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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.”
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.
NAB/RAB Radio Show & RAIN Summit coverage by consultant Holland Cooke
INDIANAPOLIS — An advertiser on one of my client stations recently asked, “Aren’t you guys worried about SiriusXM?” With Pandora and iTunes and satellite radio and podcasting now competing for attention and ad dollars, it’s not hard for AM/FM radio to feel surrounded. Yet, “despite a constantly changing audio landscape, broadcast radio controls more than half of the more than four hours a day that Americans spend with all sources of audio,” according to Edison Research.
You may have read about Edison’s recently-fielded “Share of Ear” study, billed as first-ever measurement of all audio consumption. Topline numbers initially released:
Radio Roundup from Indy. Media consultant Holland Cooke is on the ground in Indianapolis reporting from the 2014 Radio Show. The three-day convention produced by the NAB and the RAB begins today but plenty was happening yesterday at the RAIN Summit. Some of the news from Indy includes: Nielsen Audio’s Jeff Wender swearing that measuring digital is the company’s biggest priority; RAIN’s Kurt Hanson explaining the problems with HD Radio and why online radio is about six years away from catching up with AM/FM in terms of listenership; and Podcast One’s Norm Pattiz declaring that “there’s no showbiz in radio anymore!” To read Holland Cook’s complete report, click here.
KFWB, Los Angeles Brings Safety Aboard. Coming to the new sports talk outlet from his most recent post as vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Clippers is Joe Safety. The station announces that the veteran sports broadcasting and communications executive will serve as director of strategic initiatives and partnerships for KFWB 980. KFWB Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Joe and the depth of sports experience he brings to us. His skill sets, relationships and incomparable knowledge of the LA market will help us deliver unique programming to our listeners.”
MLB Baseball Continues to Give Boost to Most Flagship Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his third analysis of the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time based on August PPM data. Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team is performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past five PPM surveys, compared to July 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
Wayne Power to Host Mornings on WKZO, Kalamazoo. Show business pro Wayne Powers is named morning drive host at Midwest Communications news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo. Effective October 13, Powers replaces current morning host Jim McKinney who remains with the station to host the 5:00 pm show “Everything Kalamazoo at 5.” Powers’ career in show business includes playing roles on such TV shows as “Laverne & Shirley,” “Simon & Simon,” “Doogie Howser,” “Full House,” “Murder She Wrote” and many others. He also starred in the popular sitcom, “13 East,” on NBC for two seasons. Powers’ voicework includes nationally recognized characters as “Budman” for Budweiser and the voice of “Wayne,” the talking crow on the popular Windex TV commercials for over 13 years. He’s also an accomplished jazz vocalist. Most recently, Powers has been hosting shows in Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Current morning show news anchor Andrew Green and producer Tim Abramowski will continue to be a part of the show. WKZO brand manager Jeremy Lawrence comments, “Building a winning, local team is what we have been focused on and the addition of Wayne Powers will allow us to get even more local. He is an interesting guy that people will love listening to. In addition, I couldn’t be more excited about what Jim will be doing weekdays at 5:00 pm. Jim is someone everyone in the area knows and I know they will enjoy hearing from him in this new role.”
Michael Harrison: “The Key to Attracting Millennials to Talk Radio is to Target Smart Young People in Need of Help.” Addressing the recent quarterly meeting of the trade publication’s editorial board at which the subject of lowering talk radio demos was being discussed, TALKERS magazine founder Michael Harrison stated that the way to create spoken word radio to attract the massive generation coming of age is to not talk down to them or pander to entertaining them with lowest common denominator programming, but rather “aim high, be smart, and most important, be helpful.” According to Harrison (who originally earned industry prominence in the 70s as a pioneer in programming for what was then referred to as the youth culture), “The gigantic Millennial generation is full of millions of absolutely brilliant young adults who are germinating a fresh point of view to the problems of society and are plugged into the technology and culture of the times. But they are in desperate need of help in actualizing these characteristics… and that is the key, we must help them!” Harrison elaborates, “They need help coping with an increasingly dangerous and stressful world – and that’s just for starters. They need guidance, advice and answers to the massive, seemingly-insurmountable problems they face economically, socially and even spiritually… they need to be encouraged and inspired.” Harrison continues, “This does not mean talk show hosts have to be young and pandering – at least not young for young’s sake… they must be wise and credible. You would be amazed how young people of all generations throughout history will turn their trust over to an older adult who speaks their language – but with the perspective of wisdom – and, most important, an older adult who empathizes with their challenges and plight.” Harrison drives home the point, “We must throw these kids a rope – a lifeline – and pull them out of the emotional and financial quicksand of living in their parents’ basements with nothing but a bleak future looming ahead.” The 48 year industry veteran sums it up – “Most importantly, we must not talk down to these emerging ‘natives’ of the 21st century. Do not pigeonhole them as having attention deficit disorder, simplistic consciousness and frivolous concerns. The Millennials are the ones who have triggered the TV binge watching craze and are attracted to complex multi-season television programs with multiple story arcs and complicated characters. We mustn’t allow TV to be more intelligent or hipper than radio. And don’t believe that they have completely given up on AM and FM. They have only largely given up on these platforms’ programming. They are masters of consumer technology and electronics. If the word got out that there was programming on AM and FM that can help them escape their way out of the murky darkness of this era, they’d rediscover traditional radio in a nano-second… at least the smart ones… and I assure you there are enough smart ones out there to give us a sizable young audience.”
Cohen Joins Cumulus DC as DOS. Washington, DC media pro Beth Cohen is named director of sales at Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC cluster for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM and CHR WRQX “All the Hits 107.3.” Cohen comes to Cumulus from Clear Channel’s crosstown operations where she was GSM for rock WWDC “DC101” and CHR WITH “Hot 99.5.”
Westwood One Adds Two to Affiliate Sales Staff. Saying that the move comes as it continues to boost its programming and station partnerships, Westwood One announces the addition of Tim Closson and Todd Alan to is affiliate sales team. Tim Closson will develop and manage Westwood One country radio syndication partnerships for “NASH Nights Live with Shawn Parr,” “Kickin’ It with Kix Brooks Overnights,” the newly announced NASH Icons, “American Country Countdown,” Lia, “Big Time with Whitney Allen,” “Country Weekly AM/PM,” “Country Gold with Randy Owen” and “Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton.” He’ll also help to affiliate Westwood One Sports products, including CBS Sports Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Todd Alan returns to Westwood One after serving as VP, affiliate sales and programming at Focus 360. He will work closely with stations and affiliating various entertainment shows and services, including the Bob & Tom show, “Pop Crush Hosted by Billy Bush,” “Nights Live with Adam Bomb,” “Flashback,” “Backtrax USA hosted by Kid Kelly,” “The Daly Download with Carson Daly,” “The Weekend Countdown with Billy Bush,” and prep services.
WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Check Presented. WEEI, Boston staffers are pictured here at Fenway Park prior to a Red Sox game helping present the ceremonial check from this year’s “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation” which raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The two-day broadcast took place on August 19 and 20. During the 13 years the radio-telethon has been taking place, more than $37 million has been raised for adult and pediatric cancer care and research at the institute. Pictured here are (from left to right): Sox co-owner Tom Werner, Entercom market manager Phil Zachary, WEEI program director Kevin Graham, WEEI and WEEI Network executive producer Joe Zarbano, NESN’s Sean McGrail, Arbella Insurance Foundation’s Beverly Tangvik, and The Jimmy Fund’s Suzanne Fountain.
Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation Aids Officer’s Fiance. After two Charleston, South Carolina County deputy officers were shot – one succumbing to his wounds – while responding to a disturbance, syndicated radio host Bubba the Love Sponge’s foundation responded by sending $10,000 overnight to Rhianne Hearn, the fiance of Deputy Joe Matuskovic. Bubba told listeners to his affiliate stations, “My foundation’s mission is to immediately offer financial relief for the families of fallen officers and deputies in our syndicated markets.” His show is heard on LM Communications’ “98Rock,” WYBB-FM. He also announced there will be a “Bikes for Badges” charity motorcycle ride set for October 4, 2014, with details to be announced WYBB. All funds above and beyond $10,000 will go directly to Rhianne Hearn.
President Obama’s ISIS Press Conference, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Ray Rice Case, Bruce Levenson Racism Controversy, Scotland-U.K. Referendum, and Apple Announces New Products Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). The United States’ ISIS policy and President Obama’s Wednesday press conference on the matter; predictions about the looming mid-term elections and prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the NFL’s indefinite suspension of Ray Rice and talk about domestic violence in America; the controversy over Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson’s decision to sell his interest in the team after admitting sending a racially tinged email; the referendum that could see Scotland leave the UK; and the new products unveiled by Apple yesterday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Suspends Hank Bauer for One Broadcast. After making an anti-Semitic joke during the San Diego Chargers-San Francisco 49ers pre-season game, Clear Channel is suspending radio color man and former Charger Hank Bauer for the final pre-season game tomorrow evening. Chargers play-by-play airs on CC’s rock KIOZ and sports KLSD. During the broadcast, noting that fans in the expensive seats were leaving the game early, Bauer’s partner Josh Lewin said he would stay for the entire game if he had those seats. Bauer then quipped, “But then again you know how copper wire was invented? Somebody dropped a penny between Josh and his family member.” Bauer later posted an apology on Twitter, stating, “I made a hurtful insinuation that I regret and I would like to express how sorry I am. My poor choice of words were unfortunately open for negative interpretation, please know it was never my intention to offend any of my listeners. I hope you accept my apology.”
Paul Ryan to Guest Host Sean Hannity Show August 28. In a rare example of a sitting member of Congress occupying the host chair for Sean Hannity on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio show, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) – and former vice presidential candidate – will serve as guest host Thursday, August 28. Premiere Networks says in a statement that Ryan will “weigh in on ISIS, the Ferguson tragedy, slain American journalist James Foley, and why Burger King should move to Canada.”
Chad Doing Joins KGMZ, San Francisco. After years at Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM, Portland, sports talk personality Chad Doing is lined up to become part of the air staff at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game.” The station isn’t announcing a specific role for Doing yet, but station PD Jason Barrett comments, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Chad on to our team. When you listen to Chad host a talk show, you can’t help but notice his passion, honesty and high energy. He comes across as a genuine guy who truly loves sports but more importantly, you sense that he loves to connect with his audience. I’m looking forward to getting Chad settled in and utilizing his abilities to help grow our radio station in the future.”
Clay Travis to Exit WGFX-FM, Nashville. After failing to come to terms on a contract renewal, Clay Travis will exit the “3HL” show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville after tomorrow’s program. The show will continue with Blaine Bishop and Brent Dougherty. Travis writes on his Fox Sports Outkick the Coverage blog that he wanted to remain with the station but that corporate would only approve a $5,000 raise. He’ll continue to write for Outkick the Coverage and appear on Fox Sports TV.
Deal for Statesboro, Georgia Stations Closes. According to the Statesboro Herald, the $600,000 deal that has six stations in the market changing hands has closed. Neal Ardman is operating Radio Statesboro, Inc. and will acquire the stations from Georgia Eagle Media. That company will retain ownership of the towers which will be leased to Radio Statesboro. The stations include: adult contemporary WPMX-FM “Eagle 102.9,” country WHKN, news/talk WMCD-FM, classic rock WZBX, news/talk WWNS and sports talk WPTB. According to the story, the formats on WWNS and WPTB will flip in the near future and Radio Statesboro plans to drop classic rock on WZBX and go CHR.
Radio Show Sets “Magic of Radio” Session. Renowned programmer/WCBS-FM, New York wakeup talent Scott Shannon, Cumulus Media syndicated morning drivers Bob (Kevoian) & Tom (Griswold), and Westwood One consumer expert Clark Howard will discuss ways that their fellow on-air personalities can effectively impact listeners in a positive manner. The four noted talents will share their opinions at next month’s (9/10 – 12) Radio Show in Indianapolis in a Gary Berkowitz-moderated session, “The Magic – Radio’s Storytellers.” Also on the agenda is the (Friday) 9/12 “Programming Masters Series,” which addresses the effect of the multi-platform media environment on radio programmers. Panelists will include Marilu Henner; ABC News Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones; Howard Cogan (the voice of Jack-FM); Kane; and HOCO Productions and The Blaze Radio Network vice president of programming Dom Theodore. The Radio Show is produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
Michael Brown Death Aftermath, American ISIS Fighter Killed, U.S. Military Policy in Iraq and Syria, Mid-Term Elections, Obama Climate Change Deal, Lois Lerner Emails Controversy, and IMF’s Lagarde Under Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/26). The aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown; the death of American Douglas MacArthur McCain killed in Syria while fighting for ISIS; the Obama Administration’s military policy in Iraq and Syria; the looming mid-term elections; President Obama’s reported plan to skirt the U.S. Senate for a global climate change treaty; new information about the status of Lois Lerner’s IRS emails; and investigation of IMF chief Christine Lagarde on fraud charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity
And it’s a question broadcasters need to answer BEFORE bad things happen…because bad things tend to happen at the worst possible time.
Like 3:20 a.m. Pacific Time this past Sunday…when the earth in and around Napa County, California shook like it hadn’t shaken in almost 25 years.
At 3:20 am at most stations outside the largest markets – and even at some of the bigs, too – the programming likely is automated, or live via satellite. If anyone actually IS home, they are likely to be the lowest-paid, least-experienced people on the payroll.
And that’s OK…we’ve all been there.
Local Radio Responds to Napa Earthquake. The most severe earthquake to hit Northern California in 25 years registered a 6.0 and was centered in Napa, California on Sunday morning. Local media responded and – although knocked off the air for about 30 minutes — Wine Country Broadcasting’s news/talk KVON, Napa (and sister hot AC KVYN, St. Helena) did return to the air to serve the region. Farther south in San Francisco, sources tell TALKERS magazine that local television went wall-to-wall with its coverage. As for radio, KSFO weekend personality Ethan Bearman says that competition KCBS-AM covered it “like a quality news network” while sister news/talk KGO covered the event and took calls until San Francisco 49ers football began. Bearman says, “I had my producer, Leigh Wolf, toss aside what we had planned. We started the show interviewing a rep from PG&E about power and gas in Napa, took a couple of callers, then interviewed Ross Stein, a geophysicist from the USGS about earthquakes and this one in particular. We had more callers sharing stories, then an interview with CHP officer Daniel Hill about safety and road closures, followed by more callers sharing stories. We also interviewed Yountville councillor Richard Hall about the damage in his town up the road from Napa, then many more callers.” Bearman tells TALKERS that what KSFO was able to do was use its two-way nature to do what TV couldn’t. “TV doesn’t provide more than a 10-minute loop. Straight news on KCBS-AM is just talking to the listener while we provided that human contact, that outlet of expression, that connection with others. It was really powerful and received a lot of positive feedback.”
Beck’s TheBlaze Negotiated with CNN for HLN Partnership. But, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal by Keach Hagey, the two sides could not come to an agreement on terms. Hagey’s report states that CNN executives recently held talks with agents from Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze about a partnership that would change the programming on the struggling HLN channel that would have seen TheBlaze content replace the current shows on HLN. It’s being reported that CNN is in talks with Vice Media about a similar partnership. The WSJ reports that HLN’s total viewership has declined 22% for the season to date, and dipped 19% in the 18 to 49 demo, based on Nielsen numbers.
KFWB Accelerates Talk-to Sports Transition. Los Angeles talker KFWB was expected to conduct its transition to all-sports early next month; however, this past Sunday at midnight, CBS Sports Radio Network programming took over the 980 AM dial position. Word quickly spread and there was plenty of activity/reaction on social media. Included in the commentary are two classy postings from people who have worked at KFWB. On-air talent Lisa Osborne writes on her Facebook page: “It is KFWB’s last weekday as a news/talk station – format flip next week to all sports. Tune in if you can today to this heritage news station. If you grew up in LA, you can sing the jingle – that is what everyone does when they find out I work here. I’ve worked with some real pros here including: Penny Griego, Phil Hulett, Bret Lewis, Rhonda Kramer, Ken Jeffries, Elaine Perkins, Bill Nesbitt, Paul Lowe, Michael Shappee, Maggie McKay, Philip Luther Nash, Michael Knight, Russ Spears, Donna Page, Andy Ludlum, Joe Guimond, Cyndee Maxwell, and plenty more. Iconic Los Angeles traffic reporter Kramer comments, that she was “only 26 years old” when she began reporting traffic on the station. “It has always been home and I have worked with some of the most talented individuals in the news broadcast business. It has been an honor to work with pros like Dan Avey, Charlie Brailer, Don Hurbert, Bob Howard, John Brooks Jack Popejoy, Judy Ford, Andy Ludlum, and most recently, Maggie McKay, Michael Shappee, Lisa Osborne, Penny Griego and Phil Hulett. Working here has been extremely rewarding, affording me the opportunity to win 18 Golden Mikes. I am proud of my work on KFWB and have made friends here who will be in my life forever. I wish nothing but the best for the new sports format. Thanks KFWB for the wonderful memories. You will always be a part of me.” Quite a few industry personnel who did not work at the station were partisans. “I was your biggest fan,” New Normal entrepreneur/talk host Tom Leykis writes. “Seriously. I grew up in New York listening to ’1010 WINS.’ When I came to live in LA in the 1980s, KFWB, clearly modeled after WINS, became my new best friend…As a lifelong radio guy, I wanted to let you all know that, for me, you all were the best.” On one hand, advanced timing of the format flip is a bit of a surprise, yet on the other, there is considerable logic to it. The station has already secured a program director – Owen Murphy (from Seattle) – and it has cleared CBS Sports Radio programming. That lineup includes a well-known local quantity, Jim Rome, who will be heard 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. One more major piece to be added though is a locally originated morning show, which will likely debut in two weeks (Monday, 9/8). A format change was practically inevitable, as the station’s 6+ PPM shares thus far in calendar year 2014 have topped out at .3 (January, February, and May) and included .2 showings in March, April, June, and July. KFWB’s July ranking was #42. One year ago (July 2013), it ranked #39 (.5), still significantly lower from its all-news days. It actually would be ironic (or perhaps purposefully intended) if a morning show is installed September 8, as that will mark the five-year anniversary KFWB switched from all-news to all-talk. When CBS Corporation acquired KCAL-TV, Los Angeles (Channel 9) in 2002 (to go along with KCBS-TV Channel 2), it put them over the limit of radio and television properties in the same market. Three years ago, CBS Radio placed KFWB into a Diane Sutter-headed trust, under the name The KFWB Asset Trust. Director of news programming at CBS Radio Los Angeles’ all-news KNX – and formerly (and simultaneously) holding that same title for KFWB – Andy Ludlum posts on his Facebook page, “After 46 years of delivering news to the people of Southern California, the news watch has stopped for KFWB. I have been fortunate to have spent the past 25 years of my life working there with some of the most talented people to ever open a microphone or write a news story.” Ludlum posted the photo above showing the final minute of the final full newscast with Maggie McKay (right), Ted Sobel (center), and Michael Knight (left).
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Re-Brands; Tweaks Programming. The Bonneville news/talk station announces it is re-branding at the same time it is making programming changes and unveiling its new website designed specifically for mobile users. The station is now “KTAR News…on 92.3 FM and KTAR.com.” Bonneville Phoenix market manager Scott Sutherland states, “This re-brand and website re-launch lets the community know that our commitment to live and local news has never been stronger. And it also signals that KTAR News is a multi-platform media brand that distributes audio news and talk show content on FM Radio, KTAR.com and the KTAR App, as well as written, audio and video story content online across all devices.” Programming changes include more news content in middays with “Arizona’s Noon News and Karie Dozer” (from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) and an earlier start (2:00 pm) for afternoon drive team Mac and Gaydos. Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch comments, “Our ‘mobile-first’ design will deliver a powerful, multi-media user experience on smartphones, where our online audience continues to migrate. Using the very latest technologies, the site also seamlessly adapts to tablets and desktops to deliver the same quality experience across all platforms.”
NRG Media, Woodward in Four-Station Transaction. The price for the latest NRG Media purchase – the quartet of Woodward Communications facilities in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa – is $3.55 million. NRG Media chief executive officer Mary Quass is “delighted to have the opportunity” to add the stations to her company’s platform. “We continue to look for great radio properties that are located in the Midwest and are an integral part of the communities they serve,” she comments. “Regarding NRG, Woodward Communications president and chief executive officer Tom Woodward states, “It is a well-known, community-oriented radio broadcast company with a great Midwestern culture and presence. Our strategic plans and related growth goals positioned the sale of the Waterloo properties. We salute the loyal, talented and dedicated staff we were fortunate to work with. We will continue to operate, grow and enhance our award-winning, seven-station radio group in the Appleton-Green Bay, Wisconsin markets which we’ve owned since the late-1970s.” The deal is for KFMW “Rock 108″; KOKZ “Iowa’s Classic Hits”; KWLO “1330 ESPN“; and KXEL “Iowa’s News & Talk Station.” Woodward Communications has operated these outlets the past two years. Prior to that, Bahakel Broadcasting owned KXEL for 54 years (1958 – 2012); it owned the other three from 1996 – 2012.
Found: WLS-AM’s “Next Talk Star.” If you wonder where the next generation of talk radio personalities is coming from, the answer might be professional wrestling. John Chase Gregoles (pictured here) emerges as the winner of WLS-AM, Chicago’s “Next Talk Star” competition and the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin resident is a day trader who has a background in … sports entertainment. This represents the Cumulus Media-owned talk station’s third such promotion, with WLS-AM program director/operations manager Peter Bolger pointing out, “Our last two winners are still on the air with a weekend show and occasional fill-in. It is certainly possible we will be as fortunate with this year’s winner. What the finalists had to say about talk radio and the passion they have for it was instructive and extremely energizing.” Gregoles comments that he “wants to broaden the audience of talk radio.” Wannabes submitted auditions via the station’s website. WLS-AM narrowed the submissions to 10 semifinalists; the top five were then determined by online voting. Bolger; WLS-AM’s (9:00 am – 11:00 am) Kass & Cohn co-host Lauren Cohn; 2012 winner Stephanie Trussell; and 2013 winner Laura Kelly were among those judging the competition. Gregoles gets to host a two-hour WLS-AM show, receive a limo ride to/from the studio, and a trip for two to Mexico.
MLB Baseball Continues to Give Boost to Most Flagship Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his second analysis of the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time based on July PPM data. Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team is performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past five PPM surveys, compared to July 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
Sabo: It Is a Widespread Myth That “Ours Is a Very Big Sports Town.” As a globetrotting media consultant, Walter Sabo reports, “There is noticeable bravado in every city about the local level of sports fandom.” In a new opinion piece certain to spark disagreement on the part of many TALKERS readers, Sabo makes the case that even though most radio markets claim to be “big” on sports or even the “biggest” sports city in America, the “facts don’t match the roar of the crowd.” He writes, “According to the data presented from the major league national teams, every city is pretty much the same.” To read this informative and provocative piece in its entirety, please click here.
