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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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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

| January 7, 2014

cainepaulCEO Caine Set to Depart WestwoodOne.  As WestwoodOne becomes a fully integrated Cumulus Media division, chief executive officer Paul Caine will leave later this month. According to Cumulus chief executive officer Lew Dickey, “Paul is an extremely talented media executive and did an excellent job of guiding WestwoodOne during a period of change.  He positioned the company for future growth and played an instrumental role in driving awestwoodone logo constructive transaction, which delivered value for his shareholders.  We look forward to working with Paul in the next chapter of his impressive career.”  Caine is “so proud of the team we’ve built and what we’ve accomplished” at the company.  “In such a short time, we have proven the power of sound and its impact on the future of the audio industry,” he remarks.  “I am confident that this great momentum will continue under Cumulus and the strong talent and leadership of Lew Dickey.”  Less than one year ago (April 2013), Caine was announced as chief executive officer of Dial Global (now WestwoodOne) and as a member of the company’s board of directors.  He previously spent nearly 25 years at Time Inc., where he led the development of digital formats.

cookehollandNew Media Expo and CES Update.  “If I were Howard Stern I would go to a subscription podcasting model.”  Those were the words of Courtside Entertainment Group and PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz speaking at yesterday morning’s keynote address at 2014 New Media Expo (formerly Blogworld).  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine and he has more from Pattiz.  Also check out his notes from the first day of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show where he reports back on the new technology that is relevant to the radio and content business.  Check it out here.

paulsenrouhierGrant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Host Middays on WJFK-FM, Washington.  Speculation that Don Geronimo would re-surface during the day on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” have been squelched as the station debuted its new midday show co-hosted by Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier (Geronimo remains with the station hosting the evening show).  Rouhier had been working with Holden Kushner during the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot previously.  Kushner remains with the station hosting weekends and participating in the station’s Washington Nationals coverage.  Paulsen has been serving as the station’s Redskins beat reporter for the past four years.

deptrojohnWPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Air; Critics Remain Steadfast.  Providence talk show host John DePetro – host of the late morning show on Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence – returned to the air on Monday after being off for the month of December.  DePetro and local union leader Maureen Martin – chairwoman of the anti-DePetro organization For Our Daughers RI – appear fated to continue their battle over DePetro’s employment with the station.  DePetro recently rankled Martin and other Rhode Island union members after he referred to some of them as “parasites,” “cockroaches,” “hags” and “whores” during a rant about their participation in a protest.  DePetro apologized for his choice of words but Martin is not backing off her campaign to oust DePetro from his position via boycott of the station’s advertisers and a petition drive.  The latest news in the skirmish is Martin publicly claiming DePetro was accused of sexual assault in 2013.  The Providence Journal-operated PolitiFact.com reports that it researched the matter to discover DePetro was accused of sexual harassment in 2012.  After connecting with Martin, PolitiFact.com reports the organization changed the date – from 2013 to 2012 – on its petition but has not altered the accusation to harassment.  Although harassment is a civil matter and assault is a felony, Martin insists to PolitiFact.com that an unwanted sexual advance is assault, according to the U.S. Department of Justice – which the news organization disputes.  Regardless, DePetro appears ready for battle, addressing the issue upon his return Monday saying, “Politicians and unions should not interfere and try to silence public opinion.  Period.  That’s it…They want to silence the people.  The last time I checked, this is still America.”

comrexComrex Names Raul Hun Latin America Sales Manager.  Comrex Corporation announces the appointment of Raul Hun to manage Latin America sales for the company.  Hun, a native of Panama, brings over 15 years of experience in providing studio and transmission solutions to broadcasters throughout Central and South America.  He most recently worked for the Telos Alliance and Broadcast Electronics.  Comrex director of sales Chris Crump comments, “Raul is one of the most well-liked gentlemen in our industry and we are thrilled to have him on our team.  The great work that Jim Godfrey has done for us in the region will certainly be strengthened by the strong dealer and customer relationships that Raul has developed over the years in Latin America.”

deanmichaelwReview: The Audio Technica AT2005USB Microphone.  Whether you record podcasts or take your talk show on the road (or both!), a good portable USB mic is a very handy thing.  Talk show host Michael W. Dean offers this thorough review of the Audio Technica AT2005USB mic.  He writes, “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.”  For the entire review, pics and a sound sample, click here.

summersrichOdds & Sods.  Rich Summers is the new operations manager for Townsquare Media’s news/talk KIDO, Boise and its sister sports talk station KFXD “Sports Radio 630 The Fan.”  Summers joined the station group as program director of country KAWO…..At Yahoo! Sports Radio, there’s been a lineup change: “Hit ‘Em Up with Geoff Ketchum” moves to the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot and a new afternoon drive program, “Prime Cut featuring Sean Salisbury and John Granato,” launches in the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET timeslot…..In addition to yesterday’s news that the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment digital audio platform iHeartRadio will be available on some new car entertainment and information systems, the company is promoting the service will soon be available on Qualcomm’s multi-media AllPlay smart media platform, the new AT&T Drive auto platform and others.  The announcement was made at day one of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.

MSNBC-Romney Controversy, Winter Cold Snap/Global Warming, Kerry’s Iran-Syria Solution, Colorado Pot Law Effects, Chicago Gun Ban Overturned, and SCOTUS Utah Gay Marriage Ruling Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6).  MSNBC’s forced apology after a program aired in which comedians made fun of Mitt Romney’s adopted, African-American grandson; the bitter winter weather affecting much of the United States and the controversy over its cause; criticism over John Kerry’s reaching out to Iran in an effort to solve the civil unrest in Syria; the effects of the new marijuana laws in Colorado; the overturning of Chicago’s ban on the purchase and sale of guns in the city; and the Supreme Court’s overturning of Utah’s gay marriage law were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Vegas Two-Fer: Tuesday Update

| January 7, 2014

Holland Cooke
TALKERS Contributor
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterLAS VEGAS — It’s interesting to see which radio people are here for CES and who’s here for NMX; and REAL impressive seeing some familiar faces at both.  

The Consumer Electronics Association has asked that news media here NOT call this event the “Consumer Electronics Show.”  They prefer “International CES,” reflecting its global draw, and because the ways digital technology is changing everyday life go way beyond gadgets.  I tried, with mixed emotions, since “CES” is lingo to “real people” listeners.  I felt less-guilty reverting when I heard CBS News lapse.

NMX is short for “New Media Expo,” formerly Blogworld, which also pulls an impressively international crowd of bloggers and podcasters.  If you missed my notes from NMX Saturday/Sunday sessions: http://www.talkers.com/2014/01/06/2014-nmx-lots-about-branding-not-a-word-about-benghazi/

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2014 NMX: Lots About Branding, Not a Word About Benghazi

| January 6, 2014

Holland Cooke
TALKERS Contributor
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterLAS VEGAS — Historically, broadcasters and podcasters have been dismissive of each other.  If you make your living talking on transmitters you might regard webcasters as a shadow medium, minor league hobbyists talking topics of insufficient appeal to warrant AM/FM distribution.

Conversely, some internet self-publishers regard AM radio’s snap-crackle-pop and any transmitter’s geographical and audio-only limitations – and radio’s homogenized programming – as old school (though they sure do envy broadcasters’ advertising sales).

That thing-in-your-pocket-we-used-to-call-a-phone is the hardware; and the burgeoning, enthused community that populates this particular convention is the software.  As continuously as that hardware evolves, so does the software, and this event.  A dozen years ago, in hard-copy TALKERS magazine, I reported from “The Podcast and Portable Media Expo,” then the “Blogworld” it morphed into before re-branding as “New Media Expo” (“NMX”).

 

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New Year, New Content

| January 6, 2014

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
Owner

SHAKER HEIGHTS — Facebook has made some important changes, and I’ve got some tips for you to take advantage of those changes.

BuzzFeed_Logo 200The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official.  The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits.  That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is “sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.”

All social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see.  Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving.  Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base.

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Industry Mourns Talk Pioneer Bob Grant

| January 2, 2014

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

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

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

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

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The Miracle of ‘A Christmas Story’

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

| December 24, 2013

TALKERS Magazine Compiles News/Talk Radio’s Most Talked-About Stories and People of 2013.  As is customary at year’s end, the research editors of TALKERS magazine compile the most-talked-about stories and people of the just-concluded 12-month period.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “2013 was an extremely colorful year with a diversity of subjects and people being discussed.  There was the usual mix of partisan politics, foreign affairs, economic policy and, of course, the shockingly unexpected such as the Boston Marathon tragedy.”  Casey continues, “The President of the United States has always been the most talked about person going back to the very beginning of this publication 24 years ago and George Bush’s involvement in the first Persian Gulf War.  Barack Obama, like his predecessors in the modern age of talk broadcasting, has not left talk show hosts wanting for hot material on a daily basis.”

Stories

1)   ObamaCare Rollout
2)   Benghazi Attack Investigation
3)   IRS Accused of Targeting Conservative Groups
4)   Debt Ceiling/Govt. Shutdown/Sequestration Battle
5)   NSA Domestic Spying/Edward Snowden Case
6)   Boston Marathon Bombing
7)   GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategy
8)   Gun Legislation Debate
9)    Iran Nuke Threat
10)  Syria Civil War
11)  Fed Stimulus Policy/Dow Surpasses 16,000
12)  DOJ Journalist Investigations
13)  Immigration Reform
14)  George Zimmerman Trial
15)  Afghanistan Security Withdrawl
16)  Egypt Violence/Instability
17)  N. Korea Nuke Threat
18)  Detroit Bankruptcy
19)  Pope Francis Replaces Benedict
20)  SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling

People

1)  Barack Obama
2)  John Boehner
3)  Nancy Pelosi
4)  Harry Reid
5)  Hillary Clinton
6)  John Kerry
7)  Rush Limbaugh
8)  Ted Cruz
9)  Chris Christie
10)  Paul Ryan
11)  Kathleen Sebelius
12)  Edward Snowden
13)  Vladimir Putin
14)  George Zimmerman
15)  Trayvon Martin
16)  Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
17)  Kim Jong Un
18)  Pope Francis
19)  Ben Bernanke
20)  Eric Holder

Radio Industry Sees Major Developments and Changes in 2013.  The combined editorial staffs of RadioInfo and TALKERS magazines have posted the 10 biggest stories of importance to the entire radio industry (music and talk) that took place in 2013.  They are as follows in order of importance:

1)      Nielsen Acquires Arbitron
2)      Developments in Emergence of the Connected Car
3)      Network Sports Talk Radio Growth Explosion
4)      Radio Company-Label Deals/Digital Royalty Rate Issue
5)      Cumulus Acquires (Dial Global) WestwoodOne
6)      Growth of Digital Music Service Providers
7)      Limbaugh and Hannity Station Realignment Deals Negotiated
8)      FCC Announces AM Band Revitalization Strategy
9)      Progressive Talk Outlets Continue to Disappear
10)   Country Music Format Enjoys Resurgence

brooksstanIndustry Mourns WINS, New York Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks.  Legendary WINS, New York newsman Stan Brooks passed away yesterday (12/23) at his home at age 86.  He’d been serving as senior correspondent for CBS RADIO’s WINS, New York – the station he’d been with for the past 50 years.  Brooks started working for the station in 1962 when it was a top 40 station and stayed with it through its transition to all-news.  WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach says of Brooks, “Like every challenge he has ever faced, Stan met this final one with the same class, dignity and humility that defined every day of his almost 87 years on this earth. There will never be another one like him.”  EVP of operations for CBS RADIO Scott Herman adds, “Not only was Stan Brooks a walking encyclopedia on NYC politics he was one of the finest, decent and most dignified men who ever lived.  We were lucky to have him on 1010 WINS for the past 51 years and we will never ever forget him.”  Read about Brooks’ life and career in a piece from CBS New York here.

wrcn logoJVC Broadcasting Prepares for Launch of ‘Long Island News Radio 103.9’ on Thursday.  Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting announces the lineup for its soon-to-be former rock outlet WRCN, Riverhead, New York branded “Long Island News Radio 103.9.”  TALKERS reported two weeks ago that the station’s studio will be located in the terminal of the Long Island MacArthur Airports – a physical reminder of the local intentions of this new station for the Long Islanders who use the facility.  Now to the lineup: morning drive is being hosted by Jay Oliver; the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show is Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and Friends; local host John Gomez is handling the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot followed by the local, one-hour show “Breaking it Down with Frank Mackay.”  Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity is in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

bowenrobbyRobby Bowen Upped at CBS RADIO’s ‘105.3 The Fan.’  Sales pro Robby Bowen is promoted to general sales manager for CBS RADIO sports talker KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The FAN.”  Bowen joined CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005 as an account executive for the station, which was at that time KLLI-FM.  During his time there he has served as local sales manager and most recently was senior account director.

wjfkholdendannyChanges in Middays at WJFK-FM, Washington Raise Questions.  According to Dan Steinberg’s column in the Washington Post, the midday lineup at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC is in flux after the station announced Holden Kushner will be moving to other duties including weekends, fill-in and participating in Washington Nationals coverage.  Kushner was paired up with Danny Rouhier who reportedly will host the show solo today (12/24) and then be on vacation through December 30.  What happens after that is uncertain.  The station is expected to announce plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart in the New Year but already the news is cause for speculation.  With the arrival of Don Geronimo from the company’s KHTK, Sacramento earlier this fall (currently hosting evenings), DC radio fans are wondering if he’ll return to a daytime show on the station.  Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara held down afternoon drive at the station when it was a hot talker from 1991 through 2008.

walshmattMatt Walsh Exits WLAP, Lexington; Sean Hannity to Air in PM Drive.  Writer and talk show host Matt Walsh announces that his contract with Clear Channel’s WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky is up and as the station is filling the afternoon drive slot with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity, he’s leaving AM/FM talk radio for good.  In a post on his blog, Walsh explains that although he has nothing but good things to say about his time at WLAP, he’s going to focus on his blog that he says has “between three and five million people” reading it every month.  As for his time at WLAP, he says, “WLAP took a chance on me, gave me a show, gave me the freedom to handle the topics in my own way, and surrounded me with a highly intelligent and passionate supporting cast.  I’m grateful for that, as these things are certainly not a given in this industry.”

nab logoNAB Acquires Two Events: CCW and SATCON.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces it has purchased the assets of the Content and Communications World (CCW) and Satellite Communications Conference and Expo (SATCON) events from JD Events.  The two events are held annually in November and are co-located at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  In a press statement, the NAB says that “CCW is the leading media, entertainment and communications technology event of its kind in New York with a focus on content creation, management and delivery technologies.  SATCON offers education and exhibits serving companies in the satellite-enabled communications and content delivery industry.”  EVP of NAB Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown comments, “We have made these additions to the NAB event family with the goal of growing both the attendee and exhibitor base of what has emerged as an important East Coast venue for the content community.  We look forward to developing this event and serving the unique needs of this very important media market.”

nielsen logoNieslen Audio December PPM Data Released.  The December 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for the first 12 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo.  Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.

musciovecchioOdds & Sods.  Premiere Networks-distributed 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – will ring in the New Year with a countdown of the top 247 comedy bits from the top 247 comedians.  The program is compiled by staff and listeners who voted on 24/7 Comedy’s Facebook page or called the laugh-line at 218-Chuckle.  The countdown will air nationwide all day New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and will feature Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Aziz Ansari, Bill Engvall, Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield…..KFMB, San Diego weekend program “It’s Your Money and Your Life” picked up three first place awards from the San Diego Press Club for “Excellence in Journalism.”  The show currently originates from La Jolla’s prestigious La Valencia Hotel and airs Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, hosted by Richard Muscio (left) and Joe Vecchio (right).

Monday, December 23, 2013

| December 23, 2013

cumulus logoCumulus Announces Completion of Refinancing; $2.025 Billion Loan Due in 2020.  The refinancing of Cumulus Media’s senior secured credit facilities was reported last month and now Cumulus announces that goal has been complete.  The company says it enters into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, consisting of a $2.025 billion term loan maturing in December 2020 and a $200 million revolving credit facility maturing in December 2018.  The proceeds from the Term Loan along with cash on hand have been used to repay in full all amounts outstanding under the first and second lien term loans under Cumulus’ pre-existing credit agreements.  The refinancing follows the entry into a $50 million, 5-year revolving accounts receivables securitization facility, which Cumulus entered into on December 6, 2013.  CEO Lew Dickey states, “This highly successful refinancing transaction is expected to increase our free cash flow by greater than $30 million annually, extends our maturities through 2020 and simplifies our capital structure.  We believe our balance sheet has now placed us at a competitive advantage that positions us well for future growth opportunities.”

mcneildanWSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Returns to Air with Apologies and Admission of His Addictions.  Midday sports talk host Dan McNeil had been off CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago for the better part of the past two months and while there was no explanation for his absence other than he had personal things to deal with, regular listeners may have suspected McNeil was dealing with substance abuse issues.  It’s not the first time he’s left the air for that reason.  But on Friday, McNeil – whose name had been removed from the show during that time – returned to the air and offered a frank and full mea culpa about his addiction to marijuana and pain pills that’s kept him off the air.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has posted a transcript of a good chunk of what McNeil said on the radio but what his partner – Matt Spiegel – said to him probably rings true for a lot of the people in his life.  “We are glad that you are back.  But I will not pretend that it is with full-on trust and full-on joy that it was perhaps the first time [you returned].  In the spirit of honesty with you, and I’m sure that some listeners feel that way as well, you and I have always been real with each other.  We’ll continue to be real.  That we felt betrayed.  That we felt betrayed. . .We’re here with you.  We want to be here with you.  But I think you know you have to regain some trust.”  Read Feder’s entire column here.

millerstephfreespeechtvStephanie Miller Show to Air on Free Speech TV.  Fans of progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller rallied to raise funds to get her program back on television via the Free Speech TV network.  Miller – whose radio program is losing its flagship station KTLK as the outlet drops progressive talk and changes programming – was part of a campaign to raise money to bring the show to Free Speech TV.  The goal was $50,000 but fans responded enthusiastically and so far have raised $120,450 to build a studio and support the production of the program on the commercial-free network.  In a statement announcing the successful effort, Miller says, “It was a clear demonstration that, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, progressive media matters.  And it matters enough that regular people are willing to come together and do what the big corporate media conglomerates are afraid to do…give thoughtful, funny and creative progressive voices a way to speak to the people who want to hear them.”  Miller’s show is produced by WYD Media Management and WYD president Ron Hartenbaum says the new studio on the lower level of Miller’s home will “give the listeners and viewers more of a reality-show feel to the production versus a more traditional/sterile broadcast facility.”  Referring to the $120,450 raised for the expanded programming, Hartenbaum says, “We are funded and supported in part by our listeners and viewers.  All advertisers should take strong note that our audience spends money.”

maisanoadamMaisano To Exit Curtis Media Group, Raleigh.  Due to a family member’s health issues, seven-year Curtis Media Group, Raleigh senior vice president/director of sales Adam Maisano will be leaving his position at month’s end.  Maisano comments that it is “with exceedingly mixed emotions” that he departs “this great job,” but he states, “Over the last 18 months I have learned a lot about what is truly important in life.  Right now, family has to come first.”  He wants to return to active radio management by next spring.  Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “Adam has been a great employee.  I, along with everyone at Curtis Media Group, wish him Godspeed in his personal journey and much continued success in his career.”  Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh cluster was the market’s top-biller.  It consists of country WQDR “94.7 ‘QDR,” adult hits WBBB “Radio 96.1,” urban AC WBZJ “The New 96.9,” CHR WWPL “The Pulse,” regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1,” talk WPTF, talk WPTK, and comedy WFNL “Funny 570.”  Maisano joined the company approximately 12 years ago as national sales manager.  He previously worked in sales for Clear Channel’s Augusta, Georgia stations.

entercomEntercom to Donate KWOD, Salem, Oregon to the MMTC.  The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council will be the recipient of radio station KWOD, Salem Oregon – a donation by Entercom Communications Corp.  The station is currently airing a sports talk format.  The MMTC was founded to promote diversity in broadcast station ownership and uses donated stations to train minorities and women in broadcast operations, sales, management, and ownership and enables them to purchase the stations at a discount from theirmmtc logo market values.  Since MMTC founded its media and telecom brokerage in 1997, it has helped hundreds of interested parties and new entrants with conducting business planning and due diligence and helping new entrants build their professional and financial networks.  MMTC president David Honig states, “Entercom is a terrific example of a company that truly has the public interest at heart.  Thanks to this generous gift to MMTC, we can train more new entrants in broadcast ownership and further our mission of promoting diversity in entrepreneurship.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field adds, “We are very excited to be donating this station and providing a new radio entrepreneur with the opportunity to become a great broadcaster and radio station owner.  We appreciate the leadership of David Honig and the MMTC staff and all they do to help enable these opportunities and mentor minority broadcasters.”

justbobOdds & Sods.  Bob Just a former TRN host who Sean Hannity calls “one of the good Democrats,” returns to the talk radio business, if just for a day, to guest host Hannity’s show on Friday, December 27.  Along with being a grassroots leader, Bob Just is also a longtime WND columnist and Whistleblower Magazine editor-at-Large.   A self-described Reagan Democrat who speaks at Tea Party rallies, Just did the research and development for Hannity’spatrickmatt second New York Times best seller, Deliver Us from Evil…..Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick will sit in for Bill Cunningham on his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Sunday night show on January 29.  Patrick says this is the third year in a row he’s done the program and he’s looking forward to presenting his year-in-review program…..Television news anchor and reporter Kimberly Easton joins CBS Radio’s all-news simulcast WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago as a part-time anchor and reporter, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder.  She fills the slot of Brandis Friedman who moves to WTTV-TV, Chicago in October…..Katie Couric’s television talk show “Katie” will not return for a third season in the fall of 2014.  The New York Daily News reports that Couric and ABC Domestic Television have agreed to end the show’s production in June of 2014 and not continue.  According to the story, ratings were not the issue but the high cost of producing the program was not making it worthwhile.  Couric has signed on to be a “global anchor” for Yahoo! for what is reportedly a deal worth $6 million per year.

ratnervicABC News Radio’s Vic Ratner to Retire.  Longtime ABC News Radio reporter Vic Ratner is retiring at the end of the month after a career that began at ABC with coverage of the Watergate trial in 1973.  During his time with ABC News Radio, Ratner has served as Capitol Reporter, a war correspondent and covered NASA for the network.  In a memo to staffers, ABC News president Ben Sherwood wrote: “Most careers can be captured in words.  Vic’s career is captured in sounds.  In his incredible 40 years on the air for ABC News Radio, Vic has painted vivid pictures for our listeners with a rich and imaginative vocabulary that brought stories to life and gave meaning to ‘Gemini’ and ‘Apollo’ and even ‘filibuster’ and ‘quorum.’  With every syllable, Vic defined and embodied excellence.  When Vic arrived at ABC in 1973, one of his first assignments was the trial of the “Watergate Seven” in Washington.  He has covered every presidential campaign, political convention, inauguration and State of the Union since then, plus almost every space shuttle launch.  He has reported from 54 countries and 49 states.  For the record book, only South Dakota — the Mt. Rushmore State — has escaped his attention.”  Ratner comments to his colleagues, “I have been fortunate to work with and learn from exceptionally talented and innovative people at ABC.  Thanks to all of you for the collaborative effort, which makes us the best.”

wachsrudyHangin’ with Rudy.  Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) poses for a photo with Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger (left) at a Christmas football party over the weekend.  Ruettiger is a motivational speaker and former Notre Dame football player who was the subject of the movie “Rudy.”

