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Research (in)Digest

| March 24, 2014

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Like listeners dizzied by more-more-more media choices, we, inside-the-box, are bombarded by a torrent of data about our own changing media landscape.

Recently here, I summarized a real useful Edison Research/Triton Digital study: “The Infinite Dial 2014.”

ICYMI:  http://www.talkers.com/2014/03/06/the-infinite-dial-2014/

And here’s the short version of more recently-released research that relates to your work, and some recommendations accordingly:

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

| March 19, 2014

geronimodonDon Geronimo Goes Digital.  After exiting CBS RADIO last month and promising he’d be back with a vengeance after his contract expired, radio pro Don Geronimo announces he’s joining the digital RELM Network to produce his new show that will be available via subscription only.  The new show will be presented live, Monday through Friday, starting in early April, at www.DonGeronimoPodcast.com .  The company says the exact launch date will be announced soon.  A recorded version of the show will be available on that website, shortly after each live show ends.  The cast of the new show will be Geronimo, co-host Drew Hoffar, their sidekick, Joe Ardinger and will feature regular appearances by Geronimo’s longtime pal and newsman Buzz Burbank.  A statement from the RELM Network, says, “As changes in the radio relm networkindustry continue to disappoint listeners, Geronimo looks forward to doing the show he’s always wanted to do, without interference from corporate radio executives or the FCC rules that quashed the medium’s spontaneity and fun.  Longtime listeners especially won’t want to miss the show’s opening week, in which Geronimo will talk about the events that — and people who — led him to do this podcast.” Burbank, who will panel on the show and bring bits of his news, worked with Geronimo nearly thirty years in their days at CBS Radio.  Burbank will continue his daily newscast at www.BuzzBurbank.com.  Burbank is a partner in, and co-founder of, The RELM Network, along with Marc Ronick and Lowell Melser.  The RELM Network now features 17 shows, including “Buzz Burbank News and Comment,” “The Kirk McEwen Show,” “The Marc & Lowell Show,” plus shows focusing on gaming, the arts, interviews, sports, politics — left and right — and more.

weinerlenLen Weiner to Program Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami.  South Florida sports talker WAXY-AM/FM, Miami “FM 104.3/AM 790 The Ticket” has a new program director as Lincoln Financial Media announces Len Weiner will join the company beginning March 24.  The company parted ways with PD Tod Castleberry lastwaxylogo November.   Weiner most recently was vice president of programming for Genesis Communications’ stations in the Tampa, Orlando and Melbourne markets.  He’s also served at WGN, Chicago; ESPN Radio Network and KMPC, Los Angeles.  LFM SVP and general manager Maureen Lesourd comments, “I am excited that Len’s joining our ‘Ticket’ team.  His depth of experience as a sports radio programmer, producer and talent developer plus his solid track record for strengthening big brands makes him the perfect choice.”  Weiner adds, “I can’t wait to get started at ‘The Ticket.’  It’s a thrill and honor to join the team and continue to build and grow this great brand.  I would also like to thank Maureen and [LFM SVP of programming and operations] John Dimick for this opportunity.”

riverageraldoGeraldo Rivera Strikes Deal with Blast Applications for Digital Projects.  It’s not clear whether his new deal with Cumulus Media allows him to control his own digital endeavors or whether Cumulus is a silent partner in this but Geraldo Rivera and Blast Applications, Inc. are partnering to bring his radio show live to listeners via mobile devices.  Under the terms of the agreement, Rivera’s 10:00 am to 12:00 noon WABC, New York show will be distributed digitally and Blast Applications is responsible for promoting Geraldo’s upcoming online store that will feature innovative and one-of-a-kind products that will be available for purchase nationwide.  Blast Applications CEO Dino Luzzi states, “It is incredibly exciting to announce our joint revenue agreement with the Geraldo Rivera team to promote their popular radio show and online store.  This agreement is another key milestone in our growth for 2014 as we continue to expand Blast Application’s opportunity to create more revenue in the near future.”  Rivera comments, “With the help of Blast Application, we expect the Geraldo Rivera radio show to experience new growth and revenue opportunities.”

sykescharlieWisconsin Governor Scott Walker Featured at WTMJ’s “Insight 2014.”  The annual live event produced by Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee and talk host Charlie Sykes that features important figures in public policy and media takes place this evening and will be re-broadcast tomorrow (3/20) from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on the station.  “Insight 2014 with Charlie Sykes” is an annual political state of the state event and this year includes Governor Scott Walker, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, WTMJ talk host Jeff Wagner and numerous Wisconsin political and media figures.

ramseydaveDave Ramsey to Present Fall ‘Business Gets Personal’ Event in NYC.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar, best-selling author and live event producer Dave Ramsey sells out theaters and arenas across the country targeting individuals and families as well as businesspeople with his “Legacy Journey LIVE” and “EntreLeadership” events.  Now, Ramsey is presenting a new businessperson-focused program to take place in New York City on October 2 titled “Business Gets Personal.”  The new event entails Ramsey teaming with marketing experts and best-selling authors Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk to give businessmen and women valuable insight they can use to take their business to the next level.  Ramsey’s Lampo Group says the one-day event will allow attendees the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business through keynote speeches, Q&A sessions and networking opportunities.  The daylong program takes place at the Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Time Warner Center.  Godin’s latest book is titled, The Icarus Deception (Portfolio Hardcover 2012).  Vaynerchuk works in the family’s liquor sales business and launched Wine Library TV, a daily video blog about wine to much success in 2006.

huffaubreyKGMZ Adds Aubrey Huff to Morning Show.  The new morning show at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The GAME” hosted by Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend adds retired San Francisco Giants star Aubrey Huff to the program’s cast beginning March 31.  Program director Jason Barrett says, “Last week, we announced a new lineup for ‘The GAME.’  Since then, we’ve been fortunate enough to add one of the most entertaining sports personalities in the Bay Area to our team.  It’s hard to improve on the ‘perfect team in the perfect time slot,’ but adding Aubrey Huff does just that.  Make no mistake — this morning show will be different, more informed, and more colorful than any other in the market.”  Huff adds, “I couldn’t be more excited to join ‘95.7 The GAME.’  I had an incredible experience in San Francisco, being a part of two World Championship Giants teams, and now I’m looking forward to joining my brand new team in the Bay Area.”

hurleyharryMichael Harrison Encourages Talk Radio to “Organize Communities, Not Sides.”  In a guest appearance this morning on the Harry Hurley morning show on Townsquare Media’s WPG, Atlantic City “Talk Radio 1450,” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison – when asked by the popular, long-running AM drive star about the present state of talk radio in America – stated, “Although talk radio continues to be one of radio’s most successfulharrisonmichael formats and the platform that gives rise to the medium’s biggest stars, it might need to adjust its mission and style to perhaps a more positive mode in the days ahead for the sake of improving its image in the advertising community and maintaining influence in the arena of public policy.  I suggest that talk show hosts think more about organizing ‘communities’ that bring people together – especially on the local level where left and right ideology plays less of a defined role – than galvanize ‘sides’ that turn people and communities against each other.”  Harrison added, “There are many ways to target audiences and create critical, marketable masses.  Going forward it is important that news/talk radio explore all its options in this regard and not rely exclusively on the ‘us against them’ paradigm.”

bilstaderikOdds & Sods.  At Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee, Erik Bilstad is promoted to the role of executive producer, news, effective immediately.  The company says that in addition to his current duties as a reporter and news anchor on “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,” Bilstad’s responsibilities will now include day-to-day management of the news department and personnel, along with story assignments and directing special news and severe weather coverage…..Former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo joins Tribune’s WGWG-LP, Chicago “The Game 87.7 FM” for a weekly football insider role on the midday show hosted by David Kaplan and David Haugh, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..The Florida Times-Union reports the Jacksonville Jaguars will switch from Cox Media Group‘s WOKV, Jacksonville to Seven Bridges-owned WJXL for play-by-play of the team’s games beginning with the 2014 season.  According to the report, games would also air on Renda Broadcasting‘s country WGNE-FM.  The deal has not been officially announced by the NFL club.

jablonskijackMinneapolis Sports Talker Jack Jablonski Nabs Prom Date with ESPN’s Michelle Beadle.  Twin Cities sports talk personality Jack Jablonski made headlines in 2011 when, as a high school hockey player, became paralyzed from the chest down after being checked into the boards.  Jablonski was hired the following year at Cumulus Media’s “Sports Radio 105 The Ticket” (WGVX and WGVZ, Minneapolis) to host the weekly “Hockey Night in Minnesota” program that airsbeadlemichelle Wednesdays at 5:15 pm.  During his show last Wednesday, Jablonski joined former Vikings offensive lineman Mike Morris and Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere. ESPN anchor Michelle Beadle was also on the air with them, having been booked for the second time by Jablonski.  After some hockey talk, the mood changed as Barry White‘s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” started to play.  The 18-year-old Minneapolis celebrity asked Beadle to his high school prom — and she accepted!

nielsen logoSecond Round of February PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

stockwallaceGeorge Wallace Visits KDWN, Las Vegas.  Comedian George Wallace (c) is pictured here in Beasley Broadcast Group’s Las Vegas studios with KDWN program director John Shaffer (l) and KDWN morning drive host Alan Stock (r).  Wallace spoke with Stock about the 10th anniversary of his engagement at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on the strip.

Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Case, ObamaCare Criticism, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, and Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  Analysis of the motives of Russian president Vladimir Putin and his battle with President Obama over Russian interests and the Crimea-Ukraine case; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the deepening mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; and speculation about changes in Congressional power possible after the mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

| March 18, 2014

graefejohnEntercom Ups Graefe to Chief Information Officer.  Twelve-year Entercom staffer John Graefe is promoted to a new post as the company’s first chief information officer, responsible for delivering a broad range of IT initiatives to support the company.  Graefe has been the vice president of IT and will continue to lead the team of employees overseeing the company’s IT infrastructure, as well as its strategy and partnerships.  In making the announcement, the company says Graefe is a tech leaderentercom with a unique view of IT innovation and its application in driving business objectives.  In this new role he will take over responsibilities for the company’s analytics and business intelligence initiatives.  He’ll report to EVP/CFO Steve Fisher, who comments, “John has demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing our IT organization while continuing to position IT as a strategic asset and business driver.  I am confident that, as CIO, he will continue to advance Entercom strategic platforms and strategies.”  Graefe says, “I am excited for the opportunity to continue leading the IT team at Entercom and further advancing our initiatives in analytics and business intelligence.   This will continue to enhance Entercom’s position as a leading broadcasting and marketing solutions company.”

rileyjulesRiley Returns to Journal Broadcast Group in Tulsa.  Most recently working as a consultant in the industry, Jules Riley is named operations manager for Journal Broadcast Group’s Tulsa operations, including news/talk KFAQ.  Tulsa VP/GM Bill Berry says, “We are very excited to welcome Jules back to Journal.  She has a stellar reputation in the industry and extensive experience with multiple formats.  I have no doubt that she will do a terrific job as our programming leader.”  Riley was the program director for Journal’s rock KICT “T95” and classic rock KFXJ “104.5 The Fox” in Wichita until 2001 before leaving to lead programming teams in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Phoenix.   She comments, “I am thrilled to rejoin Journal Broadcast Group and work with the phenomenal Tulsa team.  My thanks to Bill Berry, Beverlee Brannigan and Steve Wexler.”

“Trippin’ Out into the Future” with Michael Harrison.  The time has come for the rise of the MEDIA STATION.  When Jerry Del Colliano was asked what role TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will play at his forthcoming “Media Solutions Conference” in Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26 – the noted industry observer and analyst described Harrison as a “futurist” and stated “Michael and I will trip out into the future of radio and digital content.”  Harrison’s reaction to delcollianojerrythe comment was that he was extremely flattered by the remark, stating, “Wow, to be in this business for 48 years and still be called a ‘futurist’ is a compliment, to say the least.  Those who know me personally or have heard me speak and read my articles over the decades know that I maintain a very healthy respect for the past and radio’s pop cultural heritage – HOWEVER, they also know that I do so only from the perspective that they help us navigate the wild waters of the future into which we must always be bravely sailing.”  Harrison continues, “There are several things that I am looking forward to discussing at Jerry’s seminar that span my interest in both talk and music radio…but first and foremost, I believe it’s time for the industry to come to terms with the theoretical (and increasingly real) concept of the “media station”harrisonmichael because that is, in fact, where we are heading in terms of platform.  And while many people in this business are running around uttering the half-baked phrase ‘content is king’ and counting their chickens over the seeming ease of entry to the internet — those who have an understanding of media theory and elementary art appreciation understand that without ‘platform,’ content cannot be monetized.  The ‘media station’ will be the platform of today’s radio station (as well as most newspapers and magazines) before this decade is over.  Those who prepare for this and understand exactly what it entails will not only survive — they will thrive — and continue to successfully ride the traditional time-line of our glorious industry from one century to the next.  Those who do not will drown in the vast ocean of noise that is the undeveloped, platform-less internet.”  Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at the conference.  Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity.  The intensive day-long workshop will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio.  These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, making commercials less of a liability and much more.  Harrison adds, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business.  Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of a classy guy who rose to the very top of the talent ladder.  One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in already solving questions to which most people are actively seeking answers.”  The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel.  For more information click here.

nielsen logoFirst Round of February PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

wnfl logoOdds & Sods.  The station that will benefit from Midwest Communications’ purchase of the construction permit for an FM translator licensed to Howard, Wisconsin (W221DA at 92.1) is sports talk WNFL, Green Bay.  Midwest is buying the CP from David M. Stout for $65,000.  Howard lies northwest and adjacent to the City of Green Bay…..The mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has been a boon to the ratings of cable news/talk channel CNN.  The ratings woes of the channel are well known to industry watchers and the recent news has boosted the channel’s ratings above those of its competitors Fox News Channel and MSNBC in recent days.

Crimea Votes to Join Russia/Obama vs. Putin, Malaysian Airline Flight 370 Mystery, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, ObamaCare Criticism, Los Angeles Quake, and Lingering Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17).  The Crimea-Russia case and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the ongoing mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; the forecasting of political change with the mid-term elections and speculation about the 2016 presidential race; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Monday’s Los Angeles earthquake and concerns about another one; and the chilly weather still affecting the Midwest and East and the global warming controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

| March 12, 2014

2014header - final for KCTALKERS Posts 2014 Heavy Hundred.  The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – debuted on March 11.  Also known as “The Heavy Hundred,” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board with input from a wide variety of industry leaders.  It includes local and national hosts from an array of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer electronics, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and completely separate annual “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” two years ago.)  Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation.  Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up-and-comers has never been greater.  Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!”  To view the entire 2014 Heavy Hundred, please click here.

kgmzlogo‘Game’ Changes in San Francisco.  KGMZ “95.7 The Game” is modifying its weekday on-air lineup.  Among the adjustments at the Entercom-owned San Francisco Bay Area sports outlet are the importing of former cross-town KNBR talent Damon Bruce to afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and shifting current PM drivers Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (below left, respectively) to mornings, replacing “The Rise Guys” — Whitey Gleason, Mark Kriedler and Dan Dibley.  Entercom San Francisco vice president and market manager Steve DiNardo states, “This is a brucedamongreat day for our station and for Bay Area sports fans.  For years, Damon Bruce has been one of the strongest, most opinionated, and passionate personalities in Bay Area sports.  He understands what it takes to compete and win in this market.  Just as exciting is moving Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend to morning drive.  In just 14 months, they have developed strong chemistry and a loyal following.  We feel like we have the perfect team in the perfect time slot to grow ‘The Game.'” According to Bruce, “The Bay Area has a one-of-a-kind sports scene, one of the hottest and most exciting buchertownsendin the country today.  Bay Area fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. I can’t wait to start and kick off a new drive-time experience for Bay Area sports fans.”  Bruce was with KNBR from 1998 – 2000, and returned in 2005.  He gained national exposure hosting “Sports Overnight America,” before leaving to become a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN Radio. Bruce has filled in for Jim Rome and has hosted SportsCenter for ESPN International. His other credits include fill-in host on Fox Sports Radio; Sporting News Radio; CBS Sports Network; and hosting pre and post-game shows for the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers.  The revised KGMZ lineup – which begins in just over two weeks (3/31) – will include “Bucher and Towny” with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Haberman & Middlekauff (10:00 am -12:00 noon); “The Wheelhouse” with John Lund & Greg Papa (noon – 3:00 pm); and “The Damon Bruce Show” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).

salemcommunicationsSaga’s Ed Christian “Hoping for a Little Better” in Q4.  The 2013 fourth quarter and full year fiscal reports for Saga Communications saw the company’s net operating revenue dip 5% in Q4 of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.  But gross revenue increased 3.8% during the quarter excluding political.  For the full year, the company’s gross revenue was up 3.3% (ex-political).  In a conference call with investment analysts, Saga CEO Ed Christian christianedstated, “I was hoping for a little better in Q4, we can always do a little more, we can always do a little better but I’m not disappointed.  We’re just pleased with the results.”  Christian said it’s hard not to put some blame on the winter weather for the economic sluggishness.  “Saga operates in a lot of mid-America markets and a lot in New England and I really don’t have to tell you what the last four months have been like.  In those markets it’s just outright miserable…I was talking with one of our managers the other day and he said people are irritable and it’s gloomy and people are lethargic.”

beasley logoBeasley Declares Cash Dividend.  The company’s board of directors is announcing the company is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock.  The dividend is payable on April 10, 2014, to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014.

linnmanpaulKEX, Portland Personality Accused of Assault.  Morning show personality Paul Linnman – host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland – is being accused by a co-worker of assault after he allegedly groped her buttocks and licked his lips as he stared at her breasts.  Kailee Kinney is bringing the suit against Clear Channel and Linnman in Multnomah County Court.  Kinney is a producer and account executive at CC Portland.  She’s seeking $325,000 in damages.  The complaint alleges Linnman “came up behind plaintiff and groped her buttocks, a sexually intimate part of her body.  Linnman used an open palm to slap Plaintiff’s buttocks and then grabbed and squeezed plaintiff’s buttocks.”  It further alleges that “Linnman approached plaintiff for a second time, stating, ‘I should apologize but that black dress…you look great in that black dress,” during which he “licked his lips and stared at Plaintiff’s breasts as he made this comment to plaintiff.”

postbillSalem, Oregon Talk Host Suspends Show After Equal Time Complaint.  In the Salem, Oregon market, Willamette Broadcasting employee Bill Post has suspended his daily talk show on KYKN due to his campaign for state representative and a complaint from a primary opponent about violation of equal time rules.  Post announced his campaign for the seat in December.  Last month, Barbara Jensen announced her bid for the seat but Post continued to work on the air.  Jensen complains that Post and the station have been violating FCC rules and election laws but also asserts Post has violated other campaign laws but did not specify what they are.  In a story in the Statesman Journal, Post says the station was prepared for Jensen’s complaint and that he believes the station and his campaign manager have operated within the law.   Jensen’s complaint implies that once Post worked on air after opponents joined the race, the station must then provide equal time.

journalcommunicationsJournal Communications Shows Off New Brand.  The parent company of radio and TV station firm Journal Broadcast Group unveils a new company brand with three cohesive new logos representing Journal Communications and its two major business segments, the Broadcast Group and Journal Publishing.  As part of the new brand, the company also launched a fully redesigned corporate website atjournalbroadcastgroup www.journalcommunications.com.  Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith comments, “When we look at our company, we see quality, focus and effective teams in our local markets – all part of a business that is moving forward.  However, many people outside of Journal often have no idea that, in addition to their favorite local station or publication, we have a total of 13 television stations, 35 radio stations and a major daily newspaper with a variety of supporting local publications, all with complementary digital products.  As such, we believe our new brand better represents our company to investors, employees and the public and positions us as a national media company with diverse brands united under a common identity.”  The redesigned company website includes links to all of Journal’s digital products and Journal Broadcast Group live streaming sites, as well as a “What’s Trending Now” feature that highlights Journal’s most recent content across its Broadcast and Publishing websites.

entercomEntercom Kansas City Takes Action Against Delinquent Client.  It’s not unusual for radio stations to put a past-due account into collection but Entercom Kansas City is seeking a court’s assistance in getting more than $52,000 it claims it is owned by Vinson Mortgage Services Inc.  In a story in the St. Louis Business Journal, Vinson apparently advertised on news/talk KMBZ, alternative KRBZ and rock KQRC.  This is not the only action involving Vinson.  St. Louis television station KMOV-TV is filing a suit claiming it is owned more than $68,000.

wdrc-amOdds & Sods.  The recent FCC filing for Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of its Connecticut stations to Connoisseur Media announced last week shows the price is $7.9 million.  The stations include classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WDRC-AM, Hartford; WWCO, Waterbury; WSNG, Torrington; and WMMW, Meriden…..Talk radio pro Mark Wainwright is sitting in on Clear Channel’s WSYR, Syracuse for Joe Galuski on the morning program next week, March 17 – 21…..Alpha Broadcasting announces Jeremy Scott and Brian Perkins will be the radio announcers for the Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder when games air on the company’s KXTG, Portland “Sports Radio 750 The Game.”  Scott serves as a reporter for sister news/talk KXL.  Perkins is a reporter and air personality on KXTG…..XtreMEDIA nationally syndicated talk host Steve Deace is talking to New Englanders today as he sits in for Boston talk icon Howie Carr on Entercom‘s WRKO.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Winter Weather/Global Warming, Republican Wins Fla. Special Election, ObamaCare Criticism, CIA Monitoring of Senate Staffers/Snowden Video Appearance, and Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Tensions  Among Top Stories Yesterday (3/11).  The ongoing mystery concerning the whereabouts of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet; a new round of winter weather hits the East and renewed debate over the case for man-made global warming; Republican David Jolly defeats Democrat Alex Sink in Florida Congressional special election; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Senator Diane Feinstein’s allegation the CIA monitored Senate staffers and Edward Snowden’s commentary on surveillance cases; and President Obama’s faceoff with Vladimir Putin and the case of Russia’s incursion into Crimea and Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

| March 11, 2014

nielsen logoNielsen’s March 2014 RADAR Report Says Radio Listening Up.  According to the soon-to-be-released March 2014 RADAR 120 National Radio Listening Report from Nielsen, total radio listening has increased in the past 12 months by 1.2 million weekly listeners.  Stating that radio now reaches 244.4 million Americans, Nielsen also breaks it down a bit adding that “the national audience aged 18 to 34 grew by more than half a million compared to the previous year, reaching 91.9% of all 18 to 34 year-olds.”  As far as time spent listening is concerned, the report indicates the average total time spent listening to AM/FM radio is 2 hours and 41 minutes (persons 12+), a figure that remains steady from the time documented last March.

geronimodonDon Geronimo Teases Fans About New Show.  Radio pro Don Geronimo is Tweeting teasers to his followers about his next radio venture and it appears to include some old friends.  Geronimo, who is still under the employ of CBS RADIO for another three weeks or so after exiting both KHTK, Sacramento and WJFK-FM, Washington, reports that his new show will also include  former “Don & Mike” show newsman Buzz Burbank, “Slow Joe” Ardinger, and Drew Hoffar, with whom Geronimo worked at KHTK.  Due to contract issues, Geronimo is keeping quiet about where the show will be available until April.  It’s not certain the show will be aired on AM/FM radio and may be an internet venture.

parkertheman‘Parker and The Man’ Returns to WDFN, Detroit.  The sports talk duo of Rob Parker and Mark Wilson is coming back to its original Detroit signal on March 24 when “Parker and The Man” will take over the evening slot on Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit.  Parker, who works for WDIV-TV, Detroit on its “Sports Final Edition” show, made the announcement of the pair’s return to AM/FM radio on Sunday.  The duo have been hosting an internet version of their show since last summer but now, through Woodward One Media, the show is being reborn on the radio.  It will also be available online via Premier Sports Talk Network.  Parker and Wilson left WDFN in 1999 and jumped to CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM and held down the evening slot through 2006 when they exited the station.  Woodward One CEO Weston Silver tells the Detroit News, “‘Parker and the Man’ is a proven commodity in Motown.  We’re thrilled to be able to put them back on the air.  Sports fans will flock back to them because their show is both fun and informative.”

Odds & Sods.  When the Big 10 Men’s basketball tourney begins on Thursday, all of the games will be made available to radio stations via Compass Media Networks.  Compass says two of its crews will be in Indianapolis calling the games.  Matt “Money” Smith (co-host of KLAC’s “Petros & Money,” NFL Network host, and Compass play-by-play man) and former NBA star Rick Mahorn will partner up and Drew Bontadelli and former Cal Poly star and Compass analyst Mike Wozniak will serve as the second crew.  KLAC producer and host Tim Cates will announce the broadcasts and serve as studio host from Compass’ Los Angeles broadcast facility…..Clear Channel’s Minneapolis-based KFAN network has inked a deal with Learfield Sports to air University of Minnesota football for another three seasons…..American Public Media Group announces Morris Goodwin is the new senior vice president and chief financial officer for the corporation that is made up of Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media, Classical South Florida, and Southern California Public Radio.

UnivisionAmerica“Univision America de Costa a Costa” Debuts.  The morning program is from Univision Radio‘s AM arm Univision America.  Translated as “Univision America from Coast to Coast,” the Ricardo Espinoza, Tsi Tsi Ki Felix, and Ricky Lopez-hosted show is a combination of news and talk programming, mixed with finance, health, and entertainment information. Univision America vice president/general manager Felix Perez comments, “These personalities reflect the diversity of their listeners’ world.  Audiences crave 24/7 engagement with radio personalities who they can relate to – and – this team delivers.”  Miami-based Espinoza was most recently co-host/news announcer for “Buen Dia New York” on WADO, New York.  Chicago-based Felix is an air personality with “Al Aire con Tsi-Tsi-Ki,” her daily show on Chicago’s WRTO.  New York-based Lopez is the voice of New York City’s WQBU.  “Univision America de Costa a Costa” premiered yesterday (3/10) at 6:00 am on KTNQ, Los Angeles; WRTO, Chicago; KFLC, Dallas; KLAT, Houston; WQBA, Miami; KCOR, San Antonio; KLSQ, Las Vegas; KGBT, McAllen; and KQBU, El Paso.

Missing Malaysian Jet Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Case, Snowden SXSW Appearance, and Global Warming All-Nighter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10).  The mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; the criticism of President Obama’s handling of Russian president Vladimir Putin and Russia’s incursion into Ukraine and Crimea; the appearance of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden via video at the SXSW festival in Austin; and the all-night session held by Congressional Democrats on the topic of global warming were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

The Infinite Dial 2014

| March 6, 2014

Holland Cooke
TALKERS Contributor
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — It was like telling the punch line at the beginning of the joke, when Edison Research VP/Strategy & Marketing Tom Webster began a well-attended webinar: “It’s hard to overstate the impact of the smartphone on the American consumer.”