Lee ‘Hacksaw’ Hamilton Hangs Out Fill-In Shingle. West Coast sports talk pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, most recently with Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090,” announces he’s making himself available as a “radio free agent” for freelance work as “Hacksaw & Company,” as he says, “sports talk radio designed for your market, when you need a pinch-hitter.” Hamilton’s daily content can be seen at (www.leehacksawhamilton.com). He can be emailed at email@example.com.
Arkansas Stations Swap Frequencies; AC Turns Conservative/Christian Talk. A pair of Arkansas FMs are swapping positions on the dial – John M. Dowdy-owned hot AC KKTZ moves from 93.5 up to 107.5 while AC KOMT moves to the 93.5 frequency. KKTZ will remain hot AC but KOMT flips to conservative/Christian talk using content from Salem Radio Network, Westwood One and Premiere Networks. The new talk station will air: Bill Bennett in AM drive followed by Mike Gallagher, Dennis Miller, Michael Medved, Mark Levin, Janet Mefferd and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory.
Odds & Sods. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, radio pro Mike Stephen is joining WGN, Chicago for a weekend show called “Outside the Loop Radio” that will air from 6:00 am to 7:00 am Sunday mornings, effective October 4. The eight-year-old show is promoted as “Chicago’s Almost Above-Ground Audio Magazine,” and promises “interviews with local newsmakers on everything from arts and politics to the environment and food.”…..Sitting in for Jimmy Barrett on Clear Channel’s WRVA, Richmond in morning drive all this week is Mark Wainwright…..CBS RADIO’s sports talker WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and IMG Sports Network agree to an extension that will allow Virginia Tech football and men’s basketball play-by-play to be heard on the station through the 2018 season.
Ferguson Provides News/Talk Radio with Red Meat on Controversial Issues for Both Left and Right. The tragic events that have unfolded in Ferguson, MO have provided talk radio opinion leaders from the left, right and in-between with more than enough fresh material on mainstay topics around which to build their cases. Some see it as another horrific indication of unjust racial inequality in America and the troubling expansion of a militarized police state. Others see it as further infuriating evidence of the rise of crime, unwarranted playing of the race card and growing disrespect and lack of support for law enforcement. Almost all are concerned about its reflection of the declining state of journalism and increasing suppression of the press and First Amendment rights. Asked by Salem Radio Network VP news & talk programming, Tom Tradup (for a forthcoming article in September’s Townhall Magazine) his take on talk radio’s role in the matter and whether he sees it as negative or positive, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Ferguson contains a tempest of pressing and controversial American issues. There’s red meat for both the left and right in this tragedy. Talk radio – collectively – has played a positive role in responding to and covering it by airing all the different ideologies, including those that are politically incorrect, and moving the vital discussion forward. Some hosts have gone directly to the scene putting local people on the air to present real life perspectives, thus bringing the public closer to the disturbingly obscured truth.” The article will contain comments from Sean Hannity, Mike Gallagher, and SiriusXM personality David Webb who went to Ferguson where he interviewed a wide variety of residents including African American businesspeople. Tradup tells TALKERS, “I’m proud of our industry leading the national conversation on this issue, and look forward to highlighting the great work many shows did inviting audience members to experience the story-behind-the-headlines.”
Mike Gallagher: “I Can – and Will – Do Better.” On his Salem-syndicated talk program yesterday (Wednesday, 8/20), Mike Gallagher became embroiled with one of his callers (“James”). The two discussed James’ opinion that releasing surveillance video of 18-year-old Michael Brown robbing a convenience store prior to the shooting that took Brown’s life was, in and of itself, a “violent act.” There was considerable shouting between host Gallagher and caller “James” with the latter hanging up. Gallagher maintains the on-air exchange bothered him the rest of the day and it prompted him to write on Facebook Wednesday night, “Today on my radio show, my emotions got the best of me. I have been bothered by that exchange all day and I wanted to formally apologize. While I steadfastly disagree with [caller James'] contention that the surveillance video of Michael Brown robbing a convenience store was not a ‘violent act,’ I should not have interrupted James as I did. I will give a more detailed and specific apology on the air tomorrow, but I wanted to put it in writing tonight. I should not have reacted the way I did, and I certainly should not invite people to call my show and then disagree so passionately that I don’t give them much of a chance to talk. I am sorry. I can – and will – do better.”
Dan Mason To Cox Media Group Tampa As OM. To clarify, the Dan Mason appointed operations manager for three Cox Media Group Tampa facilities is the former WODS, Boston program director – not the CBS Radio president and chief executive officer with the same name. CMG vice president and market manager Keith Lawless comments, “Dan’s approach to programming is firmly in line with ours and he is a welcome addition to our team. I am confident his contributions will help us continue to compete and win.” Cox Media Group vice president of programming Steve Smith explains, “We took our time searching for the right fit, and Dan is that guy. He will add his expertise in management and talent development to some of our other super-brands in Tampa. We welcome Dan to the CMG family.” Mason – who begins his new assignment in about two weeks (9/8) – states that he is “thrilled” to join the “fantastic team” in Tampa on “three of the most exciting and unique brands not just within Cox Media Group, but the country. I am grateful to Keith Lawless and Steve Smith for the opportunity to lead the team.” Mason’s Tampa OM duties involve alternative WSUN “97-X,” CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5,” and talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone.” He will also be director of branding & programming for “Hot 101.5.” Mason’s previous programming background includes Clear Channel Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100″; Entercom Sacramento outlets CHR KDND-FM “107.9 The End” and hot AC KBZC “Star 106.5″; and Clear Channel Cleveland CHR WAKS, “96.5 Kiss-FM.”
CMG Talkers Clear “The Dana Show.” The agreement for Radio America‘s “The Dana Show” includes Cox Media Group talk outlets in Atlanta (WSB-AM); Orlando (WDBO-FM); Jacksonville (WOKV-AM/FM); Dayton (WHIO-AM/FM); Tulsa (KRMG-AM/FM); and Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Cox Media Group vice president of marketing/news-talk-sports format leader Nick Roberts comments that, “Cox Media Group strongly believes in growing new talk talent — people who can be the next superstars. We believe Dana has the ability to reach the next generation of listeners.” Radio America chief operating officer Mike Paradiso states, “The growth of ‘The Dana Show’ has been outstanding. Dana and all of us at Radio America are excited about her success across the country. It is a privilege to be working with a great company like Cox and their heritage stations.” Host Dana Loesch originates her daily program from Emmis St. Louis’ KFTK.
When Broadened Aspirations Deserve a Thank-You. For well over one-half century (1926 – 1983), New York City’s female-targeted WOR was America’s #1 rated radio station and the country’s top-biller. Similarly-programmed talkers KABC, Los Angeles and WGN, Chicago were typically second and third. Partnership pioneer Tom O’Neil understood that his business was show business and grew the crown jewel of the RKO Radio Network - WOR – by hiring major stars from other media. Nowadays though, when topflight radio personalities seek to broaden their horizons in other media, most radio managers try to quash such plans. Tipping his cap to the O’Neil model, Sabo Media chief executive officer Walter Sabo strongly suggests that when on-air personalities possess the ambition to do more than radio, management should reward them with a hearty “Thank-You.” Click here to read Sabo’s exclusive TALKERS article.
Donahue to Retire from KYW. After a five-decade Philadelphia broadcasting career, Harry Donahue is retiring. Tomorrow (8/22) is the last day on the job for the morning drive co-anchor at CBS Radio-owned all-news KYW. CBS Radio Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Harry’s voice is one of Philadelphia’s most familiar. His contributions to KYW are immeasurable. He is a consummate professional and will be sorely missed by those who have worked with him all these years, as well as our many listeners who set their alarms to 1060 each morning.” Donahue reflects that when he was hired at KYW, “I couldn’t believe it. It was, and remains, the preeminent radio station in Philadelphia. I have done what I always wanted to do. To work in my hometown and having been part of this iconic radio station – it just doesn’t get any better.” Donahue joined KYW in 1973. He began his career as an announcer for Philadelphia’s former WPBS (now WUSL) and as a manager of media relations for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Donahue is the longtime play-by-play voice for Temple University athletics – men’s football and basketball. The latter is heard on KYW’s talk sibling WPHT; he will continue those responsibilities.
Tree Media Releases Climate Crisis Film “CARBON.” Production company Tree Media is supported by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (DiCaprio is the film’s narrator). Made in collaboration with nationally syndicated, WYD Media progressive talk host (and recipient of the 2014 TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award) Thom Hartmann, CARBON explores crucial issues related to the climate crisis. Hartmann stresses, “We need serious action to address the most pressing issue of our time. Communities across the world have taken action in the most direct and effective ways possible by taxing and trading carbon. For us to beat this crisis, many more need to join.” According to DiCaprio, “97% of climate scientists agree: Climate change is happening now and humans are responsible. We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense. We must put a price on carbon — now.” This is the first film in the “Green World Rising” series that will include three additional ones covering solutions to the climate crisis. Director Leila Connors explains, “This film is meant to be an asset for the climate movement and to generate momentum for the global reduction of carbon emissions. We must move toward renewable energy and to create a real solution.” CARBON was produced by George DiCaprio, Mathew Schmid, Roee Sharon and Earl Katz, and presented by Thom Hartmann.
Return of the Hochman Burger. For the second year, Beasley Broadcast Group Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560″ afternoon (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) driver Marc Hochman can go into a certain Boca Raton establishment – Red’s Backwoods BBQ – and order a burger that is named after him. “As a guy, I don’t think there is a bigger honor than [that],” he contends. “In my radio career, I have interviewed everyone from Hulk Hogan and Mike Tyson to Pat Sajak and Al Roker. As a program director, I have been nominated twice for ‘Sports Radio Station of the Year’ for the Marconi Awards, but I have never been more proud of anything than [this]. For the record, the “Hochman Burger” is accompanied with cheddar cheese, barbeque sauce, and is topped with Funyuns.
Los Angeles’ KFWB to Air NFL and NCAA Slate. Set to launch the station’s all-sports format early next month, KFWB, Los Angeles newly-named program director Owen Murphy reveals KFWB will carry a complete schedule of NFL and NCAA play-by-play. In addition, the hour-long USC sports spotlight “Trojans Live” will return for its second season. The Tuesday evening (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm) program devoted to USC sports features men’s head football coach Steve Sarkisian. This is KFWB’s fifth year as flagship of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers and it becomes the exclusive Los Angeles home for Westwood One‘s coverage of all NFL Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night games. That schedule begins in two weeks (9/4) when Green Bay takes on reigning champion Seattle. Murphy states, “With rumors swirling about the NFL draft coming to Los Angeles in 2015, and maybe an NFL team as well, we could not be more excited to deliver great Westwood One football programming to a football hungry town so deserving of its own team. There is no better product than Westwood One’s March Madness play-by-play and we are proud to have the opportunity to present it to the most passionate and knowledgeable hoops fans in America.” The station’s broadcast schedule will include the NFC and AFC Championship games, Pro Bowl, and next February’s Super Bowl.
“Ragz” To Program Portland’s “Game.” Alpha Media Portland sports outlet KXTG “750 The Game” names Mike “Ragz” Ragozino program director and afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) host. Executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “‘Ragz’ is uniquely qualified to lead the staff of ‘The Game’ and practice what he preaches everyday on the air. He ‘gets’ the entertainment factor in sports radio like no one else in this business.” Ragozino reflects that ever since he got into the radio business, “It was always about taking a new challenge head on, without fear of failure, having fun and most importantly, entertaining the audience. Joining Alpha Media – and more specifically ’750 The Game’ – offers me a chance to do what I love for an incredible company in a beautiful city that has the same passion for sports as I do.” The Queens, New York native has 12 years of classic rock programming/on-air experience at WNNJ, Sussex, New Jersey and WAOR, South Bend, Indiana. When WAOR flipped to sports in May 2012, it enabled “Ragz” to accomplish his dream of programming an all-sports station. In addition to programming it, he co-hosted a weekly one-hour show with Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown. Ragozino begins his Portland assignment in just over two weeks (Monday, 9/8).
BOB-FM to the Romantic Rescue. “You’ll hear all sorts of stuff” is the way BOB-FM positions itself and a recent audio clip from the station underscores that positioning statement. This particular BOB-FM though is not an adult hits outlet here in the United States, but a radio station broadcasting at 106.7 and 106.9 in Knebworth, Hertford, Ware, Hatfield, Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City, Welwyn Garden City and Watton-at-Stone. Knebworth most likely gave away the location as the United Kingdom. Reminiscent of something syndicated personality “Delilah” or Karen Sharp on her nightly “Love Songs” show on Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103″ might do, BOB-FM morning talents (or “breakfast presenters,” as they are more elegantly called) Graham Mack and Amy Stevenson came to the aid of a young woman (“Sarah”) yearning to reconnect with her dream man (“Sam”). The back-story is that Sarah met Sam at a music festival that featured Justin Timberlake and it was love at first sight. The snafu was that Sarah didn’t get Sam’s number, so she did what was only logical – call BOB-FM to track him down. Her email to Mack and Stevenson recapped that part of the story and stated her desire to meet the 25-year-old, 6′ 5″ Hertfordshire dog trainer. It took Mack and Stevenson all of two days to locate him. Especially if you are a hopeless romantic, click here to listen to the complete interchange.
“Proactive” Patient Will Overcome Ovarian Cancer. That is what Robin Marshall optimistically writes on her Facebook page. Cumulus Media‘s “Sound Solutions” production manager states that, “Short and sweet,” she has stage two or slight stage three Ovarian cancer but “all was removed.” Doctors “did snippets” from her other organs for biopsy purposes and regardless of the results,” Marshall will be treated with “a very strong regiment of chemo.” As she laments, “It is nothing that anyone looks forward to.” Realizing she has a difficult road ahead, Marshall will remain in the hospital until this Saturday (8/23), but she declares, “I have hope.” At the “end of the day,” however, Marshall stresses, she will survive Ovarian cancer because, “I was proactive. There are no options – I want to live.”
ISIS Beheading, Ferguson Turmoil, Rick Perry Indictment, Gaza Crisis and ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Among Top Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The stories listed in this headline were some of the most talked about on news/talk radio yesterday However the breaking story of ISIS beheading American journalist James Wright Foley was by far the most-dominating conversation on American talk radio according to the ongoing research from TALKERS. Check here tomorrow for the complete top stories and most-talked-about people listings for the entire week.
Learfield Launches Spanish Network for Texas A&M Football. Beginning with next week’s (8/28) season opener against South Carolina, fans of the Texas A&M Aggies will hear complete Texas A&M pigskin game coverage in Spanish on Univision Radio Houston’s KLAT; Salem Espanol San Antonio’s KRDY; KAMA, El Paso; and MBM Radio McAllen’s KVJY. Aggies games will also be on SiriusXM Deportes en Vivo Channel 551. Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System explains, “It is important we share the Texas A&M brand across the state, To do so, we need a Spanish language option for our fans. We believe this is a real step forward for Aggie sports as we begin our third season in the SEC.” The Texas A&M Spanish Network will feature Pedro Vela Almaguer on play-by-play and Alberto Rodriguez doing color commentary. There are 55 English-language radio affiliates on the Texas A&M Sports Network. All 12 Aggies’ regular season and any postseason games will be carried on the Texas A&M Spanish Network.
TALKERS Affiliate Roundup. Rich Beem & Sandy McIlree-hosted “Beemer & the Bald Guy” welcome Cumulus Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s WSEA “100.3 The Team” as an affiliate to its Nineball Radio Networks-distributed Sunday morning golf show.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Panel Discussion, “The State of Talk Radio Programming.” Today (7/29) marks the 11th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a panel discussion titled, “The State of Talk Radio Programming,” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey. Panelists include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York. The panel focuses on a variety of topics pertinent to today’s talk radio programming strategies with an emphasis on dealing with the common criticism that the format is skewing too old. Moderator Casey starts it off asking “Is talk radio a kingmaker that wins elections or is talk radio dead?” He points out that to read the press this format receives, one would get the impression both of these statements are true. The reasoned answers by all participants are illuminating – drawing upon facts and context as opposed to bias and emotion. To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian titled, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Featured speakers include: Tom Becka, KOIL, Omaha; Ron Hartenbaum, WYD Media; Tom Marr, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Piscopo, WNYM, New York; and Martha Zoller, WGAU, Athens, GA/Georgia News Network. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Michael Castner Moves to AM Drive at KEX, Portland. Changes in the programming schedule at Clear Channel’s Portland news/talker KEX include the shift of afternoon drive personality Michael Castner to host of the morning drive program alongside the current staff of co-anchor Lacey Evans, news director Brad Ford and traffic reporters Michael Convery and Lynne Masterson. As a result Paul Linnman leaves the AM show for a commentator role with the station. Taking over the afternoon drive slot is Houston-based talk personality Michael Berry whose show slides down from evenings to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot.
Laura Ingraham Doesn’t Discount Run for Office. It’s not exactly a statement of intent, but Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham tells RealClearPolitics that she’s “keeping an open mind about running for office in the future.” The comment comes at the end of a piece about her influence on some of the primary races – specifically the assertion that she was instrumental in helping Dave Brat upset Eric Cantor in the Virginia U.S. House primary and her current stumping for Joe Carr as he takes on Lamar Alexander in the Tennessee U.S. Senate primary that takes place on August 7. Ingraham was in Nashville recently at a campaign event for Carr – a Tea Party-backed candidate who is drawing a line in front of Alexander on the immigration issue. Read the entire story here.
SiriusXM Posts Q2 Revenue Hike of 10%; 380,000 New Self-Pay Subscribers. After a somewhat down 2014 Q1 report, SiriusXM rebounds with what CEO Jim Meyer is calling an “outstanding” quarter. SiriusXM’s revenue for the quarter was $1.035 billion – a 10% increase from the same period a year ago. Net income was $120 million. Last quarter, SiriusXM reported adding just 267,000 new subscribers but that figure is up dramatically with almost 475,000 new subscribers added – approximately 380,000 of those self-paying subscribers. Meyer comments, “We set new records for trial conversions to self-pay, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin in the quarter, and we are raising our 2014 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow. Our extraordinary operating performance supported the buyback of over 350 million shares in the quarter, or approximately 6% of our outstanding stock. Perhaps more importantly, we improved our superior content by adding even more channels and shows created with major brands and personalities, such as Joel Osteen, NBC’s TODAY Show, and YouTube, and we expanded the range and depth of our commercial-free music programming with the introduction of three new channels in the categories of country, women’s pop, and dance. As the leader in audio entertainment, we never rest in searching for new content that our subscribers will love.”
Meeting of the Mentors. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) paid a visit Sunday (7/27) to his old friend, radio legend Dick Robinson (right), founder and chairman of the mega-successful Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB). The two veteran radio “mentors” compared notes about the state of the industry and according to both men, it was an uplifting, stimulating discussion that left them “inspired and optimistic” about the future of the business. CSB – the oldest and largest group of broadcasting schools in America — is a tremendous success story that celebrates its half-century anniversary this year. The institute that launched thousands of careers was founded by then-renowned Hartford DJ Robinson in 1964 (pictured below at WDRC, Hartford at that time) to help aspiring young broadcasters learn the fundamentals of radio performing and production and has since grown to include 12 East Coast campuses from Boston to Miami. According to Robinson, “Our success is based largely on the fact that we have grown, evolved and expanded the definition of what we cover as the years and decades went by…and we are still doing exactly that – evolving with the times. Whereas we started primarily as a school for DJs, we have grown to encompass all aspects of the radio business as well as television including the burgeoning field of sports and all aspects of audio and video production.” Robinson says, “We are a remedy to the high cost and long-term commitment required to attend a standard college or university communications department curriculum – a process that leaves graduates in significant debt and doesn’t necessarily guarantee enhanced prospects of gaining employment in the field.” Robinson also explains, “We are also a practical alternative to four-year schools for adults in their late 20s, 30s and even older who want to change careers or start a new one in the broadcast business.” The obvious question arises: Considering the economic challenges facing radio today with staff cutbacks and the future of AM/FM in question, are there still opportunities for people of any age in the fields of radio and broadcasting? Robinson’s response: “Absolutely! More than ever! With radio stations and multi-dimension ‘media station’ operations that include audio, video, graphics, and text elements all on one platform popping up not only on newspaper websites – but the online arms of a wide variety of businesses, demand for people who have what we would consider basic radio and television skills is growing exponentially. And that’s only half of it – never before in the history of our industry has there been so much opportunity for entrepreneurial broadcasters to make it on their own. In the old model, a majority of the people aspiring toward a career in radio or television would have to seek employment and get past a gatekeeper to be able to work in the field. Very few had the resources and connections to go out and buy a radio or TV station. But today, it is just a matter of ‘knowing what to do’ to be in business for yourself as a media practitioner. At CSB we are teaching our students how to be entrepreneurs as well as talent, technicians, and marketers.” Reflecting upon the get-together, Michael Harrison states, “Dick Robinson is one of the most extraordinary men the radio industry has ever produced. His school has taught countless broadcasters the art and craft of our wonderful business and he is still going strong as a station owner, format innovator and mentor of mentors. There isn’t a lifetime achievement award big enough for what this guy has done and continues to do.”
AdLarge Media Appoints Green VP/Digital Sales. Former PodcastOne national account director Jay Green is tapped to become AdLarge Media‘s vice president of digital sales and content partnerships. AdLarge Media co-founder and president Cathy Csukas comments, “We are delighted to bring Jay on board to steer our digital audio and mobile strategy. Jay’s impressive background and knowledge of digital audio advertising trends, combined with his expertise in operations and management, make him the ideal candidate to help us meet our expansion goals.” The company’s chief executive officer and co-founder Gary Schonfeld remarks that, “Jay’s keen understanding of the digital audio marketplace will advance our objectives and those of our digital and mobile partners. He is skilled at developing the kind of customized programs and packages that national advertisers have come to expect from AdLarge Media.” Green states that he is “passionate about digital audio advertising” and that he is “dedicated to creating first-to-market campaigns for our advertisers. AdLarge’s reputation for innovation and excellence was a compelling reason for me to become an integral member of their team. It’s an exciting time to join the company.” Prior to working at PodCastOne, Green spent 10 years at Dial Global, where he ultimately became vice president of strategic operations. His background includes sales, campaign management, sales planning, research, audience analysis, and market research for various new product launches.
Washington, DC-Based RELM Network Adds Food Show. The program – titled, “Foodie and the Beast,” has been airing on Hubbard Radio-owned WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” for the past six years and now joins the growing lineup of streaming and on-demand content at RELM Network. The program is hosted by David and Nycci Nellis and is an offshoot of Nycci’s popular DC website “The List” (AreYouOnIt.com,) which has been dubbed by The Washington Post as “one of the premier resources for all things food and wine in DC and beyond.” Nycci is a gourmet cook and a veteran food journalist in radio, TV and print. The show is also seasoned with world-renowned guests, including celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Michel Richard and Mike Isabella – as well as famous cookbook authors, farmers, marine biologists, oystermen, winemakers, distillers and brewmasters.