Catholic Relevant Radio to Purchase WNTD, Chicago for $14.4 Million.  Relevant Radio has been LMAing the M&S WNTD LLC station since 2007 – that’s when the $14.4 price tag was set – and now Relevant’s executive director Rev. Francis Hoffman says the organization has come up with the cash to complete the transaction for the 1,000-watt daytimer.

bearmanjacobsheartRaising Funds for Children’s Cancer Support.  KSCO, Santa Cruz talk show host Ethan Bearman (right) chats on the air with Team G Foundation co-founder and CEO Kristin Cosnor  (left) during a recent fundraising remote broadcast.  Bearman tells TALKERS magazine he interviewed parents who benefitted from this group while their kids underwent cancer treatment at Stanford and UCSF – one hour to two-and-a-half hours away from their homes on the Central Coast.

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

| December 20, 2013

By David Bernstein
TalkersRadio
General Manager

 

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

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

Read More

Friday, December 20, 2013

| December 20, 2013

smithpaulwPaul W. Smith Renews with WJR, Detroit for 7 Years.  Telling Crain’s Detroit Business, “I’m thrilled, especially considering the length,” WJR, Detroit morning show host Paul W. Smith announces he’s re-signed with the Cumulus Media station for seven more years.  He’s been the AM personality since replacing J.P. McCarthy in 1996.  Smith says that, from what he’s heard, the length of the deal is “unheard of.”  (He’s right!)  The 60-year-old Smith adds, “I like Detroit; I made a commitment to Detroit coming back in 1996.  The good stuff is just about to begin with the turnaround.  This would be a horrible time to leave.”

pendergastseanSean Pendergast Moves to CBS Radio’s KILT, Houston.  With the departure of Josh Innes to the company’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia where he’ll host the evening show, CBS Radio sports talker KILT, Houston brings Sean Pendergast aboard from GOW Broadcasting’s crosstown KGOW where he’s been PM drive host for the past year.  Pendergast will co-host the KILT afternoon show with Rich Lord from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Program director Ryan McCredden says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Sean to 610 and have him join our lineup.  He is a true pro with a loyalty and passion for Houston sports that is unrivaled.  As a team, Sean and Rich Lord will present a fun, and informative experience for the everyday Houston sports fan.”  Pendergast comments, “In a city with a crowded sports dial, 610′s lineup and programming are the gold standard.  This is a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with Rich, interacting with a captive audience and sharing opinions on our local teams.”

coxebobBob Coxe to Retire from Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta.  Bob Coxe has been a familiar voice delivering news to Atlantans via news/talk WSB for the past 23 years.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that the 66-year-old Coxe is hanging up his headphones today to enjoy retirement after a radio career that has spanned four decades.  Coxe tells Ho that assuming a normal sleep schedule is something he’s looking forward to.  He says that like his hero Mickey Mantle, he knows when it’s time to step away.  “You don’t have the physical energy, the concentration or mental acuity to do it at the standard you’d hope to set for yourself.  Plus, the hours are punishing.”  Taking over for Coxe will be Judd Hickinbotham, who will work alongside Marcy Williams on the morning show.

millerkevinbakerOdds & Sods.  FOX News Channel is presenting a special New Year’s Eve program, “All-American New Year,” on December 31 from 11:00 pm to 12:30 am featuring co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Hemmer live from Times Square in New York City.  The pair will be joined by FNC’s Kimberly Guilfoyle, Bob Beckel, Ainsley Earhardt and Rick Leventhal.  Griff Jenkins will provide viewers with an inside look at the celebrations taking place in the city.  Music performances will come from country’s Rodney Atkins and will also feature performances by rock band Blues Traveler and Scottish singer and finalist of “Britain’s Got Talent,” Susan Boyle…..CBS Radio Philadelphia partners and combines forces with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show from Saturday, March 1 through Sunday, March 9.  SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “The Flower Show is the region’s premiere cultural event.  It is a positive reflection on Philadelphia across the globe.  CBS Local Radio is pleased to team up with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society by providing outstanding marketing solutions for our co-partners, which in turn provides essential funding for the Flower Show.”  All five CBS properties – including all-news KYW, news/talk WPHT, and sports talkers WIP-AM and WIP-FM – will have a part in promoting, selling and participating …..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller (left) is pictured above with the Travel Channel’s Mike Baker (right), host of “America Declassified.”  Baker was in the area and stopped by the KIDO studios to talk with Miller.

rountreeangieFemale Erotic-Media Entrepreneur Finding Interested Audiences as “Change-of-Pace” Talk Show Guest.  At a time when most news/talk stations are seeking two things to keep the format vibrant and growing – 1) relevant topics that go beyond right-versus-left politics and 2) programming that would be attractive to more female listeners without turning off men – Angie Rowntree (at left) is finding appreciation among hosts and producers as the perfect “change-of-pace” guest.  Simply put, Angie Rowntree’s business is communicating about sex.  As the operator of the world’s largest “porn for women” site, Sssh.com, Rowntree has spent the last 14 years doing a lot of what you might assume someone running an erotic website does – like writing and directing adult entertainment movies – but a good deal of that time has also been spent doing something you might not expect from a pornographic entrepreneur: listening.  She tells TALKERS, “When I first started Sssh, there was just about nothing in adult entertainment that truly had been made with female viewers in mind,” reflecting on how she first got the idea to create Sssh.com. “There was just about every kink and specialty fetish you can think of that a man might be interested in, but aesthetically and thematically, there was basically no appeal to any of it from the female perspective.”  To find out more, read a new feature article posted today (12/20) by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein by clicking here.

ostapavlina16-Year-Old Broadcaster Making Waves at Daytona Beach Radio Stations.  Her name is Pavlina Osta and although she recently reached her 16th birthday she is already a five-year veteran of professional radio broadcasting having hosted her own music and talk show, “Pavlina’s Kids Place” since she was 11.  Most kids at age 16 have no career direction, but Pavlina is well on her way!  Fascinated with radio, Pavlina grew up wondering if she could be the person holding the mic.  But she decided not to wait, and began making calls to various celebrities that caught her attention.  Pavlina likes Alice Cooper, Dr. Oz, and Animal Planet’s Wayde King and Brett Raymer.  So that’s who she called, and receiving those calls from a charming teenager was all that was needed.  She landed the interviews that she wanted and continued with Teresa Guidice, star of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey.”  She now has her own YouTube channel, her own website, and a half-hour weekly radio show targeted to tweens and teens airing every Saturday at 11:30 am.  “Pavlina’s Kids Place” airs on Daytona Beach-area stations WAPN-FM, Holly Hill, Florida; WAPB-FM, Madison, Florida; and WELE-AM, Ormond Beach, Florida as well as the internet channel RealRadioDaytona.com.  Pavlina is also an award-winning dancer and has danced and sang in the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  She has been recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution as an outstanding citizen and the American Cancer Society for her contributions to Relay for Life events.  According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, “Pavlina is a rare find – especially in this day when teens are not as interested in going into radio as they were in past generations.  If she sticks with it, and I sure hope she does, she will be a major figure in broadcasting in very short time.  Radio needs kids like Pavlina.”  Pavlina Osta is available for interviews or to serve as a special correspondent for music and talk stations around the country.  She can be contacted at Frazier Public Relations, 703-431-7895 or visited on the web at www.PavlinaOsta.com.

mcculloughkevinTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update.  The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at KTLR, Oklahoma City and WTXY, Wilmington, North Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Networks-syndicated Jason Lewis show is added to the lineup at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin joins the program schedule at KVBL, Portland and the company’s “Red Eye Radio” overnight program joins the WVFT, Tallahassee lineup.

ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for 9th Consecutive Week.  The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the ninth straight week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the NSA spying case.  Following at #3 was the Target credit card security breach and at #4 was the controversy over “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson’s comments about homosexuality in GQ magazine.  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 and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

| December 19, 2013

lujacklarryFarewell: Legendary Larry Lujack.  Notwithstanding words such as “legendary” and “iconic” are grossly overused, Larry Lujack was nonetheless an unquestionable legendary, iconic Chicago personality.  The radio world lost a quintessential on-air talent Wednesday night when the 73-year-old “Super Jock” passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Especially in the Midwest, countless air personalities hoping to advance to the biggest of the big timekinosianmike when AM radio was king would talk up vocals on audition tapes, liberally using signature slogans like “The Big 89,” “The Rock of Chicago,” and “Music Radio, W-L-S.”  Radio pro Mike Kinosian, who serves as managing editor and West Coast bureau chief for TALKERS and its sister publication RadioInfo, wrote a beautiful tribute to the life and career of Lujack.  Kinosian interviewed Lujack in 2003 and Kinosian shares some of Lujack’s thoughts about top 40 radio, the state of the industry at the time and, of course, his own career.  Read Kinosian’s story on RadioInfo here.

shapirobenBen Shapiro Named Afternoon Host at KTTH, Seattle.  Rising young talk radio personality Ben Shapiro joins Bonneville Seattle’s conservative news/talk station KTTH to host the afternoon drive program.  The New York Times best-selling author, Harvard Law School grad and talk media personality will continue his current position with Salem Communications co-hosting the morning drive show at KRLA, Los Angeles alongside Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss in addition to his new position in Seattle.  Shapiro comments, “I couldn’t be more excited about joining the stellar lineup at AM 770 KTTH.  What I love most is the opportunity to enrich the public discourse.  It’s not often that hosts get that freedom.  Thanks to KTTH’s forward thinking approach, I’m overjoyed to have that opportunity.”  KTTH is now airing live programming in both morning and afternoon drive.  David Boze hosts the morning show.

macnowglenGlen Macnow Remains with WIP-FM, Philadelphia but Rob Ellis Is New PM Drive Co-Host.  As had been predicted by Philadelphia media watchers, including Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com, sports talk personality Glen Macnow will move off the afternoon drive show on WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94 WIP” where he’s been co-hosting with Anthony Gargano and remain with CBS Radio Philadelphia in a different capacity.  At the same time, the stationellisrob announces evening host Rob Ellis will join Gargano as co-host of the PM drive show.  Taking over Ellis’ evening show role is Josh Innes who comes to WIP-FM from the company’s KILT, Houston where he’s been hosting PM drive.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield announces that Macnow’s new responsibilities will include appearances on all-news KYW and news/talk WPHT while he continues to host his long-running Saturday program from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm WIP-FM with Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger.   Rayfield adds, “I’m pleased we have reached an agreement with Glen that supports his relationship with WIP, and also allows us to increase his presence within the CBS Radio Philly family of stations.  Being able to use his expertise across more of our platforms is a real win for our stations, the listeners and Philadelphia’s passionate sports fan base.”  Beginning in January 2014, Macnow will be heard on KYW’s afternoon broadcast of the “Reporter’s Roundup,” and, during football season, with Harry Donahue on the station’s top-rated morning show.  Additionally, he will be featured during Phillies pre- and post-game shows on WPHT, flagship broadcaster for the local team.

levinmarkCumulus Syndicated Star Mark Levin to be Featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV.  Perennial Heavy Hundred personality Mark Levin will be the featured guest author on C-SPAN‘s extremely popular and prestigious literary program “BookTV’s In Depth” on Sunday, January 5.  Not only is Levin a top-rated radio talker but he is an attorney and nationally recognized expert on Constitutional Law as well as a best-selling author.  The syndicated radio talk show host and former Reagan administration official will spend three hours taking viewers’ calls, Facebook comments,cspanbooktv emails and tweets on topics such as the role of the federal government, recent Supreme Court decisions and the upcoming 2014 elections, among others.  The president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, Levin is the author of five non-fiction books, including “Rescuing Sprite” “Liberty & Tyranny” and his 2013 release, “The Liberty Amendments.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Mark Levin is the quintessential example of a radio talk show host who is also a very successful author who actually sells a ton of books time after time.  Talk talent from all sides of the ideological spectrum can learn from his precise way of explaining complex issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives and putting forth his opinions in a compelling and credible manner.”  The live airing of Mark Levin will be Sunday, January 5, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on Book TV on C-SPAN2.  Archived on demand editions will be available after the airing at http://booktv.org/.

romanogeneGene Romano Takes on Talent Development Duties with Clear Channel.  There’s a sort of re-alignment going on within the executive ranks of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s programming department.  As National Programming Platforms EVP Darren Davis explains in a memo to company staff, some execs are getting more duties and Gene Romano is the latest to take on more.  Davis writes: “You’ve seen over the past several days we’ve been announcing some expanded duties for several of CCM+E’s senior programmers.  It’s all part of an overall strategy to closely link the E/SVPP Team with NPP — so that our local efforts and national efforts are totally in sync.  And today, I have another bit of great news to share.  EVPP Gene Romano will have expanded duties effective today.  In addition to the East Major Markets he oversees, Gene will also oversee Programming Talent Recruitment and Development for CCM+E.  CCM+E has attracted best-in-class programming talent over the past couple of years from a variety of companies and industries.  Gene will lead our efforts to accelerate our recruitment of the very best into our company.  Gene will also work with our E/SVPPs, Brand Managers and VPPs to identify the future stars already inside the company to mentor, grow and provide the tools and resources for their continued advancement with CCM+E.”

hannityseanClear Channel’s Denver News/Talkers Tweak Program Schedules; Hannity and Limbaugh to Air Live.  Program schedule adjustments at Clear Channel’s KOA and KHOW in Denver will take effect in January.  Some of the noteworthy moves are bringing Premiere Networks syndicated star Sean Hannity from an evening delayed broadcast to the live 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm shift on KHOW.  Tom Martino will air from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and an hour is trimmed off Michael Brown’s afternoon show which will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Across the hall at KOA, the morning program with Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh expands by an hour to 5:00 am to 10:00 am followed by live carriage of Rush Limbaugh from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Local personality Mike Rosen moves from late mornings to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift.

kdkafmlogoOn-Air Lineup Modifications in Store for Pittsburgh’s “Fan.”  CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports outlet KDKA-FM “The Fan” afternoon drive talent Josh Miller will shift to 6:00 am – 10:00 am; Andrew Fillipponi will co-host 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; and Colin Dunlap will succeed Fillipponi at 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.  Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of ‘The Fan.’  We are eager to showcase this new lineup that highlights the incredible talents of Pittsburgh’s foremost sports experts.  Josh’s unique sense of humor and insight will set the tone for the remainder of the day.  Andrew is a solid, thought-provoking sports talk show host who has shown he can deliver an informative and opinion-driven program.  Colin has grown both as a talk show host and writer in the past year; his work has scored big with our audiences.”  Former Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller spent 12 seasons in the NFL.  He joined “The Fan” in 2010 as a talk show host and football analyst.  Fillipponi has been with “The Fan” since the station debuted nearly four years ago.  Onetime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Dunlap began as a part-time “Fan” host in 2010.  Lineup changes on “The Fan” go into effect Monday, January 6.

kfsq logoPalm Springs’ KFUT Becomes “Fox Sports 1270.”  Yesterday at noon (12/18), MCC Radio transitioned Spanish oldies KFUT, Palm Springs, California to “Fox Sports 1270.”  The station’s lineup includes “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman and Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “Jay Mohr Sports” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Fox Sports Primetime” (12:00 noon – 4:00pm); “TMZ Sports” (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm); and “Petros and Money” (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm). “Fox Sports Radio programming originates in Southern California,” program director Mike Oakes points out.  “We are thrilled to bring it to the desert, serving Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.  I am especially excited to launch two rising shows in the sports talk universe, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ and ‘TMZ Sports.’  These are the cutting-edge of the sports talk genre.” Associated with the format flip, the station has changed calls from KFUT to KFSQ.

kdkaNews Staff at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Affected by Cuts.  Details aren’t complete but TALKERS hears that lead reporter and morning drive news anchor Adam Kirk has exited CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh as part of the budget-related cuts taking place at the company’s stations across the country.  There are reports that Kirk is not the only news staffer to be let go and that the station is adjusting its news presentation and will eliminate local news in the late night and overnight hours.

wbez logoWBEZ, Chicago Staffers Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA.  The 49 staffers who produce content for Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago and its digital properties will be represented by SAG-AFTRA following the staff’s 40-7 vote in favor of the change.  WBEZ criminal and legal affairs reporter Rob Wildeboer says in a statement, “Chicago Public Media is a valuable resource to all Chicagoans.  The staff of CPM cares deeply about this organization and its mission.  Public radio is more than a job.  Staff at CPM are deeply committed to the station and we love our work.  We have great leaders and a committed board and we believe organizing as staff members is an important step to achieving the goals we all share here: producing excellent journalism that serves the public and making this important local institution even stronger than it is today.”

savagemichaelOdds & Sods.  Cumulus Media Networks announces the number of stations carrying the Michael Savage show when it moves to PM drive in Eastern Time and debuts on Cumulus news/talk outlets in the New Year will be more than 200.  Savage says of the move, “This is the culmination of two decades in talk radio.  I was born for drive time where my pace matches that of America.  Everyone dreams of being on the Cumulus powerhouse signals. This is my dream come true.”…..PodcastOne earns props from the iTunes editorial team as two podcasts it makes available are named tops. pattiznorm The “Adam & Dr. Drew Show” is named best new audio podcast of 2013 while the Steve Austin show was selected as the top pick in the sports/recent debuts category.  PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We thank the editorial team at iTunes for selecting these programs.  We will proudly display the ‘iTunes Best of 2013’ badge prominently when presenting and promoting these programs.  Our lineup of the best-of-the-best in podcasting is validated with recognition like this.”…..Motley Fool’s Chris Hill also wins accolades from the iTunes editorial team as his “Investor Beat” podcast has been included among the iTunes Best of 2013.

hdradio logoRadio Companies Get Extension in HD Radio Patent Infringement Case.  As tipped by Radio World, the major radio companies who are being targeted by Delaware Radio Technologies and affiliated company Wyncomm LLC have won an extension for filing replies to the allegations leveled at them in connection with their HD radio transmissions.  They now have until February 24, 2014.  Industry watchers call Wyncomm a patent troll, nonetheless it is seeking damages via a jury trial for what it says are infringements of the patents it holds with regard to voice and data transmission over in-band, on-channel digital broadcasts.  The radio companies being sued include: Beasley Broadcast Group, CBS Radio, CC Media Holdings, Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Entercom, Entravision, Greater Media, Hubbard Radio, Radio Disney, Radio One, Saga Communications, Townsquare Media and Univision.

gamblingdinnerA Farewell Party for John Gambling.  As John Gambling prepares to wrap his legendary New York City radio career with his final show on Clear Channel’s WOR tomorrow (12/20), Gambling and former co-workers gathered at a New York eatery to congratulate him on his colorful career.  Gambling is pictured here (second from right) between former news anchor Babita Hariani (right) and former producer Jill Vitale (third from right).  Also in attendance were former WABC colleagues Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, former engineer Frank D’Elia, former call screener Andre Lelong, former intern and current WABC staffer Mike Gunzelman, and WNYM producer and talk host Frank Morano.

carrjagcontest‘Win Howie’s Jag’ Contest Wraps with Live Broadcast.  The holiday contest taking place at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston entered the finalist stage on Wednesday as afternoon drive talk host Howie Carr (right) broadcast live from The Fairways at Woburn Country Club as part of Happy Howie Days.  During the show, Carr and WRKO gave 20 pre-determined qualifiers the chance to “Win Howie’s Jaguar!”  Each of the 20 qualifiers received a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill and Pub at Woburn Country Club and a gift package, courtesy of Perfect Smiles of Nashua, New Hampshire.  Finalist, John Treggiari of Salem (left), unfortunately was not able to drive off in the 2013 Jaguar XF, courtesy of Jaguar Exeter.  However, he did win a two-night stay at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham, located on Cape Cod.

Indian Diplomat Incident, ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Spying Program, Rodman Visits N. Korea, Budget Deal, ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch on Hiatus over Gay Comments, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18).  Tensions between the U.S. and India over the arrest and treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; scrutiny of the NSA’s spying policies; former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s return visit to N. Korea; the recently passed congressional budget deal; A&E puts “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus after gay criticisms in GQ article; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis a Marxist were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

| December 18, 2013

sanchezrickRick Sanchez Joins WIOD, Miami in New Lineup.  Clear Channel Media + Entertainment news/talk WIOD, Miami announces a new program lineup that includes cable news/talk veteran Rick Sanchez in the latewiod logo morning slot.  Program director Grace Blazer says on the station’s website, “Our new lineup reflects 610 WIOD’S strengthening commitment to high-quality local news, accurate weather, important traffic conditions, and the perfect balance of highly talented local and national personalities.  The result will be a topical, informative and entertaining listener experience for the residents and businesses of South Florida.”  The lineup includes “South Florida’s First News with Jimmy Cefalo” in morning drive, Sanchez from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon followed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.  The new program schedule takes effect on January 6.

grzanichsteveCuts at CBS Chicago Leave Anchor/Reporter Steve Grzanich Out.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has been writing about budget-related cuts at the CBS Radio cluster in Chicago for several days and now we know more about who’s been affected.  At all-news WBBM-AM, anchor/reporter Steve Grzanich exits after 20 years with thewbbmlogo station.  ChicagoRadioandMedia.com tips us that Grzanich posted the following message on his Facebook page: “Dear Friends: I have breaking news…about me!  After 20 years, I am signing off at WBBM Newsradio to explore other opportunities.  I am hungry for a new challenge and must embark on the journey to find it starting now.  But don’t go away!  I’ll still be here in Chicago and on Facebook with news, weather and other stuff…just not on the 8s.  Thank you for listening!  Stay tuned for news about my next chapter.”  The cluster also saw the release of longtime production/imaging staffer Michael Horn who worked for sister CHR WBBM-FM “B96.”  Horn has been working with Killer Hertz since May of 2012 and ChicagoRadioandMedia.com reports he will continue to do freelance imaging work while he looks for his next opportunity.  Feder reports that a number of sales staffers have been let go from the cluster.

cbsradio logoOther CBS Radio Cuts Hit Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.  According to sources in Southern California, there have been four layoffs at CBS stations there including KTRH news anchor Bob Malik and KNX traffic reporter Tommy Jaxson.  The two others are believed to be front office staffers.  In Pittsburgh, changes come to sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” as Vinnie Richichi exits the Vinnie & Cook midday program and Paul Alexander leaves the morning drive show.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik reports that Richichi and Ron Cook never got along, it was obvious on the air and that led to Richichi’s departure, plus morning host Gregg Giannotti was not happy working with Alexander.  Finally, in Atlanta Kendra G. and Christopher “Crash” Clark exit the Ryan Cameron morning show at urban contemporary WVEE “V103.”

foxsportsradio logoLineup Changes at Fox Sports Radio Network in the New Year.  The national lineup from Fox Sports Radio Network will look a little different come January 5, 2014.  Gone from the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot will be Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman from “Fox Sports Primetime” with replacement(s) to be announced later.  J.T. the Brick moves from the overnight slot to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot accompanied by sidekick Tomm Looney, displacing the current Petros & Money show.  Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith will continue to be heard on Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles.  Rob Dibble and Amy Van Dyken leave “Fox Sports Tonight” and the NFL Network’s and Fox Sports Network’s Jason Smith takes over that show airing from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET while Fox Sports Radio weekend personality Ben Maller becomes the 2:00 am to 6:00 am host.