“The Infinite Dial 2014” is #22 in an ongoing series researching consumer adoption of digital media.  As Webster and Mike Agovino — COO of Triton Digital, which sponsored the study – narrated their presentation, they had plenty of good news for radio broadcasters.  But the undeniable headline was that those who merely feed audio to transmitters aren’t fishing where the fish are swimming to.

Among data presented, based on a just-released survey of 2023 Americans P12+: 

61% of Americans – an estimated 160 million — now own a smartphone.  That’s 500% growth in 5 years.  Eight-in-ten P18-34.

Read More

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

| March 5, 2014

wdrc-amBuckley to Sell Connecticut Stations to Connoisseur.  Led by Hartford classic hits outlet WDRC-FM, the Connecticut stations Buckley Broadcasting is selling to Connoisseur Media also includes talk WDRC-AM and its simulcast AMs WMMW, Meriden; WSNG, Torrington; and WWCO, Waterbury.  The price on this deal is not being made public yet.  Buckley is being represented by Richard A. Foreman Associates.  In a memo to staff, Buckley president and CEO Joe Bilotta says, “After much reflection, the Board of Trustees has decided that the reality of the evolving competitive landscape, and our sincere desire to see this historic brand continue, are cause for a change in the ownership of our Connecticut properties.  Our decision to negotiate with, and eventually sell WDRC-AM/FM to Connoisseur, gives our audience, advertisers, and employees access to the considerable resources of this multi-dimensional media and entertainment company.  For over half of a century Buckley Broadcasting has been the steward of these great call letters and there is not a better company than Connoisseur to ensure the continued and accelerated future success of the WDRC brand.”

foxsportsradio logoFox Sports and Premiere Networks Renew FSRN Deal.  The relationship between Clear Channel subsidiary Premiere Networks and Fox Sports goes back to August of 2000 when the two companies agreed to work together to debut the Fox Sports Radio Network.  Now, almost 14 years later, the two companiespremierenetworks new agree to a long-term extension of the partnership.  Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute Fox Sports Radio Network to its radio affiliates.  Additionally, “Premiere Networks and Fox Sports will continue working together across multiple platforms to synchronize the audio, digital, online and television assets of Fox Sports, FOXSports.com and Fox Sports Radio, further extending the reach, visibility and engagement of these brands with millions of consumers.  Additionally, with the recently-launched 24-hour television network Fox Sports 1, the radio and television divisions will work closely to increase cross-promotional opportunities and highlight Fox Sports’ established team of top insiders, analysts and personalities.”

nielsen logoNielsen’s Cross-Platform Report: Smartphone Use Rising, AM/FM Use Decreasing.  The numbers are nothing astronomical with regard to the decline in use of AM/FM radio, but they show a trend.  According to the March 2014 Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, the hours of use per day for adults 18+ for AM/FM radio have dropped from 2:53 minutes to 2:46 minutes from the fourth quarter of 2011 through the fourth quarter of 2013.  At the same time, use of smartphones has risen from :48 minutes per day to 1:07 minutes per day over the same three-year period.  Again, this is not a dramatic change but it certainly shows that the use of smartphones continues to rise for adults and the use of the AM/FM radio is declining.  You can check out the report here.

edisonresearchAnd Speaking of Smartphones…The increase in usage of smartphones by Americans has risen to 61% (persons 12+), according to Edison Research and Triton Digital – the two companies presenting their “Infinite Dial 2014” webinar today at 2:00 pm ET.  Edison releases this little teaser in advance of today’s event indicating that in 2009 just 10% of Americans owned smartphones.  That number climbed to 44% in 2012 and has soared to 61% in 2014 and Edison estimates that means about 160 million people in raw numbers.

holdtheirfeet2014Just a Few Slots Left at FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row.  The topic of immigration reform continues to be a much-discussed one on news/talk radio with related legislation brewing in Congress.  The Federation for American Immigration Reform-sponsored “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row taking place April 9 and 10 in Washington, DC is nearing a full slate.  FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s ‘last call’ for one broadcast booth remaining in morning drive, one in afternoon drive, and two in midday.”  Broadcast slots are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.  Interested hosts should contact Dane 202-328-7004 ASAP to discuss details.  Dane says, “Attendees enjoy Capitol Hill access to lawmakers, immigration activists, experts and law enforcement working in tandem to secure our borders and to enforce the rule of law.”

langejim‘Radio Guy’ Jim Lange Remembered.  When Jim Lange passed away last week at age 81, he was remembered by most for his role as host of television’s “The Dating Game.”  But as TALKERS managing editor and bureau chief Mike Kinosian writes, “Jim Lange was one of the finest ambassadors radio could ever hope to have.”  A few years back, Kinosian did a profile of Lange and learned more about his radio career – including why he always kept a radio job even during the heyday of “The Dating Game” and his other TV game shows.  He said that if the TV job failed, he always had radio.   Lange told him, “I noticed that all the game show hosts were radio guys.  They were hired because they could adlib.  There is no script on a game show. You have rules, but that is it.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s story about Jim Lange here.

Ukraine-Crimea Unrest/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, MSNBC Programming Changes, Texas Primaries, U.S. Marijuana Policy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4).  The crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea and criticism of President Obama’s stance against Russia’s Vladimir Putin; ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the cable news/talk wars and the performance of new MSNBC programs; Tuesday’s Texas primary elections; the changes in marijuana policy in the United States; and speculation that Hillary Clinton will emerge the the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Farewell to a Jim Dandy Gentleman

| March 5, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

| March 4, 2014

scba logoSCBA Reports 2014 Starting Off Positive.  Calling it “solid, steady revenue growth that sets the stage for a strong first quarter for Southern California radio,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan reports the results of the Miller Kaplan Arase Market Summary report for January 2014 indicating total market revenue for Los Angeles radio grew by 1.7% in January.  Callahan adds, “The 1.7% growth rate for January is, of course, good news for our industry here in Southern California, however, a closer look at what made up that growth reveals a market and region that is healthy and growing.”  The Miller Kaplan Arase X-Ray report for Loscallahanthom Angeles radio further describes both strong category growth and exceptional new business development in the first month of the New Year.  That growth includes: insurance companies – up 152.1%, education – up 61.5%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 54.6%, communications/cellular/public utilities – up 22.7%, and both the auto category – up at 6.3% and health care – up at 6.4%.  Callahan says, “New business development was a significant revenue driver for Southern California radio in January and showcases how new advertisers are rediscovering radio and its effectiveness in building brands and market share for their business.  With 297 new advertisers spending $7,408,878 in new business in January alone, it’s clear our SCBA member stations are fully engaged in new business development.”

journalbroadcastgroupJournal Communications Reports Q4 2013 Numbers; Radio Down 7.2%.  That radio figure does include the loss of political advertising and a quirk of the bookkeeping calendar that took a week away in 2013.  Accounting for those issues, Journal reports that on a same-station basis, radio revenue was up 0.7% in the fourth quarter and for the whole of 2013 same-station revenue was up 3.7%.  The news for national revenue continues to be negative as Journal’s radio stations saw national drop 22.8% in Q4 and dive 8.9% for the entire year.  In a statement, chairman and CEO Steven Smith says, “Journal Communications delivered a solid fourth quarter in a non-political year, driven by gains in core revenue in our broadcast group and improving advertising revenue trends in publishing…Consolidated revenue of $107.4 million was up 11% compared to 2012, excluding the extra week and political revenue in 2012.”

paytonjarrettWGWG-LP, Chicago Adds Jarrett Payton to Air Staff.  The new sports talk outlet Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is building on the leased WGWG-LP signal announces the addition of Jarrett Payton – son of Bears great and NFL Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton – to the afternoon drive show with Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton.  “The Game 87.7” vice president of creative content Todd Manley tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I think Jarrett is way more than sports royalty in this town.  He’s the sort of creative, inventive mind that will help us define the future of this brand.”  As Feder reports, Payton’s radio experience includes serving as host of Chicago Bears post-game shows on ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago.

beckapodcastlogoTalk Host Tom Becka Launches Web-based Podcast Series.  Talk radio pro Tom Becka holds down the afternoon program at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha.  Now, Becka is debuting his latest venture – a podcast series available at his website TomBecka.com titled, “Tom Becka Podcast.”  Becka has a specific goal with regard to the podcast’s subject matter: letting interesting, everydaybeckatom2 people tell stories about themselves – things you might never know unless you asked.  Some of the fascinating subjects Becka has covered with his podcast project include: a woman named Kaylee talking openly about what it’s like to live with bi-polar disorder; a local man who’s taken his passion for film and started a new career making films; a conversation with a tattoo artist about the tattoo phenomenon; a man with terminal cancer relating his inspirational thoughts about living and dying; a local man who lives every day with Asperger’s syndrome; and many more.  Becka says, “Tom Becka.com is a place where every day people are going to be telling their stories…inspirational stories, life lessons, stories about overcoming adversity.”  All the subjects for this project are from the local Omaha area, as Becka says, people who may be your friends, relatives or neighbors.  Becka is posting a new episode every Sunday.  Check it out here.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison on the Road – Next Big Stop: Jerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” in Philly March 26.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual Media Solutions Conference set for Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26.  Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity, Harrison will participate in the intensive day-long workshop that will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio.  These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue and much more.  Harrison states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business.  Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of brains and class.  One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in an area of the field to which most people are actively seeking answers.”  The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel.  For more information click here.

marshallleslieOdds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall does double duty on Thursday (3/6) as she sits in for Thom Hartmann on his nationally syndicated program…..ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago adds a weekly program covering Major League Soccer and the local Chicago Fire.  The show is dubbed “Chicago Fire Weekly” and it’s being hosted by Fred Heubner and will feature contributions from Kevin Egan, analyst for the Chicago Fire’s television broadcasts…..News/talk WNTX, Fredericksburg, Virginia is again being heard on translator W243BS, Fredericksburg after the latter signal carried the “Fred FM” format for the past 11 months.  WNTX is owned by Free Lance-Star, currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization…..Kevin Calabro re-ups with ESPN where he serves as the lead play-by-play voice on the NBA on ESPN Radio.  He’ll continue working with lead NBA analyst Jon Barry, as well as PJ Carlesimo and Stan Van Gundy.

mitchelljohnFormer Nebraska Radio Owner Mitchell Dies at 89.  In Nebraska, John C. Mitchell was a decorated broadcaster who was honored with a Pioneer Award from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and is a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  Trained as an attorney who practiced law until he retired in 2001, Mitchell began acquiring radio stations in 1953 with the purchase of KGFW, Kearney – the station at which he worked in high school.  Eventually his Mitchell Broadcasting Corporation would own some 14 stations across the state.  Mitchell is pictured here at the mic on KGFW.

Crimea-Ukraine Tensions/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, Israel-Palestinian Talks, The Oscars, Hillary in 2016, and Marijuana Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/3).  The military incursions into Ukraine and Crimea by Russia and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; U.S. pressure on Netanyahu to convene Palestinian peace talks; Sunday evening’s Academy Awards show; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; and marijuana policy in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.


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2014 Talkers Heavy Hundred 81-100

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| March 3, 2014

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| March 3, 2014

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| March 3, 2014

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| March 3, 2014

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| March 3, 2014

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Friday, February 28, 2014

| February 28, 2014

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Posts Q4 2013 Revenue Increase of 3.4%; Broadcast Up 1%.  Digital was the key to Salem Communications’ 2013 fourth quarter revenue increase of 3.4% for the company as a whole.  The broadcast sector was up 1% on revenue of $47.4 million and broadcast makes up about 60% of the company’s revenue.  The company’s publishing sector was flat while internet and e-commerce was up 16.6%.  Salem’s outlook for the first quarter of 2014 projects “total revenue to increase 9% to 11% over the first quarter 2013 total revenue of $55.6 million.  The company is also projecting operating expenses before gains or losses on the sale or disposal of assets, impairments and stock-based compensation expense to increase 13% to 16% as compared to the first quarter of 2013 operating expenses of $48.2 million.  This guidance includes the impact of the hiring of two new senior executives and the financial performance for the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing.  The guidance for the first quarter contemplates a loss of $0.4 million due to the assumption of some unfavorable contracts that will rapidly unwind and the fact that the first quarter is always a soft quarter in the book publishing business with the big titles being released in the spring and in the fall.”

nielsen logoNielsen Study Ties Station Choice to Buying Behavior.  In a release from Nielsen about its recent major market pilot test, the company says that “for the first time, a connection can be drawn between what consumers listen to on the radio and how they spend.  This solidifies radio’s place as a valuable marketing platform for advertisers and media planners.  The major market pilot test combined proprietary Nielsen data with anonymized panelist credit and debit card purchasing behavior covering more than 24 billion transactions and $2 trillion in annual sales primarily from the retail, travel, digital, restaurant, entertainment, financial services and telecom categories.”  Results from the Dallas market, for example, show that listeners to pop radio spend more per buyer annually on casual dining than those listeners who prefer other formats.  In the same market, rock and alternative listeners spend more per buyer annually in retail locations than listeners who prefer other formats.  News/talk listeners, the study showed, go to the movies more each year that do listeners of other formats.  Nielsen SVP of local media product leadership Farshad Family says, “The ability to determine how radio listeners among different formats like pop, news or rock are spending their dollars creates a unique opportunity for radio broadcasters to make a case for the value of their audience.  We are just beginning to tell the story about the value of radio’s audience.  As we make progress on conducting more links between listening data and purchase data, we will continue to share more insights with the marketplace.”

ordwayglennOrdway’s ‘Big Show Unfiltered’ to Begin Next Month.  Longtime Boston sports talk radio host Glenn Ordway is returning with a daily, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program (“Big Show Unfiltered”), which will be heard via his SportstalkBoston.com website and on mobile devices.  “I am so thrilled to once again be talking local sports in my hometown with the best fans in America,” comments Ordway, who presided over “The Big Show” for 27 years on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI.  “I look forward to presenting an alternative in the market that will feature the best of the past with some new, innovative elements and voices.  There is no reason to hold anything back anymore – it is all unfiltered.”  The renamed “Big Show Unfiltered” is set to begin in about two weeks (Monday, March 17) and it will include similar components from his WEEI program, such as “The Whiner Line.”  It is believed that down the road, Ordway is planning to have his program air on a terrestrial radio network comprised of New England affiliates.  Boston native Mike Salk, who co-hosted a program on Seattle’s KIRO-AM since 2009, replaced Ordway in afternoon drive on WEEI-FM alongside Michael Holley.  Ordway’s final show on WEEI-FM was in mid-February of last year.

loganleeLogan Exits Shane Media.  Stating on his Facebook page that he thought he’d “spend the rest of my working days in this chair at Shane Media,” Lee Logan says the fiscal realities of the industry have him exiting the consulting company and looking for his next great opportunity.  Logan had been with Shane for the past seven years and was instrumental in assisting Radio One put its all-news format on KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”

aalderstimFreedom’s Voice Broadcasting to Purchase Dark KPTO, Pocatello for $75K.  The principal of Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting is Tim Aalders who hosts the “Freedom’s Voice” talk show heard on United Broadcasting Company’s KTKK, Salt Lake City.  Ted Austin’s Main Street Broadcasting is the seller for the signal that is currently dark.  Aalders plans to expand the reach of his programming into the southeastern Idaho market.  This is no announced timetable for KPTO going back on the air.

sabowalterIf Weekends Were Weekdays?  Hey, They Are!  That so many talk-formatted stations air infomercials on weekends is not news – nor is the programming-versus-sales paradigm so prevalent at many of these stations.  Media consultant Walter Sabo says a little-known truth in the business is that Saturday midday is an indicative daypart and the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart.  What could this mean to your talk station?  Read Walter Sabo’s latest column here to find out.

hcsmithOdds & Sods. The New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs announces the appointment of Michael Freedman, senior vice president and professor at University of Maryland University College to the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Advisory Board and GrandJury panel.  NYF executive director Rose Anderson comments, “Michael Freedman brings over 35 years of broadcast journalism experience to his role as Advisory Board and GrandJury member.  His creative vision and reputation within the industry will be a tremendous asset.”…..ESPN O&O WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Nueva York” will continue to air New York Mets play-by-play in Spanish as the team and rights owner Clear Channel (English-language games will be heard on WOR) agree to continue the broadcasts through the 2016 season…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington announces the addition of an entertainment section to its WTOP.com site with WTOP.com staffer Alicia Lozano named editor for the section.  Director of digital media John Meyer comments, “As WTOP evolves into a digital news operation, we are continuing to dedicate resources to original digital content that will feed not only our website but also our radio and mobile platforms.  The Washington area is rife with local stories concerning the arts, music, movies and more.  Our entertainment section will bring these stories to life online and on-air.”…..Media consultant Holland Cooke (pictured above at left in the WABC, New York studios with host Laura Smith) is appearing on WABC, New York this weekend on “Saturday Café with Laura Smith.”  Cooke, who also blogs at his SurvivalSpeech.com, will offer “9 Tips For YOUR Academy Awards Acceptance Speech.”

herskovitzmediaroundtableThe Media Roundtable.  TALKERS and RadioInfo sales and marketing specialist Al Herskovitz (standing) was a recent speaker at the Media Roundtable in Sarasota, Florida.  His subject was “The Current State of Radio Broadcasting.”  The Media Roundtable conducts a monthly meeting that brings together media executives and active participants from all types of media: radio, TV, cable, internet, newspapers, magazines, publishing, motion pictures, theatre arts.  The purpose of the group is to review current and future news and developments in the media with an interchange of opinions and questions by those in attendance.  The Media Roundtable originated in 1950 in New York City and moved to Florida in 1991 and is unique in the United States.  It currently is chaired and managed by longtime TV executive Irwin Starr.  While there are some 300+ active members, the luncheon sessions are limited to the first 50 who make reservations.  Pictured here with Herskovitz are Starr at far left and media broker Burt Sherwood, second from left.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” talk show featuring Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, Rob Carson and other personalities, is added to the program schedule at Ohana Media Group’s KAST, Astoria, Oregon.

‘Religious Rights’ Legislation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 24-28.  The story of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a “religious rights” bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based on religious beliefs was the most-talked-about issue of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act.  Following at #3 was the political unrest in Crimea and Ukraine and the U.S.-Russia tensions accompanying it.  And at #4 was the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s prospects and the looming mid-term elections this fall.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

If Weekends were Weekdays?
Hey, they ARE!

| February 28, 2014

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO
sabowalterwriterNEW YORK — No station consulted by Sabo Media has ever had paid-for programming on the weekend. Paid-for programming destroys weekday revenue by suppressing audience and aging demos.

The core issue is that Saturday middays is the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart. By default it’s vital.

There is a little known trend indicator that reveals how vital weekends are to weekdays. In diary markets, Saturday midday is predictive of the next rating period. If Saturday midday is up compared to weekdays, the next -overall- rating period will be up. If it is down, the next -overall- period will be down.

Bart Walsh, a very smart radio manager (formerly WKYS-FM, Washington, DC) taught me that.

Read More

Thursday, February 27, 2014

| February 27, 2014

millerjpatJournal’s WTMJ and ‘The Lake’ Name J. Pat Miller to Marketing Post.  At the Milwaukee properties news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake,” Journal Broadcast Group ups J. Pat Miller to the new position director of marketing & innovation.  The company says that in his new role, he’ll be responsible for the overall marketing activities of WTMJ and WLWK as well as designing and implementing new brand programs.  VP and GMwtmj logo Tom Langmyer comments, “J. Pat has demonstrated his ability to create and develop new revenue streams.  He will focus more of his attention on additional initiatives to grow our business.”  Miller adds, “This new role is vital to our growth and the industry as a whole.  The incredible team here at Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Operations can effortlessly pull off most anything we create.”  Miller is overseeing the promotions department and the company announces that Alison Helf is named promotions manager.

wgwg logoTribune’s WGWG-LP, Chicago Brings McKnight Aboard.  The fledgling sports talk station Tribune’s WGN is building and airing on LMA’d WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” adds another local sports talk personality to its staff.  Connor McKnight – who’s served with CBS RADIO’s WSCR “The Score” for the past four years – joins “The Game 87.7” for an on-air role.  According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, McKnight will “make his first appearance Thursday (2/27) on Mark Carman’s show, which airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.”  Feder reports he’ll become part of the daily lineup.  At WSCR, McKnight hosted the “Hit and Run” baseball show as well as having been an anchor and reporter at the station.  Read Feder’s story here.

diminochrisChris Dimino Set to Join ‘680 The Fan’ for ‘Rude Awakening’ Show.  As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, former WQXI sports talk personality Chris Dimino will become part of WCNN “680 The Fan” in an on-air capacity as his non-compete clause from WQXI expires on March 17.  Dimino has been working for the station in an off-air capacity since last September but Ho reports he’ll join Christopher Rude and Perry Laurentino on the morning show soon.  Dimino was part of the WQXI morning program – including fellow hosts Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini – that was fired in the wake of the poorly thought out bit poking fun at former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason who is suffering from ALS.  Read Ho’s entire piece here.

nab logoNAB Rejects Elimination of Advertising Tax Deduction.  As part of a comprehensive tax code overhaul proposal being spearheaded by House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI), the deduction that businesses can claim for advertising expenses would be eliminated and this oft-considered-but-never-enacted change has the NAB letting legislators know how it feels about it.  NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton states, “NAB strongly opposes any job-killing proposal that would limit the ability of thousands of large and small businesses from fully deducting their annual advertising expenses.  Advertising on local radio and television stations is a key driver of the American economy – indeed, a recent study found local broadcast advertising generates $1.05 trillion in GDP and supports 1.48 million jobs.  NAB will work with lawmakers and other stakeholders to ensure the advertising tax deduction continues to create economic prosperity and well-paying jobs.”  Since ad deduction elimination is just one part of a comprehensive tax overhaul proposal, it’s difficult to say how it would affect a company’s bottom line in the long run.  Camp has stated his goal is to simplify the tax code – not to increase anyone’s tax burden – and there are other proposed changes that promise to help the bottom line of corporate and individual taxpayers.  This is an election year so it’s unlikely there will be any action on this front any time soon.

clyburnmignonFCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Defends CIN; Implies It’s Misunderstood.  During a speech at Washington, DC’s Media Institute on Wednesday (2/26), FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn defended the controversial Critical Information Needs (CIN) study that would have researchers quizzing journalists and managers about how they choose news stories and information for dissemination to the public.  Her speech came the day after Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) promised legislation to put the FCC’s study to rest for good, citing its potential intrusion into First Amendment areas and its scope being beyond the purview of the Commission.  Clyburn explained that the Commission needs to understand the markets it regulates.  She said that she would never be a part of anything that seeks to chill free speech or shape news gathering and that the goal was to “gather data and other information about whether there are any market entry barriers, preventing local communities from receiving important information…I am about facilitating ownership and opportunities and making sound decisions about our most critical industries based on solid research and not rhetoric.”  Still, critics of the study argue that neither Clyburn nor FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler have adequately explained the connection between interviewing news people about story selection policy and barriers to station ownership for minorities.

blackburnvalerieValerie Blackburn to Step Down at CBS RADIO Los Angeles.  The word from Los Angeles is Valerie Blackburn – currently serving as controller for the CBS RADIO Los Angeles cluster and general manager of news/talk KFWB (residing in the KFWB license trust) – is resigning from her positions and is planning to take some time away from radio and work to travel and be with family and friends.  Her exit will not be immediate and it’s assumed CBS is already working on finding her replacement.

schultzAZSchultz Honored by Arizona Progressives.  Nationally syndicated talk show host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz is pictured here speaking at the annual Arizona Advocacy Network dinner on Saturday, February 22.  Schultz was honored by the group for his work on key progressive issues and he addressed the attendees.  He was clearly in the right state at the right time with the controversy over the Arizona religious freedom bill such a hot-button issue. (Photo: Josselyn Berry)

farberericanewRAB: Radio’s Digital Revenue Expected to Rise 22%.  That’s from the just-released Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues report from Borrell Associates and the Radio Advertising Bureau.  The report states that digital revenues went up 15% in 2013 and the total figure for 2014 could be as high as $520 million.  Some figures from this year’s report: the average radio station brought in $166,490 in digital advertising – about 3% of its total revenue; some large-market stations report making millions; the average revenue for four-station clusters is approaching $750,000.  The data for the study is culled from three sources: ad revenue reported by the stations, local business ad spending, and a survey of radio managers.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “We’re experiencing year-over-year, double-digit growth in radio; and to truly maximize this revenue stream this survey continues to provide us with areas to improve upon and ultimately grow our overall revenue share.  Most notably, sales managers are looking for continued training for their sales staffs and a better understanding of the digital buying community.  The RAB is poised to help in this area through our professional development programs and outreach.”

millerstephanieOdds & Sods.  Talk show host Stephanie Miller‘s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” hits Fort Lauderdale, Florida Saturday, March 1.  The progressive talker, whose show has played in theaters to sold-out crowds across the country, is appearing at the Parker Playhouse  along with John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, special panel guest Judy Tenuta and more surprises…..“SportsRadio 94” WIP-FM, Philadelphia is presenting the “Great Birds Debate” remote broadcast today at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia.  The station says it is one of the few times all year that the WIP wiplogoairstaff is on the same stage together.   Personalities Angelo Cataldi, Rhea Hughes, Michael Barkann, Ike Reese, Anthony Gargano, four-time champion Rob Ellis (also a member of the CBS 3 Sports Team), Josh Innes, Howard Eskin, CBS 3 Sports Director Beasley Reece, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Dave Spadaro will all be present to discuss and debate questions about the Eagles present and future.  The event is free and open to the public…..At Detroit urban talker WCHB, John Mason leaves that Radio One outlet masonjohnto take over the morning slot at sister urban AC WDMK where Reach Media’s Tom Joyner has been airing.  Joyner moves to mornings at WCHB and that bumps talk host Mildred Gaddis from AMs to afternoon drive in Mason’s old slot…..A couple of notes from SiriusXM: U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appear on the next installment of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series, “candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.”  SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. host and veteran White House correspondent Julie Mason will host the program on March 4 before a live audience at The Newseum in Washington, D.C.  In addition to the one-on-one conversation between Leader Pelosi and Mason, the one-hour town hall style event will have an interactive element featuring questions from an audience of SiriusXM listeners, female students from D.C. universities and Newseum members.  Also from SiriusXM, sports talk host Casey Stern re-ups with the satcaster for his daily hosting spot on the MLB Network Radio channel, as well as for expanded duties on additional SiriusXM sports channels.  Stern will continue to host “Inside Pitch” alongside his co-host, former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, every weekday afternoon…..Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is bringing the world of fashion to its airwaves as it takes a look back at NY Fashion Week with an exclusive interview with Kenneth Cole.  Hosted by Cristina Cuomo, editor of Manhattan magazine, from the Modern Luxury arm of Cumulus Media, the interview digs into Cole’s ambitions and inspirations.  He also shares details of his groundbreaking advertising campaigns, views of fashion, social media, and much more.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “It was a real honor to work with our sister publication Manhattan and Cristina Cuomo to bring the iconic designer to WABC Radio.  We are already making plans for this fall’s Fashion Week.”

bfoabryantgroupBroadcasters Foundation of America Raises More Than $200,000 at ‘Golden Mike’ Event.  At Monday evening’s black tie 2014 Golden Mike Award Dinner honoring BMI president Del Bryant, the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised more than $200,000 for its mission of helping broadcasters in need.  More than 200 television, radio, and music industry executives and celebrities were in attendance.  The evening was hosted by CBS NewsBob Schieffer.  Presenters for the evening were longtime personal and professional friends of Bryant’s:  Michael Bolton, performer and BMI songwriter; Jack Sander, former chairman of the BMI board of directors; and Sandra Lee, internationally acclaimed culinary and home style expert and host of four highly rated programs on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, plus HGTV.  Legendary singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Kris Kristofferson performed, as did songwriter Brenda Russell, who sang her top 10 hit “Piano In The Dark,” and “Get Here.”  Dolly Parton opened a very moving video that provided a glimpse into Bryant’s amazing life — from his early years growing up as the son of songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant through his incredible 42-year career at BMI where he championed the works of some of the biggest songwriters in entertainment.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Thompson (president of the Broadcasters Foundation), Michael Bolton, Sandra Lee, Del Bryant, Bryant’s son Thaddeus, Kris Kristofferson, Brenda Russell, Bob Schieffer, and Phil Lombardo (chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation).