NPR Debuts New Curated Streaming App. An interesting new development from NPR is its curated streaming app dubbed NPR One. A story in TechCrunch identifies the new app – separate from NPR’s existing mobile platform apps – as one that “combines the benefits of both streaming and traditional terrestrial radio” with the new app. TechCrunch reports that it “uses a combination of streams of NPR’s public news broadcasts, combined with stories that are curated for your specific tastes. You can get regionally relevant content by letting the device have access to your location settings, and you can also search for podcasts and other content to teach the app about what you want and get it instantly.” Read the whole TechCrunch story here.
Cumulus Media Honors Youngstown Cluster with President’s Cup. The corporate prize for best sales performance for the second quarter of 2014 at Cumulus Media goes to the company’s Youngstown, Ohio eight-station group as it receives the coveted President’s Cup. Each quarter, one market is recognized for its overall performance among the company’s 90 radio markets. The Youngstown staff (pictured here) that operates country WQXK “K105,” CHR WHOT “Hot 101,” news/talk WPIC, news/talk WSOM, classic rock WYFM “Y103,” rock WWIZ “Rock 104,” and sports talk simulcast WBBW-AM/WLLF-FM will share the $10,000 prize. Vice president and market manager Rick Parrish says, “I am very proud of the success our Youngstown sales team, programming team and support staff have achieved with our eight radio stations that serve northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania. Our team set the goal to bring the Cumulus President’s Cup to Youngstown, and through hustle and hard work, we did it!” Cumulus EVP and Co-COO John Pinch adds, “The team in Youngstown has performed at record levels this year and is well deserving of this award. To win the President’s Cup requires contribution from every person at every level in the cluster. Congratulations, Cumulus Youngstown!”
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is seeking talented sales people to work in the Charlotte Market at news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link.” Greater Media is seeking applicants with: quantifiable success in radio/media sales or another industry; the drive, hunger, and ability to see the sales process through from prospecting to the final close; courage to ask for and deliver remarkable programs; a love and passion for winning; integrity and pride in being a full-service rep; new business expertise and a creative mind; a desire to exceed expectations and move up quickly; independent and entrepreneurial performers; excellent verbal and written communication skills. At Greater Media Charlotte, you will be surrounded by people who love to have fun and work extremely hard. We offer great benefits and lots of incentives for self-starters, while enjoying the stability of a privately owned media company with two of Charlotte’s best radio stations. If you think you are ready for the next step in your career and think you have the talent to make it happen, we want you on our team! Send your resume and a cover letter to: Sandra Szoke, director of sales, Greater Media Charlotte, Inc., WBT/WLNK Radio, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208; firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Greater Media Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Gaza Violence/New Anti-Semitism, Flight 17 Probe/Russian Influence in Ukraine, Immigration Policy Debate/Child Illegals Influx, Pentagon Afghanistan Waste Report, Ebola Fears, and Ray Rice Suspension Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/28). The continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and increased incidences of anti-Semitism in Europe; Russia’s influence in the Ukraine and the effort to fully investigate the downing of Flight 17; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S. and the influx of illegal minors entering the country; the recent Pentagon report detailing billions in spending waste in Afghanistan; renewed fears of an Ebola virus outbreak; and outrage over the two-game suspension NFL star Ray Rice received after knocking his wife unconscious in a domestic dispute were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Emphatic Fox To Entercom: Apology Denied. After returning from a planned vacation last week, WEEI-FM, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane reignited the controversy he started with criticism of Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews’ All-Star Game work by reiterating his disdain for her work. But even his bosses at Entercom, who had been supportive, had to backtrack and he’s now been suspended for this week – without pay. To recap, the unbilled member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show on WEEI had some disparaging things to say the day after the broadcast about an in-game interview conducted by the network’s Erin Andrews. Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Derek Jeter – appearing in his final All-Star contest – to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame. Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit. Andrews questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up. Apparently though, the televised exchange between this year’s co-host of (ABC-TV‘s) “Dancing with the Stars” and Wainwright did not sit well with Minihane, who declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow-up. Second of all, the guy admitted he did it – he admitted it. He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’ How is that social media’s fault? I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.” A Minihane-issued statement was posted Wednesday night (7/16) on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game. My choice of words was wrong. I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” But upon returning last week, he commented on the issue and lashed out at Andrews again, saying, “I think she stinks at her job. I don’t think she’s very smart. I don’t think she comes across as very smart. I think Fox only hired her because she is good-looking. I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she would be a waitress at Perkins. That is what I believe, I do believe that.” It was probably that last comment that prompted Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to inform Entercom the company was pulling its entertainment and sports-related adds off of all Entercom stations and it was that move that brought Entercom CEO David Field into the mix. In the letter to Field, Shanks wrote that Minihane’s comments were “boorish and sexist.” Shanks further maintains that Minihane’s apology was “juvenile and insincere.” Furthermore, the Fox executive writes, “I had hoped by this time we might hear a sincere apology from WEEI, or perhaps someone from your office might have reached out to Fox. None of that has been forthcoming, and needless to say, we are disappointed.” According to Shanks, through film and television businesses, Fox is “a significant advertiser on Entercom stations. I have discussed this issue with our senior management and our various senior marketing executives. At their recommendation, going forward, Fox’s entertainment and sports businesses will not be advertising on your stations for the foreseeable future.” Field reacted by commenting, “Kirk Minihane’s statements regarding Erin Andrews were offensive and deplorable. It is clear by the response from our listeners, advertisers, and employees that Kirk’s efforts to apologize and make this right have been insufficient and ambiguous. We want to make it unequivocally clear that his comments were unacceptable and do not reflect Entercom’s values and standards.” As far as Shanks is concerned, the situation was made “worse,” owing to the fact that the “apology was posted under a banner hailing ‘The Triumphant Return of Kirk Minihane.’” Seemingly lost in the wake of pulled advertising dollars corporate-wide and having to suspend an on-air personality is the fact that in the latest (6+) trends (June 2014), WEEI-FM (3.3) beat cross-town CBS Radio format rival WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” (2.9) for the first time (total week, 6+) in nearly two years. The last time it happened was August 2012, when WEEI-FM had the advantage over WBZ-FM by a 4.3 – 3.7 count (6+). WBZ-FM won each battle the rest of the year by 4.5 – 4.1 (September); 4.6 – 2.8 (October); 4.1 – 2.5 (November) 4.4 – 3.0 (December); and 4.6 – 2.7 (“Holiday”). The closest WEEI-FM came to WBZ-FM in 2013 was one-tenth in August (3.9 – 3.8); WBZ-FM’s largest (6+) lead in 2013 was in May (5.7 – 2.9). Thus far in 2014, “The Sports Hub” has emerged victorious over WEEI-FM (6+) in January (5.6 – 3.4); February (4.5 – 2.8); March (4.7 – 2.7); April (4.3 – 3.3); and May (5.1 – 3.4). As noted, WEEI-FM beat WBZ-FM in June (3.3 – 2.9, 6+). It will be interesting to see how Entercom handles this situation because the ratings for the Dennis & Callahan show have improved since Minihane joined the show and numerous Boston media watchers agree that his addition has breathed new life into the program.
Stephen A. Smith to Exit WEPN-FM for SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio Channel. That’s according to a report by The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman who writes that Stephen A. Smith will soon exit ESPN O&O WEPN-FM where he co-hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily show with Ryan Ruocco to host his own program on the satellite service – reportedly in the same time slot that would lead into Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s afternoon drive show. Raissman also suggests that a move to SiriusXM could be interesting for the controversial Stephen A. Smith, who caused a stir by his comments in reaction to the two-game suspension the NFL star Ray Rice received for punching out his wife in an elevator. Read Raissman’s column here.
KFWB, Los Angeles to Flip from News/Talk to Sports. Officials at the KFWB Trust are being tightlipped about the reports but LARadio.com’s Don Barrett is reporting that KFWB staffers were called to a meeting on Friday, July 25 and informed their jobs would go away in five weeks when the format changes. Barrett reports that staffers told him the station would go to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network which would bring Jim Rome back to the Los Angeles market. He’s been gone from his home market since jumping from Premiere Networks to CBS Sports 18 months ago. Some are questioning whether LA needs another sports talk outlet but it’s probably less about what the market “needs” and more about getting CBS Sports Radio and Jim Rome back into the Los Angeles market. It’d also be a heck of a lot less expensive to program network sports than a mix of network and local news/talk.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Jerry Del Colliano Delivers Special Presentation, “Radio in the Digital Age.” Today (7/28) marks the 10th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a special presentation titled “Radio in the Digital Age” delivered by Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano. The longtime industry observer, analyst, and maverick draws upon his experience as both a professional radio broadcaster and former professor of music industry at USC to explain how the traits of the large, coming-of-age millennial generation do not quite mesh with the approach taken by most of the boomers running radio stations today. He implored the full house of broadcasters in attendance to heed the warning, “We must change! We must disrupt! Because the audience is changing.” To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey titled “The State of Talk Programming.” Featured speakers include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Odds & Sods. Although Stoney Richards is leaving his role at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh’s country WDSY where he’s been APD, music director and afternoon drive personality in order to pursue his acting career, he will maintain his weekend talk show on the company’s news/talk KDKA-AM where he hosts the “Live From The Centre” program…..Speaking of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh, the station is partnering with local The Education Partnership to help provide new school and classroom supplies to local schools in financial need. This Wednesday (7/30), it will host a call-center in the 84 Lumber Theatre at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to answer listener questions, collect monetary donations and serve as an outlet for those looking for volunteer opportunities. Also, an onsite collection will take place at KDKA’s studios for the project dubbed “Crayons for Kids.” KDKA-AM morning news host Larry Richert comments, “When I first learned of the great need in our hometown I was shocked! The Education Partnership is such a lean and vital organization. With our help we can deliver on the basic needs of 30,000-plus school students who count on having the basics to learn and grow, starting with crayons!”…..In response to the comments by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison published by the Boston Herald about the current state of news/talk radio in Boston relative to its colorful past, general manager Phil Redo – now with public broadcaster WGBH, Boston – checks in with his take. He tells TALKERS that (former WTKK-FM, Boston personalities) “Jim Braude and Margery Eagan (pictured here) are doing a fabulous show for us here on WGBH Radio. They have been on the air for nearly 18 months and made a smooth transition from commercial to public. Each day they explore a wide range of topics, from the top local news stories to connecting the dots on major national and international events. They provide an important access point for this community – and to the decision makers who will impact each of us by those decisions. In addition, the governor and AG show up every month to host an hour – as does Boston’s new mayor. Their show Boston Public Radio has grown from below a 1.0 share to above a 4.0 share and in June, ranks in the top 10 both 6+ and 25-54 during their 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot…They have done so well that we’re expanding the program to three hours this fall.”
Unusual General Manager/Sales Manager Opportunity at Talk Station Owned by an “Eccentric.” The self-described “eccentric” (we agree) owner of one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations, KSCO AM 1080, Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas/Silicon Valley, Michael Zwerling, is looking for a general manager/sales manager to bring his station’s monthly ad billing up from “a laughable $30,000 per month” (his words not ours) to a “more respectable and completely do-able $300,000 per month.” Asked how a station billing only $30,000 in monthly ad revenue could be considered anything even REMOTELY deserving of being described as “one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations,” Zwerling retorts, “Easy — ad sales have never been our focus in the past; we have done and continue to do very well, thank you, with our ‘royalties from radio’ revenue model we have employed for nearly 18 years. Yet we continue to serve our communities FAR better than most corporate-owned stations, and far better than most other independent stations that can’t AFFORD to serve their communities.” Zwerling continues, “But I started to feel like a fool recently when I realized that just because we don’t NEED to sell advertising — doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t TRY to sell as much advertising as possible — just like any other station being run by anyone with even HALF a brain!” According to Zwerling, the sky is the limit in terms of unique opportunity for the right person with “fire in his/her belly” to bring an additional $270,000 PER MONTH ad revenue into KSCO. But there is a catch. To read the entire story penned by TALKERS staff writer Mona Lipschitz, please click here.
WABC, New York’s Mark Levin to Host Cumulus Media’s “Bark in the Park” Event. The 4th Annual “Bark in the Park” event presented by Cumulus Media’s New York stations WABC, WPLJ, WNSH “NASH FM 94.7,” and WNBM “Radio 103.9” is being hosted by WABC personality Mark Levin Saturday, August 2 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. The stations are teaming up with the North Shore Animal League America and Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center which will be on site with many dogs up for adoption. The mission is to find a home for as many puppies as possible. Additionally, the day will feature a wide array of vendors, services, food, demonstrations, and activities for families and dog lovers alike.
Apple to Acquire Spoken-Word Aggregator Swell. According to a report in re/code, Apple is paying approximately $30 million to acquire the company Swell, whose current app creates a stream of spoken-word content delivered to iPhones and iPads based on the user’s likes. Liz Gannes writes in her piece that with the acquisition, the Swell app will go away and some analysts believe Apple will integrate the service into existing services such as iTunes Radio. Read Gannes’ re/code story here.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Invades Las Vegas! The crew pictured here is Yahoo! Sports Radio network talent in Las Vegas as the network “took over” Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo Hotel and Casino during the week of July 21-25 broadcasting live for what it dubbed, “Yahoo! Sports Radio Super Week.” From left to right are: Air personalities Steve Czaban, Scott Linn, Geoff Ketchum, Sean Salisbury, Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow, personalities John Granato and Peter Brown.
Clear Channel Makes Corporate Structural Changes; Moves iHeartRadio into Clear Channel Networks Group Division. Along with this change – putting the iHeartRadio platform under the Clear Channel Networks Group banner headed by president Darren Davis – Brian Lakamp remains with the company and is promoted to the new position — president of technology and digital ventures. The company calls Lakamp’s promotion part of its “taking another important step in its continuing transformation to a consumer-driven, technology-fueled company.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Our corporate focus on digital, increasingly leveraging technology to maximize our business, reflects the natural evolution of Clear Channel into a 21st century media company. Creativity is also enabled by technology, and as advertisers’ interest in new and emerging technology options continues to grow, we intend to remain at the forefront of both innovation and creativity. Brian is perfectly positioned to help us – and our consumers, advertisers and content partners – as we continue to build Clear Channel’s digital roadmap for the future.” The new role puts Lakamp in charge of the overall technology platform and capabilities for all of Clear Channel – including its broadcast, digital radio, events and promotions and out-of-home businesses. The company says he will also be responsible for developing the company’s overall place in the worlds of big data and programmatic buying. Putting iHeartRadio under Darren Davis’ purview means he’ll be responsible for the entire business of iHeartRadio as well as Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network; and the 24/7 News Network. Davis comments, “I look forward to working with the immensely talented iHeartRadio team to build on the tremendous success of iHeartRadio by utilizing the full promotional and creative power of Clear Channel for iHeartRadio Networks. I’m excited to continue my collaboration with Brian in his new role to leverage new opportunities and maximize emerging technologies across Clear Channel’s national platforms and services.”
Rise Guys Return to Sacramento Radio. Sports talk morning drive personalities Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler – known as The Rise Guys – are returning to the Sacramento market on Entercom’s KCTC “ESPN 1320” after leaving the market for San Francisco three years ago. In 2011 they took the gig at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” after years at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento. But earlier this year they exited that station after talent changes were made. Now, they return to the Sacramento market on KHTK’s sister station.
Brock and Salk Show to Air in Mornings on KIRO-AM, Seattle. The recent return of Mike Salk to Bonneville’s Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” as program director after a year-long stint at WEEI, Boston is now bringing about changes to the station’s talent lineup as he and Brock Huard are getting back together on the radio for a morning show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. The “Brock & Salk” show debuted in 2009 but ended when Salk took the afternoon co-host gig at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston in the spring of 2013. The change means Michael Grey is moving from afternoons to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot followed by “Bob & Groz” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Danny O’Neil, Dave Wyman and Jim Moore will host afternoon drive from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Salk comments, “These changes make an already strong lineup even stronger and this is just the beginning. I’m thrilled with where the station is going and couldn’t be more excited to get behind the mic.”
Frantz Exits WTAM, Cleveland. Talk personality Bob Frantz is let go from his position with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he appeared alongside Mike Trivisonno on the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show “The Spew” as well as hosting the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm program. Frantz was doing his second tour of duty with the station – he worked there in the late 1990s before returning in 2006. Replacing him in the evening slot is “The Sports Feed” co-host and Indians reporter Nick Camino.
Round One of June PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publican 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 at RadioInfo.com here.
Emmis Q1 Report: Radio Revenue Essentially Flat. The results for the first fiscal quarter for Emmis Communications (ending May 31) show the company’s net radio revenue up 22% — but that includes the addition of revenue from WBLS and WLIB, New York which it has been operating under an LMA since March 1. Assuming those stations had been in the fold at the same time a year ago, revenue would have been flat. At the station level, the company reports its stations were up 1.6% compared to local radio market revenue down 5.5% during the fiscal quarter. Emmis president and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “While our markets continue to be tested, our stations and employees have risen to the challenge and continue to outperform our markets. We continue to believe NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, is a game-changer for the radio industry and will reignite growth. We have spent the last year building out the NextRadio ecosystem, and now we are entering a critical phase to build consumer awareness. I’m proud of our team for its continuing focus on innovation and operational excellence.”
Odds & Sods. WOAI, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo’s program is being added to another Clear Channel-owned news/talk station as KEX, Portland picks up the program to air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The show is also heard on KPRC, Houston and KHOW, Denver…..Former Dallas Cowboys defensive star Dat Nguyen inks a contract renewal with Alpha Media sports talker KZDC, San Antonio “1250 ESPN.” Nguyen hosts the afternoon drive show where he’s been since joining the station in August of 2012…..ESPN Radio’s “10th Annual ESPY Day Auction” to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research is officially underway on eBay and will continue through Wednesday, July 16. This year’s auction of more than 250 items includes tickets to prime sporting events, autographed memorabilia, unique experiences with athletes, celebrities and ESPN and ABC personalities and behind-the-scenes experiences with numerous ESPN programs.
Child Immigration Crisis, Obama Approval Ratings, GOP Picks Cleveland for 2016 Convention, Israeli-Hamas Violence, Costco Pulls D’Souza Book, Palin Joins Impeachment Plea, and Klein’s Blood Feud Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The influx of minor illegal immigrants in the Southwest and the political battle over immigration enforcement; the lower approval ratings for President Obama; the RNC chooses Cleveland for site of 2016 convention and the importance of Ohio in the next presidential election; escalating violence between the Israelis and Palestinians; the flap over Costco’s decision to stop selling Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World Without Her; Sarah Palin returns to the media spotlight calling for the president’s impeachment; and controversy over Ed Klein’s book about the relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Movie review by consultant Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Before debt-hobbled mega-owners deleted local mojo from the expense budget, radio stations used to DO things that engaged listeners in person. Before too much of talk radio succumbed to caricature monologue, it used to provoke thoughtful dialogue. Here’s an easy, quick opportunity to rekindle that touch-N-feel, and HEAR the people your advertisers want to meet.
MUST-SEE: “America: Imagine the World Without Her”
You might be hearing commercials — on the Rush Limbaugh show and in similar programs — for the new Dinesh D’Souza film. And you might recall reading my review, a couple years ago in TALKERS magazine, of his previous flick “2016 Obama’s America.” ICYMI: http://getonthenet.com/ObamasAmerica.pdf
Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Take Show to RELM Network. After exiting WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte recently, talk radio pros Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire of the “Brad and Britt Show” are going digital as they join the RELM Network to distribute their show as a podcast. The duo worked together at former talk outlet WZTK, Raleigh-Greensboro for eight years prior to joining WBT two years ago. About the new podcast show, Whitmire says, “This is exactly what our fans have wanted. A chance to hear us without being interrupted by traffic and weather every ten minutes or having to wait through long commercial breaks.” Krantz adds, “I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to connect with our fans. The podcasting world opens up a lot of possibilities for us and we love what the guys at RELM are doing.” The daily show will be uploaded in the early afternoon Monday through Friday.
Zoller and Bryant Recognized by Georgia Association of Broadcasters. The annual awards handed out by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters are dubbed the “Gabby Awards” and Cox Media Group’s Athens/Gainesville/Greater Atlanta stations were among those recognized this year. The company announces that WGAU, Athens picked up two Large Market category awards – one for Martha Zoller’s and Tim Byant’s coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the other for Best Morning Show Personality or Team which recognized Zoller and Bryant. CMG Athens-Gainesville VP/GM Scott Smith says, “I’ve always known what an exceptional staff we have here at CMG Athens/Gainesville, but I’m also a bit biased. But it really is a great honor to have our hard work recognized by our peers in the broadcast industry. I’m very proud of these awards.”
Talk Radio Pioneer Carl Wiglesworth Dies. Texas local talk radio pioneer Carl Wiglesworth died on Tuesday at age 73. He suffered a massive heart attack on Friday and never regained consciousness. Wiglesworth was a high-profile talk radio personality during the 1980s and 1990s – the period during which the format rose to prominence in the popular culture. He spent most of his career at WOAI, San Antonio, famously quitting that station on the air in 1999 after delivering a rant against the state of the talk radio business. He also worked at KTSA and KAHL in the San Antonio market. On the WOAI website, former co-worker Eliza Sonneland says of Wiglesworth’s program, “To talk to people who had differing opinions from the status quo, that was the bread and butter of Carl’s program.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Carl Wiglesworth was in a league of his own in terms of his courage, independence, preparedness, localness and authenticity. Although described as a conservative, it should be pointed out that the conservative movement that marked the phenomenal growth of talk radio in the wild ’90s – typified by Wiglesworth – was far more of a blend of issues-driven libertarian populism than the partisan ideological approach to talk radio that came later. Carl’s self-imposed departure from corporate radio more than a decade ago was a severe loss for our industry. His death this week is an even greater loss for humanity.”
WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway to Broadcast from USS Iowa. The image you see here is the USS Iowa which is docked in the Port of Los Angeles. Today is the second day WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive host Simon Conway will broadcast his program from the deck of the battleship. For the third year in a row, Conway has broadcast from the WWII flagship battleship. He tells TALKERS that WHO Radio was instrumental in saving FDR‘s flagship from certain death. This Iowa Class Battleship was the 2013 Museum Ship of the year.
