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TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Contrasted to national talk radio hosts who can sometimes get deeply mired in a monotonous right against left (or vice versa) onslaught, many of their local counterparts emerge as bona fide folk heroes for standing up against a coterie of injustices inflicted on their fellow residents.
Actions taken by this band of “watchdogs,” in the overwhelming number of instances, have nothing to do with political leanings or a partisan playbook.
Legendary for rooting out the “bad guys,” afternoon talk hosts “John & Ken” (John Kobylt & Ken Champiou) expose what they consider dirty dealings to their very large audience on Los Angeles’ KFI. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr is a thorn in the side of the “powers that be” in New England. Everywhere in between, intense professional satisfaction comes when they go toe-to-toe with pit bull-like tenacity against the establishment. In that same sort of imagery, “hold their feet to the fire” has actually become a talk radio slogan as on-air talents attempt to expose and defeat “the bad guys.”
TALKERS 2016 Conference Wraps; Coverage of Annual Talk Media Event Forthcoming. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on Friday (5/20), drawing a sell-out crowd of several hundred talk media professionals. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations was presented by TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU Radio. The full day of panel discussions and speaker presentations was video streamed live by Livestream. Detailed coverage of the event, including archived video from the Livestream content, will be presented here on Talkers.com in the coming weeks. Reflecting on the event, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This was one of the smoothest and productive content-laden installments of this historic convention in its storied 19 years of service to the radio industry. We are grateful to all the speakers, panelists, displayers and sponsors for making it so. We are especially grateful to Dean Evan Cornog of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU (Radio Hofstra University) station manager Bruce Avery and operations director John Mullen for their phenomenal support as partners in the successful event.” Pictured here are: (top, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity engaging in a “fireside chat”; (top, right) Westwood One star Mark Levin accepting the annual Freedom of Speech award; (above, left) Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris accepting the 2016 TALKERS Woman of the Year Award; and (bottom, right) WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa addressing the attendees.
Donald Trump Seeks to Build Support from WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes. Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes and several other Wisconsin talk radio personalities were publicly chastised by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during that state’s primary election for their opposition to his candidacy. Now, Trump is seeking to bring the influential WTMJ host around. The image you see here is a copy of The New York Times with a hand-written note from Trump to Sykes. It references an article in the paper about groups that’ve previously been against Trump reversing their course. The note to Sykes reads: “Charlie, I hope you change your mind. Looking forward to coming back on your show. I WILL WIN!” WTMJ posted the photo and an accompanying story in its website. Sykes comments, “He’s reaching out. I’m surprised that he would reach out to somebody who has been as critical. Obviously, he understands the need to unify the Republican party and reach out to some conservatives. I figured maybe there would be some conservatives who would be beyond the pale, including #NeverTrump guys like me, but apparently he’s doing that. I will give him credit for reaching out to people that I did not think he was going to reach out to.” Read the WTMJ piece here.
The Presidential Race, EgyptAir Crash Investigation, TSA Efficiency Issues, Facebook Anti-Conservative Bias Allegations, Islamic State Calls for Civilian Attacks, and NBA and NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the investigation into the downing of EgyptAir flight 804; efficiency issues plaguing the TSA in screening airline passengers and statements from the agency that lines will get worse this summer; the controversy over allegations that Facebook manipulates its trending stories to downplay conservative issues; a high-ranking Islamic State official’s call for renewed attacks on European and American civilians; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root will appear on this Friday’s edition of HBO’s “Real Time” with Bill Maher. Also on the show will be Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Root tells TALKERS his role will be to defend Donald Trump…..Two Fox News Radio programs are being made available on the CRN Digital Talk Radio platform. “Kilmeade & Friends” with Brian Kilmeade and the Alan Colmes show are both the CRN 2 “Bulls and Bears” channel…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show with host Michael W. Dean adds new affiliate KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma.
Herskovitz: Hall Talk 2016. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today in the aftermath of last Friday’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference. He says the sales pros attending the conference with whom he spoke all agreed that political advertising and digital sales were the hot topics this year. He says, “The unusual circumstances surrounding the current national candidates are posing unique sales problems. Yes, just about all with whom I spoke, acknowledged that they benefited from the ad wars affecting the primary season. But now local and regional battles are upon us. And numerous aspiring candidates are not allying themselves with the traditional wings of their political parties. Some candidates with no clearly defined affiliations are emerging.” Read Herskovitz’s column here.
WFAN, New York Personality Richard Neer Publishes Second Mystery Novel. Did you know that The Martian began as a self-published book? As did Still Alice and Legally Blonde. Do you think you’ve written a great book but the publishing industry won’t give it the attention it deserves? Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has just released the second of his Riley King series of mysteries through Amazon and CreateSpace — cutting out the middleman. Both are selling briskly without a traditional publisher. “Publishers are skeptical that radio, other than a few syndicated giants, can sell books. I’m happy to be proving them wrong,” Neer says. His traditionally published book, FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio was released in 2001 by Villard, and Neer believes that it wouldn’t stand a chance with a major publisher today. “I’ve had radio friends with great stories to tell inform me that their manuscripts have been rejected because there aren’t enough sordid tales of sex and drugs. They’re not interested in great writing — just sensationalism and what seems trendy today.” The Master Builders is the title of Neer’s latest effort. As a result of promoting it on his WFAN sports talk radio show, his first novel, Something of the Night, is also selling well. Both are murder mysteries featuring private investigator Riley King and his radio sidekick Rick Stone as they battle crime and corruption up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “Just like with the music and film industry, there’s a revolution in publishing where traditional gatekeepers are less important. People can be introduced to fine work that otherwise might be ignored. It’s a lot more democratic. Sometimes those books can be as important or entertaining as the big blockbusters,” Neer says. “As much as I lament the demise of many great bookstores, most readers are buying online these days.” Richard is available for interviews about the business of publishing your own work and can be contacted at Rneer@wfan.com. All his books can be purchased at Amazon.com here.
National Radio Hall of Fame 2016 Nominees Announced. Today, industry voting begins for the 2016 National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of 400 industry professionals, while the other two will be voted on by the public. Public voting commences June 20 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The sheer depth of talent in our industry never ceases to amaze me. After much discussion and deliberation, our nominating committee is very proud of this year’s class of nominees. We’re all looking forward to seeing the voter outcome from our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” Inductees will be announced July 11. The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, November 17 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago. Nominees are: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more): Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), San Diego; Charles Laquidara, Boston; Bobby O’Jay, Memphis; and Garland Robinette, New Orleans. Active Local/Regional (10 years or more): Tom Barnard, Minneapolis; BJ & Migs (BJ Shea & Steve Migs), Seattle; Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Chicago; and Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot & Steve Morrison), Philadelphia. Networks/Syndication (10 years or more): American Top 40 & On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest; The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nanci Donnellan; The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey; and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal. Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more): Delilah, Delilah; Gospel Traxx with Walt “Baby” Love, Walt “Baby” Love; The Jim Rome Show, Jim Rome; and The Kim Komando Show, Kim Komando. The following are to be voted on by listeners. Music Format On-Air Personality: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Tom Kent; The Kevin & Bean Show (Kevin Ryder & Gene Baxter); and Bob Kingsley. Spoken Word On-Air Personality: Diane Rehm; Mike Francesa and Chris Russo; Michael Savage; and Sean Hannity.
Gracies Awards Ceremony Take Place Tomorrow in Beverly Hills. The 41st annual Gracie Awards are taking place tomorrow (5/24) in Beverly Hills and actress Marika Domińczyk will serve as host. Also, Grammy Award-nominee Andra Day will perform her hit, “Rise Up.” The Gracie Awards honor outstanding individual achievement and programming by, for and about women. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair and SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Kristen Welch, says, “The talent that Marika holds, along with her contagious energy and sense of humor, makes her an ideal host for the Gracie Awards Gala. In the spirit of The Gracies, our host, presenters and performances will be unapologetically diverse, loud, personal, funny, emotional and bold.” The Gracie Awards Gala will be live streamed in partnership with Cumulus on websites nationwide.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — It’s tempting to credit “House of Cards” for inventing binge watching. But Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Roku, and YouTube are following – not leading – consumers’ on-demand expectation, and their appetite for more than just more-of-the-same.
Radio is late to the party, playing catch-up as podcast TSL swells, and radio dollars leak to digital. Ask any GM about car dealers; and how corporate is barking for more digital revenue.
By Mike Kinosian
Several candidates eschewed the word “campaign” in favor of “movement.”
That particular word – “movement” – is actually an appropriate way to assess the attitude enveloping a three-hour, weeknight health and wellness program, which is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Jim Rose Promoted to PD at KFAB, Omaha. Both players here are part of the KFAB, Omaha morning show. Longtime KFAB personality Gary Sadlemyer is giving up his program director duties at the iHeartMedia-owned news/talk station. His co-host Jim Rose is being elevated to the PD role. Both will continue as personalities on the “Gary Sadlemyer and the Good Morning Show.” iHeartMedia Omaha SVP of programming Erik Johnson says, “When Gary made the decision to step down as program director for KFAB, we knew we had big shoes to fill. Jim’s tremendous background in news radio and his intimate knowledge of both Omaha and KFAB all make him the perfect candidate to take over for Gary, who will remain an important and integral part of KFAB as he continues to focus on ‘The Good Morning Show.’”
Ezra Kucharz to Exit CBS Local Digital Media. Six-year leader of CBS’ local digital efforts, Ezra Kucharz, announces he’s leaving his president of CBS Local Digital Media position and will consult as special advisor to the CEO as he explores the next chapter in his career. Kucharz heads the division that developed a common platform and unified sales effort for its radio and television station websites and digital components. This comes as speculation about a spin-off of the CBS RADIO division and an IPO is getting more intense. CBS does not say whether it intends to fill Kucharz’s position.
The Presidential Race, Gender Identification-Bathrooms Issue, N. Korea Missile Tests, Prince Death/Opioid Addiction, Colorado Gay Wedding Cake Case, Dennis Hastert Sentenced, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The activities of the candidates for president, Ted Cruz’s naming of Carly Fiorina as his running mate, and the looming Indiana primary; the ongoing debate over laws governing public restroom use and gender identification; North Korea’s testing of medium-range missiles; the investigation into the cause of death of Prince and the related topic of opioid addiction; the Colorado Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the arguments of a Christian bakery found guilty of violating a gay couple’s civil rights; former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert sentenced for crimes related to sexual assault; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dave Ramsey Brings Smart Money Event to Raleigh. Nationally syndicated talk radio super star and best-selling author Dave Ramsey was in Raleigh yesterday (4/27) presenting his Smart Money event at the Durham Performing Arts Center. There, Ramsey Solutions personality and youth and money expert Anthony ONeal joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate WTKK-FM helped to promote the appearance. WTKK-FM program director Brian Taylor comments, “Over two days, Dave’s visit to Raleigh allowed WTKK-FM three wins: revenue, listener/client interaction while also elevating the profile of our local brand. Adding the Dave Ramsey show to your lineup provides opportunities extending beyond the speakers.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Ramsey, WTKK general sales manager Jeff Rovinsky, Taylor, and ONeal.
NextRadio: Visually Appealing Stations Get More Listening. The data from NextRadio indicate stations that “enhance their terrestrial broadcast with visuals and related content average nearly twice the tune-ins and two hours more listening, per listener, per month, in NextRadio vs. stations which only display their station logo.” The TagStation service that provides stations with artist and title information and interactivity with listeners is provided by NextRadio developer TagStation, LLC (wholly-owned by Emmis Communications). The conclusion comes from TagStation’s analysis of 11 million NextRadio listening hours. NextRadio president Paul Brenner says, “Today, consumers are part of an ever-evolving app world, and they expect to see and engage with content on their smartphones. By providing local FM radio listeners a live look at what is airing in their market before they tune in, NextRadio provides a compelling, new listener engagement option. Stations benefit from NextRadio because it doubles listening through the visualization of FM broadcast radio — making listeners more engaged and loyal. Not only does the data show that these stations experience more tune-ins and overall listening, but it also shows that the listening gap is widening between those that provide enticing visuals and related content versus those that do not.”
Odds & Sods. Chicago news/talk outlet WLS-AM takes home the “Best Newscast” honor in the large market category from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association. This is the third year in a row the station has won the award. WLS-AM PD/OM Peter Bolger says, “I’ve been associated with the news business for many years, and I can tell you it is very difficult to win this honor three years in a row – especially in a market as competitive and as rich with talent as Chicago.” Pictured at right are (from l-r): news director John Dempsey, anchor/reporter Jennifer Keiper, and anchor/reporter Nick Gale (who picked up a second place honor for his reporting on the Fox Lake shooting)…..The NFL draft gets underway tonight (4/28) and SiriusXM is providing coverage via several channels, including the NFL channel. Joining the satcaster’s coverage live from Chicago are football experts Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwan, Jim Miller, Phil Savage, and lead host Jason Horowitz…..Fox Sports Radio is also announcing its coverage of the draft. Leading the coverage are FOX NFL insider Jay Glazer, FS1 NFL reporter Peter Schrager and lead college football/draft analyst Joel Klatt…..“The Beer Guys Radio Show” – based at Salem Media Group’s WGKA, Atlanta – announces two new affiliate stations in its current expansion efforts. The show, co-hosted by Tim Dennis and Aaron Williams, begins airing on WTKI, Huntsville and WEKI, Decatur, Alabama on May 7…..Urban news/talk WVON, Chicago is being sued by FameFlyNet for unauthorized use of its copyrighted photos. In United States District Court in Illinois, the company is suing Midway Broadcasting Corp. for posting two pictures of actress Lupita Nyong’o on its website and is seeking $150,000 in damages per infringement. Midway is just the latest in a series of broadcasters sued by the company for copyright infringement.
Joe Piscopo Discusses Talk Radio, Stand Up Comedy, Sinatra, SNL, and NJ Politics on ‘Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.’ TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison says, “I’ve never laughed so much doing a podcast – this guy just overflows with humor and great pop media stories,” referring to the newly posted PodcastOne episode of “Up Close and Far Out” in which he interviews Joe Piscopo – the celebrated morning host of Salem Media’s New York outlet, WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” Piscopo talks about his early years as a student in theater and college radio and his eventual stand-up comedy work at NYC’s legendary Improv club that led to his becoming a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” in 1980. He goes on to discuss his success over the past few years as a conservative news/talk morning host with Salem and his continuing love for his home state of New Jersey. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
The Presidential Race/Tuesday Primary Elections, U.S-Syria Military Policy, European Terror Investigation, Gender-Bathrooms Issue, Obama Europe Trip, and Beyonce’s Lemonade Release Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/26). The activities of the candidates for president and yesterday’s five-state Northeast primary elections; the United States’ military policy for involvement in Syria’s civil war; the investigation into terror attacks in Europe and the extradition of terror suspect Salah Abdeslam to France; the ongoing controversy over gender identification and public restroom use laws; President Obama’s trip to Europe and the state of the European Union; and Beyonce’s release of her new album Lemonade with a video promotion on HBO were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman Named to NY State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Class of 2016. The inductees for the New York State Broadcasters Associations’ class of 2016 for the Hall of Fame include the New York Yankees radio broadcast team of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Sterling began his career as a talk show host in 1971 on WMCA, New York. He’s done play-by-play for numerous New York teams including the NHL’s Islanders and the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. He is in his 28th season calling Yankees games. Waldman became part of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Women in Baseball” exhibit in 2006 as the first full-time female color commentator in the Major Leagues. In 1987, she was the first voice ever heard on WFAN and was a mainstay there for 15 years. She also served as a radio beat reporter covering both the Yankees and the Knicks. Additionally, from the radio ranks this year, WDOE, Dunkirk, New York sports director and morning show personality Dan Palmer is being inducted. He’s been on the air in the Western New York region of Dunkirk/Fredonia in Chautauqua County for 45 years. He started his professional career in 1970 at WBUZ, Fredonia.
KCBS-AM, San Francisco Takes Coveted Sigma Delta Chi Award. The honor comes from the National Society for Professional Journalists and the ceremony to present the award will take place at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on June 20. KCBS-AM, San Francisco and reporter Doug Sovern, along with then-director of news and programming Ed Cavagnaro, are being honored with a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Investigative Reporting, Radio (Top 100 Markets or Network/Syndicated) for “Unholy Water.” The five-part series exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese’s installation of an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary’s Cathedral, to pour water on homeless people at night to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways. This action took place during California’s ongoing drought. The fallout from the story included San Francisco officials ordering the system removed, the Bishop in charge issuing a public apology and being transferred to another parish, and the archdiocese launching a new initiative to help the city address homelessness.
Odds & Sods. Rising to operations manager for iHeartMedia’s seven-station cluster in Albany is Randy McCarten. In addition to the five music outlets in the station group, it also contains news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX…..The Save KPLU organization has submitted its formal bid to acquire Tacoma-licensed non-commercial KPLU. Current owner Pacific Lutheran University has a deal to sell it to Seattle’s University of Washington. However, UW has agreed to give Save KPLU until June 30 to raise the more than $7 million it needs to buy the station, execute the transaction and begin operations. The group wants to preserve the local nature of the news and the jazz format. If UW buys the station, it will air the news and talk programming heard on its own KUOW, Seattle…..Nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured at left donating blood on the set of a local TV station) tells TALKERS magazine that she was working hard to promote the recent Nevada Blood Donation Day. She says multiple locations throughout the state took part and Governor Sandoval signed a proclamation helping make it official. Wachs says the desperate need for type O-negative blood and the recent Zika virus matter have affected the available blood supplies.
Cumulus Signs KNBR, San Francisco’s Tom Tolbert to Extension. The company is shoring up the talent at sports talker KNBR, San Francisco after inking morning drive duo “Murph & Mac” (Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey) to an extension last week. Now, the station reports it’s extended the contract of 20-year afternoon drive personality Tom Tolbert. Station operations manager Lee Hammer says, “Tom has been a mainstay at KNBR 680, holding down the key afternoon drive slot for the past 20 years. I’m excited to announce that with this new deal, Tom will continue to entertain Bay Area sports fans for many years to come. As a former NBA player, Tom is a member of a small club of former athletes who have enjoyed tremendous success as a sports radio talk show host. A standout at the University of Arizona, Tolbert helped lead the Wildcats to a trip to the 1988 Final Four. He was a second round pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA draft, and had stints with the Clippers, Hornets and the Golden State Warriors. Tolbert is also the color announcer for all Warriors home games.
The Presidential Race, U.S. Operations in Syria, Death of Prince, Obama’s England Visit, Russian Military Activity, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; President Obama’s announcement of additional special forces troops being committed to the fight against Islamic State in Syria; remembering the late artist Prince and questions about the cause of his death; President Obama’s visit to England; concern over increased Russian military activity; and the NBA and NHL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dino Costa Exits KFNS, St. Louis. After six weeks hosting afternoons at Markel Media Group’s KFNS. St. Louis “590 The Fan,” sports talk host Dino Costa exits. He tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar that he’s uncomfortable with the unsettled state of the company’s ownership and can’t continue to work under those conditions. Randy Markel admits that he’s always listening to offers and proposed deals but that there is no plan to sell or – as Costa suggests – bring morning drive co-host Tim McKernan aboard as part of the ownership group. See Caesar’s entire column here.
Jeremy Sinon Upped to Full-Time Corporate Digital Post at Hubbard. Digital radio pro Jeremy Sinon has been serving Hubbard Radio as both corporate digital director and local digital director for the company’s Minneapolis-Saint Paul stations. Now, company EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler announces Sinon is promoted to director of digital strategy for Hubbard Radio. In this role, Sinon will work closely with Bestler, Hubbard Radio president/COO Drew Horowitz, and Hubbard Radio chair Ginny Morris to oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals. Sinon comments, “This is an important time for radio where digital technologies give us endless possibilities to expand and grow our business. Being able to focus on those things full time is critical and I’m honored to be given this opportunity. I’m excited to be a part of Hubbard Radio’s bright future.”
Odds & Sods. Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) spent Friday afternoon in the WABC, New York studios co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with Bernard McGuirk. Weiner – who was sitting in for Sid Rosenberg – will co-host the show again today (4/25)….. Longtime CBS RADIO SVP of communications Karen Mateo announces she’ll be exiting the company in two weeks. In a staff memo from CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez, he says, “As the company now looks to split off its radio business, Karen felt it was a natural time to make this change, and we know she’ll be successful in whatever she chooses to do next.” The company is seeking her replacement…..Syndicated talk show host Danielle Lin reports that affiliate KENI, Anchorage’s Michael Ortega and she worked together to create her new banner (left) for digital marketing. She says, “It’s been incredible to work with program directors and their staffs in local markets. Digital marketing is boosting our numbers every month.”…..WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner and air personality Anne Eller (center) interviews members of a local road crew working to patch potholes on a country road. Eller says she approached the pothole issue from a positive perspective, explaining to her listeners how the crews fix them, how many they can do in a day and interviewing the guys doing the work. She had almost 800 views of her Facebook video in two days and SC DOT is talking with her about some other transportation issue features. Check out the video here.
Mike & Mike’s Cool NBA Finals Promotion. Nationally syndicated ESPN Radio morning show “Mike & Mike” are teaming with GoDaddy to present “Mike & Mike at The Finals.” Listeners must tune in daily to hear the “winning word or phrase.” Each week during the four-week campaign, one weekly winner will be chosen, for a total of four Grand Prize winners. The Grand Prize Winners and their guests (one each) will receive a trip to an NBA Finals game (location and game to be determined) — including airfare and accommodations – custom gear, a welcome reception with select ESPN Radio and ESPN NBA commentators, VIP seating at the game day broadcast of ‘Mike & Mike,’ and special access to the onsite ESPN production.
Alan Colmes Discusses Radio, Politics and the Human Consciousness Movement in Latest Episode of PodcastOne’s ‘Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.’ Although he has developed a significant national following among news/talk radio listeners and cable TV viewers as a political talker for his longstanding work as a rare progressive voice on Fox News Radio and Fox News Channel, Alan Colmes has an “experimental” broadcasting hobby/career developing that reflects his lifelong interest in what he describes as the human consciousness movement. For more than a year, Colmes has hosted an on-demand radio show titled, “Healed Planet,” that has served as one of the most popular staples on the TALKERS magazine talk radio workshop, TalkersRadio. The interview/commentary program reflects Colmes’ personal interest in parapsychology, cosmic consciousness, and the boundaries of science that include quantum physics and the search for extra-terrestrial life. Colmes joins Michael Harrison in this week’s installment of the hit PodcastOne program for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out.” The longtime friends engage in an extensive dialogue that covers the scope of modern media theory including podcasting, politics, and what both believe is the underdeveloped genre of metaphysical subject matter as a potential talk radio staple going forward. To listen to the entire conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recalled his boyhood, listening to his transistor radio, on his bike, humming newspapers onto lawns along his route. And he says we still have his ear at work: “I keep the radio on in my office all day long.”
“I’m an NPR guy,” Wheeler smiled; telling us he also has SiriusXM in-car, for “72, The Broadway Channel. I love Broadway music!” And – segueing to the topic of AM radio – he added, “If an AM station were to go all-Broadway, I’d listen to that too”
“The question,” the Chief Commish shrugged, “ is whether those managing technology will change with it.” Meantime, he reports – and several of my clients confirm – that the FCC is briskly turning around AM stations’ translator applications: “Since we opened the window, we have processed over 500 ‘new stations.”
NAB Show Day 2. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas where he’s covering the NAB Show for TALKERS magazine. Today he writes that the convention is so dominated by discussion about digital content and social media that he was intrigued as he sat down for the session, “How Local Broadcasters Engage and Win in the Digital Age.” It was presented by Katz Media Group EVP Strategy, Analytics & Research Stacey Lynn Schulman. She says that “technology provides the illusion of companionship,” and says what local broadcasters can provide are “tangible experiences.” Read Cooke’s entire report here.
NAB 2016 Crystal Award Winners Announced. On Tuesday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas the National Association of Broadcasters announced the 10 winners of the 29th Annual Crystal Radio Awards, recognizing stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. The winners were selected from 50 finalists. They are: KNDE-FM, College Station, Texas; WBAB-FM, Long Island; KNX, Los Angeles; WCCO, Minneapolis/St. Paul; KPRS-FM, Kansas City; WJBR-FM, Wilmington, Delaware; KRLC-AM Lewiston, Idaho; WRLT, Nashville; KTAR-FM, Phoenix; and WWJ, Detroit.
RTDNA Announces 2016 Regional Murrow Award Winners. The 2016 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award winners have been announced by the Radio Television Digital News Association. Among the winners is Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington which took home five awards including for Overall Excellence and Best Website. CBS RADIO was well represented with 11 stations receiving a total of 25 awards. All-newsers KCBS-AM, San Francisco and KYW, Philadelphia both were recognized for Overall Excellence. See the entire list of winners from all regions in all categories here.
WGOW, Chattanooga’s Brian Joyce Tackles Middle East Issues (in Istanbul and the U.S.). WGOW, Chattanooga midday talk host Brian Joyce (left) is pictured here on the set of Egyptian television news network El Sharq with the local host (right). Joyce made the appearance during a three-day trip to Istanbul, Turkey during which he and former U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) were speaking about the Middle East, terrorism, and the U.S. elections. Not long after that, Joyce moderated a panel on human rights and democracy at Harvard Law School. Speakers and panelists included former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, former Egyptian MP Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, and representatives from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Al Jazeera. That event was titled, “As Egypt Goes, So Goes the Middle East.”
ESPN’s Mike & Mike Enter NAB Hall of Fame. Nationally syndicated ESPN Radio morning show duo Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame yesterday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The two have been a team on the radio for the past 15 years. On being named to the hall, Greenberg says, “It is certainly the greatest honor of my professional life. When I see the list of people who have been inducted it is impossible to imagine being included. But I’m thrilled and very grateful to everyone who supported us.”
The Presidential Election/New York Primary, UnitedHealthCare Exits ObamaCare Exchanges, Mistrust of Media Survey, Bathroom-Gender Laws, U.S. Immigration-Amnesty Policy, Houston Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/19). The activities of the candidates for president and yesterday’s New York primary election; the exit of leading American health insurer UnitedHealthCare from most of the states’ ObamaCare exchanges; a recent American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll indicating just 6% of Americans “have a lot of confidence” in the press; the various controversies over bathroom laws and gender identification; the testimony before a House subcommittee on the public safety effects of President Obama’s executive actions; and the devastating Houston-area floods were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Longtime Radio Host Warren Eckstein Launches ‘The Pet Insider’ on PodcastOne. Pet expert Warren Eckstein has been working successfully in syndicated radio for 30-plus years. Now, he joins the PodcastOne platform with his new show, “The Pet Insider.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “As a guy who’s often described as loving pets more than people, I love having this podcast on our network. Warren is no stranger to me, having listened to his radio program for years. It’s great to have him on the PodcastOne network.”
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Although the National Association of Broadcasters’ convention ramps up today, several hundred radio attendees arrived here Saturday, to be in place for the RAIN Summit West 9:00 am Sunday start.
“Sometimes ideas need a little time to ripen, sometimes decades.”
RAIN kicked off with a keynote by Hubbard Radio chair & CEO Ginny Morris, who recounted how her broadcast-pioneering grandfather and father had been notoriously early adopters. In 1948, theirs was “the first TV station between New York and Los Angeles.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Promotions; Eric Brooks Named Director of Programming and News. Saying that the promotions and structural changes will help “further grow the station as Milwaukee’s and Wisconsin’s premier source for local programming, local news and local connection,” VP and general manager Tom Langmyer ups three staffers at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee. Eric Brooks is promoted to director, programming & news. Langmyer says, “WTMJ does more than aggregate others’ content and Eric is greatly responsible for leading the team in this direction. Through Eric’s work, we have more reporters on the street and a greater focus on engaging local stories and topics to serve our listeners.” At the same time, Langmyer announces that Erin Dismeier is upped to executive producer, WTMJ programming. She’ll continue in her role as producer for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” and add supervisory duties for some members of the content team. Erik Bilstad continues his role as executive producer, WTMJ news. Now, he’ll serve as WTMJ’s lead reporter and co-anchor of “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.” Langmyer says the realignment offers him more time to build upon his Murrow Award-winning reporting.
Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Continues Upward Trend. Citing the 2016 presidential election as the reason for increased listening to the news/talk format, Nielsen Audio shares data from its March 2016 PPM survey that indicates its rise in listenership across the PPM markets. Nielsen reports, “At the persons 6+ level, news/talk now represents a 10% share of all radio listening – a level it hasn’t seen since the last presidential election in 2012. Among adults 18-34 this year, news/talk rose from a 4.1% share in February to a 4.2% share in March. In news/talk’s ‘money demo’ of adults 25-54, the format climbed from a 6.9% share in February to a 7.0% share in March. From Democrats to Republicans, Undecided to Independent, the conversation about America’s future president is being debated on news/talk radio.” News/talk was the most-listened-to format during the March PPM survey (6+), topping CHR which garnered 8% of all radio listening. See more here.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Conference Hits Orlando. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey hosted the Smart Conference at Calvary Orlando last Saturday (4/16) before a packed house. The day’s events included speakers Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, and Michael Jr. and provided attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers. Ramsey combined forces with iHeartMedia local affiliate “NewsRadio 102.5 WFLA” (WFLF-AM and W273CA) to promote the event. Pictured here with Ramsey (center) are station PD Jim Poling (left) and cluster general sales manager Mark Kanak (right).
Odds & Sods. This past weekend, nationally syndicated talk host Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour hit Asheville, North Carolina. With that state’s controversial new “Bathroom Law” that prohibits transgender citizens from using the restroom designated for the gender with which they identify set as the backdrop, the show was featured by WLOS-TV, Asheville news. Miller is pictured here speaking about the comedy show on the news piece. She said they hope to bring attention to the issue through their comedy…..WABC, New York political editor Rita Cosby stepped in to interview Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who was booked on the station’s “Bernie and Sid” show with Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg on Friday (4/15). Producer Jill Vitale tells TALKERS magazine that Secretary Clinton “freaked out” when she found out McGuirk and Rosenberg were to interview her. So, to smooth things over, Cosby quickly agreed to handle the interview…..The purchase of KLTQ-FM, Beulah, North Dakota by Guy Giuliano’s DSN Radio LLC from Todd Mohr’s Synergy Broadcast Group is complete. The signal will simulcast sports talk KDKT-AM, Beulah. DSN president Guy Giuliano says, “The new FM signal will offer KDKT further opportunities to grow and serve the communities of western North Dakota with local sports and news coverage.”…..WBAP, Dallas talk show host Chris Krok – pictured here with his wife Faye – tells TALKERS magazine he and his family got the ride of their lives when the whole family was able to ride in a helicopter from the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway! It was part of his third annual “Krok and His Flock” promotion at the speedway.
The Presidential Race/GOP Delegate Rules Fight, Saudi Arabia Threatens U.S. Assets Sale Over 9/11 Documents, Battle Against Islamic State, Gitmo Prisoners Transferred to Saudi Arabia, and Poll: American Mistrust of Media Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the controversy over the rights to GOP delegates; the threat by Saudi Arabia to sell U.S. assets if 9/11 documents are released indicating the kingdom was complicit in the attacks; the U.S. military’s policy for battling Islamic State in Iraq; the transfer of nine Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Saudi Arabia; and the recent poll indicating most Americans hold distrust of the media were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Analysis: RAIN Summit West 2016. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the NAB Show for TALKERS magazine and he was working hard on Sunday at Kurt Hanson’s RAIN Summit West 2016, traditionally held the day before the NAB Show opens. In today’s report, read what Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris had to say about her company’s efforts to innovate for their audience as well as her thoughts about the spot sales business. Plus, PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz addressed the summit and you can read what he had to say about monetizing the podcasting industry. See Cooke’s entire report here.
TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2016 Coming Monday, April 11 at 12:00 noon ET. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has set the date for the posting of the 2016 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America.” This will mark the 21st consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 26th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.” According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and some radio pros who are in new situations.” Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”
Talk Radio Hosts Credited for Trump Loss in Wisconsin. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s second-place finish in the Wisconsin primary yesterday is being attributed, at least in part, by CNN writer Kevin Bohn to the anti-Trump sentiments of a number of the state’s most-listened-to talk show hosts. (CNN is one of many media outlets publishing stories about anti-Trump hosts in the state.) WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes saw his profile rise dramatically after the audio of last week’s contentious interview with Trump went viral. Crosstown competitors Mark Belling and Jay Weber (WISN-AM) have been critical of Trump as have Vicki McKenna (WIBA, Madison), and Jerry Bader (WTAQ, Green Bay). Bohn reports that Trump lashed out at his critics during pre-election rallies saying, “This morning I was interviewed by a very good radio guy — not the whack job that interviewed me — his name is Sykes? … Oh he is the worst.” You can hear Charlie Sykes’ Trump interview here and read the CNN piece here.
The Presidential Race/Wisconsin Primary, North Korea Nuke Threat, Iran Missile Tests, Battle Against Islamic State, Cal Cops Seize Planned Parenthood Videos, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB Season Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/5). The activities of the candidates for president and Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary election; North Korea’s nuclear weapons threat; Iran’s testing of long-range missiles; the ongoing fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the seizure of videos from anti-abortion activist David Daleiden that purport to show Planned Parenthood illegally selling tissue from aborted fetuses; European nations being overwhelmed by migrants; and the opening of the Major League Baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Afternoon drive sports talk personality Marc Hochman gets a two-year extension on his deal to remain host of the “Hochman, Crowder & Krantz” program (with Channing Crowder and Zach Krantz) on CBS RADIO’s WQAM, Miami. Hochman joined WQAM in 2014 after a number of years on the morning show at crosstown WAXY “790 The Ticket.”…..The launch of Denver’s newest sports talk station KKSE “Altitude Sports” includes the syndicated Rich Eisen show from DirecTV. It’s the only “prime time” syndicated program among the slate of local hosts…..Westwood One is producing hole-by-hole coverage of the 2016 Masters Golf Tournament beginning tomorrow (4/7). The network will also broadcast hourly updates and a nightly, half-hour preview and recap show, “Masters Tonight.”…..Pictured here are SVP of programming for USA Radio and host of “Trending Today USA” Rusty Humphries (center) with comics Jeff Foxworthy (left) and Larry The Cable Guy (right) at their show in Phoenix. Humphries tells TALKERS magazine that “Trending Today USA with Rusty Humphries” – which launched back on January 9 – is quickly closing in on 50 affiliates.
Michael Harrison and Richard Neer Discuss Broadcasting, Narrowcasting and Podcasting in Sweeping Conversation About Changes in Commercial Media and Pop Icons over the Decades. In a strikingly organic conversation that covers a wide variety of topics from old-time television to the changing morality of superheroes in entertainment to the differences between quantitative and qualitative marketing – WFAN, New York personality, author and pop culture “renaissance man” Richard Neer joins his old friend Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Harrison and Neer have been engaging in “What if?” and “To be Continued” conversations like this on radio, TV, at industry seminars (and even privately for their own entertainment) on a regular basis for almost 50 years. This podcast marks what Harrison loosely calculates as the 2550th time these talkers have met in this manner since October of 1967. To listen to this “media freak’s verbal salad” in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of www.Talkers.com and www.RadioInfo.com.
Two New Shows Launch from PodcastOne. Digital audio platform PodcastOne partners with Ranker – purveyor of crowdsourced rankings – to present “The Ranker Podcast.” PodcastOne notes that “more than 26 million people visit Ranker every month to vote on an endless series of topics, which spark passionate conversations among the public. Now, notable guests will have an opportunity to weigh in and debate these millions of user votes, with host Daniel Kohn. A journalist and Ranker’s Alternative Media Specialist, Kohn will talk trending and wacky lists with his guests, give the fans an opportunity to create new lists sparked through celebrity conversation, and feature each guest’s own top ten list on a topic of interest to them.” Also, PodcastOne adds more wrestling content to its slate of shows with sports entertainment star and former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Vince Russo launching “The Brand.” New shows will be available five days per week.
Another Cool Job Opportunity. Heritage “News Talk 550 & 92.1” WSVA, Harrisonburg, Virginia has an immediate opening for an afternoon news anchor/reporter. The station is located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and is a trusted source of news and information. We are seeking someone ready to help keep our listeners informed and continue our great tradition. To get the job, you’ll need to be motivated, a gifted writer, a wizard at obtaining sound, have a strong delivery and have an understanding of “local” news. Please send T&R to firstname.lastname@example.org. Saga Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Midwest Communications’ Duke Wright to Receive Conclave’s Rockwell Award. The recipient of this year’s Rockwell Award from The Conclave is Midwest Communications president and CEO Duke Wright. The award will be presented during The Conclave’s 41st anniversary celebration on July 14 and 15, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Minneapolis. The Rockwell Award is given annually to “an individual of unquestioned accomplishment in the radio industry. The Rockwell Award honors those who have contributed to the industry as an inspirational leader, and a person of great accomplishment. The recipient has made lasting and significant contributions within radio, and also to the public radio serves.”
By Mike Kinosian
It is a political philosophy that just “made sense” to the teenager, who a number of years later would go on to make $30,000 annually as a Bronx patrol cop.
Nowadays though, Queens native John Cardillo is doing double-duty, hosting a 9:00 am – 10:00 am show on Salem Media Group Miami’s WZAB “880 The Biz” and surfacing two hours later each weekday on Mike Horn’s CRN Digital Talk Radio for a two-hour (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm, ET) talkfest.
Ronn Owens to Move to KSFO in Afternoons; Rumors of KGO Shakeup Rampant. Longtime KGO, San Francisco talk show host Ronn Owens is leaving his late morning show at the heritage news/talk outlet and is moving across the hall to sister KSFO to host the afternoon drive program. KSFO program director Mike Anthony states, “With Ronn Owens taking over afternoons from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, KSFO is now live and local in both drive times. This is also a great opportunity for a whole new audience to hear the brilliance that has made Ronn a legend in San Francisco radio. We couldn’t be more excited to have Ronn driving afternoons on 560 KSFO.” Meanwhile, rumors are running wild through the Bay Area radio community that bigger changes are afoot for KGO. Stay tuned.
Jason Wolfe Named Network Manager for Howie Carr Show. Former WEEI and WRKO, Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe joins The Howie Carr Radio Network in the newly created position of network manager. President and CEO Howie Carr says, “Jason has been working with us for several months and has been doing a great job in getting the show noticed by numerous new markets. I know that he will build on that success in his new role as our network manager.” Wolfe will be in charge of building and expanding the reach and brand of the program, in addition to managing the day-to-day operation of the network, which will include helping to develop new marketing and business partnerships. Wolfe adds, “I’m very excited to be able to work with Howie in a more formal capacity again. He is a truly great talk show host, which is why he’s in the Radio Hall of Fame. I’m looking forward to helping him continue to build, what is, already, an incredibly strong regional network.” In addition to this new role, Wolfe serves as chief media and marketing strategist for The Financial Exchange Radio Network.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of all-news stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2016 PPM survey. Just how much of an effect has the 2016 presidential race had on the ratings of all-news stations in PPM markets? It’s impossible to know just why certain panelists tuned in to all-news outlets when they did but some industry observers suggest news stations are seeing the same trend they experience every four years when the executive office is up for grabs. Of the 18 markets served by at least one all-news station, 13 markets saw all-news outlets increase their (6+) AQH shares from January 2016 to February 2016. However, when comparing February 2015 data and February 2016 numbers, only six markets saw all-news stations increase their (6+) ratings and 12 saw some degree of decline between the two periods. See Kinosian’s entire report here.
New Salem Radio Network Lineup Takes Effect Monday. The new lineup for the Salem Radio Network begins on Monday (4/4). The changes that take effect include Hugh Hewitt’s move from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot to morning drive, taking over for Bill Bennett who leaves his role as daily morning show host to become senior correspondent. In that role, Bennett will appear on SRN shows as an expert guest, he’ll have a morning feature called “The Bill Bennett Interview…Making America Work” and that will be produced as a one-hour special each weekend. Southern California talk personality Larry Elder takes over Hewitt’s 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot. Salem SVP Phil Boyce states, “If we are going to shake things up, this is the perfect time. Hugh is on fire and is the new ‘go-to guy’ for the presidential campaign. His new morning show will be fast-paced, and news-packed. I want to thank Bill Bennett for his 11 years of service waking up America for Salem. He has been a class act all the way, and we will miss him. But he will always be a part of the Salem family. Larry Elder is a true gem who will be the perfect complement to the other hosts on Salem’s all-star lineup.”
Profile: Entertainment Is Cardillo’s Driving Force. In a personality profile published today (3/31), TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian digs into the personal history and life experiences that have motivated CRN Digital Talk Radio-syndicated personality John Cardillo in developing his radio talk show style. The born-and-raised New Yorker who now calls South Florida home served as a cop in the Bronx before he left that job to launch his own firm specializing in tracking and removing sexual predators from online communities. The unapologetic conservative says that the public image of conservative talk radio scares Millennials away and he’s trying to fix that. “Rather than ‘lecturing’ listeners who are stuck in their cars, Cardillo opts for an alternative of booking ‘entertaining’ guests. ‘The audience loves to hear me bring on conservatives living behind enemy lines in Hollywood. My on-air competitors are not doing that. They stick to wonky, content-and-policy-driven topics. My show has to be about politics, entertainment, and pop culture – but not necessarily in any order. There is no substitute for working on the street and I have that going for me.’” Read Kinosian’s profile of John Cardillo here.
CBS RADIO President Andre Fernandez Issues Memo Regarding Future of Radio Division. Employees never like to hear that their company or division is up for sale. And sale is certainly one of the possibilities for the CBS RADIO division or possibly some of it radio stations or clusters. In a memo to the radio staff, CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez seeks to put some perspective on CBS Corp. chairman Les Moonves’ previous announcement that the company is seeking “strategic options” for its radio stations. In part, Fernandez tells staffers that splitting the radio division off via an IPO is the preferred move (for tax purposes, although Fernandez doesn’t use those words). Fernandez states that operating the radio division independently would heighten the importance of staffers’ value to the company. “Our contributions to the organization would become even more important as we build the framework for our new company, and chart our pathway to the future. That is a pretty incredible opportunity for those of you who have dedicated your careers to the business, and for the new generation of employees who are helping diversify our portfolio to compete in a digital world.” Fernandez does admit that a sale is possible and asks employees to continue to work hard in light of these distractions.
FOX Sports Radio Announces New Weekend Programming. Beginning his weekend, several new personalities join the program schedule at FOX Sports Radio. FS1 host Joy Taylor teams up with FOX Sports Radio’s Mark Willard for the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program. NBA great Cedric Ceballos is being partnered with Brian Noe for the Saturday 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm show, and FS1 NBA analyst and former NBA star Jim Jackson is co-hosting with Ryan Field for the Sunday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program. Premiere Networks VP of sports programming Scott Shapiro comments, “FOX Sports Radio cements its standing as the best place for sports talk radio with the addition of these three talented personalities. I couldn’t be more proud of the opinions, credibility and creativity that have been assembled in this weekend lineup. There is no better destination for timely and entertaining takes on the biggest stories in sports than FOX Sports Radio.”