Brewer Vetoes ‘Religious Rights’ Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, U.S.-Russia Tensions Over Crimea-Ukraine, Immigration Legislation, Bitcoin Controversy, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26).  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes legislation that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to some based on religious beliefs; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the political tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the strife in Ukraine and Crimea; new immigration legislation that includes an amnesty component; the bitcoin movement and recent events questioning its value; and speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

5 Things to Do Today to Improve PPM Performance

| February 26, 2014

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman
NEW YORK — Most talk stations are scheduled rather than programmed.  When I talk to talent they always say, “No one has taught me anything.  No coaching.”
When I meet with most GMs their common complaint is, “The PD doesn’t meet with the talent.”

These five upgrades to your on-air work will improve your PPM performance and it’s what I would hound you about if I was your program director:

Read More

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

| February 26, 2014

waldengregCongressman Greg Walden Intends to Kill FCC’s Critical Information Needs Study.  It wouldn’t be out of line to suggest Oregon Congressman Greg Walden doesn’t trust the FCC not to step over the line regarding its Critical Information Needs study.  The controversial study would send researchers into the field to determine how stations and news personnel are choosing and presenting news and information and whether the conclusions reached somehowfccnew create a barrier to entry into station ownership for minorities.  Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler backed off the study as initially created and he has said the Commission has no intention of regulating the content of journalists or broadcasters.  Walden is promising to craft legislation to end the CIN study permanently.  He says “The very existence of this CIN study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place.  As someone with a journalism degree, I was alarmed from the moment I saw it, which is why we wrote to Chairman Wheeler in December to urge him to stop the study.  To date, Chairman Wheeler has insisted upon only making small tweaks, and what he has proposed to do isn’t enough.  The study should be eradicated completely.  The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious, but it is also concerning that the commission believes it can prescribe what ‘critical information needs’ are in communities across the country.”

wnymlogoSalem Names Joe Piscopo Permanent Morning Host at WNYM, New York.  Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, comic and actor Joe Piscopo has been sitting in hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” since the beginning of the year.  Now the company makes it official as he’s named morning host of “Piscopo in the Morning.”  He is joined on the air by morningpiscopojoe show producer Frank Morano and newsman Al Gatullo.  Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “One of the best things I get to do in this job is find talented people who have accomplished something on one stage and are ready to take on another one.  Joe is extremely talented on the radio, bringing a level of entertainment to mix with the information that you seldom get to hear.  This is a very connected morning show in the nation’s top market.”  Piscopo has been involved in a variety of projects since he left SNL, and still does a number of nationwide tours with former cast members. In addition to numerous movie appearances, and comedy club gigs, he is soon to be featured in a national reality TV show for a major network.  He comments, “I have my college degree in broadcasting.  I remain a dedicated student of the most intimate medium, radio.  And with legendary broadcast giants like GM Jerry Crowley and current day guru of all radio personalities past and present, Phil Boyce, this is the positively perfect storm of talk radio.  I honestly believe that this is not only the reinvention, renaissance and revitalization of AM radio, (not to mention a totally new and exciting journey of my career) but the best thing to happen to NY radio since David Sarnoff.”  Crowley says, “We have had a huge positive reaction to Joe, both from listeners and advertisers, since he joined us. This is going to be a true home run.”

sabowalterImprove Your PPM Performance.  Media consultant Walter Sabo offers five quick tips for improving your talk radio station’s performance in PPM (or frankly, any) markets.  Sabo writes that one of the biggest gripes from general managers at stations which he consults is that the program director doesn’t coach the talent.  That can lead to bad habits.  To read his quick five-point prescription for getting on the track to better audience engagement, click here.

casonbrittneyWFNZ, Charlotte’s Brittney Cason Tells Chilling Tale of Narrow Escape from Human Trafficking Ring.  There’s no word how far the FBI is in its investigation of what happened – or almost happened – to media personality and WFNZ, Charlotte air talent Brittney Cason, but as the former NFL cheerleader writes in a column on XOJane.com, her dashed dream to cover the Sochi Olympics turned out to be a probable life-saving event.  You can read her story here, but here’s a summary: After being recruited to cover the Winter Games by whom Cason thought was a legitimate agent, Cason discovered through her own dogged pursuit of answers to questions that bugged her that the man pretending to be an agent was likely involved in a human trafficking ring operating around the Sochi Games.  Cason notes that one of the most common pretenses for abducting women for trafficking purposes is a modeling gig.  Cason’s experience in the broadcasting and modeling business may have saved her life.

reckfordlauraCape Cod Broadcasting Names Reckford News Director.  General manager Beverly Tilden announces that Cape Cod Broadcasting is naming Laura Reckford news director for the company.  Tilden says, “Cape Cod Broadcasting has been a trusted resource for local Cape Cod news and information.  Laura’s experience and leadership will assure that we continue that tradition as we grow and expand our news offerings.”  Reckford most recently worked in the communications & development department at Housing Assistance Corporation.  She is also the founder of the new online magazine CapeCodWave.com where she currently is editor and publisher.  Cape Cod Broadcasting says it will partner with CapeCodWave.com as part of its development of its website CapeCod.com.  She has worked at Cape Cod Life as managing editor and served with The Falmouth Enterprise in the same capacity.  She began her media career in New York City at Entertainment Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Viacom and 20th Century Fox.  Reckman comments, “After working in film, television, magazines, and newspapers, I am excited to be working in radio, a medium I have long admired.  In addition, I am looking forward to bringing local journalism to CapeCod.com and also enhancing that website with the magazine-style journalism of Cape Cod Wave.”

herskovitzalPolitical Ad Season Is for Everyone.  Media sales maven Al Herskovitz, president of H-and-H Broadcasting, writes about the already-upon-us political advertising season and what radio stations can do to get their fair share of the pie.  Herskovitz notes that political is a busy category at major and large market stations but that smaller market stations and shows that may have considered themselves too small or “unconnected” can follow some strategies to make sure they are exhausting all possible sources of revenue in this category.  Read Herskovitz’s column here.

deanmichaelwDean Adds Nightly Show to GCN Lineup.  “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean is hosting his own nightly show distributed by Genesis Communications Network beginning Monday, March 10.  In addition to the weekly “Freedom Feens” program he hosts with Neema Vedadi, “Michael Dean After Dark” will air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT.  Dean says the program will feature him and a rotating cast of co-hosts for the two-hour show.

komandotvWeighing in on Net Neutrality.  Nationally syndicated talk show host, columnist and digital expert Kim Komando (right) is seen here in this screen shot during an appearance on the Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report” hosted by Gerri Willis (left).  During the segment, Komando discussed the net neutrality issue and a potential deal between Netflix and AT&T for faster download speeds.

Arizona Religious Rights Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, Hagel Army Reduction Plan, Defense of Marriage Laws Controversy, Bitcoin Exchange Troubles, and Ukraine Turmoil-Russian Influence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25).  The controversy over the Arizona bill that would allow business owners to discriminate against customers based on their own religious beliefs; the plan of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to downsize the Army to its lowest level since after WWII; the edict from Attorney General Eric Holder that state attorneys general do not have to enforce “defense of marriage” laws; the question of the solvency of bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox; and the political turmoil in the Ukraine and Russia’s influence in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

| February 25, 2014

levinmarkMark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6.  According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon.  Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence.  And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.”  David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily.  There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.”  Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.

kkfn logoProgramming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets.  At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.”  To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick.  As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’  His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.”  KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners.  ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.”  Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”

mhnrbapanelMichael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.”  The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r).  Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio.  Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach.  Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode?  Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media?  Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion.  If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.”  Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”

meyersstevenSteven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media.  This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager.  Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners.  He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value.  I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.”  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”

fornicolajasonHubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media.  Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media.  Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees.  He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.”  In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach.  Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”

edisonresearchEdison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week.  In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago.  iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.”  The webinar takes place Wednesday,tritondigital March 5 at 2:00 pm ET.  Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms.  The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino.  Topics covered will include:  An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.

alexanderbarbraFinancial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case.  A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme.  Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets.  Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million.  Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term.  Swanson was previously convicted.

pregnantNew Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced.  Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disabilitycumulus logo benefits currently provided to employees.”  The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service.  Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country.  We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”

nabcrystalawardNAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced.  The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here.  The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service.  Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon.  The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

kfwbcargiveawayThis Brand New Car Is No Mirage.  Well, actually it is.  It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right).  She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23.  Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car.  Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left).  As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.

ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 24, 2014

| February 24, 2014

espnupstateEntercom Adds Sports Talker ‘ESPN Upstate’ to Greenville Brands.  In the Greenville, South Carolina market, Entercom is taking the WORD-AM and WYRD-AM signals and pairing them with Spartanburg, South Carolina translator W246BU and the HD-3 channel of WFBC and creating the new sports talk brand “ESPN Upstate.”  The station will carry the full ESPN Radio lineup except for the afternoon drive daypart which is being hosted by local personality Greg McKinney.  According to the station, McKinney “has done play-by-play for Greenville High School and national high school powerhouses Byrnes and Dorman High Schools.  He served on the football and basketball broadcast teams for Wofford College.  McKinney was inducted into the Wofford College Hall of Fame as recognition for his contributions to their play-by-play broadcasts.  He currently anchors ‘College Football Today,’ on ‘93.3 The Planet,’ prior to each Clemson football game.  Vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “ESPN is the biggest name in sports and adding the most powerful brand in sports makes our dominant cluster of radio stations even stronger.  This past year we have had tremendous success in the sports arena with Clemson football play-by-play, Greg McKinney anchoring our ‘College Football Today’ pregame show, and Carolina Panthers football with our ‘Carolina Kick Off’ pre-game show hosted by The Rise Guys.  Adding ESPN is another major step as Entercom Upstate becomes THE place for sports radio in the market.”

dicarojulieTribune Moves DiCaro to Radio Operations.  In a move reported by Chicagoland Radio and Media, Julie DiCaro moves from her community manager role at the Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow site to a new post two floors up at Tribune Tower to WGN Radio where she’s now handling social media for news/talk WGN, online project WGN.fm and new sports talker WGWG “The Game 87.7.”  She will also oversee writing sports blogs for the stations and have an on-air role at WGWG.  DiCaro is an attorney who gave up practicing criminal and family law to pursue her passion of writing about sports.  She founded the Chicago Cubs-intensive blog A League of Her Own as well as the network of female blog writers titled Aerys Sports Network.

toryjohnCFRB, Toronto Talk Host John Tory to Run for Mayor.  Add former CFRB “The Live Drive” talk host John Tory to the growing list of people challenging colorful and embattled Mayor Rob Ford for the Toronto mayoral seat.  Tory has been host of “The Live Drive” since the fall of 2009. He was president and CEO of Rogers Communications from 1995 to 1999 (he is still a member of the Rogers board of directors) and has worked in the offices of notable Canadian politicians including former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.  Tory is resigning from his show to run for office and program director Mike Bendixen is quoted in a story on the “Newstalk 1010” website saying, “We would love John to stick around but…the station supports him in his endeavours in running for political office.”  As for the station’s treatment of him, Bendixen adds, “We’re gonna be just as hard on him as we would be on Rob Ford, as we would be with David Soknacki and Karen Stintz and Olivia Chow and whoever else decides to run.”

sokoljasenSokol to Host Late Morning Show on WAKR, Akron.  Another local program is added to the schedule at Rubber City Radio news/talker WAKR, Akron as news anchor and reporter Jasen Sokol begins hosting a two-hour show airing at 10:00 am today (2/24).  Sokol became part of the station’s news department after working at Kent State-owned WKSU, Kent while attending as a Walton D. Clarke Graduate Fellow.  Vice president of information media for Rubber City Ed Esposito comments, “We are proud to present the next generation of talent from Northeast Ohio.  Jasen is a true pro, with experience during his college career.  He’s smart, asks the questions that need to be asked but most importantly has the northeast Ohio sensibility and sensitivity WAKR listeners have come to expect.”

hunnicuttclayClear Channel Promotes Clay Hunnicutt to EVP and GM of National Programming Platforms.  This is a bump up from his most recent post as EVP of programming for the company’s largest markets.  According to a statement, in this new post, Hunnicutt will “work with [president of National Programming Platforms Tom] Poleman to oversee all aspects of the National Programming Platforms team, which develops and manages Clear Channel’s national programming ­ all on-air and digital content across the company’s radio stations and websites. He will work closely with Clear Channel’s senior and executive vice presidents of programming to emphasize the connection between Clearcclogo Channel’s 850 local radio stations and the National Programming Platforms assets, such as live events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party, iHeartRadio Country Festival and iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, while also leveraging groups like the brand management in-house format team.  He will manage a team of programmers focused on sales integration with station programming , as well as the programming operations center and the Premium Choice network to ensure all content is executed and seamlessly integrated for Clear Channel’s national programming and advertising initiatives.  Hunnicutt will also continue as the company-wide brand manager for Clear Channel’s country stations.”  Poleman comments, “Clay has an unmatched connection with our local markets and knows how to link our national capabilities to our local assets.  He has a great understanding of the day-to-day programming of our local radio stations and what it takes to drive ratings and revenue.  His expertise will ensure our national platforms are of benefit to all of our radio stations nationwide, which gives us a huge competitive advantage.”

westbrianExecutive Changes at Nielsen.  Two executive moves at Nielsen are announced as chief financial officer Brian West is upped to chief operating officer and Jamere Jackson joins the company as CFO from his most recent post with General Electric.  The changes are effective March 10.  West takes over for Mitchell Habib who “moves to the next phase of his career, after a transition period.”  Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says, “Our company has never been in a better place, due in large measure to Brian’s vision, leadership, and execution over the last seven years.  Brian is a trusted colleague and an exceptional business partner, with a proven track record of value creation.  As a key member of our leadership team, he has played an integral role in defining our growth strategy, allocating capital and delivering value to our shareholders.  His deep understanding of Nielsen’s people, operations, and clients well positions him to drive value in his new role as COO.”

morganpiersOdds & Sods.  The end is near for “Piers Morgan Tonight” on CNNThe New York Times columnist David Carr reports that the date of the final program is not certain but that the continued poor ratings are the reason.  Morgan tells Carr, “It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings…Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it.”  He says the show has “run its course and [CNN president Jeff istookernestZucker] and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”…..Chisholm Trail Broadcasting’s KZLS – recently flipped to talk radio as “1640 The Eagle” – adds Ernest Istook’s syndicated talk show to the program quiversrobinschedule.  Istook represented the 5th Congressional District in Oklahoma for 14 years before leaving congress and pursuing other interests including broadcasting.  He says he intends to add more outlets for his program as it grows…..At Cumulus Media’s sports talk KFNZ, Salt Lake City, program director and air personality Tim Montemayor moves from the afternoon drive show where he was co-hosting with Kyle Gunther to the morning drive daypart…..Howard Stern show personality Robin Quivers was honored for Outstanding Literary Work by the NAACP at its “Image Awards” on Saturday, February 22.  Quivers recently published The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life (Avery 2013).

SCBA colorSCBA Blog Introduces Auto Focus Report.  The latest blog from the Southern California Broadcasters Association and president Thom Callahan has been published and in this edition, Callahan introduces what it calls “an ambitious SCBA initiative to help regional auto dealer associations reach more customers more profitably by simply using more radio.”  Callahan comments, “The auto industry in Southern California and the nation, is facing a challenging year ahead with record new model introductions as well as a loomingcallahanthom factory incentive battle among most manufacturers.  This spells trouble for dealer profitability and makes the need to re-evaluate traditional radio/TV spending levels as an immediate focus.”  The SCBA Auto Focus Report will be “a detailed look at dealer association ad spending levels for radio and TV and compare those budgets to actual sales by dealership.  Using verified Polk Auto Data to document sales by dealership, the SCBA Auto Focus Report will create custom solutions and recommendations for each participating dealer association.”  Callahan adds, “Rather than just waving a ‘radio is great’ flag, we are approaching this project from a business point of view.  We have a compelling story to tell about cost of sales, profitability, and bringing substantive value to radio’s relationship with the auto industry.”

wearableiHeartRadio to Be Featured on Samsung Gear 2.  In the very near future when you’re doing your best Dick Tracy impersonation, your cool, new wrist device will allow you to hear your favorite music and talk programming as Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio is being featured on the new Samsung Gear 2 (pictured here).  The wrist-worn Gear 2 is a new device that keeps Samsung phone users connected with their phones and allows them to receive “Quick Glance notifications, such as texts, emails and phone calls, all on your wrist.”  Now, users will be able to control their iHeartRadio app operations from their wrist, as well.  The industry is calling this new device a “wearable” for obvious reasons.  CC president of digital Brian Lakamp says, “iHeartRadio is dedicated to providing even more access to the music, news and entertainment that our listeners love.  Wearables are an emerging access point for music fans, and Clear Channel continues to make iHeartRadio available everywhere our users are listening.  The sleek design and interface of the Samsung Gear 2 lends itself well to the iHeartRadio user experience and we believe it will be popular among our listeners.”

tradupuziNational Religious Broadcasters Conference Underway.  In Nashville, the National Religious Broadcasters Association conference is taking place and one of the companies with a presence is Salem Radio Networks.  Pictured here is SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) presenting and SRN clock to Israeli minister of tourism Dr. Uzi Landau (right).  Tradup reports that Landau spoke about reporting truthfully on world events and warned of Iran’s atomic weapons program.  The conference is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is keynoting a two-hour session today (2/24).

Kasem Press Conference Video

| February 21, 2014


Friday, February 21, 2014

| February 21, 2014

clearchannelCC Goal: ‘#1 Multi-Platform Media Company in Revenue and Earnings.’  Radio giant Clear Channel reiterates its corporate goal at yesterday’s Q4 conference call through president and CFO Rich Bressler who says the deals and partnerships it has entered into over the past 12 months are all geared toward that goal of being the “#1 multi-platform media company.”  Much of the focus on the Media + Enterainment sector was about iHeartRadio and Bressler spoke glowingly about it, saying, “iHeartRadio reached 43 million registered users by the end of 2013, climbing 84% year-over-year.  To put that growth in perspective, iHeartRadio surpassed its 20 million registered user milestone faster than any other digital service and reached 40 million faster than Facebook, Twitter or Pandora, second only to Instagram.  Importantly,iheartradio iHeartRadio’s total listening hours went up 29% over the year, with mobile representing 54% of iHeartRadio’s total listening hours during the fourth quarter of 2013.  Our brand awareness climbed nearly 70%, slightly behind Pandora but above Spotify.  We also continue to lead with Facebook engagement, having over 6.7 million likes for our iHeartRadio page, surpassing Pandora, Spotify and even Netflix.”  The large number of promotional events the company has produced has affected the expense side of the ledger.  Bressler reported, “Operating expenses increased $80 million year-over-year, driven mainly by continued investment on national sales and programming capabilities, special events, promotional costs, compensation and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses during 2013 due to increased listenership on iHeartRadio platform…Expenses were up $36 million due mainly to increased costs associated with our special events and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses.”   Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the whole call here.

wscr logoMore Moves in Chicago Sports Talk World.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago White Sox television broadcaster Steve Stone is signed by CBS RADIO to be WSCR’s go-to baseball expert this season.  Feder writes that Stone – who worked for “The Score” before joining Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM for baseball correspondent duties last year – was also being wooed by Tribune’s sports start-up WGWG “The Game 87.7″ but since WSCR is the flagship for White Sox games, CBS was able to prevent Stone from working for a direct competitor.  Speaking of Tribune’s WGWG, the station is preparing to announce that former Cub Todd Hollandsworth – who’s worked for the MLB Network and Comcast Sports Net Chicago – will join “The Game 87.7” as its baseball expert.  Read Feder’s column here.

kasempresserKerri Kasem Helps Introduce Bill to Provide Access to Sick Parents.  Yesterday, RadioInfo reported that radio personality Kerri Kasem – daughter of legend Casey Kasem – would appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto at a press conference on Thursday to introduce legislation that would give judges the ability to allow adult children to see sick to dying parents in cases where they’ve been kept away in the past.  Industry watchers are aware of the public battle Kasem’s children have been waging with his second wife, Jean Kasem, over visitation with Kasem who is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease.  Kasem appeared at Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday to bring attention to the introduction of the bill.  She commented, “It’s not just me – the daughter of a famous person.  There are so many families, so many sons and daughters going through what I’m going through right now.”  Kasem said she used the power of her radio show to talk about it and received a lot of feedback from people in similar situations and that’s part of her motivation for working with Gatto on this legislation.  “No child deserves to go through what I’m going through and no loving parent deserves to be left alone to die with nobody by his side.”   You can view video from the press conference here.  Working as district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto is radio business veteran Jason Insalaco who’s been involved in the programming and agent ends of the industry during his career.

hardquestion logo“The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum” Launches on TalkersRadio This Weekend.  TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform operated by TALKERS magazine at www.talkers.com/talkersradio — announces the launch this weekend (2/22) of “The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum.”  Hosted by veteran talk show host, Washington-insider, and former member of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, Blanquita Cullum, the one-hour-per-week show will cover the hottest and most-talkersradio logopressing economic, environmental and political issues facing the country from a non-partisan, non-ideological perspective.  Cullum tells TALKERS, “I’ve been in this business too long to mess around playing the old right-versus-left game that is quickly getting us nowhere.  It is time to get serious – especially having this marvelous platform upon which to perform – and dust off the old journalism skills.  Just as the name implies, I will be asking big shots and policy makers from the worlds of energy, finance and government the hard questions.  None of that easy, puff-piece stuff.  This show is going to get down, dirty and real!”  The new program will air each Saturday morning at 10:00 am ET with repeats scheduled throughout the week.

krg logoKRG Appoints Chenault-Qawwee to VP of Health Care Strategies.  Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group (a Clear Channel subsidiary) announces the creation of a new department to “take full advantage of radio’s massive reach and scale in order to deliver compelling health care media solutions for advertisers.”  The new Health Care Strategies group, headed by vice president LaTonya Chenault-Qawwee, will “provide a higher level of focus and expertise in the health care category.”  The company says that in her new role, Chenault-Qawwee will “oversee all sales operations, developing strategic plans for advertisers by leveraging KRG’s unmatched reach, research and expertise in developing innovative media solutions.  She will work closely with the nation’s leading health care companies, as well as federal and state exchanges, to incorporate the latest health care reform needs into high-impact advertising packages. This new position underlines KRG’s continued commitment to be the leading advocate for radio, and to further expand its business by providing advertisers hyper-focused expertise in specific categories.”

knx logoOdds & Sods.  The Washington Times announces it has partnered with California-based BT Software’s Kaliki Audio Newsstand to provide content for the app that allows users to stream news and talk content.  The newspaper’s editor John Solomon says the radio lineup will launch in early March with five daily shows and several weekly shows, anchored by the midday program “Live from The Washington Times” starring Andy Parks…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles announces the next stop on its “KNX in Your Neighborhood” remote series will be South Orange County on Friday, March 14.  The station says its “award-winning news team will explore O.C.’s southernmost communities, including Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Hills and Dana Point.  Civic and business leaders from these areas will be featured throughout the day live from the Mission Grill in San Juan Capistrano…..CRN Digital Talk Radio debuts a new show called “Wall to Wald Sports,” a hybrid of sports and politics.  The show is hosted by Ronnie Wald and Fred Wallin and airs Fridays at 1:00 pm ET.  The company says, “Wald and Wallin discuss sports in what they term their own ‘novel’ way before shifting to politics – an area in which they differ significantly.  The duo says that ‘to Wald, Ronald Reagan is a hero – but to Wallin, he was a bad actor.’”

ppmunitFinal Round of January PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the fourth and final group of 12 markets for the January 2014 period (January 2-29) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