Melanie Morgan and John McCaslin Reunite for ‘Troopathon 7.’ For a brief period, Bay Area news/talk radio pro Melanie Morgan (left) and Washington-based journalist and radio broadcaster John McCaslin (right) co-hosted “America’s Morning News” syndicated by Talk Radio Network. The two were back together at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California raising funds for care packages for U.S. troops serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. The goal of the fundraiser is $350,000 by July 4. Morgan is currently morning news anchor at KSRO, Santa Rosa, California and McCaslin, who exited TRN last fall, reports he’s in charge of content for ESPN co-founder Scott Rasmussen‘s “not-yet-announced but much-anticipated multi-platform national news operation, set to launch this fall.”
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte’s John Hancock to Spearhead Summer Food Drive. Food drives usually are charity projects that are most common around the holidays but WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte personality John Hancock is, for the third consecutive year, heading up a summertime project to help benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Partnering with Harris Teeter and Jif, Hancock and the station will lead the Peanut Butter N’ July campaign. Because it is high in protein, peanut butter is one of the most valuable commodities for a food bank and is one of the most requested items for those who benefit from their services. WBT is placing donation bins in 37 participating Harris Teeter Stores throughout Mecklenburg County and around the Charlotte area and listeners are encouraged to stop by to donate a plastic jar of fresh unopened peanut butter. Each Saturday during July, Hancock will be on hand at one of the participating stores helping to collect peanut butter and spreading the word about the cause.
Price of Four-Station Magnum Wisconsin Acquisition: $2.25 Million. The recently announced sale of two radio stations in Racine, Wisconsin – news/talk WRJN-AM and AC WEZY “Lite Rock 92.1” – and two in West Bend, Wisconsin – country WBWI and news/talk WBKV – has been filed and the sale price of the four stations is $2.25 million. Magnum Communications is acquiring the stations from Bliss Communications.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Three new affiliates add Talk Radio Network’s Sam Sorbo show to their lineups: KBYR, Anchorage; WPNW-AM/FM, Grand Rapids; and KADI, Springfield, Missouri…..“America Tonight” with Kate Delaney announces the addition of two affiliate stations: WSRQ, Sarasota joins for the Monday through Saturday program and KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas is the newest Saturdays affiliate.
Cool Job Opportunities. Never work another day…L&L Broadcasting, Alpha Broadcasting, and Main Line Broadcasting are merging into one company named Alpha Media. 68 radio stations in 12 beautiful markets and we need the best, brightest, most aggressive, confident, and talented market managers, programmers, on-air personalities and account executives that are looking to be part of the radio industry in 2014. At Alpha Media, we work as a team. Your chairman, Larry Wilson and CEO, Bob Proffitt will be available to go on sales calls, meet your clients, brainstorm with programming and assist with marketing. We firmly believe that the best people do the best radio. We are looking for passionate, progressive candidates that breathe creativity and are live and local thinkers. Climb aboard this fast-moving train and bring your talent home to the Alpha Media Family. Send cover letter and resume to email@example.com with Alpha Media in subject line. No phone calls. Alpha Media is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.
Immigration Policy Protests/Influx of Minor Illegals, SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Ruling, ISIS Violence in Iraq, Hurricane Arthur, Obama Executive Orders Controversy, Israeli-Palestinian Turmoil, Low Obama Approval Ratings, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/2). Increasing protests against the government’s transferring of refugee immigrants and the Obama Administration’s handling of the crisis; reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby health care/birth control decision; escalating violence in Iraq from ISIS activities; Hurricane Arthur threatens the Eastern Seaboard; the controversy over President Obama’s use of executive orders and the Supreme Court’s ruling on recess appointments; the turmoil in Israel over the Hamas-suspected teen murders; recent polls indicating sinking approval ratings for President Obama; and the U.S.’s exit from the World Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Alpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting Become Alpha Media; Main Line Deal Closes. Portland-based L&L Broadcasting operates 43 stations in seven markets; the merged company’s corporate headquarters will continue to be in Portland, where Alpha Broadcasting owns six radio facilities. In addition to this merger, L&L’s $57 million deal to purchase 19 Main Line Broadcasting stations has been finalized. Alpha Media chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger of Portland’s Alpha operation into our newly created Alpha Media results in one company operating all markets. Our ‘Live and Local’ vision continues to be our focus. By adding the former Main Line markets, we can continue to develop our footprint with attractive markets operated by great radio people. We are excited to add them to our growing company.” L&L Broadcasting president and chief executive officer Bob Proffitt remarks, “From the day we visited each Main Line market, we knew they were full of talented radio broadcasters who understand our vision and how we operate. We feel our live and local approach will enhance each market’s rating and revenue potential. Having Portland in the fold allows us to liberally use some of the best brains in the radio business to help listeners, clients, and employees at our other markets throughout the country.” According to Main Line Broadcasting chief executive officer Marc Guralnick, “It has been a great nine years at Main Line Broadcasting. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best people in the industry. I am excited to have our talented broadcasters now under the leadership of Larry Wilson, Bob Proffitt, and the Alpha-L&L team. I wish L&L and this tremendous staff much continued success.” The four markets for Philadelphia-based Main Line are Louisville, Dayton, Richmond, and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The company was represented in the transaction by Media Venture Partners.
Tony Katz Assumes Morning Drive Role at WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Monday (6/30) was the first day on the job for new WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning show personality Tony Katz. He replaces Steve Simpson who recently exited the station after 22 years. Katz had been hosting the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show at WIBC-FM from his home in Los Angeles but is moving to Indy for this new role. Emmis market manager Charlie Morgan recently told the Indianapolis Business Journal the move to replace Simpson with Katz was the result of the station wanting a more opinionated, commentary-driven show than the newsy approach Simpson was comfortable with. “He’s just not the right guy for what the role of host now requires. What we’re asking our hosts to do is offer opinion and perspective, and [Simpson] was not comfortable with that. He was more comfortable in a more traditional news role.”
CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gottlieb Show Gets Cable Simulcast. Beginning August 25, the Doug Gottlieb show will be seen on cable’s CBS Sports Network in addition to being heard on the CBS Sports Radio Network. The program will be simulcast live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. CBS Sports SVP of programming Dan Weinberg says, “Adding the Doug Gottlieb show greatly strengthens our afternoon lineup adding three hours of live and relevant content each day. Doug’s show is high-energy, insightful and entertaining and we are excited to extend the reach of his radio show to the CBS Sports Network television audience.”
KFBK Boosts Murray to News Director. Assistant program director Mike Murray is elevated to news director at Clear Channel Sacramento talker KFBK. Vice president of programming Ken Charles – who programs KFBK and sibling talker KSTE – comments, “In determining the needs of our department, and wanting to make sure there is one vision and voice between programming and news, Mike rose to the top as the right candidate for the role.” In the next few weeks, there will reportedly be some news/programming restructuring associated with Murray’s promotion.
Keiper Returns to WLS-AM, Chicago as News Anchor. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Jennifer Keiper is back with news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago after a six-year absence during which she worked as Midwest correspondent for Fox News Radio. Keiper will anchor the news during afternoon drive, where Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are currently heard. Keiper is taking over for Susan Carlson who resigned two months ago to join WMAQ-TV. Read Feder’s column here.
Matheny Named EVP/Chief Technology Officer for NAB. Joining NAB from Capitol Broadcasting to serve as the new EVP and chief technology officer is Sam Matheny. His work as part of the corporate staff involvement in several Capitol Broadcasting media ventures: general manager at News Over Wireless, which provided the first local television news applications for wireless carriers; manager of Digital Cinema at Microspace Communications, deploying digital cinema as a viable market for satellite delivery; and vice president & general manager at DTV Plus, which developed and launched the nation’s first DTV datacasting service. Matheny is currently a member of the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council and is a member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB is thrilled to have Sam Matheny joining the team as our new CTO. Sam’s roots are in broadcast localism and service to the community, but he is also a technology strategist determined to push broadcasters to embrace digital and Internet opportunities that generate revenue. Today, tens of millions of our listeners and viewers are legally accessing broadcast programming on platforms and devices that are IP-based, portable and mobile. We believe Sam is the right choice to press these digital strategies forward and lead our industry’s technology future.”
WGOW, Chattanooga Host Brian Joyce Moderates Panel on Democracy and Human Rights in Geneva. Tennessee talk radio personality Brian Joyce (pictured here, bottom, far right) was recently in Geneva, Switzerland at the invitation of the Geneva Press Club to moderate a panel discussion on democracy and human rights. Among the members of this panel were Egyptian MP and Secretary General of Egypt’s Industry & Energy Committee Hatem Azzam (second from right, standing). Joyce is going abroad this weekend to speak at a public rally in Istanbul, Turkey in Alfatih Square in Istanbul to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the military coup in Egypt, which took place on July 3, 2013. He was invited by a Turkish organization called Union of NGOs of the Islamic World, in cooperation with the Egyptian Solidarity Movement. Joyce says the Turkish government and Turkish people have been strong, vocal critics of military rule in Egypt, as well as of violations of democracy and human rights across the Muslim world.
Pavlina Interviews Sean Hannity on Talkers TV. Sixteen-year-old talk media prodigy, Pavlina Osta, host of the syndicated radio show “Pavlina’s Kidz Place,” conducted an interview with Premiere Radio and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity at the recent Talkers New York 2014 convention. That 15 minute interview is currently playing on Talkers TV located at the top of the upper right hand column of boxes on every page on Talkers.com. Pavlina has been broadcasting since she was 11 years old and has an amazing track record of conducting exclusive interviews with more than 300 stars from the fields of entertainment, sports, politics and media. David Bernstein, GM of Talkers broadcasting operations says, “This young woman is going to be a huge media star. She has everything going for her – even a local Gracie Award to her credit. Watch out world, Pavlina is coming!”
Meet This Year’s NAB Marconi Radio Award Finalists. They are listed below and the list encompasses 21 categories. The Marconi Radio Awards are given by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to honor excellence in broadcasting. “Legendary Station”:news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; talk KXLY-AM, Spokane; sports WFAN, New York; country WIL-FM, St. Louis; and adult contemporary WLEN-FM, Adrian, Michigan. “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”:Bob & Tom, Westwood One; Elvis Duran, Premiere Radio Networks; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Radio Networks; Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Radio Networks; and Rickey Smiley, Radio One/REACH Media. “Major Market Personality of the Year”:Carter Alan of WZLX, Boston; Big Boy of KPWR, Los Angeles; Kevin & Bean of KROQ, Los Angeles; Preston & Steve of WMMR, Philadelphia; and (Fred) Toucher & Rich (Shertenlieb) of WBZ-FM, Boston. “Large Market Personality of the Year”:Bo Matthews of WIL-FM, St. Louis; Dr. Don (with Rachael and Grunwald) of WYCD, Detroit; Jim “JJ” Johnson of WOMC, Detroit; Larry Richert of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; and Ryan & Shannon of KSTP-FM, Minneapolis. “Medium Market Personality of the Year”:Brent Johnson of WTCB, Columbia, South Carolina; Cole Johnson of WNVZ, Norfolk; Kevin Miller of KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho; Chris Kelly & Chris Demm of WKRR, Greensboro; and Jeff Walker of WKRZ, Wilkes Barre-Scranton. “Small Market Personality of the Year”:Bill Barrett, Tim Fox & Tracy Berry of KKNU-FM, Eugene, Oregon; David Gustafson of KJSK-AM, Columbus, Nebraska; Dottie Ray of KXIC-AM, Iowa City, Iowa; Brian Egan, Rusty Bumper & Amanda Walton of WKWS-FM, Charleston, West Virginia; and Brian Lee & Chris Wolfe of KZOQ-FM, Missoula, Montana. “Major Market Station of the Year”: country KKBQ, Houston; urban AC WBLS, New York; rock WMMR, Philadelphia; hot AC WTMX, Chicago; and country WUSN, Chicago. “Large Market Station of the Year”:adult contemporary KRWM, Seattle; CHR WBLI, Long Island; talk WCCO, Minneapolis; talk WTMJ, Milwaukee; and sports WXYT-FM, Detroit. “Medium Market Station of the Year”:rock KAZR-FM, Des Moines; hot AC KSTZ, Des Moines; country WIVK-FM, Knoxville; talk WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and country WUSY-FM, Chattanooga, Tennessee. “Small Market Station of the Year”:talkKFGO-AM, Fargo, South Dakota; CHR KNDE-FM, Bryan-College Station, Texas; full-service adult contemporary KYNT-AM, Yankton, South Dakota; country WFRE-FM, Frederick, Maryland; and adult contemporary WLEN-FM, Adrian, Michigan. “Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”:KIFM, San Diego; WBEB, Philadelphia; WILV, Chicago; WMEE-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and WVAF, Charleston, West Virginia. “CHR Station of the Year”:KQKS, Denver; WBBM-FM, Chicago; WNVZ, Norfolk; WPOI, Tampa; and WVAQ, Morgantown, West Virginia. “Country Station of the Year”:KCYY, San Antonio; WIL-FM, St. Louis; WKLB, Boston; WLHK, Indianapolis; and WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “News-Talk Station of the Year”:KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTMY, Minneapolis; WGCV-AM, Columbia, South Carolina; and WLW, Cincinnati. “(Classic Hits-) Oldies Station of the Year:”WJMK, Chicago; WMJI, Cleveland; WSRZ, Sarasota; WXGL, Tampa; and WOGL Philadelphia. “(Contemporary Christian) Religious Station of the Year”:KKJM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KKLA, Los Angeles; KLTY, Dallas; KNOM, Nome, Alaska; and WMHK, Columbia, South Carolina. “Rock Station of the Year”:KROQ, Los Angeles; KSWD, Los Angeles; WBAB, Long Island; WDRV, Chicago; and WSUN, Tampa. “Spanish Station of the Year”:KLZT, Austin; WNUA, Chicago; WYUS-AM Milford, Delaware; WYUU, Tampa; and WXSH, Georgetown, Delaware. “Sports Station of the Year”:KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; KFXN-FM, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP-FM, Philadelphia; and WXYT-FM, Detroit. “Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KPRS, Kansas City; WGCI-FM, Chicago; WHQT, Miami; WQHT, New York; and WVKL, Norfolk. “Noncommercial Station of the Year”: KPCW, Park City, Utah; KUNV, Las Vegas; WEAA, Baltimore; WRHU Long Island; and WSDP, Canton, Michigan. Winners will be announced in two months (9/11) at the awards dinner in Indianapolis during this year’s NAB Radio Show.
KGY Inc. Sells KGY-AM, Olympia to Catholic Broadcaster. Sports talk KGY-AM, Olympia, Washington is being sold to Sacred Heart Radio for $250,000, according to The Olympian. The station has been in the Kerry family since current KGY Inc. business manager Nick Kerry’s grandfather Tom Olsen purchased it in 1939. KGY Inc. will continue to operate country outlet KYYO-FM “96.9 KAYO” and translator K237FR at 95.3 FM.
SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Ruling, Obama Executive Actions, Illegal Immigrant Influx-Amnesty Proposal, Global Warming Debate, Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Sarkozy Investigation, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The backlash over the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive case; John Boehner’s threat to sue President Obama over the executive actions issue; debate over amnesty as the Southwest deals with an influx of minor illegal immigrants; continuing disagreement over the issue of man-made climate change; high tensions in Israel following the deaths of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian youth; the corruption investigation of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the U.S.’s exit from the World Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
New Jersey Broadcasters Association convention coverage by consultant Holland Cooke
Also timeless: the radio mojo upstairs at Caesars, where the New Jersey Broadcasters Association convention wrapped Wednesday. Because this state has only one commercial TV station – New York City’s channel 9, re-licensed to Secaucus to save its license years ago – this was, de facto, a radio show. I attend lots of these state conventions, and each year this is a real good one.
Applause to affable NJ Broadcasters’ president/CEO Paul Rotella, who rounded-up some 300, an impressive headcount for a state meeting, in a state this size, with station travel budgets still tight. And these attendees WERE…local…very “of” this unique state. Proof: side-by-side on Radio Row: TWO stations on 1450AM, licensed-to, and sounding-very-much-like, their communities, in different parts of The Garden State.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES —Journey back to the “Golden Age” of radio and television, and, you will promptly ascertain that, especially in terms of audience acceptance, pairing a real-life husband and wife was a brilliant programming strategy that tended to produce blockbuster results.
Consider such instantly familiar classic examples as George Burns & Gracie Allen; Desi Arnaz & Lucille Ball; Ozzie & Harriet Nelson; and Jim & Marian Jordan as “Fibber McGee & Molly,” whose 24-year radio run concluded in 1959.
Contemporary “Windy City” radio partisans will surely cite “Don Wade & Roma,” who were staples on WLS-AM, Chicago for over 25 years; Don Wade succumbed to brain cancer last September.
Fairly recently (then-married) couples Chet Curtis & Natalie Jacobson on Boston’s WCVB-TV, and Jim Lampley & Bree Walker on Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV co-anchored the news together on their respective stations; 74-year-old Curtis lost his fight against pancreatic cancer five months ago.
These are simply representative examples (certainly not approaching a definitive list) of the effective, albeit not now revolutionary concept.
Consequently, while it will hardly be precedent setting when Los Angeles-based Brent Seltzer and his wife Meg McDonald debut next Monday (6/23) on the Genesis Communications Network for their daily, two-hour (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, ET) broadcast, it nonetheless promises to be a wonderfully refreshing burst of fresh air to talk radio.
Radio Host and Conservative Media Figure Monica Crowley Joins The Washington Times. Conservative talk media figure Monica Crowley is named online opinion editor for The Washington Times. Crowley, who has hosted a regular talk radio program syndicated by Talk Radio Network and is a longtime contributor to Fox News Channel, begins her work for The Washington Times on June 23. Her duties will include overseeing all opinion content online, ranging from the weekly columns of Dr. Ben Carson and Tammy Bruce to the online “Communities” portals of such opinion contributors as Christine O’Donnell, Tom DeLay, Ernest Istook and Steve Deace. Crowley will remain as a Fox News contributor and plans to write for The Washington Times. The paper’s president and CEO, Larry Beasley, says, “We’re thrilled to have Monica join The Washington Times. With her extensive background, talent and education, Monica will enhance our online offerings from around the country and the world.”
CBS Radio’s WFNZ, Charlotte Names Chris Kroeger Afternoon Host. Taking over for WFNZ, Charlotte sports talk host Marc James, who moved to the company’s WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” to partner with Chad Dukes, is Chris Kroeger – new host of “Prime Time with Chris Kroeger. In a statement, program director DJ Stout says, “Like the Charlotte Hornets we too are bringing our legendary brand ‘Prime Time’ back. We’re excited for Chris to take on this opportunity. He is a top-notch talent and we look forward to him bringing his fresh approach to ‘Prime Time.’” Kroeger is a Charlotte native who’s been covering Appalachian State football. He appeared weekly on WFNZ to talk App football. He’s spent the last three years anchoring coverage of the Pac-12, SEC, ACC, AAC & Big East for IMG College. The station says Kroeger will rotate two different co-hosts each day on the show including local and national writers, former athletes and team owners alongside the show’s other members: The Q.C.B., Hitman, and Jayweezie. The station announces another addition to the lineup: “The Call Up with Colin and Nate” (airing weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon) featuring on air/producer for the WFNZ “Mac Attack Morning Show” Colin Hoggard and Nate Conley, executive producer of the WFNZ midday show “Bustin’ Loose with Frank Garcia and Mark Yarbro.” WFNZ says fan favorites Colin and Nate are joining forces on this caller intensive show bringing a fresh perspective to sports radio. DJ Stoud adds, “We’ve taken our time in putting the right shows and the right people in place. All three of these guys know the city and know the station and bring a passion for sports as well as different perspectives for WFNZ and sports radio in the Carolinas.”
What Would Jerry Del Colliano Do if He Owned a Radio Station Now? Inside Music Media publisher and longtime industry observer/analyst Jerry Del Colliano candidly shares the 17 things he would do if he were in the situation of owning and operating a commercial radio station for profit today. In a provocative piece posted today (6/17) in TALKERS and RadioInfo, Del Colliano addresses: sales department size, sales commission structure, commercial price structuring, handling (or not handling) eight-minute stop sets, appealing to a generation obsessed with video games, and strategizing the digital component as it relates to radio. He also introduces a radical new way of dealing with hits and music discovery and much more. To read Jerry Del Colliano’s entire article, please click here. Also meet Jerry Del Colliano at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday of this week (6/20).
Clear Channel Updates iHeartRadio App. The newest version of the app for Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital music and talk service is being released. The 5.0 verion for iOS and Android is being touted by the company to bring “iHeartRadio users an even more personalized listening experience with enhanced algorithms. Among the new algorithm updates to the digital radio service is the ‘For You’ feature, which adds a genre selection tool for improved, more tailored station recommendations. iHeartRadio 5.0 will also include a sleeker, more beautiful and intuitive UI, improved search and simplified controls.” CC president of digital Brian Lakamp comments, “iHeartRadio 5.0 features a significant upgrade to the way we serve our listeners. We’ve been working diligently to personalize iHeartRadio and give our listeners more of the artists, the music and the kind of listening experience they want. iHeartRadio 5.0 accomplishes that by introducing recommendations, more intelligent design and a better user experience overall.”
Nielsen’s RADAR June 2014 Quarterly Report Released. The quarterly RADAR radio network ratings report from Nielsen for June 2014 has been released and, once again, the report concludes that network radio listening remains consistent from a cume standpoint. Some data from the report includes an estimate of national audience listening – the national audience that heard a network radio commercial during an average week stands at 181.3 million Americans aged 12+. Nielsen goes on to say, “That’s nearly 70% (68.0) of all Americans aged 12+ who heard a network radio commercial during an average week.” It also reports that, in the top 25 DMAs, network radio reached more than 94 million listeners, more than 70% of the 12+ population in those markets; and that more than 70% of Americans aged 25-54 listened to network radio each week. Nielsen notes the data here reflects listening to subscribing networks and does not include all network radio listening.
National Journalism Center Plays Supportive Role with Talk Media’s Youth – Organization to Showcase Internship Program at Talkers New York 2014. In the era of industry-wide consolidation and moves to cut costs with syndication, longtime radio and media veteran Kirby Wilbur could be the poster child for reinventing a career while helping others to start their own. Washington, DC-born and Seattle-raised, Wilbur made a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest as a talk show host on KVI for 16 years. From 1993 to 2009, Kirby was a staple on the Seattle airwaves and also as a fill-in host for Sean Hannity. After being cut loose from KVI, Wilbur became chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. During his tenure, Republicans picked up majorities in the Washington State House and State Senate. However, an offer came his way that has not only changed him, but is also developing a new generation of members of the media. About a year ago, Wilbur and his wife left the Pacific Northwest for Washington, DC, where he became executive director of the conservative-based National Journalism Center. His new career may not place him behind the microphone, but it does allow him to help groom the next generation of future radio reporters, talk show hosts, writers and members of the media. “The Young America’s Foundation is a project of the National Journalism Center. Its mission is to train and work with journalism students (conservative and otherwise) who aspire to careers in the field and encourage them through internships and academic programs. The program’s alumni include a stellar roster of well-known media and journalism figures. To read the entire story written by TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay posted today (6/17) please click here.