dyerjohnCox Enterprises Promotes Dyer to President/CEO.  Current chief operating officer John Dyer will be elevated to Cox Enterprises president/chief executive officer when he officially succeeds retiring CEO Jimmy Hayes on Wednesday, January 1.  Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Media Group. According to Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy, “In the 36 years John has worked at Cox, he has always done a terrific job and always risen to meet every new challenge he was presented.  He has been an incredible chief operating officer and he understands all our businesses.  He is committed to our employees and our customers.  I am excited to work with [him] as he leads our company in an exciting future.”  Dyer comments, “Cox is a company that values its employees, delivers superior products and services to its customers, and strives to be a responsible and sustainable corporate partner in the communities in which we operate.  I am excited about the ways we will continue to grow our existing businesses and invest in future opportunities.”  In addition to Cox Media Group, Dyer will be responsible for Cox Communications, Manheim, and AutoTrader Group, as well as corporate functions including financial operations, human resources and administration.

murraybobBob Murray Takes Leave from WTAX, Springfield to Battle Brain Tumor.  “Morning Newswatch” host Bob Murray tells listeners in an open letter that he is taking time from the Saga Communications news/talk outlet to focus on “getting better and being with loved ones.”  Murray writes: “As you have probably heard, I have decided to elect for an extended medical leave of absence from my post as the host of the ‘WTAX Morning Newswatch’ due to newly discovered health concerns.  Many people have enquired (sic) into what is going on, and I thought it would be best you hear it from me.  I have been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and will be taking this leave from work as an opportunity to focus my time on getting better and being with family and loved ones.  While this is far from an ideal situation, we are remaining positive and focusing on staying strong.  In the days following the announcement, it has been so incredibly humbling to feel the outpour of prayers and support from all directions, and I am pretty positive I will never be able to properly express how much that means to my family and me.  I also want to thank the WTAX family and central Illinois area for their many years of loyal listenership.  It has truly been an honor to start each day with you, tackling the issues that matter to us.  I hope to be back in the capital soon, focusing on what I love, delivering the news, sports, entertainment and important local happenings to you.”

jaybradley‘Jay Talking’ Permanent Overnight Show on WBZ-AM, Boston.  Bradley Jay’s “Jay Talking” program is now the official overnight program on CBS Radio’s news and talk WBZ-AM, Boston.  Jay has been working in the news and talk realm for some time (he also serves as the executive producer for “Nightside with Dan Rea”) but he got his start in music radio and worked at the legendary rock outlet WBCN.  In fact, he hosted the last show at “The Rock of Boston” before a frequency swap and format change ended the station’s run.

daviscrashNRG, Omaha Names Davis KOOO Brand Manager.  In addition to being appointed brand manager of NRG Media, Omaha adult hits KOOO “Big O 101.9,” talk host Crash Davis takes on marketing director duties for that Nebraska market’s entire NRG cluster.  Operations manager Jeff Lynn comments, “Crash has been an integral part of our team for the past year.  He is very versatile and has a keen sense of what the Omaha listener wants and loves about ‘Big O.’  He brings many of the talents and skill sets we need to propel ‘Big O’ to new heights in the ratings and to drive results for our advertisers.”  Davis remarks, “I am delighted to have a more prominent role on a station I have watched evolve over the past several years.  I have great respect for [morning talent] Dave Wingert and the rest of the on-air team.  Our great variety of music and the content we talk about resonates with listeners.  I will do my part to enhance our reputation with the listeners and advertisers.”  Davis has been in Omaha radio the past 15 years, including as a host on NRG talk outlet KOIL “The Mighty 1290” and as the afternoon drive talent on cross-town Clear Channel-owned talk station KFAB.

wrightfrankdrSalem Selects Dr. Frank Wright As President/COO.  Eleven-year National Religious Broadcasters president/chief executive officer Dr. Frank Wright will join Salem Communications Corporation on Wednesday, January 1 as president/chief operating officer.  Dr. Wright will report directly to Salem chief executive officer and director Edward Atsinger.  “Frank has more than 20 years of experience working in – and with – broadcast media organizations,” Atsinger comments.  “He has also developed a robust network among DC-based public policy organizations, as well as DC-based political organizations.  Frank is an effective leader and team-builder with a strong entrepreneurial background, and he has extensive executive experience in strategic planning and organizational structure.  I expect him to hit the ground running and work closely with me in executing our business strategies.”  Before joining the NRB, Dr. Wright spent seven years as executive director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship; he has a doctorate in finance.

eaglepub logoWill Salem Purchase Eagle Publishing on January 15?  The story that Politico reported late last week is a done deal, according to BuzzFeed which states staffers at Eagle Publishing have been told the sale will take place on January 15.  According to the BuzzFeed piece, Salem Communications will add to its conservative print and digital assets with the acquisition and that as many as 90% of staffers will remain with the Eagle division; it’s the upper management positions that will be eliminated due to redundancy.  Eagle operates RedState.com, Human Events and Regnery Publishing.  Salem recently acquired Twitchy.com from conservative pundit, columnist and author Michelle Malkin.

hannityrcmhstudioSean’s New Digs!  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Sean Hannity (right) is pictured here with pundit and author Ann Coulter (center) and fellow Premiere star Glenn Beck (left) at Hannity’s new Premiere Networks studios at Radio City Music Hall in New York.  Hannity leaves his longtime home base at WABC, New York at the end of the year and his program will emanate from flagship WOR, New York beginning in January.

Budget Deal, NSA Data Mining Ruling, ObamaCare Criticism, Mega Millions Jackpot, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17).  The battle in the U.S. Senate over the details of the Congressional budget deal; the aftermath of a judge’s ruling the NSA data mining program “probably unconstitutional”; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Pope Francis’ “Marxist” economic philosophy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Millennials, Music and Radio

| December 17, 2013

By Jerry Del Colliano
Inside Music Media
Publisher

EXCLUSIVE TO RADIOINFO AND TALKERS

delcollianoSCOTTSDALE — There are over 80 million “Millennials” coming of age the oldest of whom are already 30-years-old – 12 years older than the youngest 18-49 money demo cherished by advertisers.

Millennials have their own technology just as baby boomers had records, radio and TV.

Except technology has very little to do with the impact that “Generation Y” is making on media and just about everything else.

Sure there is Facebook that they went to college with, and Napster that helped disrupt the record business, iPads, apps, smartphones, Instagram and their latest devilish work – to unbundle cable and make Netflix the new standard for the on-demand content they, well – demand.

Radio consolidated about the time the first Millennials were in grade school and the industry just assumed that young listeners would always be there to like radio.

The music industry that consisted of old white men who were lawyers thought Napster needed to be sued out of existence – and they succeeded.

But the damage was already done.

Read More

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

| December 17, 2013

wpro logoWPRO: John DePetro Not Serving Suspension.  WPRO, Providence program director Craig Schwalb tells TALKERS magazine that the report published at GoLocalProv.com indicating talk show host John DePetro has been suspended until early January is false; DePetro is on vacation.  TALKERS reported thedeptrojohn GoLocalProv.com story earlier today.  DePetro, who has been away from his program since late last week, has been under fire since a local union-led boycott of his station’s advertisers by an organization called “For Our Daughters” ramped up the PR by getting sitting Rhode Island politicians – Governor Lincoln Chafee included – and political operatives to also demand DePetro’s dismissal.  This action stems from words DePetro spoke on the air in September when he referred to some union officers as “parasites, union hags” and “whores,” words for which he has apologized.  In another wrinkle, a new group has popped up called “RI Citizens for Free Speech,” which is supporting DePetro’s right to voice his opinion without being made target of a “smear campaign.”

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air in Washington on Salem’s ‘1260 WRC.’  In the Nation’s Capital, Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity will air on Salem Communications-owned WWRC beginning in the New Year.  Current affiliate WMAL was one of the original affiliates for his inaugural syndication rollout the day before 9/11, but because of Cumulus Media’s split with Hannity, he leaves the station at the end of 2013.  At WWRC, Hannity’s show will wwrc logoair live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Salem Washington VP and operations manager David Ruleman states, “Sean Hannity is a perfect fit on ‘1260 WRC.’  He is poised, informed and intelligent like the rest of the Salem lineup.  In a city where opinion often trumps knowledge and irrational talk reigns, Washington, DC radio listeners have a choice – ‘Intelligent Talk 1260 WRC.’”  Hannity show VP of operations Eric Stanger comments, “We are thrilled to partner with Salem and ‘1260 WRC.’  WWRC is one of the premier news/talk destinations in Washington, DC, and we couldn’t be happier to join their leading lineup of intelligent talkers.”

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison:  What’s Happening to Progressive Hosts is a Shame and a Waste.  Prompted by the recently announced abandonment of the progressive talk format by WWRL, New York and the all-but-drying-up of the genre across the nation, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “What’s happening to progressive hosts is a shame and a waste.  I say this not for any specific political reason – because neither I nor TALKERS magazine is motivated by politics.  Nor do I say it from some self-righteous position of ‘fairness.’  No one knows more than a trade publisher that this is a business and business cannot always be fair.  I say it from the perspective of what’s good for our industry from the standpoints of ratings, business and image and the most productive use of some of our most valuable talent/assets.”  Harrison continues, “It is 2013 and nowhere is it written in stone that the only way to do news/talk radio successfully at this point is to position stationality entirely by political ideology.  Yes, there are clearly more talented stars in this industry who are of a conservative bent for a complex variety of reasons.  However, there is not really enough A-level talent among conservative hosts to build entire stations – in many cases more than one per market – around that one singular position, let alone rest the entire reputation of talk radio upon.  Granted, there doesn’t seem to be enough liberal-leaning hosts available to power entire stations in the progressive direction either.  But talent is talent and there are huge numbers of listeners out there that like political news/talk for its own sake and are willing to listen to someone with whom they disagree – IF that person is talented.”  Harrison concludes, “We as an industry should be saluting – not condemning, mocking and, worst of all, wasting the talents, industriousness and guts of such performers as Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, Alan Colmes, Leslie Marshall, Karel, Randi Rhodes, Bill Press and a number of others who through hard work in the face of almost insurmountable obstacles have proven themselves worthy of shots on the big stages of this industry.  Frankly, if I owned a station and my life were on the line, I’d program talents like Sean Hannity and Thom Hartmann back-to-back in a heartbeat.  What harm would happen if every conservative station in America added just one progressive host – either local or national – to their roster?  Would radio come to an end?  I think not.  I think it might be the beginning of a new era in which political news/talk radio breaks out of its own self-inflicted chains and branches out in a wide variety of potentially lucrative directions.”

delcollianojerryJerry Del Colliano:  Keep Your Eye on Generation Y.  They Hold the Key to the Future of Both Music and Talk Radio.  There are over 80 million “Millennials” coming of age, the oldest of whom are already 30-years-old – 12 years older than the youngest 18-49 money demo cherished by advertisers.  Millennials have their own technology just as baby boomers had records, radio and TV.  Except, according to Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano, technology has very little to do with the impact that “Generation Y” is making on media and just about everything else.  In an exclusive article posted today (12/17) in sister trade publications RadioInfo and TALKERS, the professorial industry observer and advisor writes, “Sure there is Facebook that they went to college with, and Napster that helped disrupt the record business, iPads, apps, smartphones, Instagram and their latest devilish work – to unbundle cable and make Netflix the new standard for the on-demand content they, well – demand.  Radio consolidated about the time the first Millennials were in grade school and the industry just assumed that young listeners would always be there to like radio.  The music industry that consisted of old white men who were lawyers thought Napster needed to be sued out of existence – and they succeeded.  But the damage was already done.”  To read Jerry Del Colliano’s entire piece, please click here.

andersoncarlClear Channel Gives Added Duties to Premiere EVP Carl Anderson.  In a memo to staff, EVP of national programming Darren Davis announces Premiere Networks EVP of programming Carl Anderson gets additional responsibilities including overseeing programming and operations of the Total Traffic and Weather Network and the 24/7 News with both SVPs Kevin Loftus and Chris Berry now reporting to him.  Anderson will also have more responsibilities for Clear Channel regional markets for which he’ll report to regional markets president of operations Matt Martin.

nprNPR Slated To Receive $17 Million in Grants.  Much of that money is coming from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.  In addition, there are contributions from individual donors such as NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga and Heather Haaga; former NPR Foundation vice chair/trustee emeritus William Poorvu and Lia Poorvu; and former NPR board chair/NPR Foundation trustee Howard Stevenson and Fredericka Stevenson.  Each of them is investing in specific elements of NPR’s journalism and innovation strategy. Grant money will fund NPR and member stations WNYC, New York; KPCC, Los Angeles (Pasadena Community College); KQED, San Francisco; WHYY, Philadelphia, WBUR, Boston (Boston University); and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).  Chief content officer Kinsey Wilson comments, “This support will allow NPR to build transformative platforms that secure the future of public media journalism, and represents a powerful vote of confidence for that vision.  We will be able to dive deep into issues that are at the center of people’s lives, and drive tremendous innovation in how we engage people with those issues.”  Knight Foundation vice president of journalism and media innovation Michael Maness explains, “NPR is responding to the increased demand by audiences for flexibility in consuming content seamlessly across various digital platforms.  The platform will allow listeners to engage in new ways with NPR and its member station partners, making the quality journalism that is so important in a democracy more accessible, especially for a new generation.”  With 34 total bureaus, NPR expects to launch expanded education and global health and development reporting next spring.  It is estimated NPR and its member stations reach a weekly audience of 35 million people.

nabcrystalawardCrystal Radio Award Entry Date Set.  Beginning (Wednesday) January 1, stations may take the first step to be eligible to qualify for an NAB Crystal Radio Award.  That is when they can submit online entries describing their community service for calendar year 2013.  Cutoff date, meanwhile, is (Friday) January 31, with finalists being revealed in late-February.  “Receiving this award is just amazing,” remarks KCVM, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa program director Teri Lynn, a 2012 Crystal Radio Award honoree. “This is one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had in my entire life.”  Judges with broadcast and community service backgrounds choose 50 Crystal Radio Awards finalists and 10 winners.  Winners will be announced at the NAB Radio luncheon (Tuesday) April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  The Crystal Radio Awards were established in 1987.

markscaroletowersThe Sky’s the Limit for Upper Demo Champion, Carole Marks.  She is one of the longest-running syndicated radio talk show hosts in America, although she purposefully maintains an under-the-radar profile.  Perhaps that’s because she’s too busy traveling the world gathering data about the state of upper-demographic populations domestically and abroad in addition to being a champion in the ongoing battle against ageism.  For more than two decades of continuous broadcasting, Carole Marks has personally brought listeners of her weekend program, “A Touch of Grey,” to some of the most fascinating and exotic places in the world — from the jungles of Africa to the deserts of Asia to the ice sheets of Antarctica to the Outback of Australia to the cultural hotspots of Europe, the Americas and beyond — gathering relevant information for her 50-plus audience.  The nearly 80-year-old dynamo tells TALKERS, “I do what I do to inspire ‘seasoned citizens’ to live their lives to the fullest – physically and intellectually – in addition to using my influence to ‘remind’ Washington not to forget the needs of our senior population.  Broadcasting, traveling and teaching are my passions and I am so lucky to have this radio platform to perform these functions.”  She adds, “Although I deeply wish the advertising agencies and media in general understood the economic power that can be tapped by serving older people – I have been very fortunate as a radio broadcaster to have had the lion’s share of this huge slice of the population pie almost exclusively to myself for all these years via this specialty talk show.”  Carole Marks is pictured here in front of the Petronas Towers, the world famous twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during a just-concluded remote from the Far East.

wabcalum2013WABC, New York Alumni Gathering.  Whom do you recognize in this photo of current and former WABC, New York staffers?  Former Sean Hannity producer Jill Vitale a.k.a “Flirty Flipper” organized the annual WABC alumni holiday bash this year and many former (and some current) employees were able to gather and reminisce.  Some of those who attended included: Phil BoyceLaurie CantilloValerie GellerMitch DolanMitch LebeCurtis SliwaBabita HarianiDavid GoodmanJamie MegargeeAndrew KalbLisa HakimRichard BeyLionelNoam LadenLaura Smith and many others.

Congressional Budget Battle, Judge Rules NSA Program Unconstitutional, ObamaCare Criticism, Pope Francis Responds to Rush Limbaugh, and the ‘War on Christmas’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16).  The budget proposal that’s passed the House and is headed to the Senate; the ruling by a U.S. District Court judge declaring the NSA collecting of phone records unconstitutional; the scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act rollout; Pope Francis’ declaration that he is not a Marxist; and the argument that the left is waging a “war on Christmas” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dare to be Crap-Free

| December 16, 2013

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
Owner

SHAKER HEIGHTS — “In this multi-tasking radio world, who in the station should be responsible for online content?”  That’s a question I got from a smart guy I used to work with.  It’s a great question.

You need only two particularly strong people with this plan I’m going to give you.  You may be surprised about who they are.

Set it Up

Who should handle your online content?  Here are the staffing requirements for this focused plan:

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Monday, December 16, 2013

| December 16, 2013

wwrllogoNew York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL.  Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27.  The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows.  New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.

browndarrellBrown Boosted to Bonneville International President.  KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International.  Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV.  “Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities.  I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.”  Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.

boomercartonchilisSports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center.  With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.”  The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014.  The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation.  CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014).  CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl.  Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”

francesamikeWFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network.  The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel.  The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay.  The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management.  The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.

shapirosteakSteak Added to WCNN Menu.  In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well.  Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on Januarywcnn logo 2.  WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’  He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country.  ‘Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up.  His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.”  Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago.  I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love.  ‘The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years.  To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.”  Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.

millerchrisDare to be Crap-Free.  When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem.  In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there.  Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.”  To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.

jonesmaryOdds & Sods.  Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida.  Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change…..  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season.  O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of hisoconnorlarry national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30.  Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.

bearmanKIONliveshotKSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising.  Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity.  Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  View that video here.  Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work.  Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here.  Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.

hawkinstommyHawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.”  According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality.  His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat.  It is the perfectcrn logo accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.”  Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings).  He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.  For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS.  As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS.  In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.”  His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.

kfxx eventOver $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon.  Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000.  Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon.  The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.”  Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause.  We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes.  They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.”  Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability.  In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.”  This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.

broadcast electronics logoBroadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President.  Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company.  “I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments.  “Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.”  Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975.  Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.

CEOs Mouth Off and Word-of-Mouth Mojo

| December 13, 2013

Nielsen Client Conference Day 2 coverage by Talkers contributor and media consultant Holland Cooke

 

cookewriterBALTIMORE — The Nielsen Audio Client Conference & Jacobs Media Summit wrapped Thursday, but not before sustained applause for four group heads who decried what’s become radio business-as-usual: too many commercials, and too little programming diversity and innovation.  Their unvarnished comments echoed a surprisingly candid CEO roundtable at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show.

“The status quo is like a shark.  If you’re not swimming, you’re not breathing.”

NRG Media CEO Mary Quass and fellow panelists run mid-size companies, and all described the opportunities they seize being more nimble than bigger companies’ “paralysis” and “short-term thinking.”  Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw reckons that “This is the most opportune time for entrepreneurs in radio that I have seen in a long, long time.”

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Friday, December 13, 2013

| December 13, 2013

westwoodone logoCumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition.  Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal.  Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act,cumulus logo the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations.  Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues.  Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO.  Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.

cookehollandNews/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference.  Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets.  The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3.  It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share.  Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share.  There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

whitmanbrianBrian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles.  Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss.  Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York.krlalogo  Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future.  I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air.  But his skills go much beyond comedy voices.  He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.”  Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991.  I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand.  I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down.  Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3.  Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program.  Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3.  “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well.  For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day.  I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”

ericksonerickErickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays.  Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26.  Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited.  It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college.  I listened to him every day.  I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”

deptrojohnRhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee.  The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.  Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone.  Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time.  DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities.  DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014.  The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help preparedelcollianojerry modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era.  Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation — as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue.  Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event.  Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee.  Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.”  For information about the conference please click here.

btrnlogoMacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales.  Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber.  “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.”  MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television.  Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates.  It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”

boomercartoncomedyWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show.  WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29.  Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties.  The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.

castnermichaelOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program.  Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins.  Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.  Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”

wphtphantasycampWPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios.  The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week.  The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal.  At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran.  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.

Women’s Talk Radio: The 1.4 Billion Dollar Mystery

| December 12, 2013

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

NEW YORK — Smart operators have said that radio should tap more TV money, they are correct. The challenge is that radio offers less and less of what buyers seek from TV.

Today, radio turns down $1.4 billion in revenue that goes to TV because it has no place to go on radio.  The 1.4 billion is specific dollars that are invested in daytime television aimed at women. Talk shows for women on TV.

The TV shows winning these dollars are Judge Judy, Kelly and Michael, Ellen, The View, The Chat, The Chew, Extra, TMZ Live, The Talk, Maury Povitch, Jerry Springer and a few game shows and day time dramas like The Price is Right and General Hospital.

judgejudyThe highest paid performer on Daytime TV is Judge Judy earning over $40 million a year. (For one month of taping!)  She has 7.5 million viewers. What does she talk about?  Relationships.

“No sir, you are not a good husband or roommate and you owe her the money,” Judy bellows from the bench to the delight of all.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

| December 12, 2013

quinnandrose‘Quinn & Rose’ Honor Commitments, Forge Ahead in Post-WPGB Career.  Pittsburgh-based talk radio morning show “Quinn & Rose” – Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent – are not looking back after their 10-year relationship with Clear Channel’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh ended last month.  As TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian notes in his story about the duo published today (12/12), not only are Quinn and Tennent continuing to operate their web base warroom.com, they are honoring commitments to listeners, charities and businesses made before their exit from the radio station.  They have also been keeping in touch via social media with many of their P1s who’ve rallied around the duo.  Tennent says, “I thought that I knew our audience was loyal – but I never knew just how loyal and passionate they were about the show. They really seem to care about what is happening to us personally. I am very moved by the response.”  Read more about Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent here.

cookehollandLife After Arbitron: Day One.  Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke reports in from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference & Jacobs Media Summit in Baltimore.  Presentations focused on operating radio stations in a multi-platform universe; the importance of solving the problem of competing for ad dollars against media that can provide specific data; and the use of social media.  Check out Holland Cooke’s report here.

theblaze logoYear-End Special Available from Premiere and TheBlaze.  Premiere Networks announces the availability of an exclusive, three-hour radio special, “TheBlaze: The Year in Your Ear,” – a comprehensive review of 2013 featuring different perspectives from the hosts and writers of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s news, information and entertainment network.   The company states, “From the government shutdown and North Korea missile threats, to the Boston Marathon bombings and the George Zimmerman trial, listeners will be treated to a recap of the biggest national events, news headlines and stories that shaped America in 2013.”  Premiere reports the show is already cleared on KOA, Denver; WOAI, San Antonio; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KPRC, Houston; and KNRS, Salt Lake City, to name a few.  It’s available for air between 12/25 and 1/5/14.

sabowalterThe $1.4 Billion Mystery: What Do Women Want?  According to Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo, the talk radio industry continues its modern era tradition of turning down a significant piece of the $1.4 billion advertising budget spent annually by the advertising community on female-targeted talk television.  In a newly-posted article, Sabo writes these TV programs discuss:

– Relationships

– Celebrity gossip

– Diet & exercise

– Personal finance

– Parenting

– Balancing home and work

– Shopping

To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.

dryerfredFred Dryer to Appear in TV Series.  CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer (also a former pro football star and a seasoned actor) will appear in a recurring role in the NBC series “Crisis.”  Dryer hosts a weekly talk show for CRN called “The PM Show with Fred Dryer” that airs Wednesdays at 7:00 pm ET.  CRN CEO Mike Horn says, “Fred is such a talented, multi-faceted actor.  He’s also a great guy – so as fans of his work and him as a person, we’re very excited.”  Dryer plays Thomas Jefferson Smith, a powerful, confident and wise CIA agent who, despite being in his 60s, can still kick butt.  The Rand Ravich thriller centers on Washington’s most powerful players pulled into an international conspiracy.  To bring the most powerful people in the world to their knees, the conspirator must threaten what everyone holds most dear. The “Crisis” cast includes other stars such as Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor and James Lafferty.