The Presidential Race, Obama’s Nuclear Summit, Battle Against Islamic State, Brussels and Pakistan Terror Attacks Aftermath, North Korea Famine Warning, NFL vs The New York Times Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The activities of the candidates for president; President Obama’s nuclear summit taking place in Washington today and tomorrow; the ongoing battle against Islamic State; the aftermath of the terror attacks in Brussels and in Pakistan; North Korea’s warning to its citizens to prepare for a famine; and NFL’s war of words with The New York Times over the paper’s criticism of the league’s handling of head injury research were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris Named 2016 TALKERS Woman of the Year. The TALKERS editorial board announced today (3/29) the selection of Hubbard Radio, LLC chair and CEO Ginny Morris as the 2016 recipient of “The Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Radio Industry by a Woman.” The award is also referred to as the “Woman of the Year.” While still in college in 1982, Morris began working in the promotion department of their flagship TV station, KSTP-TV, Minneapolis. She started with special projects and promotional events and eventually became the manager of that department in 1985. In July 1990, she was asked to take on the challenge of managing KSTP- AM, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the original holding of the Hubbard Family’s broadcasting business (originally licensed as WAMD in 1923). It was in that role that Morris developed her true passion for and interest in the radio business. In May 1995, she added KSTP-FM (KS95) to her duties, becoming president and general manager of both KSTP radio properties. Having had success with developing local talent for KSTP-AM, the company began syndicating its talent on a regional basis and formed a new company, the Hubbard Radio Network in August 1999. The Hubbard Radio Network works with 26 affiliates throughout the Upper Midwest and continues to add stations. Hubbard Radio purchased WIXK-AM/FM in New Richmond, Wisconsin, in December 2000. In June 2002, WIXK-FM was moved to the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The format was changed to a new type of talk radio, and is now referred to as myTalk107.1. MyTalk107.1 is one of the first, if not the only, FM talk station in the country building talk programming specifically targeted for women. A former chair of the NAB Radio Board, Morris currently serves on the Executive Committee of the RAB (Radio Advertisers Bureau) and serves on the board of BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) and the Library of American Broadcasting. In 2000, Ginny Morris was named president of Hubbard Radio, delegating much of the day-to-day operations to others in the growing organization. In speaking on behalf of the TALKERS editorial board, publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are delighted to name Ms. Morris as the recipient of this year’s ‘Woman of the Year’ award. In an industry where the breakdown of personnel percentages by gender remains at an awkward imbalance, she shines as a beacon of inspiration for women in the business – as well as all broadcasters – on a number of fronts. She is the CEO of one of radio’s most highly-respected companies that performs as role model to be emulated by organizations seeking to be responsibly effective in the reality of today’s broadcasting business environment. Add to that the impressive, steadfast accomplishments of Hubbard’s myTalk107.1 in the Twin Cities market and that alone deserves industry applause. Finally, she has earned a stellar reputation over the years as an outstanding human being respected by her co-workers and colleagues all across the radio industry.” Ginny Morris will be presented the “Woman of the Year” award during the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. For more information about the conference, please click here.
REFLECTIONS FROM PARIS: Michael Harrison Discusses the Three Parts of the Body That Must Be Stimulated for Something/Anything to Become a ‘Hit.’ In a tour de force inspired by his recent speech delivered to the international radio community in Paris titled, “Lessons Learned by American Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era,” (as well as a feverish flu), TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here at the recent Radiodays Europe conference) explores a variety of esoteric media concepts in the latest installment of the international PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” posted today (3/29). In the intimate, one-on-one monologue, Harrison takes the listener on a journey through the human body’s “seats of consciousness” that he explains should be “targeted and touched” by artists and their creations if they are to stand a chance of becoming successful. Whether it is a song, a show or a talent – or any number of entities in between – Harrison opines an artist or an artistic creation must effectively stimulate one, two or all three of the following zones within the human body in order to be successful: the cerebral zone, the cardiac zone, and the testicular zone. Set against the backdrop of chilly, terrorism-sensitive Paris, leading up to and immediately following the Brussels airport bombing, this uncompromisingly concept-dense podcast covers a wide spectrum of ideas following radio’s evolution from the one-to-many medium of Walter Winchell to today’s personal, screen-less mainline via the auditory nerve into the human psyche. This podcast is sure to captivate the imaginations of “media freaks” both inside and outside the radio industry. To hear it in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KJR-AM, Seattle’s Rich Moore Upped to SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Seattle. Programmer Rich Moore is promoted to senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Seattle station group. A 23-year iHeartMedia Seattle staffer, Moore has recently been serving as PD for sports talk KJR-AM “Seattle’s Sports Radio,” a position in which he will continue. He’ll also oversee signals including CHR sisters KBKS “Kiss FM” and KPWK “POWER-FM,” hip hop KUBE, alternative KFOO “ALT-FM,” classic hits KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet,” and sports talk KHHO “FOX Sports Radio.” Market president Kent Haehl says, “Rich has had a long and successful tenure at iHeartMedia Seattle. He is a brilliant, creative and innovative leader who understands how to create deep relationships with listeners and we look forward to tapping into those skills across all our Seattle brands.” At the same time, the company announces that Kevin Shockey is named to the assistant program director position for KJR-AM.
Mayhem at WABC, New York!?! In the still photo you see here, WABC, New York air personality Curtis Sliwa (right) threatens fellow host Sid Rosenberg (left) with a baseball bat in the news/talk station’s studio. In the video which you can see in full here, Sliwa is threatening Rosenberg for “stealing” producer Flipper, a.k.a. Jill Vitale, for his show and for subbing for him on what was supposed to be a “mental health” day off the air for Sliwa. Sliwa co-hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show with Ron Kuby and Rosenberg co-hosts the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with “Imus in the Morning” cast member Bernard McGuirk. Sources inside WABC tell TALKERS that the video is not contrived and that Sliwa was very upset about losing Flipper to the other show. TALKERS editors, however, remain suspicious about the spontaneity of the video given WABC’s presenting it (proudly, it seems) on its website. What, if anything, happens after this is unclear, however most employers discourage threatening fellow employees with baseball bats. Stay tuned…
The Presidential Race, Obama’s Cuba Trip, Battle Against ISIS, Syria Conflict-Russian Involvement, and Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Suit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/21). The activities of the candidates for president; coverage of President Obama’s trip to Cuba and his meeting with Raul Castro; the ongoing battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the Syrian civil conflict and Russia’s military involvement; and the jury awards for Hulk Hogan in his suit against Gawker for releasing portions of his sex tape were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Kurt Hanson. In this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” the TALKERS magazine publisher conducts a candid and informative conversation with online radio pioneer Kurt Hanson from the convention floor of the recently concluded Radiodays Europe in Paris, France. Hanson wears two feathers in his cap. He is the founder and CEO of the tremendously successful online radio music service, AccuRadio, that provides hundreds of thousands of music fans with a wide spectrum of music genres both old and new. He also is publisher and founding editor of RAIN Enterprises. RAIN provides the industry with two major services, the Radio and Internet Newsletter and its annual RAIN conference on the relationship between radio and the internet held in conjunction with the NAB Radio Show. According to Harrison, “Kurt Hanson is a visionary in the merging fields of radio and digital broadcasting as well as being a heck of an entrepreneur. He’s also a ‘Star Trek’ fanatic and I’m delighted to present our fascinating Paris conversation to the world’s ‘media freaks’ this week.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
WBBM-AM, Chicago’s Felicia Middlebrooks and Lola Vanderpuye Among Gracie Award Winners at CBS RADIO. Winners of 2016 Gracie Awards include WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago “Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM” morning drive co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks and WBBM coordinating producer Lola Vanderpuye. The Gracie Awards — from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation — honor exemplary programming for, by and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry. Middlebrooks is being honored for anchor of a local news or news magazine program, and Vanderpuye is being recognized for local imaging for the Chicago Cubs. Other CBS RADIO staffers being honored include: Marla Diamond, WCBS, New York “Newsradio 880” for Local Reporter/Correspondent; Nina Hajian, WNEW-FM, New York “92.3 AMP Radio” for Local Host of Entertainment/Information; Jane Tillman Irving, WCBS, New York “Newsradio 880” for Local Hard News Feature; Amy Lawrence, CBS Sports Radio for National Host of a Sports Program; Loren Raye, WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio”; Suzyn Waldman, WFAN, New York for Local Sports Program; and Shila Nathan for Afternoon Drive Personality-Local (while at WUSN, Chicago).
Cumulus Media Staffers Honored with Gracies. Here’s a rundown of the Cumulus Media employees who will be recognized for their work by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation with a 2016 Gracie Award: “NASH Nights Live” personality Elaina D. Smith for National Radio Special; Rita Cosby, WABC, New York for Talk Show, News-Local Radio, and Host, Non-News/Non-Fiction-Local Radio; and Joan Hamburg, WABC, New York for Soft News Feature-Local Radio.
Odds & Sods. The annual live political event “Charlie Sykes Insight 2016” – presented by E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee and Sykes’ RightWisconsin.com – will include an appearance by GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz tomorrow (3/23). During the program at Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee, Sykes and Senator Cruz will have an exclusive, one-on-one discussion…..Chicago news pro Andrea Darlas is being honored with the Diogenes Award for Excellence in Media from the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois at the organization’s 90th Anniversary Dinner Meeting on Thursday, March 24 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. BBB president and CEO Steve Bernas explains, “The Diogenes Award is presented to a media person who exemplifies the goals and principles of the Better Business Bureau to support and foster an ethical marketplace benefiting both consumers and businesses.” Darlas is currently the morning news anchor on Tribunes’s WGN Radio, a reporter on its WGN-TV and CLTV as well as a contributor to the nationally syndicated TV show, “House Smarts.”…..In Canada, Bell Media news/talk stations are now carrying the NPR-syndicated “TED Radio Hour.” The show, hosted by Guy Raz, currently airs in the U.S. on public radio outlets and is available as a podcast.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Must-see, if you missed it in theaters, and it’s on Netflix: “The Best of Enemies.” See how underdog network ABC – outgunned by CBS and NBC — doubled its ratings at the 1968 political conventions, and invented modern political punditry. They called it “Unconventional Coverage.”
Several stations I work with will travel to cover the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Big thanks to networks we’re affiliated with for facilitating coverage. Parked on radio row, we’ll be lined-up-for the parade of names who hop from interview to interview…saying pretty much the same thing they said at the last table. Which is fine. As Woody Allen said, “80% of life is showing-up;” and we’ll be taking pictures for social media and to impress sponsors who fund the trip.
Don Imus to Be Honored with the TALKERS 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS editorial board announced today (2/11) that one of the most colorful, controversial, and venerable radio personalities of all time, John Donald Imus Jr. – mononymously known as Imus – has been named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The 75-year-old legend has been heard on radio since 1968 on a variety of heritage stations including WGAR and WHK in Cleveland as well as WNBC and WFAN in New York. He has hosted cable TV shows on MSNBC and more recently Fox Business Channel. He presently hosts his long-running show “Imus in the Morning” on WABC, New York. Imus, author of numerous books and performer on several hit comedy albums, is a complex broadcasting figure known both for being a politically incorrect insult-artist as well as being a humanitarian and philanthropist, particularly in the battle against childhood cancer. Imus has won four NAB Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality in 1994. He inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989 and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time magazine in 1997. In 2002, TALKERS magazine ranked Imus as one of the 25 Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time. In making the announcement on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If Don Imus doesn’t deserve this spoken-word radio award, no one does. His unique position, diversity of styles, capacity for reinvention – not to mention influence on the industry, pop culture and politics – stand out among a rarified handful of bold performers who have made broadcasting history.” The award will be presented to Imus at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It is hoped that he will be in attendance to receive the award personally, despite his challenge with health issues and present home-base in Texas. True to form, the legend tells TALKERS, “My wife thinks I should do this – be gracious and accept your idiotic award.”
Cumulus and Mark Levin Agree to ‘Lifetime Extension.’ Both Westwood One EVP of news/talk Bart Tessler and talk radio star Mark Levin jokingly use the term “lifetime” to describe the new contract extension between the two parties, but nine years seems like a lifetime in the world of radio contracts. Levin says, “I could not be more pleased to extend my radio partnership with Cumulus/Westwood One. For the next nine years — an unprecedented long-term relationship in the broadcasting industry — I am committed to continuing to bring the best possible program, both substantive and entertaining, to my millions of beloved and loyal listeners each and every day.” Tessler adds, “To know that we’ll be working together for so many years is a Mark Levin show primary victory and a big win for affiliates, advertisers, and listeners. Mark’s tenure will now exceed that of a two-term president and that means continued excellence on the air on a nightly basis.” The company says Levin’s show “not only covers the most critical events of the day, but delves into history, economics, philosophy, and the constitution – and continues to be an enormous ratings and revenue winner for Westwood One and for the more than 300 stations that broadcast the show.
Entercom Reports 2015 Net Revenue Up 8%. 2015 was a good year for Entercom. The company reported net revenue for the fourth quarter was $117.7 million – up 16% from the same period a year ago. For the year of 2015 net revenue was $411.4 million, an increase of 8%. These figures include the impact of the transaction with Lincoln Financial Media and the station exchange with Bonneville International Corporation which started in July. But the impressive revenue hike is not just the result of additional signals; president and CEO David Field notes that the company’s stations performed well. “I am pleased to report that Entercom’s performance continued to accelerate into the fourth quarter, capping a very successful 2015…Fourth quarter same-station revenue increased by 5%, excluding political advertising. This marked the second straight quarter of mid-single digit organic growth. We are very well positioned for success in 2016 with an expanded market footprint, strong station ratings growth, and enhanced digital and customer marketing capabilities. Our pacings look strong and we are optimistic about our potential to deliver excellent results for our shareholders in 2016 and the years ahead.”
Greater Media’s ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Moves Baligian, Mazawey & Fellhauer to Mornings. The trio of Sean Baligian, Tom Mazawey and Marc Fellhauer is currently heard in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on Greater Media’s WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” Beginning Tuesday (2/16), they will move to morning drive, replacing ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike. ESPN’s Ryan & Rico will now be heard from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the afternoon drive show co-hosted by Matt Dery and Drew Sharp will start at 2:00 pm. Station program director Dave Shore says, “We feel this new lineup will give our dedicated motor city sports fans a more local sports experience. We are very grateful to ESPN’s Mike & Mike for their contributions to the station.”
Five iHeartMedia Programmers Boosted. Trading in their titles of senior vice president of programming to become division executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia‘s national programming group are Tony Coles, Steve Geofferies, Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, and Meg Stevens. Along with fellow division executive vice president of programming Gene Romano, they will report to iHeartMedia national programming group executive vice president and general manager Brad Hardin. According to national programming group president Tom Poleman, “Great programming is the foundation of our stations. We are fortunate to have an amazing group of local program directors leading our brands. The collaboration between local programming and the iHeartMedia national programming group unlocks the unparalleled scale and assets of iHeartMedia, providing us with unmatched resources which benefit each and every one of our stations.” Formerly organized into major and regional market groups, iHM is now comprised of four geographic divisions, each led by a division president. Jeffries and Geofferies are working in the West division with Greg Ashlock; Coles is in the Central with Matt Martin; Mitchem and Stevens in the Northeast with Hartley Adkins; and Romano is teamed with Tom McConnell in the Midwest-Southeast division.
NH Primary Aftermath/Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Record Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Iran-U.S. Navy Incident, U.S. Afghanistan Forces Strengthened, European Refugee Problems, Zika Virus Concerns, and Beyonce Super Bowl Performance Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The analysis of Tuesday’s New Hampshire presidential primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the continuing downward trend in oil prices, the world’s financial markets activity, and concerns about a new recession; Iran’s gloating over the incident with a U.S. Navy patrol; the U.S. increases peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan; the troubles European nations are experiencing dealing with Syrian refugees; concerns about a Zika virus pandemic and reports of cases in 20 U.S. states; and ongoing criticism of Beyonce’s performance at the Super Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KEIR, Idaho Falls is expanding its local content. Riverbend Communications general manager Bill Fuerst tells East Idaho News that the station wants to give more voice to its listeners. “Idaho’s Morning News with Dylan Carder” will expand to two hours – airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am – and Mark Richardson will host a new, hour-long afternoon show at 3:00 pm…..Podcasting and audio-video streaming experts StreamGuys are attending “Proclaim 16” – the NRB International Christian Media Convention and Exposition – to share their expertise to assist worship communities extend their reach. StreamGuys says Matt Kellogg (who joined the company from the recently shuttered Live365) will lead the company’s engagements with houses of worship and religious organizations…..ESPN Radio will present radio coverage of the NBA’s 65th All-Star Game on Sunday (2/14) from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This will be ESPN Radio’s 20th year covering the game. In the booth will be Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry with reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith. Marc Kestecher will host the pre-game and halftime coverage with analyst P.J. Carlesimo.
Michael Harrison and Tom Leykis Chat About the Past, Present and Future of Audio Media. Legendary broadcast radio performer and pioneering online radio entrepreneur Tom Leykis joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in an extensive, one-on-one discussion about Leykis’ colorful career that spanned decades as a talk show host on some of America’s highest-profile radio stations and during which time his on-air persona ranged from outrageous “shock jock” to edgy “progressive” political news/talker. Today, Leykis approaches the fourth anniversary of his successful online radio enterprise, The New Normal – a multifaceted platform upon which he streams his daily, live, listener call-in program, “The Tom Leykis Show,” as well as a podcast for radio talents Gary & Dino. A separate iteration of The New Normal delivers two streaming music channels – pop and rock – personally curated by Leykis. Leykis discusses his leading-edge business model that includes a mix of advertising, subscriptions, merchandising and live events – now generating upwards of $600,000 annual gross revenue. The two venerable pros talk about targeting Millennials, the nature of “authenticity” as it applies to today’s younger demos, the scope of non-traditional revenue and various aspects of media theory as it applies to 21st century communications. To listen to this entire uninterrupted conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Profile of Compass Media Networks and Premiere-Syndicated Personality Joe Pagliarulo
By Mike Kinosian
SAN ANTONIO — Nirvana for the epicurean purveyor of Chinese cuisine is to behold – and partake of – a bountiful buffet whose selections might include such taste-tempting combinations as chicken chow mein to shrimp lo mein; yang chow fried rice to moo goo gai pan; sweet and pungent chicken to sweet and sour pork; and a variety of others.
One particular (ominous) Friday the 13th – May 2011 to be more precise – an extremely well-liked, San Antonio-based media personality was enjoying the process of selecting and piling onto his plate his favorite Chinese food offerings.
Seemingly carefree, he and his wife were in relaxation mode as the on-air talent took a break from gearing up for the rigors of an upcoming three-hour talkfest, blissfully unaware his world was moments away from taking a monumental jolt.
Kitchin Departs as The Blaze CEO. In a company-wide email, Kraig Kitchin describes the reason for his exit as chief executive officer of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is owing to outside business obligations. He writes, “The Blaze deserves and needs an exclusively focused leader. That is something I cannot provide, given existing commitments I choose to honor.” The co-founder and former chief operating officer of Premiere Radio Networks says he is not leaving The Blaze. “I will stay, working every day as the interim head of sales with a focus on finding the right person for that position, assisting in the transition, on advertiser growth, program development, and industry relations.” In a separate email, Beck remarks, “I know much of what has happened since December 2014 has been structural and behind the curtain. We were a company swimming in debt. With the hard work of Kraig, [Beck advisor and president of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts] Jonathan Schreiber, and now [chief financial officer Misty Kawecki], we will be debt-free by summer. This is miraculous and takes all of the downward pressure off of us.” Kitchin’s replacement, digital startup entrepreneur Stewart Padveen, joined Beck’s company last summer; he will be the fourth leader of The Blaze since late-2014. Kitchin took over operations of Beck’s subscription digital and cable television operation last June. Also stepping down, according to The Daily Beast, are director of advertising sales Jeremy Price, and director of marketing Liz Julis.
Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Boko Haram Murders 86 in Nigeria, ‘Grease: Live’ TV Show, Zika Virus Outbreak, and European Immigrant Troubles Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for State Department business; the weekend attack on a Nigerian village by Boko Haram that left 86 dead; the Sunday evening production of a live performance of the musical “Grease”; concerns over the spreading Zika virus in South America; the violence and crime being associated with Syrian refugees in European countries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
StreamGuys-Cox Media Group Partnership Produces Platform for Digital Broadcasts and On-Demand Content. Streaming media provider StreamGuys and Cox Media Group have partnered to produce a “turnkey SaaS streaming platform for live ad-supported broadcasts, on-demand podcasts, and detailed business metrics and reporting across its entire radio network.” The platform is now live across all 60 CMG radio stations in 11 markets. A statement from the companies indicates StreamGuys has “built a rich toolset around its robust, reliable cloud-based content management and delivery network in alignment with the broadcaster’s goals. [Stream Guys’] SaaS approach cleanly and cost-efficiently integrates several recent, innovative StreamGuys SGsuite products and services into the network that enrich streaming player data, accelerate podcast creation, enhance royalty reporting, and monetize streaming initiatives.” CMG senior director of digital audience Tim Clarke comments, “In StreamGuys, we have found an ideal technology partner that understands the same opportunities we see to evolve our radio products. Their infrastructure and technology, along with competitive pricing and expertise in broadcasting, give us incredible flexibility in the management and delivery of our network-wide streaming initiatives.” Clarke also states that StreamGuys’ HTML5 multimedia player – SGPlayer – has rich metadata support that “delivers the relevant information that online audiences seek alongside the audio stream, including song/artist data, album art, recently played tracks and social media links for sharing the experience with other listeners. SGplayer is also an approved Nielsen SDK player, delivering client-side analytics that offer greater insight into online listener demographics than what was possible before.” For on-demand content, StreamGuys’ SGrecast software allows multiple operators to quickly turn linear broadcasts into podcasts and side channels of any length, with near-immediate turnaround to consumers. Clarke notes SGrecast has been “a phenomenal success,” and is used for brief news, traffic and weather in every market; and 24/7 rebroadcasts of high-profile shows after initial airings. StreamGuys EVP Jason Osburn says, “We are elated to deliver a comprehensive SaaS [software-as-a-service] service that, along with our turnkey support, will at once help Cox Media Group solve problems and generate new ideas to push online radio and podcasting forward.”
Odds & Sods. Like most other sports media, SiriusXM is present this week in Santa Clara and San Francisco for the build-up to Super Bowl 50. In addition to programming emanating from NFL Radio Row on the satcaster’s NFL Channel all week, play-by-play of the game will air in seven foreign languages including: Spanish, French, Hungarian, Japanese and Cantonese…..The seventh annual “Let’s Kick Hunger Day” radiothon produced by CBS RADIO’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis and Taste of the NFL took place on Thursday, January 28 and raised more than $261,901 for hunger relief. The seven-year total raised from the event is more than $1.4 million. The event is an all-day live radio broadcast designed to generate awareness of hunger in the heartland and to raise funds to help end it. The proceeds benefitted Second Harvest Heartland.
Michelle Jerson to Host Lifestyle Show on ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC. The new program launches on February 7 at 2:00 pm on Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Dubbed “Michelle Jerson’s Passport,” the program is being promoted as “a fresh new lifestyle show” that will “focus on travel, wellness, dining and the arts.” In a press statement, the station notes that Jerson “has represented brands like Travelzoo.com in television and radio segments across the country, showcasing destinations, resorts, airlines and tour companies. She is a longtime travel writer and contributes content to Foxnews.com, The Daily Meal, The Examiner, and her website, Passport Romance. Michelle has spent much of her radio career hosting lifestyle and relationship talk shows on ‘New Jersey 101.5’; WJFK, Washington; and SiriusXM and reporting for Howard Stern’s news team.” Jerson comments, “I am extremely excited to combine all of my passions into one show and can’t wait to bring New Yorkers a fun, entertaining program that will enhance their everyday lives. A huge thank you to Jerry Crowley, Phil Boyce and Darren Yelin for making this happen.”
Talk Hosts Broadcast from SHOT Show in Las Vegas. A number of talk radio personalities broadcast from the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas during the 38th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades Show held January 19-22. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) interviewing National Shooting Sports Foundation president and CEO Steven Sanetti (right). Other hosts broadcasting from the radio row were Compass Media Networks host Lars Larson, Radio America personality Dana Loesch, Zimmer Radio’s Gary Nolan, KMED, Medford, Oregon morning driver Bill Meyer and more. Sanetti comments, “America’s firearms industry and the 2nd Amendment have a great friend in talk radio. Our radio row operation adds an extra measure of excitement to the SHOT Show and it’s a real pleasure to have so many broadcasters joining us.”
Radio News Pro Bob Schuman Dead at 65. The industry is mourning the death of radio news pro Bob Schuman. His wife reports that he passed away on Saturday (1/30) at his home in suburban Detroit after a battle with congestive heart failure. During his career, Schuman worked at Detroit signals including WJR, WOWF, WYCD and WOMC. He also worked at WNOE, New Orleans; WSAI and WKRQ, Cincinnati; KLIF, Dallas; WROR, Boston and WZGC, Atlanta. Schuman is pictured here receiving a plaque commemorating his induction into the WYCD Hall of Fame upon his retirement from the station. View this video of Schuman’s farewell from WYCD, produced by Art Vuolo, here.
Supreme Court Denies TRN’s Appeal of Savage Decision. This is a case that goes all the way back to talk host Michael Savage’s 2010 suit to be freed of his contract with Talk Radio Network, claiming the company did not properly execute the right-to-match provision in that contract. Savage won in arbitration in 2012 and was victorious at the Appeals Court level before TRN took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. On Monday (1/11), the Supreme Court denied TRN’s petition to hear the case, leaving the Appeals Court’s decision stand. Savage, who’s been working for Westwood One since October of 2012, was awarded $863,454, plus other monies owed him by TRN, plus ownership of his archives by the arbitration panel. Speaking to WND.com, Savage states, “After many, many years and over a million dollars of legal fees, justice has prevailed. TRN has never paid me one dime of the money they were supposed to pay me.”
iHeartMedia Re-Organizes Senior Executive Structure; Four Promoted to Division President. Saying that these structural changes will “push both decision-making and resources closer to the markets, with every market now better aligned to deliver more focused resources closer to their listeners and advertisers,” iHeartMedia announces the elevation of four EVPs of operations to division president titles, overseeing four new geographical regions. New division presidents are: Hartley Adkins, president of the Northeast Division and Corporate Operations will also oversee multi-cultural and strategic initiatives and communication for the Regions, working closely with Corporate teams; Greg Ashlock, president of the West Division, will also serve as the senior business leader representing the company in the Western U.S. across all divisions; Matt Martin, president of the Central Division, will also continue to oversee the company’s Sales Operations Center as well as direct and develop the company’s internal training programs; and Tom McConnell, president of the Midwest/Southeast Division, will also continue to work with the Regions on operational needs. iHeartMedia says the new structure replaces its Major and Regional Market groups organization. Now, the company will be comprised of four geographic Divisions, each led by a new Division President. The Divisions are strategically organized into 36 Regions that will address the needs of both listeners and advertisers based on geography. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The new structure under the leadership of Hartley, Greg, Matt and Tom adds nimbleness and new resources for our markets and stations. We are taking advantage of our size and unparalleled assets to empower our people and our markets by giving them better access to all our cutting-edge resources, from digital to data, our programmatic automated ad buying system, research and technology and more, letting them take advantage of the big investments we’ve made and use them to benefit their listeners and advertising partners in their region.”
KFI, Los Angeles Tweaks Show Times; Bill Carroll Not Being Replaced. With the recent departure of midday personality Bill Carroll (announced last week), iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles talk outlet is shifting the show times to cover his three-hour show. Bill Handel hosts mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; duo Gary Hoffman and Shannon Farren air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; afternooners John & Ken are on from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and evening host Tim Conway Jr. now hosts the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show.
Ramsey Sells Out in the Windy City. The 2016 edition of nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money tour began with a sold out crowd in Chicago on Tuesday (1/12) at Willow Creek Community Church. Ramsey’s event focused on “how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future.” Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. The event was a part of Hogan’s Retire Inspired book tour, which launched in New York on January 11. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” to promote the Chicago appearance. Station GM Jeff Reisman says, “WIND was thrilled to have Dave and Chris Hogan share their financial wisdom to more than 4,500 attendees. Dave’s daily radio program provides practical and actionable financial advice so people can stop living paycheck to paycheck and provides sponsors with an established and highly credible forum for their commercial message.” Pictured here with Ramsey are Salem Chicago director of sales Michael Mann (left) and Reisman (right).
David Chancellor Teams with Air Temkin on ‘ESPN San Antonio.’ Market sports broadcasting pro David Chancellor is joining Ari Temkin as co-host of the midday show “The Hardline with Ari and Chance” on KZDC “ESPN San Antonio,” airing daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Chancellor is an award-winning sports anchor for WOAI-TV “News 4 San Antonio.” Alpha Media San Antonio station manager Bob Brown comments, “David has had a periodic presence on ‘ESPN San Antonio’ for some time and we realized a long time ago that he’s a TV guy who really gets radio. We couldn’t be more pleased to have David join us full time as the co-host of the new, three-hour version of ‘The Hardline with Ari and Chance.’”
O’Reilly Brings in Philly Perspective in Cop Shooting Case. Covering the shooting of Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett by alleged gunman Edward Archer – a suspect who has told police he shot Hartnett “in the name of Islam” – Fox News Channel personality Bill O’Reilly welcomed WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall (pictured) to his show for the latest details and a local perspective.
Odds & Sods. Chicago Cubs radio play-by-play voice Pat Hughes has been honored as the 2015 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association…..At Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton, “New Jersey 101.5,” Fred Bennett exits the president and chief revenue officer role. Taking over for Bennett is Ron DeCastro who was most recently with CBS RADIO serving as general sales manager for CHR WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio.”
Presidential Race, State of the Union Address, Sean Penn ‘El Chapo’ Trip, Battle Against Islamic State/Istanbul Bombing, Sinking Oil Prices/World Financial Markets, Record Powerball Jackpot, and NFL Playoffs/Alabama Wins College Football Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/12). The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to President Obama’s final State of the Union speech last night; the controversy surrounding actor Sean Penn’s trip to Mexico to interview drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the fight against Islamic State and the terror bombing in Istanbul; plummeting oil prices and its effect on the world’s financial markets; the $1.5 billion record Powerball jackpot; and the NFL playoffs and Alabama’s victory of Clemson in the College Football Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Harrison: Trump’s a “Shock Jock” That’s Now Running for President. TALKERS publisher/founder Michael Harrison was invited to comment on the Donald Trump presidential candidacy yesterday (1/10) on the CNN media analysis program, “Reliable Sources.” The premise of the segment was to discuss whether or not it was conservative talk radio that specifically set the stage for Trump’s surprisingly successful showing in the polls because the medium taps into the anger and frustration felt by a large number of Americans about the state of the country and the politicians in Washington, DC. The insinuation was that conservative talk radio was stoking the aforementioned anger thus providing what program host Brian Stelter described as “fertilizer” for the early stages of Trump’s campaign. Harrison disagreed that talk radio’s early coverage of Trump’s candidacy gave him the boost that launched his domination of the GOP field or that talk radio was fueling anger in the first place. According to Harrison, the anger and frustration of American citizens has been building for a very long time now and that it isn’t just the far right that is angry, stating a case could be made that Bernie Sanders (popular among progressive hosts) appeals to a broad, angry segment of the left. Harrison said it was a wide variety of factors that led to Trump’s success in the polls and that talk radio is but “one of many media” that are playing into it. Harrison described the media, including talk radio, as basically serving its own “strategic” interests, thus giving tremendous coverage to Trump to capitalize on his proven appeal as a ratings attraction. Harrison said, “Donald Trump is responsible for Donald Trump’s success and if any media can be credited with fueling it, you must credit NBC’s “The Apprentice.” Speaking off-air, Harrison states, “The original premise of the segment was that conservative talk radio was one of the seminal causes of not just widespread anger in America – but hate as well – and that Trump is now feeding off of that… a suggestion that I cannot get behind whatsoever.” Harrison adds, “Trump has all the skills of the great so-called ‘shock jocks’ who have been stirring up controversy for years. He’s a talented blend of Howard Stern, Don Imus, and Rush Limbaugh all rolled into one extraordinary attraction. Does that make a great talk media entertainer? Yes. Does that make a great provocateur? Yes. Does that make a great stimulator of important conversation? Yes. Does that drive great ratings in a fragmented media marketplace? Yes. Does that make a great president? God help us if we actually have the chance to find out.”
Andy Bloom Exits WIP-FM and WPHT, Philadelphia OM Post. This is being termed a budget-related move as programmer Andy Bloom – until Friday the operations manager for sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT – exits the CBS RADIO Philadelphia station group. There’s lots of speculation in the Philly media about why Bloom was let go and what this will mean for WIP and WPHT. Bloom tells Philly.com, “It is part of another restructure and strictly a budgetary move. That has happened across the industry over the past several years. It’s been an incredible 8 years with CBS Philly.” Philadelphia Business Journal wonders what this means for news/talk WPHT citing its November 2015 PPM (6+ AQH share Mon-Sun 6A-12M) rating of 1.5. The mag reports Bloom previously noted the current lineup has only been in place for a year and needs time to gel. Local news and opinion site Crossing Broad wonders what Bloom’s exit will mean for WIP, especially afternoon drive personality Josh Innes. Kyle Scott opines that Innes’ future at WIP could be affected by this change, “[H]e was Bloom’s guy and given a long leash with which to do his sometimes-sports thing. I’m assuming a successor will not be as lenient as Bloom. One would wonder if Josh would even want to stick around. A general turmoil has surrounded the station since he came on-board, and most of Bloom’s decisions since can be traced to Innes’ presence.”
Anthony Cumia Arrested on Domestic Battery Charges. New York radio personality Anthony Cumia was arrested on Saturday on charges of strangulation, criminal mischief, unlawful imprisonment and assault. He’s pled not guilty to all and his attorney tells the New York Post, “Mr. Cumia emphatically denies the allegations brought against him and is optimistic that when the truth comes out he will be exonerated.” This comes after a woman described as Cumia’s girlfriend used the app Periscope to request police assistance at Cumia’s Long Island home after claiming Cumia broke her hand, took her phone when she tried to call police and held her captive. The woman uses the handle Dani Golightly. Cumia was released on his own recognizance and ordered to stay away from the woman. Cumia was fired from SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony show last year after he authored a series of racist Tweets and they went viral.
iHeartMedia Goes Sports in Denver on Former ‘Real Talk 760.’ The calls change from KKZN to KDSP and the new sports talker is branded “Denver Sports 760.” Local programming will include longtime iHeartMedia Denver personality Dave Logan co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program with Susie Wargin and Andy Lindahl hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. (Lindahl also hosts “PrimeTime Sports” on sister KOA from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.) Also airing on the station will be: Dan Patrick from 7:00 am to 10:00 am; “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “Jay Mohr Sports” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; “Ferrall On The Bench” from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; Ben Maller from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am; and “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North from 4:00 am to 7:00 am. iHeartMedia Denver market president Tim Hager states, “We’re excited to serve our listeners, partners and advertisers with a new station featuring original Denver Broncos content and the biggest names in sports.”
California Environmental Regulations Preventing KSCO, Santa Cruz from Addressing Flooding Problem. KSCO, Santa Cruz, California station owner Michael Zwerling is in a tough situation, stuck between California environmental laws and the need to keep his station on the air with current weather conditions creating flooding problems for his transmitter. Zwerling was prevented by sheriffs from digging a trench that would allow flood waters to drain as they usually do after a citizen complained to police about potential violations of the environmental laws. A look into the law indicates Zwerling will have to try to convince officials that his station – as a facility licensed to serve the public – is worthy of protection as well. KSCO has long been recognized as one of the nation’s most community-involved as well as marketing-innovative local talkers in the nation. Zwerling says the solution does not involve harm to the beach or the marine life but activists have risen to challenge his desire to do the minor excavation necessary to abate flood waters. Hear his appeal, broadcast over the KSCO airwaves, here.
Karter Named Radio One Cincinnati OM. Inbound from iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, Kenard Karter will assume operations manager duties of Radio One Cincinnati. Radio One vice president of programming Colby Tyner comments, “We are excited to be working with Kenard; he is a very smart programmer with a lot of creative energy. Our team in ‘Cinci’ can’t wait to get started.” Station manager Mitch Galvin notes, “Kenard will be bringing strong leadership to our station cluster and a drive to win.” According to Karter, “I am truly humbled and excited about the opportunity to lead the Cincinnati radio brands that the Radio One family has afforded me. I am proud to join a team that is so full of passion and promise.” Prior to his WGCI-FM stint, Chicago native Karter – who begins his Cincinnati duties in three weeks (1/11) – spent four years at San Francisco urban contemporary KMEL, where he was the station’s assistant program director/mid-day talent. Radio One Cincinnati consists of urban contemporary WIZF “101.1 Cincinnati’s Hip-Hop & R&B,” urban-rhythmic oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and WDBZ “Your Talk Station 1230 The Buzz.” According to 6+ stats in the latest (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM report for Cincinnati, WIZF ranks #8 with a 4.6 (+.7) from October and its best performance since June (also 4.6); WOSL is #13 (2.5); and WDBZ is #22 (.4). The (6+) market leader is iHeartMedia talker WLW (10.2).
Cumulus Brings New HR Exec Aboard. Human resources pro Todd C. McCarty comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent position as SVP of global human resources for Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, in making the announcement of McCarty’s appointment, “Cumulus has tremendous assets with our reach to 245 million listeners across 90 markets and our outstanding audio content and brands. However, it’s critical that, as we move quickly and efficiently to build on our strengths, we retain and attract top performers on and off-air, and support and motivate them to deliver exceptional performance across all disciplines and markets. Todd stands out among his peers in terms of qualifications and experience and we are fortunate and delighted that he will be leading our effort to consolidate and centralize our key human resources disciplines into a department that has the capabilities and focus to deliver the services and solutions we need to grow our business.” McCarty has served in similar positions at The New York Times Company and The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated Stephanie Miller show is now being aired on the CRN Digital Talk Radio network from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET. Miller’s show is syndicated WYM Media Managemen…..Live radio coverage of the CBS Sports Classic college hoops event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was provided by Westwood One Sports. Pictured here calling the games for the network are WW1 sports announcer John Sadak (right) and CBS Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb (left) as North Carolina beat UCLA 89-76 and Ohio State upset Kentucky 74-67. WW1 reports more than 300 affiliate stations carried the games…..Andi Poch joins CBS Local Digital Media to serve as SVP Sales. Poch is being charged with managing and executing the overall digital advertising sales strategy for the division. She’ll work closely with the local digital sales teams for CBS RADIO’s 117 stations and the 29 CBS Television stations, as well as the entire national sales group. She comes from Townsquare Media where she was SVP, integrated/digital sales and strategy…..At Townsquare Media, the company brings Susan Kravitz aboard to serve as SVP, head of national digital sales and will oversee the company’s national digital and branded entertainment sales efforts. Kravitz was most recently head of global sales at Say Media.
Entercom Offers New Employee Benefits. Beginning in 2016, Entercom Communications Corp. will begin offering qualified employees three significant new additions to the benefit plan designed to further enhance the quality of life for its staffers. They are: 1) Personal Volunteering Time – a half-day off each quarter to volunteer for a non-profit organization of their choosing; 2) Discounted Stock Purchase Program – Entercom employees will be able to purchase Entercom stock at a 15% discount through a payroll deduction plan; and 3) Student Loan Reimbursement Program – $1,000 per calendar year to reduce outstanding student loans for employees who have graduated within the past eight years. Company CEO David Field states, “We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and make Entercom a better and stronger organization, and that includes enhancing the quality of life for our team. We have examined benefits programs from leading companies all across the country in a wide range of industries and have honed in on a few highly compelling programs that we think will make outstanding additions to life at Entercom. We are very excited to be delivering these new benefits to our people.”
Making Merry in Vegas. Pictured here enjoying the festivities over the weekend at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas holiday party are (from left to right): director of sales Cory Cuddeback; market manager Tom Humm; news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer; and nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs.
Democratic Primary Debate, Star Wars Film Opens and Miss Universe SNAFU Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The coverage of and the aftermath of Saturday night’s Democratic candidates’ debate; the record-breaking opening weekend of the new Star Wars film; and Steve Harvey’s mistake misidentifying the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations airing live talk shows.
KOA, Denver’s Mike Rosen Dials Back Radio Duties; Mandy Connell to Assume Midday Show. Denver talk radio icon Mike Rosen is stepping down from his daily midday talk show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” after close to 30 years with the station. Rosen – also a longtime columnist for The Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post – will continue to work with the company’s Denver talk stations as a contributor, a regular weekend host and a political commentator. He’ll also serve as an occasional guest host on both KOA and sister KHOW “TalkRadio 630.” Rosen comments, “Doing my brand of radio, with 24/7 research and show prep, takes a work week of more than 60 hours. After 35 years on-air, I’ve decided to give myself a little more well-earned leisure time as I pass my 71st birthday. I’ve been with KOA for almost 30 years and have loved every minute of it. It’s a wonderful station with a glorious history and a great team of people. I couldn’t bring myself to just walk away from it, and a full-fledged retirement wouldn’t suit a Type-A guy like me. So, I’m delighted to still have a presence with KOA as a part-time, on-air contributor. While this may disappoint my long-time loyal listeners, to whom I’m eternally grateful, I hope they will find a little of Mike Rosen at least better than none at all.” KOA program director Greg Foster is moving current KHOW morning drive host Mandy Connell to Rosen’s midday show, effective January 4. He comments, “Mandy has a knack for creating solid, entertaining shows. Nobody can replace Mike Rosen, but we’re confident that Mike’s fans will connect with Mandy and she’ll bring a new perspective to KOA NewsRadio.” Foster has not announced who will assume the morning show duties on KHOW.
Geraldo Follows Through on Promise to Sue Cumulus for Breach of Contract. After being “locked out” of the WABC, New York studios in late November with Cumulus Media apparently deciding it was ready to end Geraldo Rivera’s midday talk show on the station, Rivera said he would sue Cumulus Media for reneging on its deal to extend his contract through 2016. Bloomberg Business is reporting the suit was filed on Wednesday (12/8). Cumulus has not commented on the matter but Rivera says, in a suit filed in New York, that his agent negotiated a deal to extend his $600,000 per year deal with then-Cumulus EVP John Dickey, which he alleges new Cumulus leaders broke upon assuming control of the company. Back in November, Rivera threatened the suit via his Facebook page on which he wrote: “It is not about the money…Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.”
Elisa Jaffe Named Afternoon Anchor at KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle. Seattle all-news KOMO-AM/FM lost a valued broadcaster this past August when Jane Shannon passed away unexpectedly. Now, the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned station announces that KOMO-TV news pro Elisa Jaffe will co-anchor the afternoon drive program with Tom Glasgow from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. KOMO-AM/FM program director Rick Van Cise states, “Elisa is known and respected around the Northwest for her decades of hosting KOMO-TV’s ‘Northwest Afternoon’ and anchoring and reporting on KOMO 4 News. She brings the perfect balance of personality, news credibility and compassionate storytelling to KOMO’s drive home.” Jaffe comments on her new position, “I could never fill our friend Jane Shannon’s shoes but it’s an honor to follow in her footsteps.”
Odds & Sods. Filling in today on iHeartMedia’s South Florida sports talker WINZ, Miami is former WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower who hosts Andy Slater’s 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program…..Good Karma-owned sports talker WUUB-FM, West Palm Beach “ESPN West Palm” announces Miami Dolphins EVP of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is joining the station for a weekly edition of its “ESPN West Palm Tonight” program as a recurring guest. Tannenbaum will join host Jeremy Marks-Peltz Thursdays at 6:20 pm through the Super Bowl. He’ll discuss the latest news from the Miami Dolphins and the NFL, and give his perspective as a current front office executive, and former agent and general manager…..FOX Sports Radio syndicated sports talk host Jay Mohr is nominated for a Grammy Award for his recent comedy album Happy. The actor and comedian released the album that’s the result of his one-hour comedy special filmed during the Santa Barbara LOL Comedy Festival. It features a “hilarious set of intimate stand-up comedy stories about his marriage to Nikki Cox, raising two kids, and great lessons in ironic behavior. This special aired on Showtime Comedy and has the distinction of being written entirely by Cox, who for years has been Mohr’s trusted collaborator and creative partner.”