Odds & Sods. WGOW, Chattanooga, Tennessee “102.3 The Talk Monster” mid-afternoon talk show host Brian Joyce is filling in on Cumulus Media’s Atlanta news/talk WYAY “Newsradio 106.7” from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm tomorrow evening (6/18)…..At Entercom’s Sacramento operations, Lance Richard is named vice president of sales for the six-station group that includes sports talk KCTC “ESPN 1320.”…..HLN personality Vinnie Politan is exiting the cable news channel to take a position with WXIA-TV, Atlanta. Politan hosted the afternoon “HLN Now: On the Case” program.
Public Memorial for Seattle Broadcaster Ken Schram Planned for June 22. Longtime Seattle radio and television newsman and personality Ken Schram passed away on May 29 at the age of 66 after a long illness. Schram worked for years for Fisher Communications on all-news KOMO-AM/FM, news/talk KVI as well as on the company’s KOMO-TV. He also worked for Bonneville at KIRO-FM. A public memorial is scheduled for Sunday, June 22 at the Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center.
“Live from Grand Rapids…” Nationally syndicated WestwoodOne talk show host Dennis Miller did his June 6 program from the Cumulus Grand Rapids studios ahead of his appearance at the city’s DeVos Performance Hall for a show with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. Miller (left) took a moment to pose for a photo with WJRW and WBBL program director Dave Jaconette (right).
Iraq Turmoil, Primary Results/State of the GOP, IRS Scandal-Lerner Emails Status, Child Illegals Influx, Hillary Clinton Book Tour, World Cup Action, and NHL-NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/16). The instability in Iraq due to the infiltration of a radical Islamic militant forces’ occupation of parts of the country; discussion about the state of the Republican party after this spring’s primary contests; the controversy over the status of Lois Lerner’s emails relative to the IRS scandal; the continuing influx of child illegal immigrants in the Southwest; Hillary Clinton’s book tour for her latest memoir; the World Cup action in Brazil and the U.S.’s victory over Ghana; and the Spurs’ and Kings’ victories in the NBA’s and NHL’s finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Hearst Baltimore Hires Pahigian as President/GM. Former Saga Communications Portland, Maine president and general manager Cary Pahigian will succeed Ed Kiernan in the same capacity at Hearst Baltimore talker WBAL and WIYY “98 Rock.” Kiernan recently announced his retirement. According to Hearst president Jordan Wertlieb, “Having worked for some of the nation’s most honored radio stations, including most recently overseeing stations of various formats, Cary brings a wealth of experience. He is a passionate advocate for local broadcasting and understands the importance of community service and how it is the fabric of leading radio stations.” Prior to his tenure at Saga’s Portland properties, Pahigian was station manager at heritage Boston outlet WBZ-AM; operations manager and program director of Philadelphia sports station WIP-AM; vice president of operations at Sconnix Broadcasting; and vice president and general manager of Boch Broadcasting on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine to Co-Host New AM Show at Genesis’ Tampa and Orlando Stations. On the news/talk simulcast of WWBA, Tampa and WAMT, Orlando, Genesis Communications debuts the new “Your Wake Up Call” morning drive program co-hosted by Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine with news anchor Robert Pankau and entertainment reporter Kurt Shriner. Markowski is known for his nationally syndicated weekend program “Watchdog on Wall Street.” Laine most recently served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Insider for Sports Talk Florida. Markowski comments, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be covering all the important news and events in one of the most important areas in the country: Tampa Bay, Orlando and the entire I-4 corridor.” Laine adds, “Whether it’s news or sports, the one constant for me as a journalist has always been ‘people.’ I love telling your stories and I care very much about issues that affect our communities.”
Kitchin Elected to Museum of Broadcast Communications Board. Radio pro and Sound Mind co-president Kraig Kitchin is elected to the board of directors of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Downtown Chicago’s MBC has housed America’s only National Radio Hall of Fame since 1992. MBC founder-president-chief executive officer Bruce DuMont comments that, “Kraig is one of the most talented and respected radio executives in America. He will bring his energy and vision to the museum, and help raise awareness of our mission nationally.” Kitchin remarks that for over 25 years, “The Museum of Broadcast Communications has done a remarkable job of recognizing great accomplishments in both radio and television. I am thrilled to join the MBC board and help chart the future of the museum and the National Radio Hall of Fame. More than ever, it is important to recognize the great work done by broadcasters behind the microphone and in front of the camera.” Sound Mind was launched in 2008 and offers management services to radio, television, and production companies. Kitchin works with radio personalities in both talk and music genres. He previously was the longtime president/chief operating officer of the Premiere Radio Networks. Kitchin is a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame Steering Committee that supervises the induction process; the NRHOF Class of 2014 will be announced later this week.
Radio Industry Mourns Tom Rounds. With considerable recent focus on the plight and deteriorating health of iconic personality Casey Kasem, it is an unfortunate, eerie twist of irony that the man who in 1970 – with Kasem and producer Don Bustany – launched and marketed “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem” passed away on Sunday (6/1). To state that Watermark founder Tom Rounds was a broadcasting innovator is actually an understatement. Many within the industry are still in shock regarding the death of the 77-year-old Rounds (he would have been 78 this coming Friday, 6/6) who expired in Los Angeles, reportedly from complications related to a “minor surgical procedure.” His wife – Barbara Rounds – was with her longtime husband when he passed away. By the 1980s, “American Top 40″ was heard on more than 500 U.S. radio stations. Approximately three years following ABC’s 1982 acquisition of Watermark, Rounds founded and was chief executive officer of entertainment program supplier Radio Express; by the late-1990s, Burbank (California)-based Radio Express was producing most of its own product. It presently handles syndication outside the United States for American radio programs such as “The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40″ and “American Country Countdown.” Radio Express vice president of sales Jessica d’Agostin notes, “We are deeply saddened by T.R.’s passing. We will profoundly miss his humor, his wisdom, and his kindness. He was a great man. He loved his wife, his family, and radio with all his heart. We will continue to move forward at Radio Express in his honor and as a living tribute to the example ‘T.R.’ set for excellence in all things.” Amherst College (Massachusetts) alum Rounds entered radio at the campus station in the late-1950s. Shortly thereafter in a stunt at Hawaii’s KPOI, he would set a record for staying awake on the air for 260 consecutive hours, while doing his show at a department store. By the mid-1960s, he landed in San Francisco to program top 40 KFRC. Among those commenting on Facebook regarding Rounds’ passing is Ed Mann of MannGroup Radio who states, “I’m just sick about it. Tom was my first producer at MannGroup Radio. I had the opportunity to work ideas with him for years after. He was truly one of the great guys in this business. He was my model as a businessman – such a great combination of creative and manager. We had not talked in years, but this hurts plenty. [Mann's wife] Mindy and I send our condolences to Barbara and the family.” Former Radio & Records (R&R) country editor/Clear Channel director of production Jim Duncan recounts, “When I first moved to Los Angeles from San Diego to be part of R&R, I had lunch with Tom and [R&R founder/publisher] Bob Wilson. He tried to get me to come do some production at Watermark. I chose to work at Westwood One producing shows. I saw Tom many times over the years and he kept trying to get me to work with him. Sorry I didn’t – he was somebody very special.” Veteran programmer and imaging voice Charlie Van Dyke writes, “Tom Rounds, of course, was a successful program director and part of the original Watermark organization that gave birth to ‘American Top 40.’ He was a great friend to me over the years.” Another legendary voiceover talent, Joe Cipriano, states, “I was honored to co-host with Adrienne Walker the ‘World Chart Show’ for Tom for several years.” Former KIIS “Kiss-FM”, Los Angeles general manager Wally Clark is among the many to simply remark, “Sorry to hear this news.” Sabo Media‘s Walter Sabo describes Rounds as a “great gentleman,” while Sonoma Media Group president Michael O’Shea opines that Rounds was, “a great guy. Radio, as an industry, suffered today.” Former Radio Et Cetera sales manager and ex-general manager of suburban Los Angeles adult contemporary FM trimulcast KLIT, KNJO, & KXEZ Rick Lemmo remarks that, “Tom was a true gentleman. I loved working with him in so many ways.” Ed Scarborough, who has programmed numerous stations, including Los Angeles CHR KKHR and San Antonio adult contemporary KQXT, succinctly declares that Rounds was, “a legend.” MultiBrand Media International owner/president Bill Pasha reflects that he recently made a new friend. “His name was Tom Rounds. Through business, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the wit and wisdom of the man who founded the largest syndication company in the U.S., Watermark. He was a good friend of my pals – Toby Arnold and Tom Merriman – who passed away before ‘T.R.’ I enjoyed his war stories of the biz we both love. About three weeks ago, I spent almost two hours on the phone laughing, chatting and learning from this wonderful guy who was not too busy to offer me advice on how to grow my business. Good men are never truly gone. They live on in our hearts and in the contributions they made to our industry. Tom Rounds was one of those guys.” Salem Media of Hawaii program director Phil Abbot summarizes his thoughts by declaring, “I am speechless. Thank you ‘T.R.,’ for all the help and the masterful instruction along the way.” When Norm Garr was on the air in Oxnard-Ventura-Santa Barbara (California), his station was an “AT 40″ affiliate. The station’s on-air talents were allowed to buy a copy of the year-end program. “After I left radio and moved into TV,” Garr recollects, “I wrote Tom the next year asking if I could buy a copy of the next year’s year-end show. For the longest time, he sent me a copy at no charge. What a ‘mensch.’” One of Rounds’ former employees, Cindy Jo Hinkleman, remarks, “I am in shock to receive this news about Tom Rounds passing. Working for Radio Express was one of the highlights of my life so far. He believed in me and gave me the most amazing opportunities to shine. He will stay dear to my heart. I will always remember his smile.” Offering philosophical perspective, Mark Brower writes, “I learned a very difficult lesson today on how precious life is. The world lost one of the best. Not only my boss but also a wonderful friend. He was a wonderful teacher of life, a wonderful storyteller and a wonderful person – definitely my mentor. He was very passionate and music was definitely his life. I learned a lot from Tom Rounds – I will never forget you.” His wife Barbara; a daughter Michelle; a son Tommy; a stepdaughter Debbie; and four grandchildren survive Tom Rounds. A memorial service will be held this Sunday (6/8) at 5:00 pm at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills. Memorial donations may be made to City of Hope Cancer Center.
Caine to Bloomberg. Former WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine joins Bloomberg Media Group to serve as chief revenue officer. Caine was with WestwoodOne for not quite a year before that company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media forced him out. Prior to that, Caine spent 23 years at Time Inc. during which he rose to president and group publisher of the Style & Entertainment Group.
Cox Media’s Multi-Media Convergence in Dayton Analyzed. There are only a few instances in which media operators are producing content and selling advertising for radio, TV, newspapers and digital and Cox Media Group’s Dayton operation is one of them. Michael Depp at NetNewsCheck.com writes a multi-part piece on how WHIO-AM/FM and siblings WHIO-TV, the Dayton Daily News and its affiliated digital properties are performing three years after merging the media into one cohesive effort. From a news and information perspective, the piece begins by illustrating how news staffers produce for all four media. Check it out here.
Odds & Sods. One of Charlotte’s favorite summer traditions returns as Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM and sister AC WLNK team with the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball club to “SkyShow Charlotte” – a fireworks spectacular – on July 4 at BB&T Ballpark. The station says WBT’s “SkyShow” continues its tradition of providing a great free street festival including a ferris wheel, interactive kids’ activities and live entertainment…..Hubbard Radio-owned WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” launches a new weekly program titled, “Women of Washington,” a weekly interview series featuring some of Washington D.C.’s most ambitious and influential female executives. The program is hosted by Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe says, “I’m very excited about this particular program, not only because Aileen and Gigi are so well informed about the federal market, but because they have a higher goal to inspire young women to reach and excel at the executive level.”…..World-renowned pastor Joel Osteen gets his own channel on SiriusXM as the satcaster announces the debut of “Joel Osteen Radio” this fall. The programming will include services from his Lakewood Church in Houston as well as content from his catalogue of past sermons and more…..The Voice of America signs a new agreement with digital call-to-listen platform AudioNow for the latter to provide VOA programming inside the United States. The new agreement expands an on-going relationship between VOA and AudioNow, which already distributes programming from VOA in 34 languages by phone.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Controversy, Russian Aggression-U.S. Allies Support, Texas Open Carry Demonstration, Male Unemployment Stats, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). Controversy over the Guantanamo prisoner swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Obama administration’s seeking $1 billion for NATO allies; the furor over the Open Carry Texas-orchestrated open carry demonstration and the NRA’s response; new statistics indicating one of every six young American males is unemployed; 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.
Rita Cosby Joins WABC, New York for ‘The Ride Home.’ Television and radio pro Rita Cosby is joining NY1 personality Pat Kiernan as co-host of the WABC, New York’s 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program, “The Ride Home” beginning Wednesday, May 21. Cumulus Media describes the show as “the signature drive time show featuring the latest information, insight and opinion on news, sports and pop culture with an emphasis on the New York area.” On the new gig, Cosby says, “I am so delighted to join my friend and NY1 icon Pat Kiernan along with the rest of the 77 WABC family. While I’ve been fortunate to cover the biggest national and international stories for years, there’s nothing better than covering stories that touch the very cornerstone of my own neighborhood and place of birth, New York City. I’m excited to be a part of an exceptional and passionate team, bringing listeners context to the biggest stories impacting The Big Apple and showcasing some of the most noteworthy guests making headlines.” Cumulus corporate programmer of news/talk Randall Bloomquist comments, “We’re excited to welcome such an extraordinary journalist and dynamic host as Rita Cosby to the 77 WABC family. Together, Pat and Rita bring decades of broadcasting experience and a proven ability to jump between topics and deliver the day’s most important news. As New Yorkers make their way home at the end of the day, our listeners can look forward to being kept informed and entertained by two of the best in the business.”
National Association of Media Brokers Backs Elimination of Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban. Filing a comment with the FCC in favor of eliminating the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban is the National Association of Media Brokers. The comment states, in part, “History shows that much of the broadcast industry was birthed by newspapers, which proved to be admirable stewards of the public trust. Specialization and regulation over the years has, to a large extent, separated ownership of the two. However, allowing newspaper/broadcast combinations in today’s marketplace, where there are so many choices for reading, viewing and listening, can only strengthen local content and public service. This recommendation is not made for the purpose of increasing our business or to rescue newspapers or AM radio stations. Frankly, we believe eliminating newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership restrictions would not generate a significant wave of such transactions. It would, however, be a step forward to enhancing public service without any meaningful impact on diversity. At first you might believe this would be a path mostly for newspapers to invest in broadcast stations, but the reverse also can be expected, especially in smaller markets.”
WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Eric Von Haessler Part-Time Work. The former member of “The Regular Guys” morning drive program on Cumulus Media’s rock WNNX, Atlanta has been off AM/FM radio since exiting that show last September. Now, Eric Von Haessler has been tapped to do some fill-in work on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho. Program director Pete Spriggs tells the paper Von Haessler filled in for Monica Perez on Saturday, May 17 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and that his future with the station is unclear. “We will see where it goes. Today, I just think it is cool to get him on the radio,” Spriggs tells Ho. Von Haessler was part of “The Regular Guys” for more than 15 years at three different stations before exiting last fall.
Townsquare Media Flips New Jersey AMs to News/Talk. The oldies simulcast on WOBM, Lakewood Township and WADB, Asbury Park is gone and a news/talk format takes over on the Townsquare Media stations. The lineup includes local morning drive team Bob and Marianne Levy followed by paid programming from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. After that it’s the Premiere Networks lineup of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Also on the schedule is Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt.
Mitch Dolan Named COO of Times-Shamrock. Longtime ABC executive Mitch Dolan (10 years as president of ABC Radio’s station group) is now the chief operating officer for the Scranton-based Times-Shamrock Communications company where he’ll oversee its radio and outdoor properties. The Scranton Times-Tribune reports Dolan will manage the company’s stations in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Baltimore, Reno, and Las Vegas as well as the operational partnership in Milwaukee. Times-Shamrock owner Bobby Lynett is quoted in the paper saying, “Mitch’s reputation preceded his introduction to us. He is exactly the type of individual we want leading our group of managers and our geographically diverse radio and billboard division. Since meeting Mitch, we have grown more and more excited about the great ideas and enhancements we know he can institute.”
RAB: Another Flat Quarter for Radio. Actually, the spot segment of radio was down during the first three months of 2014, by 2%, with digital and off-air – both up 16% — saving the industry from a down quarter. National was down 8%, according to the RAB’s report. Total revenue for the quarter was $3.79 billion. This was the fifth consecutive flat quarter for the industry. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The double-digit gains in the digital and off-air sectors this quarter highlight the growing interest among advertisers in utilizing radio’s multiple facets. With radio broadcasters increasingly dedicating their efforts to improving and supporting their digital channels, local and national advertisers alike will find these platforms increasingly attractive to reach audio consumers.” As far as ad categories are concerned, Farber reports that “a number of category increases offset cutbacks in spending among others whose businesses were adversely impacted by weather conditions and other factors.” Advertisers in the highly competitive communications/cellular arena rang up a 33% increase over their Q1 ’13 level to rank #2 among all categories in the spot segment; automotive, while flat, is again radio’s leading revenue category. Spending in the insurance companies category was up substantially (+33%), nearing the March 31 deadline for open enrollment under the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). Health care category advertisers also upped their spending (+16%) in an effort to attract the newly insured to their services. Home improvement spending was up 14%, reflecting consumers’ need to deal with weather-related issues and growing home sales/remodeling efforts. Also up for the quarter were professional services (+7%), concerts/theater/movies (+6%), and casinos/lottery (+3%).
Beasley Opens Las Vegas Media Center. The dedication of Beasley Broadcast Group’s new Las Vegas operations took place on Thursday, May 15 and founder-chairman-chief executive officer George G. Beasley was among those attending the dedication ceremony of the new BeasleyMedia Center. Beasley received a Certificate of Commendation from Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid, and proclamations from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and the Clark County Commissioners. Executive vice president of operations Brian Beasley comments, “Our Las Vegas team strives to provide the very best radio experience to both listeners and advertisers. Importantly, they also voluntarily create, promote, and participate in a variety of civic and charitable events that benefit the local Las Vegas community, such as the Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon, the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, and the 12th Annual ‘DJs for PJs Drive’ held just last month.” Vice president and market manager Tom Humm remarks, “The staff is grateful for the Beasley family’s commitment to us and to the city of Las Vegas. Our new home is one of the finest radio broadcast facilities in the country. It is a proud moment for all of us.” There are 85 employees at Beasley’s five-station Las Vegas cluster, which consists of country KCYE “The Coyote”; talk KDWN “AM 720″; classic hits KKLZ; urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7″; and adult hits KVGS “Bob FM.” Syndicated talk host Jerry Doyle will originate his weekday show (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) from the KDWN studios.
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean both this evening and tomorrow (5/19 & 20) is WTAG, Worcester morning drive personality Paul Westcott…..Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is being honored by the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers with “620 WTMJ Day” at Miller Park on Monday, June 2. WTMJ serves as the flagship for Brewers baseball and part of the special day means certain seats in the stadium will be available for just $6.20 and the game time for the Brewers-Twins matchup has been moved from 7:10 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. Journal’s VP/GM of Milwaukee radio operations Tom Langmyer says, “Brewers baseball on WTMJ radio has been the soundtrack of summer in Wisconsin for decades. Bob Uecker and Joe Block have a special relationship with listeners and we’re very pleased to join the Brewers in honoring fans for their tremendous support over the years.”
Scottie Nell Hughes’ Roar Due in September. Telling TALKERS magazine that “much of the book is based on my experiences in talk radio,” author Scottie Nell Hughes announces the coming publication of her book ROAR: The New Conservative Woman Speaks Out (2014 Worthy Publishing). The journalist and Tea Party correspondent says that as a woman who continues to defy political stereotypes, she has often found herself feeling marginalized and ignored by establishment political parties and mainstream media — particularly as an outspoken Christian conservative. Yet she emphatically rejects 21st-century labels, choosing instead to emphasize the strength of the new conservative woman in everyday life and politics. From her deep faith and her love for family to her independence, she says she refuses to participate in a manufactured war against men. Hughes says, “I’m delighted to be working with Worthy and to begin a movement that fights back against a modern culture that treats ‘pro-women’ and ‘conservative’ as incompatible. ROAR gives new voice to a demographic that has long been maligned, but whose time for being heard has come.”
Rick Santorum Entertains KSKY, Dallas Listeners. Former U.S. Senator (R-PA) and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum (second from left) was in Dallas Friday, May 16 speaking before a gathering of KSKY, Dallas “660 AM The Answer” listeners at the DFW Sheraton when the photo here was taken. During the event, Santorum discussed his new book titled, Blue Collar Conservatives (Regnery) and chatted with hosts at the Salem Communications news/talk outlet. Pictured here with Santorum are (from left to right): KSKY morning host Mark Davis, Santorum, Texas Attorney General candidate Ken Paxton and KSKY evening host Jon-David Wells.
By Lars Larson
Compass Media Networks/Alpha Broadcasting
Talk Show Host
PORTLAND, OR — Michael, I know you’re trying to squeeze some lemonade out of your career prospects but bashing fellow talk hosts as routinely and regularly lying to listeners isn’t the best way to sell a book or get more audience to a cable news network.
You went on the CBS morning news show last week (documented by the Media Research Center) to hock your wares (a book and a satellite radio show and your new show on CNN) and accused those of us still working in terrestrial radio of LYING to listeners while declaring that you ALWAYS tell the truth.
(CBS host) Gayle King, “I used to listen to these guys, Michael, and say, ‘They can’t possibly believe what they’re saying. It’s just is a way to just rile up the crowd.” (Smerconish) “…yes, that’s exactly the way that I believe that it is.” (Q-King) “Did you always believe what you were saying?” (Smerconish) “I believed what I was saying at all times.”
Movement Afoot to Curtail Media’s Free Speech? In a story by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, he writes that Federal Elections Commissioner Lee E. Goodman warns there is brewing sentiment within the FEC to support changing the exemption that the media enjoys regarding support of political candidates and/or issues. Goodman tells the paper, “I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers.” The piece cites Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity and the movie division of Citizens United for effectively endorsing candidates. As the story notes, all media currently enjoys the right to endorse candidates and promote them without being subject to limits or disclosure requirements. It’s unlikely that such a move would pass legal muster but Goodman’s comments to the Examiner indicate frustration with conservative media on the part of liberal staffers at the FEC.