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Spotlighted by Bloomberg Businessweek.  The business-focused publication shines a spot on Salem Communications after its recently announced purchase of Twitchy.com from conservative media figure Michelle Malkin.  The piece notes that the company is using profits from its radio assets to fund acquisition of digital properties and that fits with its conservative political philosophy.  Felix Gillette writes, “The move may signal that the same forces currently driving consolidation in the digital news industry at large are starting to gain momentum among the ranks of conservative news publishers online.  Since the advent of the internet, a diverse constellation of conservative news outlets has sprung up across the country, creating a rich buffet for GOP-loving readers – and a major logistical challenge for the advertisers hoping to reach them.  In theory, bringing more of the sites under a smaller number of roofs will appeal to the ad buyers who oversee rising digital marketing budgets while simultaneously providing cost savings for the publishers. Thus, the increasing pressure to consolidate.”  The piece reports that in fiscal 2012 Salem “generated $108 million of gross profit on $229 million of revenue.  Of the company’s operating income, significantly more came from its radio group ($47 million) than from its websites ($3.7 million).”  It also points to Politico which says it hears Salem is in talks to buy Eagle Publishing – owner imprints Regnery Publishing, Regnery History, Eagle Financial Publications as well as digital destinations RedState.com and MarkSkousen.com.

ObamaCare Criticism, Budget Deal/GOP Stalls on Nominees, Mandela Tribute Sign Interpreter Controversy, and Obama Selfie-Flirting Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11).  Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; the budget deal and the Republicans’ stall tactics on President Obama’s judicial nominees; the controversy over the sign-language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela tribute; and criticism over President Obama’s taking a selfie and “flirting” with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Life After Arbitron: Day One

| December 12, 2013

Holland Cooke
Talkers/RadioInfo Contributor
Media Consultant

cookenielsenconference 200BALTIMORE — When you hear Kenny G Christmas music wafting through a Maryland hotel lobby, you must be at the annual Arbitron Client Conference.  But this year, a new “Nielsen Audio” logo welcomed curious attendees.  And in just the first few hours, the logic behind this change became apparent.

The recent TALKERS Los Angeles conference (10/10/13) began with Sean Hannity voicing a concern echoed by other on-air talent: “Radio” content we’re creating is no longer just transmitter-based.  Yet talent is evaluated, and advertising is priced, based upon consumption of transmitter-delivered work.

“You have to have a multi-platform strategy, and you need to tailor your content for each device.”

Nielsen Audio SVP of radio station services Gary Meo was among presenters detailing how consumers and technology and demographics are re-defining our medium, and how his company’s beyond-radio scope is aggregating consumption data beyond Arbitron’s AM/FM focus.  “The smartphone is clearly the device of choice for Millennials.” Another speaker told us that, the night before, in Washington, NPR had sold – yep, sold – 300 tickets to the taping of a podcast.

Read More

Unlikely To Steal This Pittsburgh Pair’s Spirit

| December 12, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

| December 11, 2013

uptonfredCongressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’  In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking.  Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional.  Upton states, fccnew“Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.”  Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”  Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’  These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.”  Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10.  You can read the entire letter here.

sottolanojeffWIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio.  CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2.  Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistentlycbsradio logo and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO.  With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter.  Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.”  Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations.  The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities.  Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.”  Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester.  He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004.  In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008.  He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions.  In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”

clarketimCox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience.  Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group.  The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for coxmediagroupgrowing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.”  EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort.  We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.”  In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations.  His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island.  Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways.  I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”

mohrjayiHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel.  Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station.  “This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states.  “I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.'”  The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.

mcmullenjohnMcMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD.  Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria.  McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007.  During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.

wgnlogoSteve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays.  Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009.  Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.

wkzologoWKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager.  At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR.  In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor.  Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.

yacobushrickNew Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse.  Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster.  Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales.  SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse.  Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.”  Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities.  She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization.  She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.”  The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”

raytomTom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations.  Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations.  The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes.  Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules.  Why?  If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could beeas logo decoded by downstream EAS decoders.  This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist.  And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message.  It could, in fact, panic the public.  The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies.  In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news.  Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days.  Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot.  Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time.  In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations.  In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion.  To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible.  The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert.  The FCC takes it seriously.  The public takes it seriously.  And it shouldn’t happen.  For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at tomray@tomrayconsulting.com.

twitchy logoMalkin Sells Website to Salem Communications.  Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum.  Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets.  Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites.  Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting.  They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world.  With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”

localfocus logoLocal Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent.  Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm.  GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling.  In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager.  GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals.  We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers.  Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management.  With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth.  Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.”  Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.”  McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media.  I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.”  Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales.  In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media.  “Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes.  “She will add immense value to Genesis Media.”  Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.

iglesiasgabriel24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias.  Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias.   From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits.  Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10).  The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

| December 10, 2013

macnowglenWIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Glen Macnow on Vacation While Contract Talks Ensue.  There’s a lot of speculation in Philly about what the outcome of contract talks between CBS Radio and afternoon drive co-host Glen Macnow (who works with Anthony Gargano on “SportsRadio 94”).  First, Macnow tells the Philadelphia Daily NewsMolly Eichel that he left in mid show on Monday (during a live remote from Chickie and Pete’s, no less) to allow Anthony Gargano time to segue into the Howie Roseman show.  “I actually wanted to do it as unobtrusively as possible, just to let people know what was going on.  And I certainly didn’t want to not work today after that great Eagles game yesterday.  I live for shows like today.”  So while he and CBS are in contract talks, Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com says he hears Macnow will move to a more part-time role with the station and that the station plans to pair Rob Ellis with Gargano for the PM drive show in the New Year.  The station tells the Daily News it is keeping any and all contract negotiations private.

gardneralAl Gardner Returns to Charlotte for Sports Talk Gig.  Longtime WBT, Charlotte morning drive co-host Al Gardner will be back on the air in Charlotte but this time on HRN Broadcasting’s WZVG, Charlotte “730 ESPN Charlotte” beginning December 16 alongside Lanny Ford on “The Bottom Line” show.  The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that Gardner tells him he’s looking forward to being involved with a local broadcasting endeavor.  “They’re going to grow locally.  That’s what I want to be part of.”  Gardner left WBT more than two years ago to join Randy Michaels’ WWIQ, Philadelphia when the former talk station was launched in 2011.

adamsmarkAdams Returns to Clear Channel Portland as VP/Programming.  CBS Radio Houston vice president of music programming Mark Adams leaves to oversee programming operations for Clear Channel‘s eight Portland stations.  For eight years (2000 – 2008), Adams programmed Clear Channel Portland rhythmic CHR KXJM and was operations manager of then (talk) sibling KXL-AM (now Alpha Broadcasting sports outlet KXTG).  Clear Channel Portland market president Robert Dove comments, “Mark has a proven track record and I know he will lead the Clear Channel Portland cluster to even greater ratings success.” Adams adds, “I am looking forward to working with all the incredible brands and teams in the market, and contributing to their future success.  Portland is one of my favorite cities in the country and it’s exciting to have the chance to return to the Pacific Northwest and do some great radio.”  Prior to joining CBS Radio in April 2008, Adams worked in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Fresno.

bowersbethWSB, Atlanta Ups Bowers to General Sales Manager.  With the promotion of Walt Phillips to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta operations earlier this fall, the company boosts Beth Bowers from her local sales manager post at news/talk WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM to general sales manager.  CMG states that “in addition to continuing the proven tradition of success at news/talk WSB, Bowers will partner with the talented team of GSMs at the other stations in the cluster – ‘97.1 The River,’ ‘KISS 104.1’ and ‘B98.5.’  Together, the team will strategically lead CMG Atlanta’s radio sales organization into the future and offer unprecedented opportunities for advertising clients in the Greater Atlanta market.”  Prior to becoming LSM for WSB in January of 2011, Bowers served as director of marketing for CMG Atlanta.  She comments, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead this legendary station, as well as partner with the most talented sales staff in the country.”

pittmanbobCC’s Bob Pittman Explains View of Media Landscape in AdWeek Essay.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman pens a brief piece on his philosophy about dealing with the “disruption” that’s taking place in the media business in AdWeek.  In it, Pittman states that he believes a crucial mistake to make is to follow conventional wisdom and allow yourself to be hyped.  In our business, Pittman says that translates into dumping all other media and putting all your eggs into the shiny new basket that is digital.  Pittman advises to be aware of the behavior of the consumer and further asserts his belief that a mix of media is a winning plan for advertisers in this era.  Read the entire piece here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Select Data from RADAR 119.  The December 2013 RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) is data culled from the 48 PPM markets Nielsen measures between September 13, 2012 to September 11, 2013 and it concludes that “more than 178 million persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.  Keep in mind that RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks and doesn’t purport to account for listening to all network radio programming.  The study concludes that in the top 25 DMAs (designated market areas), network radio adlargelogodemonstrates extensive reach including: 70.5% of persons aged 12+ (92,593,000 persons); 73.7% of persons aged 18-49 (50,599,000 persons); and 74.5% of persons aged 25-54 (48,331,000 persons).  Subscribing networks are happy to release their success stories and AdLarge Media reports that its ROI Network debuted in this report and was “#1 with Adults and Women 18-49; and Women 25-54, Monday-Sunday and Monday-Friday, 5A-8P.”  AdLarge co-founder and president Cathy Csukas states, “We promised our advertisers an expansive network and the results of AdLarge’s ROI Network debut delivered.  The robust female showing bolsters our commitment to help advertisers westwoodone logoconnect with this hard-to-reach demographic that has strong purchasing power.”  WestwoodOne issues a statement saying that it is “proud to be a part of RADAR’s expanding networks within the audio landscape.  In addition to proving that radio is alive and well and that its audiences are broadening, today’s RADAR 119, released by Nielsen Audio, showcases more diversity in network offerings.”  WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer adds, “Overall growth is positive for the audio category, and for RADAR.  Generally, the December RADAR is a non-event because many networks re-configure their lineups and publish special tabs at this time of year, WestwoodOne included.  It is exciting to welcome a new company into the RADAR marketplace and to the Network Radio Research Council.  We look forward to more diversity in the promotion of network radio audiences.”

grandephilOdds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is expanding to two hours on Radio Colorado Network’s KRCN, Longmont, Colorado airing from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Grande describes his show as “thoughtful economy and investing dialogue with news, stock market updates, timely interviews and only Phil tells you what Wall Street doesn’t want you to know.”…..CBS Radio’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94” is gearing up for “the most infamous annual radio event in the world” – WingBowl 22 – to be held at the Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2013.  The sponsors include Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino.  The station says this year it is offering the most prizes in the history of the event, including the top prize: $22,000 from Steven Singer Jewelers.  For the first time ever, the contest offers two cars – one for the top local eater and one for the top college eater (two 2014 Chrysler 200’s from Barbera’s on the Boulevard), two bikes for Wingettes (two Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycles from Barb’s Harley Davidson) and other incredible prizes.  And for the first time ever, Wing Bowl will have a college division, with the top collegiate eater winning one of the cars…..Minnesota Public Radio today announced that Jim Dwyer and Jean Taylor have been elected to MPR’s board of trustees.  Dwyer is chairman and CEO of Michael Foods, a diversified processor and distributor of food products and one of the largest privately held companies in Minnesota.  Taylor is president of Life is Now, a strategy and consulting firm that she founded in 2010, and a principal at Middle A Restaurants, a franchise development company.

scba logoRecord Number of SCBA Radio Sales Training Graduates.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) has just presented certification awards to 31 new – or newer – sales professionals, sales assistants and individuals seeking a sales career in Southern California radio.  That is a record number of people successfully completing the training classes, which were conducted from September 23 – December 5.  SCBA President Thom Callahan comments, “The SCBA is firmly committed to helping our members train the next generation of professional radio sales executives.  Each class and professional instructor brought a special focus for our students.”  Included in the 10-week training curriculum were “New Business Development,” “Strategic Selling,” “Building Client Relationships,” “Interactive Selling,” and “Cold Calling Techniques.”  The SCBA Sales Training Classes is a collaboration of the SCBA and the GSM Council of Southern California.

ObamaCare Criticism, Nelson Mandela Retrospective, Iran Negotiations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9).  The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; remembrances of the life and times of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela; the instability of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and Congress’ plans for renewed sanctions; and the snowy action in the NFL over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 9, 2013

| December 9, 2013

segalelliotClear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show.  In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101”limbaughrush morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling.  The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.”  Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history.  We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get hannityseangoing.”  This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station.  Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge.  Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave RamseyJoan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR.  Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”

deptrojohnJohn DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment.  WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.”  This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment.  Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.  During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace.  You are an embarrassment…You are parasites.  You are cockroaches.  You lie.  You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S.  See if they can spell that.”  DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks.  Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me.  Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”

saunderssusanSaunders Begins Daily Talk Show.  WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM.  Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner.  Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster.  She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM.  After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio.  Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”

beasley logo longBeasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders.  The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share.  Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”

cclogoFlora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs.  Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca.  Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.”  In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.”  Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team.  He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands.  Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix.  I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years.  DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.

wtkw logoYankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99” to its Radio Network.  Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99” signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season.  Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse.  We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.”  CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99’ and Galaxy.  They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse.  We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.”  In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.

kirofm logoKIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000.  Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5).  KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children.  Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential.  It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.”  Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon.  We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.”  Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers.  Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.

wmal logoWMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation.  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty.  Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000.  The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.

beasleylasvegaspartyBeasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash.  The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.

Friday, December 6, 2013

| December 6, 2013

knew logoNEW Rosters Coming to SF Talk Outlets. In the banner story first published yesterday (see next item), TALKERS detailed Clear Channel‘s plans for significant changes involving heritage Los Angeles talker KFI and under-performing sibling KTLK-AM – which will be re-branded as “The Patriot.”  The City of Angels, however, is not the only locale where the company is mixing things up with its talk properties.  As of the first of the year, modified talent lineups will surface on a pair of Clear Channel San Francisco facilities.  Changes on “960 KNEW” will include Rush Limbaugh on from 9:00 am – 12:00 Noon, Sean Hannity 12:00 Noon – 3:00 pm, and Andy Dean from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Glenn Beck willkksf logo continue to air in morning drive (6:00 am – 9:00 am).  Casts from Fox News Radio will air at the top and bottom of every hour.  Down the dial five clicks to the left on “910 KKSF,” Armstrong & Getty will add an hour (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Frosty Stilwell moves to 10:00 am -1:00 pm; and Randi Rhodes (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) segues from KNEW.  Gil Gross will remain in his afternoon drive slot (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).  Vice president of programming Don Parker comments, “We are excited to continue to grow the live and local programming on ‘Talk 910’ with the expansion of Armstrong & Getty.  We are also thrilled to welcome the Bay Area’s leading midday talk personality, Randi Rhodes, to ‘Talk 910.’  The new lineup on ‘960 KNEW’ will be a destination for conservative listeners who follow America’s top personalities – all in one place.”  Among persons 6+ this November (PPM), KKSF-AM ranked #17 (2.1, +.1 from October’s 2.0), while KNEW finished at #31 (flat from October’s .4).

kfilogoClear Channel Los Angeles Blows Up Progressive Talk KTLK; Creates New Conservative Talker.  Progressive talk radio takes another blow as Clear Channel Media + Entertainment prepares to flip KTLK, Los Angeles to “The Patriot AM 1150” in the New Year with the following lineup: Glenn Beck, Rushktlklogo Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, PM drive TBA, and Clark Howard.  That leaves a midday hole at sister KFI (Limbaugh airs there from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon right now) as the station moves Bill Carroll to the 10:00 am limbaughrushto 1:00 pm slot leaving the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show host TBA for now.  In a statement, program director Robin Bertolucci says, “Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic radio markets in the United States and we want to present the best of talk radio from across the spectrum.  These changes are designed to give our current and future programming a home where listeners can find and enjoy their favorite talk show hosts.”  Some of the current KTLK air talent will remain with the company.  PM drive host David Cruz will still talk local issues Saturdays from 12:00 to 2:00 pm on KTLK.  Cruz will also join the KFI news team, reporting local news for the station in addition to his weekend community show.  Mo’ Kelly adds another weekend edition of his program to the KFI weekend schedule.  His show will air on both Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The move takes Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes and Bill Press off the schedule.

albertcliffKOGO, San Diego PD Cliff Albert’s Status in Question.  The local radio blog SanDiegoRadio.org is reporting that sources tell it longtime KOGO, San Diego program director Cliff Albert (along with talk host Steve Yuhas) has left the building.  This has not been confirmed and Albert’s “Cliff’s Notes” commentary on the KOGO website is still active – often a dismissed staffer’s likeness and content are purged upon leaving.  Albert has been programming KOGO for the past 17 years.

murphysteveSteve Murphy to Retire from WCCO, Minneapolis.  After 33 years with the station, morning anchor and managing editor Steve Murphy is retiring from the CBS Radio news/talk station at the end of the year.  Murphy says that his wife recently retired from her nursing job and he’s ready to hang up the headphones and stay up past 7:30 in the evening.  CBS Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo says, “He’ll be sorely missed.  Steve is a wonderful example of a professional radio journalist with a great sense of news, a confident, soothing but direct delivery and an uncompromising work ethic that will be difficult to duplicate.”  Murphy himself made the news last month after getting mugged and beaten while on the way to work at 2:30 am.  He says that incident had no impact on his decision but rather the idea of sleeping past 2:30 am was a huge factor.

prainjimLincoln Financial Media Appoints Prain DOS in Miami.  Lincoln Financial Media announces broadcast pro and media sales consultant Jim Prain is named director of sales for the company’s Miami cluster that includes: AC WLYF, “LITE 101.5,” classic hits WMXJ, “MAGIC 102.7,” and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM “104.3 The Ticket.”  LFM Miami SVP and general manager Maureen Lesourd states, “I have had the privilege to know Jim throughout his career and find him a highly credible, accountable and strategic thinker.  His leadership will help propel our sales effort to meet the growing demands of our clientele and maximize all the on air, online and social media assets we have to offer.”  Prain’s media career includes 25-plus years of media management experience in major and large markets, including positions at companies such as ABC, ABC/Cap Cities and Cox Media.  He also invested two years as a small business owner in Detroit, where he launched a power sports company.  Prain comments, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maureen and LFM CEO Don Benson over the years and feel this is the perfect fit for me professionally and personally.  My passion for helping our customers, combined with the recent benefits of owning a small business, affords me a unique perspective on both sides of the marketing equation.  I’m excited to get started.”

pattiznormNorm Pattiz and PodcastOne Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek Piece.  Westwood One founder and current chairman and CEO of Courtside Entertainment Group and subsidiary PodcastOne, Norm Pattiz, is featured in a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek where he projects revenue from podcasts for his company will reach $8 million for this year.  He expects that figure to hit $15 million in 2014.  The piece includes more figures: Pattiz says his 200 programs on PodcastOne are averaging 100 million downloads per month and have attracted advertising attention from such corporations as Ford Motor, 21st Century Fox’s Fox, Walt Disney’s ABC, and Hulu.com.  Read the entire piece here.

sileodanOdds & Sods.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo – most recently with WMEN, West Palm Beach – is doing holiday fill-in work at Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned sports talker XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090.”  Sileo – who’s also worked at WQAM, Miami and WDAE, Tampa, to name a few – tells TALKERS magazine he’ll be doing morning drive (6:00 am to 9:00 am) from December 23 through 31…..Former WPGB, Pittsburgh morning team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent hosted a live broadcast in conjunction with a Toy Treasures charity event at a Pittsburgh-area hair salon this morning.  The pair signed copies of their book, Thanking Our Soldiers…..Galaxy Communications-owned classic rock duo WTKW, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV, Oswego, New York (Syracuse market) sign up with CBS Radio to be the local affiliate for New York Yankees baseball for the 2014 season.

hannityseanTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksSean Hannity becomes part of KTLK, Los Angeles’ lineup in the New Year…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the programming lineup at WMEL, Melbourne, Florida…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville and KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 2-6.  Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was the decline in support for President Obama from the Millennial generation.  Following at #3 was the Rush LimbaughPope Francis Marxism flap followed by the Iran nuclear weapons talks and the NSA cell phone location database story tied 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.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

| December 5, 2013

weineranthonyRumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio.  Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals.  The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR.  WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them.  The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good.  Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it.  Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday.  Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever.  Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!

cumulus logoCumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt.  According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan.  The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan.  The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans.  Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service.  They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”

rouhierdannyCBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies.  NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year.  That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts.  Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny wjfkfmJurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley.  The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action.  This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content.  Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.

kennedyKYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show.  Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9.  The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts.  Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there.  Has the 2 party system totally failed you?  Yeah, me too!  Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.”  Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”

ohana logoVali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii.  The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities.  Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market.  He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.”   Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster.  During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii.  Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.

runningwithnaturePodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable.  Titled after her best-selling book  Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne.  The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.”  The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’”  PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from.  We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”

madiganbobWTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire.  Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year.  Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned.  He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business.  By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.”  Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause.  Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them.  He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless!  He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf.  For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP.  He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.”  RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.

cookefarleyA Farewell to Jim Farley.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies.  Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end.  Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash.  Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd!  YOU did it.  YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit.  I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”

kmbzGood Fences Make Good Neighbors.  Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue.  The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up.  According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there.  After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code.  Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence.  In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site.  Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.

junkiesCredit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment.  He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest?  CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today.  Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).

kgmzlogoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams.  “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off.  After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe cbsfirehousereigns supreme.  At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition.  The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week.  Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday.  The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.

kirofmhollidaymagicHoliday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.”  The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today.  The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000.  The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.

humphriesdamian2Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest.  That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design.  Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City.  He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less.  The movie also stars Jane Seymour.  Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming.  He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast.  I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film.  This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”

ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5).  Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

The Sad State of Broadcast Engineering – Part 2

| December 4, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

raytomNEW YORK — Around Labor Day, I wrote an article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?”  I was inundated with responses, which is why it has taken me so long to write a follow up article.  Obviously, I hit a nerve with everyone.  I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland.  Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed.  That, and I’ve been working on a large project with not much time to put electrons to the screen.

Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses.  Broadcast engineers are a unique group.  It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business.  We take it personally.  The station becomes part of us and is what we do.  And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally.  I can relate.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

| December 4, 2013

sargentchrisClear Channel Programmer Chris Sargent Departs. Clear Channel Portland vice president of programming Chris “Sarge” Sargent leaves the cluster effective immediately.  In addition to his VP duties, Sargent for the past 20 months was the cluster’s operations manager.  He programmed classic hits-oldies KLTH, news/talk KEX, progressive-talk-turned-sports KPOJ and classic rock KFBW. Sargent joined the Portland cluster over four years ago from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

loganbruceBruce Logan Named VP of Programming and Ops at CBS Radio Houston.  Programmer Bruce Logan exits his regional programming manager role at Clear Channel’s Greensboro, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina clusters and his national country brand coordinator post to join CBS Radio as vice president of programming and operations manager for the six-station Houston cluster that includes: hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM “The Bull,” sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH “Hot 95.7,” and Spanish KOLO.  He’ll also have day-to-day programming responsibilities for “The Bull” and “Hot 95.7.”  CBS Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Bruce has a reputation as one of the premier country radio programmers in America.  We have admired his work for some time and are thrilled we have an opportunity to bring him into the division.  I am equally excited about his leadership skills and ability to build teams which is so important in today’s cluster environment.”

jericho show logoPro Wrestler Chris Jericho Joins PodcastOne.  World champion wrestler Chris Jericho – also a New York Times best-selling author and lead vocalist of the metal band Fozzy – is launching his podcast on PodcastOne.  The program, “Talk Is Jericho,” premieres today (12/4) with Steve Austin as Jericho’s first guest.  Jericho dishes out his unique take on all things pop culture and life in general as he interviews some of the biggest names in entertainment from wrestling and music to TV and film with new episodes delivered every week at PodcastOne.com.  Jericho comments, “I’ve been considering doing a podcast for years now, but wanted to find the right people to work with.  Now after being hooked up with the fine folks at PodcastOne, I know I’ve found the right place!  I’m stoked to bring you the biggest names in show biz every week to discuss all things pop culture, music, pro wrestling and kumquats.  Get ready Jerichoholics…The Pod Of Thunder has arrived!”  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “As an entertainer, Chris is so much more than a world champion wrestler.  He’s an actor, an author, lead singer in a rock band and radio broadcaster.  With a package like that and the proven success of PodcastOne programs like the Steve Austin show, this is clearly a great bet.  Actually, more like no bet at all.  We’re thrilled with our new partnership.”

carsonjonCarson and Beckman Promoted at Idaho Broadcasting Groups.  The Moscow, Idaho-based broadcasting companies IdaVend BroadcastingInland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc. announce two promotions.  The company’s current promotions director – Jon Carson – is upped to executive director of promotions for the nine-stationbeckmanamberly radio group beginning January 2014.  Carson has been with the company for more than two years and commutes between the station groups’ two locations in Moscow and Lewiston, Idaho.   Carson recently earned designation as CRSM, Certified Radio Sales Manager, from the Radio Advertising Bureau.  With the expansion of his team, Carson is overseeing a team of two promotions directors.  The Moscow promotions director will oversee promotions for the six-station group, Inland Northwest Broadcasting, and KRPL, Inc.  The Lewiston promotions director will oversee promotions for the three-station group, IdaVend Broadcasting.  Additionally, Amberly Beckman is promoted to promotions director for the Moscow-based group from her most recent position as promotions director at the Lewiston-based stations.  She has served with the company for the past two years.

raytomThe Sad State of Radio Broadcast Engineering – Part 2.  Around Labor Day, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray wrote a  powerful article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?”  He was inundated with responses — not just from across the country – but from around the world!  Obviously, he hit a nerve with everyone.  Ray reports, “I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland.  Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed.  Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses.  Broadcast engineers are a unique group.  It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business.  We take it personally.  The station becomes part of us and is what we do.  And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally.  I can relate.”  In a long-awaited follow-up to that article, Tom Ray posts a powerful and informative “Part 2” today (12/4) that goes into even more depth on this complex and important topic – raising issues and offering solutions – that lies at the very foundation of the state of today’s radio station business. It is must reading for anyone who cares about the present and future state of radio station operations.  To read it in its entirety, please click here.

homewizards‘Home Wizards’ Show Partners with Media Management Group.  KFWB, Los Angeles-based weekly home improvement show “Home Wizards” – hosted by Cindy Dole (left) and Eric Stromer (right) – joins the New York-based MMG Radio Network.  Home Wizards is a nationally syndicated radio show and multimedia content brand.  The show feeds live from KFWB Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  In addition to Dole’s and Stromer’s work on the radio on digital platforms, Eric is a regular on NBC‘s “Today Show.” MMG president Jeff Schwartz comments, “Cindy and Eric are familiar to millions of Americans who enjoy home improvement and decorating.  They have a great on-air chemistry that resonates with both men and women while creating an inviting environment for sponsors.”  Cindy Dole adds, “Home Wizards is a true multimedia opportunity to engage with your audience every day!  We needed a team that excels in that space and are so impressed by how MMG masters the art of turning sales and marketing into a higher-level connection that delivers meaningful results!”

edisonresearchEdison Research to Work with Triton Digital on ‘Infinite Dial’ Study.  Arbitron’s absorption into the Nielsen fold has had an impact on the annual “Infinite Dial” study that Edison Research has been producing in partnership with the radio ratings firm.  Edison announces that it will be conducting the long-running study of consumer media usage with Triton Digital when the new study is released in March of next year.  Edison states that the study has been “one of the most widely cited and well-regarded studies on digital media usage, eagerly awaited each year and used by advertisers and content providers.  Hundreds of start-ups, advertising agencies, established businesses, financial analysts, and academics all make extensive use of the study each year.”  Edison Research president Larry Rosen comments, “We’re hard at work making the 2014 version of ‘The Edison/Triton Infinite Dial’ the best ever.  Edison has always sought to provide thought leadership and Triton Digital is the recognized leader in digital audio measurement with its MRC-accredited Webcast Metrics platform.  Our two companies have come together to continue the tradition of ‘The Infinite Dial’ and the tracking of consumer media trends in the digital economy.”

deptrojohnWPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Files Police Complaint Alleging Threat.  WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro filed a complaint with the Providence Police alleging that he was threatened outside the radio studios on Tuesday morning by two men he did not know.  The men apparently took issue with his comments about a labor union protest that happened in September.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, DePetro expressed his opinion of union leaders after a union protest at a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo allegedly served to intimidate attendees and prevent others from attending.  DePetro reportedly said, referencing a female union leader, “What a disgrace.  You are an embarrassment…You are parasites.  You are cockroaches.  You lie.  You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S.  See if they can spell that.”  Labor unions have since called for a boycott of WPRO until DePetro is fired.  DePetro has said that if the men who threatened him are caught, he will press charges.

sunbroadcastgrouplogoSun Broadcast Group Contracts with Jelli for Cloud-Based Ad Platform.  SBG CEO Jason Bailey announces that his company is investing the resources necessary to affect the “much-needed change to measurement and accountability in network radio” that he’s been publicly calling for as it will deploy Jelli, Inc.‘s cloud- based adjelli logo platform across its entire network that will make it easier and faster to buy and run radio advertisements.  The change will start immediately across all of Sun’s Hispanic products including CNN en Español, Fox Deportes, AccuWeather en Español and its national Latino Advantage network.  Sun Hispanic content partner, Stardome Media Group, has also committed to the platform change.  A roll out to Sun’s general market offerings will begin in early 2014.  Bailey comments, “I have been asking leaders large and small to stand with me and implement true change in how we conduct business across our industry.  Radio has been living in the dark ages when it comes to baileyjasonsunaccountability.  We’re being eaten alive by the real-time metrics of digital audio competitors and our best answer, RADAR, still requires busy planners and buyers to go back months after a campaign to see what should have run.  Today we stand proud to put our entire sales and programming schedules on the line and make a real change for this great industry.”  In a statement, SBG says it is agreeing to finance equipment and installation costs for each affiliate they service.  It has also been working with Jelli’s team of engineers to enhance the ad platform and include delivery of short-form content and features, allowing for real time measurement of sponsorships and integrated product placement in addition to relieving local affiliate workload in scheduling and running network content and ads.

vulpifrankVulpi Joins USRN as VP/GM Content Affiliations. Former My Traffic Department vice president of sales Frank Vulpi is tapped to become vice president/general manager of Content Affiliations for the United Stations Radio Networks (USRN). Vulpi will oversee roughly one-dozen staffers marketing the network’s programming services. “Frank’s wealth of experience on both the station and the network side of the business is an incredible asset for our company,” comments USRN executive vice president Charlie Colombo. “He understands the needs of our clients; he knows the new platforms; and he knows how to develop and maintain those essential relationships with our affiliates. He is joining an already successful team.” Vulpi’s approximately 30-year industry background includes being general sales manager of New York City’s WYNY. In addition, he spent 15 years with Bloomberg‘s media division, ultimately running its radio and television syndication departments.

hdradio logoHD Radio to be Standard on the 2015 K900. The seventh Kia-made vehicle to have HD Radio as a standard feature will be its 2015 K900. The luxury sedan will join the recently-launched Cadenza, along with the Forte, Optima, Sorento, Soul, and Sportage as other Kia vehicles to offer the digital AM & FM format. HD Radio is – or will be – available as a factory-installed feature from 33 automotive brands including Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI USA, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Ram, Rolls-Royce, Scion, SRT (Chrysler), Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The 2015 Kia K900 is expected to arrive at dealers during the first quarter of 2014.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Helps Raise More Than $554,000 for Tornado Victims.  In response to the widespread damage of the November 17 storms throughout Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago partnered with the McCormick Foundation, WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune to host the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort on Tuesday, November 26.  The fundraising initiative took place over a 24-hour period, with WGN Radio hosts rallying listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Effort.  WGN listeners, in addition to major donations from Medline Industries Inc., Cadence Health, Wintrust Financial Corporation and the FDC Foundation, contributed to a total of $554,087 raised.  The McCormick Foundation matched the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents to the dollar, providing an additional $250,000 in funds and bringing the total amount available to grant to $804,087.  WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort continues the WGN Radio tradition of reacting quickly to take care of our listeners in need.  It’s also another example in a long list of generous giving from the Chicago community.  We thank our partners at the McCormick Foundation, WGN TV, and the Chicago Tribune as well as generosity of our listeners, viewers, and readers for helping rebuild the lives of those impacted by the devastating storms.”

wrsb logoUpstate New York Business Talker Flips to Sports.  Genesee Media Corp.’s WRSB, Canandaigua (plus translator W286AE, Fairport) and WASB, Brockport flip from business talk as “Business 1310” to sports talk using programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.

bigjohndogparkDaytona Beach Talker Gets Dog Park Re-Opened.  WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida – being operated by Goliath Radio under an LMA – recently put its community-oriented philosophy to work to help re-open a closed dog park in Daytona Beach.  Goliath Radio talk show host Big John, a former member of the Volusia County Council, came to the rescue when resident Mary Nichols (pictured here) found herself and her dogs locked out of the park that had been open since 2001.  It turns out Big John had helped create the park when he was on the County Council.  When Nichols showed up at the radio station to complain about the closure, Big John put her on the air and took calls about the park that had become the center of a dispute between the county and the suburban city of Holly Hill.  Big John urged the sides to find a compromise.bigjohn  Within 20 minutes of the broadcast, the outline of an organization of dog owners/lovers that might operate the park came together; a local veteran’s club offered a meeting room and support to bring it together and support for maintaining the dog park was offered.  By the following Thursday, the Friends of the Holly Hill Dog Park was formed and able to show a broad base of support to the County Council which voted to reopen the park for 90 days while officials and the newly-formed support group work out details for ongoing operation.  Big John tells TALKERS, “People are ready and willing to do good things if we just give them a chance to figure out how.  Radio can be the bridge to coming up with answers and actions in our communities that benefit everybody.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

| December 3, 2013

lindsleymikeMike Lindsley Returns to WSKO, Syracuse.  Sports talk host Mike Lindsley is back in Syracuse on Cumulus Media’s WSKO where he’ll host the Mike Lindsley Show: In the Cell with M.L.” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning December 9.  Lindsley talked sports in the market for more than 10 years before moving to Townsquare Media’s WTMM, Albany in March of this year.  Both Lindsley and WTMM co-host Brian Cady were let go from the station in earlywsko logo September after a caller pretending to be former Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer went on the air and said he experimented with PEDs.  Townsquare made no connection about the snafu and their release.  Back in Syracuse, operations manager Tom Mitchell replaces CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gottlieb with Lindsley and he says, “We are happy to welcome Mike Lindsley back to the ‘voice of the Central New York sports fan.’  Once again, listeners have a choice of local afternoon sports shows.  Mike is known for his strong opinions and his love of the Syracuse Orange, Syracuse Chiefs, and New York Yankees, in no particular order.”

cross-platform report logoNielsen’s ‘Cross-Platform Report’ Concludes More Than 90% of Americans Use Radio Each Week.  The just released “A Look Across Media: The Cross-Platform Report” from Nielsen uses RADAR data for its conclusions about radio use and habits.  Stating that radio is used by more than 90% of Americans each week, the report notes that African Americans (92%) and Hispanics (94%) are the biggest users of radio on a weekly basis.  According to Nielsen, the average American “consumes almost 60 hours of content each week across TV, online, radio and mobile,” and it breaks down this way: TV – 35.1 hours; radio –14 hours; video online – 1.5 hours; video on mobile – 1.3 hours.  Though the report states that monthly listening to AM/FM radio is 60 hours and 42 minutes on average, missing from the options is listening to audio via mobile – obviously an important competitor for AM/FM radio.  The report measures traditional TV, using Blu-Ray/DVD, using game console, using internet from computer, watching video on the internet, and watching video on mobile in addition to listening to radio via AM/FM.  See more about the report here.

morellijenniferMorelli Moves to CBS Radio as VP/Integrated Marketing.  Two-year CBS Radio Chicago director of integrated marketing & events Jennifer Morelli is named vice president of integrated marketing for CBS Radio.  Morelli led non-traditional sales efforts for the company’s six-station Windy City cluster.  According to CBS Radio president of sales Michael Weiss, “Jennifer has taken on roles of increasing responsibility during her tenure at CBS Radio and is well prepared to take on this leadership position for the division.  She has demonstrated the ability to create opportunities for clients that go beyond conventional advertising and branding methods.”  Morelli joined CBS Radio Houston four years ago as integrated marketing manager.  She previously held several positions – including general sales manager – with Emmis in Austin and she has worked in the sales department of WQRF-TV, Chicago.  Morelli’s radio career began in 1997 at Sconnix Broadcasting‘s Quad Cities stations where she was an account executive.

nielsen logoNieslen Audio November PPM Data Released.  The November 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for all 48 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo.  Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.

karelKarel to Cut Back Radio Show Time; Promotes New Podcast.  Talk show host Charles “Karel” Bouley, whose daily program currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET via the Genesis Communications Network, will cut the daily show back to an hour each day and focus more energy on his new podcast “The Karel-Cast” via TheKDW.com network beginning January 2.  He says he will continue hosting his weekend evening programs on KGO, San Francisco and his program on WWRL, New York.  He says, “As an entertainer who is a content provider of audio, video, live stage shows, print, and live web cams, Karel and ‘The Karel Show’ have been a driving force for a website that has functioned as an actual network.  So now, it truly will.”

wsfm logoHometown Media Moves Wilmington News/Talk Outlet to New Frequencies.  The news/talk format branded “Port City Radio” is no longer being heard on Wilmington, North Carolina outlets WNTB and WLTT.  Those signals are now airing country format “The Dude” and news/talk has been moved to Hometown Media’s WSFM and translator W240AS, formerly the home of a classical music format.

bfoa logoBroadcasters Foundation of America Begins ‘Holiday Giving Campaign.’  The 2013 Holiday Giving Campaign is underway at the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  The campaign asks broadcasters to spread the word about the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to those who may need its assistance, and encourages donations and memberships at www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or by calling 212-373-8250.  Often a last refuge, the Broadcasters Foundation has helped broadcasters and their families remain in their homes and made it possible for retirees to afford life-sustaining medications.  The Broadcasters Foundation also has provided one-time emergency grants, including in the aftermath of natural catastrophes such as Hurricane Sandy.  Chairman Phil Lombardo states, “The goal of the Foundation’s board of directors is that no broadcaster’s cry for help should ever go unanswered.  Requests for aid have more than doubled over the past few years and more come in every day.  Next year, we will disburse over $900,000 in financial assistance, a 100% increase from five years ago.”  BFoA president Jim Thompson adds, “The pace of incoming donations is lagging behind the requests for aid.  Our grant recipients are our colleagues — individuals who we have worked with and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances.  Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases.  I ask every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”

wachshall-pattonDr. Daliah Wachs on ‘Pawn Stars’ This Thursday.  Genesis Communications Networks-syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs (left) poses for a photo with “Pawn Stars” historical artifacts expert Mark Hall-Patton (right) during her most recent appearance on the History Channel program.  Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS magazine that the show will air this Thursday at 10:30 ET in which she brings a Civil War-era metacarpal bone saw in to sell.  How much, if anything, does she get for it?  You’ll have to watch the show to find out!  Her contract with the network prevents her from spilling the beans.

ObamaCare Criticism, Rush Limbaugh Pope-Marxism Flap, Iran Nukes Deal, New York Rail Crash, and Paul Walker Crash Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2).  Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act as well as anticipation of how it will affect the health care industry; the flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “pure Marxism”; the deal between the U.S. and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program; the deadly commuter rail crash outside of New York City; and the death of actor Paul Walker in a high-speed sports car crash were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 2, 2013

| December 2, 2013

boomercartonWFAN-AM/FM, New York’s ‘Boomer & Carton’ to Simulcast on CBS Sports Network.  The video simulcast of the morning drive sports talk show based at WFAN-AM/FM, New York and hosted by Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) had been airing on the Madison Square Garden cable channel in New York.  That deal ended in early October and now CBS announces the video simulcast will appear on itscbssportsnetwork cable and satellite channel CBS Sports Network beginning in January.  The company says, “Combining these two powerful assets within CBS will result in national exposure for the local radio program and premier weekday content for the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports.”  CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus states, “The addition of the ‘Boomer & Carton’ show significantly enhances our on-air lineup, adding hours of live and relevant programming to CBS Sports Network each morning.  It is great to be able to welcome one of the nation’s top sports talk radio shows to the networks of CBS Sports.”  It is believed the New York Yankees-owned YES Network also was involved in the bidding process as it simulcasts WFAN-AM/FM afternoon personality Mike Francesa’s show.

clearchannelBloomberg: Clear Channel Burning Cash to Delay Reckoning. In a piece published by Bloomberg, Krista Giovacco writes that Clear Channel’s recently announced desire to push the due date on $1.8 billion in borrowings from 2016 to another three to five years into the future and almost double the interest rate buys the company time, but also eats into its cash flow.  Giovacco reports, “While the proposal gives Clear Channel more time to turn around a business that’s posted losses every year after Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP took control in 2008, it also raises the company’s risk of missing interest payments on $20.7 billion of debt, according to Moody’s Investors Service.  After capital expenses, Clear Channel ran a deficit from operations in the year ended June, meaning the company had to eat into cash that’s declined more than 60% since the end of 2010 to $704.2 million.  ‘Refinancing at a higher rate is never a positive,’ Scott Van den Bosch, a New York-based senior analyst at Moody’s, said in a telephone interview. ‘It’s not a cure-all, but it buys them time to improve the balance sheet.’”  Giovacco further states, “Clear Channel is seeking to extend $1 billion of loans to 2019 from 2016 and is proposing to pay interest of as much as 7.5 percentage points more than the London interbank offered rate, compared with 3.65 percentage points more than Libor on the existing debt, according to CreditSights Inc., Clear Channel had a free cash-flow deficit of $69.4 million in the year ended June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.  On the trailing 12-month basis, the company burned cash for the first time since 2009, the data show.”  Read the entire piece here.

blumalanCBS Radio Creates New Sales Role; Names Alan Blum VP.  CBS Radio announces the unveiling of a new title within the company – vice president of branded content solutions – and announces Alan Blum is stepping into the role immediately.  CBS states that Blum will report to Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, Altitude Group, a team of local engagement experts tasked with helping Fortune 500 brands connect with consumers using CBS Radio and CBS Television Stations along with their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets.  It further states that in this new role, Blum will work directly with the nation’s leading marketers to develop cross-platform programs that build brand awareness and favorability for advertisers.  He will identify unique and engaging ways to introduce clients into a range of broadcast and digital programming, as well as out of home media.”  Lobel comments, “Local marketing is rapidly becoming the ‘new black,’ and given Alan’s considerable agency and branded content experience, he is the ideal partner to have as we enhance our commitment to delivering world class solutions to clients who want to own the local market landscape.  He has a fresh perspective in looking at marketing solutions from a consumer point of view, and can see opportunities that have a chance to become sensational.”  Blum comes to CBS Radio from Re:Vision, a New York-based advertising agency he founded in 1993.

duffscottWCPT, Chicago Adds Gay Programming.  Newsweb Radio-owned progressive talk radio outlet WCPT, Chicago announces the addition of programming targeted to the gay community.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the station is adding a show called “Out Chicago” hosted by Scott Duff to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sundays.  In addition, the station will air a series of vignettes – also titled “Out Chicago” – to air daily on the station.  Newsweb Radio consultant Michael Damsky says, “It’s an ideal content and branding overlay for WCPT’s progressive talk format.  WCPT is the only radio station serving the needs of Chicago’s vibrant LBGT community and the only broadcast outlet allowing advertisers to directly target this important market segment.”

mannmichaelWIND, Chicago Names Mann GSM.  Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND, Chicago has a new general sales manager as Michael Mann moves from crosstown WLS to “AM 560 The Answer.”  WIND general manager Jeff Reisman states, “Michael is a proven, respected, and talented leader who has an outstanding track record of nurturing sales talent, driving growth, plus a keen understanding of both local and ad agency business.  I am confident that under his leadership, AM 560’s sales department will rise to new levels.”  Mann adds, “I am thrilled to join Jeff and the entire Salem Chicago team.  I look forward to continuing to work with advertisers in delivering creative and effective campaigns.”

hamiltonhacksawSan Diego Sports Talk Host Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton Joins U-T.  Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, morning drive host at Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned sports outlet XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090,” joins the San Diego Union-Tribune as a sports columnist.  He’ll be authoring his “1-Man’s Opinion” column each Monday.  Hamilton is a 26-year veteran of the San Diego market.  He was the longtime voice of the San Diego Chargers.  Last year, he was voted “Columnist of the Year” while writing for SDNN.com and SWRNN.com by the San Diego Press Club.

wisconsin logoClear Channel Steals Badgers Athletics from Journal.  As University of Wisconsin director of athletics Barry Alvarez notes, Badgers football has been heard on Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee since 1927, but that is changing next season as football, men’s basketball, hockey and women’s basketball and coaches shows will be heard on Clear Channel’s oldies WRIT and sports talk WOKY “The Big 920.”  Alvarez says, “We appreciate the opportunity to move the needle in our history books with Clear Channel, yet at the same time, we’re extremely grateful to Steve Wexler and everyone associated with Journal Broadcasting for building an incredible radio heritage for the Badgers.  We have high expectations for the Clear Channel affiliates and know our fans will continue to enjoy high-quality Badger broadcasts and programming.”  Associated programming will also air on news/talk WISN.  The deal was struck by rights holder Learfield Sports.

Lew Dickey, Sr. Passes at 86.  Broadcaster Lew Dickey, Sr. passed away over the Thanksgiving weekend at age 86.  In a statement, Lew Dickey, Jr. – CEO of Cumulus Media – states, “My dad was an enormously talented broadcaster and, more importantly, a deeply devoted husband, father, and mentor.  He touched the lives of many people and will be dearly missed.”  Dickey, Sr. got his start in radio at Storer Broadcasting’s WWVA, Wheeling, West Virginia and quickly rose through the ranks at the company.  He was promoted within Storer to leadership positions at KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh followed by WAGA-TV, Atlanta.  In 1958, Dickey left a successful corporate career to start Midwestern Broadcasting by acquiring WKWK in Wheeling. In 24 months, he turned around the failing station, and began to expand.  In 1965, he bought WOHO-AM, Toledo and added WWWM-FM in 1973.  Shortly afterwards, he bought WLIO-TV in Lima, Ohio in partnership with the Toledo Blade.  In 1992, he purchased WALR-FM and WCNN-AM in Atlanta.

gardner proposalIcy Proposal Gets Warm Reception.  That young man on his knee on the ice at a recent Fort Wayne Komets game is news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne morning show producer Loren Gardner and the lovely young lady he’s just asked to marry him is country WQHK, Fort Wayne “K105” afternoon personality Heather Cruise.  Cruise appeared at the hockey game to sing the national anthem and she had no idea that after she finished, Gardner would be there to pop the question.  Needless to say, she was a bit surprised but she did indeed say, “Yes.”