Trump Muslim Ban Proposal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 7-11. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal that all Muslims be prevented from entering the country to prevent terrorist strikes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates. At #3 was the San Bernardino shootings aftermath, followed by the Paris Climate Summit at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Guardian Fund Annual Appeal Underway. Most broadcasters are aware of the outstanding work that the Broadcasters Foundation of America does aiding broadcasters and their families who are beset by unforeseen disasters or medical emergencies. Now, in an appeal to the industry titled, “Taking Care of Our Own,” Guardian Fund chairman and Whitney Media president and editorial director William O’Shaughnessy cites BFoA vice chair Dick Foreman who says, “It’s really all about taking care of our own.” O’Shaughnessy states, “We are broadcasters. And on that, and that alone, do we base our appeal to assist the hurting and almost forgotten in our own tribe.” The BFoA reports that “last year, relying on your essential and vital contributions to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund, we dispatched almost $850,000 in life-sustaining grants. We need your urgent assistance to continue that mission.” It’s simple to make an online contribution by going to the BFoA’s site here.
By Mike Kinosian,
Formerly president of Matrix Media and president/chief executive officer of WebTalkRadio.net, Saul was one of the most inspiring individuals in this medium; he passed away over the weekend at his home in Chicago.
Approximately 10 years ago, Saul was extensively profiled by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, who was then special features editor of Inside Radio. Highlighted here are excerpts from that piece.
By Holland Cooke
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Tell someone you’re going to a two-day conference on audience measurement, and you’ll see how inconspicuously she can yawn with her mouth closed. But what happened before lunch on day one was, alone, worth the trip. ICYMI, find yesterday’s report here.
Here are my notes from Thursday afternoon sessions:
“The smartphone is universal, understand that.”
Nielsen VP measurement innovation Dr. Ed Cohen — with University of Florida Professor of Telecommunication Dr. Sylvia Chan-Olmsted — presented “The Class of 2015: Four Years in the Lives of Digital Natives.”
Geraldo Exit from WABC, New York Appears Official. There’s been no announcement from Cumulus Media and we don’t really expect one. All of the information on this story comes from Geraldo Rivera himself. As TALKERS reported last Thursday, Rivera first said on his Facebook page that he was informed by new Cumulus CEO Mary Berner and Cumulus NYC market manager Chad Lopez that the company will not be honoring “the handshake deal I made with ousted company chief John Dickey, an agreement to extend my current contract for a year. The decision to renege on our deal on the eve of Thanksgiving is especially upsetting coming in the wake of my emotionally charged and highly rated coverage of the Paris massacre and frantic efforts by authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. Last year, The Village Voice named me the ‘2014 Best AM Radio Host in NYC’, writing in part, ‘Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say. The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards,’ which I’m doing here.” Since then, Geraldo added to his post, writing that he intends to make this difficult for the company. “That slight will not go unanswered. Trust me on this; it is not about the money. I have enough and give away to various charities more than most. But because of their unforgivable disrespect I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.” Geraldo goes on to write about the value of his show to the New York audience. “The pity is this misguided management has deprived my loyal New York audience a program that they have followed and engaged with during a turbulent time of crucial interest…” Whether Geraldo can prevail in court remains to be seen, but of course it’s within Cumulus’ right to fire or hire talent as the company sees fit.
David Boze Exits Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle. Saying that he’s leaving the station to pursue “ventures that can only be done in presidential years,” morning drive personality David Boze leaves Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle after 13 years with the station. He says, “I leave the station I helped found in the hands of a great company and good people. I am incredibly grateful for the loyalty and kindness of my listeners. It is a wonderful thing to meet them and realize we are already friends thanks to the power of radio. I’m also exceptionally grateful for my show sponsors, who have invested in my show year after year. Bonneville has been a great company to work for, and I will miss the people who have become such a meaningful, daily part of my life.” The company has not named a permanent replacement for Boze.
Lee Hammer Adds KGO and KSFO OM Duties. Already serving as operations manager and PD for sports talk outlets KNBR and KTCT, Lee Hammer is promoted from interim ops manager for sister talk stations KGO and KSFO to permanent OM for the pair. Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “Lee has been instrumental in leading KGO and KSFO over the past year while continuing to deliver record breaking ratings for KNBR. We are confident that with his considerable expertise in the talk format, he will take our news/talk stations to new heights.”
Odds & Sods. Former longtime KVI, Seattle talk personality Kirby Wilbur is soon to be back with the iconic conservative talker. It’s not known at this point what daypart Wilbur will be hosting. He was part of the original lineup of KVI as a conservative news/talk station. It’s for this period in history that it’s considered by many to be the first talk station to be purposely programmed as an all-conservative talk outlet…..Nationally syndicated talk host Kevin Jackson announces he is leaving USA Radio Networks and will self-syndicate his daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show.
Round Three of November PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was October 8 – November 4. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Some Talk Radio Pros Take Issue with Colorado Governor’s Placing Blame for Shooting on Media and Campaign Rhetoric. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, in addressing the deadly shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs over the weekend, hinted that talk show hosts and bloggers are in some way to blame for the deaths of the three victims and the nine people wounded. The governor said, in part, “Certainly it’s a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric we see on so many issues now, there are bloggers and talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over. Just intense anger. Maybe it’s time to look at how do we tone down that rhetoric. No one is going to try to reduce free speech in this country but that rhetoric — if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced – that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.” Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “Public officials who fail in their primary responsibility to protect the lives and property of the men and women who elect them should not use the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions on talk radio to scapegoat their own inadequacies.”
Legendary News and Talk Personality Brent Seltzer Recovering from Brain Tumor Surgery. Veteran radio personality Brent Seltzer, known most recently for his work on the nationally syndicated (GCN) “Brent & Meg Show” that he co-hosted with his wife Meg McDonald, is recovering from major surgery that took place in September at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank to remove a cancerous, golf ball-sized Glioblastoma Tumor Grade 4 from the front-left section of his brain. This is the part of the brain that controls memory and language. Seltzer’s colorful career dates back to the golden days of FM rock radio when he was a pioneer in the development of “rock ‘n’ roll radio style news” at such outlets as KGB, San Diego and KMET, Los Angeles among others. He has also achieved considerable critical praise for his modern-era, short-form and podcast series, “Still at Large.” Attendees at TALKERS conferences over the past four years will remember Brent & Meg as the events’ charismatic official greeters. This past June, they served as emcees of Talkers 2015. Seltzer (pictured here mugging for the camera after his surgery) tells TALKERS, “I have apparently been experiencing symptoms since September 2014 but it wasn’t until 11:15 am PT on Thursday, September 24, 2015 that my symptoms resulted in a seizure while sitting at my computer. I crashed like a small bird out of a big tree. If our ‘Brent & Meg’ radio show had not been on hiatus by that point, I would have had my seizure on the air. In the months prior to the seizure, I was apparently doing some things without a clear memory. My typing began to deteriorate and my quick recall for names, places and events often failed me. I ignored symptoms that were bothersome but seemed innocuous and unrelated at the time. But in truth, they were actually symptoms of a much bigger problem.” Seltzer, who is now recovering at home while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, adds, “I share these things to let everyone know that I have begun what we hope will be a stunning return. My recovery is an uphill battle which I’m very eager to face as I prepare for alerting everyone as to what has happened and what will come next and as much pain and discomfort I am in… I’m Popeye and nothing is gonna get me down!” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have known Brent all the way back to my radio days in San Diego in the early 1970s. He is one of the nicest, smartest and most talented guys I’ve ever met in this business. He and Meg are beloved members of our TALKERS family and we pray for his speedy and full recovery.” Brent Seltzer can be contacted via email at: email@example.com.
Colorado Springs Shooting Dominates Weekend Talk Stories. The deadly shooting in Colorado Springs and the related debate over gun control were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations that air live and local shows and/or live national talk shows. Other topics included the Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday, and college and pro football, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Round Two of November PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was October 8 – November 4. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Dr. Deepak Chopra. In the new installment of Podcast One’s weekly series for “media freaks” posted today (11/24) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews noted “integrated medicine” guru Deepak Chopra. The discussion covers such “far out” topics as the mind-body connection, meditation, the nature of consciousness, alternative healing, quantum physics, and communications theory. The discussion coincides with the current release of two books by Chopra – the revised edition (20,000 additional words) of his 26-year-old groundbreaking Quantum Healing (Bantam, 2015) and the brand new Super Genes (Bantam, 2015). Harrison says, “Rising to the weekly challenge of doing this podcast is one of the most exciting, challenging and gratifying experiences I’ve ever had in my 48 years in broadcasting. To be able to say that at this point in my career… how cool is that? Last week, I spoke with Jesse Ventura, a few weeks ago it was Art Bell, this week – Deepak Chopra! We’ve had Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Harvey Nagler, Jimmie JJ Walker, Buzz Aldrin, even the guy running the Pluto fly-by, Dr. Alan Stern, on this show and more than 40 colorful contemporary figures from the arts, science, journalism and pop culture in less than a year. The diversity of this program’s guests and subjects lives up to its title… yet, it all ties into a no-holds barred examination of modern media theory and how the digital era is rewiring the human nervous system. Getting a handle on this one all-encompassing concept is fundamental to 21st century media practitioners in their quest to understand this brave new world in which we are communicating on a historically unprecedented level.” To listen to the conversation between Harrison and Chopra in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Jim Rome at Albuquerque’s ‘610 The Sports Animal.’ The photo here shows mentor Jim Rome (right) meeting mentee Mike Trujillo (left) at Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNML, Albuquerque “610 The Sports Animal.” Rome participated in a standing-room-only meet-and-greet at the CBS Sports Radio affiliate. Trujillo was a regular caller to Rome’s syndicated program. He also called KNML and eventually won a contest to host a sports show and is now the station’s PM drive personality, hosting “The Sports Bar.” Trujillo is definitely a Rome acolyte; in addition to the Jim Rome t-shirt he’s wearing here, he also sports a tattoo of Rome’s image on his calf.
Russian Fighter Shot Down, Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Debate, Obama in Paris/Climate Change Conference, Obama Administration Gun Control Plans, 2015 Presidential Race, Chicago Police Protests, and the Golden State Warriors’ Record-Breaking Start Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/24). The tensions created by the downing of a Russian military fighter by Turkish forces on the Turkey-Syria border; the battle against Islamic State and debate over strategies to prevent its terror attacks; the political controversy over allowing Syrian refugees to emigrate to the United States; President Obama’s visit with Francois Hollande in Paris and next week’s climate change conference; speculation about the Obama Administration’s plans to enact gun control legislation during its final year; the protests in Chicago after a white police officer is charged with the murder of a black teen; and the record-breaking season start for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Changes Coming to the Herman Cain Show in January. TALKERS sources hear there are some changes coming to the WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show with the New Year. Cain will remain with Cox Media Group’s WSB hosting the late morning show but Westwood One will no longer serve as affiliate sales and ad sales rep for the national syndication of the show. TALKERS hears WYM Media will serve as affiliate sales rep and there will be a new ad sales rep, but that deal has not been inked yet.
Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit to Serve as Lions Flagship in 2016. Detroit Lions play-by-play has been heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WXYT-FM for the past 12 seasons, but starting next year, the games will be heard on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR. The Detroit Free Press is reporting the story and says many of the details are not known at this time. Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter are expected to remain in the booth going into next season.
New Talk Outlet to Debut in Bloomington-Normal and Champaign, Illinois Markets. The classic hits format will disappear from Smash Hit Media’s WWHP, Farmer City, Illinois on Monday and a news/talk outlet will spring up in its place. Former WRPW, Bloomington “Cities 92.7” morning drive personality Ian Bayne will serve as morning host on the new “Newstalk 98.3.” WWHP’s primary signal covers the area directly between the centers of the Bloomington-Normal and Champaign markets.
Art Bell and KABC, Los Angeles Collaborate for Thanksgiving Special. Los Angeles news/talker KABC and paranormal talk legend Art Bell are presenting “An Art Bell Out-Of-This-World Thanksgiving Special” on Thursday, November 26 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. This 12-hour special features programs hand-picked by Bell, who says, “We are thrilled to be back on the great 790 KABC, where we had great success. My loyal fans will love that I’m personally hand picking the best 12 hours of out-of-this-world radio.” Bell’s nightly program, “Midnight in the Desert with Art Bell” (syndicated by his own Dark Matter Radio), is airing on AM/FM outlets in addition to its internet home base.
Odds & Sods. The Grammy Award-winning band Train will perform at the official opening of CBS RADIO’s new New York performance space on Tuesday (11/24). The company announces the opening of the Adorama Live Theatre in Hudson Square in Manhattan, saying it will “serve as a showcase for artists, newsmakers, top athletes and other special guests.” It will play host to events from its six New York market radio stations, including sports WFAN and all-newsers WCBS-AM and WINS. The company says that in the coming weeks the theatre will present performances by Southside Johnny and Shaggy, as well as live interviews with Chris Martin from Coldplay and Charles Osgood, host of “CBS Sunday Morning” and the syndicated radio feature “The Osgood Files.” Today’s announcement marks the launch of CBS RADIO’s 11th performance space, joining outlets in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, among others…..Cumulus Media’s “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” in Nashville is presenting its annual “From Hunger to Hope Radiothon” on Monday, November 23 to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission. The station will share stories and invite listeners to make donations to the Nashville Rescue Mission. WTN says that through the years its listeners have raised more than $750,000 for cause.
TALKERS Magazine Presents the 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. Yesterday(11/19), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the fourth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from #1 to #100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 15 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. See the complete 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here!
New Fantasy Sports Platform Provides Radio with Turnkey Method of Tapping into Booming DFS Industry. Tampa, Florida-based FantasyNXS is providing a custom-designed way for radio stations, networks, and personalities to generate revenue from the booming fantasy sports industry. FantasyNXS is the first online mall for daily fantasy sports (“DFS”). According to company president and CEO, David B. Hirsch, “Our platform enables radio stations, networks and personalities to get into the DFS business at no cost and provides them with a new and engaging way to monetize their audience.” Hirsch adds, “When a broadcast entity joins FantasyNXS as a partner, we create a customized hub or ‘storefront’ for them that features their branding, content and contests. It also has its own, easy-to-remember URL on our site, which facilitates off-line promotion and advertising.” What distinguishes FantasyNXS from the current big dogs in the fantasy sports business – DraftKings and FanDuel? Hirsch tells TALKERS that FantasyNXS provides a different business model, more game formats and free-to-enter promotional contests. He states, “Our business model is completely different. Think of us as the first online shopping mall for daily fantasy sports. Our platform enables third parties to get into the DFS business for themselves. We build a customized hub or storefront for our partners on our website. We then create contests for them designed to appeal to their target audience. These contests appear in their hub and in the general game lobby for all FantasyNXS members to play. Our partners promote their contests by driving prospects to their hub. We administer the contests and take care of all compliance and back-office operations. We then split the net proceeds we earn from each contest with our partners.” Hirsch explains, “We also offer more game formats than anyone in the business, including Salary Cap, No Cap and Top-X. We also offer all three of these formats in our proprietary ‘Beat the Pro’ setting, which is ideally suited for radio celebrities. In ‘Beat the Pro,’ all of the contest’s entrants compete head-to-head, but collectively against the celebrity show host. Everyone who beats the celebrity splits a portion of the prize pool. ‘Beat the Pro’ offers a fantastic way for radio personalities to personally engage their audiences.” How do participating broadcasters make money? According to Hirsch, “FantasyNXS works off of a revenue split. Our partners earn a portion of the net proceeds we earn from the contests they promote. Also, our partners are credited as the referring affiliate for all FantasyNXS members who sign-up through their hub. This means recurring revenue every time one of these members enters any cash-entry contest in FantasyNXS. Our turn-key system can put a station into the DFS business with no cost.” Hirsch advises, “We can put radio entities into the DFS business, but they will have to actively promote their contests and drive prospects to their hub. The more they promote, the more money they’ll make.” Broadcasters licensed to states that forbid DFS or have network listeners banned from playing due to their local state laws can become involved in another, non-monetary version of the FantasyNXS platform that specializes in “social gaming.” Has the recent negative news about some states’ stances on fantasy sports impacted the millions of people who regularly play fantasy sports? “Of course,” states Hirsch. “In particular, the recent cease and desist letter presented to FanDuel and DraftKings by the New York State Attorney General has left a lot of fantasy sports fans on the sideline. In the coming months, you’re going to see more of this type of activity as our society comes to grips with the daily fantasy sports phenomenon. We ultimately believe that DFS will continue to thrive, but in a regulated environment.” Broadcasters interested in learning more about FantasyNXS can email Brad Fain at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for more information.
Syrian Refugee Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 16-20. The political debate over U.S. policy toward Syrian refugees was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris. Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS and following at #4 was the investigation of the bombing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Desert. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Jesse Ventura Joins Michael Harrison for New Episode of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (11/17), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined by former Minnesota governor and prolific talk media personality Jesse Ventura for a conversation described by Harrison as, “One of the up-closest and farthest-out episodes of this show ever.” Ventura currently hosts a weekly program on Ora TV titled, “Off the Grid with Jesse Ventura,” (www.ora.tv) in which he serves up an unfiltered dose of his opinions and commentaries on the issues of the day delivered in his trademark tell-it-like-it-is “wrestling rant” style. Ora TV is the trailblazing video platform launched several years ago by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim with Larry King as an internet platform upon which the legendary King could continue his post-CNN hosting career. Harrison – an admitted professional wrestling fan – and Ventura talk about the old days of the entertainment-sport when the future movie star and governor was making his mark as a colorful “bad guy” in the ring and then as the first “heel” color commentator (prior to Ventura, all ring commentators were biased toward the fan favorites – known as “faces.”) Ventura broke new ground as an announcer who openly rooted for the bad guys – know in the profession as “heels.” The conversation moves on to some heavy, controversial and provocative subject matter. Ventura discusses how his high-profile, anti-defamation/unjust enrichment lawsuit against the late Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame (in which the court ruled in his favor) has led to him to presently being blackballed by the mainstream media. Ventura talks about his critical views on U.S. foreign policy, the George W. Bush Administration, hypocrisy, and several conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and the war on terror. He talks about his show, “Off the Grid,” and how the title is reflective of his current lifestyle in which he lives part of the year in Mexico, untethered to paved roads, government provided utilities and, to a large extent, the internet. He discusses his turning to atheism and pacifism…and leaves a tantalizing hint that he just might become involved in the forthcoming race for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party – which has shown interest in him as a possible candidate. To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Medved Renews with Salem Radio Network Through 2018. The nationally syndicated Michael Medved show – heard via Salem Radio Network from flagship station KTTH, Seattle – will continue to be syndicated by Salem through December of 2018, according to a statement from Salem Media Group released today (11/18). The program airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and is heard on more than 300 affiliate stations. Medved says, “I feel unbounded enthusiasm and gratitude at the prospect of three more years to connect with the most wonderful and engaged audience in talk radio. Especially after my recovery from throat cancer, the ability to speak to people about the issues that matter most is a gift that I cherish – and never take for granted. I know that the prayers and good wishes of literally hundreds of thousands of listeners have helped make possible my super-energized return. We’ll be sharing exciting and significant times in the months ahead.” Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce adds, “Michael’s radio program is a great example of intelligence and common sense. We are delighted to announce this program will be continuing, allowing Michael to entertain and inform his hundreds of thousands of fans for many years to come.”
Former Bubba The Love Sponge Cast Member at Center of Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Investigation. As reported by Tampa’s FOX 13 television, The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office say former Bubba The Love Sponge staffer Matt “Spice Boy” Loyd stole DVDs of former wrestling star Hulk Hogan having sex with Bubba’s not-yet-ex Heather Clem that he sold to such sites as Gawker and TMZ. The videos included Hogan making racist statements that got him fired from the WWE payroll. The story indicates Loyd and Bubba had a falling out and Loyd stole the videos and sold them to “make Bubba sweat.” Interestingly, no charges have been filed against Loyd. Read the FOX 13 piece here.
Howie Carr Radio Network Celebrates First Year Anniversary with Open House. Regionally syndicated New England talk giant Howie Carr marked his independent network’s first anniversary yesterday (11/17) with an open house party for friends, affiliates and sponsors during his regular 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm broadcast from his state-of-the-art studios in the Boston suburb of Needham, Massachusetts. Since last year’s launch, Carr has added 11 new affiliates bringing the total up to 24 – an accomplishment described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “monumental considering the massive coverage he has generated from one end of the region to the other, penetrating every important market from the New York border to the remote reaches of Maine. The guy is ‘local’ in six states covering almost 71,000 square miles.” Carr tell TALKERS, “I am grateful to all my many clients that stopped by to wish me well. We have been thrilled with all of the new affiliates that have come on board and we look forward to continued growth in 2016 so that our affiliates and clients can continue to grow.” Bob Maynes, director of marketing at Maine-based Mathews Brothers Company, makers of “wicked, awesome windows,” raves to TALKERS, “It’s been a remarkable first year with the Howie Carr Radio Network. His audience is our customer, and his radio footprint covers nearly all our marketing area, and we’ve seen time and again, tangible proof of the effectiveness of advertising with Howie. Plus, the entire team performs as well as the host, and that makes doing business with them a pleasure.” Pictured during the broadcast (l-r) are advertisers Valerie Polito and Jay Rainville of major New England-based supermarket chain Market Basket celebrating on-air with Carr.
Paris Terror Attacks Aftermath, Syrian Refugee Policy Debate, 2016 Presidential Race, Black Lives Matter Complaints, Obama Administration Gun Control Efforts, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The aftermath of the terror attacks on Paris including the reactions to refugees and immigrants in other EU countries; the American debate over handling refugees from Syria; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; complaints from Black Lives Matter that the Paris attacks are being given more media attention than their issues; reports the Obama Administration plans to push gun control legislation in its final year; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Compass Media Networks, LLC seeks to hire a financial controller. Position is based in Rye, New York. Three to five years’ experience in media finance required. CPA required. Send resumes to: email@example.com. Compass Media Networks, LLC is EOE.
Mizzou Protests and Race Relations Tie for Top News/Talk Stories of the Week. The protests taking place at the University of Missouri, the ouster of the school’s president and chancellor and the related topic of race relations in the U.S. tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 9-13 as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. At #2 was the 2016 presidential race and Tuesday’s GOP debate. Coming in at #3 was U.S. immigration policy and the striking of President Obama’s immigration order, followed by the Syria-ISIS violence at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Dinner with Curtis & Kuby. WABC, New York midday team Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby entertained listeners during an intimate dinner and political conversation event at Delmonico’s Kitchen on West 36th Street in New York. Forty of the duo’s strongest supporters reserved their spots for “Dinner with Curtis & Kuby: A Night of Political Entertainment and Fun,” kicking off Election Central. The two answered questions from the attendees and discussed the current political race, social issues, and much more. Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Curtis Sliwa, Cumulus New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez, 77WABC program director Craig Schwalb, and Ron Kuby.
Doug McIntyre and John Cleese Take the State Together. KABC, Los Angeles and WABC, New York personality Doug McIntyre (left) spent four nights last week performing with Monty Python legend John Cleese (right). The show played before packed houses in Beverly Hills, Redondo Beach, Thousand Oaks and Pasadena, California.
Odds & Sods. Detroit general manager Chris MacCourtney is promoted within Salem Media Group to operational vice president for the company’s radio division, effective January 1. MacCourtney is currently overseeing Salem’s Detroit duo – conservative news/talk WDTK “The Patriot” and Christian teaching WLQV “Faith Talk 1500.” When he begins his new duties, he’ll also be in charge of the operations of the company’s stations in Columbus, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky…..Entercom Kansas City extends its deal with the World Series champion Kansas City Royals for sports talk KCSP “610 Sports Radio” to continue serving as the flagship station for Royals play-by-play. The new four-year contract runs through 2020 and includes all 163 regular season games plus the team’s off-season “Hot Stove Show.”
World Famous Comic Strip Artist/Writer Guy Gilchrist Joins Michael Harrison on ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ The writer and artist responsible for producing the iconic “Nancy” syndicated newspaper comic strip for the past 20 years and was hand-picked back in the 1980s by Jim Henson to produce the newspaper version of “The Muppets,” Guy Gilchrist, joins Michael Harrison for an in-depth conversation about media and popular culture in the new installment of Podcast One’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out,” posted today (11/10). Harrison sets the stage looking back at the impact cartoons, comics and puppets had on his development as a “media freak” growing up in New York in the 1950s and 1960s. Then, he and Gilchrist discuss a variety of related issues including the critical “controversy” over the new weekly Muppets show launched this season on ABC-TV, the evolution of the beloved characters Nancy and Sluggo, as well as the state of political cartoons, cartoonists and Freedom of the Press in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris earlier this year. In addition, they talk about the impact digital media is having upon the newspaper comic strip industry. To hear this fascinating conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” players located in the right-hand columns of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Fox Radio and TV Host Brian Kilmeade Writes Historical Book About Thomas Jefferson’s Early American War Against Muslim High Seas ‘Terrorists.’ It is described as “the forgotten war that changed American history” and now it is the subject of a major new book about the fledgling American nation’s naval battles against Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers and Morocco – the Barbary Wars. The book is the fourth by Fox News Channel co-host (“Fox & Friends”) and Fox News Radio host (“Kilmeade & Friends”) Brian Kilmeade and co-writer Don Yaeger titled, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates (Sentinel, 2015). According to Kilmeade, “The challenges we face today are not so different than Jefferson’s, and we’ve much to learn from his boldness and from the courage of the Marines and sailors who died to protect their country.” To listen to an in-depth conversation between Brian Kilmeade and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about the book and the history it addresses, plus a lot more, please click
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — I should clarify. I don’t mean do what cable news channels are doing — contrived political arguments. That’s being done to death there, and has become an unfortunate “Talk Radio” caricature. When there’s a-war-on…the-war-on…The War on Christmas – and there’s feigned outrage about under-decorated cardboard coffee cups — you know they’re running out of things to talk about.
I’m saying do what you see on basic cable channels and so-called “Over The Top” (OTT) TV such as Netflix. And as I listened to Sony Pictures Television chairman Steve Mosko, the little voice in my kept whispering “podcasting.”
Mosko calls himself “a studio guy” whose independent shop has 35 shows on 18 different networks, “the largest programming provider to OTT services.” He was interviewed by author and veteran journalist Bill Carter (SiriusXM’s “The Bill Carter Interview”) at NAB Show/New York* this week.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
Continuing today (11/4), TALKERS presents a multi-part feature story about the status of female talk show hosts in the radio business that will run throughout this week.
Part 3: What does it take to make it?
NEW YORK – It was established in the first two installments of this article about the state of women on talk radio – particularly “news/talk” radio – that although there are many successful female practitioners of the art heard around the country, male hosts continue to outnumber females by a startling ratio of approximately seven-to-one. The question is why?
Another question: what are those women who are making it on talk radio doing right?
“Just as Megan Kelly broke through in a mostly man’s world as host of her own prime time show on Fox News Channel, so can female radio hosts. They just have to get the right opportunity to prove themselves,” says Salem Media Group SVP/spoken word format, Phil Boyce.
One of those women is Mandy Connell, heard daily mornings on Denver’s KHOW-AM (630) and evenings back on what was her former station, WHAS, Louisville. The iHeart Media station’s morning drive host, is one of those that has clearly proven herself. For two decades, she has been on the air at several stations including heritage talker WHAS where she became established as a popular local conservative host who attracted a loyal following of both male and female listeners.
Connell says she has personally run into those who believe that women cannot succeed in talk.
By Holland Cooke
1972: I was a DJ and Budd Clain was my PD at WSPR, Springfield, MA, a stand-alone AM. His wife told me that, one Saturday afternoon, he dozed-off on the living room sofa. She tip-toed-in and turned off the radio…and he woke up.
Fast-forward to present day: Post-consolidation scale dictates that general managers become market managers. And GSM to DOS was logical, especially with NTR and digital. But the biggest casualty of the way consolidation re-packed middle management was when program directors disappeared. Stations are now “managed” rather than “programmed,” because:
‘Typical Is Your Enemy.’ Those are the words of radio consultant Holland Cooke, who writes today in TALKERS about the dangers of not standing out in the modern media era. He says, “Someone JUST-tuning-in at 14 past the hour on a cloudy morning hears the announcer assure that the next Traffic & Weather Together On-the-Threes update is just nine minutes away. Or “WHAT A NIGHT AT WRIGLEY!” teases a sportscast into spots. Are we naïve enough to think people aren’t toting smartphones?” What used to keep people tuned in to your station now tells them there’s something they need to know and busy people can use your tease to get the news from a digital source instantly. Whether you program a talk station or a music station – or both – read Holland Cooke’s warnings about typical-ness and what to avoid here.
KFI, Los Angeles Makes Midday Changes; Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Espinosa Exit. While iHeartMedia-owned news/talker KFI, Los Angeles has not issued an official statement about the status of its 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, the Facebook page of the Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Espinoza show confirms that the duo has exited the station – although Thompson will continue to make regular appearances on the station’s Tim Conway Jr. show. TALKERS sources in Los Angeles report KFI news anchors Gary Hoffmann and Shannon Farren will assume hosting duties for the early afternoon show.
National Association of Media Brokers Announces New Officers; Glenn Serafin Named President. Professional organization the National Association of Media Brokers, serving those who represent buyers and sellers of radio and television stations and related businesses, elected a slate of officers at its semi-annual meeting during the recent Radio Show in Atlanta. Re-elected to a new two-year term as president is Glenn M Serafin, director of Tampa, Florida-based Serafin Bros., Inc. Eddie Esserman, a director of Media Services Group, is the new vice-president. Roger Rafson – owner of CMS Station Brokerage – continues serving as secretary for another two years. Greg Guy will serve another two years as treasurer. He is a managing partner of Patrick Communications.
Second Music Industry Reunion Planned for New York Takes Place this Wednesday (10/14). There are still a handful of free tickets left for a very popular informal annual gathering that brings together several generations of music and radio industry professionals in a fun, warm and fuzzy atmosphere. By popular demand, a second “Music Industry Reunion” has been set by its organizers to take place in New York, following the tremendous recent successes of its first three installments in Los Angeles and its debut in New York last year. The informal event is open to all members, past and present, of the music and music-related industries free of charge, including a huge turnout from radio. It will take place at El Original Tex Mex (735 10th Ave. NYC) on Wednesday, October 14 between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm. The reunion is again being organized by veteran record executive Jon Scott and a committee of music industry veterans, past and present. These events have become tremendously successful, with each of the first four drawing a larger crowd of colorful legends on both coasts than its organizers originally anticipated. And now, according to Scott, “The demand for a fifth (the second in NYC) necessitates that we do it again. Not only do past attendees want to come back, but we are hearing from great folks around the country who, upon learning about our first four events, want to participate going forward.” Last October’s Big Apple installment of the Music Industry Reunion drew more than 250 people including luminaries such as Ron Alexenburg, Johnny Barbis, Danny Buch, Harvey Leeds, Jim DelBalzo, Paul Rappaport, Judy Libow, Roxy Myzall, Tony Berardini, Patty Martin and many more. Scott explains, “I really thought the first Los Angeles Music Industry Reunion would just be a one-time event, but it was a smash and the two follow-ups in Los Angeles and the first one in New York were successively bigger. Now even more people keep asking, ‘When is the next one?’ I am thrilled that old music friends attend these events and have a wonderful, rare opportunity to connect with colleagues they haven’t seen in years.” Scott adds, “The next night, Tony Martell will be honored at the 40th anniversary of his wonderful charity, The T.J Martell Foundation and hopefully we’ll see you there, too.” The party is free with no host food and bar – but because of space limitations, it is important to make reservations as early as possible. Members of the Music Industry Reunion NYC organizing committee include: Jon Scott, Greg Lee, Johnny Barbis, Judy Libow, Roxy Myzal, Ted Utz, Wayne McManners, Harvey Leeds, Steve Leeds, Pete Gidion, Jim DelBalzo and Jesse Scott. Organizer Jon Scott sums it up: “Keep in mind, this is not an ‘official’ convention or seminar being put on by an industry trade association or publication. There is no charge, no fee, and no agenda, except for seeing each other!” Scott continues, “Lots of laughs, stories, and the amazingly positive synergy of just hanging with each other! By the way, on October 14th, 1947, the sound barrier was broken. I know many of us have broken some kind of sound barrier in our career! A perfect night to have a party!” For more information about the forthcoming second Music Industry Reunion New York, call Jon Scott at 818-981-9876 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register click here. Music Industry Reunion New York is being made possible by a grant from RadioInfo. RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “This is one of the most teary, huggy, and emotionally touching industry gatherings for anyone who has made friends in the business over the years. I am so pleased that RadioInfo has been able to contribute to it happening and we can’t wait to see everyone this Wednesday evening in New York.
Odds & Sods. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago evening personality Justin Kaufmann is off the air at the station “indefinitely” dealing with a “private and personal matter.” Kaufmann joined the station in April of this year after a 21-year career as a producer at Chicago Public Media…..Detroit Red Wings hockey and Detroit Tigers baseball will be head on CBS RADIO’s sports talker WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” for years to come. The station and Olympia Entertainment have inked a comprehensive multi-year agreement that includes play-by-play rights to both teams, as well as marketing and promotional activities across CBS RADIO’s Detroit stations. Dan Dickerson, will continue to host the Tigers pre- and post-game shows, as well as weekly off-season show “Hot Stove.” Red Wings announcer Ken Kal will host “Inside Hockeytown” weekly throughout the hockey season. Plus, all-news WWJ will add three new, one-hour shows including “Inside The Arena,” to keep fans up-to-date on the development of the new Detroit Red Wings hockey stadium; “Inside The Ballpark,” which will include the latest news and information about the Detroit Tigers upcoming season, and “Inside District Detroit” focusing on all things related to the expansion of “The District.”…..New York Comic Con invaded the Javits Center last Thursday through Sunday and ABC Radio was on the scene. Pictured here at left with a couple of the attendees is ABC Radio entertainment producer Steve Iervolino.
By Holland Cooke
Someone JUST-tuning-in at 14 past the hour on a cloudy morning hears the announcer assure that the next Traffic & Weather Together On-the-Threes update is just nine minutes away. Or “WHAT A NIGHT AT WRIGLEY!” teases a sportscast into spots. Are we naïve enough to think people aren’t toting smartphones?
Yes, you’re really hearing this from a consultant. I do install success templates. In the 21 years since I last had an employer, I’ve paid my mortgage by assuring clients that “nothing I recommend is an experiment.” And the logic of if-it-works-do-it/if-it-doesn’t-don’t becomes even more obvious as radio has overdone what works until it doesn’t; and has cost-cut until innovation becomes cost-prohibitive.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
Akin to its borough brethren of Manhattan; Brooklyn; the Bronx; and Staten Island – Queens buzzes with activity on any representative weekend night.
Synonymous – and famous – in any part of Gotham is its pizza. Whether the scene is a group of friends enjoying conversation over a whole pie, or someone folding over a slice on the go, New Yorkers have a longstanding love affair with pizza.
Michael Harrison and Consultant Holland Cooke Discuss ‘How Digital Media is Rewiring the Human Nervous System.’ In the latest installment of Podcast One’s international hit “Up Close and Far Out” posted today (9/15), noted radio and media consultant Holland Cooke joins host Michael Harrison in a discussion of what Harrison describes as the five major tenets of digital media’s effect on the way human nervous systems are becoming “rewired” going into the 21st century. According to Harrison, here are the five major tenets of modern-day media theory for commercial practitioners to consider (from five to one in order of importance):
5. The magic of 20th century media is rapidly disappearing. Radio, television, film, print and records do not carry the same level of mystique that they did for most of our lifetimes. It is no longer just enough getting past the gatekeeper and “being there.” Everybody is or has direct access to being a media star. This development democratizes production and distribution but significantly raises the bar on what must be achieved to actually attract attention and display panache in an increasingly noisy world.
4. Loss of privacy. It is becoming increasingly impossible to engage in modern life “on the grid” and preserve the level of privacy that many consider vital to maintain dignity and personal freedom. It is becoming increasingly treacherous to be famous or a “celebrity.” Media whores beware! It is dangerous out there.
3. Life is becoming one big crazy reality show. Look no further than the media circus known as the 2016 presidential election to see this process at work – punctuated by the adventures of the greatest media exhibitionist of our time, Donald Trump. The once well-defined boundaries between entertainment and real life – fact and fantasy – are becoming increasingly blurred.
2. The rise of the techno-psychic. Modern-day instantaneous communications and data accumulation, punctuated by multi-tasking, social media, and the individual’s immediate access to everyone and all publically archived information, is transforming the human race (Homo sapiens) into a technologically induced telepathic species. People literally are walking around with the voices of others inside their heads. We are just a handful of short years away from having chips implanted inside our bodies that will replace the inconvenience of having to lug around what we currently call “smartphones.”
1. The coming of the quantum age. Don’t expect the digital era to hang around as long as the analogue era has through all of the 20th century and into the 21st. It will be replaced relatively quickly by something truly “far out.” Our increased understanding and coming to cultural terms with quantum physics is changing everything! Although the development of the quantum computer (which promises to replace the digital computer) is still in its infancy, progress is being made at a rapid rate. Quantum computing will exponentially increase humanity’s influence on the very fabric of time and space themselves. Today’s modern technology will seem as quaint as the horse and buggy in a relatively short time. Harrison advises, “Today’s media practitioners interested in being prepared for the onrushing future should study everything they can about quantum physics and the impact it will have on computing and communications.”
Interestingly, Harrison produced this installment of “Up Close and Far Out” on the road under difficult technological conditions stating, “Our studio back at TALKERS suffered an equipment malfunction and our server was undergoing maintenance. I found myself facing deadline with nothing more than two iPhones and a remote guest (Holland Cooke) who also had nothing more to work with at the moment than an iPhone. Somehow we made it work – although I regret that Holland’s usually mellifluous voice sounds a bit like Rudy Vallee singing on his trademark megaphone. Considering the futuristic nature of our rather esoteric conversation, it is ironic that we produced the show under extremely primitive (by modern standards) conditions. All of us who’ve done radio over the years have had the experience of being forced to play MacGyver. This was one such case. Thank you, Holland Cooke, for being a good sport.”
To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here. or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Familiar New York Voice Peter Rosenberg to Join WEPN’s Michael Kay Show. New York radio personality Peter Rosenberg is joining the Michael Kay show on ESPN’s WEPN. Rosenberg is host of Emmis-owned hip hop HOT 97’s morning drive show – a position he will continue. Rosenberg will join Don LaGreca – himself recently inked to a contract renewal – as co-hosts with Kay. On this added gig, he comments, “I’m thrilled and thankful for this opportunity to be a part of the 98.7 family and to be part of a show that I have always loved with two guys that I couldn’t respect and admire more. By working for both 98.7 and HOT 97, I’m able to contribute to a wide variety of topics I’m passionate about and provide listeners with a fresh perspective on not just hip hop, but sports, lifestyle, and more.” He begins his new duties today (9/15).He begins his new duties today (9/15).
Martinez Joins ‘News 96.5 Orlando’ for Anchor Position. Trading the cold for sunshine this winter is Heather Jordan Martinez who is leaving iHeartMedia heritage news/talker WHO, Des Moines for Cox Media Group’s WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5.” Martinez has a diverse resume including time in music radio on-air and in promotions. She is also a voice-over talent. Her new gig starts September 28.
IAB Presents Podcasting ‘Upfront.’ The recent “Upfront Showcase” held in New York City by the Interactive Advertising Bureau was held in response to the medium’s recent and meteoric rise on the mainstream consumer’s and advertiser’s radar. TALKERS and RadioInfo special features correspondent Jeff McKay reports, “The Interactive Advertising Bureau put together the event to highlight some of the top-flight podcasters, along with some of the companies at the forefront of digital success and their advertiser successes.” IAB president/CEO Randall Rothenberg explains, “We’re here responding to market demand. Why are we here? The success of ‘Serial’ and President Obama’s interview on ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ – these shows have opened up eyes to podcasting.” Attendee and VP of digital sales for AdLarge, Jay Green states, “You’re saying, ‘I want to hear what this host has to say,’ and that becomes a brand. For advertisers, the spot load is very low. It’s not intrusive. And, the ads are integrated into the show, discussed by the host with their own brand and style.” Read McKay’s entire report from the IAB “Upfront Showcase” here.
ESPN Radio to Finalize New Network Lineup; Jones to PM Drive, Jalen & Jacoby to Assume Early Evening Show. TALKERS magazine sources say the revamped ESPN Radio schedule should be complete within a couple of weeks and, as we’ve reported in recent weeks, Bomani Jones will move from his 9:00 pm ET start to the afternoon drive slot being filled right now by Jorge Sedano and Sarah Spain. As regular TALKERS readers are aware, the changes at ESPN Radio were spurred by Colin Cowherd’s move to Fox Sports. ESPN has already shuffled Dan Le Batard to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET daypart, leaving an opening in afternoon drive. With Jones in the PM drive slot, TALKERS hears ESPN will move podcast duo Jalen & Jacoby – Jalen Rose and Dave Jacoby – to the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot and Jorge Sedano will assume the 9:00 pm to 12:00 ET midnight show. Sedano will reportedly also take on more NBA-related program responsibilities on the TV side.
Salem Media Group to Acquire Radio Disney Signals. Five more Radio Disney AM signals are on their way to a new owner as Salem Media Group agrees to buy 5,000-watt class B KDIZ-AM, Minneapolis for $375,000; 10,000-watt class B KDDZ, Denver for $550,000; 10,000-watt class B KDZR, Portland for $275,000; 20,000-watt class B WSDZ, St. Louis (licensed to Belleville, Illinois) for $275,000; and 9,800-watt class B WWMI, Tampa-St. Petersburg for $750,000.
CORRECTION: Yesterday (9/14), TALKERS magazine incorrectly reported the new time of the “Business Rockstars” show. The correct time is 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. TALKERS regrets the error.
The Trump Campaign, the 2016 Presidential Candidates, European Migrant Tensions/U.S. Immigration Policy, Russia-Syria Military Buildup, Iran Nuclear Deal, North Korean Nuke Threat, California Wildfires and NFL Week One Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The ongoing analysis of the early success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the migration issues European nations are dealing with and talk about the immigration policy in the United States; reports of Russia’s supplying Syria with weaponry; the controversial nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran; the threats of nuclear missile use by North Korea; the destruction being caused by the Western wildfires; and the first week of the 2015 NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WFAN’s Mike Francesa Show to End Fox Sports Cable Simulcast. New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa told his WFAN listeners on Wednesday that his show would cease being simulcast on Fox Sports’ cable channel after this Friday. As the New York Post reports, Francesa had problems with the relationship almost from the beginning and griped to listeners about being pre-empted by soccer or moved to the FS2 channel. Francesa said, “First, let me say that the blame is mine. I tried to do something a little different. The Fox guys were eager and I’m not going to say money wasn’t an issue, because it was the biggest. I had some trepidation, but I saw some promise and it just didn’t work.” The Post reports that Francesa is beginning to look for a new cable simulcast partner and MSG Network is a possible destination.
Corral Named News Director at KGO, San Francisco. This is a promotion from assignment editor to news director for Angela Corral. She’s been with Cumulus Media’s KGO since October of 2013. She’s worked in news in the Bay Area for the past 17 years, having joined CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news KCBS in 1998 as a production assistant. On her new gig, Corral comments, “It’s a true honor to be selected as news director of this legendary station. I’m looking forward to working with an amazing staff of dedicated journalists as we move KGO forward.”