Jennifer Perry Exits WYAY, Atlanta. The former WGST, Atlanta afternoon news anchor had been the news director at Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY “All News 106.7” since its inception as a news station 16 months ago, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Perry is leaving the station for a position outside the radio biz. The move coincides with the station’s addition of another talk show that begins Monday, May 12 – this one featuring Michael Graham in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot – to what had been a true all-news format. There’s no indication the programming changes were part of Perry’s decision to exit. Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson has been hosting a show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm since last fall. Ho also reports that he hears the station will change its handle from “All News 106.7” to “NewsRadio 106.7” in the near future.
CCM+E Teams with Grupo Radio Mexico for iHeartRadio Hispanic Network. It was a natural progression given Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s existing relationship with Grupo Radio Mexico syndicating “El Show Del Mandril” via Premiere Networks, but the additional ventures announced today (5/8) take the relationship much deeper. The launch of the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network will mean listeners to the digital entertainment platform will be able to hear Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo Radio Mexico stations and “El Show Del Mandril.” Grupo Radio Mexico owns and operates 51 radio stations across multiple formats in 13 Mexican markets — including the leading station cluster in Monterrey and Guadalajara. As part of the deal, beginning later this year, iHeartRadio will become the exclusive digital ad sales provider for these market-leading Mexican stations. In what CC is calling an industry first, it will replace all local Mexican station ads with consumer-targeted U.S. ads and that this also marks the first time iHeartRadio will provide U.S. listeners with radio broadcasts from leading stations throughout the Mexico Republic. GRC chairman and CEO Francisco Aguirre says, “This is the second step in the groundbreaking partnership between our two companies. Bob Pittman and I share a vision to expand both companies beyond their respective borders in a very fast paced and evolving digital landscape. Our Mexico stations are market leaders across all demographics and we look forward to their natural expansion in the U.S. through the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.”
Biz Biggies Rock On — The Colorful History and Present-Day Innovation of Industry Entrepreneur Steve Lehman. Actually there are two stories here. One is the colorful history about the birth and early days of Premiere Networks which was launched by noted industry entrepreneur Steve Lehman and his partners Tim Kelly, Louise Palanker, and Ed Mann in the mid-1980s and went on to become one of network radio’s greatest successes. The second story is about the more recent launch of an extremely innovative multi-media, radio-based syndicated program called “Business Rockstars,” hosted by brilliant business expert and organizer of billionaires, Ken Rutkowski. What is the connection between these two stories? Steve Lehman. In a fascinating two-part special feature written by TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, we are taken on a radio journey that spans three decades from the early days of modern syndication and consolidation to today’s leading edge of multi-platform talk radio. “I saw the need for something that was not ‘old politics’ on talk radio,” declares Lehman, who was fascinated by an article that indicated there are 30 million “wantrepreneurs” in the United States. “I thought that is a great audience to try to educate and to entertain about something I am passionate about — entrepreneurship. ‘Business Rockstars’ is an entrepreneurial business platform that is driven by radio, television, and social media. Those are the springboards to the monetization model, which is live events, content and product sales, and membership.” Part one begins today (5/8). Read it by clicking here.
CRN Digital Talk Syndicates ‘Let’s Talk Tech.’ The weekly radio program “Let’s Talk Tech” with host Christian Wheel is now being syndicated nationally by CRN Digital Talk Radio. The program airs live Saturdays 8:00 pm ET from home base KFWB, Los Angeles. The show is described as covering everything from “smartphones to the internet, home theater to security, software to digital cameras.” CRN CEO Michael Horn says, “Christian is fluent in things called ‘C/C++,’ ‘Visual Basic’ and ‘x86 assembly.’ But more important, he’s fluent in radio. Christian explains tech-related topics so everyone can understand and enjoy them.”
Help for the Industry from the Experts at LDR Interactive. The company says that it is launching its #Engage Blog to offer “broadcast solutions to motivate, measure and monetize your audience.” LDR Interactive says the #Engage Blog shares “perspectives from the leadership team behind the Listener Driven Radio phenomenon and the growing TopicPulse real-time social measurement platform.” The LDR #Engage Blog will feature insights on motivating, measuring, and monetizing audience engagement by offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful implementations of real-time, social, local, mobile, and interactive programming across LDR’s partner stations. LDR says it will also share unique perspectives from its world-class team of software engineers, broadcast managers, sales managers, and programmers. Blog posts have been published by CEO, Daniel Anstandig; director of sales, Tracy Gilliam; and TopicPulse support and client services manager, Dana Hall.
Sullivan Heads to Brew Town with Entercom. From his most recent gig with Cumulus Media in Mobile, Chuck Sullivan heads north to the Dairy State to serve as VP/GM for Entercom’s Milwaukee cluster, taking over for Michael Keck who left for opportunities in the Twin Cities. Sullivan will oversee CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix,” and sports talk WSSP “Sports Radio 1250.” He says, “I couldn’t be more excited about this tremendous opportunity. Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands, from ‘Kiss FM,’ the most-listened-to station in Wisconsin, to ‘99.1 the Mix’ and ‘SportsRadio 1250.’”
Odds & Sods. The Ayn Rand Institute announces it will begin producing a weekly, two-hour talk radio program hosted by executive director Yaron Brook. In addition to seeking AM/FM affiliates, the program will air on the digital Liberty Express Network and the Ayn Rand Institute’s own site, aynrand.org. The show debuts June 9…..Sports talk personality Jay Mariotti expands his digital reach by joining with PodcastOne for distribution of his daily show. Mariotti’s program is heard via Genesis Communications Network and on his own Mariottishow.com platform…..Lisa Namerow, former SVP of strategic partnerships and audio monetization at Slacker Radio is joining XAPPmedia as senior vice president of business development and publisher relations for the company that provides an interactive audio advertising service.
Nielsen to Make Cuts at Three Call Center Locations. The Baltimore Sun reports that Nielsen will make cuts to its call-out workforce at locations in Sarasota, Florida; Radcliffe, Kentucky and Columbia, Maryland. The paper reports the call center cuts are part of the company’s efforts to consolidate operations since the acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen last year. Though no filing with the Maryland State Department of Labor has been reported, filings have been made in Florida and Kentucky with cuts of 220 and 237 workers being made respectively.
Net Revenue Up 12.1% at Radio One; Liggins Cautious. The financials from Radio One, Inc. for the first quarter of 2014 are in and the company reports net revenue was approximately $111.1 million, an increase of 12.1% from the same period in 2013. It reported a net loss of approximately $25.2 million or $0.53 per share compared to $18.1 million or $0.36 per share the same period a year ago. Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “Reflective of the broader economy, we experienced a slowdown in revenue growth in Q1. Adjusting for timing differences on major events, consolidated revenue was up by 5.4% compared to Q1 2013. Looking across the segments, TV One achieved its highest-ever show ratings, with the “NAACP Image Awards Show.” However, the benefits of the NAACP partnership will be felt over the longer term as during the first quarter, TV One had higher programming amortization associated with the initial telecast of the Image Awards. Our internet business continued its profitable trajectory and had robust 27.6% revenue growth year-over-year. Looking ahead, core radio revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits for the second quarter, but we anticipate markets picking up momentum in the second half of the year as political spending ramps up.”
Lew Dickey Is “Bullish on the Stick” – Shares Insights into the Big Picture of Cumulus Media’s Corporate Strategy at Canadian Music Week. In a “Fireside Chat” between Cumulus Media president/CEO Lew Dickey and Talkers/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison held during the opening sessions of an international radio summit in Toronto, the head of the America radio industry’s second largest group said that he is “bullish” on radio when asked where the stick stands within his company’s long-term strategy. The 40 minute-conversation took place at 9:30 am Wednesday (5/7) at “Radio Interactive: International Radio Summit” held as part of this week’s ongoing multi-media festival, “Canadian Music Week.” Dickey made the comment when asked by Harrison how Cumulus plans to balance its attention between the traditional AM/FM federally licensed platform (the “stick”) and all of its many digital age assets. Harrison asked, “Considering the massive amount of capital you have invested in traditional radio, is there the danger of a conflict between the stick and your other media? More importantly, how do you feel about the future of the traditional radio station in general in this rapidly changing environment?” Dickey responded that – yes, “times have changed in the past five years alone faster than ever and will probably change even faster in the coming five years” but he is nonetheless “bullish on the stick” and that all of Cumulus Media’s projects and multi-media endeavors are based upon the foundation and strength of traditional radio. He said, “What we are doing is building upon our radio assets as the foundation of our larger media reach, always keeping in mind the importance of radio as the base of this larger system.” Dickey went on to say that he personally believes in the uniqueness, importance and future of radio as a vital audio medium and has great respect for the basics that drive its success – music, entertainment, information and especially talent. He summed it up stating, “In today’s media marketplace, the size of your reach counts. You can’t effectively compete with emerging and already-existing giants such as Google with limited audience reach – that’s why you have to be able to provide advertisers with a large, multi-media package for maximum exposure which even includes magazines that we have among our assets. That does not mean we do not value the tremendous importance of radio or the radio station in particular. It is just that the ability of each station to compete effectively is enhanced when it is connected to a larger set of platforms increasing the reach we can provide to advertisers.” Acknowledging Harrison as one of the industry’s leading experts on talk radio, he praised the importance of the format “in its broader definition” – even as it applies to music radio — stating, “Talk radio is more than just the political talk that many tend to narrow it down to when referring to the format. Talk radio is all over the radio in many different forms…it appears on rock and pop music radio as morning shows, it’s in the all-news broadcasts…it is certainly in sports talk and it is our very act of talking that makes radio programming of all formats really work.” When Harrison complained that there doesn’t seem to be the same level of format innovation today as there was in the past – and that he can’t see how radio can survive if its owners and managers think today’s formats can exist in a ‘snapshot’ and not be replaced by new ones, especially when these rapidly changing times demand it, Dickey smiled and said, “You must have been a fly on the wall at one of our recent corporate meetings! I specifically asked the question, ‘When was the last time we’ve seen a significantly new format emerge in radio?’ There is no doubt this is a concern that we care about greatly. However, I want to point out that we have good programming people on our team and we encourage them to be creative in this regard.” Dickey added, “However, keep in mind, formats DO evolve as the times demand… it is just not always as noticeable as the debut of brand new formats that mark a departure from those that came before them.” Harrison asked Dickey about audience measurement stats and his view of the PPM in particular to which he responded that “PPM would be far more accurate if we had a larger sample and until that day we have to deal with the potential of large fluctuations that can cause problems especially when dealing with tight margins within the rankings of stations.” When asked if he counters that with some emphasis on qualitative selling in addition to the quantitative approach – especially on the local level, Dickey responded, “Even on the local level advertisers want data – we are living in an age in which data and measurement play a critical role in just about everything. So even in situations in which there are no ‘ratings’ per se, it is incumbent upon the sales force to come up with information that conveys something measurable.” Immediately following the conversation with Dickey, Michael Harrison was asked how he felt it went to which he responded, “That guy is one smart dude!” Prior to facilitating the chat with the Cumulus head, Harrison delivered the conference’s keynote address titled, “Staying Iconic in the New Pop Culture,” in which he reiterated his basic principles that for music radio to maintain its standing in society it must reclaim ownership of the music culture and not stray from the basic tenets of entertainment, magic, humanity and caring – trusting its future as much on instinct and courage as on research and fear.
Global Warming/Clean Air Act, Boko Haram Kidnappings, Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair Piece, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, House Holds Lois Lerner in Contempt, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The Obama Administration’s push for tougher regulations on power plant emissions and the debate over global warming; the global community’s response to the capture of Nigerian school girls by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram; Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence about affair with President Bill Clinton; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and this fall’s mid-term elections; former IRS official Lois Lerner found in contempt by House; and continued concerns about Russian aggression in Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cory Callewaert Named PD at CC’s Bay Area News/Talkers. Bay Area talk radio pro Cory Callewaert is promoted from his assistant program director post at Clear Channel’s San Francisco cluster to PD of news/talk outlets KKSF “Talk 910” and KNEW “960 The Patriot.” The latter station is largely conservative syndicated fare – Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean – while KKSF features local and regional programming with Armstrong & Getty (based at KSTE, Sacramento), Frosty Stillwell in middays and Gil Gross hosting PM drive. Callewaert’s experience in the market includes a stint with CBS RADIO co-hosting the Cory & Lex show at former hot talker KIFR-FM “106.9 Free FM” and two years as APD at KKSF and KNEW from 2003 to 2005. He rejoined Clear Channel San Francisco in 2009.
NYT Magazine Spotlights Rogers, Huckabee and Political Talk Radio. In a piece by Mark Liebovich in The New York Times Magazine, current Fox News Channel/former WestwoodOne talk show host Mike Huckabee and soon-to-be WW1 talk personality (and current House Intelligence Committee chair) Mike Rogers (R-MI) chat about talk radio and politics. Rogers recounts meeting Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey at WJR, Detroit personality Paul W. Smith’s wedding. The two chatted and Dickey asked if he’d ever considered getting into talk radio. The rest, as they say, is (developing) history. Both he and Huckabee offer comparisons between politics and media and Huckabee sums it up telling Liebovich “If you have more votes than the other guy, you win; if not, you lose.” Same with ratings. “Anybody who thinks, Oh, I’m really smart and articulate, good for me…if he doesn’t have people who watch and listen to him, he’s gone.” Read the whole story here.
KXIC, Iowa City’s Dottie Ray to Retire. Iowa City radio personality Dottie Ray is retiring from Clear Channel’s KXIC “Iowa City’s News & Sports Leader” after a career that has spanned 64 years in the market. Ray hosts her daily eponymous show from 8:45 am to 9:00 am. The station says she began broadcasting her fifteen-minute program back in 1950 and since then has informed listeners about local organizations, artists and events. She has interviewed thousands of guests over the years, always focusing her program on the Iowa City community and non-profit organizations. To celebrate her contributions to the community, AM-800 KXIC will be broadcasting one final interview with Dottie Ray, flipping the microphone around to ask Dottie about her career. KXIC morning host Jay Capron will conduct the interview on Tuesday, May 13. The entire 9:00 am hour will be dedicated to Ray, with several special surprises planned for the program. CCM+E Iowa City OM JJ Cook says, “She is an amazing lady and a very passionate and involved broadcaster. Dottie is a true Iowa City icon and I’m lucky to have had the pleasure of working with her for the past 11 years.”
Entercom Introduces SmartReach Digital. Headed up by Stephen Gibbons, the Entercom division is intended to help local businesses navigate digital marketing options. Gibbons most recently was vice president of marketing and vice president of national sales at Dex One. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field states that, “SmartReach Digital is an exciting and important expansion of our company’s product line and a perfect complement to our core radio business. Our goal is to be the preferred choice to meet the advertising and marketing needs of our local customers.” The new division will focus on designing and implementing integrated digital marketing strategies for local businesses. It will offer a number of products and services that “enable local businesses to attract, activate, and engage targeted leads.” Field adds, “We believe our new SmartReach Digital products will bolster our ability to deliver powerful and effective solutions for our customers.” As of April 1, SmartReach Digital has debuted in six Entercom markets; over the next 12 months, it will be rolled out in other markets where the company owns stations.
NFL Draft Day Draws Radio Coverage. The National Football League’s annual draft has become one of the sport’s prime events and – especially since it moved from being held exclusively on the weekend to the first two days happening on a Thursday and Friday – it’s become a major event for radio coverage as well. CBS Sports Radio announces it will be on hand and broadcasting live from Radio City Music Hall in New York to its more than 300 affiliate stations. The network says evening duo Chris Moore and Brian Jones of “The Mojo Show” will be live from 6:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET for round one of the draft and from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Friday for rounds two and three. CBS Sports Radio overnight host Damon Amendolara will serve as reporter. Over at NBC Sports Radio and WestwoodOne, that network’s Scott Graham will anchor the coverage with updates and one-on-one interviews throughout the night. Donovan McNabb will co-host “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” from Radio City. Later that evening, NBC Sports Radio crew of Jon Stashower, Amani Toomer, and Eytan Shander will go live with features, special reports, and expert analysis. NBC Sports Radio is a joint venture between NBC Sports and WestwoodOne. CBS Sports Radio is repped by WW1.
Salem Communications Reports Q1 2014 Revenue Up 12%. But that big hike includes the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing, as CEO Ed Atsinger noted during the investors conference call yesterday. Atsinger says the company is very bullish on the acquisition of Eagle and what it can mean to the company’s multi-platform efforts. More on that shortly, first the numbers. Salem’s broadcast division was up 5.4% while its internet and e-commerce division revenue rose 32.9% and the publishing division went up 44%. Breaking down the radio numbers a bit, Atsinger said, “Forty of our radio stations are in the foundational Christian teaching and talk format. These stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 4% for the quarter. Advertising revenue was up 9% while block programming on this format was up 3%. We have 27 stations in news/talk and they increased 16% for the quarter, due to an increase in political revenue. Overall, these stations contributed 17% of total broadcast revenue.” Back to the integration of publishing with broadcasting, Atsinger says the addition of Eagle and imprint Regnery dovetails nicely with its stations’ conservative philosophy as well as with its digital properties including TownHall.com, HumanEvents.com and RedState.com. He said Regnery just published the book Blue Collar Conservative by former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum – its first significant title – and it used its nationally syndicated news/talk shows and digital assets to plug the book. Regarding this, Atsinger says, “This marketing approach we think will help us boost sales, but I think it will also regularly provide additional leverage in terms of being competitive for signing up new attractive offers.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole transcript here.
Odds & Sods. The new radio play-by-play voice of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars is Frank Frangie, who replaces Brian Sexton as the team switches from former flagship WOKV-AM/FM to Seven Bridges Radio-owned sports talker WJXL “1010XL.” Sexton had called all 392 games in the franchise’s history. He’ll move to jaguars.com where he’ll serve as senior correspondent. Former Jaguars players Jeff Lageman and Tony Boselli will remain in the game-day booth as analysts…..Boston sports talk personality Glenn Ordway reports the app for his internet radio show is now available. The “Big Show Unfiltered” app makes its debut just months after Ordway launches his venture Sportstalkboston.com…..Former WNTA, Rockford, Illinois talk host Doug McDuff lands across the Illinois-Wisconsin border at WTJK, Janesville “The Big AM 1380” to host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, according to mystateline.com. WTJK is owned by Good Karma but is being operated by Big Radio under an LMA with the sale of the station to Big Radio pending.
Global Warming Debate, 2016 Presidential Race/Monica Lewinsky Interview, Obama Economic Legacy, Benghazi Aftermath, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The reignited debate over climate change and the Obama Administration’s policy regarding power plant emissions; the 2016 presidential race and Monica Lewinsky’s piece in Vanity Fair in which she goes public about her affair with President Bill Clinton; the tepid U.S. economy and the Obama Administration’s fiscal legacy; continued investigation into the deadly Benghazi attack; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and fears other former Soviet bloc nations have about Vladimir Putin’s motives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Three Eagles Communications to Sell Stations to Dean Goodman’s Digity. The growing media portfolio of Dean Goodman continues to grow as his Palm Beach, Florida-based Digity Companies agrees to purchase Three Eagles Communications’ 48 stations in markets in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Pending FCC approval, the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter. Three Eagles founder and CEO Rolland Johnson says of the deal, “I think it is an excellent time to be buying stations. Radio seems to have survived the perfect storm and should come out stronger than ever. While on the NAB Board with Dean Goodman 10 to 12 years ago, Dean talked about his vision of buying stations and rolling them up into a diversified company. It is great to have a vision like Dean’s and to be able to follow through with it. Dean is getting a group of hard-working people with award-winning stations who deserve a chance to participate in something as exciting as what Digity offers. I congratulate him on an excellent purchase.” Goodman comments, “Digity is on-air, online, on-demand, on-location, and on-the-go. It connects today’s busy consumers with content they want, people they trust, products they enjoy and things that matter. We are very pleased to have signed the Three Eagles purchase and Digity intends to continue to grow in all areas of its operations.” Digity, through Palm Beach Broadcasting, operates four FM stations in the Palm Beach market. GoodRadio.TV operates 26 radio stations in Midwestern markets. Digity earlier this year purchased 33 radio stations from NextRadio and operates those stations in San Jose, Chicago, suburban Dallas, Saginaw, Canton, Greenville and Myrtle Beach.
Rush Limbaugh Awards Grants in Essay Contest; Tennessee School Reacts. The essay contest Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh conducted earlier in the 2013-14 school year has been completed with three schools receiving a package of books and a cash gift from Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn. At Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville, Tennessee, principal Barry Bellamy and first grade teacher Danee Collette are still reeling after receiving a shipment of books from Limbaugh that included American classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Where the Red Fern Grows as well as copies of his own bestseller Rush Revere and the New Patriots. According to the Rogersville Review, Bellamy and Collette were even more shocked to receive a check for $15,000 to use as the school sees fit. Collette tells the paper her father is a big Limbaugh fan and told her about the essay contest. She dutifully wrote it and didn’t think much more about it until a Limbaugh staffer called to ask for a shipping address for the books. Collette says the money will probably be used for white boards, desks and tables for the library. She tells the paper, “This is so awesome! I graduated last May, got a job here for the school year, and now this!”
Remembering Ben Hoberman. Very briefly worded mentions of talk radio pioneer Ben Hoberman‘s passing dotted the internet Saturday and Sunday, but precise details regarding his death are not readily available. What we do know though is that the longtime ABC Radio executive was 92 when he died on Saturday (5/3). General consensus within the industry indicates that – with Hoberman at the helm in 1960 – Los Angeles’ KABC-AM was one of the first fulltime talk stations in the country – if not the first. On John Rook‘s Facebook page, the well-known programmer posted that, “When all of the ABC-owned radio stations were introducing Top 40 programming, [Hoberman] envisioned a new kind of format featuring talk. KABC would become top-rated in Los Angeles for decades, a format that gave birth to KGO’s talk format in San Francisco. His success elevated him to the presidency of ABC Radio. Ben Hoberman was a role model for managing radio stations, a total gentleman, and one of the real class guys I have known. My sincerest condolences to all who mourn his passing.” In the early-1970s, John Mainelli was a 20-year-old NABET vacation-relief news writer for KABC and the talk radio consultant recounts, “I had just learned what ‘fortnight’ meant and decided to use it in a script the next chance I got. Mr. Hoberman walked into the newsroom after [KABC morning drive talent] Bob Arthur read the story, saw my name on the filed script, dropped it on my desk and said, ‘If you mean two weeks ago, say it.’ That was ‘Mr. H’ – attention to detail and follow-through.” Hoberman had been with ABC for close to 40 years, much of that time in Los Angeles, where he had been KABC-AM’s general manager. He later was based in New York, running the network’s radio division, then consisting of six AM stations and six FM outlets, as well as syndicated programming as “American Top 40″ – then hosted by Casey Kasem. Hoberman, ex-ABC-TV president Elton Rule, and several other investors attempted to raise enough money to take over the entire ABC Radio division. Hoberman is pictured here at right in an undated photo with President Ronald Reagan.