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

| November 27, 2013

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee and Cumulus Media Networks Call it Quits on Daily Talk Show.  Governor Mike Huckabee’s daily commentaries will continue after the New Year but the daily, three-hour talk show will not.  Writing on Facebook, Huckabee says, “I have loved doing the Mike Huckabee show, and its success of going from launch to over 200 stations in less than two years is significant, but the contract was at a decision point for both Cumulus Media and me, and we mutually agreed to conclude.”  Huckabee’s program debuted in April of 2012 with the conservative politician and media personality (who is still seen on weekends on Fox News Channel) promising to host a “different” kind of talk show that offers “more conversation, less confrontation.”  There’s no way to know how successful CMN was in selling the show or how much money Huckabee made but it stands to reason the show was not making enough to justify continuing the effort on the part of either party.

bellpaulMedia Exec Paul Bell Named Business Director for Rush Limbaugh Print and Digital.  Premiere Networks announces the appointment of Paul Bell to the position of business director of Rush Limbaugh print and digital subscriptions.  Bell most recently worked with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal and will remain based in New York where he’ll report to CCM+E president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott.  Bell’s focus will be on all aspects of Limbaugh’s subscription businesses including oversight of strategic planning, directlimbaughrush marketing, circulation management, and subscriber acquisition and retention for Rush 24/7; The Limbaugh Letter; as well as The Limbaugh eLetter, the recently-launched digital version of the publication now available via desktop and on mobile devices.  While with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, Bell was charged with overseeing strategy and business operations of The Wall Street Journal Sunday, the WSJ Wine Club and the WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks, as well as audio podcasting content licensing.  Prior to that, Bell served as vice president, radio and executive director of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network for seven years.  Julie Talbott states, “We couldn’t be happier to welcome someone of Paul’s caliber to our team.  His extensive background in direct marketing and business operations are a winning combination as we continue to grow Rush Limbaugh’s loyal print subscriber base and digital platforms.”

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz to Host PM Drive on WRVA, Richmond.  Program director Jimmy Barrett tells TALKERS magazine that talk radio pro Jeff Katz is assuming the afternoon drive show from Clear Channel talk host Leland Conway who’s beenwrva logo doing that program and the midday show on the company’s WHAS, Louisville since the early fall.  With Conway now focused on Louisville, Katz can dedicate his attention to Richmond.  Barrett states, “We’re excited to have someone with Jeff’s experience anchoring our afternoon drive.  Jeff is funny, informative and a great match for the Richmond audience.  Best of all, he’s coming here because this is where he wants to raise his family.”  Katz has been part of the start-up at the Boston Herald’s online venture Boston Herald Radio hosting the morning show.  Katz has been a columnist for the Herald and produces commentary features that air on a number of affiliate stations.  He worked for Clear Channel in Boston on WXKS-AM prior to that station’s flip to sports talk.  He starts at WRVA on Monday, December 2.

greenconnections logo“Green Connections with Joan Michelson” to Debut on TalkersRadio this Saturday.  An exciting new weekly program geared to the environmental movement in modern industry and culture is set for launch this weekend on TalkersRadio – the online experimental talk radio station at Talkers.com.  The program will originate with brand new, one-hour installments on Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET that will be repeated at various timesmichelsonjoan throughout the week.  The program’s tag lines are “live green, work green, earn green” and “making cleantech cool.”  Its host and producer, Joan Michelson, is a highly respected and accomplished Washington, DC-based journalist who specializes in energy and sustainability.  She serves as the green expert on WTOP, Washington and has a blog on the Huffington Post, in addition to a number of major media platforms.  Describing the new show, Michelson tells TALKERS, “We inform, engage, and connect people with the cool things and opportunities in energy and sustainability.  Our stories range from politics and business, to jobs, gadgets, tips and the arts.  I am very excited about bringing this groundbreaking show to such an innovative radio platform as TalkersRadio.”  In announcing the launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “This entertaining and informative program is a radio show whose time has come.  There is a huge information-hungry audience for this and potential advertisers are sprouting up all over the nation creating an exciting new arena of economic growth making it incredibly fertile for talk radio.  Joan Michelson brings a personal likability as well as tremendous knowledge to the discussion.  We are proud to be giving birth to and nurturing what promises to be a major broadcasting entity.  This SO fits the mission of TalkersRadio.”

millerdennisWestwoodOne Bumps Dennis Miller to Noon ET Start.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Miller’s WestwoodOne program will move to a new time beginning in January.  The company announces the show’s live air time will shift from the current 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET slot to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET effective January 6.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “WestwoodOne is happy to have the Dennis Miller show as part of our best-in-class lineup and programming.  Miller attracts a very large and opinionated audience who are actively engaged across audio platforms, including digital.  His show is a prime example of the critical role audio plays in cross-platform integration – a key element in the future of audio.”  Miller, who resides in California, currently hits the air live at 7:00 am PT.  He adds, “Thanks for letting me sleep in and continue to do the job that I love!”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Adds AM Signal to Miami Properties.  With the purchase of WOCN-AM, Miami from Deportes Media of Florida, Salem Communications will have another AM signal in the market to complement business talk WZAB, Christian talk WHIM and Spanish Christian formatted WKAT.  The price is $1.2 million for the station and its assets and another $1 million for the property on which the station and its transmitter sit.  WOCN-AM is a class C AM at 1450 currently operating at 1,000 watts in a non-directional pattern.

totaltraffic logoTotal Traffic + Weather Network Partners with TomTom.  The two companies believe the multi-year partnership will augment both their businesses.  Clear Channel’s Total Traffic + Weather Network says the arrangement will combine “TomTom’s industry leading real-time and predictive traffic flow data with Total Traffic + Weather Network’s traffic incident, construction and congestion data to create the mosttomtom logo comprehensive traffic solution available in North America.  The combined data offering will be available across multiple platforms including radio, television, automotive, online and mobile.”  CCM+E EVP engineering & systems integration Jeff Littlejohn states, “We are thrilled about this partnership.  Every day, more than 200 million drivers and thousands of our affiliates depend on TTWN for their traffic information.  We value that trust and are dedicated to delivering the most precise traffic data available. Therefore, we strive for best-in-class, strategic partners to advance our offerings. TomTom is a committed and innovative leader in traffic products. We are excited about creating new solutions together to provide the fastest, most accurate traffic information to drivers every day.”

topturkeysOdds & Sods.  Jack Callaghan leaves the sales end of the business to return to the mic at Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland where he’s the new news director.  Callaghan was most recently eastern regional sales manager at Santa Clara, California-based Beat the Traffic…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM and 99.7 FM in Providence produces its second annual “Top Turkeys” countdown that celebrates the notable and notorious from Southern New England.  This year’s winners included Rhode Island native and “Jersey Shore” star Pauly D confirming he’s a baby daddy; former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey announcing a run for governor only to pull out three days later; and calamari – often a punch line for jokes in Rhode Island – failed to be voted the Official State Appetizer after the State Senate declined to vote on it altogether.  WPRO-AM PD Craig Schwalb says, “Thanksgiving offers WPRO the perfect opportunity to poke fun at some of the most interesting and most absurd news stories that occurred in the great state of Rhode Island this year.”  Check out the web feature here.…..ESPN Deportes Radio reaches what it terms a “sub-license agreement” with Fox to broadcast the UEFA Champions League.  The coverage kicked off with two live double headers: Zenit vs. Atlético and Ajax vs. Barcelona yesterday and CSKA Moskva vs. Bayern and Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray today (11/27).

crowleyjerryIt’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again.  It is an extremely unlikely narrative – but it actually is happening.  When Clear Channel took over ownership of heritage radio station WOR, New York from Buckley Radio about a year ago, they moved it from its location in an iconic building on Trinity Place next to the historic Trinity Cemetery about a block from Wall Street to their already-established headquarters in a different part of lower-Manhattan.  And as we all know, they also made staff changes in both programming and management. These changes included the departure of longtime WORsantellinoelia VP/GM Jerry Crowley and his executive assistant Noelia Santelli.  Being, as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes “one of the most savvy, connected and well-liked broadcasting executives in the Big Apple,” it didn’t take long for another radio company to recruit Crowley (as well as Santelli) for their own New York operation.  That company was Salem Communications for whom Crowley brought his talents as VP/GM of talkers WMCA (570) and WNYM (The Answer).  At that time, these stations were located close-by at Salem’s operation across the river in New Jersey.  Now for the good part — on December 9, Salem is taking advantage of the marvelous radio broadcasting space vacated by Clear Channel on Trinity Place and moving the operations of both stations into the same suite of offices and studios previously occupied by WOR.  That means that Crowley and Santelli (who is now Salem New York’s national sales manager and executive assistant to the general manager) will be moving back to their original offices and even the same desks and furniture!  Amazing!

Thanksgiving Holiday, ObamaCare Criticism, Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Legislation, CBS Gives Lara Logan LOA, and Alec Baldwin Loses MSNBC Gig Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26).  The holiday weekend and the weather-affected travel situation; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the negotiations for an Iranian nuclear program deal; President Obama’s proposed immigration legislation; the leave of absence given to CBS reporter Lara Logan in connection with the “60 Minutes” Benghazi report; and Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC show gets cancelled after reports of his “homophobic” language and on-set behavioral issues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

| November 26, 2013

suitsbryanBryan Suits to KABC, Los Angeles.  With Cumulus Media’s move making Geraldo Rivera a New York-only program beginning in the New Year, the late morning slot at KABC, Los Angeles opened up and it appears Bryan Suits will take over the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at the station.  KABC program director Drew Hayes has not responded to a request for confirmation but Suits himself has posted the news on his Facebook page and his Wikipedia entry indicates he’ll start doing the show in December.  Suits had been working from Seattle at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI, Los Angeles on weekends.  He’s also hosted shows at KVI, Seattle and KOGO, San Diego.

savagemichaelCumulus Announces Savage Sponsorship Deal.  When Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage moves to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET live slot in January, the program will enjoy Swiss America Trading Corporation as the presenting sponsor of the show.  The company reports that the year-long deal will build upon a 12-year relationship between Savage’s show and Swiss America.  The sponsorship agreement will expand Swiss America’s current presence on the show, with the program to be referred to as “The Savage Nation, Presented by Swiss America.”  Savage comments, “I am thrilled to have Swiss America as the presenting sponsor of ‘The Savage Nation.’  This is the most significant partnership ever announced for our show and Swiss America’s interest in deepening their relationship is a testament to our increasingly growing audience.”

malmbergalAl Malmberg Returns to WCCO, Minneapolis for Late Nights.  CBS Radio’s news/talk WCCO announces the return of Al Malmberg to the station’s lineup for the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am show effective December 16.  Malmberg hosted the overnight program on WCCO for more than 10 years during his previous stint with the station from 1996 to 2008.  He was honored as “Best AM Radio Personality” by the local alt weekly City Pages in 2008.  Program director Bob Shomper states, “We are thrilled for Al’s return to late nights on WCCO.  He is one of our most popular hosts with a huge and loyal following.”  Malmberg comments, “I am so glad to be back on WCCO.  I’ve really missed talking to all of my friends across the upper Midwest on the big 50,000 watt blowtorch.”

childersnicoleNicole Childers Named Senior Producer for ‘Marketplace Morning Report.’  American Public Media announces Nicole A. Childers is the new senior producer of “Marketplace Morning Report with David Brancaccio.”  She comes to Marketplace from Fusion, a joint venture between ABC and Univision, where she was a senior launch producer for the new network.  In her new role, she’ll oversee all production aspects of “Marketplace Morning Report,” which APM says is heard by 6.5 million listeners weekly on 475 public radio stations.  She will work closely with host David Brancaccio and the production team in the New York bureau.  Childers will report directly to vice president and executive producer Deborah Clark.

jaguarxfWRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr Gives Away Chance to Win a 2013 Jaguar XF.  Boston talk show host Howie Carr and Entercom’s WRKO are giving listeners to Carr’s show a chance to “Win Howie’s Jaguar” this holiday season.  From December 2 tocarrhowie December 13, Carr will contest twice during his show – 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm – to qualify up to 20 listeners to participate in a grand prize drawing and earn the chance to drive off in a 2013 Jaguar XF, courtesy of Jaguar Exeter.  The grand prize event will take place during a live Howie Carr broadcast taking place on December 18 at The Fairways at Woburn Country Club.  Each qualifier will receive a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill and Pub at Woburn Country Club.  One lucky finalist will win a two-night stay at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts and a shot at the car.

michaelsfargophotoCommunication Through Creativity.  Highly respected radio imaging master, consultant, VO legend and program host Nick Michaels of American Voice Corp. recently brought his two-day seminar, “Communication Through Creativity,” to the Upper Midwest’s powerhouse talk station KFGO, Fargo.  Michaels tells TALKERS that he was tremendously impressed by the passion for creativity and local involvement displayed on an ongoing level at the Midwest Communications property.  Midwest VP programming Jeff McCarthy tells TALKERS, “Nick Michaels’ seminar had a powerful and positive impact on the staff and the results are already being heard on the air on all of our stations in Fargo.”  Pictured (l-r):  Jeff McCarthy, VP programming, Midwest Communications, Inc., Nick Michaels, American Voice Corp., and Peter Tanz, VP operations, Midwest Communications, Inc.

Iran-Nukes Deal, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation, Threatened U.S.-Afghanistan Security Pact, Thanksgiving Holiday, and Gitmo Double Agents Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/25).  The global reaction to the potential U.S.-brokered nukes deal with Iran; the criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; President Obama’s proposed immigration legislation; the tenuous security deal between the United States and Afghanistan; the coming Thanksgiving holiday; and the reported double agent program at Guantanamo Bay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Why I Went to Dallas

| November 25, 2013

By Tom Becka
KOIL, Omaha
Talk Show Host

 

beckatomwriterOMAHA — I know that every consultant and general manager in the country would look at my broadcast from the grassy knoll on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK as an unnecessary expense and programming that only interests listeners over the age of 60.

I disagree on both accounts and let me explain why…

We are in the process of trying to rebuild KOIL radio as a viable radio station.  After years of being nothing but syndicated programming we are now working to have a local presence.  The time spent listening during my show has been great but the cume is not what it should be.

Read More

Monday, November 25, 2013

| November 25, 2013

wabcCumulus Media to Remake Geraldo into an NYC-Only Show.  A little more clarity on the status of journalist and talk media personality Geraldo Rivera after last week’s quickly dispelled rumors that he would be exiting Cumulus altogether.  It turns out Geraldo will be leaving the national syndication game and his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ETriverageraldo program will be heard exclusively on WABC, New York beginning January 1, 2014.  A statement from the company says the show “will focus on the most-talked-about topics involving the nation’s largest city — everything from social issues to politics.”  Rivera will also continue his fight against unemployment by broadcasting live from upcoming “Put Americans Back to Work” job expos and events hosted by Cumulus.  Rivera comments, “For the last four decades, in war and peace I’ve been chasing the news around the world.  But there’s a universe of stories right here in my hometown.  Energized and excited by this opportunity, I’m taking our show to the four corners of the five boroughs.  I’ll be on the streets and in the face of lawbreakers and newsmakers, ready with a hot mike and a helping hand.”  Cumulus COO John Dickey adds, “We are excited that one of the most recognized and respected names in media will be sharing his perspectives on New York issues and supporting local causes that matter most to listeners in one of our top markets.”

harrisinteractiveNielsen to Acquire Harris Interactive.  The company best known for The Harris Poll – Harris Interactive Inc. – is announcing plans to be acquired by Nielsen Holdings N.V.  In a statement, it reports: “Nielsen will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock through a wholly owned subsidiary formed for the purpose of making the offer.  Holders of outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock will receive $2.00 per share in cash, subject to adjustment as provided in the merger agreement.  The $2.00 per share cash purchase price (which excludes any adjustment which may be required under the merger agreement) represents a 2.0% premium to the volume weighted average closing price of Harris Interactive’s common stock in the 60 consecutive trading days prior to announcement of the transaction, and 8.7% below and 81.8% above the 52-week high and low, respectively.”  The final purchase price will be based on Harris Interactive’s average cash (subject to certain adjustments and calculated as specified in the merger agreement) calculated during a 10-day period before and after a reference date expected to occur approximately 20 business days after commencement of the offer.  Nielsen president, Americas, John J. Lewis says, “For our existing CPG and media clients, our combined capabilities will provide better and more integrated insights to help them drive business outcomes.  Harris Interactive’s strength with other industry verticals allows us to serve these clients with Nielsen’s differentiated solutions in areas such as marketing effectiveness, social and digital to achieve our growth objectives.”

waxylogoCastleberry Exits Sports WAXY, Miami; Marc Hochman Status Uncertain.  Program director Tod Castleberry has exited Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami “790 The Ticket” and the Miami Herald is reporting that WAXY morning drive co-host Marc Hochman is bound for afternoonhochmanmarc drive at crosstown WQAM after sitting out a three-month non-compete (he would start in April).  Since LFM won’t comment on personnel matters, we may never know if the reports that Castleberry was dismissed from WAXY, in part, for missing an exclusive negotiation period in Hochman’s contract (which lapses on December 31) are accurate.  The Herald is also reporting that Hochman has been telling friends he’s done at WAXY after his contract expires or sooner if the station chooses to keep him off the air.  However, there are also reports from Miami that LFM and Hochman are negotiating a new deal for him to remain at WAXY.  Hochman was the executive producer and a cast member on Dan Le Batard’s PM drive show on WAXY for many years until moving into morning drive a year and a half ago where he works with Jonathan Zaslow and Joy Taylor.

beckatom2012Opinion: Why I Went to Dallas.  KOIL, Omaha talk pro Tom Becka writes about his approach to Friday’s 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.  He explains that he doesn’t buy into the notion that it was merely commemoration of a news event to which only older audiences can relate.  “It was theatre of the mind…I went to Dallas and [talked to] people who were actually there that day.  I interviewed a man who was in the high school marching band that played “Hail to the Chief” the last time JFK heard it.  I interviewed a former congressman who was on the house select committee of assassinations.  I interviewed a few conspiracy theorists.  I gave a different perspective direct from the grassy knoll.  I was just a few feet from where many say a second gunman stood.”  Read Tom Becka’s entire piece here.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago and McCormick Foundation to Raise Funds for Tornado Victims.  On Tuesday, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the McCormick Foundation are declaring it Illinois Tornado Relief Day.  Starting with the Steve Cochran show at 5:00 am, the station will host a 24-hour campaign for listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Fund. WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune are also partnering with the effort to promote additional fundraising for the day.  WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “We’ve all been touched by the stories of communities coming together following last Sunday’s storms.  Our WGN and Tribune families kept searching for ways to help.  Now, like so many times before, we’ll trust in the generosity of our wonderful listeners, viewers, and readers.”  The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar.  All administrative costs are paid by the foundation and its partners, allowing 100% of all money raised, including the match, to be granted directly to the nonprofit agencies.  The first round of grants will be distributed by the end of 2013.

grabien logoHosts Can Now Conveniently Cut Their Own Clips. A new service recently launched that aims to take the technical know-how out of creating sound clips for radio.  Called Grabien, the site allows users to browse news videos, creating custom audio/video clips that come with transcripts.  Launched by the executive producer of The Peter Schiff Show and former long-time producer of The Laura Ingraham Show, Tom Elliott, the site was designed to be so simple that hosts could create their own clips. “Recognizing radio margins can be thin, I wanted to help shows that can’t afford a big production staff achieve the same professional sound as the biggest shows out there,” Elliott tells TALKERS. “Grabien posts the best news clips every day, making it an easy one-stop shop for quickly assembling a sound packet.” By helping keep production costs down, Elliott says he hopes the site will help stations preserve original programming.  For more information about this innovative service please click here.

slocumjoyceSlocum Named President/CEO of Texas Public Radio.  NPR chief administrative officer Joyce Slocum will begin her responsibilities as president/chief executive officer of Texas Public Radio starting January 6.  “I am delighted to join the wonderful team in building on the momentum to make TPR a vital resource to the community and a preeminent voice regarding the news, events and culture of the region,” the Dallas native and Southern Illinois University (B.A.) and St. Louis University School of Law (J.D.) graduate comments.  NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga remarks, “Joyce has made many contributions to NPR over the years, including her pioneering work within our legal division during her time as general counsel, and leading the teams that moved NPR into our new building under budget and ahead of schedule.  We will certainly miss her but are thrilled she is staying in the public radio family.”  In 2011, Slocum was NPR’s interim president/CEO. Before joining NPR five years ago, she was general counsel at HIT Entertainment and supervising attorney for 7-Eleven.  San Antonio-based Texas Public Radio operates noncommercial talk KSTX and classical KPAC (both in San Antonio); talk-classical KTXI, Ingram; and talk KTPR, Snyder.

deanKVOCtowerThe Joy of Hearing One’s Syndicated Show in One’s Home Market.  In this era of remote broadcasting and crowded competition, it is not uncommon in talk radio for a syndicated talk show host to be without an affiliate in the market in which he or she actually lives.  Such was the case with Michael W. Dean, the talented co-host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) program “The Freedom Feens.”  That was, until now — as the rapidly growing program has been cleared on KVOC in Dean’s hometown of Casper, Wyoming.  KVOC is owned by Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting which O&Os 14 stations in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada.  Dean is pictured, in this artsy photo, listening to a DB of “The Freedom Feens” on his car radio parked in the shadow of KVOC’s tower.  Ah… the magic of it all!

kirofm logoSuper Cool Morning Gig Opening.  Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle is seeking to fill the shoes of Linda Thomas who is exiting the morning news anchor/host position in morning drive program.  The company says the successful candidate will have the backing of a 24/7 award-winning newsroom, the heritage brand of KIRO Radio, a market leading website MyNorthwest.com, all in a world-class international city with unparalleled quality of life.  Candidates must have integrity and be a credible news personality; must be exceptionally curious about both local and national news; must be intellectually honest and conduct entertaining, yet civil conversation while maintaining high energy and a sense of humor.  The morning news show will reflect the purpose at KIRO Radio: To connect entertainment to value; to connect discussion to understanding; to connect communities and enrich lives.  To apply, visit: here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

| November 22, 2013

kennedyjohnfNews/Talk Radio Remembers JFK.  As the nation commemorates the fateful, painful events of November 22 1963, the media at large – newspapers, television and, of course, radio — are focused across the board on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Obviously, the subject is dominating conversation on news/talk radio today in the form of historical documentaries, as well as live talk shows in which every aspect of the almost mythical story is rehashed, retold, analyzed and memorialized.  Many shows are spending time giving listeners the opportunity to recall “where they were and what they were doing” when the horrible news was announced.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison points out, “This milestone serves as a powerful generational marker in our industry’s obsession with demographics that basically breaks audiences down to two significantly different categories — those who remember JFK and the events of November 22, 1963… and those who don’t.”

leykistomCompass Media Marketing Will Represent Tom Leykis.  As of the first of next year (January 2014), Compass Media Marketing will be the advertising sales agent for “The Tom Leykis Show.”  CMM will do similar duties for the talk show host’s NewNormalNetwork.com and BlowMeUpTom.com.  “We are appreciative to the tens of thousands of listeners who are tuning in daily to our show,” Leykis remarks.  “The time is right to start aggressively marketing the show to sponsorscompasslogo and we are thrilled to work with the Compass team.”  Compass Media Marketing president of advertising sales Paul Gregrey comments that Leykis is a “creative genius” with a “highly engaged and loyal audience.  There is limitless upside for growth, both in terms of listenership and sponsors.”  Introduced last year, the latest version of Leykis’ talk show is a streaming internet-centric call-in program, which is broadcast daily at 3:00 pm (PT) from Burbank.  This past Tuesday (11/19), we mentioned that Leykis put himself up for auction on eBay.  The stunt raked in $7,800 for his company and Leykis tells TALKERS, “This promotion worked perfectly for us because it engaged our audience, it brought press attention to our growing brand, and it brought us substantial revenue.  For The New Normal, it was nothing short of a homerun. [Furthermore, it] makes it hard to accept the whining of radio stations who say that they ‘can’t monetize’ digital.”