Radio Pro Bob Dane Rises to Executive Director at FAIR. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces Bob Dane is promoted to executive director of the organization after approval from the board of directors. Dane, whose years of experience in network radio, marketing and communications led him to join FAIR in 2006 as director of communications, will be just the fourth executive director of FAIR since its founding in 1979. In this new role, Dane will oversee the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based and national operations. FAIR president Dan Stein comments, “With nearly a decade of experience in FAIR’s media department, Bob has spearheaded valuable and unique initiatives, bringing to light the public’s often-overlooked concerns about immigration.” Chairman of the Board Donald Collins Jr. adds, “For many years, Bob has continually demonstrated media expertise, innovative ideas and able management.” During his career, Dane also served in a policy and budgeting position within the Reagan administration. He received a degree in public administration and management from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Odds & Sods. After retiring from full-time work at Chicago all-news outlet WBBM-AM in 2004 after a 35-year career, Sheman Kaplan returned to the station on a freelance basis, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. In a column today, Feder reports that Kaplan is again retiring from the station where he was co-anchoring midday newscasts and “The WBBM Noon Business Hour” alongside Kris Kridel…..Los Angeles-based talk personality Larry Elder will host presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson on his show today (9/10). Elder’s program airs on CRN Digital Talk Radio at 3:00 pm ET and on Salem-owned KRLA, Los Angeles at 9:00 pm PT…..United Stations Radio Networks is now offering a sports radio prep service called Total Sports Prep. USRN says it is intended for use by air personalities in sports talk or any programming that delves into sports content…..Bob Kempf joins TV and online public media producer WGBH Boston as vice president for digital services. Kempf was previously VP/general manager of digital services for NPR…..Saga Communications drops adult standards on KRNT, Des Moines and goes sports talk as “ESPN Des Moines.” In addition to carrying ESPN Radio programming, it will carry Chicago Cubs baseball, Drake University play-by-play, and be an affiliate of the Green Bay Packers Radio Network…..Entercom flips from business talk on KWOD, Kansas City to sports talk using both CBS Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Eagles Radiothon Raises $200,000. Another Eagles Radiothon is in the books and the event organized by the NFL club and CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, “SportsRadio 94WIP raised $200,000 for the Eagles Youth Partnership. As part of the annual radiothon, Eagles fans and 94WIP callers were provided the opportunity to bid on exclusive experiences involving their favorite Eagles players and 94WIP radio personalities. Eagles Youth Partnership, Eagles Social Responsibility president Christina Weiss Lurie says, “We continue to be amazed each year by the generous contributions and devoted support from our fans during the Eagles Radiothon. As an organization, we are always looking to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences for our fans. The annual Radiothon provides us with the opportunity to do that, while also supporting the vital health and education programs of Eagles Youth Partnership. On behalf of EYP, I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to 94WIP for their steadfast commitment and support of this event.”
Salem Radio Network at 90 Minutes in Heaven Premiere. The new film 90 Minutes in Heaven – based on the New York Times bestselling book by Don Piper – opens this weekend and Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) was in Atlanta this week for the media premiere of the film. Tradup says that on the heels of the Christian-themed film War Room being tops at the Labor Day weekend box office last week, fans of faith-based movies are also expected to turn out this weekend for the nationwide opening of 90 Minutes in Heaven. Tradup is seen here speaking with actress Kate Bosworth (right) who plays Piper’s wife Eva Piper. In a story based on Don Piper’s own experiences, she helps him recover from a car crash after being pronounced legally dead for 90 minutes. The film also stars Hayden Christensen and Fred Thompson.
Conspiracy Theory Gets Two Suspended from Scripps Springfield, MO Stations. The host and the on-air producer of the Sunday morning “Cracker Barrel” show have been suspended by E.W. Scripps after suggesting the on-air slayings of Roanoke TV crew Alison Parker and Adam Ward were a hoax designed to spur stricter gun control laws. Host Joe Rios and producer Rick Masters are heard on the both company’s country KTTS and news/talk KSGF-AM/FM. Station manager Rex Hansen apologized to the station’s listeners for the commentary. It’s not known how long the two will be suspended from the weekly community forum program.
Hillary Clinton Emails Apology, Trump Candidacy, 2016 Presidential Candidates, European Migrant Crisis, Brandon Marshall’s Brady vs NFL Racism Charge/ESPN Spygate Story, Iran Nuclear Deal, and Russia-Syria Military Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton apologizes for use of private email server for State Department business; the criticism and analysis of the top-polling Trump for President campaign; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the migrant crisis affecting European nations; the aftermath of the Tom Brady vs the NFL case and Brandon Marshall’s charge that Tom Brady is treated different because he’s white, plus the related ESPN Spygate story; the controversy over the Iran nuclear deal; and reports of Russia sending military aid to Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Trump Beats Obama! In one of the extremely rare occasions when someone other than the President of the United States tallies in as the most-talked-about person of the week on news/talk radio across America, TALKERS research indicates that Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has accomplished that very feat for the week ending today (8/10-14). According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The reason it is hard to top the president in this survey is because the chief executive is intrinsically tied-in to so many of the top stories and topics discussed in the medium. Plus, there are quite a few hosts who base their entire programs for weeks, months and years at a stretch either criticizing or supporting the sitting president.” Harrison continues, “But Trump did it this week and quite handily at that.” Harrison cites the following elements driving ‘Trumpmania’ among the nation’s radio yappers: “First, he makes good copy and fun content – he’s extremely entertaining – and, let’s face it, competitive talk radio needs to be – or believes it needs to be — compelling and easy to digest to attract listeners in this increasingly noisy world. It might not be the most academic and productive form of journalism – but talk radio doesn’t claim to be ‘journalism’ – it leaves that to the TV news networks and newspapers. What’s their excuse for feeding on Trump’s reality show-style bait?” Harrison cites Trump’s “respect for the medium” as being the second reason for his domination of airwave discussion: “He clearly respects talk radio and exploits it for grassroots exposure. Unlike so many of today’s big-time politicians and candidates, he is not afraid of its spontaneous nature. He thrives on it. We are receiving calls and press releases from stations and shows around the country touting their ‘exclusive’ interviews with Donald Trump – many saying he simply ‘called in.’” Harrison says, “Obama’s strength as a conversational focal point or lightening rod is rapidly diminishing as this early election frenzy crystallizes his position as a lame duck. Let’s face it, Obama-bashing is getting boring. ‘Boring’ is bad for talk radio. And the problem for talk radio with Hillary Clinton – even as a target of criticism — is similar. She’s been around so long and everyone knows exactly what they’re getting… making her – from the perspective of talk radio potency – a lame duck even before she potentially gets elected.” Harrison sums it up, “The election cycle starts too early for serious voters to take it seriously. Most of the candidates are relatively boring – except for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — from the almighty ‘entertainment’ perspective. Trump fills the vacuum quite beautifully. The other candidates would be wise to play this next few months very carefully and be prepared and in proper position for a run for the title for when the election becomes serious.”
Russillo, ESPN Radio Agree to Extension. Earlier this week, TALKERS reported details of Colin Cowherd‘s exit from ESPN Radio and his new deal at Fox Sports Radio. Now comes confirmation that ten-year ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo is remaining with the sports network to do “Russillo & Kanell,” a daily three-hour (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, ET) program with ESPN college football analyst Danny Kanell. ESPN Radio senior vice president Mo Davenport remarks, “We are happy to have Ryen at ESPN for the long-term. We look forward to utilizing his creative energy as we forge a smart, engaging and entertaining show, born from the natural chemistry between Ryen and Danny.” According to Russillo, “Danny is the perfect partner for an everyday radio show. Former athletes get labeled as one-sport guys all the time based on what they played [but] that isn’t fair. Danny can talk all sports and is one of the best college football voices in the country. Staying with ESPN and this time slot is a challenge I have been ready for.” Russillo – who was named co-host of ESPN Radio’s “Scott Van Pelt Show” in May 2009 – will have an expanded ESPN television presence across multiple studio shows, with a focus on NBA programming. For the past two months, he has hosted “The Russillo Show” with a group of alternating co-hosts, including Kanell. In addition to airing on ESPN Radio beginning two weeks from Monday (8/31), “Russillo & Kanell” will be seen on ESPNEWS.
She Said “Yes.” Someone must have mentioned to Mark Brill that, when done correctly, radio is perhaps the most effective one-one-one communications platform. In just 22 warm-and-fuzzy seconds, the loyal partisan of Hubbard Washington, DC all-news operation WTOP fully underscored that unique strength of the medium. WTOP was clearly the centerpiece and most integral participant in this story – which has several moving parts – but a few other key players aided Brill in the performance of his life. This past Saturday (8/8) at precisely 6:07 am, Brill and his girlfriend, Phyllis Liebman, were in Bethany Beach, Delaware. While not out-of-the-ordinary for Brill to be tuned to WTOP (in this case, more accurately streaming the station online), Liebman, ostensibly, thought she was doing so at the request of her employer MRP Realty. Liebman’s boss asked that she listen at that specific time to verify that an ad the company purchased on WTOP ran as scheduled. One slight detail: There was no MRP Realty spot. What Liebman – and every other WTOP listener – heard at that time, however, was this marriage proposal from Brill (listen here). Brill first saw Liebman three years ago (7/16/2012) at the concession stand of a tennis match. “Later, I saw her sitting behind me and it looked like she was looking at me,” he recalls. “I did get up the nerve to give her my business card and said if she wasn’t dating anyone to call me.” Several weeks later, the two had their first date and Liebman informed Brill she wasn’t looking at him but at Michelle Obama, who was seated a few rows opposite him. WTOP sales manager Skip Quast‘s responsibility was to have Brill’s proposal air exactly at sunrise, which that particular day was 6:07 am. Many businesses contact Quast regarding advertising information on WTOP (the market’s #1 station for the seventh straight month, 6+, Nielsen Audio PPM) but when he received Brill’s call in May, Quast states, “It was a first. Mark explained how WTOP was his favorite station and said he was planning to ask her [to marry him] in August. I let him know we might be able to help him out and asked him to give me a call when he was ready. I wasn’t sure I would hear back from him, but he called again in July and set a date. I am happy we were able to help and make it a special day for both of them.” Score another victory for the power of radio.
University of Vermont Partners with Learfield Sports. The pact between Learfield Sports and the University of Vermont will have the collegiate multimedia rights firm representing the “Catamounts” through 2025. School athletic director Dr. Bob Corran comments, “We are very fortunate to have developed such a wonderful partnership with Learfield Sports. This will allow us to focus greater efforts on promotions, communications, and brand building, while enabling Learfield staff to bring their considerable organization and experience to sponsorship and multi-media sales. We’re very excited about the future of Catamount athletics and Learfield’s role in helping securing that future.” Learfield is assembling staff for its local Vermont Sports Properties – under new GM Mike MacConnell – to work alongside Dr. Corran and his entire athletic administration. WVMT-AM, Burlington and WCPV “ESPN 101.3,” Burlington will continue to broadcast University of Vermont hockey and basketball games.
Historic Pop Media Figure Elliot Mintz Interviewed on Podcast One’s “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” One of the most complex and challenging processes in all of radio is the art of the interview. We hear interviews all the time – but how many of them are really good? How many of them bring the listener true insights into the mind and knowledge of the person being interviewed? How many truly represent the interests of the listener without ambushing or disrespecting the human dignity (or appropriate privacy) of the person being interviewed? Should an interview be a series of hard ball questions? Should it be conversational? Should it be confrontational? Should it be to promote a product? These are questions that any good interviewer faces every time they enter a public dance of dialogue with another human being… “Am I an adversary, an advocate or something in between?” The new installment of the hit weekly podcast geared to media freaks around the world, “Up Close and Far Out,” presents an interviewer (Michael Harrison) interviewing an interviewer (Elliot Mintz). Mintz was one of the original pioneers of FM rock radio back in the 60s – only he wasn’t a DJ, he was an interviewer – thus, he is also somewhat of a pioneering talk show host. Throughout the sixties and seventies, he became widely respected for the quality and prolific body of work (more than 2000 interviews) with the most famous and respected pop stars in the world of music, the performing arts, science and philosophy. In the 80s, he reinvented himself and became a consultant, advisor and publicist to some of the biggest names in the business including the John Lennon estate and a slew of others. He can truly be called a consummate show business insider and a legend in his own right. Now, Elliot Mintz has done something extraordinary. He spent more than a year of diligent detail work assembling his archives, that were packed away in fading and often unmarked boxes, into a museum-like website where the visitor can experience, at no cost, more than 150 hours of audio and video treasures culled from his encounters with some of the most fascinating characters of the 20th and early 21st centuries. It is www.ElliotMintz.com. To listen to the entire conversation between Michael Harrison and Elliot Mintz, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Mugging it up for the camera from the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin are Westwood One Sports analyst/PGA member Charlie Rymer (left) and broadcaster Earl Forcey. Westwood One presents live, hole-by-hole coverage at 2:00 pm (ET) through Sunday.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio this Week (8/10-14). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Fox-Trump Feud, and the Iran Nukes Deal. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continued to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this past week and the media remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. Hot topics include the presidential election in general, the Fox News Channel-Trump feud stemming from the candidate’s dust up with debate moderator Megyn Kelly, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy, the Black Lives Matter movement, Jimmy Carter’s health issues and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of the yuan. To see the complete listing of the 10 most-talked-about topics and people for this past week please click here.
For WQAM – Three’s A Crowd in PM Drive. Today’s arrival (Tuesday, 8/11) of Channing Crowder will transform the afternoon drive program (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) of CBS Radio-owned WQAM “Miami Sports Radio 560” into a three-person affair, as the former Miami Dolphins linebacker joins Marc Hochman and Zach Krantz. Regarding Crowder, program director Ryan Maguire comments, “His insight as a former college and professional football player – as well as his one-of-a-kind brand of humor – will be a great addition to what Marc and Zach bring to the table every day. This is going to be a very unique, locally focused program that will be entertaining and insightful.” Crowder remarks, “I am excited for the opportunity to work with ‘Hoch’ and Zach. We are going to bring listeners a different kind of show they won’t be able to find anywhere else.” A former all-South East Conference player at the University of Florida, Crowder began at WQAM in 2009 as a contributor. Prior to becoming part of “Hochman, Crowder, & Krantz,” he co-hosted the station’s mid-day (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) program.
Pittsburgh Broadcaster in Online “Crowd-funding” Campaign. The “Don’t Spy on Me” project, which began last Monday (8/3) and ends in three weeks (9/1), creates an internet show for Pittsburgh talk host Dimitri Vassilaros. Online programs, of course, are not subject to Federal Communications Commission regulations, so callers are able to speak freely. Vassilaros tells TALKERS, “Forgoing short-term revenue to create long-term value has helped many internet startups become desirable to investors. This new radio show will provide people with a platform where they can express their thoughts, amplify their voices, and talk back to all authoritarians. Internet freedom means unlimited choices, not government restrictions. Your right of privacy is worth fighting for.” Vassilaros’ background includes being a talk show host on Pittsburgh stations KDKA-AM and WTAE, as well as a columnist/reporter for The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
“Something To Think About” Notes Affiliate Benchmark. Seven months after its debut, the weekday vignettes that its syndicator – Westwood One – labels a “slice of Americana” eclipse the 150-station mark. In fact, the station count for the segments voiced by former Michigan congressman/ex-FBI agent Mike Rogers that stations air thrice daily is up to 156. Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green states, “We have been searching for a strong voice that provides a common sense and thought-provoking take on relatable topics that concern all Americans. Mike Rogers brings that home in his commentary, which gives listeners a chance to pause and reflect on the ideals that are important to us all and are without any political bias.” Outgoing House Intelligence Committee chair Rogers remarks that surpassing the 150-station mark so fast is “really exciting” and that listener feedback is inspiring. “It truly is an honor to be welcomed into cars, homes, and businesses of so many people across the country. Sometimes, it is the simplest message that has the greatest impact.” Among those airing the commentaries are Cumulus Media New York talker WABC; co-owned Chicago talker WLS-AM; San Francisco talk sibling KSFO; iHeartMedia-owned Miami talk outlet WIOD; and CBS Radio Pittsburgh talker KDKA-AM.
Odds & Sods. The lucky guy who is all smiles is McGraw Milhaven. The KTRS, St Louis morning man recently took 40 listeners on a 12-day, six-country, 11-city tour of Europe including stops in Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and London. Milhaven is seen here capturing a memory at the Tower Bridge over the Thames.
Beck in the War Room. Sporting an orange ball cap, Premiere Radio Networks host Glenn Beck was among hundreds who turned out last night (Monday, 8/10) in Dallas for the world premiere of the Kendrick Brothers’ film “War Room.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup (on Beck’s left) interviewed Beck, as well as area dignitaries and “War Room” cast members. The red carpet event was held at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre.
Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/9). Top topics included GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general – especially Bernie Sanders’ encounters with the Black Lives Matter movement, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and Jeb Bush’s problems gaining (or holding onto) traction.
Monday Trivia Question. Granted, this deals with television, but it most definitely could have talk radio implications. Here goes: What is the most-watched cable news telecast in history? Your hint is that viewership for this broadcast is estimated to have been 24 million. Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed last week’s GOP presidential debate on the Fox News Channel. Among adults 18-49, the roughly two-hour debate drew 7.9 million. More than 20 million debate-related interactions appeared on Facebook. According to The Hollywood Reporter, by way of perspective, the first Republican primary debate in 2011 attracted 3.2 million viewers to FNC, and that channel’s coverage of the final 2012 presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney reached 11.5 million. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “The amazing numbers attracted by the Fox debate certainly underscore the power and potency of politics as an area of interest in America. Those who are loudly touting the death of politics, in general, as a viable genre within the talk radio universe are missing the point. The question should not be IF politics belongs as a mainstay topic of news/talk radio – but HOW it should be done going forward.” Harrison adds, “And that, of course, is not to say that talk radio cannot benefit by tapping into so many other topics of concern to people today beyond politics… but this election is proving that politics is here to stay and to abandon it would be throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.”
KFI, KLAC Add HD2 Coverage. Sports KLAC “AM 570,” Los Angeles will simulcast on the HD2 channel of co-owned iHeartMedia alternative cluster-mate KYSR “Alt 98.7,” while talker KFI will simulcast on the HD2 channel of adult contemporary sibling AC KOST “Coast 103.5.” Senior vice president of programming Andrew Jeffries comments, “Exposing our premiere talk brands of KFI and KLAC to a wider audience on HD is an exciting progression for our programming. It is in our listeners’ best interests to have these stations on every platform they desire, from the AM frequencies, on the iHeartRadio app, and now HD2.” No HD channel for any company appears in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2015 PPM report for Los Angeles. Among persons 6+ in July, KOST’s main “Coast 103.5” channel places #1 overall (5.4); KFI is #8 (3.4); KYSR is tied for #19 (2.4); and Los Angeles Dodgers‘ flagship KLAC is #31 (.9).
Net Q2 Radio One Revenue Grows to $119.8 million. That represents a gain of 10.5% from $108.4 million in 2014. Meanwhile, station operating-income shows a 14.3% improvement (from $41 million) to $46.9. Radio One president and chief operating officer Alfred Liggins, however, comments, “Core radio advertising business was soft for the quarter, although in line with our expectations, and partially offset by the strong performance of our network and syndication business – Reach Media. On a combined basis, radio plus Reach Media revenue was +8.6% versus Q2 2014, or -3.2% after adjusting for the timing of major events. Third quarter core radio advertising revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits, but we expect this decline to be more than offset by the continued strong performance of TV One; we are working diligently to turn around radio performance in our key markets.” Television advertising for the company was up 13.7% for the quarter, and affiliate revenues were +27%. Compared to $10.8 million or 23 cents per share a year ago, Radio One’s net earnings grow to $13 million – or 27 cents per share.
Remembering Frank Gifford. He wore #16 for the New York Football Giants and was one of the NFL‘s premier players in a career that spanned a dozen years (1952 – 1964). Owing to his rugged good looks, Frank Gifford transitioned to broadcasting when his playing days were over. Perhaps seen by some as a pretty boy, the University of Southern California All-American – who died today (Sunday, 8/9) of natural causes in his Connecticut home – constantly burned and embarrassed defenses as a halfback, receiver, or he could even run the option. Not only was Gifford on the Giants’ 1956 championship team, he was the league’s MVP that year and the Pro Bowl MVP two years later. In 2008, Gifford, along with Peter Richmond, wrote “The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever.” The Baltimore Colts beat Gifford’s New York Giants in that game, 23-17. Several particular things worth noting about Santa Monica-born “Faultless Frank” are that, while virtually everyone recalls him for his fame in television, he actually cut his media teeth in radio. Moreover, while most former athletes-turned-broadcasters did (and do) so in the capacity of analyst, Gifford adroitly took charge in the play-by-play role. Others did it before and since, but Gifford was one of the very first who looked and sounded like a professionally-trained broadcaster. In addition, in the overwhelming number of cases, ex-athletes in the booth tend to be one-trick ponies, covering only the sport they played. Not Gifford: He handled multiple sports and was an integral part of ABC-TV‘s “Olympics” coverage. During his playing days, he worked at CBS Radio in several capacities and would go on to anchor a nightly CBS Radio Network sports roundup. Gifford continued his relationship with CBS, doing sports on New York City owned & operated WCBS-TV (channel 2), ultimately graduating to calling Sunday games on CBS-TV. Many would say the huge break for Gifford was shifting to ABC-TV for that network’s “MNF” games. He replaced Keith Jackson in 1971, joining Howard Cosell and “Dandy” Don Meredith. His wife of 29 years, “Today Show” host Kathie Lee Gifford (Frank & Kathie Lee at right), is among those who survive Gifford and she took to Twitter to note she is “deeply grateful to all [for your] outpouring of grace.” CBS Radio Los Angeles CHR KAMP “Amp” morning personality/host of NBC-TV‘s “The Voice” Carson Daly tweets, “My heart breaks for the loss of Frank; we are praying and thinking of [his family] today.” Kathie Lee’s “Today Show” co-host, Hoda Kotb, writes she is “heartbroken.” Also in “The Today Show” family, Al Roker notes that he will “always remember Frank Gifford’s grace, self-deprecating wit and love of his family – so much to so many.” Frank Gifford met Kathie Lee when they guest-hosted “Good Morning America.” That show’s former co-host Joan Lunden writes, “Great guy, great couple.” According to Kendall Jenner, it is a “very sad day. Rest in peace to my Godfather – the legend, Frank Gifford.” Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford have a son and daughter; the 1977 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee had three other children from a previous marriage. This coming Saturday (8/16), Frank Gifford, would have turned 85 years old.
Over $4 Million Generated From FCC FM Auction 98. Results after 10 days and more than 50 rounds find 59 qualified bidders scoring 102 permits, with the FCC taking in slightly more than $4.1 million. It is all part of FM Auction 98, as the FCC auctions FM construction permits. The Erie Company, LLC boasts top bid honors ($714,000) for a Westfield, New York permit, while Iris Media, LLC proposes $421,000 for a Columbia, Missouri permit. Alpha Media remains active by offering more than $400,000 for a permit in Harper, Texas.
Tribune Tower Continues Its Brick Collection. When he was Tribune‘s publisher and company president (1911-1955) Robert R. McCormick requested that his correspondents bring back stones from their travels to add into the base of Chicago’s Tribune Tower. That tradition lives on this Friday (8/14) at 11:30 am when bricks from Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs) and Comiskey Park (Chicago White Sox) will permanently be installed into the limestone exterior of Tribune Tower. WGN-AM host Bob Sirott will host the ceremony, which will include interviews with Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. The bricks will join 148 stones from around the world and all 50 states that are already part of the Tribune Tower’s façade. Artifacts included are from The Alamo, Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, and Abraham Lincoln’s original tomb. Last added to the building were tiles from the Sydney Opera House in May 2006. Tribune-owned talker WGN-AM, of course, was the longtime radio flagship of the Cubs, whose games – as of this year – air on CBS Radio‘s news-formatted WBBM-AM; CBS Radio-owned WSCR “The Score” is the White Sox flagship, but that will change next year when the pale hose shift to Cumulus Media talker WLS-AM.
Odds & Sods. KOIL “The Mighty 1290,” Omaha joins the Kansas City Chiefs’ 65-affiliate radio network. Executive producer Dan Israel notes, “Eastern Nebraska is a vital part of the ‘Chiefs Kingdom’ and we are very excited to welcome KOIL as the new exclusive home of Chiefs coverage for Omaha.” KOIL operations manager Dave Tepper states, “We are honored to join one of the NFL’s most passionate fan bases in cheering on the Chiefs.” The NRG Media talker begins its coverage by airing the team’s first preseason game this Saturday (8/15) against the Arizona Cardinals.
Eight Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame. The ceremony from Canton, Ohio’s Pro Football Hall of Fame was held this past Saturday (8/8). Those honored were Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Junior Seau, Will Shields, Mick Tingelhoff, Bill Polian, and Ron Wolf. Westwood One Sports had live coverage and then continued by airing the Hall of Fame Game the next day between the Minnesota Vikings (14) and Pittsburgh Steelers (3). Shown here are Westwood One’s Scott Graham, 2015 inductee/six-time Pro Bowl selection Jerome Bettis, and Westwood One analyst, Hall of Famer James Lofton.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of RadioInfo.com.
Cool Job Opening for News Reporter/Anchor. Award-winning news/talker WSVA in Harrisonburg, Virginia has an opening in its news department. They are looking for a hard working reporter/anchor to be part of their afternoon drive show and cover and report on local news. Send audio and resume to email@example.com or mail to Frank Wilt, WSVA Radio, 1820 Heritage Center Way, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. Harrisonburg Radio Group. EOE.
Alpha Media Announces Intent to Purchase Digity Radio Stations. This deal has been rumored for some time so it’s not a big surprise. The proposed acquisition of Digity LLC’s 116 stations in 26 markets, after approval from the DOJ and the FCC, will bring Portland, Oregon-based Alpha Media’s station total to 251 in 54 markets. Alpha Media chairman Larry Wilson says, “We are extremely pleased to be acquiring from exceptional operators and management who truly understand radio. Dean [Goodman] and his team have done a tremendous job with these stations. They will be a great addition to our live-and-local vision across the country.” Digity CEO Dean Goodman comments, “Larry Wilson and I have a shared vision for the radio renaissance in progress now. Radio is live, local media enhanced by digital delivery and community focused events. Our success is the result of an employee environment of collaboration, transparency and innovation. I am honored to have worked with the great broadcasters at Digity and the dynamic growth they’ve created. Digity and Alpha are a perfect match.” Digity has focused on medium and small market operations. The largest of its 26 markets are Palm Beach, San Jose, Canton, and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina. It also operates 11 outlets in suburban Chicago markets. For a complete station list, click here.
Townsquare Media Q2 Up 10.6% Powered by Live Events. The company went public just last summer – on July 24 – and financial data from the second quarter of 2015 indicates Townsquare Media’s 10.6% net revenue increase compared to the same period a year ago, comes on the strength of its live events sector. Live events net revenue was up 50.4% while local advertising revenue rose just 0.6% (1.5% ex political). Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We believe our second quarter net revenue growth of 10.6% highlights the strength of our diversified revenue strategy. We saw growth in each of our operating segments in the second quarter, particularly within our live events segment, which grew over 50% over the prior year. Local advertising net revenue increased primarily as a result of an increase in non-political local advertising net revenue of $1.2 million, which was partially offset by decreases in political local advertising net revenue of $0.7 million. Live events net revenue grew primarily as a result of increases in attendance and revenue per attendee of our live events, including three new music festivals. Other media and entertainment net revenue grew primarily as a result of increases within our digital marketing services offering.”
Townsquare to Sell 43 Towers to Vertical Bridge. At the same time as it reports its 2015 Q2 numbers, Townsquare Media announces it has entered into an agreement to sell 43 towers to a subsidiary of Vertical Bridge Holdings, LLC for approximately $22.8 million in cash, subject to closing adjustments (the Tower Sale). Townsquare will retain ownership of more than 250 towers following this sale. The towers being divested are located on 41 sites in 28 markets and not only house the company’s radio station antenna but are rented by third parties for similar uses. Townsquare has a 35-year deal (an initial term of 20 years and three optional five-year renewal periods) during which it will pay $41 of rent per annum ($1 per site per annum) to Vertical Bridge for the right to house its existing antenna on the divested towers. Townsquare has also entered into an agreement with Vertical Bridge for Vertical Bridge to serve as the exclusive marketing agent for the towers retained by the company.
Dawn Girocco New LA Market Manager for Cumulus Media. Longtime Los Angeles radio sales pro Dawn Girocco has worked for iHeartMedia as GSM and CBS RADIO as VP/director of sales in the City of Angels. Now she crosses the street to serve as vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s classic rock KLOS and news/talk KABC. Cumulus Media SVP of operations Tom Schurr says, “I’ve known and respected Dawn for years. We competed in Houston and worked together at Clear Channel, and I couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with her again. She’s going to be a great leader for Cumulus LA.” Girocco comments, “I appreciate the opportunity to step up to the role of market manager for Cumulus in Los Angeles and the confidence that Tom and Lew [Dickey] have placed in me to drive results with these incredible properties.”
Drew Scott Named Executive Producer of Bubba the Love Sponge Show. The Bubba the Love Sponge program officially announces that Drew Scott is the new executive producer of the Tampa-based, syndicated program. “The revered morning show is looking to make some changes, and they feel Scott’s well-rounded radio career, experience working with affiliates, and contacts make him a perfect fit.” He’s been in the position since June 17. Scott is a Central Florida native who’s been working for Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Benton Harbor, Michigan at rock WIRX “Rock 107.” Scott says, “This opportunity would not have been possible without the management and staff at ‘Rock 107.’ I have grown as a programmer and professional during my time in Michigan and I am grateful to my on-air teams – Dave Doetsch, Gayle Olsen, Jim Gifford, Paul Layendecker, Tom Walker, Randy Hawke, and Tim Moore – for allowing me express my creativity on and off the air.”
USA Radio Network Adds Jason Stapleton to Weekend Programming. He founded his eponymous talk show that’s been available via YouTube, iTunes, and Stitcher Radio but now USA Radio Networks adds the Jason Stapleton program to its weekend lineup, airing live Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET, effective August 15. Stapleton is a former force reconnaissance Marine, entrepreneur, speaker and investor who has been a professional trader for over a decade. USA chief content officer Tim Maranville says, “Jason’s perspective and background are unique and impactful to listening audiences everywhere which makes him an excellent addition to our ever growing lineup of shows.” USA says that Stapleton’s “experience has led Jason to become a highly sought after authority on everything from military strategy and politics to economics. This makes him a rare expert whose unconventional insights offer a perspective not heard in mainstream political and economic discourse.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of July 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Hubbard Radio Signs Up for Shazam for Radio. The Shazam for Radio service is described by Shazam and radio partner Sun Broadcast Group as “the first-ever interactive radio service designed for every station’s unique content.” The deal between Hubbard Radio and SBG means Shazam for Radio is being deployed on 19 stations in all seven Hubbard markets. Hubbard president and COO Drew Horowitz says, “All of us here at Hubbard Radio are thrilled to be partnering with the great team at Sun Broadcast Group and Shazam for Radio. As we continue to look to the future and new ways of connecting our great brands and the advertisers we serve with millions of our loyal listeners, we believe Shazam for Radio is a game changer.” SBG COO Julio Aponte says, “We are so pleased to be working with Hubbard Radio in bringing another level of interactivity to their great radio properties. Shazam For Radio will allow them to engage directly with their audience by giving them real-time access to all their content, personalities, promotions and advertisers. We look forward to working with Drew Horowitz and his great team of programmers and sales people.”
Odds & Sods. On Thursday (8/6), Salem Radio Networks personality Hugh Hewitt will host a special two-hour program titled, “SRN Presidential Debate Special,” airing from 11:06 pm to 1:00 am ET. SRN says Hewitt will provide analysis of both the “undercard” debate on FOX News Channel — featuring candidates who polled outside of the “Top 10”— as well as the “main event” debate featuring the “Top 10” contenders as determined by public opinion polls. Guests expected to appear on the show include: GOP presidential contenders Carly Fiorina (R-CA) and Dr. Ben Carson (R-MD); Dan Balz of The Washington Post; Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard; Guy Benson, news editor of Townhall.com; Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post; Eliana Johnson of National Review; Mary Katherine Ham, editor-at-large of HotAir.com; and others…..The Denver operations of iHeartMedia announce Crystalyn Portwood is named director of sports sales. The cluster serves as the flagship for play-by-play for the NFL’s Denver Broncos, MLB’s Colorado Rockies and the University of Colorado Buffalos…..FOX Sports Radio’s “Jay Mohr Sports” hits the road for a series of three remotes from NFL training camps. Mohr’s show visits the Denver Broncos on Friday (8/7); the San Diego Chargers on Monday, August 17; and the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, August 20.
2016 Presidential Candidates-Donald Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Immigration Policy Debate, Battle Against ISIS and al Qaeda, Hillary Clinton Email Server Case, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The activities of the candidates for president, Thursday’s GOP debate and criticism of Donald Trump; the ongoing controversy over the Planned Parenthood videos showing doctors discussing the price of tissue from aborted fetuses; the debate over America’s immigration policy; the military efforts to combat ISIS and al Qaeda; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server; and the devastating wildfires in California were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Richard Davies
How Do We Fix It?
Over 1,000 attendees paid $500 each, plus hotel and airfare, for an earnest and, at times, joyous lovefest. Think Woodstock minus the sex, mud and rock ‘n’ roll. This conference was a pep rally, support group, and two-day college course on the do’s and don’ts of digital audio.
“Podcasters enjoy being together. They want to learn from the best in the industry,” says Jared Easley, co-founder of Podcast Movement.
CBS RADIO Announces Market Manager Changes. Taking over for Marc Rayfield at the CBS RADIO Philadelphia cluster as SVP/market manager is current director of sales David Yadgaroff. Rayfield was recently named market manager for the New York market. Elsewhere in the company, current Boston SVP/market manager Mark Hannon adds the same duties for Hartford, replacing the retiring Suzanne McDonald. CBS combines the SVP/market manager post for both Miami and Orlando and appoints Steve Carver, who replaces Joe Bell in Miami and Dave Robbins in Orlando. They both exit the company. Director of sales Tony Perlongo is promoted to SVP/ market manager in Las Vegas, taking over for the exiting Jerry McKenna; and Mike Valenzuela rises from VP/director of sales in the Riverside cluster to SVP/market manager, replacing Harvey Wells who’s returning to the Chicago area to be closer to family.
Orban Addresses Nielsen-Voltair Issue. Audio processor competitor Orban has been very quiet during the industry-wide discussion about 25-Seven’s Voltair processor but breaks that silence with a press statement released on Thursday (7/23). The statement says, in part, “Some have argued that Voltair is ‘just another form of audio processing.’ However, we believe that there is an essential and fundamental difference between audio processing (like that done by our Optimods) that increases the opportunity of the Nielsen encoder to insert audibly undetectable watermark tones and processing that directly manipulates the level of the watermark, potentially breaking Nielsen psychoacoustic masking model and allowing the tones to become audible. Based on their testing, Nielsen concluded that Voltair can degrade perceptual quality. In an environment where traditional radio is suffering ever-increasing competition from new media, we believe that it is unwise for radio to degrade its audio in an internecine battle whose ultimate winner could be non-broadcast providers. Because Nielsen is a large, global business that depends on producing credible audience measurements, we expect that it will soon solve any problem (if it actually exists) by making improvements to its encoder. Accordingly, we have decided not to add processing to Optimods that directly manipulates the Nielsen watermark signal because we expect that any such effort would degrade audio quality and would soon be rendered obsolete by Nielsen’s encoder improvements. Moreover, we trust the Media Rating Council to thoroughly evaluate any such improvements, as they have already done for the Nielsen PPM system in its current form. While it is true Orban’s Optimod processors are compatible with Voltair, we urge caution.”
Doug Steckler Ends Friday Appearances with Tim Conway Jr. on KFI, Los Angeles. For the last four years, Doug Steckler has been co-hosting the Friday evening edition of Tim Conway Jr.’s show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles. But that is ending and Steckler says in a statement, “I am leaving the Tim Conway Jr. show on KFI where I enjoyed sharing Friday evenings with the funniest, nicest guy in radio. We had more fun than should be legal. All good things must come to their finish and it’s always better (if still difficult) to get out while you can still hear the laughter. I want to wish everyone connected with the Tim Conway Jr. show the very best in every way. I would like to especially express my profound gratitude to Sheron Bellio, our executive producer, whose creativity, original thinking, laser wit, and supernatural administrative abilities made every Friday a wonderfully conspiratorial caper.” Conway and Steckler co-hosted a talk show on the old hot talk-formatted KLSX-FM, Los Angeles (now CHR KAMP) from 1996 through 2005. Doug Steckler is represented by Jason Insalaco’s Kelton Agency.
WTEM, Washington Adds Craig Hoffman for Redskins Beat Reporter Gig. This will be a year-round gig at Red Zebra Broadcasting’s Washington Redskins flagship WTEM “ESPN 980” for Craig Hoffman as he is named the new Redskins beat reporter. Hoffman was most recently with ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas “103.3 FM ESPN” as a host and update anchor. Red Zebra says he has experience “covering both professional and college teams along with reporting from large national events like the NCAA Final Four. Craig will cover the Redskins year-round and will contribute content to the station’s local shows. He will also be part of the game-day broadcasts on the Redskins Radio Network while producing content for ESPN 980’s website and social media outlets.”
Paul Vandenburgh Takes Top Talk Show Honors in Metroland ‘Best Of.’ WGDJ, Albany owner, general manager and morning talk host Paul Vandenburgh’s daily show was named the Best Talk Radio Program in the market by Albany alternative weekly Metroland. Here’s how the entry reads: “This is the show for local issues. Special mention must be made of the must-listen interviews he conducted with local reporters on scene in Dannemora during the prison break. Standard disclaimer: We’re a bunch of liberals and disagree with 75 percent of his opinions, but so what? Who didn’t enjoy it when he went after Troy’s City Hall clown show during the frozen pipes scandal?”
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles-based talk legend Tom Leykis is streaming his program live from the Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow (7/25) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT from the Aqua Camel booth. What is Aqua Camel? It’s a self-watering plant pot system that uses 65% less water. The company is co-founded by Tim Sabean, former Sirius Satellite Radio and CBS RADIO programmer…..Hearst-owned WBAL, Baltimore “NewsRadio 1090” agrees to a new multi-year partnership with the Naval Academy Athletic Association to continue serving as radio flagship for Navy football. This will be the 11th consecutive year WBAL has broadcast Navy football.
Got Old Radio Shows? Opportunity to Monetize Content in Your Basement. One of the largest independent audiobook companies in the world, Blackstone Audio, is looking to expand its product offerings beyond audiobooks into spoken-word, including comedy, opinion pieces, soundtracks (non-musical), old-time radio and TV shows, sports broadcast highlights, and any other forms of spoken-word or subject matter that would be interesting to the audio-listening public. Blackstone would offer the content owners of recorded audio programs that they choose to license or distribute an arrangement under which the content owners would receive the majority of the net revenue from the sale of their content to the public by Blackstone. If you have recorded spoken-word content and would be interested in having Blackstone Audio consider it for licensing or distribution contact Larry Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the criticism of Donald Trump’s recent statements tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for the week of July 20-24. At #2 this week was the Iran nuclear deal. Coming in at #3 was talk about the U.S, immigration policy and the sanctuary city concept followed by threats from ISIS 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.
Nielsen Audio Tells Clients it Won’t ‘Support Voltair.’ During today’s subscriber webinar, Nielsen Audio reported that its testing of the audio processor Voltair revealed nothing substantial to indicate the unit positively affects the ability of the PPM units to pick up the watermarked audio signal under normal circumstances. According to sources taking part in today’s webinar, Nielsen reports the unit could improve the reception of the watermarks in some cases but it’s difficult to determine if that reflects “true listening.” The result is that the company says it will not “support Voltair.” It is stopping short of requiring the Voltair unit be removed from subscribers’ audio chains as Canada’s Numeris ratings agency has done. It’s not clear from a legal standpoint whether Nielsen could require stations to remove the units in the U.S. Today’s webinar also addressed improvements to the PPM technology and told subscribers that it is rolling out a new encoding monitor that will be delivered to all subscribers in 2016.
Kay, WEPN-FM Agree to Three-Year Extension. The just-signed pact with afternoon drive host (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) Michael Kay will keep the television voice of the AL East New York Yankees at WEPN-FM “98.7 ESPN,” New York through 2018. As it has since February 2014, “The Michael Kay Show” (with co-host Don LaGreca) will continue to be simulcast on the YES Network. WEPN-FM general manager Tim McCarthy comments, “Mike has been the cornerstone of ESPN Radio New York the past 14 years and his audience is growing. He is a familiar and friendly voice for the New York sports fan. His credibility and passion each day provide New York listeners an entertaining and informative choice for their commute home. He is one of the best in the sports business and I am proud he will remain part of the 98.7 FM team.” Kay remarks that after 14 years, he is “thrilled to remain with 98.7 FM and [have] this opportunity to continue doing sports talk radio in a fun, entertaining way. Don and I do not take our positions or the loyalty of our listeners who spend their afternoons with us for granted. They are part of our family – and we treat them that way. I am really excited about [the station’s] future and I am very happy to remain with such a great company, ESPN.” Bronx native/Fordham University graduate Kay covered college basketball and the New Jersey Nets for the New York Post. He got his first television job in 1989 with MSG Network, where he won three Emmys. Three years later, he became a Yankees’ broadcaster on WABC-AM and the team’s play-by-play announcer when YES launched in 2002.
Wainwright Officially Named WSYR, Syracuse Morning Host. Talk pro Mark Wainwright became the go-to guy when the late Joe Galuski first became ill and was required to take time away from the mic, and now Wainwright has been hired as the morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s “Newsradio 570 WSYR.” Galuski was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2014 and died in May. Wainwright first did fill-in work at the station in March of 2013. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Rich Lauber comments, “Mark Wainwright has become a familiar voice to our listeners and he has developed great relationships with our staff and clients.” Wainwright spent more than 25 years in radio before leaving the business in 1997. He says, “I felt right at home here after my first hour on the air at WSYR. Our late colleague Joe Galuski spent more than two decades building a successful and highly regarded morning program, and I am committed to continuing that success. I just wish this all came under happier circumstances, as Joe Galuski is dearly missed by me – and the Central New York community.”
WOLF-AM, Syracuse Flips from Classic Hits to Sports. Using Fox Sports Radio Network for programming, Wolf Radio Inc.-owned WOLF-AM, Syracuse drops the classic hits format for sports talk branded as “Fox Sports 1490 Syracuse.” Shows airing on the station include: “Jay Mohr Sports,” the Dan Patrick show, the Rich Eisen show, “Steve Gorman Sports!,” “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North,” JT “The Brick,” and the Jason Smith show. Station manager Sam Furco states, “This is very exciting for Central New York. We have done a lot of research and testing for this format. We have every confidence this format will be a hit for listeners and local businesses.”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents this report analyzing Nielsen Audio PPM survey data for stations serving as flagships for MLB play-by-play broadcasts. In this report, Kinosian looks at the performances of those outlets over the past four PPM surveys, fluctuations from June 2014 to June 2015, where those stations rank in their markets, leaders in market share and much more. See this entire report here.
Compass Media Networks Begins Syndicating Joe Pags’ Show. San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo broadcasts from flagship station WOAI and is heard on a number of iHeartMedia news/talk stations. His 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm CT daily program is now being syndicated by Compass Media Networks which says it will handle exclusive syndication of the show. Pags comments, “I love entertaining and am thrilled to bring my unique brand of talk radio to a wider audience with Compass Media Networks.”