ObamaCare Criticism Remains at Top of Talkers TenTM.  The scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of February 17-21.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the executive power controversy surrounding President Obama.  At #3 was a tie between a possible Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016 and the infighting taking place in the Republican Party followed by the winter weather and the global warming issue at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

| February 20, 2014

stephanbarnSyndicated Host Doug Stephan Suffers Devastating Loss in Dairy Farm Disaster.  Early yesterday morning (2/19) Eastleigh Farm — located in the suburban Boston community of Framingham, Massachusetts – suffered a winter-related natural disaster in which one of the barn roofs collapsed under the weight of snow trapping, killing and injuring some of the dairy cows at the historic facility.  The farm is owned by nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan, whose long-running morning program “Good Day” is heard on hundreds of stations across the country and is consistently ranked one of the most-listened-to talk shows in the business.  According to reports from the scene (pictured here where a cow is seen being hoisted to safety), at least three cows have died and many others are injured.  The trauma to the cows is immeasurable.  Dairy cows are very sensitive and this has potentially long-term consequences for the health of the farm and the remaining herd.  Stephan is somewhat of a local folk hero in the “Metrowest” region of Massachusetts where the Eastleigh Farm – already beleaguered by economic issues challenging small family farmers across America – has been engaged in a high-profilestephandoug struggle to exist and continue to bring healthy, raw locally raised dairy products to the community.  Eastleigh Farm is the last historical dairy land in Framingham.  A fund-raiser has been launched to help with the formidable veterinarian bills, the care of the cows and the rebuilding of the barn.  For information about the fundraiser, please click here.  To see local video news coverage of the story, please click here.  Ironically, Doug Stephan recently launched a new, weekly one-hour show on TALKERS magazine’s experimental talk radio platform, TalkersRadio titled, “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan,” designed to bring information, inspiration and a political voice to the hard-pressed, small farmers battling the powerful interests of the mega-corporate-government-supported farm industrial complex that has been systematically squeezing them out of existence.  The show airs with a new installment on TalkersRadio every Saturday morning at 8:00 am ET with repeats throughout the week at 11:00 am ET.  Clearly, this disaster and its aftermath will provide Stephan with a tremendous amount of compelling material and content for the show. (Image: WCVB-TV, Boston)

kasemkerriRadio’s Kerri Kasem to Appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto to Introduce Parental Access Legislation.  Industry pros and the radio-loving public have been following the tragic story of radio legend Casey Kasem and his second wife’s refusal to allow Kasem’s adult children to visit him as his health deteriorates due to advanced Parkinson’s disease.  Now a California legislator is introducing a bill that would “provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit their parents, and provide children the right to know when an ailing parent’s health becomes worse or if the parent dies.  The proposed legislation seeks to protect children from previous marriages from being denied access to a kasemcaseyparent by a parent’s future spouse or child.”  State Assemblyman Mike Gatto will introduce the bill and “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” co-host Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey from his first marriage, will appear alongside Gatto when that happens today at 2:30 pm PT at the Los Angeles Superior Court.  In explaining the reason for the bill, Gatto’s office states, “Currently, adult children are not afforded the legal right to visit an ailing parent.  With divorce and remarriage becoming more prevalent, there is a greater possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and an ailing parent’s children from a previous marriage.  These conflicts can become exacerbated when a parent becomes incapacitated or dies.  In some cases, elderly parents are not even informed that their children wish to see them.  Such conflicts are very painful for those involved and can mean that certain adult children do not get to see their parent(s) before the parent(s) pass away.”

cclogoClear Channel Issues Q4 and 2013 Revenue Numbers; CCM+E Up 3%.  The parent company of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment – Clear Channel Media Holdings LLC – is reporting figures for the fourth quarter of 2013 and for the whole of 2013.  It reports revenue for the CCM+E division was up 3% — 8% excluding political advertising – and it notes that the reason was “due primarily to stronger national and digital advertising, as well as promotional and event sponsorship with the expansion of the Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Music Festival and album release events.”  For all of 2013 CCM+E was up 2%.  The company states that “increases across multiple advertising categories were led by the telecommunications, retail and entertainment advertising markets.  Digital revenue benefited from higher total listening hours, which were up 29%, and from investments in a digital sales organization.  Promotional and event sponsorships also moved higher, driven by special events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party and album release events.”

wgwg logoTribune’s WGWG, Chicago Grabs Finfer for Daily Role.  The Tribune sports talk format airing on WGWG-LP at 87.7 FM adds another local talent as Ben Finfer jumps aboard from CBS RADIO’s crosstown WSCR.  Finfer served as producer for the late morning McNeil & Spiegel show before joining Tribune’s new “The Game 87.7” on Wednesday.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that he’ll be part of the midday shows hosted by David Kaplan and Howard Griffith and Alex Quigley.  While all of the media eyes may be on the new guy in town, WSCR and ESPN O&O WMVP have a healthy head start on WGWG.  Data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM indicates WSCR enjoyed a 5.0 share with Men 25-54 and WMVP racked up a 3.6 share, according to Feder.

obriencolleenColleen O’Brien Joins KIRO-FM, Seattle for Mornings.  At Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, former KXLY-TV, Spokane news anchor Colleen O’Brien is named morning drive news anchor, filling the role held by Linda Thomas prior to her exit from the station to join Starbucks as managing editor for online news and content strategy.  O’Brien is no stranger to Seattle or the radio side of the business.  Prior to her work in Spokane, O’Brien served at crosstown KOMO-AM/FM.

imusdonThe 4th Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Fundraiser ‘Opens’ Monday.  For the fourth year in a row, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York teams up with “The Great White Way” to present “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square.  The evening’s event – a benefit for the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer – is a one-night-only production hosted by New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel and features performances from the casts of: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” “After Midnight,” “Avenue Q,” “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia,” “Motown the Musical,” “Kinky Boots,” “La Soiree,” “The Lion King,” “Pippin,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Wicked.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Ukraine Unrest, Sochi Olympics, ‘Smart Gun’ Bill, Jay Leno-‘Tonight Show’ Controversy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the violence and political unrest in the Ukraine; the Winter Games in Sochi; the Democratic proposal for new guns to only fire in the hand of the owner; the accusation by a former ‘Tonight Show’ writer that Jay Leno was ousted for picking on President Obama; and the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

| February 19, 2014

cumulus logoCumulus Posts Positive Q4 2013 Revenue News; Dickey Pleased with ‘Core Performance.’  The fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole were seen in a positive light by Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey during yesterday’s investor conference call.  Dickey noted at the outset that he was happy that the company was able to meet and, in some aspects, exceed its guidance through “core performance without any impact of” mergers and acquisitions.  He also says the company achieved its goals despite 2012 political comps of over $20 million.  The company reports Q4 net revenue up 4.5% over the same period in 2013.  For the year of 2013, Cumulus net revenue rose 2.4%.  Following up on previous dickeylewconference calls in which he highlighted his expectations for sports and traffic, Dickey said CBS Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio, NFL and NCAA play-by-play are “hitting their stride as national content brands.  Both sports and traffic are currently exceeding expectations for 2014 and are taking share in their respective markets.  And will again be substantial growth drivers as we expected them to be.  We are very encouraged by the level of interest by both the advertisers and affiliates in these products, which is a testament to the high-quality nature of the content and again the efficacy of broadcast radio advertising on sports and traffic sponsorships respectively.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the whole call here.

wor logoImus: Scott Shannon Will Get the Job.  The Scott Shannon watch continues as the next radio home of the former, longtime WPLJ, New York morning co-host remains the subject of speculation in New York and across the country.  This morning, WABC-based Don Imus was heard saying, “I’m told Scott Shannon will get the [WOR] job and I’m very happy about that.”  Imus seemed sincere about his statement.  TALKERS reported yesterday that the chatter has Shannon landing at either Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR for morning drive (where the company just ended the Elliot Segal simulcast from “DC101”) or at one of CBS RADIO’s music FMs – either classic hits WCBS-FM or CHR WNOW.

anthonyrobClear Channel Promotes Rob Anthony in New England.  Programmer Rob Anthony is named to the operations manager and program director position at Clear Channel’s Providence cluster that includes rock WHJY, news/talk WHJJ, classic hits WWBB “B101,” and hot AC WSNE “93.3 The Coast.”  Anthony has been serving as regional programming manager for New England based out of the company’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster.  He will retain that title which has him overseeing programming at the Springfield, Worcester, and Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire station groups.  Anthony says, “I can’t even begin to express my excitement for the opportunity to work with such heritage brands as ‘Coast 93.3,’ ‘B 101,’ ‘NewsRadio 920’ and the mighty ‘94 HJY.’  This is truly an honor, and I can’t wait to get to work.  Thank you to Clear Channel’s programming team and [market president] Rhonda Lapham for all their continued support and guidance.”

fccnewFCC to Rework Internet Regulation Rules; Republican Commissioners Question Move.  FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has announced the Commission will revisit the “net neutrality” issue by “proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how internet service providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition.  Preserving the internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency.”  Wheeler states that the recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling affirms Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 giving “the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition.  The court recognized the importance of ensuring that so-called ‘edge providers,’ those that use the network to deliver goods and services, can reach people who use the internet.” Republican Commissioner Mike O’Reilly disagrees, saying, “I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the internet.  As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority.  We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.”  At the same time, Commissioner Ajit Pai adds, “When Congress told us to encourage broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, it also established the policy of the United States to ‘preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’ Whatever the Commission does as it moves forward, it must take that statutory command to heart.  The internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules.  It remains free and open today.  Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.”

topicpulse logoLDR Interactive Launches TopicPulse; Partners with TTWN for Sales.  Interactive broadcast technology firm LDR Interactive announces the launch of an upgraded version of its TopicPulse, what it calls “a real-time social media monitoring system for newsrooms and content producers.”  LDR Interactive explains: “TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, comment boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market.  In addition to tracking local and national topics, producers can also access trending video and images.  The system then produces a user-friendly, real-time report that newsrooms can use to drive local, regional, and national content.”  LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig states, “TopicPulse was inspired by feedback from the world’s leading broadcasters, who said they were in critical need of a better way to track and monitor social media to produce news content.  With those needs in mind, we built and optimized TopicPulse for broadcast and digital newsrooms and released the system on beta to LDR’s media partners in 2012.  Since then, we’ve seen tremendous momentum and positive results from media companies in all market sizes.”  In addition to tracking trends, TopicPulse identifies which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media.  Newsrooms also have access to a “glance” screen with trending topics for the brand’s target audience, which can be utilized as a “heads up display” of the market.  A Tweet Map feature showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends.  LDR Interactive is partnering with Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) as the TopicPulse national sales partner.  The TTWN sales team will serve as the major force behind local market integration of the platform in newsrooms across the U.S.

larsonlarsLars Larson Show Added to CRN Digital Talk Lineup.  The Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson program is added to the program schedule at CRN Digital Talk Radio airing at 7:00 pm ET.  Larson hosts a local show on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland in addition to a separate nationally syndicated program through Compass Media Networks.  CRN will carry the national program.  CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Lars adds another unique, passionate voice to the CRN schedule.  He’s a newsman, a reporter, and a host – so he brings extra doses of preparation and personality to his show.”

wileyrichardFormer FCC Chair Richard Wiley to Receive BFoA’s Lowry Mays Award.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Richard E. Wiley, chairman of Wiley Rein LLP and a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will receive the 2014 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award to be presented during The Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB Show.  Wiley heads the 80-attorney communications practice.  He served as chairman of the FCC from 1974 to 1977.  Wiley played a pivotal role in the development of HDTV in this country, serving for nine years as chairman of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service from 1987 to 1995.  He represents a number of major communications-oriented organizations, including Verizon, AT&T, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Motorola, CBS, Belo, Gannett, Sirius/XM, Emmis, Gray Television, and LG.  Wiley has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington’s 30 “Superstar” lawyers for his role as “the unofficial sixth commissioner” of the FCC (2011) and consistently listed as one of Washington’s “Best Lawyers” and “Top Lawyers” in the magazine.  He was named the “most prominent telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist in Washington” by Broadcasting & Cable in 2005, and he was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award in 2002.

ostapavlinaTeen Radio Host Wins Student Category Gracie.  The Alliance for Women in Media announces the winners of the 2014 Gracie Awards in the local, online, student and public categories and 16-year-old Florida radio talk host Pavlina Osta wins in the student category Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine for her “Pavlina’s Kidz Place Radio Show.”  The Port Orange, Florida resident has been hosting a kids-targeted radio program since she was 11 and boasts an impressive list of celebrity interviews including: Katie Couric, Ed Sheeran, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sick Puppies, A Great Big World, and Steve Forbes, to name just a few.  Now she can add Gracie Award winner to her resume!

Obama Executive Power Controversy, Winter Weather/Global Warming Debate, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian Unrest, and N. Korea Human Rights Abuses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18).  GOP response to President Obama’s use of executive power; the onslaught of winter weather in much of the country and the debate over the global warming issue; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Winter Olympic games in Sochi; the protests and political unrest in the Ukraine; and the global community’s concern over growing evidence of human rights abuses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

| February 18, 2014

wor logoWhat Are Clear Channel’s Plans for AM Drive at WOR?  With the departure of “DC101” morning host Elliot Segal from the air at Clear Channel news/talk WOR, New York has industry watchers speculating about the company’s next move for the daypart.  Mark Simone was in for Elliot today (2/18).segalelliot  Segal told his DC audience that he was not moving to New York after all and the company issued a statement saying, “After much thought and discussion it’s clear that we’d have to make significant changes to ensure the show resonates as successfully with the NY audience as it does with Elliot’s DC audience.  And given Elliot’s loyalty to his DC fans, we support his decision to continue to broadcast from Washington.”  This change is not that surprising.  To many, the Elliot move seemed an odd pairing and some industry watchers tell TALKERS they thought – even with the chatter about Elliot moving to NYC – it was a temporary move.  It seems Clear Channel wants to shake up the AM drive show and not go with another “typical conservative” morning host on WOR but the company also appears to want to go with a younger and local program.  There are rumors that recently “retired from WPLJ” personality Scott Shannon is talking with WOR but at first blush, that would also seem to be an unusual hire.

987buzzerSaga Launches Sports Talker in Ithaca.  The new station – branded “98.7 The Buzzer” – is airing on translator W254 BF licensed to Ithaca and features programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.  It will also serve as an affiliate for Buffalo Bills football and for Cornell University Men’s basketball.  Chet Osadchey is the vice president and market manager for Saga’s Cayuga Radio Group and he tells the Central New York Business Journal that this is an “excellent” expansion of sports in the Ithaca market.  “We are particularly excited about the Jim Rome show.  For several years, we have received numerous requests to carry this show and now we are able to fulfill that goal.  Jim’s show is the most interactive, contemporary, and authentic in the sports radio arena.”

atrn logoAmerica’s Talk Radio Network to Debut. The start date for the programming being offered by new syndicator America’s Talk Radio Network is March 1 and vice president of affiliations and programming Jon Patch (formerly of Business TalkRadio Network) says, “America’s Talk Radio Network programming features full-service solutions for our hosts and transactional, educational, entertaining and exclusive content for our partnering stations.”  The operation is based in Tampa Bay and programming is delivered via Cumulus XDS.  Patch adds, “I’ve been working in radio for approximately 30 years and I look forward to working with our variety of unique programs and affiliate stations servicing the needs of our partners on a daily basis.”  At start-up, the network is offering four programs: “My Cool Inventions” featuring Akos Jankura “The Solutionist” and John Cremeans “The Doctor of Shopology”; “Talkin’ Pets” with Jon Patch; a morning program called “Sunrise America”; and “Akos The Solutionist.”  For more information visit www.americastalkradionetwork.com.

conwaysimonOdds & Sods.  News/talk personality Simon Conway – heard daily at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines in afternoon drive – is doing double duty this week as he fills in on the morning drive program all this week and next Monday at the company’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..Tennis great John McEnroe is getting expanded duties with ESPN on both radio and TV that will see him work outside the world of tennis as well.  As part of his radio duties, he’ll work on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, O&O WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” and make appearances on ESPN2’s Keith Olbermann program.

kxl logoCool Job Opportunity.  America’s most successful FM news/talk station needs America’s best news anchor/reporter.  This is a rare opening at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL in Portland, Oregon.  We need someone who can talk to an FM listener with AM credibility.  We need someone who can write and use sound to tell the story.  Is this you?  Minimum 5 years in the broadcast industry required.  Please send your resume and sample of your on air work to:   Rebecca.marshall@kxl.com.  No phone calls please.  Must pass a background investigation. Alpha Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

GOP Infighting, Hillary in 2016, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Tenn. VW Workers Vote Down Union Move, and Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17).  Solidarity problems within the Republican Party; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its effects; the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the failure of the UAW to convince VW plant workers in Tennessee to go union; and harsh winter weather and the debate over global warming were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 17, 2014

| February 17, 2014

wgwg logoWGN-Programmed FM Debuts Today as Sports Talk ‘The Game 87.7.’  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the scoop following Friday’s announcement that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will LMA WKQX-LP at 87.7 beginning today.  Last week Feder tipped us that Jonathon Brandmeier would do mornings when Tribune begins programming the station, but now he informs us the station will be thewgnlogo market’s first FM sports talk station branded “The Game 87.7.”  In addition to Brandmeier in mornings, the rest of the lineup will be: current WGN evening sports host David Kaplan and Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh in middays, followed by WGN’s Alex Quigley and Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith hosting an early afternoon show.  Former WMVP personality Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton will host late afternoons with WGN’s Mark Carman hosting the evening show.  Overnights will feature programming from NBC Sports Radio Network.  WGN’s Jordan Bernfield will serve as full-time sports reporter.  Making the move over to the FM from WGN, Kaplan is giving up his “Sports Central” show on WGN and late night host Pete McMurray is bumped into the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot.  Read Feder’s entire column here.

vitalejill‘Flirty Flipper’ Returns to WABC to Produce ‘Curtis & Kuby.’  It’s a return to the studios at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York for Jill Vitale (a.k.a. Flirty Flipper) who served as Sean Hannity’s producer beginning in 1999 when he was a local NYC-only show.  During her time there she also produced John Gambling’s program before leaving in 2011.  Now, she returns to produce the midday show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby.

kevt logoTucson Talk Personality Jim Parisi to LMA KEVT.  Market talk radio pro Jim Parisi is taking over the operation of One Mart Corp.-owned KEVT under an LMA and is re-branding the former Spanish music station as news/talk radio outlet “Power Talk 1210.”  Tucson Weekly reports Parisi will serve as general manager in addition to hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Other personalities will include Providence, Rhode Island-based Steve Kass for 5:00 am to 7:00 am and John C. Scott for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program.  Fox Sports Radio Network programming will air in evenings and on weekends.  Parisi tells the paper, “I’ve come to a point that the only way to be happy is doing what I believe in.  I’m not doing anything that doesn’t reflect how I truly feel, so it will be the most genuine station I can be a part of.  We should have more local programming than most anyone in town.  We want to be as local, but as budget conscious, as we can so that we don’t go away.”

knbrlogoKNBR, San Francisco Takes Beating Over Olympics Coverage.  When Cumulus Media-owned sports talk outlet KNBR, San Francisco cut away from its coverage of the U.S.A.-Russia men’s hockey game during the shoot-out (which the U.S.A won!) to air “Hooked on Golf,” critics took to the internet to blast the station for the move.  The sports media critique site AwfulAnnouncing called the station out and posted a series of Tweets from fellow critics.  One Tweet came in from a Ryan Covay, who appears to be a KNBR staffer, saying, “I’m @ryancovay at home, not at station.  I imagine it’s because there are specific shows that need to air.  Apologies.”  It’s not been confirmed by KNBR but it appears the “Hooked on Golf” show is a brokered show that broadcasts live from a golf course in San Mateo.  That could explain the decision to cut away.

johnsondaniXtreMEDIA Expands Dani Johnson Show to Daily Format.  More than two years ago, the Dani Johnson show debuted on weekends on premier affiliate WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  Now, the program moves to a daily format beginning today (2/17) and Johnson’s program will be available seven days per week.  XtreMEDIA states that “Johnson’s brand of ‘No Excuses, Just Results’ is now heard/seen in more than 66 million television householdsXtreMedialogo nationally, heard in more than 112 terrestrial radio markets, cleared on SiriusXM, and streamed/accessed by hundreds of thousands of social media users on her wesbite, social media pages, and her proprietary smartphone app.  And now she is accessed seven days a week.”  Johnson adds, “I can’t believe how much fun I’m having doing a daily show.  My true desire is to continue to help push people to achieve results in all areas of their lives, so that they can take back control, build financial resources, build stable marriages and families, and ultimately feed orphans and help those who need it most.”  XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough comments, “Dani connects with people — especially in this hyper-partisan environment — in ways that few people can.  The beauty of her show is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of success, if you apply exactly what she shows you, you achieve better results.”

nrb logoMichael Harrison to Speak in Keynote Session at National Religious Broadcasters Convention.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will serve as a keynote speaker next week at the NRB International Christian Media Convention 2014 in Nashville.  The event, which runs February 22-25 and is preceded by a one-day Digital Media Summit on February 21, is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training.  Harrison, whose two-hour session will take place on Monday, February 24 at 2:00 pm, states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this event and spending time getting to better know people from the faith-based sector of the radio and media industries.  It will certainly give me the opportunity to embellish one of the key points of my own personal view of what radio needs to do to be a viable and productive entity in the digital era – and that is to never miss any opportunity to be a hero…to literally serve the community… to spread hope and inspiration…to talk about the many crisis and challenges facing people in everyday life and help them cope.  I recommend this course of action to all broadcasters – but this is a community where it is already proven to be a winning strategy.  I am honored to be a part of this event.”  The conference will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.  For more information please click here.

rothmanloriOdds & Sods.  On the Fox Business News cable TV simulcast of Cumulus Media NetworksDon Imus show, Lori Rothman is the new business news update reporter.  TVNewser reports that Rothman is moving into the morning role after serving as part of the early-afternoon “Markets Now” crew.  She’s joining FBN’s Connell McShane and Dagen McDowell…..Clear Channel names Brent Henslee operations manager for the company’s six-station Macon, Georgia cluster that includes sports talk WPLA “Fox Sports 1670” and all-comedy WIBB…..KCRW, Santa Monica personality Matt Miller announces he will run as a Democrat for the seat in Congress being vacated by the retiring Henry Waxman.  Miller is co-host of “Left, Right & Center” on the public radio station.  He’s also a columnist for the Washington Post.  Several Democrats are competing in the primary for the party’s nomination to run in the general election.

hendersonangeloDetroit Media Personality Angelo Henderson Dead at 51.  WCHB, Detroit talk show host Angelo Henderson passed away on Saturday (2/15) at age 51 after an illness.  The Radio One Detroit cluster issued the following statement on the WCHB website: “We at Radio One Detroit are devastated by unexpected news today.  We regretfully must confirm the passing of one of our on-air icons Angelo B. Henderson.  Henderson has been with Radio One Detroit for 15 years and was the host of the popular talk show “Your Voice with Angelo Henderson” on Newstalk AM1200/99.9FM WCHB for the past 6 years.”  Vice president and general manager Kathy Stinehour adds, “Angelo was a strong pillar in the community, I am saddened by his untimely passing and he will be greatly missed by the entire Detroit community and his Radio One Detroit family.”  In addition to his broadcasting work Henderson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

Friday, February 14, 2014

| February 14, 2014

fccnewFCC Appears to Back Off of Newsroom and Issues Study.  When it was announced last May, the proposed Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs the Federal Communications Commission would be undertaking rankled many lawmakers and broadcasters as it was perceived as an intrusion into broadcasters’ First Amendment rights in addition to being outside the bounds of the FCC’s jurisdiction.  Now, according to a piece in Ad Week, the FCC appears to be backing off, or at least re-defining, the research intended to “study entry barriers” to informationpaiajit media to determine if there are small businesses unable to break into broadcasting.  This would have been determined by quizzing news broadcasters about how they choose their stories.  Last year, some GOP lawmakers termed it an “end-around” the Fairness Doctrine and heavily criticized the study as well as the jurisdiction of the FCC to getting into content matters.  Earlier this week FCC commissioner Ajit Pai penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the study is not necessary to filing its required report to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry in the communications industry.  He writes, “This claim is peculiar.  How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry?  And why does the CIN (critical information needs) study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?”  Whether or not the first field study slated for Columbia, South Carolina this spring gets underway as proposed or not remains to be seen.  Ad Week reports it was told by an FCC rep that the agency “has no intention of interfering in the coverage and editorial choices that journalists make.  We’re closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited.”

wgnlogoWGN to Program WKQX 87.7 Beginning Monday.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune’s WGN will begin an LMA operation of WKQX-LP at 87.7 in Chicago starting Monday, February 17.  Feder reports that under terms of the LMA with license holder Venture Technologies Group, the deal commences Monday atbrandmeierjonathon 1:02 pm on the 17th, a minute after Cumulus Media drops the alternative rock simulcast with 101.1 FM.  President and general manager Jimmy de Castro tells Feder, “We’re outgrowing WGN with great talent.  Everything we have said we wanted to do is based on the strength of WGN and our personalities.  It’s all about getting the best spoken-word talent and getting more bandwidth.”  Vice president of creative content for WGN, Todd Manley, will announce a full lineup soon but mornings will begin with Jonathon Brandmeier who’s been doing a morning program on WGN.fm since last September.  Read Feder’s full story here.

hendriephilPhil Hendrie Exits AM/FM Radio.  Talk radio host and satirist Phil Hendrie announces he’s leaving the production and syndication of his daily AM/FM radio program after March 14 in order to fully focus on his podcast and other media ventures.  He’ll continue doing “The World of Phil Hendrie Show” on TuneIn, iTunes, the Sideshow Network and www.philhendrieshow.com.  He says that “Due to the tremendous positive growth this past year owing directly to his fans,” he’s decided that is the area where he should focus all his energies.  He adds, “The digital world is where we have made our living the last seven years so as radio attempts to find itself we’ll put our energy in our digital and online product, our animation project, my one man show and of course TV and film opportunities wherever they may occur.  To our fans, we haven’t gone anywhere!  Our daily show will continue” on digital platforms.

callahangerryGerry Callahan Remark Irks Dunkin’ Donuts; Company Cancels Ads on WEEI Affiliate Stations.  The Boston Globe is reporting that Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts has cancelled ad buys on stations in the region airing WEEI, Boston programming after WEEI morning co-host Gerry Callahan made a “disparaging comment,” presumably about the company’s donuts.  In the Globe piece, Entercom Boston VP and marketdunkin logo manager Phil Zachary says Callahan admits he “screwed up badly” with the off-the-cuff remark and that Zachary understands how Dunkin’ Donuts feels.  “You just don’t call somebody’s baby ‘ugly,’ even if it’s unintentional.”  Zachary wouldn’t say what Callahan’s words were.  He says the ad buy was not a lot of money but that’s not the point.  Dunkin’ Donuts has separate ad buys for WEEI, Boston, Callahan’s endorsements and WEEI’s O&O affiliate stations in Providence, Worcester and Springfield.  The Boston deal ended in January before Callahan’s comment.  Dunkin’ Donuts has been a long-time advertiser with WEEI, especially on Red Sox broadcasts which are ready to resume in a few months.  How the incident will affect that remains to be seen.

hhnewsteaserTALKERS to Publish 2014 Heavy Hundred on Monday, March 3.  The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication Monday, March 3, 2014.  Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board.  It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.)  Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation.  Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater.  Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!”  Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely-discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.

radiomercuryawardsRadio Mercury Awards Final-Round Judging Panel Announced. Chief judge Matt Eastwood helped assemble the jury for the 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards.  The panel represents radio’s top advertising categories including automotive, communications, financial services, packaged goods, over-the-counter, retail, spirits, and quick-serve restaurants.  Final-round judging panel consists of JWT New York group creative director Jill Applebaum; BBDO New York executive creative director Chris Beresford-Hill; Cog NYC founder Wayne Best; Grupo Gallegos chief creative officer Pablo Buffagni; Young & Rubicam Group New York chief creative officer Jim Elliott; DDB Chicago executive vice president/executive creative director Mark Gross; Publicis New York executive creative director Joe Johnson; and Deutsch New York chief creative officer Kerry Keenan.  “This list is a ‘who’s who’ of well-established creative executives, and perennial award-winning agencies with a long history of creating exceptional, noteworthy creative executions,” remarks Eastwood, who is chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide Communications Group New York.  “More importantly, our panel consists of brilliant thought leaders who have a true love and appreciation for the greatest writer’s medium of all time, radio.”  Radio Creative Fund chair – and Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber – adds, “We feel so incredibly privileged to have gathered such a pinnacle group of creative ambassadors for this year’s competition.  The bar has been set high, but I am confident this group will help ensure that the mission of the Radio Mercury Awards lives on as we award the best creative audio commercials over the past year.”  Prizes will be handed out in a variety of categories such as “Agency Production,” “Radio Station Produced,” “Student,” “PSA,” “Spanish Language,” and “Best of Show.”  Deadline for submissions is April 1, with the awards event taking place June 4 at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.