trn logoReports of Renewed TRN Activity Circulating.  There’s buzz in the industry that Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters is working to bring some of his talent back on the radio hosting live programs.  TALKERS sources indicate Masters and talk personality Jerry Doyle have come to terms that have allowed Doyle to return to his program immediately.  Doyle and other Talk Radio Network personalities have not been hosting regular livedoylejerry shows for most of the past month or so in the wake of a financial disruption at the company that involved staff layoffs at the Grants Pass, Oregon home offices and numerous legal actions between Masters and current and former employees.  Other rumors circulating purported that talk host Rusty Humphries is also soon to be returning to the program schedule at TRN but TALKERS sources report Humphries and Masters have not come to terms that would bring Humphries back to TRN.  TALKERS has reached out to Masters for comment but as of this posting there has been no response.  Stay tuned.

riverageraldoGeraldo to Remain with Cumulus Media.  Any rumors circulating the internet that Geraldo Rivera’s days with Cumulus Media are numbered are untrue says company COO John Dickey.  Geraldo – who is based at the company’s WABC, New York and is also heard on its Los Angeles news/talker KABC as well as 45 other news/talk outlets – airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Dickey tells TALKERS, “Geraldo is going to be working even more closely with us next year – still anchoring 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WABC – as well as spearheading our Putting America Back to Work (PABTW) initiative.”  Geraldo began his program on WABC, New York in January 2012.

pattiznormNorm Pattiz Discusses Podcasting and the State of the Radio Industry on TalkersTV. An exclusive video of Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz‘s presentation at the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference has been posted today (11/22) on TalkersTV (top panel of boxes on right hand side of this page).  In what was billed as a “keynote conversation,” with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the noted industry pioneer, who founded the original Westwood One and created a veritable media empire from scratch, discusses the impact and meaning of podcasting as an extension of the radio industry as well as other important issues of the broadcasting business.  During the presentation he asks the provocative question, “When was the last time you can think of a national star that was created on network radio?  Been a while, hasn’t it!”  He goes on to state, “There’s a demographic national star created in podcasting every week.  That’s because in the podcasting world, the only people you have to satisfy are your audiences and consumers.”  To view the entire video presentation, see TalkersTV on the upper right side of every page on Talkers.com.

rabRAB: Third Quarter Radio Spot Revenue Up 1%.  The Radio Advertising Bureau reports its 2013 Q3 figures and states after two flat quarters, radio spot advertising rose 1% on sales of $3.684 million.  The report also notes thatfarbererica network revenue was down 11% while digital rose 19% and off-air was up 3%.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The momentum we saw building at the end of Q2 has definitely translated into a positive Q3 for radio in many of our top 10 advertiser categories, led by communications/cellular with a healthy 24% increase.  Among key categories, automotive, professional services, health care, home furnishings, all showed substantial increases, as well.  Increases from these diverse ad categories illustrate radio’s cross-platform strength to drive traffic and sales – for large corporations to Main Street businesses.”

toddchuckChuck Todd Readies to Add Radio Duties.  “Unscripted with Chuck Todd” is the name of the one-hour (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Saturday show the veteran journalist will launch in two weeks (12/7) on SiriusXM‘s “P.O.T.U.S.” channel.  “In this day and age, people tend to think they have more access to newsmakers and politicians, when in many ways, they actually have less,” Todd comments.  “We will aim to help listeners get to know powerful people in a different way – as human beings, not as sound-bite machines.  I look forward to talking to many famous amateur political junkies out there who just happen to have day jobs in the worlds of sports, Hollywood, Wall Street and everywhere in between.”  According to SiriusXM vice president/general manager of talk programming Dave Gorab, “Chuck will go outside his normal field of reporting and delve into the personal passions and interests of not just politicians but leaders from virtually every field of interest. This show is new territory for Chuck, but will be built on his journalistic savvy and experience.”  Todd hosts MSNBC‘s “Daily Rundown” and is NBC News’ chief White House correspondent.

kravitzpinkyAtlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Celebrates 55 Years on WOND.  Atlantic City talk radio legend Seymour “Pinky” Kravitz is celebrating his 55th anniversary on WOND this afternoon with a special broadcast from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.  The station notes that Kravitz has broadcast more than 169,000 hours of air time (that’s over 701 consecutive days!) from more than 20 remote broadcasting locations and more than a handful of time changes.  It boasts that 1400 AM is where South Jersey still turns for “informative and provocative conversation.  Pinky Kravitz has become one of thewond logo region’s most recognized, trusted and beloved media personalities through what has become the longest running radio program (on one station by one personality) in the country.”  Longport Media president Dave Coskey states, “It’s amazing that in an industry where longevity is often measured in months or years that we measure Pinky’s career on WOND in decades.  Pinky’s career spans not only decades but generations – generations of listeners all who have spent time in Pinky’s Corner.  And his brand is even stronger today than it was in 1958.”  Kravitz adds, “I’ve been blessed to not only have the support of my family, a radio station and city for all of these years but also the love and support of an entire region.”  In addition to his daily radio show on WOND, Kravitz also hosts a weekly television program on WMGM-TV and writes a weekly column for the Press of Atlantic City.

sagaSaga Communications to Pay Special Cash Dividend.  Saga Communications, Inc. announces its Board of Directors is declaring a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share on its Classes A and B Common Stock to be paid on December 12, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 2, 2013.  The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $10.3 million.  This special cash dividend will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet.

finebaumpaulPaul Finebaum Show to Air on SiriusXM’s ESPN Channel.  The formerly Birmingham-based sports talker – now calling Charlotte home and produced and syndicated nationally via ESPN Radio – joins the ESPN Xtra channel on SiriusXM effective Monday, November 25.  Paul Finebaum joined ESPN in August after years of success on Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham.  Finebaum’s show airs live from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.

hdradio logoHonda Displays HD Radio Civic Pride.  The Los Angeles Auto Show is not typically where you would expect to find something noteworthy about the radio business.  That, however, is where HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital this week announced that the 2014 Civic is the first Honda vehicle to launch integrated audio and real-time traffic information using the HERE mapping service, BTC, and HD Radio technology.  iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “Honda is showing real leadership in bringing the benefits of digital HD Radio data to their vehicles.  This is another great example of a leading automaker integrating digital terrestrial technology as part of a connected vehicle strategy.”  Honda Civic navigation systems incorporate HD Radio audio and data features, including a way for listeners to view album art and other images on their radio screens.  There is subscription-free, real-time traffic information, showing flow patterns, construction alerts, and traffic incidents to drivers.  In addition to Honda, other automakers integrating digital traffic and data services include Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota.  More than 30 automakers have announced plans to incorporate HD Radio in over 170 models by the end of this year.  Nearly seven-dozen models will feature HD Radio receivers as standard equipment.  The 2014 Honda Civic arrives at dealerships next month.

bfoa logoRon Ruth Memorial Fund Announced.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and the Broadcasters Foundation of America are announcing the creation of the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund in celebration of the life and work of Ruth and to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  The BfoA’s mission is toruthron help improve the quality of life of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need.  Donations may be sent directly to the Broadcasters Foundation at 125 West 55th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 and please make note that the donation is for the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund.  Tentative plans by the RAB are underway to hold a celebration of life with Ron’s many friends sometime in the first quarter of next year and will be made public as soon as they are finalized.  RAB CEO and president Erica Farber states, “Ron was an ardent supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation.  We at the RAB couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor and commemorate his life and work.”

ramseyNYCDave Ramsey Takes New York.  The actual event took place right across the Hudson River at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark but Dave Ramsey’s New York affiliate – Clear Channel’s WOR – was a partner in promoting the event.  Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” last night (11/21) before a packed house speaking about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  WOR general sales manager Ron Russo says to the Ramsey team, “Thank you for creating an engaging event in an intimate setting where we have the opportunity to connect our listeners with our clients in a truly interactive environment.”  WOR sales manager Chris Borelli adds, “The event is not only impeccably prepared and executed, but entertaining and enjoyable.  We look forward to many more events like this as long term partners.”

ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22.  The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Obama’s sinking approval ratings.  Following at #3 was the talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and debate over economic sanctions on the nation followed by the GOP’s 2014 and 2016 strategy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

| November 21, 2013

francesamikeMike Francesa’s A-Rod Interview Creates Media Blitzkrieg in NYC.  When embattled New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez (lower right) stormed out of his grievance hearing with MLB officials and went straight to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa to kvetch to him, the New York City media reacted with such intense criticism of the broadcast that it only goes to cement Francesa’s standing as the most important sports broadcaster in town.  Rodriguez left his MLB meeting regardingarodwfan allegations of PED use and lashed out at the process and expressed his disdain for Commissioner Bud Selig.  Local media outlets accused Francesa of being too easy on — or actually downright chummy with – A-Rod.  But, Francesa maintains that he asked all the pertinent questions.  He told Newsday, “I felt like I asked him every hard question you could possibly ask him.  I don’t think there’s anything I could ask him about that wasn’t asked.”  Regardless, it was the interview that every media outlet in town has been aching to get and WFAN’s Mike Francesa got it.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it, “It seems that the rest of the Big Apple media don’t ‘get it’ regarding the influence and success of Mike Francesa as a talk show host, as indicated by the extent to which they constantly bash, parody and even mock him.  They judge him by their own often-hypocritical journalistic standards and don’t understand that by giving him so much attention – even as severe critics – they feed into the very process that makes Francesa so remarkably successful.  It is downright comical how they accuse Francesa of being ‘used’ by A-Rod as some kind of media patsy or suck up when in fact it is they — in their fits of transparent jealousy — who are being used by both Francesa and A-Rod.  Regardless of whether he does it consciously or inadvertently, Mike Francesa is a master talk show host of sports or any genre from which most others can learn a thing or two about taking ownership of your targeted turf.”

eastlanratings logoEastlan Employs E-Surveys to Enhance Methodology.  The 1999-formed Bellevue, Washington-based ratings firm will be augmenting current telephone-based methodology with “e-surveys,” which have been tested the past six months.  E-surveys will be integrated into Eastlan’s standard methodology in all markets beginning next spring.  “E-surveys will not replace our current methodology but rather enhance it,” stresses chief technology officer Bert Hambleton.  “The portion of survey respondents recruited electronically will have the choice to participate via e-survey or through a callback on their cell phone.”  Eastlan’s main reason to incorporate e-surveys was to increase participation among young radio listeners, and Hambleton states, “The process has worked very well.”  During this year’s pilot e-survey project, Eastlan noticed wider participation among 12 – 49s; the most dramatic increase was in participation among 25 – 44s.  Eastlan president/chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “It is incumbent upon ratings providers to reach a sample that is as representative of the local market composition as possible.  Being able to recruit and survey electronically, in addition to our telephone based methodology, will absolutely improve the long-term viability of our affordable radio ratings service.  Best of all, we can do so without raising our rates.” E-survey completion rates were slightly higher among women versus men.

fccnewThe FCC’s Media Bureau Announces Comment Period Opens for AM Revitalization Proposal.  The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Matter of Revitalization of the AM Radio Service was published in the Federal Register yesterday and therefore the comment period is open through January 21 and reply comments must be filed by February 18.  The Commission is seeking comment on a number of proposals designed to afford relief to AM broadcasters and to revitalize the AM radio band, and also is soliciting further proposals for revitalization of the AM radio service.

patrickmattOdds & Sods.  Salem Communications announces it will increase its quarterly dividend to shareholders by 5% making the payment $0.0550 per share to be disbursed on December 27…..There’s a whole lot of Matt Patrick hitting the airwaves next week.  The KTRH and KPRC, Houston talk personality will be heard three times per day on Monday and Tuesday November 25 and 26.  He’ll do his morning show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and his afternoon show on KPRC from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Then he sits in for KTRH-based syndicated host Michael Berry from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

crninternational logoMarketing Firm CRN International Names Jim Alkon Marketing Director; Promotes Robert O’Mara.  Radio marketing firm CRN International announces it names Jim Alkon marketing director, describing his mission “to extend the profile of the company among consumer brands and advertising agencies.”  Most recently, Alkon was managing director of his own consulting firm Meetings and Media.  At the same time, CRN ups Robert O’Mara to managing director, strategy and business development, and adds two new sales managers: Amanda Alvarez and Maureen Conlin who take the title associate director of strategy and business development.  CRN International describes itself as a company, using the slogan, “We Use Radio Differently,” that extends “the boundaries of radio marketing beyond simple spot advertisements and has customized programs to meet specific business objectives.  This has kept the award-winning company on marketing’s cutting edge for close to 40 years, serving prominent clients such as Microsoft, Chrysler, Sears, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Major League Baseball, HBO and Unilever.”   President and founder Barry Berman states, “We will continue to be part of the conversation in social media, on our recently relaunched website and in tutorial and perspective pieces on how understanding a client’s very specific business objectives is the first step to developing the right customized marketing campaign.  We have been able to employ radio in non-traditional ways to achieve results typically way beyond expectations.”

entercomBuffalo Food Pantries Aided by Entercom Thanksgiving Promotion.  Entercom Buffalo and the NHL‘s Buffalo Sabres teamed up earlier today (11/21, 7:00 am to 9:00 am) for a Thanksgiving turkey drive to benefit local food pantries.  Any donor dropping off a turkey was given two tickets to an upcoming Sabres game, leading Entercom Buffalo operations manager Tim Wenger to comment, “The Sabres stepped up in a big way to help the community by donating the tickets to this cause; Entercom is honored to join the effort.”  The event took place in the parking lot at the Entercom Buffalo offices.  Tickets distributed there were for games against the Montreal Canadiens (11/27); New York Rangers (12/5); Ottawa Senators (12/10), and Winnipeg Jets (12/17).  Entercom-owned sports outlet WGR is the Sabres’ flagship.  The New York State cluster also includes news/talk WBEN; CHR WKSE “Kiss”; alternative WLKK; classic rock WLKK HD2 “The Lake”; adult contemporary WTSS “My Star”; sports WWKB; and rhythmic oldies WWWS “Solid Gold Soul.”  All proceeds directly benefitted the Buffalo City Mission and the Food Bank of Western New York.

wwtn logo‘SuperTalk 99.7’ Goes Commercial Free for Rescue Mission Radiothon.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” will drop the spots on Monday, November 25 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm during its annual Cumulus Nashville Radiothon to raise money for the Nashville Rescue Mission.  WTN personality Michael Delgiorno will broadcast live on-site at the Nashville Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am.  Cumulus VP and market manager Mike Carpenter states, “This radiothon gives the community an opportunity to give back into the community and really help change people’s lives.  There are many ways to get involved with charities, but this one is unique because it’s not just about immediate needs.  It helps restore their lives and overcome huge hardships.  WTN’s listeners are very giving people who always go above and beyond our expectations in supporting the Mission.  We look forward to exceeding our goal again this year.”

millermissionMiller’s Mission Kicks into Gear for the Holidays.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (center, holding the Chex) is surrounded by staffers at the Boise Rescue Mission and KTVB-TV weather anchor Larry Gebert (second from right) as Miller begins another year of “Miller’s Mission.”  Miller is broadcasting from a local Walmart (and living there for an entire week) while collecting items to benefit the Boise Rescue Mission.

Tribune to Cut Roughly 700 Newspaper-Related Jobs. The tightening comes as Tribune plans to sell or spin off its publishing operations – which includes The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Hartford Courant – in order to concentrate more on television stations.  In a memo yesterday (11/20), chief executive officer Peter Liguori informed staffers that the publishing operation’s business units will be organized “by function, rather than by geography.”  Specifically, according to Liguori’s memo, “We must take better advantage of Tribune’s unique size and reach.”  The goal, he wrote, is to “continue investing in the lifeblood of our business: best-in-class reporting, effective sales, and digital growth.  Ensuring the long-term strength of our mastheads will, unfortunately, result in the selective reduction of our publishing staff.”  Iconic Chicago talk outlet WGN is Tribune’s lone radio property.

ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Obama Approval Ratings, UN Climate Talks, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Deal, and ‘Knockout’ Attacks Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21).  The scrutiny over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the government’s website; President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the walkout of member nations at the United Nations climate talks; the shaky state of the proposal for Afghanistan’s security beyond 2014; and the rise in incidents of “knockout” game attacks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

| November 20, 2013

trn logoMatt Ray New Anchor of ‘America’s Morning News.’  The Talk Radio Network-produced “America’s Morning News” program has a new permanent host in Matt Ray.  Ray — a 12-year broadcast veteran whose stints include KXL, Portland; KGO and KSFO, San Francisco – takes over as anchor of the program heard in more than 140 markets immediately.  Ray states, “It is an exciting opportunity to work with the team at ‘America’s Morning News.’  Our focus continues to be journalism without agenda – the key ingredient to the success of ‘America’s Morning News’: compelling, breaking news and interviews delivered in a fast-paced environment.”  TRN CEO Mark Masters adds, “Matt was a natural fit and he tested overwhelmingly positive.  His credentials are impressive and we think Matt will take the morning news to new levels of success in the years to come.  We are thrilled to see Matt on board at AMN.”

radeltreyFormer ’92.5 Fox News’ Fort Myers Morning Host – Now Congressman – Trey Radel Arrested on Cocaine Charges.  Congressman Trey Radel won his first political race last November taking Florida’s 19th Congressional District seat as a Republican after Rep. Connie Mack chose to give up the seat and run for the U.S. Senate.  But Radel’s experience has been in broadcasting.  He was an anchor on WINK-TV and had made the move to radio as morning host on Meridian Broadcasting’s news/talk “92.5 Fox News” in the Fort Myers market (a trimulcast of WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM).  He left that gig to run for office.  Radel was busted as part of a sting after allegedly purchasing cocaine in Washington’s Dupont Circle.  Radel issued the following statement: “I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice.  Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions.  However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side: It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling.  As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”

beckgiffordGlenn Beck Promotes New Book on NBC’s ‘Today.’  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and founder of the digital destination TheBlaze  — Glenn Beck, sat down with NBC’s Kathie Lee Gifford on the “Today” show to talk about his new book, Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America (Threshold Editions 2013).  In the photo here, Beck is seen being interviewed by Gifford in his Dallas, Texas studios where programming for TheBlaze is produced.  During the interview, Beck talked about the desire to provide more detail and color in fleshing out historical characters and events being the impetus for writing this book.

joycebrianTalk Radio and Social Media Push Local Commercial into the Limelight.  WGOW, Chattanooga afternoon drive talk host Brian Joyce tells TALKERS magazine how the power of talk radio and social media helped create a sensation out of a local TV commercial.  He says, “Around 2:00 am last Friday morning, I saw a commercial on local television for a small business called Mike’s Golf Shop.  It was so awful, so hilarious, and so awesome that I had to share it with my listeners!  So I played the commercial on my show Friday afternoon, then I shared it on Facebook and sent it to a friend of mine whowgow logo writes for Jimmy Fallon.  At the time, the commercial had 27 views on YouTube. By Monday morning, it had 64,000 views.  Today, it has 70,000 views.  Tosh.O just shared it on their Facebook page, MSNBC and Comedy Central featured in on their websites, and Mike’s Golf Shop is trending on Yahoo!”  Joyce says the lesson in this story is that it all started on “Talk Radio 102.3.”  What’s more, it’s likely to bring in business.  “We met with Mike on Monday morning.  He was so excited about what we had done for him that now he wants to advertise with us regularly.  The power of talk radio and social media is alive and well, and stronger than ever!”  You can see the commercial here.

matthewskevinKevin Matthews to Take On Voice and Imaging Role at WGN.FM.  Chicago radio legend Kevin Matthews’ voice is returning to a Chicago-based audio platform after years of full-time work in his resident city of Grand Rapids.  According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the radio pro that rose to prominence on rocker WLUP-FM “The Loop” will be the imaging voice of Tribune’s online audio platform WGN.FM, currently host to Jonathon Brandmeier’s program and other shows.  Matthews, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids in 2005 and was a personality at Cumulus Media classic rock WLAV for several years.  He’s been out of terrestrial radio for a while but has been contributing to Steve Dahl’s podcast efforts.  Matthews will continue to work from his home studio in Grand Rapids.

superbowl logoWestwoodOne to Rank Best Audio Super Bowl Ads.  WestwoodOne – the radio home of Super Bowl XLVIII – is preparing to launch its Super Bowl Audio Index, the first-ever consumer-driven index ranking the most creative audio commercials aired during the Super Bowl.  The company says that the index will be comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations that broadcast its exclusive, play-by-play coverage of the game.  Each of the commercials will be available for consumer voting throughwestwoodone logo WestwoodOne.com on February 2, 2014.  Two awards will be announced across WestwoodOne’s on-air and online broadcast network.  The first will be Listener’s Choice, selected by consumers through an online voting process that can also be leveraged by marketers through social media, and activated through SoundHound, to create even more engaging experiences for listeners.  The second will be Media Choice, selected by an advisory council comprised of leading advertising, media and creative executives across multiple consumer categories.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “For brands wanting to engage a captive audience with the largest reach, there is no comparison to the Super Bowl.  We created the Index as a new way for all brands to leverage the power of sound and capitalize on this massive advertising moment.  The index enables marketers to engage more intimately with 26 million-plus listeners, expanding their campaigns and maximizing their marketing dollars.”

sternhowardOdds & Sods.  SiriusXM superstar Howard Stern announces he will return for another season of “America’s Got Talent.” Stern told listeners to his radio show on Tuesday that although he’d like more personal time, “that big black hole inside of me that demands attention” won and he’ll return for his third season judging on the show…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk will debut her own weekly radio show this Saturday, November 23.  Silk, who has provided commentary for her company’s Alan Nathan show, will host the one-hour show which airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET…..Chicago radio personalities Steve King and Johnnie Putman – longtime overnight hosts on Tribune’s WGN – are returning to the station for fill-in work.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that the husband-and-wife duo will sub for morning drive host Steve Cochran during Christmas week.  King and Putman retired from the station in December of 2011…..AARP has renewed its radio representation agreement with Media Management Group for 2014.  MMG continues to be responsible for ad sales, distribution and business development for the Baby Boomer-targeted feature programming.  AARP’s radio content can be heard on hundreds of stations across the country.

adlargelogoAdLarge Media and PromoSuite Enter National Advertising Sales Rep Agreement.  The exclusive pact covers inventory already measured in Nielsen Audio’s RADAR service and moving into AdLarge’s Return On Investment (ROI) Network.  AdLarge co-founder/chief executive officer Gary Schonfeld comments that the partnership “gives our national advertisers access to an enormous amount of inventory, and intensifies our already strong coverage in major markets.”  AdLarge co-founder/president Cathy Csukas adds, “Our objective when we created the ROI Network was to offer clients a wide-reaching, RADAR-measured network with solid top-market coverage and a non-controversial format environment.  With the inclusion of PromoSuite‘s vast array of music-formatted radio station inventory, we are proud to have surpassed that goal.”  Meanwhile, PromoSuite chief executive officer Rocco Macri remarks, “It is inevitable that our two companies struck up a partnership.  You have two independent, forward-thinking companies that are agile enough to make quick decisions, yet big enough to have an impact.  Together, we will continue to build and maintain relationships within the radio and advertising communities.”  Customized advertising sales rep AdLarge was founded in 2010; PromoSuite services more than 1,500 radio stations and is included in all top 50 markets.

mohrgordonMixing in Pop Culture.  Fox Sports Radio Network host Jay Mohr (right) poses for a photo with Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (left) in the FSR studios.  Gorman was in town to talk about his new tour with the Black Crowes, his new band Trigger Hippy as well as chat about sports.  The two discussed the controversial end to the Monday Night Football game between the Patriots and Panthers and Gorman also participated in the first-ever Jay Mohr Sports Front Man Draft.  As part of the segment, the crew drafted a team of various band front men, including Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury and the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.

sweeneyMHBHPutting on the Greasepaint.  Pictured here are TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and his wife Bernadette Duncan Harrison (left) with TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (center) in costume for his role as Beadle Bamford in the Monson, Massachusetts-based Greene Room Productions presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

ObamaCare Criticism, JFK Assassination Anniversary, Iran Nukes Talks, Sinking Obama Approval Numbers, Toronto Mayor Case and Midwest Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19).  Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the state of the government’s health care sign-up website; the coming anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy; the potential talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and the debate in Washington over increasing economic sanctions against the Islamic state; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the bizarre case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; and the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that swept across the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.