Sports Talk Show Host, Author and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Interviewed by Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out.” Actually, it is more of a startlingly intimate conversation between two old friends than a formal “interview” per se. WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer returns to the Podcast One weekly international hit “Up Close and Far Out” hosted by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison for the second installment of an intermittent, ongoing conversation between the two about their days together during the formative years of album rock radio. This series of conversations between them will appear on the podcast in approximately two-month intervals. In this latest chapter posted today (7/21), they dredge up personal memories and juicy details about the 10 months they spent together launching and building the progressive rock format at the legendary WLIR, Long Island between 1970 and 1971 – during which period they were catapulted from being obscure 21 year old college students playing beautiful music on a struggling station to becoming well-known personalities and music programmers at one of the leading FM rock outlets in America – WNEW-FM, New York. They talk about the nature of the times, the emergence of the counter-culture and the challenges they faced in programming a free-form, “underground” station within a highly competitive, contentious, and uncharted environment. It is a story about drugs, groupies, music, street-cred, politics and generational upheaval. According to Harrison, “Richard successfully broke ground on chronicling some of these colorful, historic events in his landmark book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001), but this new series of candid, uninhibited conversations presented within the context of my podcast draws upon the spontaneous spoken word to really dig up and display the amazing details, color and emotions of those very special, long-gone times.” This marks the 20th installment of “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison.” The podcast is targeted to an audience described as “media freaks around the world.” Initial guests include radio’s Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Mark Levin, Thom Hartmann, Ronn Owens, Nick Michaels, Dr Joy Browne and Alan Colmes; music legend Linda Ronstadt; space pioneers Buzz Aldrin and Dr. Alan Stern (of the New Horizons mission); teenage celebrity interviewer Pavlina Osta, techno-biologist Rebecca Costa; cybersecurity expert Steve Weisman as well as leading edge, multimedia journalists Chris Ruddy and Joe Sciacca. To listen to the entire Harrison/Neer episode, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of TALKERS.com.
Former TheBlaze Staffers Launch Autonomous Publication. A number of former staffers with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze are launching a new publication on the Medium blog-publishing platform called Autonomous. As reported by CapitalNewYork.com, former TheBlaze vice president of digital content Steve Krakauer is leading the venture that will include other former Blaze staffers Raj Nair, LaVern Vivio, and Chris Knowles. Also involved will be former Blaze CEO Chris Balfe. The story also notes that this will not be a full-time job for any of the participants, at least initially. Read the piece here.
Odds & Sods. WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire personality Jack Heath will participate in the “Voters First Forum” at which Republican candidates for president will appear. Heath will moderate the forum – note it’s not being called a debate – that will be aired on C-SPAN…..At Curtis Media’s news/talk WPTK, Raleigh, Doug Kellett exits his morning show role there after three years with the station…..In San Diego, financial advisor George Charles Cody Price is ordered to pay more than $1 million in fines and restitution in a settlement agreed to in U.S. District Court. Price had hosted a financial advice program on Midwest TV’s KFMB, San Diego in 2011. He was accused of defrauding investors.
WAUK, Milwaukee’s Steve Haywood Dead at 49. Milwaukee native and longtime sports media personality Steve Haywood died on July 19 after a 15-year battle with various health issues including Type 2 diabetes, cardiomyopathy, and kidney problems. Haywood co-hosted “The Game” with Bill Johnson on Good Karma-owned sports talker WAUK, Milwaukee “ESPN Wisconsin.” The station’s website features a piece by Drew Olson in which Good Karma CEO Craig Karmazin states, “Steve distinguished himself with his passion, knowledge and relationships with his beloved Milwaukee Bucks, and the city of Milwaukee. In doing so, he created a partnership between ‘ESPN Milwaukee’ and the Milwaukee Public Schools, which brought attention and advocated for student athletes throughout the city. He will be missed.”
Iran Nuclear Deal, Obama Race Database, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Climate Change-Western Drought, Social Security-Gun Surrender Proposal, ISIS Atrocities, Chattanooga Attacks Aftermath, and Immigration-Sanctuary Cities Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The UN’s approval of the Iran nuclear deal and the Islamic state’s subsequent threat to “trample upon America”; the Obama Administration’s building of a racial database of Americans; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and John Kasich’s hint he’ll enter the race; the subject of climate change and the ongoing Western drought; President Obama’s proposal to require Social Security recipients who don’t manage their own affairs to surrender their guns; atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS; the aftermath of the attacks on Chattanooga military facilities and the state of mind of Mohammod Abdulazeez; and the issues of illegal immigration and the policies of sanctuary cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON, PA — Fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, and concerts will all be in festive abundance this weekend as our glorious country makes room for 239 candles on its proverbial birthday cake.
Waves of patriotism will be demonstrated by suddenly omnipresent American flags; “Support our Troops” stickers/banners will likewise be even more noticeable; and a virtually limitless number of often times nondescript items will be saturated in red, while, and blue.
This special Independence Day weekend profile not only isolates one fiercely proud former military officer, it also focuses on a (still relatively new) independent station owner.
Given it is the same person — this makes for an especially fascinating twofer.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Especially when summoned up to describe talk radio personalities, certain words such as “controversial” and “colorful” have a pronounced tendency to come across as a crutch or a hackneyed cliché.
It is simply unrealistic to paint every single talk radio talent as controversial or a genuinely colorful character.
Rather than having either or both of those labels affixed to him, one well-known talk radio entertainer prefers to be called “authentic,” and this Southern California-based personality continues the process of taking a weekend show he co-hosts to a national stage.
Rush Limbaugh’s Boston Situation Has the Industry – and the Media – Talking. After Entercom’s WRKO, Boston announced it would end its relationship with Rush Limbaugh and Premiere Networks when the current contract expired this summer, the show was thrust into the spotlight as radio industry watchers and special interest groups wondered aloud why Entercom is letting Limbaugh go and where the show might land in the nation’s #10 radio market. Recently, Boston media reports have crosstown WMEX management saying that it will not pick up the show. As TALKERS noted during its initial coverage of this story, the list of quality AM signals in Boston likely to add a news/talk program are few and many wonder if the show will end up on a suburban AM. While organizations such as Media Matters might like to take credit for the Entercom decision – that they successfully showed advertisers the show is “toxic” – without detailed comments from Entercom or Premiere Networks, no one can say for sure. However, it’s likely the decision was more financial and less politically judgmental in nature. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Politics is a double-edged sword for talk radio. Taking ownership of it in the era following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine has proven to be a magic elixir that has given additional life and longevity to not only spoken-word programming but, by osmosis, the entire medium of radio itself. The downside, of course, is the reality that politics – unlike its conceptual cousin, sports – is more than a ‘game’ and people do get hurt. It is a dirty, ruthless business – a blood sport – that often brings out the worst in people that seek victory rather than truth. This mindset has splashed over into the armchair analysis of events in radio. Limbaugh – being the political poster child of the medium – is the target of so much vitriol, from both within and outside the industry, that any bump in the road that he suffers on a business or economic level is seized as evidence of his complete demise directly due to his alleged ‘wrongness’ and ‘toxicity.’ Also fueling the fires of anger seeking to burn Rush at the stake is widespread resentment toward Clear Channel – that runs much deeper than its rebranding as iHeartMedia can sidestep – being the primary symbol of the so-called evils of consolidation. The truth is – just like almost everyone and every company in this business – Rush has an economic set of difficulties and hard choices to make, based on the financial realities of the radio business in 2015 and the fact that his act is more than a quarter century old. Cut him some slack… yes, he has a problem in a couple of major markets — he ain’t the only one. In their zeal to destroy the guy who has lots of miles left in his treads, I hope his critics don’t castrate radio of its greatest asset – the courage to be controversial, irritating, politically incorrect and even ‘wrong.’”
‘The John & Leah Show’ Lands New York Affiliate WNYM. The syndicated weekend talk show “The John & Leah Show” is now being heard on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Hosted by radio pros John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, the Envision Networks-syndicated show that deals with “the week’s news focusing on media, politics, sports and pop culture” airs Sundays at 10:00 pm. Salem Media Group New York VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “‘AM 970, The Answer’ in New York is excited to air the ‘John and Leah Show’ each Sunday night…John Ziegler and Leah Brandon provide our listeners with up-to-date news and opinion and New Yorkers have a chance to call-in and let them know how they feel about it.”
Cumulus Names Sutherland to Providence VP Market Manager Post. Taking over the VP/market manager position in Providence after Barbara Haynes’ exit last week is John Sutherland, who moves up from his VP of sales position with Cumulus Media’s Worcester, Massachusetts cluster. Prior to joining Cumulus in 2013, he was chief visual officer for Sutherland Marketing Group. He was also a vice president with iHeartMedia. Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati says, “Placing John at the helm of Cumulus Providence is a perfect fit for that dynamic group of stations and will maximize our position in the market. John has many years of broadcast history in the Northeast and his tremendous track record speaks for itself. This is another example of the opportunities for advancement and growth Cumulus offers to our employees. We congratulate John and are pleased to present him with this well-deserved battlefield promotion.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio About to Score in Vegas. The affiliation between Kemp Communications’ KMZQ “The Score,” Las Vegas and Yahoo! Sports Radio will start next Monday (6/1). Yahoo! Sports Radio chief executive officer David Gow states, “We have had a significant presence in Las Vegas through our great partnership with the [Las Vegas hotel and resort] Palazzo. It is so exciting to welcome our newest Las Vegas partner and to build on our deep connection with the market through a terrestrial signal. It’s going to be a big win for everyone.” KMZQ executive vice president and general manager Marty Basch comments, “Yahoo! has built locally-rooted connections with its national programming across the country. We are excited to be an integral part of its Las Vegas presence. From special events to nightly broadcasts, this is a great opportunity for KMZQ and its listeners to connect locally; get their national sports information; and be represented nationwide.” The lineup on KMZQ will include: Steve Czaban; “Prime Cut” with Sean Salisbury and John Granato; Leigh Steinberg; and “Sports X Radio” with Ken Thomson, who originates his Yahoo! Sports Radio show from the Palazzo. KMZQ is currently a Fox Sports Radio affiliate; the station did not appear in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2015 PPM report for Las Vegas.
Odds & Sods. Talk pro Michael Bower (WUCS, Hartford and SiriusXM’s Maxim Radio) will fill in for WINZ, Miami’s Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on June 8 and 9…..New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be a weekly contributor to WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” on the Michael Kay show. Beginning September 3, Beckham will join Kay and co-host Don LaGreca each Thursday to talk Giants football and the NFL.
WGN, Chicago to Induct ‘Walk of Fame’ Class. In a ceremony that will be open to the public (and broadcast live on WGN, Chicago) and hosted by personalities Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott, the station will honor 10 broadcast legends. The WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction and Ceremony will take place tomorrow (5/29) on Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. The 2015 inductees include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack (represented by Rick Kogan), Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal (represented by 2014 Walk of Famer Orion Samuelson), Ron Santo (represented by his wife Vicki) and Eddie Schwartz (represented by his brother Hal Ross).
Conservative Commentator Krauthammer to Join Salem Conference. On Wednesday, June 17, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a V.I.P. “Preview Dinner” in Washington, DC to kick-off the 2015 Road to Majority conference and conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer (pictured here at right with SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup at left) will be a special guest. Former SRN talk host and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum will also be featured at the conference, along with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee and others.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Rubio Claims Assault on Christianity, FIFA Scandal/Clinton Donations, Deadly Texas and Oklahoma Floods, ISIS Military Progress, Baltimore Violent Crime Wave, Hillary Clinton Emails Issue, IRS Data Theft Case, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and Marco Rubio’s assertion that Christianity is under assault in America; the FIFA corruption scandal and its donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the continuing, deadly heavy rains and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; ISIS’ military successes in Ramadi and Palmyra; the increase in violent crimes in Baltimore since the Freddie Gray case; the ongoing scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the theft of data from IRS computers that is suspected to have been Russian in origin; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Stigall
Talk Show Host
PHILADELPHIA — Please understand this is personal. It’s not a matter of whether you agree with me or even care about the man. I’m writing this for me. Selfishly. Right now, all I can think about is how much he mattered to me in the most formative years of my life. Saying goodbye to David Letterman is breaking my heart and I’m having a tough time thinking about much else.
I can’t claim to have been watching him since his morning show in the early 80s. I was too young. I found Dave during high school in the 90s. Specifically, when Carson was leaving “The Tonight Show.”
Sean Hannity Says Times Have Reached a Seriously Important ‘Tipping Point’ – Candidly Discusses Wide Variety of Media/Industry Issues on Michael Harrison’s ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk superstar Sean Hannity on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Hannity cover a variety of fascinating topics including the changing nature of how politics is (and should be) handled in talk media as well as challenges presented by the digital age in achieving accurate audience measurement (a subject he will be spearheading at Talkers New York 2015) and his condemnation of the practice of organized political groups trying to “catch” talk show hosts with whom they disagree saying something politically incorrect for the sake of shutting them down. He explains that the days of predictable arguments about politics within the traditional “right versus left” paradigm are over… or at least they are for him. He states, “Here’s an interesting evolution of my show… I am far more critical of Republicans than I am of Democrats these days… my argument being that they should know better… they are not articulating an inspiring vision that lets people who don’t have hope today know that their lives could be better.” Hannity goes on to say that these times and today’s issues are so serious that talk show hosts need to re-evaluate what they consider to be “entertainment” in their medium. He examines the unique set of functions being a talk show host encompasses and the many different roles they play in doing their jobs: “Some days I might be a newsmaker, some days I might be at the White House interviewing a president. I might be interviewing a secretary of defense or a secretary of state. Sometimes I might be interviewing a top newsmaker based on what the issues of the day are. Another day I might be fostering a debate on the social issues that happen to be in the news. Sometimes I am interacting with callers. At other times, I’m giving a monologue with strong opinions. That is by definition what a talk show host is… it is a unique role in the media. It is unlike any other position that exists out there. Reporters are supposed to report on the news and never give their opinion. Anchors and reporters are supposed to be fair, balanced and objective. That’s not my role. My role is not to be fair and balanced… but at times, will I do a straight interview about news and facts or maybe the content of a book or an experience that somebody had while fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan or maybe their role in the CIA or the FBI or maybe their life as a Navy Seal? Of course! And that falls under the umbrella of what is our unique role as a talk show host which enables us to do a lot of different things… and then, maybe on a Friday when I’m kind of sick and tired of the news, I’ll put on Jim Norton or Larry the Cable Guy or any comedian and we’ll just have a fun half hour or hour or we’ll just goof around with calls and I’ll just be having fun with the listeners.” In describing Sean Hannity, Michael Harrison states, “I know Sean has his share of political critics – but that comes with the territory of being a compelling radio/TV talk show host in the modern era. Sean’s success as a professional performer is borne out by the numbers and track record he has accrued and maintained for such a long period of time. What many people who only see and hear him as a media performer do not realize is that he is an outstandingly admirable human being… as a family man, colleague and positive spirit.” To listen to Sean Hannity on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com.
Brady: What to Consider Before Buying a Radio Station. Radio sales/management pro and president of Futures & Options Inc, Bill Brady, presents his perspective on the business of radio station ownership in a column published today (5/6). Brady writes that for anyone planning to get into the radio business these days, there are some serious points he believes need to be considered first. “Over the years, too many bloated egos have crashed and burned on the rocks of radio station ownership. Some were small players who misjudged situations, overpaid for stations, stupidly signed personal guarantees and went bankrupt. Some huge corporate egos have also lost their groups when they tried to pull off acquisitions too big to digest when economic adversity inevitably came along.” Is there a future for the entrepreneurial owner without a personal fortune to spend? Brady says, “Yes, I said it is still a good business for the time being. Radio stations in 2015 can still generate 30% cash flow. But, we can’t stop time and with every passing year there is more competition for media time and ad dollars. And that’s before the ‘connected car’ achieves critical mass.” Read Brady’s entire column here.
Molly Paige Joins Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day.’ Joining the Stephen Multimedia-produced, nationally syndicated morning program “Good Day” is news radio pro Molly Paige. She takes on the co-host and news anchor role effective immediately. Paige, most recently working in network news in Washington, comments, “I knew this would be the situation worth waiting for from the very first time I talked with Doug. He has created a show that informs his audience with the top trending news stories and then entertains them with his personal insight. I look forward to adding my perspective to the show.” Paige has also worked at Los Angeles signals KABC, KLOS, KRLA, KCBS-FM and in San Antonio on WOAI. Doug Stephan says, “The addition of Molly to the ‘Good Day’ team of Rich McFadden, Jennifer Horn and Ken Kessler will help us continue to deliver fast and fun morning conversation. She has great energy and we are thrilled to introduce her to our loyal listeners.”
WDBO, Orlando to Present Domestic Violence Awareness Panel. This evening (5/6), Cox Media Group news/talk outlet WDBO, Orlando “News 96.5” is presenting a live, one-hour program to “raise new awareness about Central Florida’s growing domestic violence problem and ask listeners to take action in support of eliminating domestic violence.” The event is a partnership with The George C. Young American Inn of Court – an organization of more than 125 lawyers and judges dedicated to improving professionalism in the practice of law in Central Florida. Titled, “Awareness & Action: Domestic Violence,” the panel will include Belvin Perry, former chief judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial; Jeff Ashton, Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney who was on the prosecution team in the Casey Anthony trial; Sherri DeWitt, “News 96.5” legal analyst and founder of The DeWitt Law Firm in Orlando; and Carol Wick, CEO for local domestic violence outreach, Harbor House of Central Florida, Inc. The panel will be moderated by Joe Kelley, host of “Orlando’s Morning News” on “News 96.5,” and Nancy Alvarez, WFTV-TV, Orlando news anchor. It will be broadcast live on WDBO at 7:00 pm and will be videostreamed on the CMG Orlando radio station websites.
Bold Gold Foundation to Present Citizenship Award at Inaugural Fundraiser. The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation – formed by Bold Gold Media Group to help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators – is holding its Inaugural Fundraising and Dinner Event on May 19 at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The evening will feature citizen-journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas as the guest speaker in addition to the presentation of the 2015 Atlas Award for Citizenship to Bob Tambur – a Northeast Pennsylvania business leader and philanthropist. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto says, “Radio broadcasting is the most powerful, informative, and persuasive medium in the world, and the news and talk formats are extremely demanding, and like all media, evolving… and we need the best and brightest communicators of tomorrow to begin preparing for these fields today.” Bold Gold states that the Atlas Award is presented to an individual who, through their hard work and bold actions, show what is possible to achieve in a free society, and who exhibits extraordinary dedication to the highest ideals of character, community service, entrepreneurialism, patriotism, leadership, and virtue.
Hank Goldberg to Assume Afternoons on WMEN, West Palm Beach. According to a report in the Florida Sun-Sentinel, former ESPN reporter and analyst Hank Goldberg will be hosting the afternoon drive show on James Crystal Radio-owned sports talker WMEN, Royal Palms, Florida “640 Sports.” Hank “The Hammer” Goldberg worked at both WIOD and WQAM in Miami during his radio career and spent 20 years with ESPN. James Crystal has not commented on the move and Joe Raineri is currently afternoon personality.
Odds & Sods. The 2015 New York Emmy Awards were held on Saturday (5/2) and multimedia talker Lionel of LionelMedia.com received the Emmy for commentary and editorial writing for his work at WPIX Channel 11…..Los Angeles all-news KNX “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting the KNX Business Hour’s 2015 Small Business Summit on Friday, May 8 at Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. The event, titled “Achieving Small Business Success,” is designed to give small business owners and those thinking about starting a business insight into the key challenges of turning a passion into a profitable venture. KNX Business Hour anchor Frank Mottek will moderate a special guest panel of business experts…..CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media are debuting the “WOOOOO! Nation” podcast to its Play.it platform. The podcast features former pro wrestler Ric Flair, also known as The Nature Boy.
Baltimore Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Prophet Cartoon Shooting Incident, California Drought, Kofi Annan Insect Proposal, Obama Trade Deal, and Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). The legal and political effects of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore; the growing list of potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Family Foundation; the Garland, Texas prophet drawing contest and questions about ISIS attacks on U.S. soil; action being taken in California to address the state’s ongoing drought; former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s suggestion eating insects will help combat global warming; the political battles over President Obama’s proposed trade deal; and the amnesty for illegals issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom 2015 Q1 Revenue Flat. Net revenue for the first quarter of 2015 was $78.4 million – up just a tick from the $87.2 million reported during the same period a year ago. Entercom says station expenses increased 2% to $59.2 million while station operating income decreased 6% to $19.2 million. President and CEO David Field states, “Entercom’s first quarter revenues were up slightly over the prior year as significant market share gains were offset by sluggish advertising conditions. We are very much looking forward to completing our acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and adding its terrific new markets and brands to our lineup. In the meantime, we are complying with the Department of Justice’s review of this transaction which would provide us with a second-place position with a 32% pro-forma share of the Denver radio market.”
WTIC-AM, Hartford Lays Off News Director Dana Whalen. At the local level, CBS RADIO’s WTIC-AM, Hartford is taking a bit of flak from news junkies and those who’ve worked in the business in the market for the dismissal of longtime station news director Dana Whalen. Hartford Courant columnist and one-time WTIC-AM air personality Colin McEnroe writes an eloquent piece praising Whalen for her professionalism during her long career. He writes, “I’ve heard from many of my former colleagues, all of them shaking their heads over this one.” You can read that piece here.
Halemane Joins Premiere Networks. Vice president of digital media is the title Kavi Halemane is being given. In defining that role, Premiere Networks’ chief product officer Chris Williams comments, “Kavi will be responsible for managing Premiere’s digital media product, editorial, and social strategy. His mission is to grow loyalty and engagement between our talent and audience by delivering a compelling digital platform to extend their brands. Kavi’s previous experience creating world-class digital communities for marquee artists has him perfectly positioned to excel in this role.” According to Halemane, “I’m very excited to be returning to the New York City area to join [Premiere parent] iHeartMedia under Chris Williams. Premiere Networks has a pedigree for great content. I look forward to expanding their brands in digital through this leadership role by infusing new strategic solutions, partnerships, and innovation.” Most recently Beverly Hills-based, Halemane was executive vice president of digital for The Collective. His past credits include marketing-digital strategist for Interscope, Geffen, and A&M Records; head of new media and digital production for PE-KO International Records; and co-founder of howellbands.com.
John Dickey and Michael Harrison to Conduct “Fireside Chat” at Talkers New York 2015. The agenda for Talkers New York 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most powerful in its colorful history. One of the highlights of what promises to be a stimulating day of relevant discussions, presentations, and addresses will be a conversation between Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The presentation will be conducted in the informal, one-on-one “fireside chat” format. John Dickey is responsible for Cumulus’ sales, programming, marketing, promotion and engineering and will offer comments, opinions and information about a wide variety of issues presently facing talk radio, as well as the entire spectrum of radio formats. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “There are few people as ‘plugged in’ to both the day-to-day operations as well as the big picture of commercial radio in America today than John Dickey. He has extensive, first-hand knowledge about what’s happening in the business and plays an enormous role in influencing policy – plus he has a true passion for radio and its position in our society. I look forward to this session with enthusiasm and plan on it providing our attendees with a lot of valuable takeaways.” The 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention will take place on Friday, June 12, 2015. It will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. The all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm — is on the verge of selling out within a matter of days. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is days away, so avoid being shut out by registering now! To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Iconic Rock Singer Is Available for Talk Radio Interviews. News/talk radio hosts seem to enjoy occasionally changing the tempo of their shows by interviewing interesting guests from the world of pop culture. Especially names from the golden era of music and radio that are still actively going strong. Such is the case with Peter Rivera — the legendary original lead singer and drummer for the eternally classic songs “I Just Want to Celebrate” and “Get Ready” by the legendary band Rare Earth. Still in heavy rotation on classic rock radio and strategically placed in many TV commercials, any baby boomer rock aficionado will remember that booming voice and those powerful drums on the group’s long series of hits. During their reign of stardom, Rare Earth sold more than 25 million records with five top 10 singles. (Seven gold, one double-platinum, and two platinum albums.) Peter’s story is one of those all-American classics; a kind of “rags to riches” tale in which an obscure white boy, growing up in a red-brick row house in Detroit, Michigan, finds his way out of the grimy, blue-collar neighborhood that spawned a whole generation of factory workers, dock hands, and “tough-guy” bar brawlers to the big time glitz and glam of the pop music industry. Rare Earth was the first all-white band signed to Motown Records that broke through with hit records. Now at 70, Rivera still puts out a powerful sound and is a striking figure in concerts perched behind his drums and belting out tunes from a brand new album, It Is What it Is. To download the album and set up an interview, please click here.
Odds & Sods. In Chico, California, Chris Singleton takes over the program director duties at talk KYMC from Bob “The Fish” Fischetti. Singleton also programs Huth Broadcasting’s co-owned alternative KVXX…..A new daily feature targeting women is being produced by ABC News Radio. “Your Body,” hosted by ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton, is a new daily audio report geared towards helping women achieve better health and wellness. It debuts on May 26. Dr. Ashton is also seen on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America.”…..In advance of today’s presentation of the 2015 James Beard Awards (for culinary excellence), Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York presented interviews with a selection of New York’s James Beard Award Nominees including: Barbuto’s Jonathon Waxman, Cosme’s Enrique Olvera, and Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey. A radio special aired on Sunday night and videos were available via wabcradio.com. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “New York’s restaurant business is extremely competitive and the James Beard Award is coveted. These chef nominees give WABC’s audience a rare peek into their businesses and their craft.”
Dr. Oz Hooks On with iHM. Well that didn’t take long. Just this past Thursday (TALKERS, 4/30), we reported that Harpo Productions is pulling the plug on Westwood One-syndicated “The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.” Now comes word that Dr. Mehmet Oz is entering into partnership with iHeartMedia. According to iHM Networks president Darren Davis, “We have been great fans of Dr. Oz and we are thrilled to be able to give him this much larger platform – from broadcast to digital and mobile. We could not be more excited to be working with him.” Dr. Oz comments, “I have always seen radio as a terrific way to reach people in their daily routines and deliver health information in a way that is fun and easy-to-understand. After many years of visiting iHeartMedia studios all over the country, they were the obvious partner for my brand – given their wildly successful brands, amazing on-air talent, and commitment to the wellness of America.” The Harpo Productions-Westwood One news came shortly after at least 1,000 doctors stated they believe Dr. Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for him to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Dr. Oz has promoted products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel he should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should resign and have his license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Late last month (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. The final Westwood One version of “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be fed to affiliates in approximately four weeks (Friday, 5/29); his iHeartMedia commitment takes effect “the latter part” of this year.
Altoona, Pennsylvania Talk Personality Charlie Weston Dead at 65. Just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, Altoona, Pennsylvania market talk radio personality Charlie Weston has died at age 65. Weston worked for more than 30 years in the market at news/talk stations WRTA and WFBG. In addition to his talk show work, Weston also called local high school sporting events.
By Holland Cooke
Holland Cooke Media
Talk Radio Consultant
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Since his Sandra Fluke faux pas, a relentless boycott effort has scared-off big national advertisers. Yet — and I speak from experience at client stations — this show sure can be a local money-maker.
- This guy moves product. Evidence: additional national inventory, since the boycott, to make-up for departed blue-chip accounts (those live spots Rush sneaks-in after the stopset). They’re there because they get results. Many are Direct Response deals, no guesswork there. And non-traditional B-to-B radio advertisers like Mahindra Tractors are selling high ticket stuff to the like-minded out thar’ on The Fruited Plain.
A Down First Quarter for Cumulus Media. The numbers here are compared to the same period in 2014. Cumulus Media reports 2015 Q1 net revenue dipped 7.2% on income of $271,079,000. Revenue was down across the board at the company in the first quarter and here’s the breakdown: broadcast revenue was $251 million (down 7%) and digital revenue was $8.06 million (down 16.4%). Political ad revenue was down 67.7% and a portion of the net revenue drop was due to an increase in the license fees and other category which rose 9.1%. Breaking down the broadcast revenue a bit further, local and national spot sales were down a bit – 3.6% and 2.4% respectively – but network revenue sank 13% on income of $86.7 million.
Radio One Down 4.8% in Q1. Urban media operator Radio One reports a down first quarter of 2015 on income $105.8 million – a drop of 4.8%. The company saw positive results in its cable TV advertising sector – up 9.9% — and that helped ease some of the decline in other sectors. The radio broadcasting segment was down 9.4%. Radio advertising was down 5.5% and digital advertising dipped 6.1%. Meanwhile, in the category “event revenue & other” Radio One dropped a dramatic 82.6%, due in part to a timing issue relative to annual events.
Inside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan. Using data from its recent Techsurvey 11, Jacobs Media presents this analysis of the media usage of the typical sports radio fan. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use. No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans. In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.” Some of the media habits of sports radio fans that the survey highlights center around the smartphone. Sports radio P1s are very frequent texters and they stream audio and video on a more frequent basis than P1s of other radio formats. For more, see the full story here.
YES-YOU-CAN Sell Rush Limbaugh. Media consultant Holland Cooke presents some tested means of selling the “controversial” leading news/talk radio host – Rush Limbaugh. As Cooke points out, just because there’s been some backlash against Limbaugh’s show and his affiliate stations doesn’t mean stations can’t find sponsors for the show. After, as Cooke observes, “This guy moves product.” In this piece he offers some thoughts on whom to prospect, how to write spots that work and how storytelling can work in your favor. Read it here.
Michael Harrison to Do 60-Second Daily Feature on Media for Boston Herald Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has entered into an agreement with the Boston Herald to write and perform a weekly 60-second feature titled “Michael Harrison on the Media” beginning Monday (5/4) that will be dropped into the pioneering online station’s programming flow several times a day as well as its growing network of terrestrial partners. In it, Harrison explores the direct connection between media and the human condition – past, present and future – commenting on the impact of changing communications technology on society and culture. According to Harrison, “I love the idea of being connected with such a forward-thinking organization as the Boston Herald and its ground-breaking media station, Boston Herald Radio. Creating one of these tight little pieces each week helps sharpen my insights and ability to express them and just like my weekly, longform podcast ‘Up Close and Far Out’ on Podcast One, it gives me the opportunity, at this seasoned stage in my life, to dabble in speculation about the broader scope of media outside the radio industry itself for a worldwide consumer audience of ‘media freaks.’ What fun!” Boston Herald Radio Network executive producer Tom Shattuck tells TALKERS, “I am thrilled to have these exclusive commentaries by Michael Harrison running on our platform!” To hear an installment of “Michael Harrison on Media” please click below.
Spectrum of Talk Radio Programming to Be Addressed on “Variety, the Spice of Life” Panel at Talkers New York 2015. At the Talkers New York 2015 conference taking place on June 12, talk personalities from a variety of styles of programming will discuss the industry, their roles in it, and the future of talk content when they appear on the “Variety the Spice of Life” panel. Moderated by TALKERS general manager of radio operations David Bernstein, the panel will feature: Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host at classic rock-formatted WAQY “Rock 102,” Springfield, MA; Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network; Tony Bruno, WIP-FM, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann of WYD Media; Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, WOLB, Baltimore. This panel will present hosts from disparate backgrounds and radio formats, including a rock jock appealing to listeners immersed in rock and pop culture; the industry’s longest-running radio psychologist; a season sports talk pro; a progressive host with a multi-disciplined background; a nationally syndicated morning talk generalist; and an urban personality working mornings and heavily involved in the community on a local station. Bernstein says, “This will be an exciting panel to moderate – there is so much more to talk radio than one would think having it always described in the media as just a bunch of conservative white men talking politics.” Talkers New York 2015 takes place on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in New York City’s financial district. Space is limited, so register today by calling 413-565-5413. For the full agenda, please click here.
PodcastOne Platform to Host Bossip Podcast. Bossip.com is billed as the “premier online destination for African American popular culture and entertainment news.” Now, it is partnering with PodcastOne to produce the “Bossip Presents: Don’t Be Scared” podcast. A press release says, “The weekly podcast is a viciously funny conversation between Bossip’s awkward, quirky and at times terrifyingly honest trio, Bossip staffer-hosts David Dennis, Jason “Jah” Lee and Danielle “Danni” Canada. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Bossip.com has built a great digital platform that hits the right points of humor and news in entertainment gossip. This new podcast extends their site to the rapidly growing audio-digital platform, and provides a strong content addition to our roster of websites who have turned to podcasting as an impactful way to communicate with their loyal audience.”
Done Deal: Alpha Closes on Coast Radio and Free Lance-Star Stations. There are seven more radio stations officially in the Portland-based Alpha Media fold after the closing took place on the deals with Coast Radio Company and Free Lance-Star Radio. As previously reported when the sales were announced, Alpha gets three California signals from Coast: adult contemporary-formatted trio KUIC, Vacaville, KKIQ, Livermore, and KKDV, Walnut Creek. And from Free Lance-Star it acquires: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia. Alpha chief Larry Wilson says, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with such great employees at all of the stations. Each cluster is exceptional and brings its own unique attributes to the company, allowing us to build a diverse and dynamic culture.”
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Leslie Marshall joins the iHeartRadio platform as her podcast is now being featured there. Marshall also announces she’s begun writing a blog for Blue Nation Review and has penned her first column titled, “It’s 2015 and Sexism Is Alive and Well in Clinton Coverage.”…..Getting a national presence is WINS, New York weekend news anchor David Weiss who has two features that will be distributed by America’s Talk Radio Network. The five-minute “News for You” show features Weiss’ take on the world and national news and the two-minute “Slice of Life” is a more offbeat take on daily life…..In Seattle, Ed Ronco is the new local host of “All Things Considered” on KPLU. He’s been with the station for two years and also hosts a weekly travel segment titled, “Going Places.”
Salem’s Capitol Gang. Posing for a shot at Salem Media Group’s reception at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening (4/30) are (from l-r): Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich, hosts Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher. The event was to honor freshmen members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. It was also attended by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U. S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge add new affiliates to their roster including: KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga market trimulcast WSDT, WEPG, and WSDQ; KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; and KAZZ, Parowan, Utah and its Cedar City, Utah K253BU at 98.5 FM…..The Marilu Henner show is added to the program schedule at: KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; WGGH, Marion, Illinois; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; KHUC-FM, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Baltimore Protests and Violence Top Talkers TenTM. The week of protests, violence and questions about the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody were all facets of the most-talked-about story of the week. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the 2016 presidential prospects. At #3 was scrutiny of the operations of the Clinton Foundation followed by the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage statutes 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.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — April? Here? I’d come to Vegas just to shake off the relentless winter that brutalized us back home in New England. But there’s zero pool time with THREE conventions underway: one about broadcasting, one about podcasting, one about streaming. That one was yesterday, and funsters surrounding me had already set the stage.
While big radio’s chess kings are swapping stations over at the gaudy Wynn, your frugal consultant is surrounded by Corona-tall-toters at The Flamingo, a working class oasis where every…single…one of the people Sean Hannity calls “great Americans” is also toting an iPhone. Whether it’s live or on-demand, your work needs to be on that thing.
Cumulus Media and Programmer McVay Renew Vows. With Cumulus Media since September of 2011, programming and management pro Mike McVay agrees to a contract extension with Cumulus Media in which he takes on the new title senior vice president, content & programming for the company. His old title was SVP, corporate/programming. McVay reports directly to EVP, content & programming John Dickey. In a press statement, Cumulus notes that McVay is “a 40-year programming professional with consulting, management, ownership, sales, programming and on-air experience, and has developed and launched several nationally syndicated programs. He has programmed more than 800 stations around the world, including stations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Grand Cayman and Puerto Rico. In 1984, McVay and his wife Doris McVay launched McVay Media, a programming consultancy recognized around the world as the leader in its field. He has also owned or managed radio stations in Honolulu, Cleveland, Naples, Key West and Flint, Michigan. McVay was also one of the founding partners of Listener Driven Radio (now Futuri Media). McVay comments, “I’m thrilled to continue to work for John and Lew and with the entire corporate programming team. Cumulus has added, and continues to add, some brilliant minds to the management and programming teams. The platform we have, the products and brands we’re developing, and what’s on the horizon makes this one of the best companies to work at in this industry…worldwide. We’re having fun!”
Dwight Douglas Pens Provocative Work of Theological Fiction. Noted veteran broadcaster and writer Dwight Douglas – VP marketing, RCS Sound Software — has written and published a fictitious book that takes on and explores some of the core issues of theology and philosophy. Titled, If God Could Talk… The Diary of a TV Journalist (CreateSpace 2015), the story involves a fictitious cable TV talk show in which the concept and question of what God would say if He could talk through the vehicle of such a platform is explored. In it, Douglas amply displays his knowledge about modern talk media in addition to his personal thoughts on the deeper issues of existence. He presents the questions why do most of the world’s great religions act as middlemen and interpreters of what God intends for humanity? Why can’t God just speak for Himself directly and if he did, what might he say? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Dwight Douglas has always been an extremely independent and creative ‘idea guy’ all the way back to his days as a major rock radio programmer. He really shines as a writer – as indicated by this powerful, courageous book — and as a marvelous guest discussing it on both radio and TV talk shows. Considering the central role religion plays in most of today’s tense international issues, this book couldn’t be more timely for talk radio conversation.” To learn more about If God Could Talk… The Diary of a TV Journalist and scheduling Dwight Douglas as a talk show guest, please click here.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new local voice on iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego “News Radio 600.” The station has brought former City Councilman Carl DeMaio aboard to partner up with current afternoon personality Bob Sullivan and host the newly re-titled “DeMaio-Sullivan Report” from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. De Maio is a 40-year-old Dubuque, Iowa native who served one four-year term on the City Council as a Republican from District 5…..Cumulus Media splits the simulcast of sports talk on WSJZ-FM and WLZR-AM in Brevard County Florida. Sports remains on WLZR-AM but WSJZ-FM flips to rock…..Cumulus Media promotes Mike Fadelli to vice president, sales for the San Francisco music stations KFOG, KSAN and KSJO. Previously he oversaw sales at Cumulus sports talkers KNBR, KTCT and Entercom‘s sports KGME-FM.
Michael Harrison Discusses Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk, Rips Presidents and Politicians of Both Parties, and Interviews Linda Ronstadt. The fourth in the new weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is posted at PodcastOne (PodcastOne.com). It presents the publisher of TALKERS and RadioInfo reflecting upon the recent TED Talk delivered by Monica Lewinsky. The famous – perhaps, infamous — White House intern who found herself embroiled in the center of one of the most sensational presidential scandals in history surfaces with compelling personal insights about her experiences as a 22-year old from the perspective of being a 40-year old, and sheds new light on the internet’s impact on what she describes as the “shame industry.” Harrison, known for his steadfast adherence to a non-partisan political posture other than his staunch support the First Amendment, springboards off Lewinsky’s remarks and shares provocative comments about his distrust of politicians – left and right – and admonishes the media that ganged up on Lewinsky for giving “figurative oral sex” to presidents and politicians of both parties for years. Harrison also presents his recent, compelling interview with Linda Ronstadt and talks about his days as a golden-eared radio PD who has come to recognize how difficult it is to accurately predict what kind of music anyone will really like in a media-fractured marketplace. The podcast can be heard directly by clicking here or by clicking on the special “Up Close and far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right hand column of both the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.
Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act, Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Flap, New ISIS-al Qaeda Violence, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, California Issues Water Restrictions, and Cynthia Lennon’s Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The controversy over the religious freedom law passed in Indiana and a similar law proposed in Arkansas; the tenuous negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the flap over perceived anti-American jokes made by new ‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah; recent spates of violence perpetrated by ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525; new water restrictions for California and its worst drought in recent history; and the death of John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Lee Tapped to Lead LA’s ‘The Beast 980.’ Radio and sports talk pro Tom Lee is being given the programming reigns to KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” – the recently flipped sports talker owned by the KFWB Asset Trust. Lee says in a press statement that “Los Angeles sports fans are the greatest and perhaps the most underrated in America.” Lee will have the opportunity to help bring substantive ratings to a radio format that has historically never really achieved – from a pure ratings standpoint – much in the Los Angeles market. Lee continues, “Their passion, the distinct LA attitude and our great sports teams will all be represented by ‘The Beast 980.’” Lee certainly understands successful sports talk as his resume includes some of the industry’s most visible sports talk ventures. He launched FOX Sports Radio in 2000, leading the programming team that created and developed the 24/7 national sports network. Lee has also programmed KESN-FM, Dallas ESPN Radio, as well as sports radio stations WIP, Philadelphia and KJR, Seattle. KFWB Asset Trust Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Tom has achieved some of the highest ratings of all-sports stations across the country. Our listeners will benefit from Tom’s invaluable skills in producing relevant content, top-notch talent and his experience in working with sports teams.” Lee begins his new gig on March 30.
Steve Goldstein Exits Exec Role at Saga Communications; Launches Podcast Venture. After a career with Saga Communications that spanned almost 30 years, Steven Goldstein leaves his executive vice president position and announces that he is forming a company called Amplifi Media, LLC which will specialize in “the development of digital audio-on-demand (podcast) content.” Goldstein adds, “As connected cars, Bluetooth and smartphones converge, time-shifted audio will grow exponentially. People will listen to content at a time and place of their choosing, just as is occurring rapidly in the television industry with Netflix, DVRs and on-demand video.” A press statement from Amplifi says the company will “concentrate on great storytelling, compelling content and fresh voices on a variety of popular subjects, and will adapt, craft and focus the product for the unique needs of the digital audio business.” Goldstein concludes, “The top of the iTunes podcast chart is dominated by NPR and affiliates. They have done a tremendous job but there is a world of mainstream topics yet to be explored for on-demand-audio. That’s where Amplifi will live.” Goldstein can be reached at 203-221-1400 or via email at email@example.com.
“Healed Planet” Hosted by Alan Colmes Exploring New Worlds of Radio and Listenership. One of the new program/projects launched on TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio platform TalkersRadio has been gaining notable traction in terms of expanded programming topicality and new listenership. “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an experimental talk show conceived and hosted by syndicated Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes and it serves as a prime example of TalkersRadio carrying out one of its primary missions as a “laboratory/workout gym” for proven talk show hosts to test new concepts and as a showcase for promising newcomers to present their work to the industry. A new “Healed Planet” program is produced at least once per month and is available to TalkersRadio listeners (primarily members of the radio industry) on demand. The program features the multi-platform, news/talk figure that gained international notoriety as the liberal co-host on the iconic left-right political discussion show “Hannity & Colmes” during its successful 12-year run on Fox News Channel in a role quite different than his regular followers might expect. (In addition to being heard nightly on his syndicated radio show, Colmes is also still seen on Fox News Channel as a contributing commentator.) “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, cosmic consciousness and everything else rolling around the fertile mind of Alan Colmes. He describes it as “presenting stimulating conversations with thought-leaders in the human consciousness movement.” At present, three episodes of “Healed Planet” are up and running featuring Colmes in conversation with authors Gabe Berman and George A. Hart, plus a discussion with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. On having this new vehicle of expression, Colmes tells TALKERS,” I love having a nightly forum where I can give my political views and takes on the issues of the day, and I love having a forum where politics doesn’t matter and we can all talk as human beings without any ideological prism.” According to Colmes, he is basically doing this for fun, stating, “Sometimes it is simply cool to do a media presentation just for the heck of it and explore subjects and styles that don’t necessarily fit into the understandably more-rigid confines of our day jobs, even though my daily radio show is on at night.” TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “It is fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners and people in the industry to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it – Alan is quite famous. And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!” To listen to “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” please click here.
WSCR, Chicago Host Apologizes for ‘Childish’ and ‘Crass’ Tweet. From the “haven’t they been paying attention” department comes this story, chronicled by Chicago media writer Robert Feder here. In a nutshell, WSCR veteran talk hosts Matt Spiegel and Dan Bernstein were Tweeting critically about the television presence of Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal when the two veered into the now-all-too-familiar territory visited by many media personalities these days: they commented on her breasts. To Spiegel’s (and to some degree Bernstein’s) credit, he seems to have realized his error and has apologized profusely via Twitter, admitting that he made a stupid, childish mistake. Feder reports that sources say Spiegel and Bernstein will not be disciplined for the incident.
WGN, Chicago to Induct 10 into Station WoF. When Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago inducts its 2015 Walk of Fame class during the Steve Cochran show on Friday, May 29, 10 broadcasters will be honored. The ceremony and live broadcast will air from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Tribune Tower. Those to be inducted include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack, Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal, Ron Santo and Eddie Schwartz. They will be commemorated in bronze plaques placed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio.