scba logoSouthern California Broadcasters Association to Provide Quarterly Guidance Report. Planning and research material is for California advertising agencies, clients and its members. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan notes that, “The SCBA Quarterly Market Guidance Report fulfills a growing need among California ad agencies and clients to look ahead to the next quarter to learn, plan, create, and execute even more effective radio advertising campaigns based on market conditions, trends, and the upcoming quarter’s business environment.  As an additional service to the advertising community, the SCBA will encourage face-to-face planning and development meetings with advertising agencies and major clients to provide full-year guidance and customization of our extensive market research.”  The QMG report will give current and predictive regional economic data, radio category growth, and commentary on advertising and business trends.  The report uses regional economic development corporation reports, member reports on market trends, Miller Kaplan Arase data, and audience measurement data.  It will be posted late next month for second quarter 2014 guidance on the SCBA’s website (www.scba.com).

hdradio logoS-Class Mercedes-Benz to Have HD Radio. Mercedes-Benz of Mexico is launching its S-Class with HD Radio.  iBiquity Digital is the developer of the digital technology and its chief operating officer Jeff Jury states, “We are very pleased to achieve the key goal of North American standardization with Mercedes-Benz.  With this expansion, Mercedes-Benz drivers across Canada, Mexico and the United States have access to HD Radio technology in their cars.  This coincides with our continuing efforts to bring HD Radio broadcasting to all markets across North America.  By offering the technology as standard, Mercedes-Benz is ensuring that all their customers can enjoy the current services and be ensured of enjoying the coming ‘all-digital’ future.”  The 2014 S-Class is now at dealerships across the United States and Mexico. More than 2,230 digital stations are on-air; over 1,480 HD2 and HD3 digital-only channels broadcast content that can only be heard with an HD Radio receiver.

brunotonyOdds & Sods.  WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” sports talker Tony Bruno is scheduled to begin making weekly appearances on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN 2 program.  The first appearance will be tonight (2/14) live from ESPN’s Times Square studios in New York City…..Cumulus Media’s KOH, Reno is holding a radiothon today at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to benefit the Veterans Guest House which provides temporary housing for vets and their families while they are being treated at the Reno VA.  This is the 11th annual radiothon the station has produced for the cause…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the winners of its first annual Food & Wine Awards.  CRN Digital Talk Radio ishornmike celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is home to several food and beverage-oriented programs.  It asked listeners to decide 2013’s Best Chef, Restaurant, Sommelier, and Winemaker.  President and CEO Mike Horn says, “Food and wine are best enjoyed with good company.  Our listeners deciding the year’s best of the best in the culinary and beverage arenas was very much akin to sitting down, honoring some great people, enjoying a fun meal.”  This year’s winners are: Best Chef of the Year – Andrew Sutton – Napa Rose, Anaheim; Best Restaurant of the Year – Gary Danko – San Francisco; Best Sommelier of the Year – Paul Coker – St. Regis, Monarch Beach; and Winemaker of the Year Jeff Stewart – Hartford Family Wines…..Broadcasts of New York Yankees baseball on new flagship sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York will debut with the February 27 exhibition game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Yankees games moved from CBS RADIO‘s all-news WCBS after a new contract was negotiated in the fall.

floresdanielWichita Police Make Arrest in Case of Slain Radio Station Staffer.  Police in Wichita have a suspect in custody in the early Monday morning slaying of Steckline Communications employee Daniel Flores.  Authorities say that in responding to a Crime Stoppers tip, they pulled over Antwon Banks who proceeded to stab himself in the stomach.  He’s in a local hospital under police guard and will be booked on felony murder charges when he’s recovered.  He was apparently the ex-boyfriend of Steckline office manager Lisa Bryce, leading authorities to conclude that Flores was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

cclogoClear Channel Commits to Campaign for ‘American Heart Month.’  For the purpose of educating the public about heart disease, its risks and preventative measures, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is committing more than $1 million worth of on-air media to that end.  Today (2/14), Clear Channel is kicking off a two-week public service announcement campaign across its 840 radio stations to educate listeners on the symptoms of heart disease and stroke in honor of American Heart Month.  Certain Clear Channel stations will air a comedic yet informative public service announcement voiced by Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks that highlights the signs of heart attack in women, while all other Clear Channel radio stations will air a second PSA, created by the Ad Council and the American Heart Association, to help people recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of a stroke.

savagemichaelTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  New station affiliations for Cumulus Media Networks programming this week include: for Michael Savage – WTAR, Norfolk; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; WQSI, Tuskegee, Alabama; and WWBA, Tampa; Phil Valentine – WCOA, Pensacola; Mark Levin – WGKA, Atlanta; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; and WVOC-FM, Columbia, South Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at KNOX-AM/FM, Grand Forks.

ramseybonesDave Ramsey Counsels Bobby Bones’ Staff and Listeners.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey (right) sits in on the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show based at WSIX-FM, Nashville, right down the road from Ramsey’s home base of Brentwood.  Ramsey appeared with Bones (left) after Bones show producer Ray lost his truck in a Super Bowl bet and is some $8,000 in debt.  Ramsey talked to the crew and audience about various topics including the terrible odds of gambling, tax withholding, and even the psychology behind using the debt snowball to pay off debt.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of February 10-14 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and the delay in the employer mandate, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the debt ceiling issue.  At #3 was speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 and at #4 was immigration reform.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

| February 13, 2014

cbsradio logoCBS Reports Radio Segment Down 4% in Q4 2013; Company Up 6%.  While CBS Corporation CEO, president and director Les Moonves spoke glowingly about the performance of CBS Corporation as a whole during yesterday’s Q4 conference call, the radio segment was not part of the celebration and loss of political advertising was given the lion’s share of the blame.  The company’s report indicates that after taking political out of the picture, CBS RADIO was flat compared to the same quarter in 2012.  Moonves was upbeat about the radio division saying, “In radio, we continue to put an emphasis on great, localmoonvesles programming, which is leading to bigger audiences.  During the most recent ratings period, we had double-digit ranking gains in the highly coveted 25- to 54-year-old demo in many of our major markets, and non-traditional revenue from special events was up double digits over one year ago.  Our strategy to combine the company’s local TV and radio websites into a single online presence in every market also continues to pay off.  In 2013, revenue was up 21% over the year before, and the momentum is continuing here in ’14, including a new record of nearly 57 million unique users in January.  I’m also very pleased with the success of our CBS Interactive business.  Revenue was up 14% during the quarter, and we continue to see very rapid growth in mobile ad revenue, which was up 118%, and it helped to increase profit substantially.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the whole conference call here.

nielsen logoNielsen Q4 Revenue Up 11.8%; Rises 5.5% for 2013.  Media ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. issues its fourth quarter 2013 and full-year financial reports and states that Q4 revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of 11.8% over the same period in 2012.  For the full year of 2013, the company says its revenue was $5.7 billion, a jump of 5.5% over the full year of 2012.  The company reports its free cash flow for 2013 increased 34.5% to $573 million from $426 million in 2012 while cash flow from operations increased 14.9% to $901 million in 2013 from $784 million in 2012.  The result is the adjusted net income per share on a diluted basis for 2013 was $2.02, up 19.5% compared to $1.69 in the full year 2012.  Nielsen acquired radio ratings firm Arbitron during 2013 and the move paid off.  The Arbitron business helped add 9.3% to Nielsen’s Q4 revenue and 2.5% to its 2013 revenue.

krld logoCBS RADIO Dallas Ups Paul Mann to KRLD-AM PD.  At CBS RADIO’s Dallas cluster, news director Paul Mann is promoted to program director for KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080 KRLD” and the Texas Statemannpaul Networks (TSN), effective immediately.  Mann has served as news director for KRLD-AM and TSN since June 2006 and in this new role he will be primarily responsible for all programming and talent and will report to Gavin Spittle, vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth.  Spittle comments, “Paul has shown tremendous leadership as news director with the sole focus on serving the North Texas community.  He’s helped put together a tremendous team which shares a great pride in this heritage station.”  Under Mann’s leadership, KRLD-AM has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, in 2008 (spot news) and 2013 (newscast).

kuiperspradostellaStella Prado Kuipers Lands at Salem Los Angeles.  The successful, former KOST, Los Angeles program director joins Salem Communications to serve in the sales department working on multi-media marketing for Christian talk KKLA, Los Angeles.  Stella Prado Kuipers made her announcement on her Facebook page where she wrote: “A new chapter in my life has begun and I’m proud to announce as of March 3rd I am an employee of Salem Communications Radio Broadcasting company!  My position is multi-media marketing and I am thrilled to be a part of this company!  I’m sooooo excited!”  Kuipers had been with Clear Channel’s AC KOST for 20 years – eight as program director – before she was let go in December of 2012.

wctc logoProgramming Changes at WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey.  A shuffle in afternoons at Greater Media-owned news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey sees current 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Tommy G move to the afternoon drive slot replacing Newsmax-syndicated host Stevetommyg Malzberg.  Into the early afternoon slot goes WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller program.  WCTC program director Bert Baron states, “We’re excited to welcome Dennis Miller to the WCTC weekday lineup.  He’ll have Central Jersey laughing, thinking, and engaged on a daily basis.  I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have doing PM drive on WCTC than Tommy G, one of the most passionate and hard-working people I’ve ever known.  This is a BIG WIN for WCTC and for Central Jersey.”

delcollianojerryIs Nielsen “Lying” About Millennial Audiences?  Noted industry observer Jerry Del Colliano thinks so.  Del Colliano published a scathing indictment of the ratings research giant in his daily industry blog Inside Music Media (www.insidemusicmedia.com) this morning (2/12) referring to the Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) report released earlier this week stating that “Millennials” (also known as “Generation Y”) are big fans of AM/FM radio and listen to it on average of 11.5 hours per week.  This, of course, flies in the face of what has to this point been conventional industry wisdom stronglynielsen logo suggesting that over-the-air radio is rapidly losing ground as a medium of choice for the millions of 20-something children born to Baby Boomers in the 1980s-90s and now coming of age in the millions – a widespread perception that broadcast business leaders openly fear threatens the future of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio.”  Del Colliano writes, “The company that now does PPM ratings which records listening that occurs by accident when meters randomly pick up an encoded radio signal is now weighing in on Millennials…an audience that clearly has no use for what consolidators put on the radio these days.”  He accuses the major corporate consolidators in radio of “paying hundreds of millions of dollars to report audience estimates that the company [Nielsen] itself admits in a legal statement are not reliable.”  Del Colliano is a veteran program director and radio personality who rose to prominence as the founder and publisher of the trade publication Inside Radio which he built to formidability as an independent journal prior to it being acquired by Clear Channel, which still publishes it.  Del Colliano has subsequently served a number of years as a member of the music department faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) teaching and writing courses on “Generational Media” specifically documenting and understanding the traits and habits of the rapidly maturing Millennial generation – a subject that he regularly shares with radio industry leaders via his blog and annual conference.

harrisonmichaelSpeaking of Jerry Del Colliano…  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently interviewed Jerry Del Colliano on the TALKERS magazine “experimental” talk radio station, TalkersRadio, (www.talkers.com/talkersradio) as a complete installment of the one-hour, media-talkersradio logodiscussion program he hosts.  The program, recorded two-weeks ago (prior to today’s provocative Del Colliano blog), presents the two industry observers in an in-depth discussion about the very subject of the delicate relationship AM/FM radio and Gen-Y.  In it, Del Colliano discusses such issues as Gen-Y’s obsession with authenticity as well as its consumer interest in non-over-the-air digital media.  To listen directly to the entire 58:00 installment of this first-time public conversation between Michael Harrison and Jerry Del Colliano, please click

      here
.

crummyjoeTalk Host Joe Crummey Publishes Non-Fiction Book.  Talk radio pro Joe Crummey has just published his first non-fiction book titled, Planking on Headstones: Your Future Outside of Time (School of Eddiness 2013).  The veteran of such historic signals as WABC, New York; KFI, Los Angeles; WNBC, New York; KABC, Los Angeles andcrummeybook KFYI, Phoenix penned this new book that “takes the reader on a journey through space-time that’s rich in love, loss, fear and contemplation.  With notes of his on-air, quick-wit persona, Planking on Headstones distills complex issues of religion and science into memorable anecdotes that elicit laughter, tears and a sense of connection.  Crummey openly shares about his life, from his brain tumor to the death of his parents, as he explains his theories, such as the ‘Fonzie Principle,’ the ‘Boston Market Revelation’ and the ‘Jesus Burger.’  He also explains why he believes the Big Bang is the most evil thing that has ever happened.”  Crummy states, “Throughout my career, I often discussed and challenged religious tenets on air with my audience.  But after going through the brain tumor experience, my quest for meaning in this life and beyond intensified.  I began to understand the importance of thinking outside of time and allowed myself to imagine the impossible while I explored this subject matter.”

cclogoClear Channel Renews Promotional Deal with Relativity.  In a statement, Clear Channel says that the renewed cross-media marketing collaboration between it and media company Relativity will include one-of-a-relativity logokind campaigns promoting upcoming movies on the part of Clear Channel and Relativity will provide exclusive content created by its filmmakers and talent that will be shared with listeners and viewers through various Clear Channel platforms.  “The programs will also include organic promotional support from popular radio personalities such as Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Dan Patrick and Steve Harvey; naturally integrated film imaging across local stations and iHeartRadio’s national digital and mobile ad units; homepage website takeovers; and national and local on-air commercial inventory.”  Clear Channel says previous successful collaborations between the companies included campaigns for the films “Limitless,” “Immortals,” “Act of Valor,” “Safe Haven” and “Free Birds.”

webbdavidOdds & Sods.  Talk media personality David Webb signs on to write a column for DC political publication The Hill.  His column will be available every other Wednesday in The Hill’s print edition, online at thehill.com and on The Hill’s app.  In addition to his daily SiriusXM talk show, Webb also appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” and “The Five.”…..Sports USA adds a podcast featuring former NFL star and TV personality Fred Dryer to its programming.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Fred Dryer is a true NFL legend and a major TV star.  We are excited to add Fred’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs…..WNYC, New York names David Lewis its new metro editor.  Lewis taught journalism at CUNY for the past seven years.

rabNAB to Feature RAB Sales and Marketing Sessions.  The Radio Advertising Bureau will present five revenue- and growth-oriented presentations at this year’s NAB Show.  RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber explains that, “The RAB is in the business of helping sellers on the street close deals and help drive revenue for the radio industry.  These sessions will drive home key lessons and tools of the trade.  NAB Show attendees will find these sessions invaluable to their future success in the broadcast business.”  Specifically, the Radio Advertising Bureau’s focus will be “Lunch and Learn – A Discussion on Radio’s Four Significant Issues;” “Concentrating on Core Radio Revenues;” “Creative Radio Commercial Production and Imaging;” and “Rapid-Fire Revenue Generators for Small and Medium Market Radio.”  The NAB Show will be held April 5 – 10 in Las Vegas.

whamradiothonWDVI-FM and WHAM in Rochester Hold Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital.  Today and tomorrow Clear Channel Rochester stations hot AC WDVI “100.5 The Drive” and news/talk WHAM are broadcasting the annual “Drive For Miracles Radiothon” to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital live from the lobby of Strong Hospital.  Throughout the event, on-air personalities from each station will talk with current and former patients, their families, and the hard-working hospital staff that “creates miracles” every day.  Personalities including WHAM’s Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Shari Smith, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews and WDVI’s Bill Moran, Julie, JP, and “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy will broadcast from the hospital.

bfoa logoBFoA Names 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients.  This year’s recipients of the 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards have been announced by the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  They will be presented at the Foundation’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas.  This year’s recipients are: Jim Beloyianis, past president, Katz TV; Dan Mason, president & CEO, CBS RADIO; Deborah Norville, host, “Inside Edition”; Mary Quass, president & CEO, NRG Media; Perry Sook, chairman/president & CEO, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.; and Nick Verbitsky, chairman, United Stations Radio Networks.  The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.

Winter Weather Hits South and Northeast, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Afghanistan Prisoner Release, Paul NSA Suit, Debt Ceiling Raised, the Sochi Olympics and Gay NFL Prospect Comes Out Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12).  The unusually severe winter weather bearing down on the South and the Northeast; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate; Afghanistan’s release of numerous “dangerous” inmates and the state of the U.S.’s relationship with Hamid Karzai; Senator Rand Paul’s suit against the NSA; the GOP’s signing on with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling; the Sochi Winter Olympic Games; and the coming out of NFL prospect Michael Sam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Part Three – “Radio is Beyond Radio Now”

| February 12, 2014

TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature

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

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special features Correspondent

 

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

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

Read More

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

| February 12, 2014

barberiejillianKABC, Los Angeles Adds Jillian Barberie to Midday Show.  The sound of the midday show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles changes beginning Monday February 17 as the station adds local media star Jillian Barberie to the lineup co-hosting the new “Mid-Day LA with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.”  The show airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is part of the station’s move to add more local content to its programming.  Barberie is well known to Southern California for her 18 years as co-host of Fox 11’s top-rated morning show, “Good Day LA.”  In a kabclogostatement, the station says that Barberie’s work at Fox 11 “engaged audiences with her real-life stories and electric energy.  The sassy, Canadian-born Barberie has made a career out of hanging with the guys.  While hosting ‘Good Day LA,’ she also spent a decade on the Fox NFL Pre-Game Show working opposite Curt Menefee, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.”  Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey adds, “Jillian’s energy, experience and love for Southern California are unmatched.  We’re absolutely thrilled that she’s joining the ‘TalkRadio 790’ team in this important role.”  Barberie comments, “I am so excited to be partnered with John Phillips!  I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the KABC team, which is such a great place with incredibly talented people.  I’ve always felt that there is something unique and liberating about doing radio.”

coakleyvinceWYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina Names Vince Coakley Weekend Host.  Television and radio pro Vince Coakley joins Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina “WORD 106.3FM” for a regular Sunday program and as a fill-in personality when station hosts Bob McLain and Russ Cassell are on vacation.  The station notes that Coakley’s program is “the Upstate’s only weekend live and local current events talk show” during that daypart, and adds, “Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean the news and the discussion about them stops.”  Coakley hosted afternoon drive on Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte from June 2011 to July of 2012.  He spent 20 years in television news prior to that.  He’s also hosted a daily internet radio show called “Revolution Radio.”  He says, “I am thrilled to officially join the team at WORD.  The station is fearless in giving voice to hosts and listeners who place a premium on liberty.  I have come to view the Greenville area as a second home and look forward to spending more time with the people of the Upstate on and off the air.”

envisionnetworks newTALKERS Posts Part-Three Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks.  What broadcasting executive and entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years in founding and establishing Cleveland-based national syndication firm Envision Radio Networks is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry.  He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows.  His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets.  Now known simply asmckayjeff Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that in today’s installment) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication.  In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses how, as a result of new technology and social practices, radio has grown to point that it is “more than” simply radio and that operators must work diligently to preserve its history and uniqueness without sacrificing its potential and rightful place within the digital-era.  In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward.  I’ve seen this movie many times before.  Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.”  To read part three of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.  And if you missed parts one and two published Monday and yesterday, please read them here and here, respectively.

entercomMore Details from Entercom’s Q4 Conference Call: The Drop on Boston and WEEI.  While Entercom president and CEO David Field acknowledged that 2013 revenue was not where the company would like to have seen it (down 3%), he stated numerous times during Tuesday’s conference call that he believes the company has turned the corner and is “positioned for a strong 2014.”  Saying that the company’s strongest-performing markets were San Francisco, Kansas City and Memphis, Field glowed about the ratings of some of the stations in those markets, pointing out the success stories of “The Wolf” and “The Point” in Kansas City, KOIT, KBLX and KGME in San Francisco.  He also addressed the state of the Boston market and of sports talker WEEI.  “We have some work to do there, but it’s interesting. weei logo We have a new leadership there now, which we are very excited about, and I believe we are starting to turn the corner there.  And if you look at the fundamentals of Boston, WEEI, our flagship in the market, remains one of the top-rated sports station in the United States.  It’s a top-three player in Boston among men.  We are about to enter baseball season with the world champion Boston Red Sox and what’s little noted too is our digital play there.  We have a major platform there with a team of writers who work for that, and it has become sort of a much visited site for fans.  And to put it into context, we do about 1.5 million unique visitors each month, just on the digital side there.  So we have a ton of opportunities in Boston and I would expect better things to come in the not-too-distant future there, and again, I think the future’s bright.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the whole chat here.

fernandezandreFernandez Boosted to Journal COO; Graham Upped to SVP/CFO.  It’s a promotion for Journal Communications president Andre Fernandez as he is appointed chief operating officer in which he’s assuming operational oversight of the company’s broadcast and publishing segments.  His other expanded responsibilities will include corporate human resources; executive vice president of radio Steve Wexler continues reporting to Fernandez.  Elsewhere, the company names vice president/controller Jason Graham senior vice president of finance/controller/chief financial officer.  Graham will report to chairman/chief executive officer Steven Smith, who states, “Jason has done an excellent job leading our accounting, billing, accounts payable, payroll, and tax teams.  He has also contributed to our strategic planning and growth initiatives, which will continue to be an integral part of his expanded role as CFO.”  Prior to joining Journal in June 2012, Graham was Brookdale Senior Living‘s vice president/corporate controller.

kennerellenOdds & Sods.  At Sports USA, the company announces that Lyle Gordon is promoted to EVP affiliate relations.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Lyle is a centerpiece of our company and his incredible relationships with over 400 radio stations makes Sports USA programming available to a nationwide audience.  His experience with all forms of sports programming makes him the perfect person for this job.”…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 17th anniversary on the radio as she begins broadcasting year number 18 of her Providence-based weekly talk show program…..According to ESPNNewYork.com, when the New York Mets take to the field this season, radio broadcasters Howie Rose and Josh Lewin will be back in the booth as games air on new flagship WOR.  Previously, games were heard on crosstown WFAN-FM…..In Nashville, Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM, will continue as flagship for the AAA Nashville Sounds this season.  The Sounds are the AAA affiliate of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers.

floresdanielWichita Police Continue to Investigate Death of Steckline Communications Staffer.  Authorities in Wichita are investigating the death of 25-year old Daniel Flores, a staffer at Steckline Communications, who was killed sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning at the company’s studios in West Wichita.  Right now, police have little to go on and are asking the public’s assistance in solving the crime.  At a press conference on Tuesday, police said they believe the perpetrator(s) were at the station for a reason – that it was not a random attack – but they are not sure at this point why the station or Flores was targeted.  Flores had been an employee at Steckline for about a year.

siriusxmCool Job Opportunity.  Sirius XM’s new Business Radio channel, originating from the Wharton School in Philadelphia, is looking for a business news host/producer.  The host/producer will be responsible for anchoring two hours of daily programming on business news including topics ranging from product development to marketing and management strategies.  Duties include working with an editorial team, faculty, industry experts and Sirius staff to identify daily content, create segments, and book guests as well as research business topics related to content themes.  A Bachelor’s degree and three to five years of experience in news/business reporting and anchoring or equivalent combination of education and experience required.  Applicants must be skilled in gathering, researching and reporting business stories as well as interviewing business newsmakers.  The focus is on drawing useful business insight and analyses for a lay audience on a tight deadline.  This position is based in Philadelphia. For more information please log on to: http://jobs.hr.upenn.edu:80/postings/1269Special.

kaufmanskydiveWFTL’s Joyce Kaufman Jumps with the Golden Knights.  Yes, that’s WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk show host Joyce Kaufman riding tandem with a member of the United States Army Parachute Team “The Golden Knights” over Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida.  On another note, Kaufman tells TALKERS the recent Chapter 11 filing of WFTL’s parent company James Crystal Radio is not weighing on her.  She says she had faith in the company.  “We had a very anxious January, but I knew they would be honorable so I hung in.  We received all our money last week and are on schedule to be paid in a timely fashion as the company reorganizes.  I love this market.  I love this company and as long as they give me the opportunity, I am staying.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Winter Weather Headed for South and East, Obama “I Can Do Anything I Want” Quip, Sochi Winter Games, Congress Raises Debt Ceiling, Hillary in 2016, NSA Spying Scandal, and Gay Football Player Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the next winter storm headed for the East and South; President Obama’s “I can do anything I want” quip; the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia; Congress’ move to allow the raising of the debt ceiling; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the backlash from the NSA spying scandal; and the announcement by NFL prospect Michael Sam that he’s gay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Part Two – Taking the Vision and Creating Envision

| February 11, 2014

TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature

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

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special features Correspondent

 

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

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

Read More

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

| February 11, 2014

entercomEntercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013.  The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat.  Also free cash flow increased by 2%.  For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%.  Though station expenses decreased slightlyfielddavid during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million.  Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11).  President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase.  2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year.  We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”

beasley logoBeasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing.  In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.”  In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management.  It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services.  Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns.  Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.”  Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremelybeasleycaroline excited by this relationship.  It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component.  The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.”  Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging.  Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers.  Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue.  We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”

mckayjeffTALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks.  Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production.  Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations.  Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year.  It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide.  When Clearwolkoffdanno Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations.  However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel.  Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.  His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that envisionnetworks newcreates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates.  It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line.  What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry.  He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows.  His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets.  Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication.  In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general.  In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward.  I’ve seen this movie many times before.  Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.”  To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.  And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.

krasnymaxMax Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances.  The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets.  Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales.  Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed.  No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”

wls-am logoFCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine.  The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009.  The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News.  During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per.  Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000.  But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.

clarkjackFormer MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols.  During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis.  Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show.  The station also issued an apology to Pujols.  But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused.  Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.

farmjournalmedia“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch.  What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.”  The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets.  Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts.  “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments.  “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program.  It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.”  Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day.  We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media.  Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.”  Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

wmalbeatlesThe Beatles Played in Washington, Too!  As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”  But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC.  Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital.  Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach BoysMike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.

wsouhunterOdds & Sods.  Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today.  Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college.  He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program.  Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16.  Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry.  They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.