Vintage Telefunken 12AX7 Tube Review

| November 19, 2013

Tubes? What Century Do You Think This Is?

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

 

Figure 1 - TubesLeft: Tung-Sol 12AX7 tube.      Right: Telefunken 12AX7 tube

deanmichael2CASPER, WY — The transition in audio production from analog to digital over the past couple decades has been a boon for radio. No more splicing tape, and no more finding the right tape or piece of tape. And don’t get me started on those dreaded carts. I’m thankful they’ve been replaced by a click on the screen. Tape hiss is something I don’t miss either.

However, in some ways, digital audio production is too clean. So after ditching tubes and tapes for transistors, integrated circuits and hard drives, some people have gone back to analog for one phase of the audio chain: the pre-amp.

Tube pre-amps and compressors have sonic attributes that cannot yet be replicated with digital modeling. Tubes provide a warmth that comes from semi-random, subtle distortion on certain harmonics. That sounds like it would be a bad thing, but it’s actually a good thing.

Read More

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

| November 19, 2013

quinnandroseQuinn and Rose Exit WPGB, Pittsburgh.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Jim Quinn (left) and Rose Tennent (right) were unable to come to terms on a contract renewal with the Clear Channel news/talk station.  An official statement reads: “WPGB tried to reach new terms with Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent, but as that was unsuccessful, they will be moving on and we support and thank them for the contributions they have made to Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s WPGB over the years.”  “The War Room with Quinn and Rose” was syndicated to a number of stations including Radio Livingston-owned WYSL, Avon, New York (Rochester market) and that station termed the duo’s departure a firing and said it received 10 minutes’ notice yesterday morning that the show would not be coming.  Instead, the station was fed David Bloomquist’s morning program emanating from WWVA, Wheeling, West Virginia.  The Post-Gazette reports Bloomquist will be replacing Quinn and Rose on WPGB effective immediately.  Quinn and Rose had hosted the morning show on WPGB since it flipped to news/talk in 2004.

elliskanyePodcastOne Enlists Ellis.  Novelist and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis (“Less Than Zero” and “American Psycho”) debuted his Courtside Entertainment Group‘s PodcastOne podcast yesterday (11/18) with Kanye West as his first guest (the two are pictured here, Ellis on the left, West on the right).  “Bret is a writer’s writer with a huge fan base,” declares PodcastOne chairman/chief executive officer Norm Pattiz.  “Now, his fans have the unique opportunity to listen and learn how one of the most fascinating minds in popular culture ticks.”  Writers, directors, actors, and musicians will join Ellis each week to discuss issues that keep the creative world alive.  Other PodcastOne personalities and brands include Dr. Drew (Pinsky), Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr, (“Stone Cold”) Steve Austin, Adam Carolla, Kathie Lee Gifford, Brandi Glanville, Dennis Miller, NPR New York, NPR Los Angeles, and 60 Minutes.

leykistomnonameIs This the New Normal for On-Air Talent?  Brainstorming for ways to raise money for his New Normal internet radio venture, always-inventive talk host/entrepreneur Tom Leykis put himself up for sale on Ebay.  Listeners have been curious how they can spend quality time with Leykis, so the personality asked them to “put their money where their mouth is” and held an auction that began a week ago Sunday (11/10) with an opening bid of $9.99.  Five days later (11/15), there were over 90 bids.  By shelling out $7,800, the winner will hang out with Leykis for the afternoon, which means getting picked up by the “Blow Me Up” host and taken for a spin in his Tesla “Model S Signature” electric sedan.  The experience concludes by being Leykis’ guest in the New Normal Studios in Burbank to watch the host do his live show.

biakelseyBIA/Kelsey Study Projects Radio’s Over-the-Air Revenue to Decrease Slightly to 10.6% of Total U.S. Local Ad Revenue by 2017.  In the midyear update to its Annual U.S. Local Media Forecast (2012-2017), BIA/Kelsey projects total U.S. local media ad revenues to grow from $132.9 billion in 2013 to $151.5 billion in 2017, representing a 2.8% compound annual growth rate, growing faster than the firm originally forecast earlier this year.  For over-the-air radio, that 10.6% of total ad revenue amounts to a bit over $16 billion.  Not surprisingly, the fastest predicted growth will be in online/digital with a compound annual growth rate of 13.8% from 2013 to 2017.  But the fastest growing segment is expected to be location-targeted mobile advertising.  The firm expects that to rise from $2.9 billion in 2013 to $10.8 billion in 2017, accounting for 52% of overall U.S. mobile ad spending in 2017.  Total mobile ad spending will grow from $7 billion in 2013 to $20.7 billion infratrikmark 2017.  BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “A range of factors will drive local ad revenues higher in 2014 and through the end of the forecast period.  A slightly improving U.S. economy, positive outlook by investors, the 2014 elections and Olympics, as well as ad spending around the Affordable Health Care Act, which comes out of the local ad pie, will all contribute to increased local ad spending.”  For the first time, BIA/Kelsey’s forecast breaks out the share of ad revenues attributed to print and over-the-air (O-T-A) versus online/digital for Yellow Pages, newspapers, television and radio. The following represent individual media segment shares of the overall local media market by 2017and how those shares have moved from their 2013 position: Newspapers Print: decreasing to 9.1% in 2017; Newspapers Online/Digital: remaining steady at 2.4% in 2017; Yellow Pages Print: decreasing to 1.5% in 2017; Yellow Pages Digital/Online: increasing to 1.9% in 2017; Radio O-T-A: decreasing slightly to 10.6% in 2017; Radio Online/Digital: growing to 0.5% in 2017; TV O-T-A: decreasing slightly to 14.6% in 2017; and TV Online/Digital: growing to 0.7% in 2017.  BIA/Kelsey updates its study in advance of its upcoming conference titled, “LEADING IN LOCAL: Interactive Local Media,” taking place December 10-12 in San Francisco.

tubesTubes?  What Century Do You Think This Is?  The transition in audio production from analog to digital over the past couple of decades has been a boon for radio.  No more splicing tape, no more finding the right tape or piece of tape, and no more of those those dreaded carts. Thankfully they’ve been replaced by a click on the screen. Tape hiss is something none of us miss, either. However, in some ways, digital audio production is too clean. So after ditching tubes and tapes for transistors, integrated circuits and hard drives, some people have gone back to analog for one phase of the audio chain: the pre-amp. Tube pre-amps and compressors have sonic attributes that cannot yet be replicated with digital modeling. Tubes provide a warmth that comes from semi-random, subtle distortion on certain harmonics. That sounds like it would be a bad thing, but it’s actually a good thing. In an exclusive article posted today (11/19), syndicated talk show host Michael W. Dean, co-host of GCN‘s The Freedom Feens, writes, “Tube pre-amps used to be in every radio and music studio. Not so anymore. Tube pre-amps are one reason (of many) why Frank Sinatra and Black Sabbath both sound better than most music today.” Dean concludes, “Tube pre-amps can make today’s talk radio sound better too. And in the past few years, the price of decent tube gear has gone down remarkably.”  To read all of Michael W. Dean’s informative article, please click here.

reynoldssteveReynolds and Sorenson Join Harris Broadcast.  Steve Reynolds is appointed chief technology officer – where he will be responsible for product development – while Skip Sorenson is named chief financial officer – where he will lead financial and IT.  Both men report to Harris Broadcast chief executive officer Charlie Vogt, who comments, “We have built a management team that is laser-focused on the challenges and opportunities facing our industry, customers, and partners.  Steve and Skip join an outstanding team that shares a clear vision to lead the market in technology innovation and fuel a customer-first culture.”  According to Reynolds, “Harris Broadcast is well-positioned to serve an industry facingsorensonskip transformational change that will require innovative media and networking solutions.  Charlie [Vogt, who took over in July] has assembled an impressive management team that is united by a vision and product direction for accelerating our growth prospects.”  Sorenson remarks, “Harris Broadcast has a powerful combination of financial strength, strong leadership, an enviable customer roster, and global scale.”  Reynolds previously was Comcast‘s senior vice president of Consumer Premises Technology; senior vice president of technology at OpenTV; and he has held executive-level positions at ACTV, Intellocity, and TV Guide.  Sorenson formerly was executive vice president/chief financial officer for CompuCom; chief financial officer of Lineage Power; and was senior vice president/chief accounting officer at AECOM Technology.

nab logoNAB Supports Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013.  The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 – introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Committee member Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) – would increase transparency in patent ownership, assist customers who are sued for patent infringement by allowing the case against them to be stayed while the manufacturer litigates the suit, target the widespread sending of frivolous demand letters, and improve resources for small businesses that are targeted in patent infringement suits, among other provisions.  Leahy says, “America’s patent system is the envy of the world, but unfortunately some bad actors are misusing the system to sue unsuspecting consumers or extort monetary settlements by making misleading demands.”  In one example, a company called Personal Audio, LLC has been serving podcasters with bills for licensing fees claiming it holds the patent on the technology being used to produce podcasts.   NAB chairman and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB thanks Chairman Leahy and Senators Lee and Whitehouse for their leadership in introducing the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, legislation designed to combat ‘patent trolls’ that are a drain on both the U.S. economy and the broadcast industry.  This legislation deters those entities that acquire patents primarily as a litigation tool while protecting the true innovators who keep our economy moving forward.  We look forward to working with these lawmakers and other patent reform advocates on legislation that supports a sensible patent system.”

cardwelldaleOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel’s news/talk WGST, Atlanta will feature former WSB-TV, Atlanta consumer reporter Dale Cardwell hosting a daily program airing from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning January 6.  He’ll also produce features for the company’s country WUBL, “94.9 The Bull” and alternative WRDA “Radio 105.7.”…..CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX On Your Corner” live remote series on December 13 profiling West Hollywood.  In addition to Dick Helton and Vicky Moore anchoring from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek hosting the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Chris Sedens and Diane Thompson doing afternoon drive live from The Abbey Food & Bar on Robertson Boulevard, programming will examine WeHo’s economy, key issues, vibrant club scene and distinctive landmarks.  Mayor Abbe Land will be among the civic leaders scheduled to appear throughout the special day of programming…..KPBS public radio and television in San Diego votes to join SAG-AFTRA.  Fifty-five staffers will join the union and are preparing to negotiate their firstbartiromomaria contract.  KPBS is the second public media station in Southern California to organize with SAG-AFTRA this year.  In January, staff of KPCC, Pasadena did the same.  SAG-AFTRA also represents public media workers at NPR, KQED in San Francisco, WNYC in New York, and other stations…..In a bit of television news, longtime CNBC business reporter and “Closing Bell” host Maria Bartiromo is jumping to Fox Business Network after her contract expires at the end of this week.  Bartiromo spent the past 20 years with CNBC.

richertlarryKDKA, Pittsburgh Begins Second Annual ‘Hometown Heros’ Search.  CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh “NewsRadio 1020” and morning drive host Larry Richert are beginning their search for five local men or women to honor for their service to the community.  Five heroes will be honored at a dinner on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at the Lexus Club at PNC Park.  Each hero will also receive $1000 to donate to a 501(C)(3) charity of his or her choice.  Richert states, “In our first outing last year, our heroes were amazing and inspirational people.  I was honored to have had the chance to share their stories.  Again this year we’re looking for people who do what they do without expecting recognition.  These are your friends and neighbors who may have changed a life or lives with a simple act…or something they may do on a daily basis.”

bernierdotman‘American Story’ Host Bob Dotson Visits Embry Riddle and WNDB, Daytona Beach.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (left) is seen here at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with NBC’s “Today” correspondent Bob Dotson (right) discussing storytelling before a live audience at the school and simulcast live on WNDB.  In addition to his work with NBC, Dotson is also author of the new book American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary Americans Doing Extraordinary Things (Viking Adult 2013).  This was Bernier’s 100th edition of his Town Hall series on WNDB.  In addition to the live broadcast, Bernier posts the program to YouTube and his own BookMarc ROKU channel.

ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Approval Numbers Sinking, George Zimmerman Arrest, Toronto Mayor Case, Midwest Tornadoes, and the Soaring Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18).  Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; President Obama’s approval ratings drop; the arrest of George Zimmerman on gun charges; the latest action taken against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in connection with his drug scandal; the tornadoes that devastated portions of the Midwest; and the near-record close of the Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

It’s Pop-Up Time!

| November 18, 2013

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

BRADENTON, FL — There is a remarkable, growing retail phenomenon occurring  around the country this time of year that is directly attributable to the current national  economic downturn.  And it is  a unique opportunity for sales reps.

These are retail outlets that suddenly appear in vacant spots in shopping centers and malls and stay just for the holiday season and then close. The phenomenon even has gotten a name.   They are called “Pop-Ups.”

As you probably have noticed in your very own community, there are numerous barren locations which give the centers a certain forlorn appearance. Therefore, shopping center operators are delighted to have them filled even though the leases are short-term. They provide a more festive and better look and at least generate some income. They also are a lure for shoppers to frequent the regular space occupiers as well.

Read More

What You Look Like to Us

| November 18, 2013

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
Owner

SHAKER HEIGHTS — Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again.  We also know that we will be bigger and better three years … five years … 10 years from now.  Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms.

And here’s what we think.

We Have Transmitter Envy

Read More

Monday, November 18, 2013

| November 18, 2013

milhaventornadocoverageTornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show.  The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis.  The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform.  Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format.  Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson.  In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”

wrcnlogoJVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas.  Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays.  But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives.  But as our lives change so does our soundtrack.  What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore.  That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information.  Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton?  What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale?  This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.”  Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.

thomaslindaLinda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.”  In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave.  That’s what family members do.  I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.”  Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993.  She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010.  She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business.  It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent.  I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers.  They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”

wrightmichelleMichelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.”  Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo.  The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim.  She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012.  She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.

pittmanbobCEOs Make the Grade.  Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and EmmisJeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in thesmulyanjeff Indianapolis Star.  In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose.  “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done.  It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.”  Read that piece here.  Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job.  If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.”  Read that story here.

millerchrisThe View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again.  We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now.  Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms.  And here’s what we think.”  In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset.  Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing.  He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.”  He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions.  Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should.  It doesn’t work like you wish it did.  It works like it works.  We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you.  Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views.  There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it.  Radio people know a lot about how people use radio.  Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter.  One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference.  We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work.  Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t.  What we do either works, or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

rhodesrandiPremiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014.  Premiere SVP of affiliate relationspremierenetworks logo Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show.  In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of.  We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.”  Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.

herskovitzalIt’s Pop-Up Time.  No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season.  Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year.  He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League.  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.

abcnewskennedyABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming.  As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.  It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates.  In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible.  The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.

ruthronRon Ruth Passes.  Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack.  The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months.  CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.”  Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him.  Ron was the midwife to Birch Research.  He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me.  I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.”  Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.”  Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber.  He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL).  Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992.  Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.

wmalbonginoA Man of His Word.  The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino.  Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.

Friday, November 15, 2013

| November 15, 2013

rhodesrandiPremiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014.  Premiere SVP of affiliate relationspremierenetworks logo Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show.  In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of.  We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.”  Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.

kabclogoKABC and KLOS Could Fetch Roughly $90 Million. Before you start feverishly looking for loose change behind sofa cushions and envision putting together a consortium, that is the estimated price for (just) the real estate of the Cumulus-owned talk and rock combo.  For decades, KABC and KLOS have operated from a 45,000-square-foot broadcast facility that sits on a 10-acre Los Angeles site at La Cienega and Jeffersonkloslogo Boulevard.  It is close to a stop on the Expo Line rail route connecting downtown LA and Culver City.  In an article in yesterday’s (11/14) Los Angeles Times, Roger Vincent notes that, “The area is considered ripe for mixed-use development that might include apartments, offices and stores.  Real estate experts familiar with transit-oriented development say the Baldwin Hills site could command $200 a square foot, or more than $90 million,” although Cumulus reportedly has not officially set a price for the KABC-KLOS property.  The LA Times piece quotes an unnamed Cumulus spokesperson who indicates company officials feel the Los Angeles property is a “greatly underutilized asset.” Cumulus has decided to sell it “to free up cash to redeploy in other areas of the business.”  One option under consideration would be to have KABC and KLOS remain as tenants at the location following the sale.

nielsen logoNielsen Trims Payroll by as Many as 500 Positions.  The statement from Nielsen is vague company-speak – “As part of the integration of Nielsen Audio, Nielsen is implementing changes across the company to enhance growth and to align our resources to meet and exceed client needs. These changes will improve productivity and innovation for the benefit of our organization, clients and shareholders.”  However, unsubstantiated reports swirling through the industry are that as many as 500 former Arbitron staffers are being let go as Nielsen brings the radio ratings division fully into the parent company.  The move is not surprising – or shouldn’t be – to anyone who’s been in this business for a while.  Nielsen reported to shareholders that it would be able to realize $20 million in “synergies” and that money has to come from somewhere.  In late September, when TALKERS wrote that staffers at Arbitron are wondering how many jobs will be cut as a result of the acquisition, Nielsen was quick to issue a statement saying the company had, “no plans to reduce headcount at this time,” which we reported on October 2.  TALKERS sees the dismantling of the Arbitron brand and all that it stood for in this clandestine manner as a red flag that should not go by without at least comment.  Those who recall the sale of the iconic trade publication Radio & Records to Nielsen in 2006 will remember the company making similar statements about its intentions to use its formidable resources to grow the magazine and increase its services to the radio industry.  However, in 2009, Nielsen shut the publication down.  In a recent speech at the NAB Radio Show in Orlando, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison stated that for radio to thrive, let alone survive, in his new digital era — it must celebrate and protect its “radio-ness,” and avoid being assimilated into the multi-media soup of the 21st century at the expense of its unique industry and cultural identity.  We hope that the powers-that-be at Nielsen show more respect for the specialness of radio in the days going forward and that they will be held accountable for significant discrepancies between their words and actions.

ordwayglennGlenn Ordway Lands Weekend Gig at SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio.  Longtime WEEI, Boston sports talk personality Glenn Ordway will begin hosting “The Big Weekend Show with Glenn Ordway” on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel this weekend.  Ordway’s show will air Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 11:00 am.  Ordway – who spent the early part of his radio career as a Boston Celtics commentator – was instrumental in the building of Entercom’s WEEI, Boston where he created “The Big Show” afternoon drive program.  His work in sports talk radio in Boston goes back to his days at talker WRKO where he hosted “Sportscall,” beginning in 1981.  He worked at WEEI from 1987 until leaving the station in the spring of this year.

duncanchrisWXOS, St. Louis Renews with Chris Duncan; Announces New Program Schedule.  Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces it has signed a contract renewal with sports talk host – and former St. Louis Cardinals star – Chris Duncan.  The term of the contract was not announced.  Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are excited to have Chris continue with ‘101ESPN,’ he is a tremendously talented guy and a hard worker who prepares in great depth every day to entertain and inform the ‘101ESPN’ audience.”  At the same time, the station announces its new post-morning drive lineup effective 11/25: Kevin Wheeler, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; “The Turn” with Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter, 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; and “The Fast Lane” with Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr (with Brad Thompson joining the show on Monday, January 6th, 2013) from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

fccnewFCC Approves Hiking Foreign Ownership Limit; NAB Approves.  The mood at the Federal Communications Commission was ebullient as all five commissioners signed on to a policy change that would allow for foreign investment in U.S. broadcasting signals.  The new policy would not put a strict limit on the percentage of interest allowed but would only kick in the FCC’s scrutiny if the stake goes above 25%.  The days of concern over foreign control over content on American airwaves are long over and the NAB weighed in on the change, with president and CEO Gordon Smith stating, “NAB applauds the FCC for providing flexibility in commission rules allowing increased foreign investment in broadcast TV and radio stations.  We are especially pleased the FCC recognized that local broadcasters routinely provide ‘local news, Amber Alerts and public safety information’ to serve our communities.  Today’s vote provides broadcasters greater access to capital that will allow local stations to continue our indispensable role as the primary purveyor of news, entertainment and lifeline information to the American people.”

blairderricknowitsthenewsTalk Media Network Brings Weekly Satirical News Program into the Fold.  “Now It’s the News with Derrick Blair” joins the Josh Leng-led Talk Media Network.  The company says in a statement, “While many shows embrace talking points and are overly predictable, Derrick Blair brings a refreshing approach to ‘Now It’s The News,’ in the genre of ‘enlightened entertainment’ that includes ‘The Colbert Report’ found on Comedy Central.”  Blair adds, “In the truest spirit of bipartisanship, ‘Now It’s The News’ will continue to mock the left, the right, the center, and all points in between.”  Josh Leng comments on the one-hour, weekly program, “’Now It’s The News with Derrick Blair’ appeals to core radio listeners who love news and politics, but also to a much wider audience who simply enjoy a good laugh and quality entertainment.  Derrick’s show is 100% original, and serves as a perfect bridge between political and non-political programming, giving listeners a humorous transition. It’s also a great way to laugh off some of the stress that can build up during the week.”  The program has been in syndication since 2010.

cumulus logoCumulus-Townsquare Deal Closes.  Yesterday, Cumulus Media announced that it had completed the sale to Townsquare Media, LLC of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets for approximatelytownsquare logo $238 million in cash, and the swap with Townsquare of 15 radio stations in two small and mid-sized markets in exchange for five radio stations in Fresno, California (together, the “Townsquare Transaction”).  Cumulus reports in an 8-K filing that it intends to use the cash proceeds from the Townsquare Transaction to fund a portion of the purchase price payable to complete its previously announced acquisition of Dial Global, Inc., now known as WestwoodOne.  This acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013.

marksidWPHT, Philadelphia Celebrates 57 Years of Sid Mark’s Broadcast Career. The Philadelphia broadcaster is best known these days for his nationally syndicated weekly program “The Sounds of Sinatra.”  Home base – news/talk station WPHT, Philadelphia – is celebrating the career of Sid Mark tonight at a special, sold-out event at Galdo’s in Philadelphia to celebrate his 57th year hosting “The Sounds of Sinatra.”  The evening will feature Bobby Rydell and the sounds of the 17-piece big band City Rhythm Orchestra paying tribute to Sid Mark.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “Sid is not only a Philadelphia treasure, but a national treasure as well.  His legendary voice has insured that another legendary voice has remained quite legendary.  We are honored to have him as a member of our team at WPHT.”  Sid Mark launched “The Sounds of Sinatra” in Philadelphia 57 years ago after a caller suggested that Sid spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs.  That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra” which presently airs on 1210 WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 to 1:00 pm.  “The Sounds of Sinatra,” now heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast, is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.