Odds & Sods. Bringing a passion of hers to WABC, New York on Sunday nights at 7:00 is Laura Smith who tells TALKERS magazine she’s “psyched” to debut “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith” this weekend. Smith says the program is a revival of the program she hosted on SiriusXM and on WFAS-FM, Westchester several years ago. “It’s a passion of mine as it incorporates conversations with some of the world’s most popular thought leaders and then the biggest celebrity psychics, mediums and astrologers giving free readings live on the air. This Sunday, I have global phenomenon, spiritual teacher and four-time NYT best-selling author, Marianne Williamson plus celebrity medium Thomas John.”…..There’s now an FM signal to complement Delmarva’s news/talk WDEL-AM, Wilmington. The company announces it is using the newly acquired WJKS, Canton, New Jersey to create at trimulcast of the legendary news/talker. In the market the station can be heard on WDEL at 1150 AM, on WJKS at 101.7 FM and via HD-3 on WSTW’s 93.7 FM.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. More stations are airing the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson show. New affiliate stations for the KXL, Portland-based talk personality include: WHBY, Green Bay; WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina; WLEA, Elmira New York; WBRP, Baton Rouge; WNRP, Pensacola; KCRS, Odessa; WDRC-AM, Hartford; and KTIP, Porterville, California. Larson comments on his busy schedule, “I prep from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Left Coast and talk from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. I’ll leave the mic when they drag me away. I’ll sleep when I get old.”…..Stephan MultiMedia’s “Good Day” with Doug Stephan is also adding affiliate stations and announces it’s surpassed the 300-station mark with the following new outlets: KTFL, Gilbert, Arizona; KVNU, Logan, Utah; WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WDNY, Dansville, New York; WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; KBIZ, Ottumwa, Iowa; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; WEBY, Milton, Florida; KSCB, Liberal, Kansas; WFEA, Nashua, New Hampshire; and KQEW-FM, Fordyce, Arkansas…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the daily lineup at KWOR, Worland, Wyoming.
Show Prep with Lew Dickey. When Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey is in New York, he’s more than ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the talent at legendary news/talk outlet WABC. Dickey (seated right) is captured here in the office of WABC midday talk duo Curtis Sliwa (seated left) and Ron Kuby (seated floor) as the executive gives Kuby a therapeutic massage to make him more relaxed on the air. Dickey did, however, draw the line when Sliwa demanded that his be a foot massage.
Germanwings Flight 9525 Tragedy Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27. The downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of March 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Following at #3 was the tense relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, at #4, was the potential candidates for president in 2016. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — It’s not easy being a radio personality. They work in relative isolation far from their listeners. They can’t see or hear them. Most radio studios don’t even have an outside window. The only immediate feedback personalities get on their performance is from those working with them in the studio. If they work alone, there is no feedback in the moment.
Oh, radio personalities get plenty of delayed reaction to their work, but it often does more harm than good. The phone lines light up or they don’t. Texts, Tweets, Facebook posts, and emails deliver all kinds of mixed messages. Some are glowing with praise and love. Others state clearly and unequivocally, “you suck!” After the show, the confusion continues. An enthusiastic PD might proclaim he loves a bit the personality hated, usually without offering specifics about what made it so good. Later, the GM weighs in saying, “I didn’t get that phone segment you did in the 8 o’clock hour and I don’t think it was relevant to our listeners.” Problem is the personality thinks it’s the best thing he did all morning and his followers on Twitter and Facebook seem to agree. This is the real world of a radio personality where everyone has an opinion on what they do and the opinions are anything but unanimous.
News/Talk Off to Strong 2015 Start in Brew Town. While taking heed of the standard disclaimers about putting too much stock into Nielsen Audio’s 6+ Mon.-Sun. numbers when judging news/talk stations, it’s still pretty impressive that Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ and iHeartMedia’s WISN combined for a 16.8 share (AQH share, persons 6+, Mon.-Sun. 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight, February 2015 PPM survey). These two news/talk outlets together present some of the nation’s most successful local programming and syndicated talk shows along with a healthy serving of successful sports play-by-play. Certainly, some markets are just good news/talk markets due to demographics, history, political intrigue, heritage signals and successful sports franchises. And, yes, Milwaukee fits that mold. But care has to be taken to give credit to the programmers and air talent (both talk hosts and news personnel) who make these stations sound like Milwaukee. By the estimation of TALKERS editors, the triumvirate of Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner (both at WTMJ) and Mark Belling (at WISN) is worthy of being singled out for praise. (Also noteworthy and heard on WISN is WIBA, Madison-based host Vicki McKenna.) These personalities have contributed heavily to their stations’ success. For the last six PPM surveys – October 2014 through February 2015 – WTMJ has scored between 8.8 and 10.9 (persons 6+), while WISN has notched from 4.3 and 6.5. There’s no guaranty of continued success in the radio business but with the local talent on board these signals and Wisconsin appearing to remain in the nation’s political spotlight as long as Scott Walker is in the governor’s office, the smart money will remain on both of these stations. For related data on the entire news/talk format, see the latest news/talk format PPM analysis from TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian here.
It’s Back to Music Radio for Mancow. As has been reported for several weeks now but just officially confirmed by Cumulus Media over the weekend, Erich Mancow Muller will assume morning drive duties on the company’s WLUP-FM, Chicago “Classic Rock 97.9 The Loop” effective March 30. After winning the “listener-generated morning show talent search,” Mancow will return to the Chicago airwaves to produce the entertainment-based “Mancow Morning Show on 97.9 The Loop.” Show cast members will include: Al Roker, Jr., Luv Cheeze and Cathy Vlahogiannis, providing the female prospective with Carrie Ann DeYoung, as well as new talent Abe Kanan, famous for his show on SiriusXM. Cumulus says that “after a month of on-air auditions by multiple candidates vying to host mornings on ‘The Loop,’ Mancow garnered an impressive listener response to The Loop’s Morning Show Web Survey during his five-day run. Mancow brought back the funny and served up the fast-paced entertaining show that put him on the map with Chicago radio listeners from 1994 to 2006. Fans of the original “Mancow Madhouse” came out of the woodwork to show their support, and thousands of positive comments flooded the station website. Comparing the voting traffic to the other candidates, it was no contest: Mancow won the ‘election’ in a landslide.” After leaving Emmis and former alternative WKQX in 2006, Mancow reinvented himself as a conservative talk show host and was syndicated by TRN-FM for a number of years. Speaking about his new gig, Mancow comments, “This is my final act because I don’t believe I’ll ever top this! Chicago is a tough city for commuters and our ONLY goal with this show is to provide an escape and make our listeners laugh. There will be radio theatre. We will be three-dimensional and break out of the speaker. This show will pop like no other. We believe it will cut through the clutter and seize an audience that hasn’t been served in years. Cumulus and John Dickey brought me back into radio. He is a leader I can follow into this great radio battle to victory. This guy is committed to talent and committed to winning. It doesn’t matter how much you love radio (and I do); if you don’t have the right people around you, you are doomed. Finally, I have my dream team cast of characters and a company that actually wants to win. Lately in radio it seems like people are listless and don’t know what to do. That is not the case with ‘The Loop.’ We have a direction and we know where we’re going. This is the most exciting time ever.”
Eric Von Joins Lineup at Urban Talker WNOV, Milwaukee. Spoken-word and urban music outlet WNOV, Milwaukee is owned by Courier Communications Corp. – publisher of the market’s African American newspaper the Milwaukee Courier. The station announces it is adding local radio personality Eric Von to its programming lineup, hosting the 7:00 am to 9:00 am daily show beginning April 6. Von had been an air personality at WMCS, Milwaukee – a former urban-formatted station – before that station’s format flip in February of 2013. WNOV general manager Sandra Robinson comments, “We’re excited to have Eric Von join the lineup. He brings to progressive radio his own unique style that engages audiences in calm and rational tones. Eric’s ability to raise awareness among listeners and keep them tuned in to those issues that are important in their lives is critical in a city where so many feel left out and ignored.”
Shane Succumbs to Cancer. Chief executive officer of Houston-based Shane Media Services, and publisher of the music magazine Best in Texas – Ed Shane – has lost his battle against colon cancer. Shane and his wife/business partner/former country programmer (KILT, Houston, WIL, St. Louis) Pam Shane revealed his diagnosis on social media less than four weeks ago (2/24). In that posting, Pam Shane noted, “This will be an interruption for Ed and me during the next few months. Shane Media clients are aware of this, and know that I will be keeping their projects moving forward. We appreciate the support from friends and colleagues at this difficult time.” Outpouring of sympathy and exceptionally kind comments permeated social media. For example, renowned sports broadcaster (Boston Red Sox radio play-by-play, among others) Jerry Trupiano declares Shane was, “a true giant in the industry and one of the best people I ever worked with.” Among the many others “heartbroken” to hear the news of Shane’s passing is CBS Radio country KFRG “K-Frog,” Riverside on-air talent Heather Froglear, who comments, “We were so fortunate to have [him] on our team for many years. I will be forever grateful for [his] guidance on the air. He always encouraged this young gal just starting in country radio. I considered [him] a mentor – but mostly a friend. My heart goes out to Pam and the rest of Ed’s friends and family. You will be missed – terribly.” Longtime group program director Frank Bell recollects that during his tenure at Keymarket/Sinclair, “Ed Shane helped us launch many great country stations, including KFRG; WGGY, Wilkes Barre-Scranton; and WOGY, Memphis. His handiwork in news-talk helped shape the sound of WWL, New Orleans; WBEN, Buffalo; and WLAC-AM, Nashville. Ed’s clarity of thought made him a welcome addition to every conference call and strategic planning meeting. He was one of those rare consultants who ‘talked the talk’ and ‘walked the walk.’ In Texas terms, he wore a big hat and had lots of cattle. Thoughts and prayers today go out to his life and business partner, Pam, and that talented group of Shane Media programmers, both past and present.” Distinguished programmer Ed Scarborough (Lieblick) declares, “We have lost a true ‘gentle’ man. Condolences to Pam and Ed’s family, and to Ed’s extended family. He touched many lives and leaves a wonderful legacy.” According to Brent Clanton, “Ed gave me my first job in Radio at Paul Taft‘s KODA, Houston and he taught me so much more than the business. I was privileged to work with him on two [Houston] start-ups, KIKK-AM ‘Business Radio 650’ with the equally-legendary Dickie Rosenfeld, and more recently, the launch of Radio One‘s ‘News 92 FM’ [KROI]. Ed was a gentleman, a perfectionist, and was always thinking ahead on ways to make a radio station’s product better. He made me a better broadcaster, and planted in me an appreciation of how to bring up the next generation of radio professionals.” Intersat‘s manager of media product strategy (and former programmer) Chuck Dickemann comments, “Ed’s influence on me and my career went far beyond broadcast and radio. His support, confidence, and mentorship permeated everything I did. Beyond that, he was a friend – a true friend.” Programmer John Roberts mentions that, “Ed was a pro’s pro for sure, but more importantly, he was simply a great guy. Plenty of people in radio, including me, owe significant career steps to Ed & Pam’s generous advice and help. Stories about change in our business, real or perceived, seem to hit us between the eyes daily. The idea of consultant Ed Shane not being around is one legit ‘change’ I wish we did not have to face.” Mardit Media Consulting president Barry Mardit notes that Shane was a “familiar face at CRS. He always greeted me with a warm smile and a hearty handshake. I always looked forward to our brief chats as well as his in-depth presentations. The consummate professional and true champion who so believed in the power of radio. Ed was a vast storehouse of the knowledge and expertise needed to harness and unleash its full potential. Our industry has lost a giant and those who have known Ed have lost a giant of a friend.” SeniorNet Dallas president Dan Halyburton states, “Ed Shane was a great radio man and a good friend. Ed played an important role in the efforts at KPLX, Dallas in the 1990s to fight one of the toughest country battles ever. His knowledge and commitment to winning were unequaled. Ed always had such energy and presence.” Country consultant Joel Raab notes, “Ed Shane was a great guy and solid professional. He was always generous with his thoughts and advice. He gave me lots of encouragement – even though we were competitors. For that I will always be grateful.” Ron Parker recalls that his “very first radio job was at WPLO-FM, Atlanta and Ed was the operations manager of the station for Plough – thoughts and prayers to Pam and the Shane family.” Ed Shane – who founded Shane Media in 1977 – entered hospice care early this past week. He previously was station manager of Houston’s KRBE and programmed talk KTRH in that market. He also was the former program director of KKDJ, Los Angeles (now iHeartMedia CHR KIIS), as well as a number of other major market stations.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Complete chaotic disarray in the radio industry easily prompts one to conjure up an image of a perimeter surrounded by a sea of yellow “Police Line: Do Not Cross” tapes. You can practically hear the utterances of, “Keep moving – nothing to see here.”
Positions have been skewered in a business destroyed by consolidation and no one wants to enter a once-vibrant profession that is close to flat lining on life support.
Okay – hold it – not so fast!
One of the most gregarious, gracious, charming, talented – and altogether colorful – characters one could ever encounter has proof that there is still a palpable interest out there by people wanting to chase a career in the still magical world of radio.
Townsquare Media Q4 Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 9.5%. Reporting 2014 Q4 and full-year financial figures, Townsquare Media announces its pro forma net revenue was $93.7 million – up 9.5% compared to the same quarter a year ago – and for the full year, pro forma net revenue was up 8.4% on income of $384.7 million. While pro forma local advertising net revenue increased 5.6% during Q4, chairman and CEO Steven Price says that “nearly 30% of our 2014 pro forma net revenue was derived from sources other than the sale of terrestrial radio advertising.” He further comments, “Consistent with our January pre-announcement, we are pleased to report fourth quarter pro forma net revenue growth of 9.5% and pro forma adjusted EBITDA growth of 8.6%, with strong growth in each of our operating segments. We are pleased to announce that we have broken out our Live Events business as a separate reportable operating segment and believe this will provide increased transparency to our investors.” The company also explains how the company’s divisions are broken down: “We have two reportable operating segments, which are Local Advertising and Live Events, and report the remainder of our business in an Other Media and Entertainment category. Our Local Advertising segment is composed of broadcast, digital and mobile advertising on our stations, streams, websites and mobile application. Our Live Events segment is composed of a diverse range of live events, which we create, promote and produce, including musical concerts, multi-day music festivals, consumer expositions and trade shows, athletic events, lifestyle events and other forms of entertainment. The Other Media and Entertainment business principally includes digital marketing services, national digital assets and other revenue.”
Kevin Slaten Returns to KXFN, St. Louis Airwaves Today. In a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today by Dan Caesar, it’s reported that notorious St. Louis sports talk personality Kevin Slaten will be on KXFN’s air today (3/16) as the Grand Slam-owned station is being leased by Talkstl.com’s owners. Slaten’s show is currently heard on the digital platform. Caesar writes that Talkstl began the deal over the weekend and began airing Yahoo Sports Radio. He also reports the move is part of a power struggle at Grand Slam that is forcing KXFN to change formats again. Read his piece here.
Programming Quake at WTEM, Washington. According to Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com, a huge programming maelstrom took place at Red Zebra-owned sports talker WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” last week that prevented today’s debut of the local “Man Cave” show with Chris Paul and Jason Reid and cost programmer Chuck Sapienza his job. The short version is that Washington Redskins and WTEM owner Dan Snyder doesn’t appreciate former Washington Post writer Reid’s criticism of the Redskins operations and put the kibosh on the show. When Sapienza tried to justify the move, he was dismissed. Read the DCRTV.com report here.
Larry Gifford: Radiodays Europe – Day One.
MILAN – BBC radio is widely considered one of the most innovative media companies in the world, which is the reason BBC radio director Helen Boaden was a good choice to set the tone for Radiodays Europe 2015 in Milan, Italy. In her special Sunday night conference-opening presentation, Boaden laid out one of the big challenges facing radio and offered a road map for those who want to follow.
“You need to understand your company’s space in the digital universe,” Boaden (pictured below during her address) commanded. She encouraged everyone to look at media, telecom, and social media companies and any other company that has entered the space of audio content creation to be sure there is a true understanding of the scale at which we are competing. This is when she referred to Google, Amazon.com, Netflix and Facebook as “the four horseman of the digital apocalypse.” But, she made it clear it’s not just a fight for dollars and ear-space, but for our talent. “We, for the first time, have lost one of our best presenters to Apple.” (She’s referring to DJ Zane Lowe’s recently reported move from London to Cupertino.) She thinks she knows why, too. “What they want is actually the best of radio. Aggregation no longer, they can see, is enough.”
Boaden strongly believes despite the technology changes, at the heart of all good radio is still good storytelling. She oversees what seems like dozens of BBC radio brand extensions each focused on getting fans to listen, watch and share stories.
Listen. Watch. Share.
That is the BBC radio secret: a three-pronged, listener-focused, strategy for every platform. She gave innovative examples the BBC has implemented for each, including pop-up radio stations, animating great radio content, and engaging fans with share-worthy original content. Boaden concluded, “The future of radio relies on you staying close to the audience. Despite how you feel about them sometimes, you can’t sack your audience, but your audience can sack you.”
Radiodays Europe features Elvis Duran as the conference keynote address today (3/16). Duran and iHeartRadio‘s Dennis Clark will discuss how to create a successful morning show. You can keep up-to-date on the conference by following #rde15 on Twitter.
This special report to TALKERS was filed by Larry Gifford. He is a radio programming consultant and talent coach (www.larrygifford.com) and host of the Radio Stuff Podcast. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lew Dickey to Address SXSW Media Conference. At the 2015 South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin this Thursday (3/19), Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey will be featured on a panel discussion during which he’ll speak to attendees about how listeners and artists are benefiting from the integration of broadcast radio and music streaming services. The panel will be moderated by digital news outlet Quartz’s John McDuling, along with fellow panelists Rdio CEO Anthony Bay and Glassnote Entertainment Group president/chief executive officer Daniel Glass. The panel, titled, “The Marriage of Radio & Online Listening,” will address the future for merged relationships between radio and online listening.
Bliss Family Robinson. In this personality profile published today (3/16), TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the story of lifelong radio pro Dick Robinson – founder of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. From his beginnings at WARE in Ware, Massachusetts in the late 1950s, to his time at WDRC-AM & FM in Hartford, to the founding and building of CSB and beyond, Kinosian paints a colorful picture of this fascinating “radio guy” and the storied business he and his family have built and maintained. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Concerning the conspicuous absence of college hoops legend John Thompson from Westwood One’s broadcast from the Big East Tournament last week, the syndicator reports he had corrective surgery for a benign twisted intestine and is home recovering well. “Unfortunately, he is unable to travel extensively for the next few weeks, otherwise he would be in his favorite spot — courtside for March Madness.”…..New Hampshire Public Radio’s Virginia Prescott, host of “Word of Mouth,” is being recognized by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation with a Gracie award in the category of Outstanding Host – Entertainment/Information category.
VO VIPs. At the recent VO Atlanta voice-over conference, some of the nation’s top voice-over artists gathered. Pictured here are (from l-r): Chris Corley, Randy Thomas, Mitch Faulkner and Jason Garte. Thomas moderated a panel titled, “The History of Radio Imaging,” featuring Garte, president of The Mix Group and Mix Talent Management; Corley, a top promotional announcer and imaging voice; and Faulkner, imaging voiceover talent and founder of MLMI Creative Services Atlanta.
Joe McDonnell: LA Saddened at Giant-Size Talent’s Passing. How “big” was Joe McDonnell in Los Angeles? Consider this: Friday’s (3/13) lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX, was that the 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” – had passed away. “Big” references regarded his weight, approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. The overwhelming majority of those familiar with McDonnell’s exemplary on-air work in Los Angeles would quickly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture” and that would certainly be accurate. He was, however, among the rarest of on-air talents in the country’s second-largest market, in that, in addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Most recently, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Reaction to his death has continued virtually nonstop, with a who’s who in local and national media, as well as executives of major sports franchises, offering condolences. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia knew McDonnell ever since Scioscia first came up as a catcher in the Dodgers’ organization. “He was a good friend who will be missed. It’s sad,” Scioscia states. On Twitter, Keith Olbermann writes, “Heartbroken to learn of death of LA radio legend, my friend, Joe McDonnell. He leaves us having never held a grudge.” Ken Rosenthal comments, “So sad to hear about the passing of Joe McDonnell, a one-of-a-kind sports personality in Los Angeles and a reporter at heart.” Several years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, then the special features editor for Inside Radio, did an extensive profile of McDonnell, who freely used the word “idiot” to describe someone with whom he disagreed. It was a trademark of the bombastic on-air persona of “The Big Nasty” and customarily delivered in vitriol by the dean of Los Angeles radio sports talk hosts. McDonnell garnered legions of dedicated fans. Once – to benefit charity – he accepted the challenge of co-workers and successfully completed a four-hour shift without uttering one negative. In his profile, Kinosian shattered the myth about McDonnell and let the truth be told that in real-life, McDonnell was a far cry from the manic personality listeners were accustomed to hearing. Pensive and completely conscientious McDonnell qualified as a native Angelino, having relocated from Philadelphia in 1959 at age three with his parents. “I loved radio and wouldn’t go anywhere without it,” he fondly recalled to Kinosian. “I’d go to bed listening to it and wake up with it. I went through radios [as others] went through socks. Even when doing homework, I had the radio on.” Although thoroughly enthralled by the medium, McDonnell at that time never thought about pursuing a career in it. Family members urged him to be a lawyer, but McDonnell formulated sportswriter aspirations while attending L.A. Valley College and Cal State – Northridge. His radio career was, in his words, “a total accident.” A high school buddy McDonnell hadn’t seen in a while told him he received academic credit for working at a radio station. That was all it took for McDonnell: He scored an interview for a newsroom opening at KGIL in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and his first day was September 18, 1975 – the day they arrested Patty Hearst. “I was so excited to be there and hung around to watch what everybody did. Then the story broke and I wound up staying until 10:00 pm. I fell in love with radio my first day and knew this was for me.” Freelance sports opportunities later surfaced for him at Mutual, AP Radio, and UPI Radio and he adroitly transitioned into a daily field correspondent. Play-by-play was briefly tinkered with, but long enough for McDonnell to know it didn’t captivate him. Something else did and as he flatly asserted to Kinosian, “My interest in politics is equal to my interest in sports. They are jobs but they are [also] passions. I love being able to show another side of my life. I am very liberal but do not [rubber-stamp] everything simply because that is what [other liberals] say you should do. I take things on a position-by-position basis. It is impossible and disingenuous to be one way on every subject. No one can ever accuse me of being a phony.” The first Gulf War was underway when he hosted a general talk show on KFI, Los Angeles. America’s first casualty came as a result of friendly fire. Soon after that, the victim’s widow drove to KFI one Sunday afternoon and McDonnell did two hours with her. “It was the most gut-wrenching, yet most fulfilling, thing I’ve done on radio,” he told Kinosian. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of pulling it off. People heard me do sports and wondered what I knew about [politics]. I had to win them over.” Multiple Golden Microphone award winner McDonnell toiled in the Southland at KMAX and KWNK between 1994 – 1997; won raves doing sports updates for (then-all news) KFWB; and was part of the original 1992 staff transitioning KMPC to all-sports – although the outbreak of the L.A. riots was the considerably more monumental story the night of the format flip. For numerous personal and professional reasons, a five-year run beginning in 2000 as KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles’ assistant program director and afternoon driver profoundly affected him. “My first three years there were great,” McDonnell declared to Kinosian. “I had a say in what went on and helped build KSPN from the ground up with [KABC & KSPN OM] Erik Braverman who was my KFI producer. Unfortunately when Erik decided he wanted to concentrate on KABC, they brought in people who didn’t share our ideas.” It was one different concept after another and became the beginning of the end for McDonnell there. “They killed morale and dissolved everything we did. I wanted to leave every day the last two years I was there but made so much money I would’ve been put in a mental institution if I quit.” From the minute McDonnell walked into the Burbank offices of KLAC to interview with KLAC general manager/program director & KTLK program director Don Martin, he sensed something different. “This might sound crazy – but I really liked that they made me earn my position. Don put me on KTLK and let me do some KLAC fill-in. It meant a lot when he said I assimilated with the audience and staff. People have this idea you expect everything be given to you.” Being a sports talk host was a 24 hour-a-day job for McDonnell because, “Information doesn’t stop.” His shows were frequently punctuated with “24” and “Da Ali G” clips and laced with abundant/energetic hip-hop tracks as bumpers. At first, longtime “McDonnell – Douglas” partner Doug Krikorian wasn’t part of the equation for the “Joe McDonnell Experience,” although the Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter joined the ensemble to deliver weekly “K-Files” reports. After all, it was Krikorian who hung the “Big Nasty” moniker on McDonnell when Big Joe collared/disposed of a rowdy patron one night at their favorite hangout. Naturally, the subject of McDonnell’s weight came up in the Kinosian profile of him and McDonnell said that even before the gastric bypass procedure, the heavy burden he was carrying didn’t really bother him. He did however eventually begin slowing down, getting sick, and spending more time at home. “I stopped going to games because it was uncomfortable. My doctor told me I had to do something. Any addict – and I’m definitely a food addict – thinks you can do it on your own.” That’s the fallacy and something an addict desperately wants to believe but McDonnell stressed it can not be done alone. “It got to the point where I realized I was going to die. I had the surgery and lost 300 pounds. On Christmas Day, I put slabs of turkey and prime rib on a plate [surrounded with] potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I took it to the table and had a bite of each. Hey look – I’m a food addict and always will be.” The old Joe most likely would’ve avoided on-air surgery mentions. If it did pop up, he probably would’ve been brutal in challenging the person referencing it. A much mellower McDonnell made a conscious decision when he left KSPN that the “Big Nasty” had died. “It was a great vehicle for what I needed – but – that really isn’t me,” he emphasized to Kinosian. “I’m opinionated and will raise my voice but I’m a nice guy and like to have fun. One reason I love my job is it allows me to hang with people.” Conceding it was a “shortcoming” on his part as a talk show host to refrain from mentioning much about his personal life, McDonnell declared, “You can’t be isolated and expect to reach your audience; you have to let them in on your life. For the most part, I refused to do that. Don Martin and I had a long talk about that and he said the best on-air people let you know about them.” A happy, healthy, and exuberant McDonnell chatted up his March 30, 2007 wedding to KLOS’ lovely Elizabeth Cohn (now working at cross-town Bonneville-owned KSWD “The Sound”). “I finally met someone who will put up with me and I [married] the most wonderful person in the world,” McDonnell emphasized in that profile. Joe and Elizabeth worked together for four years inside ABC Radio Los Angeles (now Cumulus Media) and basically didn’t say a word to each other. “She understands I’ll occasionally make fun of her on-air and exaggerate things but my life is now an open book.” Numerous health ailments – some nearly life-threatening – plagued McDonnell and he frequently credited Elizabeth as being the rock who held him together. An avowed movie junkie, McDonnell would go to as many as three or four in one day. It was his way to relax and escape. “One of the biggest benefits of losing weight is I can fit into theater seats. That was honestly a problem before.” Such McDonnell segments as “Who Do You Want To Kick Out Of LA?” gave him a Northeast-sounding vibe, but his entire nearly 40-year career was spent in Los Angeles. The ardent WWE fan told Kinosian, “It would take a million dollar offer for me to leave Los Angeles. In the early-1990s, I had a chance to work for a friend in Nashville and had a big offer to go to Seattle in 1994 but my mother had cancer so I wasn’t about to leave town. There was a preliminary discussion years ago with WFAN, New York about being a reporter/weekend host but Los Angeles is my home. I’m part of the radio landscape.” Eerie now, but McDonnell confided to Kinosian in that lengthy printed conversation, “All the stuff I’ve done is leading up to something. I’ve always felt there was a bigger plan for me and a different path. God has kept me around for a reason – but I don’t know what it is. With what I’ve put myself through, any other person would have been dead by now.” Even at his heaviest, the voracious reader managed to stay in “fairly good shape.” The only weakness until recently was with his knees. According to McDonnell, “The ultimate moment for me would be to somehow find out who really killed John F. Kennedy.” As for the once “Big Nasty,” no cause of death was reported; several reports – including the one on KNX – said he died at Los Angeles’ Good Samaritan Hospital after a “brief illness.” A two-hour Friday night (3/13) Jeff Biggs-hosted show on KSPN paid tribute to McDonnell, who typically aired his “Kick Out” segment Fridays. Poignant, touching, and chillingly appropriate, the final word was given to Elizabeth McDonnell who somehow managed to summon up the strength in her voice to utter she wanted to kick Joe out of LA. Dramatic, goose-bump radio. “When I die,” McDonnell once told Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, “I want to be cremated and then have a plane spread half of my ashes over Dodger Stadium and the other half over the [ex-home of the Lakers] Forum.”
WTOP PD Cantillo Departs. Late Friday afternoon (3/13), WTOP, Washington, DC program director (and co-author of “Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World,” 1998) Laurie Cantillo teased her social media followers with this post: “Spring is a time of new beginnings … excited for the future.” That message is actually a follow-up to what was shared earlier in the day with the staff at the Hubbard all-news operation. “The decision has been made to not renew Laurie Cantillo’s contract,” general manager Joel Oxley writes. “The decision was reached mutually by Laurie and me.” In another internal memo, Cantillo states, “Our anchors and reporters have never sounded better and page views for WTOP.com are off the charts. Morale is as high as the International Space Station, where we conducted a historic live interview this morning. We are on ‘TOP’ in every respect, which makes this the right time for me to pursue my next adventure. There is no finer multimedia newsroom in America and I will miss seeing you every day. My immediate plan is to co-create a screenplay and finally get around to writing my next best seller.” Although she notes, “Radio and digital media innovation will continue to be a big part of my life,” she did not indicate if there is a particular station in her future. WTOP news director Mitchell Miller, senior news and sports director Mike McMearty, and managing editor Darci Marchese will share in assuming Cantillo’s duties. WTOP chalked up a mammoth +3.1 to 9.2 (Nielsen Audio PPM, January 2015, 6+) as it progresses from third to first. It is the station’s best mark in exactly one year, equaling the 9.2 it logged in January 2014. WTOP was #1 (6+) for 11 straight monthlies before iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH took the top spot in December and “Holiday” 2014. Simultaneous with graduating from the University of Colorado, Cantillo landed a full-time reporting job in Boulder and she had a 13-year tenure at Denver’s KOA. She was selected to program KTAR, Phoenix in 1997 and was later recruited by cross-town KFYI in a similar capacity. The former WABC, New York programmer joined WTOP in 2011 and officially became program director there upon the retirement of vice president of news and programming Jim Farley.
Positive 2014 Q4 for Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Sector. With the merger with E.W. Scripps expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, Journal Communications reports a positive fourth quarter of 2014 – up 13.6% on revenue of $122 million. For the radio sector, the fourth quarter saw revenue rise to $22.1 million – an increase of 7.7% (excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 5.5%). The company reports that radio political and issue revenue was $0.7 million compared to $0.1 million. Excluding political and issue, total revenue increased 4.9%, local revenue increased 6.5%, though national revenue decreased 0.9%. Automotive revenue, up 13%, was a driver of local growth. For the full year, radio revenue increased 3.0% to $79.1 million. Excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 2.4%. Radio political and issue revenue was $1.3 million compared to $0.4 million. Excluding political and issue revenue, total revenue increased 1.8%, local revenue increased 2.6%, though national revenue, a small component of our revenue, decreased 6.6%. When the merger deal closes next quarter, Journal and E.W. Scripps will merge their broadcast and digital media assets under a company retaining the E.W. Scripps name and be based in Cincinnati. Their newspapers and community publications and related digital products will comprise a firm to be called Journal Media Group, based in Milwaukee.
KJR, Seattle Re-Ups Levy; Adds Powell for Middays. Morning drive personality Mitch Levy — with iHeartMedia’s sports talker KJR-AM, Seattle for the past 20 years – will continue in his morning drive role after inking a new contract. At the same time, the station announces the arrival of Chuck Powell to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. He most recently was with Bonneville in Phoenix at both sports talk KTAR-AM and the former adult hits KPKX. Former Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is also returning to the station this NFL season to serve as NFL expert and contributor.
NSPCA Honors KDWN’s Alan Stock. For the past 10 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has been featuring the Pet Pick of the Week in an effort to get local pets adopted. Earlier this week, the Nevada SPCA surprised Stock with special recognition for his work. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Master Magician Lance Burton (former headliner at the Monte Carlo), Stock, and NSPCA president Kathy Jung. She’s holding Keno, who was in this year’s Puppy Bowl before the Big Game.
Kevin McCullough’s XtreMEDIA to Present Holy Week-Themed Radio Drama Across U.S. and International Radio Networks. The audio drama is based on the one-man play being performed in Chicago by actor and radio personality Stephen Baldwin titled, “Heaven, How I Got Here: A Night with the Thief on the Cross.” McCullough says, “Easter weekend on five American radio networks and the biggest networks in the United Kingdom (our first jaunt into international broadcasting) a compelling ‘audio drama’ of the same role Stephen is portraying on stage, will be aired on both religious and mainstream spoken word stations across Europe and America. Thus far 1500-plus stations have signed on and in some clusters/markets like Salem NYC the drama will air nine times from Good Friday evening through end of Easter Sunday. There is no cost to take the broadcast. We commissioned the Grammy and Dove award winning composer Dick Tunney for an original soundtrack, we created a completely digital sound design, and Stephen re-created the character he will portray on stage to give voice to the ‘thief’ to whom Jesus historically said, ‘This day you will be with me in paradise.'” McCullough says stations wishing to take the radio special can email him at email@example.com and he’ll be glad to add them to the growing surge of stations gobbling it up.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is now heard on Iredell Broadcasting’s WSIC-AM/FM/TV, Statesville, North Carolina, which includes transmission on over-the-air digital TV channel 21.2…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney adds affiliate stations in: WSMN, Nashua; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; KIXW, Victorville, California; KTFL, Higley, Arizona and KLOE, Goodland, Kansas…..Syndication Networks-syndicated “Those Weekend Golf Guys” joins the weekend lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..“Business Rockstars” is added to the program schedule at KTMS, Santa Barbara and KTVA, Oxnard/Ventura.
Iran Nuclear Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 9-13. The controversy over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and the group of GOP senators who sent a letter to Iran contesting the president’s right to unilaterally make such deals was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business. At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the amnesty/immigration issue at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
End of an Era in Cincinnati as Jim Scott Announces Retirement from WLW. Legendary Cincinnati morning personality Jim Scott announced on the WLW airwaves today that he is retiring after a 54-year career, effective April 6. As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mike McConnell will take over the morning show. McConnell left WLW’s midday show to work with former boss Randy Michaels at Chicago’s WGN. He spent three years there. In making the announcement, Scott said the choice to retire is entirely his. He began his Cincinnati career in 1968 on WSAI.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ Parts Ways with Overnight Host Ray Rossi. The station will air “rewind” versions of the midday “Dennis & Judi” show and the afternoon drive “Deminski & Doyle” program. WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” brand manager Eric Johnson says the Townsquare Media station will “continue to offer breaking news, weather, and traffic updates…each weeknight from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am.” At one time Rossi was partnered with Craig Carton in afternoon drive in the first incarnation of “The Jersey Guys.” After Carton left to become Boomer Esiason’s partner in mornings on WFAN, New York, Rossi partnered with Casey Bartholomew. When “Deminski & Doyle” took over afternoon drive, Rossi moved to the overnight show. Johnson says, “We wish Ray all the best and thank him for his many years of service.”
Mancow Returns to FM Music Radio as Morning Host of WLUP-FM, Chicago. After a tryouts stunt by Cumulus Media’s classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago for a new morning drive personality, it’s being reported by numerous Chicago media outlets that today, Erich Mancow Muller will get the gig and an official announcement will follow. Others who spent a week on the air in hopes of landing the position included: Liz Wilde, Abe Kanan and Shadoe Stevens. After exiting alternative WKQX, Chicago in 2006, Mancow reinvented himself as a young-skewing conservative talk personality and was syndicated by TRN-FM for a number of years. He’s been off radio since last fall.
Saga Communications Q4 2014 Radio Net Operating Revenue Up 6.3%. The latest financials from Saga Communications have been released and for the radio division, the fourth quarter of 2014 was a good one, with net operating revenue up 6.3%. For all of 2014, Saga’s radio division reports net operating revenue was up 3.4% on revenue of $113.6 million.
KPOJ, Portland Launches New Morning Drive Show. The new morning show on iHeartMedia’s sports talk KPOJ, Portland “Rip City Radio 620” is “Rip City Mornings with Bunker and Danforth.” Andy Bunker was most recently with Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle. The station says Taylor Danforth is a native Oregonian, high school athlete and a graduate of the University of Oregon. He spent his first years in radio calling play-by-play for high school football games and most recently was on-air at another local sports station. iHeartMedia Portland SVP of programming Dave Hill says, “We see an incredible opportunity to produce a local sports morning show for Portland. They are hungry to talk about Portland sports and we are thrilled to give them the first shot each morning.”
WTOP-FM, WRC-TV Create D.C. News Alliance. The joint venture – which begins in two weeks (3/25) – is between Hubbard Washington, DC all-news operation WTOP and cross-town NBCUniversal-owned WRC-TV “NBC 4.” WTOP senior vice president and general manager Joel Oxley opines, “The Washington region is the most educated and information-hungry market in America. WTOP and ‘NBC 4’ are committed to serving the needs of our community with timely, accurate news from the most trusted teams of journalists in the nation’s capital.” WRC-TV “NBC 4” president and general manager Jackie Bradford declares, “The combined forces of two dynamic, cutting-edge newsrooms working together on all platforms will be powerful. This partnership will serve people throughout the Washington area well by delivering the most up-to-date local news, information, and weather.” In addition to the two entities covering breaking news in a collaborative way, WTOP reporters will be featured on “NBC 4” newscasts and “NBC 4” reporters will be heard throughout the day on WTOP. WRC-TV’s “Storm Team 4” meteorologists will provide forecasts on WTOP every ten minutes on the eights.
Beasley Las Vegas to Open Radio Studio at ‘Downtown Container Park’ Destination. The partnership between Beasley Media Group Las Vegas and D&C Entertainment will soon bring to fruition the “Beasley Media/Cox Business Broadcasting Studio” to the city’s Downtown Container Park (pictured here) – what will be the first and only radio broadcasting studio in the park – an open-air shopping center and entertainment venue featuring almost 40 shops, restaurants and bars. Beasley says its Las Vegas VP and market manager Tom Humm, along with D&C Entertainment “recognized the value in creating a visual and interactive location for not only live radio broadcasts, but also interviews with entertainers, celebrities and local dignitaries. The space was selected for its close proximity to the stage. With Cox Business onboard as a Studio Sponsor, the vision became a reality the first part of this year. Construction began February 17, 2015 and the completion of the Beasley Media/Cox Business Broadcasting Studio is expected in early April, 2015.” The completed facility will be a fully functional radio broadcasting studio featuring state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment from the Wheatstone Company. Humm comments, “We envision bringing and supporting live events at the Downtown Container Park. Through our five radio stations, Beasley Media Group Las Vegas reaches over 1 million local residents weekly. There’s a terrific synergy between our audience, D&C Entertainment’s ideas and the size and popularity of Downtown Container Park. We’re confident that once completed, our radio broadcasting facility will be a major highlight to the downtown area. In radio, it’s all about the community. What better way to entertain and serve our community than through a visible, completely functioning radio studio in the Downtown Container Park.”
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — I’ve been coaching radio personalities and studying gifted artists for over 25 years. I’ve been privileged to work with some remarkable performers like Kidd Kraddick, Jeff of Jeff and Jer, Rush Limbaugh, and Dr. Laura. I’ve observed successful songwriters, authors, screenwriters, and creators of TV shows. I’ve learned a lot about where great artists get their inspiration and how they create.
I’ve discovered successful artists across the media spectrum — those who’ve created hit songs, blockbuster movies, best selling books, top-rated TV shows, and the most listened to radio shows — are guided by a common force I’ve come to call “The Artist’s Secret.” It has three elements.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness.
Even at the zenith of his popularity, Owens had an unrivaled flair to make anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact feel as though he or she were a genuinely important friend of his.
Dignity with which Owens carried himself make those having the privilege to work behind a microphone exude intense pride in saying they are in the same profession.
Jason Dixon Exits ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ After a year and a half as the only program director WMCG, Detroit has known since flipping to sports in August of 2013, Jason Dixon announces he’s resigned from the station effective immediately. Greater Media’s “Detroit Sports 105.1” debuted 16 months ago to challenge the sports talk dominance of CBS RADIO’s crosstown WXYT-FM. Dixon tells TALKERS magazine he’s available for new opportunities and can be reached at: 919-999-6096 or via email at JasonDixonPD@Gmail.com.
Vinny G Show Comes to PodcastOne. Former “Jersey Shore” cast member Vinny Guadagnino is hosting a weekly podcast to be made available via PodcastOne. Dubbed, “Get Into It with Vinny G,” the show will feature the host, “alongside his crazy friends and family members, celebrity guests, and other people from all walks of life, as they ‘get into’ every topic imaginable, including sports, pop culture, politics, self-help, food, comedy, dating and relationships, and more. It debuts Thursday (2/12) and features a reunion with The Jersey Shore’s Pauly D. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Though I’ve never been to the Jersey Shore, a heck of a lot of people have, and most of them are Vinny fans. That’s because he’s a unique guy who’s open about who he is and gives back to the community. He’s a really interesting guy with a huge social following, which usually means success when launching a new podcast. We’re delighted to add ‘Get Into It with Vinny G’ to the PodcastOne lineup.”
Western Massachusetts Radio Star Brad Shepard Launching Pioneer Valley Radio. Longtime Springfield, Massachusetts-area talk radio personality, commentator and prominent local arts & entertainment figure, Brad Shepard has announced the launch of Pioneer Valley Radio – an online platform designed to present talk shows and conversations specifically geared to “serving the civic and cultural interests of Western Massachusetts.” Pioneer Valley Radio – located at www.PioneerValleyRadio.com – will serve as a free online home for what Shepard describes as “a wide variety of talk shows and informative conversations about what’s happening here in Western Massachusetts.” According to Shepard, “There are so many things to talk about in the Pioneer Valley that are not being addressed today in contemporary on-air broadcasting. Hot issues like the casino. The economy. Public safety, Education. Race relations. Health services. The arts. Public transportation. The list is endless. This platform will fill a dangerously huge void and be dedicated to serving the public good. We will be doing audio shows (and some video) about politics, civics, health care, high school sports – you name it. The key is localness and the goal is to serve the interests of the people of this region across the board. We will not embrace or ‘target’ any specific political ideology or bias. We can leave that to traditional, on-air talk radio.” Shepard – who was heard the past 12 years in morning drive on iHeartMedia’s heritage outlet, WHYN-AM (and a number of local stations for years before that) will serve as general manager of the new “media station.” He will also personally host a variety of talk shows (available on demand 24/7) that will include interviews with a wide array of prominent local figures and every day folks, as well as his own commentaries — plus calls from listeners. Pioneer Valley Radio will also provide live coverage of special events considered too niche or “small” to be given time on traditional over-the-air stations. The station will also feature a variety of programs produced and hosted by other voices in the community including former radio, television and newspaper personalities who’ve been squeezed out of their jobs for reasons having nothing to do with their talent, skill or performance. Shepard tells TALKERS, “It is no secret that budget cutbacks have forced many of the local traditional media outlets in this area to cut back on programming which has tragically resulted in the loss of jobs for some mighty fine talents, not to mention live and local discussion programs. We will do our best to rectify that unfortunate situation.” Pioneer Valley Radio is being designed and powered by Michael Harrison’s Massachusetts-based, multimedia firm Goodphone Communications, Inc. Pioneer Valley Radio will be free to listeners and funded by local advertising. Shepard says, “Because we are online and not restricted by enormous technical and regulatory burdens, we will make amazingly affordable and effective advertising packages available to local businesses seeking to get their messages out to the public in a manner that won’t clutter up the programming while giving these good businesses clear sailing in really getting their full stories and services valuable exposure. This is the kind of thing to which intelligent, creative use of the internet lends itself.”