brentmegSCRABrent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop.  Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity.  This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home).  The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot.  Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio).  Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg.  True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10).  Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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

| February 10, 2014

TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature

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

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special features Correspondent

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

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

Read More

Not the Same-Old, Same-Old

| February 10, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Monday, February 10, 2014

| February 10, 2014

francesamikeWFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1.  According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel.  The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week.  Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show.  Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.

compasslogoWall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks.  Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street.  Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.”  This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.

levinmarkMark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27.  Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned.  The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive.  The Tea Party is our only hope.  It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.”  Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show.  TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era.  Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day.  It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today.  I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.

mckayjeffTALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks.  Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production.  Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations.  Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year.  It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide.  When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiereenvisionnetworks new Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations.  However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel.  Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.  His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four wolkoffdannodozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates.  It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line.  What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry.  He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows.  His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets.  Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication.  In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward.  I’ve seen this movie many times before.  Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.”  To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.

cbslocalmediaCBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month.  It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013.  The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago.  CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month.  CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends.  The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”

larsonlarsLars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner.  There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson.  Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson.  This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday.  Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.

smerconishmichaelMichael Smerconish Jumps to CNN.  The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple.  In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN.  At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.”  Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux.  Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings.  CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”

comptonawardHonoring Ann.  ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.

richertlarryOdds & Sods.  The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show.  Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program.  Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM,ryanpatrick Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist.  Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting.  He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6.  The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

Friday, February 7, 2014

| February 7, 2014

benztimTim Benz Promoted to Sports Director at CC Pittsburgh.  Programmer and air personality Tim Benz exits his role as morning show host at alternative WXDX, Pittsburgh “105.9 The X” to take the sports director role at Clear Channel’s Pittsburgh cluster.  With the move, WXDX evening host Abby Krizner moves to mornings.  According to Pittsburgh’s Timesonline.com, Benz’s move means he’ll host a show on sister sports talker WBGG but will also continue to contribute to WXDX’s sports content (the station is the Penguins flagship).  In a related move, Benz’s co-host Bob McLaughlin stays with the station as producer of the sports-heavy PM drive Mark Madden program on WXDX.  About his promotion and the expansion of sports programming which will see his commentary used on cluster stations including rock WDVE, CHR WKST “96.1 KISS,” news/talk WPGB “FM News Talk 104.7,” and classic hits WWSW “94.5 3WS,” Benz tells Timesonline.com, “This opportunity to extend sports programming is something we have been discussing for some time and will enhance our platforms.”  He’ll host the daily 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WBGG.

wftl logoJames Crystal Radio Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.  After reports surfaced in the radio trades (including TALKERS) that James Crystal Radio had missed payroll in January, questions began to arise about the state of the company’s affairs and, sure enough, it’s now publicwmen logo information that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Florida.  In the filing, James Crystal Radio lists assets of between $1 million and $10 million with between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities.  Some of the 20 creditors with the largest claims include: more than $220,000 owned to BMI, more than $1.5 million to various attorneys for fees, plus some $861,000 owed to the IRS in payroll taxes and more than $200,000 in property and local taxes.  This is a particularly unfortunate situation since the company has operated in a very locally focused manner giving opportunities to Florida personalities at news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN, both serving the West Palm Beach and South Florida markets.  The company also owns foreign-language WFLL, Fort Lauderdale and gospel KBXD, Dallas.

ramseydaveDave Ramsey Crosses Town to KEIB, Los Angeles.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves from news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles to Clear Channel’s new conservative talk KEIB “The Patriot keib logo1150” where the show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm beginning February 24.  KEIB program director Robin Bertolucci says, “We are delighted and excited to have Dave as part of our lineup.  With his proven track record in LA, he’ll be an excellent addition to our station.”  Currently, local personality Carlos Amezcua airs in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot on KEIB.

kfwbKFWB Expands ‘Money 101’ with Bob McCormick.  With the departure of Dave Ramsey, CBS RADIO operated KFWB, Los Angeles grows Bob McCormick’s “Money 101” program and places it in themccormickbob 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot on the program schedule.  As a result, “LA’s Morning News with Penny Griego and Phil Hulett” adds another hour, wrapping at 10:00 am.  The station notes that McCormick “is a recognized authority on personal finance issues in Southern California…his fast-paced show features compelling content that goes beyond the headlines and focuses on how these issues influence our lives in Southern California.”  Program director Andy Ludlum says of the changes, “We have enjoyed a great relationship with Dave Ramsey and his team.  They are consummate professionals and Dave did a great job for us.  It was a good partnership, but the opportunity to add more local programming to super-serve our listeners prevailed.”

envisionnetworks newEnvision Networks Announces New Brand.  The new name and branding for Envision Radio Networks is Envision Networks.  The 11-year-old media network, which provides content and services to more than 1,500 radio stations across the country, says it has grown beyond the scope of a radio-only syndication company and that the new name Envision Networks encompasses its heritage radio business as well as its growing digital networks, streaming networks and on-demand listening.  President and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Envision Networks is a more accurate representation of our current evolution and growth in radio, digital, streaming and product placement.  The Envision Networks name and branding now reflects everything we supply to radio stations and other media while creating a desirable audience for our advertisers and partners.”

j4 logoBroadcasting Pro Todd Feinburg Launches Boston Traffic Service.  It’s called J4traffic and the Boston-based broadcasting pro tells TALKERS magazine it is a “crowd sourced, all-traffic radio station for Boston, the first radio format being launched by Speaks Mobile, Inc.”  The app is available for free download from the Apple and Android stores.  Todd Feinburg (who co-hosted morning drive on WRKO, Boston for the past five years and currently is doing part-time and fill-in work for WBZ-AM) explains the concept behind this initiative.  “Rush hour is expanding to encompass much of the day in major American cities, and not just on weekdays.  Radio traffic reports lack the frequency, substance and reliability to be effective at easing this pain, and traffic maps don’t go together well with the legal and practical responsibilities of operating a motor vehicle.  Furthermore, traffic data delivered tofeinburgtodd mobile apps lacks the nuance that drivers need to make effective decisions regarding comparative routes – and it’s generally not much fun.  We will correct these problems with The Jay – on-demand traffic talk radio that is informed by the crowd.”  Feinburg says the programming will consist of a traffic report every five minutes.  In between, they’ll broadcast updates reported to them by commuters.  Drivers will share what they see on the road via 15 second mp3s they record on the J4traffic app, or they’ll call in with live reports.  He says they are in “beta” mode right now but once they’re up to speed, they’ll use “Facebook mobile ads and Google keyword ads to push new users to the app in order to speed growth.  In addition, we are optimistic that local media outlets will respond well to a PR campaign emphasizing a new format – all traffic radio – on a platform that has not been used to offer unique, local, radio content – but has been proven successful by companies such as Pandora, Spotify and Apple.”  Feinburg says their positioning will be “as a humble, bootstrap operation looking to solve a problem, because that’s what we are.  We see this as the beginning of a trend – ‘local’ is the power of radio, and local radio has been abandoned by broadcasters.  Now that the threshold to entry has been lowered and anyone can have a radio station, we expect thousands of niche broadcast outlets to appear on the mobile platform.”  Along with Feinburg, the two other principals are Jonathan Roy, an attorney who has left his practice in order to join the startup world.  He gained experience in tech and startups before attending law school 15 years ago.  Aaron Sawyer is a 20-year veteran of Total Traffic and its predecessor, Metro Traffic.  Aaron worked as a manager and announcer for Total Traffic, setting up and rolling out new markets.

nextmedia logoExecutive Changes at NextMedia in Chicago as Sale to Digity Expected to Close on Monday.  The sale of NextMedia’s nine suburban Chicago radio stations to Dean Goodman-led Digity, LLC is expected to close on Monday, February 10 and Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that two executives are being told they will not be retained when the deal is consummated.  General managers Patrick Pendergast and Scott Kosak will reportedly exit the company and NextMedia360 vice president Brian Foster will serve as manager for the entire group.  The Chicago stations are part of a larger deal that encompasses 33 stations becoming assets in Digity, LLC.  The Chicago-area stations include: classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora; country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; news/talk WJOL-AM, Joliet; AC WSSR-FM, Joliet; rock WRXQ-FM, Coal City; sports WKRS-AM, Waukegan; hot AC WXLC-FM, Waukegan; rock WIIL-FM, Union Grove, Wisconsin and news/talk WLIP-AM, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

ramseyboiseDave Ramsey Brings Live Events to Boise.  Nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here with (from left to right) Idaho First Lady Lori Otter, Townsquare Media regional vice president Kevin Godwin, and Idaho Governor Butch Otter during a visit to the market this week.  Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to a sold-out crowd in on Thursday (2/6) at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts.  The production presents Ramsey’s philosophy about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage. Local affiliate KIDO helped promote the event and Kevin Godwin states, “KIDO’s enthusiasm for the unique opportunity to host Dave Ramsey in Boise is brimming.  It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, as KIDO is celebrating its 85th anniversary of broadcasting this year.  It’s very special to have one of our most popular talk show hosts here to share this with us and our community.”  On Wednesday, Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan, about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees.

gallaghermikeTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  In the Riverside-San Bernardino market, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh is added to the lineup at KTIE, San Bernardino…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the program lineup at WVFT-FM, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama Beach, Florida and KGUM-AM, Agana, Guam…..The XtreMedia produced and syndicated Kevin McCullough show is added to the programming at WHEP, Mobile/Pensacola; WTXY, Wilmington, North Carolina; and WROM, Rome, Georgia…..The WYM Media-produced Leslie Marshall show is added to the Indiana Talk Radio Network airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved show is added to the lineup at WFBL, Syracuse; WMCR, Oneida, New York; and KVOC, Casper, Wyoming and the company’s Mike Gallagher show joins the programming at KMAX, Colfax, Washington…..“The Graveyard Shift” show announces affiliates for its March launch.  KONR, Anchorage and KDOL, Livingston, Texas will carry the program.

bennettbillreaganlibraryBennett Keynotes at Reagan Event.  Nationally syndicated morning drive host Bill Bennett is pictured here speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California yesterday (2/6).  The Salem Radio Network personality, who served as Education Secretary under Reagan, was keynote speaker at the event commemorating the 103rd anniversary of Reagan’s birth.  Yesterday’s ceremony included a color guard, chaplain, a brass quintet, a 21-gun salute, a flyover, the placing of an official White House wreath on President Reagan’s gravesite and remarks by Bennett.  Prior to the ceremony, Bennett signed copies of his new book, Is College Worth It?

2014 NYC logo 150Sean Hannity to Keynote and Host Special Breakfast at Talkers New York 2014 Set for Friday, June 20.  Nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk media superstar Sean Hannity will again serve as the morning keynote and breakfast host at this year’s installment of TALKERS magazine’s annual New York City-based convention.  The TALKERS magazine annual national talk media industry conference enters its 17th consecutive year as the date and site have been set for the next installment of the industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering.  Upon the announcement of Hannity’s participation, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Sean’s valuable contributions to this event have become a tradition over the course of its colorful hannityseanhistory.  He transcends politics and even the competition factor at this event and is by far one of the brightest and most popular individuals in a behind-the-scenes sense in the talk industry.  His grasp of ratings issues, sales challenges, the local/national balance equation and changes in the syndication sector is extremely ‘black belt’ in quality and greatly appreciated by his colleagues in the business.”   According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This will be the most important installment of this can’t-miss conference ever because it will deal with some of the most sensitive and existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’  It should not be missed, plain and simple, by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.”  Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are members of the working media (meaning actively or recently employed in the industry or associated industries) and can only be booked by telephone with credit card.  Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249.  As usual, because of space limitations and the quality of this long-established event, an early sellout is expected.  Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead.  For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.

2014 NYC logo 150Mike Francesa to Deliver Sports Keynote Address at Talkers New York 2014  – Set for June 20.  WFAN, New York sports talk superstar Mike Francesa will reprise his “grand slam home run” contribution from last year and again deliver this year’s sports keynote address at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20.  Upon making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mike Francesa’s speech last year was one of the most memorable highlights of the conference.  He brings the same no-nonsense, unapologetic, common-sense approach to the issues of the industry that he brings to his legion of fans on the radio about their passion – sports — and quite frankly, it is quite refreshing and inspirational to those of us for whom radio is the ‘game’ of our lives.  Francesa is thefrancesaspeaking quintessential local sports talker – the most important in the business – and is a voice that needs to be heard because so much has happened in the sports talk sector since last summer.  He’s the perfect guy to deliver the updated message within the context of continuity.”  Francesa’s address will directly follow the conference’s general morning keynote address delivered by Premiere Radio/Fox News Channel heavyweight Sean Hannity.  More than 60 speakers from the leadership ranks of the industry’s talent, programming, management and sales arenas are being signed up to fill out the power-packed, one-day agenda.  The TALKERS magazine annual national talk media industry conference (known for years as the “New Media Seminar”) enters its 17th consecutive year as the talk radio industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering.  Harrison continues, “This will be the most important installment of this must-attend conference ever because it will deal with some of the most sensitive and even existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’  It should not be missed by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.”  Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are members of the media industry (meaning actively or recently employed in the radio, television, and press industries or associated industries) and can only be booked by telephone with credit card.  Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249.  As usual, because of space limitations and the quality of this long-established event, a very early sellout is expected.  Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead.  For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.

ObamaCare Criticism Returns to #1 on Talkers TenTM.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 3-7 was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act.  The issue held the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for eight straight weeks last fall and now returns to #1.  At #2 this week was the pending immigration legislation and the amnesty component expected to be included in the bill.  Following at #3 was talk of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 with the nation’s and several states’ marijuana laws coming in at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

Imaging with Style and Class in a PPM World

| February 6, 2014

By Pete Gustin
PeteGustin.com
Voice Over Artist & Creative Services Director

gustin, peteBOSTON — “Imaging” isn’t nearly as difficult a concept to define as you might think, even when it comes to radio imaging.  In fact, it’s quite simple.  What is the image that you wish to portray to your listening public?  Is it cool?  Is it smart?  Is it irreverent, connected or quirky?  When done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are.  It’s extremely powerful in fact.  If you’ve ever heard the old saying “act as if”, that’s exactly what you should do when it comes to your radio imaging.  Act as if you’re cool, or in this case, image as if you’re cool… and you will be.

So what happened?  Why is the true art of imaging fading away?  PPM consultants are breaking everything down into 15 minute segments and telling us that the most important thing to do is to get people from one block of listening to the next.  So how do they propose we do this?  It’s simple.  Just tell the listeners what’s coming up next and they’ll stick around to hear it, Right?  Maybe, but probably not.  I can’t remember the last time I went to see a stand-up comic who, after delivering a really fantastic joke stopped to tell the crowd “Hey, if you liked that joke, stick around.  I’ve got plenty more to come.”  The show just keeps on going… until it absolutely has to stop.

Read More

Thursday, February 6, 2014

| February 6, 2014

gustinpeteImaging with Style and Class in a PPM World.  Your imaging should not try to beat the listener over the head with your message, says voice-over and creative services pro Pete Gustin. Instead, “when done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are.  It’s extremely powerful in fact.”  What’s the difference?  Gustin points out that “the local car dealerships scream about their deals and discounts.  The car manufacturers, however, brand their vehicle lines with high-end music, breathtaking imagery, top-notch actors and subtle innuendo.  Don’t be a local car dealer screaming at your listeners.”  Read more of Gustin’s useful pointers for getting station imaging tuned up for connecting with modern consumers here.

nielsenstateoffeb2014Nielsen Releases Audio Study Charting Use of Radio.  A new report from Nielsen titled “State of the Media: Audio Today 2014” is a graphics-intense, 15-page summary of the use of radio among the population based on data culled from the Nielsen RADAR 119 December 2013 and the Nielsen National Regional Database Spring 2013.  The study illustrates what most industry insiders probably already know – that the majority of radio listening among all demographics is done outside the home, and that Millennials listen to less radio during a given week than their older fellow media consumers.  But the report also notes that “overall, midday is the highest-rated daypart,” due most likely to high at-work listening, though the 7:00 am hour is still the one with the most people listening to radio.  The comparison of the three generations – Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials – shows the difference in the use of radio on a weekly basis.  Some may quibble with the results.  For example, the report states that 88.2% of Men 12-17 hear at least 5 minutes of radio during the week compared to 95% of Men 45-54 who hear at least 5 minutes of radio.  There are industry observers who will claim the 88.2% figure is probably too high – that fewer are actually listening to radio – but the figure doesn’t pretend to show heavy users of radio, just those who’ve heard at least 5 minutes during the week.  Regardless, the study does show the lower number of young consumers hearing AM/FM radio on a weekly basis compared to the rest of the population.  Nielsen promises to update and expand on the study on a quarterly basis.  See the entire study here.

clearchannelClear Channel and Horizon Media Enter into Cross-Platform Partnership.  Media services agency Horizon Media and Clear Channel are announcing a partnership they call a “$100 million multi-year, cross-platform” relationship.  In a statement, Clear Channel says this pact will create “first-to-market integrated marketing partnership opportunities for Horizon clients and exclusive access to select Clear Channel platforms including out-of-home, horizonmediabroadcast, mobile, events and digital.”  Horizon’s clients include such ubiquitously marketed products as Corona beer, GEICO insurance, The History Channel and Silk.  Clear Channel adds that the relationship will “provide Horizon Media with exclusive rights across key events and promotions, including select Artist Integration Programs, World Premieres, customized shows at Clear Channel’s iconic iHeartRadio Theaters in New York and Los Angeles, as well as special events created just for Horizon clients.  In addition, the agency will have access to the full array of creative talent at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for special content creation opportunities.  The partnership will also allow for the co-creation of new psychographic targeting systems utilizing Horizon’s proprietary tools and insights fused with unique music and consumer research built on Clear Channel Media’s industry-leading national reach.  The valuable research insights developed throughout the partnership will fuel further media mix model development.”  Horizon founder and CEO Bill Koenigsberg states, “We’re excited about this ground-breaking partnership and the positive impact it will have for our clients’ business.  I’ve been impressed with the transformation of Clear Channel into a multi-platform company that can provide national reach while activating locally and providing measurable ROI.”

kapelmikeMike Kapel Named PD at WDAY, Fargo.  At the Forum Communications-owned news/talker WDAY, Fargo, market pro Mike Kapel takes over the program director position.  He’ll also host the mid-morning 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.  According to the Fargo Forum, Kapel is a native who’s worked in music radio for the past 20 years.  Operations manager Jim Manney says, “There is nobody that I trust more than Mike to take over the day-to-day operations of 970 WDAY.”  Kapel comments, “I am excited to lead the charge into a new era.  As someone who grew up here and as somebody who understands the importance of WDAY to the community, it’s an exciting place to be.”

stephanbignocapDoug Stephan Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show – “American Family Farmer” — to Launch This Weekend.  One of the longest-running syndicated personalities in the business, “Good Day” host Doug Stephan, is launching a new program into development on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, this Saturday morning (2/8).  The one-hour program which will air Saturdays at 8:00 am ET with repeat broadcasts throughout the week is a significant departure from Stephan’s generalist weekday morning show, “Good Day” which is heard on hundreds of terrestrial stations and is one of the most-listened-to on-air talk shows in the country.  The new program is titled “The American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan” and it taps into a side of the seasoned broadcaster not often displayed publicly in his career thus far as a broadcaster – and that is his alternate career as a farmer.  Yes, Doug Stephan is an independent dairy farmer operating two family farms for a number of years in the Boston suburb of Framingham, Massachusetts.  In this capacity, Stephan is on top of the numerous issues — many of crisis proportions — facing today’s small farmer in America.  He tells TALKERS, “There is a pressing need for a no-nonsense talk show that serves as antalkersradio logo advocate for the interests of the small, independent, family farmer in this great country of ours that is being squeezed on all ends by the combined interests of the mega-corporate agricultural giants – backed by the government – economically and otherwise.”  Stephan continues, “This is an area close to my heart and because I am deeply entrenched in this business, as well as broadcasting, I know the issues first-hand and like the back of my hand.”  The program will feature commentaries and observations by Stephan, the latest information of value to family farmers and interviews with experts from agriculture, academia and government.  Stephan says, “We aim to make a big difference.”  On making the announcement of this new program’s launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “We are extremely focused on bringing this program to its fullest potential on the ‘experimental’ radio platform that is TalkersRadio.  The on-air syndicated potential of this show is absolutely enormous with literally hundreds of rural and small market stations across the heartland of America ripe to carry such a powerful vehicle with so important a mission.  Meantime, our job at TalkersRadio is to provide Doug Stephan with a ‘safe’ workout space to bring this project up to speed, as we are doing with the growing roster of hosts such as Alan Colmes, Lionel, Brent Seltzer, Meg McDonald, Robbie Student, the Gooches and their projects that are already incubating on this exciting stage.  And we are only just getting started!  Man, I am really loving this job!”

limbaughrushNot So Fast.  Attorney and activist Sandra Fluke will not run for the seat being vacated by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) after all.  Fluke tells the Los Angeles Times that her filing papers in the state of California was a preliminary move and that she has decided that she can accomplish more of her goals in a “better way.”  Fluke’s national profile skyrocketed after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” as part of a critique of the provision that Catholic organizations be forced to provide birth control to students and employees under the Affordable Care Act.  The incident ignited a backlash against Limbaugh and talk radio in general by special interest groups such as Media Matters for America.

wow-fm logoCool Job Opportunity.  Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WOW-FM, Des Moines is looking for a morning host/program director to lead the station to the next level of success.  This person will play a huge role in shaping WOW’s sound by generating great local content and overseeing the presentation of the station’s syndicated programming, imaging and on-air promotion.  The successful candidate will have the proven ability to host an information-intensive morning show along with a basic understanding of news/talk programming principles and a desire to develop professionally.  Salary is commensurate with experience and ratings history.  Resumes, ratings history, references and mp3 should be sent in confidence to cumulusradio.jobs@cumulus.com with the subject “Des Moines News/Talk PD.”  Cumulus Media is an EOE.

ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Horror Stories, Hillary in 2016, Financial Markets Activity, Marijuana Laws, and IRS Targeting Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5).  Continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reports from the Winter Olympics site of widespread unpreparedness as the games get ready to open on Friday; the speculation that Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016; the selling of stocks in financial markets around the world on weak factory reports in the U.S. and China; controversy over the implementation of the new marijuana laws in various states and the effects the changes may be having; and the House hearing investigating allegations of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Alex Bennett: Still Pioneering After All These Years

Alex Bennett: Still Pioneering After All These Years

| February 5, 2014

A Good Listen to a Good Guy 

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

| February 5, 2014

bennettseatedsmallStill Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format.  Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams.  To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.  It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).  Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio.  Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time.  To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013.  During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million.  Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year.  Looking back onmeyerjim 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States.  Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years.  We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can check out the entire conference here.

missanellimikeGreater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs.  This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online.  Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange.  The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners.  This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse.  However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct.  The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company.  Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.”  The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.

beasley logoBeasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division.  In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts.  In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard.  “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success.  Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell.  Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selectedsedbrookstacey for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking.  Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve.  To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.”  Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director.  He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets.  Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets.  He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local.  Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville).  Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.

klattlenKlatt Yields the Winning Run.  In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening.  The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers.  Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network.  “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer.  “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.”  Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision.  With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research.  He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.

learfieldsports logoLearfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition.  One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports MarketingLearfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools.  Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us.  In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business.  Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in.  This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.”  Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role.  He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.

wtoplogoOdds & Sods.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014.  Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio.  Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24.  The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip.  “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management.  Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it.  Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

ww1sochiWestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics.  When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage.  WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.

loeschtheviewDana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’  Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program.  Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.

Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4).  The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

| February 4, 2014

lavenmicheleMichele Laven Promoted to Newly Created Corporate Post at Clear Channel.  Rising from her EVP of strategic partnerships position to the new president of partnerships and local activation post is Michele Laven.  She’ll report to Tim Castelli, president of national sales, marketing and partnerships at Clear Channel Media + Entertainment.  Her role is described as creating “strategic alliances and marketing programs with key distribution and content partners, while expanding the capacity of Clear Channel’s local market sales organizations to develop multi-market revenue opportunities.”  CEO Bob Pittman states, “Clear Channel is built on our strong relationships with listeners, advertisers and partners — both on the local and national level.  We have the unparalleled ability to connect artists with their fans and brands with their consumers, and in her new role Michele is going to use her expertise to help national partners build an even closer relationship with their consumers at the local level.”  Prior to joining CC eight years ago, Laven served as president and chief operating officer of New Times Media.

dinardosteveEntercom Elevates DiNardo to SF VP/Market Manager.  Vice president of sales Steve DiNardo is boosted to vice president and market manager of Entercom‘s San Francisco-San Jose cluster.  Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer comments that, “After a nationwide search, the best choice was right in front of us.  I am proud to promote from within as Steve and the entire San Francisco team achieved market-leading results in Q4.  They have set a blistering pace for 2014.  Under Steve’s leadership, I know Entercom will continue to be one of the media leaders in the market.”  The company’s Bay Area group consists of adult contemporary KOIT-FM “Lite Rock – Less Talk,” classic rock KUFX & KUZX “K-Fox,” sports talk KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX “Yesterday and Today’s R&B.”  DiNardo remarks, “Our heritage brands and innovative staff make this opportunity a dream come true.  Entercom’s entrepreneurial spirit and corporate resources give us everything we need to grow our audience engagement as well as the revenues that follow.”  In advance of joining the Entercom stations in 2012, DiNardo spent 15 years as a CBS Radio vice president/general manager.

townsquaremediaCasey Named Operations Manager of Townsquare Hudson Valley.  Former Clear Channel, Indianapolis director of operations Buzz Casey is tapped to become operations manager for Townsquare Media Group‘s 10 stations in the Hudson Valley and Poughkeepsie, New York. Townsquare Media senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson remarks, “Buzz has a track record of success and he brings a strong set of skills to lead Townsquare Hudson Valley to a new level on-air, online and on site.”  In addition to his OM duties, Casey will be day-to-day program director of Poughkeepsie rock outlet WPDH.  “The culture and creativity of Townsquare Media Group are top-notch,” Casey comments. “The Hudson Valley brands are poised for success.”  Hudson Valley is Nielsen Audio‘s 39th-highest market.  Casey’s past programming and operations management resume includes Atlanta’s WKLS “96 Rock” and alternative WBZY; Phoenix rocker KDKB; classic rock WFBQ “Q-95,” Indianapolis; and WNRQ, Nashville.

mancowMancow’s GCN Deal Official.  It was reported last week that Erich “Mancow” Muller was signing with Genesis Communications Network to syndicate his morning radio program after formally cutting ties with TFN-FM the week prior.  Now it’s official as GCN announces the show will be distributed live from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET in addition be being available on demand 24 hours per day via Mancow.com and GCNLive.com.  Mancow comments, “I’m happy to be in league with GCN as we move the show forward to bigger and better things.  We’re excited to work with GCN – a team that is dedicated to providing the most cutting-edge radio in the industry and prides itself in making life for our affiliates and advertisers as easy as it can possibly be in this era of new media.”  Mancow’s program is simulcast on TV in Chicago on FoxTV-owned WPWR-TV “My50.”

negrassrootsMedical Marijuana Info Ad on Boston Stations Raises Questions About ‘Pot Ads.’  The issue in Massachusetts as reported by the Boston Herald yesterday is different than the issues stations in Colorado and Washington are facing.  The Massachusetts case is about medical marijuana, not legal pot for recreational use as is now allowed in Colorado and Washington.  Stations in those states have so far avoided ads for legal pot because of the conflict between federal and state laws on the matter – no one is willing to become the (expensive) legal test case.  But the Massachusetts ads that aired on Greater Media’s alternative WBOS and rhythmic AC WBQT in Boston were bought not by a dispensary but by the New England Grass Roots Institute which doesn’t sell marijuana; it provides information about medical marijuana.  Institute founder Mike Fitzgerald tells the Herald the rules don’t apply to him.  “We’re the first cannabis institute.  We’re really focused on people who have never seen cannabis before.  Since the American Medical Association isn’t teaching anything, we thought we need to step in.”  But the Herald story also quotes a dispensary consultant who says the laws state dispensaries are not supposed to “generate demand.”  Since Fitzgerald’s institute is not a dispensary, that could muddy the waters.  Regardless, it’s going to be just a matter of time before advertising this new industry becomes relevant to radio.  There’s just too much money to be made.  Read the Herald story here.

limbaughrushSandra Fluke Shows Intent to Run for Henry Waxman’s Congressional Seat.  Activist Sandra Fluke has filed papers with the state of California signaling her intent to run for the 33rd Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Henry Waxman.  Fluke’s national profile skyrocketed after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” as part of a critique of the provision that Catholic organizations be forced to provide birth control to students and employees under the Affordable Care Act.  Fluke still has to file with the federal government to be a legitimate candidate.  So far, two other Democrats have filed to seek the party’s nomination.

wisw logoCumulus Flips WISW, Columbia to Sports Talk.  The new sports talk outlet in the Columbia, South Carolina market is airing the NBC Sports Radio Network lineup after Cumulus Media flipped the station from news/talk.  With the change, there are now four major sports talk signals in the market including Clear Channel’s WXBT, L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC, and Cumulus’ other sports talker WNKT “107.5 The Game,” a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate.  Two news/talk stations serve the market including Clear Channel’s WVOC-FM and Glory Communications’ WQXL (and its two FM translators).

westwoodone logoWestwoodOne Reports Motel 6 Spot Most Creative Super Bowl Audio Ad.  The results of WestwoodOne’s first-ever consumer-driven index of the most creative audio spots run during its broadcast of the Super Bowl are in and this year’s winner was Motel 6.  According to WestwoodOne, the Motel 6 spot won top honors in both the Listener Choice and Media Choice categories in the Super Bowl Audio Index.  The other top vote-getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen and Taco Bell.  During the two weeks leading up to the game, listeners were encouraged to vote for their favorite Super Bowl commercial across many of WestwoodOne properties via an array of online and on-air promotions.  Listeners were directed to www.westwoodone.com/vote, where each of the commercials was available for consumer voting from Thursday, January 30 through 12 midnight ET on February 2, 2014.  The index was comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations which broadcast WestwoodOne’s exclusive, national play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII.

kaytvcrewThe Simulcast Begins!  The sports talk simulcast of WEPN-FM, New York’s Michael Kay show on the YES Network began yesterday (2/3).  The afternoon drive host (along with co-host Don La Greca) for ESPN’s New York City O&O took over the afternoon slot on the regional cable channel owned by the New York Yankees.  For years, the slot was occupied by crosstown rival Mike Francesa simulcasting on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York.  Pictured here on day one of their new operation is the crew (from left to right): production director Mike Brownsher, senior producer Andrew Gundling, La Greca, Kay, executive producer Ryan T. Hurley, and associate producer Ray Deenihan.

talkradiotv logoChuck Harder Plans Return to Talk Media with New Project.  Veteran talk radio program host, entrepreneur and modern-era talk syndication pioneer Chuck Harder of “For the People” fame tells TALKERS he is starting up a new project that will produce and distribute talk radio on a TV network.  In development for five years, Harder has assembled what he describes as “a million dollar facility” with FCC licensed Ku Band Video Satellite uplink that he plans to startup in 90  to 120 days on TELSTAR 14-R, a new satellite received on three-foot dishes.  Harder is looking for both talk show hosts and investors.  Interested parties can first visit www.talkradiotv.net for details and then send him a letter of interest to P.O. Box A, White Springs, FL 32096.  Harder states, “We will furnish all needed video and audio equipment for your studio and are planning on live two-way talk 24/7.  All letters of interest will be answered.  No calls please.  We will appear on unfilled new local TV channels using standard NTSC MPEG-2 with CD quality audio and provide extra income for local TV affiliates.  Our horizon to horizon C and Ku band all-sat teleport operations center sits across the street from a fiber-optic digital switch that provides us high speed internet video globally and 10 incoming talk lines. TELSTAR 14-R coverage map and fiber optics map is on the website.”  Harder says he will not do a show due to the necessities of daily sales and management of operations.

Super Bowl XLVIII, Financial Markets Activity, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation and Woody Allen Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3).  The aftermath of the Seattle Seahawks’ victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday; the downward-trending Dow and the activity in world financial markets; the heroin-related death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman; scrutiny of the rollout of and possible future effects of the Affordable Care Act; the looming immigration legislation with amnesty provisions; and the renewed allegations of sexual assault against filmmaker Woody Allen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 3, 2014

| February 3, 2014

sileodanSports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego.  Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3).  Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet.  Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa.  He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity.  Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’  Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality.  His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”

wilc logoNew Talk Station to Air in DC Market.  The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies.  The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3).  In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.”  Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.”  Programming will include Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller.  Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.

gallaghermikeMike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog.  Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time.  I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.”  Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.

millerchrisTo Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them!  Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.”  We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites.  Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there.  Not very tempting is it?  More details.  Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot.  “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will.  It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another.  Opportunity is knocking.”  Read Miller’s entire piece here.

hannityseanClear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia.  The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere NetworksSean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes.  According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced.  A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead.  Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.

francesamikeMike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC.  Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics.  How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York.  A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans.  Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself.  Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar.  Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.

fccnewFCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers.  The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters.  The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance.  The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM.  In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”

L&L logoL&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations.  Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting.  The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville.  The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.

Stop Using This Word and Start Getting More Website Hits

| February 3, 2014

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
Owner

millerchrisSHAKER HEIGHTS — How can you get more website visitors?  Here’s an idea you can start using right now.

Quit using the word “details” when you talk about your site on the air.  You know what I’m talking about.  How many times a day does your station say, “for all the details, log on to radio103.com!”

That’s EXACTLY what I need in my life … more details.

Read More

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

| January 29, 2014

journalbroadcastgroupTom Langmyer Promoted to VP/GM of Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Ops.  Radio programming and management pro Tom Langmyer rises to vice president and general manager of Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations.  In this new post he’ll oversee news/talk WTMJ, adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake” and thelangmyertom company’s radio sports play-by-play operations in Milwaukee.  Langmyer, who’s served as VP/GM of WGN, Chicago; VP/GM of KMOX, St. Louis and vice president of news/talk programming for CBS RADIO, to name a few, came to Journal as vice president, news/talk programming in August 2013.  His promotion comes as Journal EVP – Radio Steve Wexler moves into that new role and away from his day-to-day general manager role to focus on Journal’s 35-station radio division.  Wexler comments, “Tom is a trusted leader with a well-known track record of success.  Our radio stations are in excellent hands with Tom at the helm.  Tom has already made significant contributions to our company, and I’m thrilled to have a broadcaster of his caliber running our flagship stations.” Langmyer will continue to support Journal’s spoken-word stations as vice president of news/talk programming.

wls-am logoWLS, Chicago Re-Tools 5:00 pm Hour.  As detailed in a column by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media Windy City news/talk WLS-AM will end the sports-focused 5:00 pm hour of the Roe & Roper show after today’s broadcast.  The “89 WLS Sports Pregame Show” during which Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are joined by “Fox 32” sports anchor Lou Canellis ends after a year during which Feder reports “listeners tuned out in droves.”  Under new operations manager and program director Peter Bolger, the drive time hour will revert to news/talk programming.  Read Feder’s column here.

goldenmikeawardThe ‘Golden Mike’ Awards Set for February 24 in NYC.  The annual black-tie fundraiser presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place on Monday, February 24 at the Plaza Hotel in New York with an all-star cast of guests and performers.  This year’s “Golden Mike Award” honors BMI president Del Bryant.  This annual gala is one of the biggest fundraisers for the BFoA – the charity that helps TV and radio professionals whose lives have been affected by serious illness, accidents, and other life-alteringschiefferbob circumstances.  The evening will be hosted by Bob Schieffer, the acclaimed anchor and moderator of CBS’s “Face the Nation.”  Entertainment will feature the legendary Kris Kristofferson, recent recipient of a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and a Country Music Hall of Famer who ranks kristoffersonkrisamong the most versatile of American talents.  Also joining the program in honor of Bryant is culinary and home style expert Sandra Lee, who will be a presenter.  The evening is also attracting famed singer/songwriters from rock to country, including Michael Bolton and Mac Davis.  Bryant has spent more than four decades at BMI, working with singer/songwriters and broadcasters alike.  He played the leading role in re-engineering and modernizing BMI’s royalty distribution system.  Bryant directed the implementation of the structure introduced in 1987 as part of an aggressive writer acquisition campaign that marked a sharp turn-around at BMI and attracted many of the best new writers across key genres of music.  Heralding from a musical family, Bryant is the son of noted songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, who penned such classics as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream.”  The Broadcasters Foundation of America has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy.  Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times.  Donations can be made as a personal gift to the Foundation and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative.

sekoffroySekoff to Keynote NAB Show Disruptive Media Conference.  At the Digital Media Wire-co-produced Disruptive Media Conference segment of the coming NAB Show in Las Vegas, Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff will present the keynote address on Wednesday, April 9.  Sekoff’s keynote will address how the rise of online video and viewers’ growing desire to engage with content is significantly impacting programming, distribution and advertising in media and entertainment.  Before helping to launch HuffPost and HuffPost Live, Sekoff was a writer and on-air correspondent for Michael Moore‘s “TV Nation.”  His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Village Voice and The London Times.  Sekoff is a frequent guest on a wide-range of TV and radio shows, including MSNBC and Fox News.  The Disruptive Media Conference, produced in partnership with Digital Media Wire, gathers professionals who oversee the digital and interactive divisions within their companies to explore developments in online video, mobile and branded entertainment.

charestbrettAmerican Target Network Expands Radio Initiative.  The American Target Network “creates unwired media networks that deliver flexible, customizable national, regional and local advertising buys at deeply discounted rates.”  The company announces it is expanding its radio initiative by hiring Brett Charest as vice president of radio networks.  Charest was most recently media buying director at Barrington Media Group.  He began his career in radio at Hartford’s WMRQ-FM and then moved into marketing and promotion with Clear Channel, where he was responsible for four stations.  Charest then jumped to the agency side, becoming operations manager at Mediaworx LLC.  ATN vice president of ad sales Kevin Hayes states, “With Brett’s strong experience in packaging results-oriented radio campaigns with major market radio stations and national ad agencies, he is the ideal executive to lead American Target Network’s radio expansion.  He has established himself as one of the foremost experts on the direct marketing side of radio, and we know that his relationships, strategic planning and astute buying expertise will open the doors we need to create a new level of leadership in this arena.”  Charest will operate out of American Target Network’s West Coast office and be primarily responsible for network development and affiliate relations.

micscarfOdds & Sods.  A new podcast is being offered by Sports USA featuring sports agent Leigh Steinberg.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says of the new “Leigh Steinberg on Sports,” “Leigh is an American sports icon and the preeminent sports agent of all time.  His experiences over more than 40 years working with America’s top athletes will power this exciting weekly show. ‘Leigh Steinberg on Sports’ will cover anything and everything about sports, the personalities involved, and the most important issues of the day.”…..That “boing” sound from your spring-loaded mic stand bothering you?  “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean has a quick solution (see photo): “Wrap a scarf around the springs of a microphone scissor arm to prevent ‘boing!’ sounds from leaking into the mic when you move it.  Plus it looks totally rock ‘n’ roll, kind of 70s freeform FM music radio. Plus, visual cues can inspire shifts in talk style.  An influence of 70s freeform FM music radio can be fun and useful in talk radio.”

WW1graymanningMedia Day at Super Bowl XLVIII.  As America gears up for Sunday’s game, Tuesday saw the players and the media converge during Media Day.  Pictured here is WestwoodOne Sports reporter Jim Gray (left) interviewing Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (right) for broadcast over the radio network.  While it looks like Gray and Manning are having a good coxmohrsportsconversation, Media Day is often looked at as drudgery by the players and a source for very little new or insightful commentary from the media’s perspective.  Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr decided to challenge his crew to have some fun with it as they tried to inject as many “Jay Mohr Sports sound drops” into their questions for the players as possible.  Anchor Dan Beyer and associate producer Matty Cox (pictured here at right interviewing Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard) competed to see who could sneak the most sound drops into their conversations.  Phrases such as “dead giveaway,” “that’s terrific,” “Long Liland,” “New York City” (accent included), and “Jonathan Quick – there’s a reason why that is his last name.  What’s that for?  Because he’s quick,” were used.

State of the Union Address, Winter Weather, ObamaCare Rollout, Financial Markets Activity, Immigration Legislation, and Super Bowl Run-up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28).  The anticipation of the president’s State of the Union Address; the cold and snow hitting the Midwest, South and East; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; activity in the world’s financial markets; immigration reform legislation that includes amnesty for illegal aliens; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio on Tuesday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

| January 28, 2014

wftl logoJames Crystal Radio Misses Payroll.  According to a report in Jose Lambert’s column in the Miami Herald, staffers at the James Crystal Radio Group stations in West Palm Beach – news/talkwmen logo WFTL and sports talk WMEN – have not been paid since January 1 due to the holder of a $17 million loan to the company freezing its account.  The company is operated by Jim Hilliard and when contacted by the paper, general manager Steve Lapa stated that Hilliard is working from “6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily to resolve the situation.”  Lapa reports the staffers have missed only one pay period up until this point.  Between the two stations it’s estimated there are approximately 75 employees.

davisdarrenClear Channel Creates Networks Group; Names Davis President.  In a corporate re-alignment move, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment creates a new unified Networks group to take full advantage of its “power, reach and scale to deliver more compelling content opportunities to its partners, affiliates, advertisers and consumers, as well as providing a unique platform to its content partners and talent.”  Darren Davis, most recently EVP and GM for the national programming platforms, will lead this effort as president, Clear Channel Networks Group.  The company says that in his new role, Davis will oversee and ensure the success and close integration of the networks — Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network, the 24/7 News Network and the iHeartRadio Network.  This new position underlines Clear Channel’s continued commitment to further expanding and transforming its business, introducing innovative new products, moving onto exciting new platforms and delivering even more unique opportunities and content to its audiences and its talent.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “This new unified Networks group will enable us to better capitalize on our powerful relationships, creative talent and unparalleled capabilities across all platforms and maximize our infrastructure in an entirely new way to take these networks to a higher level, as well as develop new ones.  Darren is an innovative and effective leader of teams and has been a success at every role he has played at this company from the beginning as a programmer through his role as EVP and GM for the National Programming Platforms (NPP) group with Tom Poleman.  His extensive and diverse experience makes him the perfect candidate for this important new leadership role.”

grandephilPhil Grande to Appear at Rumsfeld Book Event.  In conjunction with news/talk WLSS, Sarasota, Florida, nationally syndicated financial talk personality Phil Grande – host of the “Phil’s Gang” program – will make a presentation and appear with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Rumsfeld’s special event and speech at the Hyatt Regency on February 13.  Rumsfeld is touring the country promoting his new book, Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War and Life (Broadside 2013).

neerrichardSports Talk: How Important Is Civility?  Unlike the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, sports talk hosts “need to be liked.”  That’s what WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer says in his column published today (1/28).  Neer writes (while referencing the notoriety being enjoyed by Sherman in the aftermath of his recent rant), “If you are talented or lucky enough to win that lottery by catching the public imagination at precisely the right moment, you can thrive by being what polite society deems ‘uncivil.’  But you’re treading a narrow line and making a lot of enemies in the process.  One misstep could end your career as suddenly as a torn ACL could end Sherman’s.” Read Neer’s entire column here.

crninternational logoCRN International Debuts Events Division; Names Kelly Travers Director.  Integrated radio marketing solutions company CRN International is establishing a new Events Division for the growing number of live functions it manages as part of client campaigns.  The company says the move will allow it “to execute with optimum efficiency for the many events it coordinates for consumer brands, ranging from local radio station appearances to high-profile nightclub galas.”  To head up the new venture is Kelly Travers who is named director of retail strategies and activation.  CRN president and founder Barry Berman states, “Live events are used when they help solve a client objective, and they have to be well executed in every detail if they hope to deliver the expected business outcome.  Establishment of this new operating unit will allow our clients to sleep at night knowing all logistics are being addressed thoroughly.”  Travers notes that CRN International orchestrated more than 300 events as part of client marketing strategies last year alone.  Among the companies that have used live events engineered by CRN as an offshoot of their radio-triggered campaigns are Fiat and Petco, to name a few.

wxgiRed Zebra’s WXGI, Richmond to Simulcast on WZEZ-FM.  In a deal that will begin on February 1, Red Zebra-operated sports talk WXGI, Richmond “ESPN 950” will expand its reach by simulcasting on WZEZ at 100.5 FM.  The agreement between Red Zebra Broadcasting and Delmarva Educational Association gives “ESPN 950” reach to the northwest of the market.  General manager Buck Albritton states, “We could not be more excited to move our dynamic on-air lineup onto the FM frequency.  Most importantly, we are increasing our signal reach to serve more sports listeners.”  The stations will begin their relationship with the broadcast of Super Bowl XVLIII on Sunday.  Program director Mitchell Bradley states, “Not only is this an opportunity to serve a greater number of listeners, we will increase the number of games that we can broadcast.  We’ll be able to carry one play-by-play lineup on our AM station while featuring another program event on the FM signal.”  Red Zebra is controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

radiohealthjournal logoOdds & Sods.  The syndicated public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating the airing of its 1,100th episode this week.  The program began in 1992 and is now heard on more than 480 stations across the country.  Produced by MediaTracks Communications and hosted by Reed Pence, the show provides listeners with a wide variety of health topics, including consumer safety, healthcare, drug abuse, mental illness, food safety, and youth at risk.  Pence states, “From the start, we cared about the information that we were providing to the listener.  We’ve always concentrated on providing important and useful information in a consumer friendly way.”…..SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison will attend tonight’s State of the Union Address as a guest of Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH).  On Wednesday, Fudge will appear on Madison’s program to discuss the president’s address…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens will be heard on Clear Channel’s classic rock WBIG, Washington, DC next season.  Last season the team’s games were heard in the DC market on Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington.

espnmikemikebradshawSports Talk Frenzy in NYC.  It’s Super Bowl week in New York City and ESPN – along with the other major sports radio networks including Fox Sports Radio Network, CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network – is there.  Pictured here is Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw (right) on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show this morning with Mike Golic (center) and Mike Greenberg (left).  ESPN enjoys the advantage of its fabulous Times Square studios for this year’s Super Bowl.  All this week at the nearby Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan, some 90 radio stations are broadcasting from the Super Bowl XLVIII radio row.

millergovernorDown on Main Street.  Always getting out into the community, KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (center) takes his show out to Ed’s 50 Café where he hosts a roundtable breakfast chat with Idaho Governor Butch Otter (right) and EntreLeadership director of coaching and community John Felkins.  EntreLeadership is part of talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s organization.  Felkins’ job involves meeting with business leaders from across the country and helping them generate improvements to their companies by applying the EntreLeadership way of doing business.

comrexACCESSComrex Rolls Out Switchboard Traversal Server.  Don’t get freaked out by the engineer-speak, this is a very cool new feature for Comrex’s ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs.  This major upgrade to the company’s popular BRIC Traversal Server (or BRIC-TS) service for ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs allows for presence notification, status and connection help (NAT Traversal) via a cloud-based service which is free to use for Comrex ACCESS IP codec customers.  The feature is included in all Comrex ACCESS IP Audio codecs and can be unlocked on Comrex BRIC-Link codecs for a small license unlock fee.  The company states that it will be migrating all existing BRIC-TS accounts to the new Switchboard TS today (1/28) and the changeover will be seamless for existing users.  While customers will experience an improved graphical user interface, they should note two main improvements to the management tools in Switchboard.  Specifically, “Contact Lists” and “Shares” have simplified the task of managing a large fleet of ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs.  What this all really means is that Switchboard TS is designed to allow your BRIC codecs (such as ACCESS) to connect with each other without having to have an IT guy onsite everywhere you go!  To contact Comrex by phone, call 800-237-1776.

Cool Job Opportunity. Heritage News/Talk station in the northeast has a rare opportunity in a top 100 market.  Now accepting applications for a combo News Director/Program Director.  Great company and a great opportunity for the right person with strong forward thinking programming ideas and strategies.  Must have experience in both news and programming with a multi-platform distribution approach to include on-air, online and mobile.  Please email a resume along with any supporting materials to Gabe Hobbs at gabe@gabehobbsmedia.com.  Or you can place your materials in my DropBox at https://www.hightail.com/u/GabeHobbsMedia. No calls please.  EOE/MF

State of the Union Address, NSA Spying Controversy, Hillary Clinton in 2016, More Icy Winter Weather, 56th GRAMMYs, and Super Bowl XLVIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27).  The president’s annual State of the Union address to be delivered tonight; more revelations about the extent of the NSA spying operations; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political ambitions; the next round of frigid winter weather set to hit the Midwest, East and South this week; the 56th GRAMMY awards held Sunday; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

| January 22, 2014

paxtonpatEntercom Promotes Pat Paxton to President of Programming.  Fifteen-year programming staffer Pat Paxton is promoted to president of programming for Entercom Communications Corp.  Paxton has served as senior vice president of programming since 2001.  He began his work with the company in 1999 as OM at the old AC WQSX “Star 93.7.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Pat has played a vital role in Entercom’s growth and development over his 15 years with the company.  He is an energizing leader, a terrific strategist and a deeply knowledgeable programmer.  We are truly fortunate to have him on our team.”  Paxton says of the promotion, “The past 15 years with Entercom have been tremendously rewarding, both personally and professionally.  Our entire Entercom team has worked tirelessly to create one of today’s most admired media companies, which has not happened accidentally.  I am proud to have been part of this team and I look forward to continuing to help create the very best audio brands in the industry.  Huge thanks to David Field for his vision and leadership that has allowed all of us at Entercom to thrive.”

wtarWTAR, Norfolk Drops Comedy for News/Talk/Sports.  The Sinclair-owned AM signal WTAR, Norfolk will drop the comedy format it is currently airing and flip to a hybrid talk/sports format that will feature “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; FSN’s “Jay Mohr Sports” 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tony Macrini, morning host at sister talk station WNIS made the announcement on January 20.  General manager Lisa Sinclair says, “There’s always something new to talk about and AM 850 WTAR keeps you engaged, informed and always entertained.”

sternbirthdaybashSiriusXM Opens Howard Stern Birthday Bash to Non-Subscribers.  When the “Howard Stern Birthday Bash” begins at 4:00 pm ET on January 31 live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, the world will be invited to the party as SiriusXM is opening its internet service at siriusxm.com to non-subscribers.  The company says that this unprecedented access to Howard Stern’s live broadcast is a first for SiriusXM and Howard Stern.  In addition to SiriusXM subscribers, anyone can stream “Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash,” an evening of unforgettable performances and special appearances from the biggest names in entertainment. The free stream will be available on compatible mobile devices as well as online through simple one-click listening; no need to download an app or enter credentials.  Stern comments on the approaching broadcast to celebrate his 60th birthday.  “I am honored by the number of performers who want to join me on stage, and the number of fans who want to get in.  Now, thanks to SiriusXM, I can give the world access to this event for free through this special internet audio stream in addition to my fans listening on their satellite radios.”  The event is being hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with guests including Louis C.K., David Letterman and Sarah Silverman, with musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler and many others.

hartelmikeHartel to Head Up L&L’s Columbia, South Carolina Group.  The new SVP and market manager for L&L Broadcasting’s Columbia South Carolina cluster is Mike Hartel – who most recently served as vice president and general manager of Curtis Media Group’s WBBB, Raleigh.  L&L CEO Bob Proffitt says of the move, “We had the huge benefit of having Bill McElveen step up as not only an in-market radio veteran, but to help us in the recruitment process to get the very best fit and talent to manage Columbia.  Mike Hartel is a great fit for our Columbia cluster with his excellent track record, interactive focus, and competitive nature – a perfect addition to our growing company.”  Hartel comments, “I love what Larry and Bob are creating and I’m thrilled to be a part of their team.  There is no place I would rather be than with a company that is hyper-focused on using live and local radio to serve our community, our clients, and our employees.”  The L&L Columbia cluster includes sports talk WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230.”

perezfelixNYMRAD Announces New Executive Committee.  At the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD), the executive committee of the board of directors has some new additions and changes in titles: Felix Perez, general manager, Univision Radio New York, moves into the chairman slot replacing Clear Channel Music + Entertainment’s Joe Puglise who remains on the board of directors.  Jennifer Donohue, director of sales, CBS RADIO New York, replaces Don Bouloukos as vice chairperson and Alex Cameron, SVP and market manager, Emmis New York, remains on the committee as secretary.  NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “I am very excited about working with Felix during this seamless transition of the executive committee.  Felix has infused energy in his contributions to board meetings and under his leadership we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.”  Perez adds, “I welcome the opportunity to work with Deborah and our radio colleagues to advance the value of NYMRAD to its members and aggressively increasing the profile and revenue share of New York radio.”

nielsen logoHoliday 2013 PPM Data Released.  The ratings for the Holiday 2013 PPM survey period are being released by Nielsen Audio.  The first 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union are out and that data can be found at our sister publication RadioInfo.com right here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the first round of the Holiday PPM here.

freemanedgeOdds & Sods.  KNX, Los Angeles announces the return of the “Ask the Mayor” program to its airwaves on January 29.  The CBS RADIO all-newser states that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in the studio at 10:00 am when the show will be hosted by KNX 1070 news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and will “give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”…..Not so fast, KCAA, Lorma Linda, “Free Talk Live” has been accepting Bitcoins as payment for airtime since 2011.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Fred Lundgren-owned SoCal station claims to be the first it knows of in the U.S. to accept the cryptocurrency for ad time, but Mark Edge of the independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” program tells TALKERS he and co-host Ian Freeman have been accepting Bitcoins for more than two years.  He adds, “We take Litecoin, too.”…..Hoops fanatic and filmmaker Spike Lee is hosting the bi-weekly, “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House” program on SiriusXM’s NBA channel.  The first show will air on January 30 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Eastern Freeze/Western Drought, Sochi Olympics Security Concerns, Chris Christie Scandals Aftermath, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Andrew Cuomo Anti-Conservative Remarks, and Roe v. Wade Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21).  The snow and cold weather affecting the East and the dry rainy season in the West leading to drought conditions there; concerns about security at the looming Sochi Winter Games; the effects of the recent scandals plaguing the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reaction to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comments about conservative beliefs; and the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Short Ideas for a Short Week

| January 21, 2014

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
Owner

SHAKER HEIGHTS – “Sorry, I quit paying attention!” 

