open exchange of opinions on the premise that City of Irving residents and others throughout the area have the right to exercise free speech.”

Friday, October 7, 2011

| October 7, 2011

KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group.  Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired.  The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens.  Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language.  KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.”  Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.

Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show.  Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI.  That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.”  The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell.  Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January.  Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station.  Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM.  Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts.  They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences.  This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.”  The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day.  It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”

Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville.  Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program.  Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits.  The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career.  The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish.  Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”

Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.”  The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks.  DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.”  The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio.  However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network.  FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy.  The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.

NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team.  NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN.  Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area.  They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business.  They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”

TALKERS Affiliation Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio NetworksLex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.

Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7.  President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week.  The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com.  To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

| October 6, 2011

iHeartRadio to Invade American Living Rooms.  In an innovative development that significantly bolsters traditional radio programming’s digital distribution potential, Clear Channel’s expanded deal with Microsoft to include its iHeartRadio in the Xbox LIVE service could put CC stations into the homes of millions of Americans.  Clear Channel says this is an expansion of its multi-year deal with Microsoft that integrates iHeartRadio on Windows Phone 7 and brought the recent two-day iHeartRadio music festival into homes exclusively on the Xbox 360.  Beginning this winter it will work this way: The New iHeartRadio will be available for free to Xbox LIVE Gold members.  Through this new agreement, Gold members who have Kinect for Xbox 360 can use the product’s revolutionary sensor to experience an entertainment first: the ability to control digital radio in their living room using their voice and body.  Gold members who have Xbox 360, but do not have Kinect, can operate the New iHeartRadio using their controller.  Regardless of whether they have Kinect or not, all Xbox 360 Gold members will have access to the New iHeartRadio’s features, including more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus custom stations with more songs, better music intelligence and more user control.  The deal will also give users access to social features through CC’s deal with Facebook.  Clear Channel CEO John Hogan tells TALKERS, “Clear Channel is committed to innovation and deep social integration.  We want to continually deliver new experiences that consumers have never seen before – like the recent launch of the New iHeartRadio, which combines broadcast and digital-only stations and user-created stations in one service for the first time.  The New iHeartRadio’s integration with the Xbox 360 enables Kinect users to control digital radio in their living room using just their voice and body.  There is nothing else like it on the market and it’s another example of how we are committed to being wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect.”

Financial Expert Charles Payne to Launch National Radio Show Via Sun Broadcast Group.  Charles Payne is well known to viewers of Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel as well as to KFI, Los Angeles where he’s hosted a Saturday afternoon program.  Now, Payne partners with Sun Broadcast Group to begin a nationally syndicated two-hour financial talk show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily starting October 17.  “Payne Nation with Charles Payne” will emanate from Fox studios in New York.  Chad Wilkinson is named executive producer, Gabe Hobbs and Jim Robinson are aboard in a consulting capacity and the show will feature the voice talents of Edd Hall.  Sun CEO and founder Jay Bailey states, “We’re very excited to welcome Charles to the Sun Broadcast lineup.  We believe the industry is ready for an uplifting, positive financial show that will provide real answers for real people in this turbulent time in our nation.”  Payne says, “Everyone asks me how I am going to be different from other hosts out there, and I tell them that I am simply going to be real.  No scare tactics.  I’m not going to sugarcoat anything in fact I go right at the issues by digging beneath the surface, seeking facts, relying on history and connecting all the dots for real assessments and real solutions.”

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Scor