Kipper McGee Authors Book on Digital Disruption. Radio pro Kipper McGee is publishing a new book this spring in which the programmer and consultant examines broadcasting’s experience with the “digital disruption.” Titled, Brandwidth: How Big Broadcasting Missed the Mediamorphosis, McGee says the book “offers 7 ways YOUR brand(s) can avoid their mistakes…We live in a time when broadcasters are being attacked in ways not even dreamed about a decade ago. Many operators insist on acting penny wise and PPM foolish.” He says the book “reveals common traits of the biggest winners and losers and offers powerful takeaways for ANY brand planning to thrive in the ever-changing digital world order.”
Snowy Winter Puts New England Stations in Consistent Emergency Mode. Much of the Northeast has been battered by the series of winter storms affecting the region, and broadcast outlets have been in storm coverage mode pretty steadily over the past month. The Connecticut Broadcasters Association reports how some of its member stations have been serving their markets. Some examples from the January 26-27 blizzard, in particular, include: CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC-AM, Hartford made sure its generator was ready for multiple days of service. It arranged for announcers to broadcast from home and for staff to stay in nearby hotels in order to keep the station on the air; in Eastern Connecticut, Hall Communications‘ six radio stations provided storm updates twice an hour, carried the governor’s press conferences, and had the New London mayor and local Emergency Management directors on several times. Staffers stayed overnight at local stations or nearby hotels to remain on the air; WLAD-AM, Danbury put staffers up in a nearby hotel and expanded local programming with live weather and traffic information, and interviews with officials from Danbury, Ridgefield, Bethel and Brookfield; in the Connecticut River Valley, WMRD-AM and WLIS-AM stayed on the air by having someone sleep at the stations. They provided hourly weather updates and interrupted programming with storm-related news and information. Among other stories, they were able to report on a local power outage caused by a snowplow knocking down a power pole; WINY, Putnam gassed up an all-wheel-drive vehicle to get radio personnel to work, contacted local police to serve as potential back-up transportation, tested station generators and fuel levels, and provided meals for staff in nearby hotels. One employee stayed with his grandmother who lives two miles from the station.
Heather Cohen Named to Alliance for Women in Media Board of Directors. Named to the Alliance for Women in Media board of directors for 2015 is The Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen. The 1998 Hofstra University graduate, who also serves on that college’s Herbert School Advisory Council, joins the organization that is dedicated to advancing women in media and entertainment. The group also administers the national Gracie Awards, which recognize and honor excellence in programming by and about women.
Odds & Sods. Tax season is here and ABC News Radio is launching its annual Tax Tips series. The news service says the series tackles “all the tough tax topics to provide listeners with a wide range of helpful information when filing for returns this year.” ABC News correspondent Richard Davies and chief business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis anchor the 30-part series…..Journal Broadcast Group and IMG have entered into a new radio partnership in Omaha that will expand the reach of University of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports, broadcast more games across the university’s entire sports lineup, and increase exposure for all Nebraska sports. Journal says the new, five-year Omaha affiliate agreement with KXSP, KKCD, and KEZO will provide better coverage for Huskers sports through a strong AM signal on an all-sports format radio station and additional new FM affiliates.
Brian Williams Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Battle Against ISIS/Bobby Jindal Flap, Bruce Jenner Saga, Snowy Northeast Winter, Net Neutrality Proposal Controversy, Fighting in Ukraine, and GRAMMY Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/9). The status of Brian Williams at NBC after his apology for fabricating an Iraq War coverage incident; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the fight against ISIS and the flap over comments by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal about radical Islam; the gender transformation of Bruce Jenner and his involvement in a deadly auto accident in Malibu; the record snowfall being experienced by parts of the Northeast; the FCC’s proposal to regulate the internet; the ongoing fighting in Ukraine and Russia’s role in the unrest; and Sunday’s 57th GRAMMY Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WMAL, Washington Tower Site Up for Sale. Perhaps more valuable than the signals and the radio formats themselves, is the real estate upon which sit so many of the towers of America’s heritage AM stations. A report in The Sentinel, says Cumulus Media is now accepting offers on the Bethesda, Maryland site of its WMAL, Washington transmitter through March 12. Local real estate experts tell the paper the 75-acre piece of land in one of the toniest suburbs of DC should fetch “hundreds of millions” of dollars. The brokerage firm CBRE Group, Inc.’s SVP John Sheridan says, “Seventy-five acres in Bethesda. You don’t need to say anything more than that. It is a huge parcel of land with some of the highest income demographics. There’s the potential to build 300 or more homes.” In 2014, Cumulus put the 10-acre parcel of land occupied by KABC and KLOS transmitters in Los Angeles up for sale and that is going to command $125 million.
Beers Becomes Equity Partner, Board Member at Business Rockstars. Saying that his arrival will “bring the attention of the television and media community to the company’s broadcast, mobile and social platforms,” Business Rockstars announces multimedia CEO Thom Beers joins the board of directors for the company as well as making an equity investment in it. Beers is CEO of FremantleMedia North America. He’s a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer who brings 25 years of experience and success to Business Rockstars, producing some of the most recognizable TV shows such as: “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud,” plus multiple shows on the Discovery Channel and the A&E family of networks. Beers joins Steve Lehman, chairman of Business Rockstars and former CEO of Premiere Networks, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, as well as their recent addition, Andy Schuon, co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV. Beers comments, “People like to follow ‘smart money,’ and my investment is a strong endorsement and recognition of the platform, and partners of Business Rockstars. By leveraging television content and major media relationships, Business Rockstars will surely continue to grow and reach their goals. I’m glad to be part of their bright future.” The company says that Beers’ investment presents much opportunity to Business Rockstars as it plans to align with a major TV company for possible future content. Steve Lehman adds, “Thom Beers is a Rockstar. He is one of the brightest guys in TV today. He’s intuitive, smart and will be a huge asset in helping to expand our TV and Over-the-Top content platform.”
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Served Divorce Papers on the Air. The “Monsters in the Morning” program heard on iHeartMedia’s WTKS “Real Radio 104.1” has been headed by ringmaster Russ Rollins since its inception and the show’s cast members have always “lived their lives on the air.” A classic example of that was when Rollins was recently served divorce papers while on the air. Whether Rollins knew about the coming papers or not is in question – the process server indicates Rollins chose the time and place to receive the papers – but the show has posted video of the papers being served on its website and Rollins appears surprised. Although Rollins’ estranged wife claims in the papers that Rollins physically abused her, his attorney tells WFTV-TV, Orlando that the police were called to Rollins’ home at one point but they investigated and have filed no charges.
Triplett Named DOS at Beasley Tampa Bay Cluster. The newly acquired Beasley Media Group Tampa Bay cluster names Steve Triplett director of sales. The cluster consists of: WYUU “92.5 MAX!MA”; WBRN, “BUBBA 98.7”; WQYK, “Tampa Bay’s Country Station 99.5”; WRBQ “Q105”; WLLD “WiLD 94.1”; and WHFS-AM, “Money Talk 1010.” Triplett comes to Beasley from his most recent gig as president and founder of the marketing firm Contact Media Inc.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s Des Moines sports talker KXNO, a realignment of personalities takes place with Chris Williams and Ross Peterson being named the afternoon drive team. The new “Morning Rush” show will consist of Heather Burnside and Travis Justice…..Meanwhile, across town at Cumulus Media’s sports talker KBGG “The Champ,” Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller – as has been reported in recent weeks – will reunite to host the afternoon drive program beginning today (2/9). Tirrell and Miller first began working as a team at KXNO in the mid-1990s…..Mark Grote is named host of the pre- and post-game shows for Chicago Cubs broadcasts on all-news WBBM-AM. Grote, who has been with the CBS RADIO Chicago station group since 2002 and is sports anchor on WSCR’s “Mully & Hanley” program, is also expected to appear on sports talk WSCR regularly as a Cubs reporter, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.
Longtime Rush Limbaugh Staffer Kit Carson Dies After Battle with Cancer. TALKERS magazine has learned from Sound Mind LLC principal Kraig Kitchin that longtime Rush Limbaugh staffer Christopher “Kit” Carson passed away this morning (1/26), in New Jersey. The cause was brain cancer. Kitchin says Carson had suffered a bout of cancer four years ago but found his way to recovery two years later and was given a clean bill of health. In the last several months, the cancer returned. Kit Carson was the “chief of staff” of Limbaugh’s program since the early 1990s. He became part of the program’s staff in 1989. Kitchin says Carson wanted to be an actor, but fell in love with his work on the program. He screened calls, opened and answered the mail, and he took every opportunity to be invaluable. And he became invaluable. Later, he was nicknamed “H.R.” with Limbaugh naming him after Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman. A clearly shaken, tearful Rush Limbaugh announced the news at the top of his radio program today (1/26). He said, “We are all experiencing a huge void in all of our hearts here today.” Limbaugh praised Carson as never having a bad word to say about anyone and was always a mediating force for good and harmony among the staff. Limbaugh said that Carson was the longest-running employee of the show and quickly proved himself to be the new program’s number one defender, champion and evangelist. Limbaugh also credited Carson with coming up with many ideas and angles that he used as his own on the air—and was also a tremendous force for Rush maintaining optimism and positivity in his work and attitude about life. Clearly he was the one guy who Limbaugh never once doubted – “I had total trust in him.” Limbaugh said, “Even at 58 he had an innocent exuberance about him.” Carson is survived by his wife, Theresa, and two sons.
Now Showing on TalkersTV: Writing Commercial Copy That Produces RESULTS. Just try not to flinch when you hear The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Radio Sales: “We tried radio, it didn’t work.” Even when the retail business and the station fit-like-a-glove — AND the client buys enough frequency — the campaign can flop, and the disappointed advertiser gives up on radio entirely. WHY? Consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke explains, “Too often, it’s because the commercial copy was ineffective. Not surprisingly, this can happen because cutbacks have cost the station a creative department and reps are writing their own spots… too often banging out scripts quickly, so they can get back on the street to close new business — which they’re under pressure to do, because of churn. Why does this often happen? You guessed it: Because clients cancel…because they didn’t get results…because the copy didn’t work. It’s a vicious cycle.” Cooke adds, “Ironically, the same problem is common at stations that HAVE a creative person or department.” And he cites three reasons:
1. The conveyor belt is out of control. With four, five or six stations under one roof, the writer gets overwhelmed.
2. ESPECIALLY this time of year, when stations stage the annual first quarter “one day sale,” piling even more work on the writer; in many cases spots that will air long-term (or until the disappointed client cancels).
3. The writer, back at the station, didn’t share the rep’s in-person contact with the prospect during the important Needs Assessment step. Cooke figures that “account executives are, potentially, better writers than…writers, because they know clients’ stories first-hand.”
“Potentially,” Cooke stipulates, “because account executives need to speak to the listener (the advertiser’s client) the same way they approached the advertiser. Reps are natural sellers, but don’t always apply their persuasive talent to copy writing.” In a video now showing on TalkersTV, Cooke outlines what he calls “the dance steps of a 60-second commercial script,” based on his work helping client station reps craft copy for local retailers. See Cooke relate what he terms “The Five Steps of Selling Anything to Anybody” (how reps got the order) to the copy-writing process. See the TalkersTV box at the top right-hand column of this page and every page of Talkers.com.
KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names Musson Co-Host. The new late morning show at Cumulus Media’s Fresno news/talker KMJ-AM/FM launches today as “Broeske & Musson.” KMJ program director Blake Taylor announces the station promotes Christina Musson from station executive producer to co-host of the program alongside John Broeske. Taylor says, “We tried out dozens of potential co-hosts for John, but we only needed to look down the hall for the perfect answer. ‘Broeske & Musson’ is going to be a dynamic show with tons of energy. They’ll continue to deliver the hard-hitting and fun topics of the day that our listeners expect.” Musson has been executive producer the past six years. Her resume also includes production and reporting work at Fresno’s KMPH-TV KGPE-TV as well as KAPP-TV in Yakima, Washington. She says, “I’m excited to take the next step in my career at such an amazing station and to partner with John Broeske – someone I admire and respect. I grew up listening to KMJ, so it’s a dream come true.”
Radio & Television News Association of Southern California Presents Awards. The 65th annual Golden Mike awards were presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California (RTNA) on Saturday evening (1/24) in Universal City. The awards are presented annually for excellence in radio, TV and Internet broadcast journalism. CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recognized with seven Golden Mike awards in the following categories: Best New Broadcast Over 15 Minutes – “KNX Morning News”; Best Live Coverage of a News Story – “LAX Shooting”; Best News Reporting – “Nanny Nightmare” by Charles Feldman; Best Spot News Reporting – “The Great UCLA Flood of 2014” by Desmond Shaw, Ed Mertz, and Pete Demetriou; Best News Public Affairs Program – “Ask the Mayor”; Best Traffic Report – KNX Traffic at 6:15 am; and Best Sports Reporting – “Watts Bears” by Ed Mertz. Pictured above left are (from l-r) KNX staffers Ron Kilgore, Frank Mottek, Kathy Kiernan, James Tuck, Ric Schroeder, Wendy Thermos, and Pete Demetriou accepting the award for Best Live Coverage of a News Story. iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KFI and reporter Steve Gregory also took home seven Golden Mike awards (see photo at right) in the following categories: Best Radio News Special – “Breaking Down The Border Crisis” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Investigative Reporting – “Mold School” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Light Feature (less than a minute) – “Valentine’s Day Flower Inspection” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Serious Feature (less than a minute) – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Hard News Series – “Trial Of Jailed Marine In Mexico”; Best Radio Internet News Reporting – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory and David Perez; and Best Radio Newscast (under 15 minutes). KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “We have the best news team here at KFI, these folks rock and Steve is a prime example of the caliber of talent that makes us so proud!”
Round Four of Holiday PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
New York Talk Legend Joe Franklin Dies at 88. The New York talk television and talk radio icon who was famously parodied by Billy Crystal on “Saturday Night Live,” died after a long battle with cancer on Saturday (1/24). Joe Franklin hosted a television program interviewing celebrities and offbeat characters beginning in the early 1950s. He worked in radio later in his career at such stations as WOR, New York and most recently on the Bloomberg Radio Network. Franklin ranked 71st in the 2010 TALKERS magazine 20th Anniversary Heaviest Hundred list (which ranks “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time”) and appeared a number of times as a special guest speaker at the annual TALKERS Convention in New York City. Publisher Michael Harrison would introduce him to the attendees from out of town as a famous New York City “tourist attraction as legendary as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park.” Franklin juggled so many careers in the media that it’s a good thing he stopped to write a book every few years – in fact, 23 in all — to capture his amazingly colorful life. His autobiography Up Late With Joe Franklin (Scribner, 1995) is jam-packed with celebrity-rich-anecdotes — from Eddie Cantor and Rudy Vallee to Howard Stern, for example. According to the Library Journal, “He actually knew those early entertainers and knew many of those currently entertaining.” What originally made him a household name — even before the highly touted “Saturday Night Live” parodies by Billy Crystal — was Franklin’s late night variety program “The Joe Franklin Show,” which ran from 1950 through 1993. The Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the longest running TV talk show in history manned by one host. And what a show it was! Much like visiting your favorite neighborhood hardware store, you never knew what unexpected gems would pop up among the variety and clutter. A sample show would feature a sculptor, belly dancer, an up-and-coming comic, a podiatrist and then maybe a famous actor or singer. According to Publisher’s Weekly (1994), his program’s “total guest list ran between 200,000 and 300,000.” and included such names as Frank Sinatra Jr., Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Vincent Price, Howard Stern, Buddy Hackett, — as well as first TV exposure for eventual stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand and Julia Roberts. “It would be easier to list the few who did not appear than to catalogue those who did,” PW says. Franklin started and ended his long show business career in radio. His first job, at 16, was working behind the scenes at WNEW, New York where he became “the record librarian,” (or really “the record picker”) for Martin Block’s popular “Make Believe Ballroom” radio program. Once station management recognized his unique expertise in vaudeville and entertainment trivia, they offered him a 15-minute program dedicated to nostalgia. Eventually that became his calling card and part of the schtick he’d weave into shows, whether radio or television. The self- proclaimed “King of Entertainment” had an encyclopedic knowledge of “all things entertainment” from the first half of the 20th Century: silent films, Broadway stage shows, musicians and singers. With that, he also earned the title the “king of nostalgia.” After his television show ended, Franklin focused on his long-running “Memory Lane” radio program, which ran on WOR on weekend overnights. He’d tell stories about many of the entertainers whose records he would play. In recent years, up until the time of his death, he hosted a weekends-only series of six-minute segments on Bloomberg Radio Network called ‘The Business of Show Business.’ Audio podcasts are still available at Bloomberg.com. Throughout his career, the round-faced, jovial Franklin was commonly called back to television to do guest spots on the big late night and daytime talk shows such as those hosted by Regis Philbin and David Letterman. Considered a good luck charm for the start of a new talk show due to the length of his show’s run, Franklin often kicked off day one of a show – and did so on the first broadcasts of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “This American Life.” Though Franklin may never have wanted to act in movies – like his childhood friend Tony Curtis – he did appear as himself in “Ghostbusters” and “Broadway Danny Rose,” just to name two of the 34 titles that IMDb lists. Franklin was born in 1926 in the Bronx, New York. He met his model/actress wife when she was a secretary and he was “a kid of 24 just doing radio… and we were married on the TV show called ‘Bride and Groom,’” where real-life couples tied the knot after being quizzed about their relationship on national television. Perhaps what sums Joe Franklin up best is his favorite personal quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s even more important to be nice.”
Odds & Sods. Former “Regular Guys” personality Eric Von Haessler begins hosting his “The Von Haessler Doctrine” show on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB, Atlanta airing Sundays at 1:00 pm. Since exiting his “Regular Guys” co-host position at Cumulus Media’s crosstown rock WNNX “96 Rock” in June of 2014, Von Haessler has been doing fill-in work at WSB and podcasting…..Boston sports talk personality Danny Picard launches his new eponymous podcast at the same time he debuts his new website and celebrates the opening of his new studio inside Beantown Athletics in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Picard is a weekend personality on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and is part of the “Patriots Pre-game and Post-Game Live” shows on Comcast SportsNet New England…..Westwood One is announcing some of the details of its Super Bowl programming as the official network radio partner for the National Football League. It will feature a full schedule of game day programming leading up to kickoff. Westwood One’s live game coverage features Kevin Harlan, handling the play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the fifth straight year, and Boomer Esiason, serving as the color analyst. Hall of Famer James Lofton and Mark Malone will once again report from the sidelines. Emmy Award-winning host Jim Gray will anchor the pregame and halftime coverage…..FOX Sports Radio is also on the scene in Glendale, Arizona this week leading up to the Super Bowl. FSRN announces that as part of its continuous coverage “Jay Mohr Sports” news anchor Dan Beyer and J.T. The Brick will broadcast live from radio row while the Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show will broadcast from the DIRECTV Super Fan Festival at the Pendergrast Family Farm in Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District across from Phoenix Stadium. Also, former NFL player Lincoln Kennedy will broadcast a special edition of the network’s Saturday morning program Gargano & Kennedy…..CBS Sports Radio’s plans for coverage of the big game include live-from-Glendale broadcasts all week by the network’s Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and the Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney program.
Talk Radio Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Although an official federal holiday, most talk radio personnel are working today and many are honoring or simply acknowledging the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his work leading the civil rights movement of the 1960s. For example, the first hour of iHeartMedia superstar Sean Hannity’s national radio show is devoted to talking about the historic civil rights leader’s legacy and relevance to today’s headlines. Given the racial tensions brought about by recent high-profile cases involving fatal confrontations between police and African American men, this year’s observance of Dr. King’s birthday is even more relevant than in recent years. Sirius XM Satellite Radio “Urban View” host Karen Hunter says, “Every day I honor the legacy of Dr. King on my show. So every day we do something special to honor him. Today I will be playing snippets from a speech he gave at UCLA in 1965. I will also be talking about Selma. And I have already spoken to someone who marched today in New York to the UN.” African American news/talk hosts have a variety of perspectives on Dr. King. Charles Butler who hosts a daily syndicated show on Genesis Communications Network writes on his daily blog, “Today is the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and since 2008 I have conducted a show called ‘The Other Side of MLK,’ and on this eighth show I added several new perspectives. Dr. King evolved over the period he was actively involved in the civil rights movement…I have a very difficult time listening to people that use the sanitized and domesticated version of Dr. King, ‘my children would be judged by the content of their character…,’ while ignoring his call on America to end racism. Today, the prevalence of black high unemployment, income and health disparity, poor schools and environments, criminalization of black Americans, institutional racism, and systematic undermining of the attainment of the American Dream.” At Salem Communications’ secular news/talk stations, many hosts are devoting a segment or two to Martin Luther King. Salem SVP/spoken word format and Salem Radio Network Phil Boyce tells TALKERS magazine, “‘The Morning Answer’ in Los Angeles [KRLA] presented a great segment discussing the difference in the language and rhetoric of MLK vs the race baiters of today. I think conservative hosts are generally more appreciative of Dr. King now, as we have seen what others have said and done who are attempting to take his place.” Much of the commentary planned by hosts has been designed to specifically address their criticism of “so-called” civil rights leaders who have come after the late Dr. King – described to TALKERS by Cumulus heavyweight host Mark Levin as “people who exploit race by putting forth their own attitudes and wrongly use Dr. King’s good name to back up their own take and self-interests.” WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami afternoon star Joyce Kaufman tells TALKERS, “I will be spending today’s show listening to excerpts of his speeches…asking listeners to weigh in on when and why the relations between the black community and the white community fell apart. Jews, for instance, natural allies, now arch enemies. Black pastors who have stopped preaching the gospel to preserve the first black President’s relationship. Would Dr. King have embraced Kwanzaa? I think not. He was a Baptist preacher.” Westwood One/WYD Media syndicated progressive opinion leader Thom Hartmann reports, “We did three hours on it today. The movie ‘Selma’ was perfectly timed, and clearly demonstrates the importance of citizens’ movements. From the Tea Party pushing Republicans to Occupy pushing Democrats; from John Quincy Adams leading the anti-slavery movement in the House to the Suffrage movement nationwide; from the labor movement (with the Ludlow massacre and the Flint Sit Down Strikes) to the gay rights movement – every time America has moved, it’s moved because of an informed, motivated, and activated populace. And the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest teachers of that in modern times.” Fox News Radio syndicated liberal icon Alan Colmes tells TALKERS, “Today’s news cycle proves how prescient Martin Luther King, Jr. was. King, in his most controversial speech, ‘Beyond Vietnam,’ delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, spoke these words:
‘This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind… I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another (Yes), for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.’”
Colmes concludes, “On our show, we’re are talking about the relationship between the Bible and the Koran, to show that no one religion is superior to another, that there are more similarities than differences, and that tolerance is a key tenet of our republic. That is how we are honoring the legacy of this revolutionary.” Joe Madison of Sirius XM Satellite Radio – consistently one of the most influential thought-leaders in talk radio on the subject of race relations and civil rights — shares, “We aired the results of an essay contest that asked young high school students to assess the political climate in the world today, analyzing the racial challenges that exist and to compare to Dr. King’s life and deeds.” Madison adds, “I actually spoke this morning in Tampa, Florida at the 35 annual Tampa Organization of Black Affairs Breakfast (I was their first speaker 35 years ago). I addressed the three-year gap between the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 and his assassination in 1968. I asked the question: ‘How would talk radio portray Dr. King?’ His last three years on earth, he alienated many of his allies and antagonized his enemies further. He was portrayed as an extremist and an arsonist as he waged war on poverty, racism and militarism. I suspect most talk radio would not be very supportive of Martin Luther King, Jr.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison responds to Madison’s last statement by telling him that “a number of conservative hosts interviewed for this story say they have been increasingly appreciating and respecting Dr. King as the years go by – especially when compared to some of his high-profile successors in the civil rights movement.” Madison fires back, “I wonder which King they respect? Certainly not the MLK that encouraged the redistribution of wealth, affirmative action and voting rights, especially Sections 4 and 5 which were recently struck down by the SCOTUS.”
Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg Sets New Roles for Hendrix, Stone, McLain. Several noteworthy personnel moves take place at Entercom-owned stations in Greenville-Spartanburg, a South Carolina cluster the company refers to as “Entercom Upstate.” For openers, rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” and WROQ “Classic Rock 101.1” operations manager/program director Mark Hendrix takes on additional duties as operations manager for talk WYRD-FM “Word 106.3,” as well as the sports simulcast of WORD-AM and WYRD-AM. He will continue to program WORD-AM and WYRD-AM, both branded as “ESPN Upstate.” He succeeds Bob McLain as OM for “Word 106.3”; however, McLain carries on as the station’s 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent and is named operations manager emeritus. Meanwhile, “Classic Rock 101.1” assistant program director Jay D. Stone is boosted to program director. Stone continues as APD of “The Planet” and maintains his “Classic Rock 101.1” 12:00 noon – 6:00 pm “The Stoneman” on-air shift. According to Entercom Greenville vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi, “Mark Hendrix has done an outstanding job programming ‘Classic Rock 101.1’ and ‘93.3 The Planet/WTPT-FM.’ He has coached ‘The Rise Guys’ on ‘The Planet’ to the top of many key morning demos. Hendrix will build on Bob McLain’s excellent work on ‘Word 106.3,’ developing stimulating local talk. I am also pleased that Bob will continue his very popular show. I am happy Jay D. Stone has been elevated to the well-deserved position of program director at ‘Classic Rock 101.1.’ He is the heart and soul of that station.” Hendrix comments, “I am thankful for the great opportunities that Entercom has afforded me over the years. I look forward to working with our talented staffs to deliver exceptional, locally focused programs to our upstate audiences.” McLain remarks, “Entercom Upstate has given me great opportunities to engage with listeners, discuss controversial and important issues, and establish a thought provoking radio brand.” Stone declares that, “Having the opportunity to head up the legendary call letters of WROQ is a big deal. All I can say is that, after working with the top-shelf staff at Entercom Upstate for the past 12 years, the winning tradition will continue at ‘Classic Rock 101.'” Hendrix has been with the company since August 2001, when he became program director of WTPT. McLain began his career at Winston-Salem’s WTOB. Stone was named music director of “Classic Rock 101.1” in 2003, after holding similar duties at Des Moines classic rocker KGGO.
Marshall’s Multiple Roles with MacDonald Garber. Simultaneous with being named operations director for all MacDonald Garber Broadcasting AM stations, Greg Marshall is appointed general manager for the company’s Cadillac, Michigan cluster. President and chief executive officer Trish MacDonald Garber comments, “Greg’s vast experience with broadcasting and his great passion for it can only contribute to our continued success. As the current acting general manager in Cadillac, I am leaving Greg in capable hands with an upward trajectory that I know he and the team will capitalize on.” Marshall states, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the great staff at the Cadillac stations and the AM radio stations in the company. I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity.” Among the stations in the Cadillac group are hot AC WLXV “Mix 96,” sports WKAD “93.7 FM The Ticket,” and talk WATT “Rush Radio 1240.” Over and above these two new duties, Marshall will continue doing his daily 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm talk show on the company’s WMKT “The Talk Station,” Traverse City-Petoskey, Michigan; the program will soon be simulcast on WATT as well.
Salem Re-Brands Christian Talk WMCA. As had been predicted based upon some recent domain name acquisitions by Salem Communications, Christian talk WMCA, New York – for the past 25 years called “New York’s Christian Talk” – takes on the new slogan “AM 570 The Mission.” The company put together a short video to highlight the charitable work done by the station and its listeners that underscores the reason for taking on the “Mission” moniker. You can view the video here.
Odds & Sods. A report in the Boston Globe by Chad Finn indicates current WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” midday personality Andy Gresh will exit the station soon. He co-hosts the program on the sports talk outlet with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak and hosts the pre- and post-game shows for Patriots football, for which WBZ-FM serves as flagship. Finn reports that Marc Bertrand of the PM drive “Felger and Massarotti” show will join Zolak on the midday show…..CBS RADIO’s Los Angeles all-newser KNX is presenting special programming this week surrounding the State of the Union Address. In addition to airing the address live at 6:00 pm PT, the station will present a special program on Wednesday (1/21) titled, “Healthcare Uncovered,” from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The show will examine “the state of Obamacare as the Affordable Care Act enters its second year,” hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
Bob Wilson: Former Bruins’ Radio Voice Passes. Rabid New England sports fans are known for embracing their professional sports franchises, as well as developing a fondness for those who call the games on radio. For well over two decades – including a 1971 – 1972 Stanley Cup-winning campaign – Bob Wilson was behind the radio microphone for the Boston Bruins. The Arlington, Massachusetts native, who retired in 1995, has passed away. Boston Bruins president – and former Bruins’ star player – Cam Neely comments, “For a generation of New England hockey fans, Bob’s legendary voice was synonymous with the Bruins. He will always be a part of our club’s history. Our thoughts are with [Wilson’s widow] Nancy and their children during this difficult time.” Jack Edwards is the club’s play-by-play announcer on cable television’s NESN and he remarks that Wilson was “my greatest inspiration.” Entercom sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality/NESN Bruins host Dale Arnold states that Wilson was “one of the iconic sports voices of our time. He was a kind and classy gentleman – my hero.”Dave Goucher has been the team’s radio voice the past 15 seasons, but Goucher insists that Wilson “is the radio voice of the Bruins.” In 1987, Wilson received the Foster Hewitt memorial award, earning him a place in the broadcasters’ wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007. Wilson was at the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and the NBA‘s Boston Celtics) nearly four years ago (March 26, 2011) when the Bruins officially named the home radio facility “The Bob Wilson Radio Booth.” Bob Castellon (his real name) was 85.
Your Note to “Radio’s Best Friend” Couldn’t Hurt. One of the genuinely great people in the industry isn’t doing well. Just like giving a bowl of chicken soup to someone with a cold or the flu, sending a get-well wish to Art Vuolo certainly couldn’t hurt, and based on a message he posted today (Sunday, 1/18) on his Facebook page, it might go a long way in boosting the spirits of the man widely-regarded as “Radio’s Best Friend.” Coming off organizing yet another wildly successful Los Angeles radio get together, Vuolo underwent knee replacement surgery this past Tuesday (1/13), but he admits, “I hurt a lot. It is difficult for me to sit up in bed to type these words. Hoping I will feel better soon, but right now, my pain level is elevated. All prayers are welcomed.” One of radio’s greatest ambassadors and a countless times videographer of record, Vuolo is in room #154 of the Maple Manor Rehabilitation Center,31215 Novi Road, Novi, Michigan 48377.
Beasley Broadcast Group Bumps Up Monahan to CRO. Seven-year executive vice president of sales Heather Monahan is elevated to chief revenue officer – a newly created Beasley Broadcast Group position, where she will oversee all sales of BBG’s core radio, digital, and non-traditional revenue opportunities. President and chief operating officer Bruce Beasley remarks, “As the radio broadcasting industry continues to offer a wider variety of ways in which we service advertisers, it became evident that having one person at corporate oversee and coordinate these various facets would be beneficial. Heather has proven her loyalty to Beasley over the years and has further shown us her ability to manage the sales process.” According to Miami resident Monahan, “What most excites me is the opportunity to define a holistic strategy that optimizes and unites our entertainment brands, engaged consumers, and marketing partners. At Beasley, our local market teams strive to create a dynamic local presence through our on-air and digital brands. Our continued evolution enables us to further maximize the collective power of our radio brands and connect consumers with marketing partners in an enhanced and more significant way. I am looking forward to delivering improved results for our partners through this new role.” Before joining Beasley Broadcast Group in 2003 as director of sales for the company’s Fort Myers-Naples cluster, Monahan held general manager and sales manager positions for a number of Michigan and Massachusetts stations. The Worcester native is a graduate of Clark University in that Massachusetts city.
DeRoxtra Joins SRN News. Dallas-Ft Worth news pro Ron DeRoxtra joins the Salem Radio Network as an anchor/reporter in the SRN News Dallas bureau. DeRoxtra has served as a news anchor, editor and producer at a number of broadcast operations including at KVIL, Dallas; KLIV, San Jose and KLIF, Dallas. The move to SRN News reunites DeRoxtra with Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup, who was DeRoxtra’s boss when both worked at KRLD, Dallas in the 1980s. Tradup comments, “Ron is a stellar on-air talent and a solid, award-winning journalist. We are pumped to have him as part of our Dallas bureau and having Ron cover Southwestern stories for SRN News in Washington, as well.”
Delay Arises in Entercom’s Deal to Acquire Lincoln Financial Media Stations. The acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media’s 15 radio stations operating in four markets for $105 million will be delayed as Entercom notes in an 8-K filing with the SEC. The company “voluntarily withdrew its notification and report forms filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended…Entercom notified the DOJ that it intends to resubmit the HSR Filing within two days after the date of withdrawal. Entercom’s resubmission of the HSR Filing will have the effect of providing the FTC and the DOJ an additional 30 days from the date of resubmission to review the transactions contemplated by the Stock Purchase Agreement.” After the deal is consummated, Entercom will take ownership of Atlanta outlets hot AC WSTR and sports talk WQXI; Denver stations country KYGO, rhythmic CHR KQKS, oldies KRWZ, sports talk KEPN and KKFN, and comedy-formatted translator K276FK; San Diego signals alternative KZBT, country KSON and KSOQ, and adult contemporary KIFM; and Miami outlets AC WLYF, classic hits WMXJ, and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM.
Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller Team up for PodcastOne Program. Veteran comics and radio personalities Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller – both of whom already produce podcasts distributed by PodcastOne – are now collaborating on a new podcast for the platform titled, “PO’d with Dennis Miller and Adam Carolla.” The new show will be a one-hour, weekly show that will feature the pair as they “entertain with comedic rants on current events, pop culture and life in general, and invite celebrity friends to join the conversation.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “I’ve worked with both of these guys for years and it’s just great to put the two of them together to do something that’s totally different as a podcast… Excuse me a PO’d cast. They’re both incredibly talented, extremely well-known, each with a huge fan following, and yes, as the title of the show would imply, they’re often po’d about one thing or another. We think this is gonna be the latest big hit coming from PodcastOne and there’s a lot of smiles around the office.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is again being heard on WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on Sunday mornings. Also, current affiliate KIVA, Albuquerque expands its carriage of the program to weeknights…..The Bubba the Love Sponge show is added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s recently acquired country WOTW, Orlando “103.2 The Wolf.” This is the second JVC country station to add the show – it also airs on WTRS, Gainesville “102.3 MyCountry.”…..Talk personality Kevin McCullough reports that his feature, “News That Makes You Think,” has surpassed the 200 affiliate mark and that his eponymous long-form talk show is now heard on WBRG, Lynchburg, Virginia.
Charlie Hebdo Aftermath Top News/Talk Story This Week. Talk about the massacre at Parisian newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the political and social ramifications of the assault were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the related topics of Islamic extremism and the ISIS and Boko Haram violence in Syria and Africa. Coming in at #3 was the ISIS hack of the Pentagon and Centcom social media followed by President Obama’s immigration policy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Deutsch to Portray Daytime Talk Show Host. Premiering later this year, USA Network‘s “soft-scripted” comedy “Donny!” takes a satirical view at the media, wealth, and romance through the life of its lead star – advertising mogul/former host of CNBC‘s “The Big Idea” (2004 – 2008) – Donny Deutsch. Some radio talkers might relate to the character Deutsch portrays, described as a fictionalized version of himself “as a daytime talk show host with all the answers.” Elaborating on the cable television program “Donny!,” USA Network president Chris McCumber comments it is a, “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’-style series, centered on the hyper-imagined real-life of Donny Deutsch. The juxtaposition of how Donny portrays his public and personal life in this series is hilarious. Storylines are a real wink for the viewers, showing that despite anyone’s profile or success, we all deal with the same issues.” Deutsch is chairman of advertising agency Deutsch Inc., and he is a regular on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” USA Network has ordered six episodes of the half-hour show.
Cumulus Names Big John Howell Morning Host at WLS-AM, Chicago. The arrival of longtime Chicago market personality Big John Howell at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago had been rumored for some time and now it becomes official as Howell will assume the morning show duties effective next Monday (1/19). Most recently, Howell was morning host at Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” He also was a jock at CBS RADIO’s country WUSN for many years as well as morning personality on CBS’ WCKG. For seven years he hosted the Westwood One-syndicated “Country Gold” request show. Howell comments, “I’m looking forward to joining WLS-AM. It has been a longtime professional, as well as personal, goal. Growing up in West Michigan and listening to WLS influenced my initial decision to give the radio business a try. Now, all these years later, and on the heels of many WLS broadcast legends, including Larry Lujack and Don Wade, it is truly an honor and a privilege. I’m also looking forward to sharing the WLS airwaves with Steve Dahl, who taught all of us to ignore management and hate disco.” Howell takes over for the team of Dan Proft and Bruce Wolf.
Roe Conn to PM Drive at WGN, Chicago. There’s no official word from Tribune Media on this…yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former longtime WLS-AM afternoon host Roe Conn will take over the afternoon drive show on WGN, Chicago from Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – both of whom have been in the post since last May. Conn even appeared on WGN’s Steve Cochran show this morning (1/12), but chatted about issues and there was no mention of his joining the station. The hiring of Leff and Snyder was part of the makeover of the station orchestrated by president Jimmy de Castro. Feder reports that it’s expected that Leff and Snyder will stay on in some capacity.
Dr. Laurie Roth Show Joins USA Radio Networks. As part of a series of program rollouts, the USA Radio Networks announces Dr. Laurie Roth becomes part of the syndicated lineup, airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET effective February 2. USA Radio Networks describes the show as an “issues-driven program known to tackle politics, crime and corruption. Dr. Roth often visits with survivors and family members affected by crimes and conspiracies. How do they survive and come back after losing a family member, being smeared or a being a victim of crime in some way? Listeners learn the answers to such questions. Roth says, “I expose the bad guys, stand for the good guys and don’t get caught in-between.” Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA’a parent company – Cross Platform Media Group – and he comments, “Dr. Roth covers the issues driving the conversation in America like no other radio host. Her life experience brings a realness to the radio that, sadly, is uncommon in the network industry. She is a welcome breath of fresh air.” Recently, USA Radio Networks announced the launch of new shows including “AMERICA CONTINUES with Jim Sharpe,” and the syndication of the Steve Deace show, “DAYBREAK USA with Angie Austin,” and the hourly USA Radio News.
Brooks Promoted at WTMJ, Milwaukee. At the Journal Broadcast Group-owned news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee, Eric Brooks is upped to assistant program director. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Eric has grown tremendously as a leader at WTMJ. As producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,’ Eric has helped the program leapfrog into the top news/talk position with both listeners 6+ and 25-54. Eric has also deftly handled many day-to-day responsibilities in the programming department in his role as executive producer of WTMJ programming.” Brooks joined WTMJ in 2011 as a news anchor and producer before being elevated to executive producer, WTMJ programming in 2013.
Odds & Sods. This Friday (1/16), New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella will sit in for morning drive personality Harry Hurley on Townsquare Media’s Atlantic City, New Jersey news/talker WPGG…..Here’s an interesting show, now available to radio stations across the country that draws on Americans’ interest in the Old West: Dakota Livesay’s “Chronicle of the Old West.” It’s both a three-and-a-half minute show delivered five days per week and a weekly, one-hour show that features friends, authors and experts who chat with host Livesay about this romanticized period of American history. Check out OldWestRadio.com…..The WYD Media-syndicated “Huckabee Report” with Mike Huckabee and the Stephanie Miller program are both joining the lineup at CRN Digital Talk Radio. CRN states that “The Huckabee Report” will air throughout the day on CRN effective today (1/12) and CRN 4 channel will broadcast encore presentations of the Stephanie Miller show Tuesday through Saturday, beginning January 13.
Talk Pro Tom Becka Does ‘Friday Night Live.’ Longtime Omaha (not to mention Kansas City and Fargo) talk radio personality Tom Becka rhetorically asks TALKERS magazine, “What does a talk show host do when he’s on the beach? He keeps talking…” And that’s what you see in this photo. Recently let go from KOIL, Omaha in a cost-cutting move, Becka reports on his latest venture – a live version of the Tom Becka Radio Show. He says, “We set up a stage at a local watering hole, charged admission, and did an interactive audience participation show just like it was on the radio. A sold-out crowd came to talk about the hot issues of the day with ‘Honesty, Integrity, and a Sense of Humor.’ It was spirited, entertaining, and profitable. I used social media and my daily podcasts to promote the event and it turned out great. I’ll be doing these on a regular basis.” Becka can be reached at: 402-321-9590 or via Tom@TomBecka.com.
Remembering Nick (Bazoo) Ferrara. Word and condolences spread throughout social media on Saturday, January 10 about the passing of noted CHR programmer Nick Ferrara. Conspicuously absent though were specific details of when, where, or even if Ferrara had indeed passed. The Harrison County (Mississippi) coroner though has unfortunately confirmed that 59-year-old Gulfport resident Ferrara was killed Friday (1/9) in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 10. According to officials, Ferrara was not wearing a seatbelt while driving his 2013 Honda Accord sedan; he died at the scene from blunt-force trauma. According to a report in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald, police responded at 6:05 pm to a report of a crash with injuries. Ferrara’s car apparently rear-ended another vehicle. The Gulfport Fire Department and American Medical Response were at the crash scene. Eerily, a Friday Facebook posting ostensibly made by Ferrara – known to many from his earlier top 40 programming days as Nick Bazoo indicated simply that at approximately 5:30 pm, he was at Biloxi’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The previous day (Thursday, 1/8), Ferrara made 17 original Facebook posts. Tony Gray had the most succinct – yet possibly the most powerful comment on Ferrara’s home page, with the noted consultant simply writing, “B-97 New Orleans.” Specifically, WEZB “B-97” is the New Orleans station (then owned by EZ Communications) at which operations manager Ferrara (Bazoo) rose to prominence in the early-1980s. He was famously linked to that Louisiana metro. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver though first met Ferrara in Mill Valley, California in 1984. “He was coming in to flip KMEL from rock to top 40,” Silver recalls. “He and Keith Naftalyhad the vision – I was in the right place to help them as well. Heaven is full of great program directors who touched us all – God rest your soul.” Media Monitors music manager Anita Bonita writes, “Godspeed Mr. Bazoo – you will be missed.” Renowned talk radio consultant Valerie Geller is “so sorry to hear this news – RIP.” According to Giant Records vice president Jean Johnson, Ferrara was, “The consummate Facebook poster. I shared many of your hilarious posts. Rest in peace Mr. Bazoo – taken way too soon.” Legendary voiceover/imaging talent Howard Hoffman sums it up perfectly by stating, “This hurts. Selfless, strong, and just a real honor to work with you, Nick. One of the best field marshals ever and you deserved so much better. I am glad you knew that before leaving us way too soon. Godspeed, friend – thanks for everything.” Longtime industry executive Rob Sisco laments, “Oh my dear sweet Bazoo. I am so profoundly sad to hear this news. You were one of the true good guys. I am proud and honored to have called you friend. You will be missed forever. Rest in peace, Nick.” Former New Orleans programmer Pat Matthews recalls, “Met you when you were just 18 and starting out at WIXO. A funny, talented, caring guy – wow, this is so unbelievable.” Veteran programmer Joel Burke remarks, “You were one of the smartest radio people I knew and had such a contagious laugh – RIP.” Consultant Dan Vallie comments, “Good man – good heart. Rest in peace my friend. Heaven is going to enjoy your sense of humor and big smile.” Yet another twist: A “Life Event” posted on Ferrara’s Facebook page less than two weeks ago – New Year’s Eve (12/31) – states he “started working at retired.” Commencing in 2001 and lasting approximately through 2013, Ferrara was an operations manager in State College, Pennsylvania at Forever Broadcasting and then doing similar duties at cross-town Results Radio (2006 – 2013). In addition to WEZB “B-97,” Ferrara (Bazoo) held the operations manager title at several other New Orleans outlets, including WLMG, WLTS, and WWL. In the mid- and late-1980s, he spent time in California as an OM for KMEL, San Francisco and then Gannett Broadcasting‘s properties in San Diego. Sandwiched between those stops was a two-year stint as operations manager in Pittsburgh for EZ’s WBZZ “B-94.” Information is not yet available regarding Ferrara’s funeral arrangements.