SiriusXM’s Chris Russo Stirs Controversy Over Race on Sports Talk Radio. The flashpoint for a controversy over race and radio was SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s recent comment to a caller when asked about why there are no black sports talk hosts on his channel. Russo replied that he has not found one “worthy of doing a national talk show.” That started a social media flap. In the New York Daily News’ coverage of the story, Bob Raissman reports that Russo was not apologizing for his comment and told his paper, “The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk show host, a Korean talk show host, or a talk show host from Mars is absurd. If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second. Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes.”
Five Simple Engagement Actions. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a column published today (5/5), writes that it’s very important for listeners to feel that your radio station is “special.” Sabo notes, “It is so important to examine every single second of our programming in every format and ask, ‘How can this be better?’ Too much time is wasted on learning new rules from ‘corporate’ and new organizational structures. If your company is ‘afraid’ of Pandora and other web companies, the solution is better programming. It’s always better programming. Fresh programming ideas come from external sources, solid research and by paying close attention to what audiences do.” And with that in mind, Sabo offers five ways to better engage your audience. Read his piece here.
Journal Broadcast Group’s News/Talk WTMJ and Adult Hits WLWK in Milwaukee Honored with WBA Awards. In the large market category, Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK were recently honored with Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards. WTMJ won the following honors: News & Talk Station of the Year; News Operation of the Year; Best News & Talk Radio Show (AM drive) for “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller”; Best News & Talk Radio Show (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure”; Best Live On-Scene Reporting, Jodi Becker and the WTMJ News Team (Carroll University Lockdown); Best Spot News, Shooting at Children’s Hospital, WTMJ Radio News Team; Best Feature, “Preserving WWII History,” Erik Bilstad; Best Sportscast, Greg Matzek; Best Continuing Coverage, “Say it Ain’t So, Ryan Braun,” WTMJ Radio News & Sports Team; and Best Use of Audio, “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” Erik Bilstad. WLWK was honored for: Best Newscast – Music Format, Lake Mornings with Danny Clayton, Vince Vitrano & Andi Miller; Best Promotional Announcement, “Free Fun Night Out,” “The Lake” staff; Best Commercial – Music Station, Flanners/Just Press Play – Jim Gilles; and Best Humorous Commercial Music Station Love Finds A Way – Jim Gilles.
KTSA, San Antonio Morning Host Trey Ware Mourns Death of 28-Year-Old Son. At Alpha Media-owned talk outlet KTSA, San Antonio, Trey Ware has handled morning drive for the past 21 years – almost half of his broadcasting career. But last week Ware and his wife Nancy suffered the devastating loss of their 28-year-old son Justin who died under circumstances that are being kept private at this time. This is not the first such tragedy for the couple. Ware and his wife lost their daughter Rebekah in 2009 at age 20. In the San Antonio Express-News, writer Jeanne Jakle spoke with Ware who said, “We’re taking it day by day, minute by minute, that’s all we can do…They were the only two we had. April is not a good month for us. We want to expunge April from the calendar.” Other KTSA staffers are sitting in for Ware during this time. Local radio personality Adam McManus has subbed the past few days.
SCBA Goes on the Offensive in TV vs Radio Ad Spend. If there’s a radio trade organization doing more to make the case for radio as an advertising vehicle, we’re not aware of it. The Southern California Broadcasters Association has been very focused on consistently reaching out to the media to present radio’s case versus its competition and in this case, the competitor is TV. The SCBA is releasing a white paper titled, “Traditional Appointment Television’s Technology and Viewership Crisis,” and it zeroes in on the decline in appointment viewing replaced by on-demand viewing that largely allows consumers to skip through commercial sets. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “The imbalanced ratio of radio to TV ad spending in Southern California is completely unjustified when one looks closely at this SCBA report. Traditional appointment television is under direct attack from a variety of technology giants such as Google TV, Netflix, Amazon TV, YouTube, Hulu, as well as the ominous DVR.” Callahan says the report goes on to show that “radio remains the only real time medium with no tape delay or commercial skipping.” He adds, “Southern California Radio has grown its listenership of Adults 18+ over the past six years by an impressive 7.4% while local general market TV viewership has spiraled downward by -6.5% for early fringe programming and -8.5% for any local news. We are urging every general market TV advertiser to look at their ad spending and decide if they want to invest in the power of radio and our solid growth trends and commanding reach in Southern California vs. the eroding viewership of traditional appointment TV.”
Jeff Katz Honored with Journalism Award. Multi-media personality Jeff Katz was honored recently with an Editor’s Choice Award for his column that appears in the New England-based publication The Valley Patriot. Katz currently is host of the afternoon drive show at Clear Channel-owned news/talk WRVA, Richmond. He also writes for the Boston Herald and self-syndicates the nationally distributed “Katz Commentary.” He is also a public speaker having delivered keynote addresses all over the country. Katz tells TALKERS all of his media ventures embrace his unique philosophy of life, “Not Left. Not Right. Just Real.” Katz (left) is pictured here accepting his Editor’s Choice Award from The Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan (right).
Sharp-Dressed Men. The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place in Washington, DC on Saturday evening (5/2) and there was no shortage of media players at the who’s who of news and politics gathering. Pictured here are (from left to right): Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey; ABC News president James Goldston; and ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones. Photo by Jay Snap, LaDexon Photographie.
NAB Show convention coverage by consultant Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS – Applause to 2014 Crystal Award winning stations, who were honored at Tuesday’s Radio Luncheon, after-which came one helluva moment, Steve Harvey’s NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
It began every bit as hilarious as you’d expect, then turned suddenly, stunningly, emotional, the kind of from-the-heart moment that defines great big characters. He tearfully applauded the Crystal winners, declaring that “radio is about the community, about the people. Every radio station can play the same songs. [The Crystal winners] are doing radio the way radio should be done.”
‘Business Rockstars Radio’ to Air on WGN.FM. The Ken Rutkowski-hosted “Business Rockstars Radio” program begins airing on Tribune Company’s WGN.FM digital platform. WGN VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Ken Rutkowski is driven by a hunger to understand innovators, and his knack for unlocking the heart and soul of entrepreneurs makes for a potent audio-video-social journey. This fits WGN.FM’s free-form model perfectly, and we can’t wait for Ken’s first Business Rockstars Chicago event.” “Business Rockstars Radio” began broadcasting live today (4/7) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm CT. Business Rockstars co-founder Steve Lehman comments, “We’re thrilled to expand ‘Business Rockstars Radio’ into the Chicago market by joining the powerhouse family over at WGN Radio. This new alliance will allow us to reach the huge demographic of ‘Wantrepreneurs’ in Chicago and the surrounding areas with fun, fast-paced and compelling entrepreneurial content about growing, starting, and funding businesses. It’s going to be great to work with the WGN team. Todd Manley is a cutting-edge, forward-thinking programmer, and I’ve always admired and had a great working relationship with my only man-crush, Jimmy de Castro.”
Salem Communications Adds Chicago-based Joe Walsh to WNYM, New York Afternoon Schedule. Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is no stranger to the WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” airwaves – he’s been working on the air there since late January. But now the company announces Walsh will host the 5:00 pm hour on “AM 970 The Answer” and then do his 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm CT show on WIND, Chicago. Salem VP director spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “We looked at a lot of options for late afternoons, but once we put Joe on the air in New York something magical happened. He instantly bonded with the New York audience. Joe sounds like he was born and bred in New York with a fire-breathing attitude. New York politicians need to get ready for this guy.” Walsh comments, “When Governor Cuomo said three months ago that conservatives weren’t welcome in New York, I took that as an invitation. Other talk show hosts threatened to leave New York, but I told the folks at AM 970 I want to go where the enemy lives, and they took me in.”
Radio: Playing Catch-Up to Our On-Demand Culture. Reporting from the RAIN Summit that preceded today’s opening of the NAB Show in Las Vegas, media consultant Holland Cooke writes about what those on the digital platform are doing well and what AM/FM operators can learn from them. Cooke offers analysis of what “curation” can mean to radio station programmers and sales staffers as well as reporting on what works on the podcasting platform and what doesn’t. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
CBS-Nielsen Cross-Media Measurement Data Shows Power of TV-Radio Combo Buys. A statement from both CBS and Nielsen calls today’s news “proof of concept (POC)” for local television plus radio audience measurement. Using Nielsen TV and radio panels the two companies “collaborated to demonstrate the additive power of combining media buys for major advertising campaigns. The POC combined audience data from CBS’ local TV and radio assets in order to build a foundation that measured combined and unduplicated reach across both media.” It’s good news for CBS but it’s really the only player with a large number of TV and radio assets across the company. Still, Nielsen says it intends to open participation in the pilot across a wider group of clients to “further strengthen cross-media selling models.” But the companies go on to say that “creating a measurable foundation gives advertisers using marketing mix models as a basis for their media planning the tools they need to accurately account for how local television and radio together contribute to driving sales. This POC begins the conversation into the data needed by those models to correctly value local television and radio.” Here’s more from the press release: “In some cases, using local television and radio together doubled the reach in certain markets. In the five markets measured in the POC, an advertiser could reach anywhere from 84% to as high as 93% of all adults 18+ within a month by leveraging local television and radio together. Advertisers would be able to see the benefits of combining the buying of these media and dayparts together. For instance, combining television prime time and late news all week with morning drive on weekdays, an advertiser could reach 75% of A18-49 in Boston within four weeks. In this example, a local media buy could make sense for fast food advertisers.” Full results of the study are being presented at the NAB Show tomorrow (4/8). CBS Corporation chief research officer David Poltrack says, “Industry-standard measurement is a first step toward showing large advertisers what local advertisers already know – there is a lot of value to combining local television and radio in a media buy. We will continue working with Nielsen to bring to the industry the rich analytics, reporting tools, and planning software needed to prove these benefits to advertisers. The long-term plan is to include online as well. This proof-of-concept demonstrates the power of broadcasting quickly and frequently to reach mass audiences.”
Howard Stern to Interview Billy Joel for SiriusXM “Town Hall” Series. The “Town Hall” Series on SiriusXM taking place at the end of this month will feature talk radio legend Howard Stern sitting down with rock icon Billy Joel. The satcaster says that this “unique live sit-down special, pays tribute to Billy Joel with conversation, questions, performances by Joel and special guests.” It will take place at a “secret, intimate location in New York City on Monday, April 28.” Additional details about the “Town Hall,” including special performances and guests, will be revealed by Howard Stern in the coming weeks on his program. Stern says, “The 2010 interview I did with Billy Joel was one of my favorites of my career. Now, this special hits a whole new level, with surprise guests whose lives have been changed by Billy, from the unknown to the famous, giving Billy the tribute, and fans the treat, that they deserve.”
KFXX, Portland Debuts Two New Weekend Shows. Adding local programming to its weekend programming roster is Entercom’s KFXX, Portland “1080 TheFan.” The new Saturday program is “The Sinner and the Saint” featuring Keith Hill and Luke Anderson (pictured here) airing from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. On Sundays from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, “Sports Sunday” hosted by Mike Lynch and Rashad Taylor is now heard.
KCAA, Loma Linda CEO Featured on Sundance TV Reality Series Tonight. On this evening’s episode of “Loredana Esq.,” KCAA CEO Fred Lundgren will be featured as station attorney and program star Loredana Nesci represents him in a case that went before the Los Angeles Superior Court. The TV show features Nesci – a former L.A. cop-turned-criminal defense attorney – as she handles cases facing overwhelming odds. During this evening’s episode Nesci represents Lundgren who faces receivership after being sued by a broadcaster for $800,000. Lundgren terminated the broadcaster’s contract due to repeated on-air obscenities. Lundgren says this episode offers a “unique glimpse behind the scenes of a radio station licensee who gets caught between our First Amendment rights and the First Amendment restrictions placed on radio stations by the FCC.”
Odds & Sods. Beginning tomorrow (4/8), Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will present a video component to the morning drive Steve Cochran program. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, there will be multiple cameras in the studio to, as chief content officer Todd Manley says, give “a peek behind the curtain – a way to see how everybody collaborates.”…..ESPN Radio’s “SVP & Russillo” will originate from Sundance Square in Fort Worth today from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm in advance of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship game. Today’s broadcast featuring hosts Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo is open to the public…..Las Vegas-based talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs reports that two more talk show hosts have signed on to take part in the effort to raise funds for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. Casey Hendrickson of WTRC, Michiana-Fort Wayne “News/Talk 95.3” and Len Connell of “The Sex and Money Show” on KLAV, Las Vegas join a number of other radio hosts who are competing to raise the most money and claim the FROST prize (top fundraising host). Dr. Wachs says there’s still time to join the fun and possibly win a $1,000 Southwest Airlines gift card. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Mandis Hosts Early Afternoon Show at WWTN, Nashville. Talk radio pro Dan Mandis is the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7.” Mandis, who spent years as executive producer of the Dr. Laura Program, has most recently been programming such talk radio outlets as Clear Channel’s KHOW and KKZN in Denver and Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne. He also hosted the Saturday morning show on KOA, Denver. With Mandis’ arrival at “SuperTalk 99.7,” the station is now live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. He’ll follow morning host Ralph Bristol and late morning personality Michael DelGiorno while leading into PM drive host Phil Valentine. WWTN program director Brian Wilson states, “We think Dan’s view of the world is just familiar enough to be comfortable for our audience and at the same time just different enough that he’ll make a lot of people stop and think twice about the disease behind the symptoms. As the fourth leg to the table, we think all our core shows will complement each other. The effect is that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.” Mandis comments, “There are so many reasons to be excited about this opportunity. Being part of an amazing talk radio station on FM is one, and living in a great city like Nashville is another. I honestly can’t wait to get started.”
‘PowerTalk 96.7’ Fresno Host Bill Manders Receives Kidney from Teen Suicide Victim. Afternoon drive personality Bill Manders returned to his show on Clear Channel’s news/talk duo KALZ and KRZR in Fresno after kidney transplant surgery three weeks ago. According to local TV station KFSN, Manders received a kidney from a local teen who had just committed suicide. It turns out 17-year-old Lexi Morris’ father Jason is a regular listener to Manders’ program and made the unusual request that Manders receive his daughter’s kidney. As the story notes, this is not the usual procedure but the kidney was a perfect match. Manders tells the TV station, “I was in tears when I heard her story, but I would rather concentrate on the plusses in her life. She was smart, athletic, she has a great family, and I know she’s there looking down on me, so I’ve got to honor her.” Read the whole story here.
Marc Hochman Officially Signs with Beasley to Host PM Drive on WQAM, Miami. Nothing is ever official until the contract is signed but Marc Hochman’s departure from Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WAXY last fall with the intent on sitting out his non-compete and landing in PM drive at WQAM was one of radio’s worst-kept secrets. As soon as it was legal (at 12:01 am on 4/1), Hochman (second from left) inked a pact with WQAM to begin his run as the station’s afternoon personality. The new Marc Hochman show will also feature Zach Krantz (right), former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Sha Tabb (second from right), and longtime WQAM producer Victor Bermudez (left). WQAM program director Andy King says, “Marc is an incredible talent and one of the most creative minds in radio. His ability to blend sports, pop culture and humor into an entertaining show has led him to tremendous success throughout his career and I’m excited for him to continue that success here at 560 WQAM.” Hochman adds, “I am the quintessential ‘radio nerd,’ so the opportunity for me to host an afternoon drive show on the most legendary sports talk station in Miami was one that I couldn’t pass up. When I first moved to Miami in 1987, I listened to WQAM all the time. Now, a little over 25 years later, I’ll be sitting behind that microphone, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!” The station also announces that one of the most legendary voices in South Florida sports history, Howard Schnellenberger, has signed on as the imaging voice of the Marc Hochman show. All the show intros and production will be voiced by Schnellenberger.
Melanie Morgan Returns to Radio in Santa Rosa. Long time Bay Area news radio and talk radio pro Melanie Morgan (formerly with Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco and, for a time, with TRN’s “America’s Morning News”) joined Sonoma Media Group-owned KSRO, Santa Rosa, California as news director and morning anchor. She began her news director duties yesterday (3/31) and starts on-air next Monday (4/7). Melanie replaces a heritage morning news anchor, David Wesley Page, who retired from radio about a month ago after nearly 30 years on the KSRO morning news. Morgan is married to former longtime KGO program director Jack Swanson.
Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson Re-Up with WTEM, Washington. Two of Doc Walker’s co-hosts on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN980” are in the fold for another three years. The company announces that Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson have extended their contracts with the station, keeping them on the “Inside the Locker Room” with Walker through 2017. The mid-afternoon show teams former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with veteran talk show host Scott Jackson. Mitchell has been a part of the “ESPN980” family for five years. Brian also is a contributing member of the Washington Redskins Radio Network, offering analysis pre-game, post-game and during halftime. Jackson has worked at WTEM for nine years and will serve in many additional roles, including hosting “Redskins Recap,” Mondays after Washington Redskins games and as the station’s lead NBA analyst. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “’Inside the Locker Room’ has been a ratings success. To have all three guys under contract for the next few years makes our station stronger. Doc, B-Mitch and Jack have so much fun on the air, you can’t help but laugh along with them while listening.”
Business Rockstars Radio Affiliates with CRN Digital Talk Radio. This week “Business Rockstars Radio,” hosted by Ken Rutkowski began an affiliation relationship with CRN Digital Talk Radio. The program that features “Rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups targeting the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S., joins CRN’s integrated audio platform combining television, radio and social media. CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn says, “We’re thrilled about our new partnership with ‘Business Rockstars Radio,’ a show with such compelling content, we’ve decided to air it three different times across our platform. ‘Business Rockstars Radio’ is the only national entrepreneurial radio show that brings in ‘Rockstar’ CEOs and entrepreneurs combined with the magic of Ken Rutkowki’s talent and continuing with each guest on the show. We are also excited to partner with the legendary Steve Lehman, a name synonymous with cutting-edge talk radio.” Lehman adds, “We’re excited to expand the Business Rockstars Radio footprint by joining Mike Horn’s renowned CRN Digital Talk Radio Network. This new alliance will add an additional 11 million television households across the U.S. to the Business Rockstars Radio Network, allowing us to reach more ‘Wantrepreneurs’ with fun, fast-paced, and compelling content about growing, starting, and funding businesses.” Business Rockstars Radio guests include some of the biggest CEOs and entrepreneurs daily, including: Nolan Bushnell (Atari and Chuck E. Cheese Founder), Akon (musician and entrepreneur), Daymond John (Host of ABC’s “Shark Tank”), Cheryl Tiegs (model, actress and entrepreneur), Thom Beers (CEO of Freemantle Media), Scott Painter (Founder and CEO of TruCar) and many others.
Sports Talk Post-Super Bowl. The American sports (and money!) juggernaut that is the National Football League plays a huge role in the success of sports talk radio in America. Not to disparage the MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAA, but it’s clearly the most successful and popular league in professional sports in America. So, what effect does the end of the NFL’s season the first weekend in February have on sports talk stations? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at sports talk radio’s performance in PPM markets leading up to the Super Bowl and in the month that follows. Check out his report here.
McHale Named VP/CTO for Journal Broadcast Group. The Milwaukee-based company announces Brian McHale is its new vice president and chief technology officer, overseeing “the leadership, management, implementation and long-term planning of the company’s technical and physical infrastructure across its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations in 11 states.” Journal Broadcast Group also says McHale will “ensure the efficient and on-schedule delivery of media content, identify emerging technologies and how to profitably deploy them, and work closely with Journal’s leadership team to develop the company’s operational and strategic direction.” McHale comes to Journal from Seattle’s Fisher Communications where he was vice president of technology.
How to Help Your Remote Guests Shine. Radio is a busy business and sometimes hosts must process guests with a level of assembly-line speed that doesn’t always allow for the kind of attention to detail that can make the difference between a quality broadcast and a tune-out. Many interviews on radio sound like there was no forethought to audio quality. And many guests sound like they were thrown into an unfamiliar situation with no preparation. In a very helpful, extensive advice piece posted today (4/1) Genesis Communications Network (GCN) talk show host Michael W. Dean (“The Freedom Feens” and “Michael Dean After Dark”) offers advice on how to maximize the quality of your remote guests covering everything from programming content to technical delivery in today’s frenzied radio environment. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
ObamaCare Criticism, Russian Aggression, North and South Korean Tensions, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Discrepancies, Global Warming, and “Noah” Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the international implications of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and President Obama’s dealings with Vladimir Putin; heating tensions between North and South Korea; conflicting information from the Malaysian government about the disappearance of Flight 370; renewed debate about global climate change; and criticism of the new film “Noah” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast
LOS ANGELES — Recording artists running the gamut from Bing Crosby to Sam Cooke to Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross (among others) have wonderfully warbled to remind us that the “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”
A 1956 film that starred Gordon MacRae accentuated the point as well.
Offering a different take in the predominantly uplifting sentiment are the Beatles, who – while acknowledging the fact – nonetheless suggested those “free” things could be kept in exchange for “money” – but – that’s another story.
Smart, Funny, and Unedited
Back to the positive point: Words are free and no one in talk radio is more adroit, melodious, and astute in his splendid employment of the vocabulary than brilliantly witty Lionel, who generously remarks, “If you like my words – take them – they are not mine [anyway], they are yours. As a sesquipedalian and a logophile, I love the mother tongue. Do not marvel at the fancy words. It is part of who I am. I will never try to make people feel stupid. People love smart and funny – they crave it.”
These days, not only does Lionel get to demonstrate how deliciously lovely the language may be when utilized with panache, he also offers a veritable talk radio clinic.
On one hand, it is a fresh and innovative concept, while on the other, there is enormous simplicity to a back-to-the-basics approach. “It came about through the genius, foresight, and wherewithal of [TALKERS publisher] Michael Harrison,” Lionel comments of his Saturday, 9:00 am – 10:00 am ET TalkersRadio show. “It is just a joy and Michael is the preeminent voice in talk radio. Since the beginning, he has told me what I need to do must be the best.”
‘AM 970 The Answer’ Coaxes John Gambling Out of Retirement. New York radio legend John Gambling will be back on the radio in New York City on April 14 as he’ll begin hosting a daily two-hour show from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, shaving an hour each off the Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager shows that surround it. Gambling retired from the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s WOR in December. Salem Communications VP director of spoken word format and VP for the New York market Phil Boyce states, “When John Gambling left New York radio last December there was a void created for quality morning radio in this market, and we decided to fill it. John had worked for me for nine years at WABC. Before and after that he worked for Jerry Crowley at WOR. Jerry and I looked at each other and thought this was something we could not pass up.” WNYM vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley adds, “It is rare when you have a chance to build a lineup like we are building here at ‘The Answer,’ and even rarer still when you have a chance to add somebody of John’s integrity and character. Every talk radio listener in this market knows and admires John and we are sure he will do well with both listeners and advertisers. This is huge for us.”