What attention span can we ask for these days to sell something?  One of my clients created a 40-second video for an email project, and I was momentarily concerned it was too lengthy to keep people watching.  Another client buys two :60 spots back-to-back on TV to show mini-documentaries.

And yet … we’re still offering to sell :60 spots, loaded up back-to-back, as if it’s 1990.

Good luck selling a lengthy ad online.  When YouTube lets us skip the rest of an ad a few seconds in, and Facebook measures your ad in characters instead of columns or inches, don’t six-minute sets of :60s make you at least a little nervous?  Roy Williams, the “Wizard of Ads,” says “Clarity is the new creativity.” Or, if I lost you during that last sentence, “Less is more.”

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

| January 21, 2014

millerchrisShort Ideas for a Short Week.  As the industry returns from a holiday weekend, digital media consultant Chris Miller offers some quick thoughts regarding your digital efforts.  If you’re still wondering about the changes Facebook made that affect the way content lines up on your news feed, Miller has three items to consider.  Also check out his thoughts on the type of content you put on your station website and whether that content lines up with your brand’s “message.”  Plus, Chris has a final word about attitude.  Check it all out here.

wiplogoPromotions Conflict at Philly Eatery Brings Abrupt End to Live Broadcast.  The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the quick shutdown of a WIP, Philadelphia remote broadcast with afternoon hosts Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis at Chickie’s & Pete’s may not have been the result of an ISDNwpenamfm breakdown but the fact that rival Greater Media sports talker WPEN personality Jon Marks was also at the establishment for a personal appearance.  The paper reports that about 30 minutes into Gargano’s and Ellis’ broadcast, WPEN’s Marks arrived along with rock WMMR jock Matt Cord for a $1,000 MetroPCS giveaway in another part of the pub.  The Daily News goes on to write that Chickie’s & Pete’s management tried to move Marks and Cord to a different part of the restaurant but Greater Media refused.  CBS tells the paper the ISDN problem was the issue and while no one else is commenting, it appears it could have been nothing more than a scheduling snafu that ruffled the feathers of the stations involved.

wmen logoLinder Joins WMEN, West Palm Beach for Afternoons.  The JCE Licenses-owned sports talk station names Jon Linder host of the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, replacing Andy Slater who left for Clear Channel’s sports talk WINZ, Miami “The Sports Animal” in December.  Linder joined WMEN as a fill-in host last year.  He’s worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami serving as a sports reporter and studio host during Miami Hurricanes football broadcasts from 2010 through 2012.

rizzotonyCleveland Host Faces Jury Trial in Domestic Violence Charge.  WKNR, Cleveland sports talk host Tony Rizzo will appear in Medina Municipal Court on February 27 for a jury trial after being accused of domestic assault by his wife Catherine Rizzo in December.  Rizzo remains on the air at Good Karma-owned WKNR.  The company issued a statement after the incident leading to the charge calling Rizzo “an exemplary teammate and member of the community and his status with us is unaffected.”  Police were called to Rizzo’s home after his wife called them saying she had locked herself in the bathroom after Rizzo choked her and hit her in the face.  Rizzo pleaded not guilty on December 9.

kcaa logoKCAA, Lorma Linda, California First to Accept Bitcoins for Airtime.  The Fred Lundgren-owned news/talk station that serves the Riverside/San Bernardino market is claiming it’s the first radio station in North America to Bitcoins as payment for advertising and airtime.  The station says it signed its first programming agreement purchased with Bitcoin on January 17.  KCAA utilized a service called “Coinbase” to process the payment.  Lundgren comments, “Our first transaction paid us 9.4 Bitcoins, which Coinbase displayed as approximately $7,200.00 USD. These funds will appear in our bank account in two to three business days.”  Lundgren adds, “The value of Bitcoin as a digital currency will grow as more businesses accept it.  I predict it will become a viable alternative to ever increasing bank charges.”

berrymichael2Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Emcees Senate Campaign Fundraiser.  KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry is headlining a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Col. Rob Maness (USAF, Ret.) on Friday, January 24, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Berry’s program is heard on stations across the U.S. including on WJBO, Baton Rouge from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Maness is running for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mary Landrieu.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sochi Olympics Terror Threats, Syria Torture Allegations, ObamaCare Criticism, Wendy Davis Bio Questioned and Chris Christie Sandy Aid Charge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20).  The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; concerns over security at the Sochi Winter Games; new allegations of the Assad regime’s use of torture in Syria’s civil conflict; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ life story disputed by critics; and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces charges of misappropriating Hurricane Sandy aid were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Radio’s Version of the Olympics Now Underway

| January 20, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

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

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

As part of the New York Festivals’ “World’s Best Radio Programs,” entrants will be evaluated on what they do best, and it has been that way ever since these particular honors were established in 1982.
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Eight Realities of 2014: Perspective and Predictions

| January 16, 2014

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

sabowalterwriterNEW YORK – Here are some thoughts that I hope you find useful as we begin another pivotal year:

1. HD radio is going to explode. The management of iBiquity has achieved remarkable acceptance for HD by the auto industry with over 16 million installs.  HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash. The key, as always, is the show. (Sorry, the word “content” remains disgusting. It’s a show.)  HD is not about fidelity or graphics – it’s a new stage for new, audience captivating shows.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

| January 15, 2014

scba logoEye-Popping Southern California Broadcasters Association Traffic Data. It would only state the obvious that the love affair Southern Californians have with their cars continues; nonetheless traffic data the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) developed in cooperation with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the California Household Travel Survey (CHTS) is quite impressive.  It reveals a record-breaking 16.5 million vehicle trips are made each weekday from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm in Southern California.  SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “This level of hourly driving activity dramatically showcases the immense mobility and density of Southern California driving habits and the critical role that driving has in our daily lives.  Southern California is a massive car-driving region with our driving population making multiple vehicle trips throughout the working week.  Our region’s astounding amount of daily vehicle trips exceeds the entire populations of most west coast metro areas including San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento, as well as multiple state populations including Illinois.  This critical data takes on increased urgency as advertisers wrestle with the best ways to invest their media budgets.  The case for radio advertising has never been stronger.  This data offers 16.5 million compelling reasons why Southern California radio is the solution for any advertiser.”  The Southern California region includes Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Imperial counties. Vehicle trips are defined as origin-destination driving and were then aggregated for average weekday by hour for the entire region.

kywmonetti13CBS RADIO’s KYW, Philadelphia Teaches and Rewards the Next Generation.  For more than 47 years, KYW, Philadelphia has been giving high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to learn the radio news business from the pros.  This year, for five weeks beginning in October, students from high schools throughout the Delaware Valley region came to KYW to learn news writing, reporting, ethics and interviewing skills from station managers, editors, reporters and anchors.  After the fall program ends, the station rewards the student deemed to have the most enthusiasm and potential with the Richard Monetti Scholarship – a $2,000 cash award.  This year’s recipient is Avon Grove High School senior Alicia Stearn (pictured here at center).  Stearn was one of 105 students to graduate from the 2013 Fall Newstudies program.  The scholarship was named in honor of the 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.  Pictured here with Stearn are Monetti’s parents Bob and Eileen Monetti.  CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the annual tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry.  Our hope in rewarding these exceptional students is that they will continue pursuing a media career and become tomorrow’s leaders.”  Rayfield is also a former Newstudies graduate.  At the same time, the station announces Christopher Jastrzembski of La Salle College High School, was recognized with the Mark Drucker Internship Award in honor of KYW Newsradio reporter Mark Drucker, who met an untimely death in 2005. Jastrzembski will spend the summer working in the KYW Newsradio newsroom.

ksco logoAll Hell Breaks Loose On Air at KSCO, Santa Cruz Over Impromptu Duck Dynasty Parody.  While some listeners thought it was a set-up, extremely reliable inside sources assure TALKERS that the wildly emotional outburst that erupted on air at KSCO, Santa Cruz yesterday afternoon (1/14) was in fact quite real.  San Francisco-based 415 Media blogger Rich Lieberman, who also does a show on the independent Michael Zwerling-owned local news/talk outlet, was filling in as host on the afternoon program for rising star Ethan Bearman who was up the road doing some fill-in of his own on KSFO, San Francisco.  During a conversation with his producer/co-host Dave Michaels, Lieberman launched into an impromptu “San Francisco-style” parody of the hit reality TV show “Duck Dynasty” in which he depicted its controversial star Phil Robertson as being gay and having “anal” interest in the mailman.  After a few minutes of the risqué on-air antics, station chief engineer Bill Graff was so offended and concerned about the legality of the broadcast that he burst into the studio and began screaming at Lieberman to stop immediately because he was allegedly in violation of FCC rules regarding indecency and that HE (Graff) would take the blame because as the station’s chief operator he was legally responsible for the transmitter at the time of the broadcast and thus accountable for any offensive language that was broadcasted during his watch (not necessarily legally accurate but that’s another story). He threatened to turn the station off the air if the routine was not halted.   In the meantime, adding to the chaos, station-owner Michael Zwerling, who had not heard Lieberman’s “Duck Dynasty” comments, HAD, however, just received a strongly-worded, very critical email about Lieberman in general from a regular listener that prompted him to go into the live studio to read the email on the air to Lieberman and invite comments from callers (yes, folks, there still ARE stations out there like this).  On the way he encountered the very upset Graff who insisted that Lieberman immediately be pulled off the air and banished from the station for all time. Zwerling explained to Graff that he must first listen to a recording of Lieberman’s comments to determine whether such harsh (or any) punishment was warranted — and (ever the showman) then invited Graff to go on the air to discuss this issue which prompted Graff to burst in on the show.  After he listened to the entire segment, Zwerling concluded that while he respects and appreciates Graff’s position and concern for the welfare and reputation of KSCO, Lieberman’s comments and delivery were “funnier than hell, extremely entertaining, and not requiring any discipline directed at Lieberman.”  To hear a 16 minute audio clip of the radio fireworks, including its setup, please click below to hear the audio.

      BillyGoesOffOnRichLiveOnAir01-14-14.MP3

bearmansussmanMeantime, While All the Chaos Was Breaking Out Down the Highway at KSCO (see story above)… Rising star Ethan Bearman – dubbed by Michael Harrison “One of the most exciting new ‘independent’ voices to come along in news/talk radio in years,” took a two day leave from his program at the Santa Cruz news/talker to do a mid-morning fill-in stint at Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco where he received rave reviews.  No surprise, Bearman is a special talent.  He’s pictured here (right) during the changing of the shifts with KSFO morning host and Bay Area media icon Brian Sussman (left).

stockalanTalk Hosts Broadcast from S.H.O.T. Convention in Las Vegas.  Two radio talk show hosts will set up their remote equipment in Las Vegas tomorrow and Friday in Las Vegas convention hall space at the Shooting, Hunting andlarsonlars Outdoor Travel show – S.H.O.T.  Local talk host Alan Stock – heard on Beasley’s KDWN – tells TALKERS magazine the private/closed trade show contacted him several months ago to participate and broadcast live and he says he couldn’t say no.  Nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson – who also does a regional show from his home base at KXL, Portland – says he’s broadcast from the show in the past and is looking forward to this year’s show where he’ll also be broadcasting on both days.  Larson says rocker and hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent will be on his program to kick off the day-two broadcast on Friday.

deacesteveTalk Hosts Tryout on WNYM, New York.  Syndicated talk radio host Steve Deace is sitting in on the afternoon program at Salem Communications’ New York City news/talk station WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” this week (Monday through Thursday).  The daypart is open since the departure of Curtis Sliwa to crosstown WABC at the beginning of this month.  On Friday, the Baldwin/McCullough program – featuring actor Stephen Baldwin and talk show host Kevin McCullough – will air in the afternoon slot.  Baldwin and McCullough also hosted the show for two days last week.

NFL Championship Sunday Doubleheader on WestwoodOne. With the exception of the Super Bowl itself, this coming Sunday (1/19) is the biggest day of the NFL season. That is when the AFC championship game matches up the New England Patriots versus the Denver Broncos at 2:00 pm Eastern, followed at approximately 6:15 pm by the NFC championship contest pitting the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks. WestwoodOne Sports will broadcast both ends of the “Championship Sunday” doubleheader, as each winner advances to the Super Bowl. The network’s Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Tim Ryan (sidelines) will handle the Patriots-Broncos game, while Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), James Lofton (analyst) and Mark Malone (sidelines) have the 49ers-Seahawks assignment. Scott Graham hosts pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for both broadcasts.

siriusxmdiazActress Cameron Diaz Appears on SiriusXM in Live Audience Interview Program.  Hollywood star Cameron Diaz (left) sat down with SELF magazine editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger (right) before a live studio audience at SiriusXM’s New York headquarters recently to talk about health and nutrition and her new book, The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, the Power of Knowledge, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body (HarperWave 2014).  The program received its initial airing today and will be re-broadcast this weekend and early next week.

Gates Book Controversy, Florida Movie Theater Killing, Net Neutrality Overturned, New NSA Spy Tactics, John Kerry Middle East Mission, Chris Christie Scandal Fallout, and Obama Executive Order Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14).  The controversial criticism of a sitting president by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his memoirs; the shooting death of a Florida moviegoer by a retired police chief; a court’s overturning of the FCC’s net neutrality policy; new computer spy tactics being used by the NSA; criticism by Israeli officials of Secretary of State John Kerry’s mission to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace solution; ongoing fallout for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after the bridge traffic scandal; and President Obama’s threat to use executive orders to enact policies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

| January 14, 2014

dollarsignJohn Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash.  Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.  The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division.  Here’s what he can counthoganjohn on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014.  Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement.  Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation.  Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement.  CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit.  The Motor City destination for Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK.  The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.wdtk logo  It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut.  WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up.  Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market.  He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’”  Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.

quigleyalexDouble Shot of WGN, Chicago News.  Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago.  Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager.  When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.”  WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.”  Second,jacobsonwalter longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday.  Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program.  Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN.  Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team.  For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time.  The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million.  It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com.  In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger IIIeaglepub logo says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space.  Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience.  The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform.  With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.”  The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.

sternhoward‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast.  The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.  On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that.  And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats.  A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”

dubayjeffSports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move.  Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move.  The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons.  The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related.  The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.

shannonmikecardsShannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension.  This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team.  According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball.  We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.”  It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station.  Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games.  Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.

mhblasingamebookGreat Read!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance  (2014 SBN Books).  Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change.  This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.”  Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’”  The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before.  Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer.  With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe.  He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future.  Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email jim@jbsba.com.

cpb logoWHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant.  The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations.  The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia.  Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations.  The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting  states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.”  CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact.  This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.”  In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB  funds six other LJCs across the country, including:  EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.

Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13).  The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Heeding Headlines Has Gallagher Playing the Hits

| January 13, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

| January 10, 2014

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS
VP/Executive Editor

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

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2014 CES: Innovate or…

| January 9, 2014

Holland Cooke
TALKERS Contributor
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterLAS VEGAS — The consumer electronics industry was a conspicuous bright spot throughout The Great Recession, and CEA is forecasting a record high 2014 USA sales of of $208 billion, “driven by product categories that didn’t even exist in a meaningful way a few years ago,” CEO Gary Shapiro observes.  “This year we will see $6 billion in sales of new categories such as 3D printers, wireless health and UltraHD.  To give you context – $6 billion is larger than the entire U.S. machine tool industry.”

Because radio was the original electronic thing, broadcasters are, arguably, in the same business; although the two industries’ interests sometimes diverge.  Broadcasting is legacy media, while CEA champions innovation. “It is too important to be choked by laws written long ago,” Shapiro preaches-out, praising disruptors like Aereo and Dish Network’s The Hopper (pronounced “HAW-puh”), both-of-which broadcasters are up-and-arms over.  Another touchy issue? 

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

| January 8, 2014

borrell logoBorrell Associates New Study and Forecast Predicts Radio Revenue Flat but Listening Minutes Continue to Decline Over Next Five Years.  Research firm Borrell Associates has published a new study titled, “The Future of Legacy Media: With 5 Years of Digital Disruption Ahead, What Happens Next?”  As the title implies, it looks at the effect the digital revolution has had over the past five years on time spent with each medium and ad dollars spent and then goes on to predict what is likely to happen over the next five years.  The conclusion for AM/FM radio is probably not going to be shocking to most.  Borrell predicts that minutes spent with AM/FM radio (which have already dropped from 124.1 in 2008 to 93.5 in 2013, according to the study) will continue to erode even though the number of individuals listening at least once per week (that figure we hear reported by Nielsen Audio so frequently) may remain fairly constant.  By 2018 Borrell predicts minutes spent with radio will further drop to 81.9 (for a total decrease from 2008 to 2018 of 34%).  On the revenue front, Borrell notes that radio ad spending has dropped by almost a third over the past 13 years and predicts the level the industry is at right now – about $14.3 billion – is roughly where it will be in another five years.  Here’s what the study has to say about AM/FM radio’s future: “If trends hold true, traditional radio ad spending will continue to tread water, remaining largely unchanged while growth moves online – especially among national advertisers.  Detroit is already equipping some new cars with Pandora service, so even that industry sinecure may have been breached.  Losses – where they occur – will be most felt in the larger metros, while suburban and rural areas will still depend on the local flavor of stations that have been good friends to their fathers and grandfathers.”  Which media will experience growth in minutes spent with through 2018?  Borrell predicts cable TV, out-of-home, video games and pure-play mobile, which it says will have realized a 1,145% increase in minutes spent with during the 10-year period examined in the study.  Read more here.

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Total Subscribers Top 25 Million.  Satellite radio service SiriusXM announces it ended the year 2013 with 25.56 million subscribers – an addition of 1.66 million net subscribers during the course of the year.  The company reports that self-pay net additions in 2013 were 1.5 million for the full year, bringing self-paymeyerjim subscriptions to over 21 million.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM had an outstanding 2013, and we expect to meet or exceed all other guidance we have provided for the year.  Automotive distribution is hitting on all cylinders and an increasing number of households, at all income levels, are subscribing to SiriusXM.  In a world where consumers have many choices, millions of subscribers continue to love our unmatched and easily affordable lineup of exclusive talk, live news, major sports events, and commercial-free and curated music channels.”  At the same time, the company offers guidance for 2014 that includes: Net subscriber additions of 1.25 million; free cash flow approaching $1.1 billion; revenue of over $4.0 billion; and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.38 billion.

cookeholland2014 International CES: Day Two.  Media consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas where he’s covering the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronic Show for TALKERS magazine.  Some tidbits for radio people include how Yahoo! is revamping its content to fit what consumers want with regard to size and frequency and how new global anchor Katie Couric is integrating “citizen reporting” into her work.  Also, read what radio execs attending a session on internet radio are saying about building a connection with consumers in Holland Cooke’s piece here.

compassmediamarketingCompass Media Brings Research Pro Len Klatt Aboard.  Research pro Len Klatt spent the last 16 years with Premiere Networks (ultimately as SVP of research) and 11 years with Westwood One before that.  Now, Compass Media Marketing announces it has hired Klatt as a research consultant and advisor, effective immediately.  Klatt comments, “It is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the changing audio entertainment landscape.  Compass is well positioned for continued growth and my goal is to work closely with the Compass team to best serve our advertisers, affiliates and programming partners.”

minihanekirkKirk Minihane Inks Multi-Year Deal with WEEI, Boston.  The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that staffer Kirk Minihane – a recently added member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show – has been rewarded for his positive impact on the show and the station with a new multi-year deal.  Minihane became part of the morning show featuring John Dennis and Gerry Callahan in February of last year and Finn reports that the morning show has been gaining ratings ground over the past several months.  Minihane was already employed by Entercom Boston writing for WEEI.com at the time he joined the show.  The Dennis & Callahan show – and the station in general – has been under the microscope since the start-up of CBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” debuted, gained ground on WEEI and overtook many of WEEI’s shows in the ratings.  Now, Finn reports that the Dennis & Callahan show recently finished in second place in the Nielsen Audio PPM ratings behind WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich program with a 9.0 share.

matthewsboOdds & Sods.  At Salem Communications’ New York City news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer,” comic Joe Piscopo is guest hosting the morning show today (1/8) through the end of the week.  The permanent morning show slot is vacant right now after Curtis Sliwa split for Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC for a midday show with co-host Ron Kuby.  The station says Piscopo will “have top name guests, give his take on the news of the day and do a variety of other comedy bits.”…..At Clear Channel’s Cincinnati cluster, Bo Matthews is named vice president of programming for the station group.  While Matthews’ recent day-to-day experience has been with music radio – he comes to Cincinnati from the company’s Cleveland cluster where he programmed rock WMMS and CHR WAKS “Kiss FM” – he will ultimately oversee news/talk WLW, talk WKRC and sports talk WSAI in his new position…..In the public radio sphere of the Rochester market, WXXI listeners are hearing new host Evan Dawson in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot held for so long by market pro Bob Smith.  Dawson is a familiar face as he spent six years as morning anchor at WHAM-TV.  The new show is called “Connections with Evan Dawson.”  Smith stepped down from his position in August after suffering a stroke in the spring.  He’s currently in long-term rehabilitative care.

rickandbubbagroupRick & Bubba Celebrate 20th Anniversary.  The nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba show – featuring Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey – celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  The Syndicated Solutions Inc.-distributed program has special plans to commemorate the show’s birth.  Burgess and Bussey, along with cast members Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess, Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Chris “Eddie Van” Adler, along with past/present show interns and related show contributors, will be performing live before sellout crowds during at least five special one-night only events in concert halls/theaters in select cities beginning in May.  SSI reports that “each ‘20th Anniversary Tour’ event will include hilarious, unforgettable Rick & Bubba moments, show favorites such as Good ‘ol Boys Theater, Willie & Wanda, The Giant Game of Rick & Bubba Knowledge, The Wacky World, Fact or Crap, and more.  There will be prizes, video tributes reliving the past 20 years, musical performances, special Q&A sessions and more…All behind-the-scenes and on-stage activities will be video recorded so excerpts can be shared during the Rick & Bubba show television/radio broadcast, and a full 20th Anniversary documentary will be available later in 2014.”  SSI president Bob Carey states, “Congratulations Rick and Bubba…I am so proud of what you’ve accomplished all these years and the special relationship that we share.  Although we’ve been business partners for just nine of your 20 years on air together, the Rick & Bubba show continues to evolve and gets better day after day, which is a testament to you both never taking your successes for granted or never stopping to work hard and improve upon yesterday.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Bill “Bubba” Bussey (sitting), Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Rick Burgess (center/sitting), Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess and Chris “Eddie Van” Adler.

havesonjeffOutstanding Talk Producer on the Loose.  One of the personnel casualties of WWRL, New York’s recent switch from progressive talk to regional Mexican Spanish-language entertainment is Jeffrey Haveson.  Haveson, an accomplished veteran radio broadcaster is known in talk circles as one of the most hard-working, versatile and dependable producers in the business, is without a home base for the first time in more than a decade.  He served at WWRL as an executive producer working with a wide variety of hosts and formats ranging from urban talk to liberal politics and then some.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Jeffrey Haveson is one of the most competent and multi-faceted facilitators of talk programming I’ve ever met.  This guy can handle all the chores that go on behind-the-scenes in making a great show happen from nurturing hosts of all political and cultural stripes, booking guests, executing remotes and creating superb production to writing an effective press release and managing social media.  He is located in the New York area and should be grabbed by one of the many media outlets looking for a solid producer.”  Haveson can be phoned at 973-207-3095 or emailed at jeffhaveson@yahoo.com.

Robert Gates Criticizes Obama in New Book, Dennis Rodman in North Korea, Boehner-Benghazi Connection, Polar Vortex Chills U.S./Global Warming, and Janet Yellen Confirmed New Fed Chief.  The new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates that is critical of the Obama Administration; the controversy over former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s latest trip to North Korea; questions about what House Speaker John Boehner knew about the Benghazi mission; the frigid temperatures across the U.S. and the connection to global warming; and Janet Yellen is confirmed as new chief of the Federal Reserve were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Yahoo! and “WOW!” and a Parking Space in Spain!

| January 8, 2014

Holland Cooke
TALKERS Contributor
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterLAS VEGAS — This neon desert oasis hosts 20,000 conventions a year, and this one’s the biggest.  150,000 of us jam 2 million square feet of Exhibit Hall at the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center.

But there’s lots more happening at CES than gadgets.  Among what Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro calls “all aspects of the tech ecosystem:”

*  CEA unveiled an initiative to help returning service men and women find tech jobs.  Hit USTechVets.org

*  Also thank this bunch for helping to change the rules of flying, so you can now use your iPad or smartphone takeoff-to-landing.  BUT Shapiro urges that airlines use “common sense” about allowing phone calls up there.  Imagine sitting between two loud-talkers?

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Review: The Incredibly Good (and Affordable) Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic Mic

| January 7, 2014

By Michael W. Dean
The Freedom Feens
Genesis Communications Network
Co-Host

deanmichael2CASPER, WY — Remember that toy advertised on TV in the 1970s called “Mr. Microphone?”  It was a cheap plastic mic with a built-in low-power FM transmitter.  You could project a tinny rendition of your voice over any portable radio within oh…about 30 feet.

The Audio-Technica AT2005USB mic kind of reminds me of the Mr. Microphone except that the AT2005USB sounds incredibly good.  And instead of reaching every radio within 30 feet, it reaches every radio in America, or at least every radio in America that’s in a city where your show has an affiliate.

This would be a great mic for hosts who travel a lot, and don’t want to bring a mixer and a whole bag of gear or an engineer.  It’s a regular-sized dynamic mic that sounds fairly amazing.  It has a built-in USB interface, and comes with a nifty collapsible tripod table stand and a USB cable.  You could fit that all in a netbook case with a small laptop. Add a set of earphones or even ear buds and you could do your show from anywhere.  You could fit all that in a briefcase or purse.

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