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — Nothing is more important to the future of radio than finding and developing distinctive, appealing and enduring on-air personalities. Predicting a prospective air talent’s ability to attract and hold a substantial audience is far from an exact science. I know. I’ve been doing it for a living for nearly 30 years.
My “ear” and batting average for predicting success have improved greatly over time. I’ve developed an informed sense of what it takes to make it on the radio. The result of creating the Authentic Personality method, working with some of the best – Rush Limbaugh, Kidd Kraddick, Jeff of Jeff and Jer, Johnny Vaughan – and worst talent in radio as well as constantly studying gifted artists – songwriters, authors, screenwriters, and creators of TV shows.
Bubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM. Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM. The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format. Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta. The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings. Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM. Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.
Howie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard. The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication. The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19. Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager. Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland. The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others. Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue. There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor. Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity. If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”
Boston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show. The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here). The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX. Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience. This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy. We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.” WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.
WLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft. Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues. (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)
Former WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content. As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014. Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand. The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday. Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive. Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.” Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.
Seven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand. Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including: KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012. Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election. This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand. We needed something more, and this works.”
‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App. Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps. The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.” Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives. Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them. We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”
Odds & Sods. Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel. Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” daily commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.” Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida. Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.
St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.
2015 International CES; What Next? Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media. “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives. More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras. When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful. When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.” Read more here.
Sabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015. From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
iHeartMedia to Sell Towers to Vertical Bridge for $400 Million. The press release from iHeartMedia says the deal is for select tower assets and it doesn’t go on to list which towers that includes, but suffice it to say, the company is using the deal to bring in a cash infusion of $400 million and prepare for the day when it may no longer need the towers to transmit AM/FM signals. Admittedly, that day may be down the road a ways but it might be a good start to reducing the expense of the real estate and tower maintenance. iHeartMedia will still have to pay lease fees for the transmitters and it reminds investors that will incur an expense. iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler states, “This is a great example of how we continue to optimize our balance sheet and maximize liquidity — and how we continually review our entire portfolio of assets to ensure we operate them in the most efficient way possible and invest our resources in the highest return opportunities.” The companies expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2015.
Station Snapshot: WMAL, Washington. The conventional wisdom from (mostly non-radio-industry) pundits is that the news/talk format is dead – or on life support, depending on to whom you speak – and that talk radio practitioners should just call it a career and go home. But there are news/talk stations across the country doing well (quite a few, in fact) and Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington is one that has consistently improved its performance in Nielsen’s PPM ratings over the past year. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian profiles the heritage talk outlet that operates in the most political city in the country. Read his story here.
Boston Radio Icon Carr Adds New Bedford Affiliate. Boston-based regional talk show host Howie Carr has added another station to his quickly-growing independent afternoon drive network. WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts joined the program as the newest affiliate earlier this week bringing the affiliate total of his new independent network to 16 covering most key population centers in New England. Carr tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled about adding WBSM to the program,” adding, “I’m looking forward to connecting with my fans in New Bedford-Fall River and to making many new ones.” Michael Rock, OM of Townsquare Media-owned WBSM (which throws a strong signal into the Providence market) remarks, “We are so excited to welcome a New England Radio legend like Howie Carr to “The New 1420 WBSM’s lineup. Howie’s a blue collar guy who is unapologetic about watching out for people who work and pay taxes. He’s certainly going to rattle some cages here in New Bedford…and we’ll love every minute of it!” One of the things that makes the new Howie Carr Radio Network notable is it is proving that a regional talk network built around a major personality can be extremely effective. The program airs weekdays 3:00 -7:00 pm ET. There is also a “Best Of” program for weekend use, and is delivered on XDS via Westwood One. Interested affiliates can contact Kathy Carr at 781-249-0102 for more information.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh news/talk outlet WJAS adds Fox News Radio to its programming lineup airing news reports on the hour and half hour. The station is also airing the company’s Fox Business reports…..iHeartMedia will program to Spanish-speaking hoops fans this season as the company will broadcast eight Atlanta Hawks games in Spanish on the company’s regional Mexican WBZY “105.3 El Patron.” Station talent Jose Manuel Flores will provide the play-by-play…..iHeartMedia San Antonio announces it raised $291,430 for the Elf Louise Christmas Project from the December 5-6 radiothon. The Elf Louise Christmas Project was founded in 1969 by Louise Locker, and is a non-profit organization staffed completely by volunteers to ensure children in San Antonio can have a merry Christmas. WOAI program director Brian Gann comments, “The response during this year’s radiothon was remarkable. Listeners, local businesses and city leaders all stepped up to give families all over San Antonio a Christmas to remember.”…..Bonneville‘s KIRO-FM, Seattle “Radio 97.3 FM,” is hosting the 26th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today (12/11) 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. The past two years, the “KIRO Radio Foster Child Holiday Magic Program” has raised more than $500,000 each year through listener donation and sponsor matching funds.
TalkersTV Presents Tribute to Voices that Radio Will Miss in 2015. What started out as a simple social media video project created by consultant Holland Cooke has been picked up by TalkersTV as a special year-end presentation honoring some of the unforgettable voices that passed on to that great broadcast studio in the sky in 2014. Cooke tells TALKERS, “Radio is about storytelling… and these people were such stories unto themselves. What we do next stands on their broad shoulders.” TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “There is an elegant simplicity in the way these powerful video vignettes were produced. Parts are silent with text and images; some employ potent sound bites that touch the soul. We are so pleased that this sweet production found an appropriate home on our platform this holiday season.” To view, please click on the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of this website.
CIA Torture Report, Police Killings Protests, Government Shutdown Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Looming Lima Climate Talks, Sinking Oil Prices, and Marvin Lewis ‘Midget’ Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). The political battle over the veracity of the CIA torture report released this week; the aftermath of the police killings protests that have taken place across the country; the issue of a possible government shutdown; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the climate change talks scheduled for Lima, Peru; sinking oil prices and the effect at the pumps; and the flap over Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis’ calling Johnny Manziel a “ midget,” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Betsy Morgan Succeeds Chris Balfe as CEO at TheBlaze. The departure of Chris Balfe from his CEO post at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze ends a 12-year relationship between Balfe and Beck. Glenn Beck says in a press release, “Chris Balfe has been my friend and the CEO of Mercury Radio Arts for 12 years. He will be an incredibly hard act to follow. Under Chris’ watchful eye we have done things that no group of people our size has ever done, things that people thought were impossible. And I think that under the leadership of our new CEO, Betsy Morgan, we will continue to prove that there is another way and we’ll confound the skeptics again.” Morgan moves up from her president and chief strategy officer position. Morgan joined TheBlaze from The Huffington Post where she served as CEO. Prior to joining HuffPo, Morgan was senior vice president for CBS Interactive and the general manager of CBSNews.com, where she was in charge of the network’s 24-hour broadband, on-demand news service. The press statement notes that Balfe helped Beck transform a “two-person company into a 300-person, multi-media business with a television network with more than 80 operators and hundreds of thousands of subscribers, a website with over 30 million unique visitors per month, a top-20-ranked audio streaming network, the third-highest rated radio show in the country and a book division that published more than 15 bestsellers.”
WVNN, Huntsville Personality Dale Jackson Stages ‘Die-In’ Protest. Morning drive personality (and WVNN program director) Dale Jackson writes on his blog that he didn’t think the police would allow him to block traffic in Huntsville in a “protest” of the recent student protest on the same city street. In short, Jackson (pictured here lying on the street holding a sign that reads: “Police Lives Matter” and “The Truth Matters”) was surprised when he not only wasn’t told he couldn’t hold his one-man protest, but even more so when a large number of police cars turned up to escort him to the site and block traffic during his brief protest. Read Jackson’s explanation for the stunt and see more pictures of it here.
USRN Begins Distributing ‘Something You Should Know.’ The long-running radio feature “Something You Should Know” is being distributed by United Stations Radio Networks. Radio pro Mike Carruthers hosts the program that is produced by his own Strand Media and “provides both radio stations and listeners with informational content that host Mike Carruthers describes as ‘wisdom and advice for life.’ The feature was started on one radio station in 1980 and after moving into syndication has grown to a substantial national network of features heard on roughly 140 radio stations all across the nation.”
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for WSYR, Syracuse morning host Joe Galuski this week through the 19th is talk radio personality Mark Wainwright…..A changing of the guard is taking place at Bloomberg News with John Micklethwait – formerly editor-in-chief at The Economist – taking over the same role at Bloomberg as Matthew Winkler steps down…..For the second year in a row, The Motley Fool (producer of the “Motley Fool Money” radio show) is named the #1 place to work in the small/medium business category by Glassdoor. In case you were wondering, Google takes the #1 spot for large companies.
Flint Radio Newsman Les Root Dead at 75. Flint, Michigan radio news icon Les Root died on Monday, December 8 in Fenton, Michigan after a brief illness. Root was the news director at WFDF-AM, Flint from 1970 until the station was sold in 2002. He then worked for Cumulus Media’s Flint operations until his position was eliminated in 2009 and he retired. Root worked in radio news for his entire 53-year career. In a story published at MLive.com, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton (who worked for Root as a young man) said, “He was like the local version of Walter Cronkite…We used to call him the dean of Mid-Michigan newsmen — a real pro. He was a throwback news guy who would make all the calls to police and fire departments in the morning, write his own news, edit the wire, and put together a newscast on the hour and the half-hour.” Read the MLive.com obit here.
Police Killings Protests, Gruber Testifies Before Congress, CIA Torture Report, Government Shutdown, and Rolling Stone Rape Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The continuing protests taking place around the country in response to non-indictments of police accused of killing unarmed blacks; Jonathan Gruber’s testimony before Congress about the Affordable Care Act; the release of a report investigating the CIA’s methods of interrogation; the work by Congress to avoid a government shutdown; and the backlash over the UVA rape story published by Rolling Stone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I read the news today…oh boy. ‘Tis the season, and every day brings news of new firings. It’s brutal. Fridays are fearful for everyone but the guy who sells cardboard boxes. And there’ll be more. Cutbacks that come in January are by kinder companies who at least spared the doomed a blue Christmas.
As you can imagine, I hear, quickly, from displaced program directors, and I always take their calls. Heck, they always took mine. Local on-air talent has been getting whacked all along, automated into oblivion. As that’s been happening, PDs survived by adding host duties to their repertoire…until now. The job once titled “Program Director” became “Operations Manager” as additional stations were dumped-into his/her lap; then “Brand Manager” when even-more-duties-for-no-more-pay were reported as promotions in the trade press. Now, The Big Companies are splicing-out that entire middle management layer.
Salem Announces Corporate Structure Changes. With the retirement of Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson at the end of this year, Salem Communications announces some corporate changes that begin with its consolidating the radio and network divisions into one. Dave Santrella moves from president of the Radio Division to president of Broadcast Media, adding to his radio division responsibilities the oversight of the Salem Radio Network, SMR/VMR Rep Firm, and a variety of digital assets. Phil Boyce, currently VP, director spoken word formats is promoted to SVP, Salem Radio Network and spoken word formats. In this new role, Boyce will be in charge of all program and revenue aspects of Salem’s news and news/talk networks including its five network talk hosts, the Janet Mefford show, and SRN News. Boyce will continue to work with other aspects of Salem’s spoken word formats, most notably as a program consultant for national ministries. Boyce will continue to oversee Salem’s New York operations as well. Santrella says of Boyce, “Phil has proven to be a tremendous and versatile leader. He’s been an enormous help to our national ministries and an invaluable consultant to our talk network. Putting Phil over our news and news talk network puts him in his sweet spot and I am thrilled to have him steering this important aspect of our broadcast business.” Other radio division changes include: Allen Power and Linnae Young taking on new roles as senior vice presidents dividing up the oversight of other operational vice presidents, as well as departmental managers in ministry relations, digital and business-formatted radio properties. Terry Fahy is promoted to an operational vice president role overseeing most of the company’s stations west of Phoenix. Other operational vice presidents including Brian Taylor, John Peroyea, David Ruleman and Mike Moran, all pick up additional station responsibilities. On the network side, Mike Reed and Mike Miller are promoted to senior vice presidents as well, with Reed taking on additional responsibilities in the Dallas office’s network operations and Miller expanding his role in the network’s music space.
iHeartMedia Tweaks Talk Programming on New KFXR, Dallas. The Dallas-market talk station KFXR is dropping the “DFW 1190” brand and is going with “Talk Radio 1190” as it moves away from the business talk and brokered programming to air other iHeartMedia content on the signal. So far, the new programming schedule will include the Russ Martin show from sister rocker KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” from 7:00 am to 11:00 am (a rerun of the previous afternoon’s program); KTRH, Houston-based Michael Berry for the 5:00 am hour and from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and KPRC, Houston-based Matt Patrick from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Forrest Goodman Named Host at ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ in Memphis. Well-known Memphis radio personality Forrest Goodman is the new morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s WKIM, Memphis “Newstalk FM 98.9.” Goodman is working alongside Steve Butler on the program. Goodman is working in his 16th season on the radio broadcasts of Memphis Tigers football and basketball play-by-play broadcasts. He has worked in the market as program director at crosstown WREC and was a talk host on the station, as well. Cumulus Media corporate program director, news talk Randall Bloomquist states, “Forrest Goodman is a gifted broadcaster and a fixture on the Memphis radio and sports scenes. Adding him to the ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ roster is a real coup and bolsters the station’s position as the voice of Memphis.” Goodman adds, “I’m so pleased to be back on the air. This is my home and ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ has great talent. I get a chance to work again with Ben Ferguson and Andrew Clarksenior, two guys I have worked with before who are real pros.”
Chase Named Ruby Radio’s VP/Programming. After a 22-year gig programming iHeartMedia’s Las Vegas adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5,” Tom Chase becomes Ruby Radio‘s vice president of programming. Ruby Radio president and chief executive officer Ken Sutherland comments, “We have worked together three times in the past and Tom Chase is an outstanding programmer. I have a very high regard for his skills – both as a solid strategic and operational program director – and as a strong department manager.” Chase remarks that he likes “the texture and presentation” of the Ruby-owned stations. “I grew up in a small community in Idaho, so I can relate to the size of these towns. Ruby Radio has found ways to make these stations sound like they are in much bigger markets, without sacrificing the ‘home town feel’ of community involvement that you need for success.” Chase will oversee Elko, Nevada hot AC KHIX “Mix 96.7”; KBGZ “Big Country 103.9”; and talk KZBI, as well as Winnemucca, Nevada hot AC KHYX “Mix 102.7” and K232BK “Big Country 94.3.” He begins his new duties next month.
Odds & Sods. A partnership between Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago and the hyperlocal site DNAInfo.com means WGN listeners will hear the neighborhood news organization’s reports twice daily – during the 8:00 am hour and the 3:00 pm hour – delivered by DNAInfo’s Jon Hansen. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports WGN vice president of content and programming Todd Manley says, “I’m a huge fan of what they’re doing at DNAinfo, and I’m thrilled about our agreement.”…..With the departure of Howie Carr from WRKO to crosstown “WMEX 1510 Boston” after his contract expired last week, Entercom is filling the afternoon drive slot with talk radio pro Mike Siegel in the interim…..Julie Boruchov is promoted to vice president, sports sales and marketing, East Coast for Westwood One‘s network sales division. She has been serving as director, sports sales, East Coast.
‘Commercial Real Estate Show’ Expands to 40 Stations. The Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” hosted by Michael Bull (pictured here) is now heard on 40 stations across the country. The program debuted on WAFS, Atlanta four years ago and has grown to its current affiliate roster. Bull says that the program “provides investors, and corporate and institutional investors, advisors and occupiers of commercial real estate, a source for valuable information and best practices. The forecasts, sector updates and market intelligence intrigue a vast audience of people looking for ideas, advice and fresh talk radio content.” A press statement from the program notes that “one of the factors adding listener interest is the relative ease someone can now invest in commercial real estate through crowd funding. For just over a year now, the Jobs Act has allowed sponsors of real estate investments to advertise for investors. Through a growing number of real estate crowd funding websites, accredited investors can easily invest small amounts of money in large commercial real estate deals.” The syndicated program is a weekly one-hour show.
Gordon Smith to Receive 2015 Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is announcing NAB president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will be honored with the 2015 Golden Mike Award at the organization’s black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 23. BFoA chairman Philip Lombardo says, “Gordon’s accomplishments for broadcasters are widely recognized across our profession. But perhaps many are not aware of Gordon’s tireless efforts on behalf of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help our colleagues in need. Gordon’s influence has raised awareness of the Foundation’s charitable mission, and his commitment to helping those in our business who need it most has been admirable. We are honored to have Gordon on our Board and to recognize his dedication to our purpose with the 2015 Golden Mike Award.”
Like Mother, Like Daughter. The Los Angeles Times reports that Shout! Factory is releasing all 142 episodes of the original classic television sitcom “The Phil Silvers Show” (originally titled, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” and known to fans as “Sgt. Bilko”) on DVD. The series ran on the CBS Television Network between 1955 and 1959. The multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom, set at a fictional army post in Kansas, cast Silvers as Master Sgt. Ernie Bilko, who happened to be the post’s ace con man. Bilko’s love interest in the story (shown in the photo at left with Silvers) is a character named Sgt. Joan Hogan portrayed by the beautiful actress Elisabeth Fraser. If the late female star looks somewhat familiar to those of you who follow talk radio it is because her daughter Meg McDonald (right) of the syndicated GCN talk show team Brent & Meg is clearly a chip off the old block. Brent & Meg air daily between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm ET and were recently cleared at Townsquare Media’s WPGG, Atlantic City.
KSEV, Houston Owner Dan Patrick Wins Texas Lieutenant Governor Seat. Staunch conservative Dan Patrick – a sitting Texas state senator – won the race for lieutenant governor in that state in Tuesday’s election. In addition to politics, Patrick is well known to conservative radio audiences in the Houston area as a talk radio personality and station owner. He owns and operates news/talk outlet KSEV. Patrick gains a powerful seat in the Texas political structure as the lieutenant governor oversees the state senate and sets the agenda for that body.
‘Free Talk Live’ Celebrates 10 Years in Syndication. The one-time Florida-based, libertarian-themed talk show hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge celebrates 10 years in national syndication. Writing from the show’s home base in New Hampshire, Freeman gives a shout out to Genesis Communications Network and owner Ted Anderson, saying, “‘Free Talk Live’ quickly became the most-carried show on their multiple networks, gaining more radio affiliates than their longtime, most-carried program, Alex Jones. In that time, GCN has grown and become a respected industry player. They are one of the few independent networks still standing and are now home to Dr. Joy Browne, Mancow, Doug Stephan, Dr. Daliah, and more.” Freeman says the show – which began in the Tampa market in 2002 and went national in 2004 – now has more than 160 affiliate stations. “‘Free Talk Live’ has always been a small business operation. I handled affiliate relations alone for almost the whole first decade and my co-host Mark Edge handled sales. We’ve since expanded to add a salesman and another affiliate relations guy, who are both on-air as co-hosts on different days of the week. Finally, I’m grateful for our listeners and advertisers. We continue to broadcast the show live seven-days-per week on-air and online. The show has zero debt and is growing in affiliations. Thank you again for your help making this possible.”
Technical: An Introduction to Dynamics. Nationally syndicated “Freedom Feens” host Michael W. Dean offers a primer on dynamics as it relates to setting up a home or remote studio for a talk show. If, like Dean, you operate from a remote location and you don’t have the luxury of a broadcast engineer on your staff, getting the best sound possible for your talk show takes a little bit of know-how. Dean writes that the use of an outboard device to make sure the “quiet parts aren’t too quiet, and the loud parts aren’t too loud,” is necessary but certainly not cost-prohibitive. Getting the right setting on the right piece of hardware is also important and Dean walks you through the steps. Check out his tutorial here.
Odds & Sods. At the Lincoln Financial Media station group in Denver, Sean Brennan is named local sales manager for KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN “1600 The Zone.” This is a return to LFM Denver as Brennan served as sports marketing executive for the stations for seven years. Most recently, he was VP of sales and sports marketing director for Front Range Sports Network. LFM Denver SVP and general manager Bob Call says, “I am excited to get Sean back in the building to lead our local sales efforts for sports. He is amazingly creative, has an outstanding relationship with our key business partners and possesses an unwavering passion for sports talk radio.”…..After four seasons with crosstown KESN, Dallas serving as flagship station, the MLB’s Texas Rangers return to CBS RADIO for the 2015 campaign as radio play-by-play will air on KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan.” The company inks a multi-year deal with the club that includes live pre- and post-game shows as well as Rangers-themed daily programming featuring interviews with players, coaches and front office personnel.
Good Citizens. The dynamic husband/wife talk radio team of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) took time from their busy schedule to exercise their duties as good citizens and vote in the most unlikely of places – an automobile showroom! It turns out the polling place for their Studio City, California district was the Century West BMW dealership in Universal City. The couple’s midday show syndicated by GCN has just been cleared by WPGG, Atlantic City to air live weekdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET which is particularly exciting to Brent Seltzer who grew up in the shadow of that station’s tower. The seasoned veteran tells TALKERS, “There is something very special about being on the radio in the town where you grew up. Meg and I are thrilled to be on such a great station and have the opportunity to be part of PD Chris Coleman’s wonderful team.” Brent & Meg are pictured beaming by a Beamer with their ballots.
Mid-Term Elections, 2016 Presidential Hopefuls, Domestic Ebola Cases, Navy Seals-bin Laden Killing Secrecy Issue, Battle Against ISIS, and Lena Dunham Book Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). Election day and the majority change in the U.S. Senate, minimum wage, and marijuana legalization ballot questions; looking ahead to the 2016 presidential race and the field of potential candidates; the domestic Ebola cases and the threat of a global pandemic; the quarrel among Navy Seals over the soon-to-be-aired movies detailing the killing of Osama bin Laden and the unit’s pledge of secrecy and humility; the ongoing battle against ISIS in Iraq; and the controversy over sexually explicit parts of actress and author Lena Dunham’s recent book were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. WOR, New York seeks New York Mets pre- and post-game show host. iHeart Media, Inc. is the world’s largest radio and outdoor advertising company with leading market positions in each of its two business segments; Media & Entertainment and Outdoor. iHeart Media is also one of the most innovative media players in the market – a leader in the converging media space, having developed best-in-class integrated media offers (e.g Radio/Web) and having built significant positions in the HD arena. We are on the hunt for a superstar with talent. The successful candidate will have the proven ability to host pre- and post-game sports shows (including, but not limited to, live and recorded on-field interviews with players and coaches ) as well as play-by-play game coverage. Candidate should have an understanding of sports, news/talk and general radio programming principles. Candidate should have a strong knowledge of baseball particularly.
Ideal candidate must possess:
• Minimum of 3 years on-air pre- and post-game, sports talk and play-by-play experience
• Candidate would need to travel to all away New York Mets baseball games
• Be social media savvy
• Have a deep knowledge of FCC rules and regulations
• Have the ability to think clearly and quickly under pressure situations
• Be able to work well with your producer
• Must possess strong writing skills
• Exercise self-discipline and time-management skills
• Ability to work well and in a professional under pressure and tight deadlines
• Enjoy being promotionally active with listeners and clients
To apply, go directly onto our website, www.iheartmedia.com and submit your resume to “New York Mets Pre- and Post-Game Show Host” for WOR 710AM. No calls, please. iHeart Media is an equal opportunity employer and will not tolerate discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, marital status, veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected classification or status.
By Gabe Barnes
Director, Business Development
But hear me out first.
I am not saying that if you do not embrace mobile, your station might cease to exist. I am saying that if you don’t embrace mobile, your station WILL CEASE TO EXIST as you know it.
The general population is quickly consuming the majority of its audio content through various digital platforms, and with mobile providing 24/7 access, users are looking at a traditional broadcast’s digital offering and measuring how it stack ups against the competition.
Boyce: Talk Radio Is NOT Dying. In a new opinion piece posted today in TALKERS, Salem Communications VP/director, spoken word format and operations VP, New York region, Phil Boyce, answers the steady stream of critics who claim that news/talk radio is gasping its last gulp of air. He writes, “They seem to come out of the woodwork these days. Most of them never understood talk radio, and why it got so big. Some of them have their own personal dislikes about the format, and now that there are rumors of our death, they relish in it. I have seen more reasons for this than I can shake a stick at, and NONE of it makes sense to me.” Boyce takes issue with the findings of the recently released report from Bridge Research (originally exclusively published in TALKERS on10/15) stating that listeners are fatigued by the repetitive nature of today’s media news cycle and talk radio’s response to it. Boyce also answers a widely disseminated blog by a political science professor in Human Events claiming talk radio is dying because of “conservative greed” and takes a shot at Nielsen’s ongoing exclusion of online numbers when tallying radio audience figures, an omission that is particularly detrimental to news/talk. To read Phil Boyce’s entire piece, please click here.
Dave Ramsey Delivers in Seattle. This photo shows nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey heading out onto the stage at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on October 16 where he presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event. For this presentation, Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage to talk about winning with money, strengthening marriages and leading children with confidence. The day before, Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” along with speakers Chris Hogan and Christy Wright. That presentation focused on how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 team members. Local affiliate KTTH partnered with Ramsey to promote the events. Station program director Jason Antebi says, “Whenever Dave comes to town, people get excited – from the listeners to the station’s staff. Not only does he provide great inspiration and insight to listener’s lives through his show and top-notch events, his team offers some great tips we can impart to our sellers. Can’t Dave just move to Western Washington?”
Salem Stations Hold Listener Rallies in Advance of Elections. Three of the conservative news/talk stations owned by Salem Communications are holding listener rallies in the weeks leading up to the November 4 elections. On October 18, KSKY, Dallas “660 AM The Answer” welcomes Premiere Networks syndicated star Sean Hannity who joins local hosts Mark Davis and Jon David Wells to a sold-out event where potential 2016 presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz will appear. On October 19 in Glendale, California KRLA “AM 870 The Answer” is presenting “Town Hall 2014” featuring the “Morning Answer” team of Brian Whitman, Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss, along with Salem Radio Network national hosts Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. Townhall.com columnist Katie Pavlich will also be in attendance. Then on October 24 and 25, WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” presents an event featuring local host and former congressman Joe Walsh, morning team John Howell and Amy Jacobson, Sean Hannity, potential presidential candidate Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, author and speaker Mark Steyn, and Radio America syndicated personality Dana Loesch. Sean Hannity comments, “It’s always a blast to see our listeners face-to-face and feel their excitement as we move into the final stretch of this important election season.” Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “All of our news/talkers have been all over this election season for months and these events will help them capitalize on the enthusiasm and interest in three of our largest markets. It’s just another thing we do to stay connected to the community.”
Odds & Sods. At the CBS RADIO cluster in Chicago, the company promotes Ashley Fields from her director of marketing position at sports talk WSCR to marketing director of all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and WSCR. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the addition of Cubs broadcasts on WBBM-AM beginning next season means a new focus on sports programming for the all-newser. Feder reports Fields will also “oversee integrated marketing and non-tradition revenue efforts for Cubs baseball and Bears football on WBBM Newsradio and White Sox baseball on ‘The Score.’”…..SiriusXM personality Joe Madison is one of a number of DC VIPs being honored in Washington on Sunday, October 26 at “No Permission Needed 2014” – the 10th anniversary celebration and afternoon of fine art by M. Gasby Brown. The event pays tribute to Detroit natives who’ve “lived, worked and played in Washington, DC.” WPGC, Washington news anchor Guy Lambert is serving as master of ceremonies for the celebration…..Former WQAM, Miami evening personality Kevin Rogers is now handling weekend news anchor duties for iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WIOD. During his time with Beasley Broadcast Group, Rogers also was studio host for the Florida Panthers Radio Network…..Angie Austin is the new host of “Daybreak USA,” syndicated by Ten Syndication and IRN-USA Radio Network. She most recently was a personality at Crawford Broadcasting-owned religious stations KLTT and KLVZ in Denver.
Bob & Tom Debut Customized Football Songs. The first affiliate to get a Bob & Tom customized football song is iHeartMedia-owned classic rock WOFX, Cincinnati “Fox 92.5.” The Westwood One-syndicated morning show duo is creating the songs for affiliates in markets with college or pro football teams. The song for WOFX promotes the Bob & Tom show while getting listeners pumped for the next Bengals matchup. Sample the Cincinnati Bengals song, “Who Dey,”
Ebola Pandemic Threat Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 13-17. The growing threat of an Ebola pandemic along with associated topics including criticism of the CDC, the Obama Administration’s response and questions about travel restrictions combined to be the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 on the Talkers TenTM was the battle against ISIS. Following at #3 was the looming mid-term elections and chatter about the possibility of a majority change in the House and at #4 was Florida’s Charlie Crist–Rick Scott debate flap. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Doug Stephan and WYD Media Management Partner for Syndication. The new relationship between nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan and Ron Hartenbaum’s WYM Media Management means WYM begins handling affiliate sales for Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” morning show and it will oversee the national launch of “Good Day Weekend,” a three-hour show that will be available for broadcast any time, every weekend. The two partners say the new show will feature “segments and stories in real time, discussing the week’s breaking news with lively interviews of newsmakers and plenty of advice and fun commentary.” Doug Stephan comments, “Ron and his talented team bring a level of professionalism and credibility that will surely take ‘Good Day’ to unprecedented levels. I’m looking forward to working with such a wonderful partner.”
The Village Voice Names Geraldo Best AM Radio Host in NYC. The iconic New York paper is out with its 2014 Best Of Awards and WABC late morning personality Geraldo Rivera takes the Best AM Radio Personality Award. The paper writes, in part, “Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say. The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards like Bill O’Reilly, which he often does on that toad’s own show with style and red-faced grace.” Check out the full story here.
Full Service FM Signal Begins Serving Muskegon, Michigan. The programming at WFFR, Muskegon, Michigan is a blend of talk and music that launched on Monday, October 13 as a non-profit station operated by Shoreline Broadcasting. Local radio pros – including Andy O’Riley, Bill Marshall and Matt Hendricks – are serving as on-air personalities. According to MLive.com, the station is branding itself, “The Official Radio Station of Muskegon County.” The station is playing music – mostly classic rock – when it’s not airing spoken-word content. O’Riley, who is also serving as the station’s general manager, says on the station’s website, “Our focus will be on making sure that our role as a community asset will be appreciated and used often. Yes, we need to make a living but we also need to be the voice of a community.”
Farm Journal Broadcast to Debut Digital Platform. From Farm Journal Broadcast comes a digital mobile radio service called, “My Farm Radio.” The company says that the new digital effort is set to debut on November 3 and will focus on providing a mix of best-in-class news, weather and markets along with entertaining and informative conversation for America’s farmers and ranchers. It will feature both a live stream and on-demand content. Farm Journal Media SVP of broadcast Brian Conrady says, “All the latest research indicates that for a growing number of farmers and ranchers, mobile devices are rapidly becoming the go-to choice for news and information. While this totally new offering will be a first for agriculture, we expect our audience – and clients – will quickly associate ‘My Farm Radio’ as the Pandora-type app for agriculture.” My Farm Radio will launch with the full portfolio of programs and reports from Farm Journal Media, including “AgriTalk,” “Market Rally,” and “American Countryside.” In addition, the company will be approaching potential programmers to make their shows or reports available on the app, or even own their own channel on the platform.
Big Radio Brings Back Heritage WBEL Calls to Beloit, Wisconsin Station. The Scott Thompson-operated Big Radio company announces a change of call letters as WTJK, Beloit is now WBEL-AM – the calls it originally signed on with in 1948. Thompson says, “The future of AM1380 is in its past…For years, it was the powerhouse radio station not only for Beloit, but for the entire Rock River Valley in both Wisconsin and Illinois. Because it is a full-time 5,000 watt radio station, we intend to bring it back to its glory days. Local news, weather and high school sports together with local, real, non-satellite personalities will air from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Now with the addition of WGEZ in Beloit, Big Radio will be able to broadcast on both WBEL and WGEZ from their studios in downtown Beloit.” The WGEZ purchase from Alliance Communications is expected to be approved by the FCC by the end of the year. At the same time, the company announces that Ben Thompson (son of Scott), is named general manager of WGEZ and market manager for Janesville/Beloit. Ben Thompson has been with Magnetar Capital, an Evanston, Illinois-based hedge fund, since graduating from DePaul University in finance and accounting. He will be moving to Beloit and starting effective December 1, 2014.
U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat, the Battle Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Hong Kong Protests, Financial Markets Activity, and MBL Playoffs and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The case of the second Texas hospital worker to become infected with Ebola and the threat of a pandemic; the coalition battle against ISIS and controversy over the U.S. and Turkish military relationship; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential election; the protests in Hong Kong and China’s response to the matter; the dip in U.S. stocks and the activity in the global financial markets; and the MLB playoffs and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TV’s “Bones” Episode Takes Shot at Conservative News/Talk Radio. The cry keeps emanating from the media world and beyond. “Radio is dying or is already dead!” Particularly AM talk radio. Then a question comes to mind. If the format is dead then why does a prime time, long-running, TV hour crime drama devote the theme of one of its shows to the murder of an AM radio conservative, talk show host? Did any of you watch this past Thursday night’s (10/9) episode of “Bones?” It was titled, “The Purging of the Pundit.” If you haven’t ever seen the program, the theme of the entire series is simply about a female scientist who appraises the remains of murder victims and partners with her FBI agent husband to solve the crimes. In this particular episode the victim was an AM radio conservative talk show host who was named “Hutch.” They also portrayed him as overweight and, for a little extra spice and color, a sadomasochist in the thrall of a dominatrix. In an opinion piece posted today (10/13) in TALKERS, H&H Communications president and radio marketing maven Al Herskovitz writes, “Unless I’m suffering from serious paranoia, most of the elements including the name, with some slight exceptions, minor exaggerations and a few twists, strike me as a barely-veiled description of someone in our business with whom we all are familiar. It’s hard to believe the medium — AM radio — troubles the TV producers to that degree. The only logical conclusion is they object to the talk host’s political positions and find this a way to use their program to get out their message while still keeping it under the umbrella of entertainment. Or perhaps, they are simply trying to appeal to what they assume are the predisposed beliefs of their target viewership and shamelessly illustrating (and amplifying) a nasty caricature based on a stereotype. There are numerous conclusions for us that can be drawn from this. But here’s one really important one. Don’t sell short your format. Talk radio continues to make major impact on our society. Obviously it has some TV producers concerned.” To read Herskovitz’s entire article, please click here.
Greenville Remembers Russ Cassell. Entercom Greenville, South Carolina-owned WYRD “WORD 106.3” 8:00 am – 12:00 noon talk show host Russ Cassell passed away over the weekend. The 60-year-old Cassell reportedly suffered a massive heart attack at his home Saturday morning (10/11) and could not be revived; he had been with WYRD the past 20 years. Entercom Greenville vice president and general manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “The passing of Russ Cassell is a sad day for his family, our Entercom family, and his listeners. His passion was his radio program on ‘WORD 106.3.’ Cassell was a well-respected professional. He was a radio giant and it is difficult to express how much he will be missed.” Operations manager Bob McLain remarks, “There are some radio personalities who are larger than life – that was Cassell. He was passionate about what he believed, and he was dedicated to keeping people informed. He was a brilliant and very talented radio host and a personal friend. His loss will be greatly felt by all of us in the ‘WORD’ family, those who worked with him, and those who listened to him.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news and talk programming Tom Tradup oversees programming on Greenville’s WGTK and states of Cassell, “He was a tough competitor, but beloved throughout the upstate of South Carolina. All of us at ‘Conservative Talk 94.5′ have Russ’ family and Entercom colleagues in our prayers.” One listener comments on the station’s website that, “Russ Cassell was famous for saying ‘Know what you believe and why you believe it.'” Another writes, “His convictions were strong, but his compassion for humanity was stronger.” WFBC AM & FM, Greenville hired Cassell in December 1980 to do afternoons and color analysis for Clemson University football broadcasts. Six months later, he was promoted to morning drive. Cassell eventually became program director, music director, sales manager, and station manager. McLain hosted a WYRD memorial show for Cassell Saturday (10/11) at 6:00 pm. The station will continue paying tribute to Cassell all this week during what was his customary 8:00 am – 12:00 noon air-shift.
Nielsen Knew of TV Ratings Errors. In a story, which at the very least, is bound to raise some eyebrows in the radio industry, Nielsen last Friday (10/10) acknowledged that it had been reporting inaccurate television ratings for the last seven months. In a Friday conference call with reporters, however, Nielsen executives Pat McDonough and Steve Hasker downplayed viewer discrepancies, saying they fell between .1% – .25% of viewing totals. They repeatedly indicated incorrect ratings fell “well within the tolerance of statistical error.” Nielsen said it discovered a software flaw and traced it back to March. Inaccuracies, of course, could affect billions of advertising dollars based on the research company’s rating stats. WPP‘s GroupM is the world’s largest media buying group. A managing partner in charge of research there, Lyle Schwartz, tells The New York Times, “You look at Nielsen as the gold standard for currency. When you introduce these errors on systems that were working fine in the past, you start looking at the numbers a little bit closer to see if there is anything else occurring that we haven’t identified yet.” Nielsen execs say any changes in numbers or program rankings would be corrected when the company issues new TV ratings today (Monday, 10/13).
PPM Analysis: News. In several thorough breakouts, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian scrutinizes Nielsen Audio September PPM data for all-news outlets. Follow each news station’s trends for the last six monthly ratings sweeps and see how the format fares in terms of market share and market rank (6+). In addition, each all-news outlet’s year-to-year, as well as month-to-month performance is tracked. Mike Kinosian’s entire analysis can be viewed by clicking here.
SAG-AFTRA’s White Gains Four-Year Extension. SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White received a four-year contract extension yesterday (Sunday, 10/12). White comments, “This job presents new challenges every day and I am thrilled to continue in my role at SAG-AFTRA. It is an honor to represent SAG-AFTRA members and I look forward to continuing the great work we have accomplished to date.” Along with union president Ken Howard, White was a lead negotiator on the recent primetime television and feature film deal. White was a candidate for a similar position with the National Basketball Association this spring.
Will You Wear My Pin? One of the most dynamic broadcasters association presidents in America, New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) president Paul Rotella appoints noted presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin an honorary NJBA member. Seen here Rotella is pinning the coveted NJBA membership pin on Goodwin during a reception following her recent lecture at the New Jersey City University in Jersey City, and Paul’s mom, Jean Rotella, looks on along with NJ Chamber’s Ray Zardetto. The lecture series is a part of New Jersey’s year-long 350th birthday celebration.
Decatur’s WSOY Sets Benchmark Accomplishment. Although the stated goal of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois’ 12-hour “Community Food Drive” was 825,000 pounds of food,the Neuhoff Media talker looked to have the 13th annual event reach an even loftier, unanticipated objective of one million pounds. The event’s host – and one of its co-creators – Brian Byers admits, “I worry each year if we can make our set goal. Each year, I am grateful that we can reach what we set, but once I heard that we had a shot to hit one million [pounds], I knew we had to get there. It would not have sat well with me all year knowing we got so close [without reaching] it. We set high goals for ourselves. It is not the size of the community that should dictate what we can or cannot do – it is the generosity of the people. What we have in Decatur is unmatched anywhere.” The Salvation Army is one of the drive’s largest beneficiaries and three-year captain Wes Dalberg comments, “We see an increase in traffic through the Salvation Army each year, yet somehow, this community comes together and raises more and more donations – it really is amazing.” The WSOY food drive wrapped up last Friday (10/10) at 6:30 pm with 1,039,593 pounds of food as the final (record-setting) total. Monetary donations matched nearly one-third of what was collected during the combined sum of the station’s previous 12 food drives.
A Visit to Historic Ithaca. Well-known CBS Radio news correspondent Peter King (not to be confused with the sports guy) recently visited Cayuga Radio Group Ithaca, New York affiliate WHCU AM & FM. The station is included in “Ithaca Radio,” King’s just-published book he co-authored with his brother Rick Sommers. “Ithaca Radio” (Arcadia Publishing) contains many historical photographs from four legendary stations, including a 1940’s-era shot of legendary CBS News correspondent Edward R. Murrow at a WHCU microphone. Left to right are WHCU news director Greg Fry, co-author Rick Sommers, King, and WHCU morning host Lee Rayburn.
Ten “Giants of Broadcasting” Honorees Announced. The Library of American Broadcasting‘s 12th annual “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts” event will be held this Thursday (10/16). Honorees include Spanish Broadcasting System founder and chairman Pablo Raul Alarcon Sr.; SBS president Raul Alarcon Jr.; television producer/director David Barrett; “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor and co-managing director Gwen Ifill; talk show icon Regis Philbin; longtime New York City television anchor Chuck Scarborough; noted television programmer Fred Silverman; Greater Media chairman and chief executive officer Peter Smyth; a special tribute to Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver; and “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor and co-managing director Judy Woodruff. Hubbard Radio president Virginia Hubbard Morris chairs the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, which created the Library of American Broadcasting – located at the University of Maryland. Donald West chairs the Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards program.
Venison for Dinner. During the week, Lars Larson is a mild-mannered conservative talk show host on the air six hours a day on two shows. One is heard regionally in the Northwest on a network of 17 affiliates emanating from Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland; the other is nationally syndicated across the country on more than 100 affiliates by Compass Media Networks. On the weekends, Larson morphs into a rugged outdoorsman, taking on the untamed forests and natural wilderness of Eastern Oregon, braving encounters with wild beasts, and hunting for food to feed his family. This photo was taken this Saturday morning (10/11) as the proud champion of the Second Amendment displays his latest conquest felled at 450 yards with a Nosler rifle and .270 wsm shell.
Indefinite Extension Proposed to LPTV Digital Deadline. The FCC last Friday (10/10) released a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the issue of analog low power and translator TV stations. The Commission suggests extending indefinitely the present September 1, 2015 deadline for those stations to switch to digital transmission. Broadening the cut-off date would give new life for Channel 6 analog television stations that basically function as FMs, given that channel 6 audio is receivable on FM (at 87.75). The docket – open for comment 30 days after publication in the Federal Register – proposes LPTV and translator channel-sharing in the manner being proposed for full-power digital stations; creation of a new digital-to-digital replacement translator service; and elimination of the analog tuner requirement.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Before all the firings radio has suffered since, it might’ve seemed overstated when – four years ago — I wrote here: “tough decisions are being made, in meetings you’re not invited to. Possibly in meetings your boss is not invited to.”
My column then declared that, “if you’re in radio, you’re in sales;” and offered tips for improving the endorsement spots that only local personalities can deliver, and other ways to become a more conspicuous contributor to your station’s revenue. ICYMI: http://www.radio-info.com/2012/11/02/now-that-youre-in-sales/
Cutbacks since then – and, likely, still to come – only underline the need for on-air talent to be as sales-supportive as possible, if not actually carrying a list. To that end, this guidance about writing effective commercial copy, a task talent is often better-at than station reps, whose time is better spent pounding the pavement.