Progressive Talk Returns to Portland Airwaves on Non-Com KXRY. According to reports from The Oregonian and BlueOregon.com, non-commercial outlet KXRY, owned by Common Frequency, Inc. and licensed to Portland, is debuting a hybrid progressive talk and music format that will include local talk personalities Carl Wolfson, Adam Klugman and Jefferson Smith (among others) as well as WYD Media nationally syndicated host Thom Hartmann. KXRY is a class D FM at 91.1 broadcasting at 8 watts. The programming is also streaming at XRAY.FM.
WRCN, Long Island Announces News/Content Partnerships. The newly launched Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN, Riverhead “LI News Radio, 103.9 FM” begins a partnership with WABC-TV, New York “Channel 7/Eyewitness News” that involves “Eyewitness News” Long Island correspondent Kristin Thorne calling into the station every afternoon to give listeners a rundown of what Long Island stories the “Channel 7/Eyewitness News” is working on for their evening news broadcast. The partnership also includes the two media outlets pooling their information in order to provide their audiences with the most up-to-date Long Island news stories. The JVC Media station has also developed a relationship with St. Joseph’s School of Journalism in which the college’s journalism and new media professors and students will contribute to the station’s developing news stories. WRCN general manager Matthew Goldapper comments, “We are incredibly excited to welcome St. Joseph’s College and ‘Channel 7/Eyewitness News’ to our station. Having fresh talent from the college, as well as seasoned talent from ‘Eyewitness News’ participate in our station brings extraordinary resources to ‘LI News Radio’ that we can share with our listeners.” Future goals include having Thorne visit the “LI News Radio” studios (located at MacArthur Airport in Islip) each month where she can participate in the station’s live morning program to discuss stories and issues in greater detail.
Radio Veteran Dick Heatherton Joins TalkersRadio with New Motivational Program. Longtime major market personality Dick Heatherton is launching a new program – “The Dick Heatherton Show” — on TalkersRadio geared to helping people overcome obstacles in their lives during these tough times so they can achieve, regain or sustain success. Heatherton has been in the radio business for more than 40 years — most notably as an on-air personality on legendary outlets as well as serving several stints as a PD and GM. He has been a disc jockey on WCBS-FM, New York and heard on an array of diverse call letters such as KCBS-FM, San Francisco; KFI, Los Angeles; KMPC, Los Angeles; KLIF, Dallas; WFIL, Philadelphia; WPOP, Hartford and more in a career that has spanned more than four decades. He has acted on ABC-TV’s “General Hospital” and has played different roles over 14 years on the soaps as well as performing on NBC’s “One Life to Live.” He has produced a series of jazz concerts for Bravo, CBC and Australian television. He also produced/co-hosted the nationally syndicated TV show, “New Day Dawning” and has been announcer/warm up guy for many TV game shows. Heatherton was also the American Ambassador of Good Will to the City of Frankfurt, Germany among his extensive list of credits and accomplishments. As he prepares to debut the first installment of the weekly one-hour program this Sunday (3/23), Heatherton tells TALKERS, “Radio prepares you for everything and anything. The best part of radio is it teaches you to think on your feet.” And, these days he’s doing a lot of that as an author/speaker and certified coach, assisting others and giving platform presentations around the country. His first book, Out of the Fog and Into Focus is the stories of how many celebrities overcame tough times in their lives including the lessons they learned along the way. His new book, The Upside to Down Times, will be released in May. Along with his own takes on subjects of personal sensitivity, Heatherton will interview leading motivational speakers as well as today’s headliners, sports figures, actors, talk personalities and money makers who failed on their way to success. On making the announcement of “The Dick Heatherton Show” joining the TalkersRadio line-up, TALKERS GM of broadcast operations, David Bernstein says, “Dick is not only a smooth and accomplished broadcaster, he is a renaissance man who fearlessly reveals his own life’s ups-and-downs including the pain, disappointments and moments of sheer despair – as well as absolutely uplifting examples of redemption and success. This is truly compelling radio and another example of the developmental and experimental type of talk programming we are so dedicated to doing on this radio laboratory called TalkersRadio.” Heatherton’s program will air Sunday evenings between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET with repeat broadcasts streamed several times during the week. TalkersRadio, a service of TALKERS magazine, powered by Backbone, is situated on the website www.talkers.com as well as available on TuneIn.
Radio One’s Liggins and Hughes Awarded Bonuses. The compensation committee of Radio One is awarding CEO Alfred Liggins $1.5 million and founder Cathy Hughes $500,000 in bonuses based on employee performance criteria and “additional considerations for the founder.” In an 8-K filing with the SEC, the company reports how it arrived at the figures. The short version is that the 2008 Employee Agreement that provided the bonus structure lapsed in 2011 so the compensation committee “exercised discretion to reflect a number of factors and changed circumstances not contemplated by the 2008 Employment Agreements.” Citing seven specific factors, including that radio and Reach Media revenue was up 5% (ex-political), the committee arrived at the figures cited above.
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio announces its schedule for Major League Baseball’s Opening Week. “Mike & Mike” and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will both be on the road. Cowherd broadcasts from Chase Field in Phoenix on March 28 in advance of the Arizona Diamondbacks home exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs. Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will be in Detroit on Monday, March 31, ahead of the Detroit Tigers home opener against the Kansas City Royals. Then “The Herd” moves to Boston for the defending World Series Champions Boston Red Sox hosting the Milwaukee Brewers in their home opener on Friday, April 4 and “Mike & Mike” will back in New York City on Monday, April 7, when the New York Yankees host the Baltimore Orioles in Derek Jeter’s final home opener…..Digital audio aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with WestwoodOne to carry its coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and more. TuneIn will deliver all 67 games from the first round through the Final Four in North Texas. It will also offer WestwoodOne’s coverage of other NCAA championship events, including the Division I Women’s Final Four, the Men’s Frozen Four, the Men’s and Women’s College World Series and the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals and Championship.
Third Round of February PPM Data Released. PPM data from the third of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Case, ObamaCare Criticism, Winter Weather/Western Drought, and NSA Spying Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19). The growing number of theories about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370; Vladimir Putin’s victory in annexing Crimea and possible plans for taking Ukraine and criticism over President Obama’s response; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the winter weather still affecting the Midwest and East and the drought in the West; and renewed concerns about the NSA’s spying tactics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Ups Graefe to Chief Information Officer. Twelve-year Entercom staffer John Graefe is promoted to a new post as the company’s first chief information officer, responsible for delivering a broad range of IT initiatives to support the company. Graefe has been the vice president of IT and will continue to lead the team of employees overseeing the company’s IT infrastructure, as well as its strategy and partnerships. In making the announcement, the company says Graefe is a tech leader with a unique view of IT innovation and its application in driving business objectives. In this new role he will take over responsibilities for the company’s analytics and business intelligence initiatives. He’ll report to EVP/CFO Steve Fisher, who comments, “John has demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing our IT organization while continuing to position IT as a strategic asset and business driver. I am confident that, as CIO, he will continue to advance Entercom strategic platforms and strategies.” Graefe says, “I am excited for the opportunity to continue leading the IT team at Entercom and further advancing our initiatives in analytics and business intelligence. This will continue to enhance Entercom’s position as a leading broadcasting and marketing solutions company.”
Riley Returns to Journal Broadcast Group in Tulsa. Most recently working as a consultant in the industry, Jules Riley is named operations manager for Journal Broadcast Group’s Tulsa operations, including news/talk KFAQ. Tulsa VP/GM Bill Berry says, “We are very excited to welcome Jules back to Journal. She has a stellar reputation in the industry and extensive experience with multiple formats. I have no doubt that she will do a terrific job as our programming leader.” Riley was the program director for Journal’s rock KICT “T95” and classic rock KFXJ “104.5 The Fox” in Wichita until 2001 before leaving to lead programming teams in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Phoenix. She comments, “I am thrilled to rejoin Journal Broadcast Group and work with the phenomenal Tulsa team. My thanks to Bill Berry, Beverlee Brannigan and Steve Wexler.”
“Trippin’ Out into the Future” with Michael Harrison. The time has come for the rise of the MEDIA STATION. When Jerry Del Colliano was asked what role TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will play at his forthcoming “Media Solutions Conference” in Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26 – the noted industry observer and analyst described Harrison as a “futurist” and stated “Michael and I will trip out into the future of radio and digital content.” Harrison’s reaction to the comment was that he was extremely flattered by the remark, stating, “Wow, to be in this business for 48 years and still be called a ‘futurist’ is a compliment, to say the least. Those who know me personally or have heard me speak and read my articles over the decades know that I maintain a very healthy respect for the past and radio’s pop cultural heritage – HOWEVER, they also know that I do so only from the perspective that they help us navigate the wild waters of the future into which we must always be bravely sailing.” Harrison continues, “There are several things that I am looking forward to discussing at Jerry’s seminar that span my interest in both talk and music radio…but first and foremost, I believe it’s time for the industry to come to terms with the theoretical (and increasingly real) concept of the “media station” because that is, in fact, where we are heading in terms of platform. And while many people in this business are running around uttering the half-baked phrase ‘content is king’ and counting their chickens over the seeming ease of entry to the internet — those who have an understanding of media theory and elementary art appreciation understand that without ‘platform,’ content cannot be monetized. The ‘media station’ will be the platform of today’s radio station (as well as most newspapers and magazines) before this decade is over. Those who prepare for this and understand exactly what it entails will not only survive — they will thrive — and continue to successfully ride the traditional time-line of our glorious industry from one century to the next. Those who do not will drown in the vast ocean of noise that is the undeveloped, platform-less internet.” Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at the conference. Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity. The intensive day-long workshop will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio. These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, making commercials less of a liability and much more. Harrison adds, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business. Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of a classy guy who rose to the very top of the talent ladder. One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in already solving questions to which most people are actively seeking answers.” The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel. For more information click here.
First Round of February PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. The station that will benefit from Midwest Communications’ purchase of the construction permit for an FM translator licensed to Howard, Wisconsin (W221DA at 92.1) is sports talk WNFL, Green Bay. Midwest is buying the CP from David M. Stout for $65,000. Howard lies northwest and adjacent to the City of Green Bay…..The mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has been a boon to the ratings of cable news/talk channel CNN. The ratings woes of the channel are well known to industry watchers and the recent news has boosted the channel’s ratings above those of its competitors Fox News Channel and MSNBC in recent days.
Crimea Votes to Join Russia/Obama vs. Putin, Malaysian Airline Flight 370 Mystery, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, ObamaCare Criticism, Los Angeles Quake, and Lingering Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). The Crimea-Russia case and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the ongoing mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; the forecasting of political change with the mid-term elections and speculation about the 2016 presidential race; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Monday’s Los Angeles earthquake and concerns about another one; and the chilly weather still affecting the Midwest and East and the global warming controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Posts 2014 Heavy Hundred. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – debuted on March 11. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred,” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board with input from a wide variety of industry leaders. It includes local and national hosts from an array of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer electronics, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and completely separate annual “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up-and-comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” To view the entire 2014 Heavy Hundred, please click here.
‘Game’ Changes in San Francisco. KGMZ “95.7 The Game” is modifying its weekday on-air lineup. Among the adjustments at the Entercom-owned San Francisco Bay Area sports outlet are the importing of former cross-town KNBR talent Damon Bruce to afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and shifting current PM drivers Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (below left, respectively) to mornings, replacing “The Rise Guys” — Whitey Gleason, Mark Kriedler and Dan Dibley. Entercom San Francisco vice president and market manager Steve DiNardo states, “This is a great day for our station and for Bay Area sports fans. For years, Damon Bruce has been one of the strongest, most opinionated, and passionate personalities in Bay Area sports. He understands what it takes to compete and win in this market. Just as exciting is moving Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend to morning drive. In just 14 months, they have developed strong chemistry and a loyal following. We feel like we have the perfect team in the perfect time slot to grow ‘The Game.’” According to Bruce, “The Bay Area has a one-of-a-kind sports scene, one of the hottest and most exciting in the country today. Bay Area fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. I can’t wait to start and kick off a new drive-time experience for Bay Area sports fans.” Bruce was with KNBR from 1998 – 2000, and returned in 2005. He gained national exposure hosting “Sports Overnight America,” before leaving to become a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN Radio. Bruce has filled in for Jim Rome and has hosted SportsCenter for ESPN International. His other credits include fill-in host on Fox Sports Radio; Sporting News Radio; CBS Sports Network; and hosting pre and post-game shows for the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers. The revised KGMZ lineup – which begins in just over two weeks (3/31) – will include “Bucher and Towny” with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Haberman & Middlekauff (10:00 am -12:00 noon); “The Wheelhouse” with John Lund & Greg Papa (noon – 3:00 pm); and “The Damon Bruce Show” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).
Saga’s Ed Christian “Hoping for a Little Better” in Q4. The 2013 fourth quarter and full year fiscal reports for Saga Communications saw the company’s net operating revenue dip 5% in Q4 of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. But gross revenue increased 3.8% during the quarter excluding political. For the full year, the company’s gross revenue was up 3.3% (ex-political). In a conference call with investment analysts, Saga CEO Ed Christian stated, “I was hoping for a little better in Q4, we can always do a little more, we can always do a little better but I’m not disappointed. We’re just pleased with the results.” Christian said it’s hard not to put some blame on the winter weather for the economic sluggishness. “Saga operates in a lot of mid-America markets and a lot in New England and I really don’t have to tell you what the last four months have been like. In those markets it’s just outright miserable…I was talking with one of our managers the other day and he said people are irritable and it’s gloomy and people are lethargic.”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend. The company’s board of directors is announcing the company is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock. The dividend is payable on April 10, 2014, to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014.
KEX, Portland Personality Accused of Assault. Morning show personality Paul Linnman – host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland – is being accused by a co-worker of assault after he allegedly groped her buttocks and licked his lips as he stared at her breasts. Kailee Kinney is bringing the suit against Clear Channel and Linnman in Multnomah County Court. Kinney is a producer and account executive at CC Portland. She’s seeking $325,000 in damages. The complaint alleges Linnman “came up behind plaintiff and groped her buttocks, a sexually intimate part of her body. Linnman used an open palm to slap Plaintiff’s buttocks and then grabbed and squeezed plaintiff’s buttocks.” It further alleges that “Linnman approached plaintiff for a second time, stating, ‘I should apologize but that black dress…you look great in that black dress,” during which he “licked his lips and stared at Plaintiff’s breasts as he made this comment to plaintiff.”
Salem, Oregon Talk Host Suspends Show After Equal Time Complaint. In the Salem, Oregon market, Willamette Broadcasting employee Bill Post has suspended his daily talk show on KYKN due to his campaign for state representative and a complaint from a primary opponent about violation of equal time rules. Post announced his campaign for the seat in December. Last month, Barbara Jensen announced her bid for the seat but Post continued to work on the air. Jensen complains that Post and the station have been violating FCC rules and election laws but also asserts Post has violated other campaign laws but did not specify what they are. In a story in the Statesman Journal, Post says the station was prepared for Jensen’s complaint and that he believes the station and his campaign manager have operated within the law. Jensen’s complaint implies that once Post worked on air after opponents joined the race, the station must then provide equal time.
Journal Communications Shows Off New Brand. The parent company of radio and TV station firm Journal Broadcast Group unveils a new company brand with three cohesive new logos representing Journal Communications and its two major business segments, the Broadcast Group and Journal Publishing. As part of the new brand, the company also launched a fully redesigned corporate website at www.journalcommunications.com. Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith comments, “When we look at our company, we see quality, focus and effective teams in our local markets – all part of a business that is moving forward. However, many people outside of Journal often have no idea that, in addition to their favorite local station or publication, we have a total of 13 television stations, 35 radio stations and a major daily newspaper with a variety of supporting local publications, all with complementary digital products. As such, we believe our new brand better represents our company to investors, employees and the public and positions us as a national media company with diverse brands united under a common identity.” The redesigned company website includes links to all of Journal’s digital products and Journal Broadcast Group live streaming sites, as well as a “What’s Trending Now” feature that highlights Journal’s most recent content across its Broadcast and Publishing websites.
Entercom Kansas City Takes Action Against Delinquent Client. It’s not unusual for radio stations to put a past-due account into collection but Entercom Kansas City is seeking a court’s assistance in getting more than $52,000 it claims it is owned by Vinson Mortgage Services Inc. In a story in the St. Louis Business Journal, Vinson apparently advertised on news/talk KMBZ, alternative KRBZ and rock KQRC. This is not the only action involving Vinson. St. Louis television station KMOV-TV is filing a suit claiming it is owned more than $68,000.
Odds & Sods. The recent FCC filing for Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of its Connecticut stations to Connoisseur Media announced last week shows the price is $7.9 million. The stations include classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WDRC-AM, Hartford; WWCO, Waterbury; WSNG, Torrington; and WMMW, Meriden…..Talk radio pro Mark Wainwright is sitting in on Clear Channel’s WSYR, Syracuse for Joe Galuski on the morning program next week, March 17 – 21…..Alpha Broadcasting announces Jeremy Scott and Brian Perkins will be the radio announcers for the Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder when games air on the company’s KXTG, Portland “Sports Radio 750 The Game.” Scott serves as a reporter for sister news/talk KXL. Perkins is a reporter and air personality on KXTG…..XtreMEDIA nationally syndicated talk host Steve Deace is talking to New Englanders today as he sits in for Boston talk icon Howie Carr on Entercom‘s WRKO.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Winter Weather/Global Warming, Republican Wins Fla. Special Election, ObamaCare Criticism, CIA Monitoring of Senate Staffers/Snowden Video Appearance, and Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Tensions Among Top Stories Yesterday (3/11). The ongoing mystery concerning the whereabouts of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet; a new round of winter weather hits the East and renewed debate over the case for man-made global warming; Republican David Jolly defeats Democrat Alex Sink in Florida Congressional special election; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Senator Diane Feinstein’s allegation the CIA monitored Senate staffers and Edward Snowden’s commentary on surveillance cases; and President Obama’s faceoff with Vladimir Putin and the case of Russia’s incursion into Crimea and Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The Infinite Dial 2014. Media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke sat in on yesterday’s annual webinar presented by Edison Research and Triton Digital that detailed the results of the 2014 version of the Infinite Dial study. Many results are not surprising: smartphone use is growing rapidly with 61% of Americans owning cell phones – a 500% increase in five years. Although the “digital dashboard” – newer model cars with in-dash infotainment systems – gets a lot of press coverage as new deals are struck between app-makers, service providers and car manufacturers, as of today the smartphone is more important. The study reports 43% of persons 12-24 listen with a smartphone while in the car and 27% of persons 25-54 do the same. Still, AM/FM owns the auto for now and is still the primary source for discovering new music. Read more results from the study and Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Dana Barrett to Host New Local Show on ‘biz 1190’ in Atlanta. On Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” local media personality Dana Barrett debuts a new program dedicated to “a unique look into ‘the business of everyday life’” debuting on Monday, March 10. Barrett states, “Atlanta is such a dynamic business market with an incredible diversity of industries. Healthcare, real estate, entertainment, retail…you name it, we do it here. I want to celebrate and embrace that diversity by talking to the business leaders and entrepreneurs that make our region go.” The daily show will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am with a repeat from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Program director Aaron Williams adds, “It’s the perfect match for us. As the market’s only station dedicated to business, we couldn’t be happier to bring Dana’s unique knowledge of the metro Atlanta area to our audience.”
Mike Bower Exits ’97.9 ESPN Hartford.’ The afternoon drive program hosted by Mike Bower at Clear Channel’s Hartford sports talk outlet WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” is cancelled and the station is actively seeking a new personality for the daypart. In a message posted on his Facebook page, Bower announces, “Unfortunately The Bower Show’s time on ‘97.9 ESPN’ in Hartford and ‘ESPN Radio 1300’ in New Haven has come to an end. Clear Channel opted to not renew the show but we would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to talk sports with you every day for the past two years. More importantly, we would like to thank all of YOU…our listeners, for your continued support of The Bower Show.” The Bower Show was the only local daily show on the program schedule.
Rosenthal Promoted at Katz Media Group. With this promotion, Mark Rosenthal – currently CEO of Katz Radio Group – adds the title CEO of Katz Media Group in which he will also oversee Katz Television Group, KMG’s television representation company. The company says that as CEO of Katz Radio Group, Rosenthal will remain focused on building the radio sector, working closely with Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray to drive additional media dollars into radio. Effective immediately though, he will now also work closely with KTG presidents Leo MacCourtney and Craig Broitman to grow and further develop KTG’s assets, advocacy and revenue-generating efforts.
Salem Study: Christian Teaching Listeners Younger Than Perceived. The results of a study by Nielsen Audio commissioned by Salem Communications looking at the make-up of the audience for Christian teaching and talk-formatted radio shows indicates the audience is younger than may be commonly perceived. Half of the listeners to the format are under 55 and are spending 6.1 hours per week listening to stations airing the format. The study also indicates younger listenership is growing. Salem VP, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “There is this perception that these are your father or even grandfathers radio stations, but we found there is a significant pool of younger listeners spending a great deal of time with our CTT format.”
Geoff Edwards Passes. No sooner had we reflected on the life and career of Los Angeles and Bay Area radio personality/television game show host Jim Lange (who succumbed to a heart attack last week) than we must now sadly note the passing of Geoff Edwards. Much like the 81-year-old Lange, Edwards, 83, amassed considerable fame from his Los Angeles radio days and nationally through several game show-hosting stints. Edwards died yesterday (3/5) of complications of pneumonia at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Wink Martindale, Lange, and Edwards toiled together in Los Angeles at the once iconic KMPC. “Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I have worked with,” Martindale states of Westfield, New Jersey native Edwards, who was heard on KMPC from 1968 – 1979. He was also on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ (1964 -1965) and two go-rounds at KFI (1966 – 1968 and 1987 – 1989). According to Edwards’ agent of many years, Fred Westbrook, Edwards succeeded in television by making several bold fashion statements. He favored jeans over suits and his hair was longer than that of most other talents at the time. “He was part of the new breed,” Westbrook comments. Tributes on Facebook regarding Edwards’ death included this observation from renowned voiceover talent/studio audience warm-up announcer/”Price is Right” announcer Randy West. “Geoff was a wonderfully kind and joyous guy, very bright, with a great natural talent for creating joy, both over the air and in person. For me, it was more laughs per hour with Geoff than anyone else since high school. What a pro, what a sweet man, what a character, what a ball. He was loved and respected by everybody. We laughed and giggled every time we were together.” Sonoma Music Group president Michael O’Shea checked in by remarking, “What a shock. Geoff was our 9:00 am – 12:00 noon personality at KMPC. Personable, authentic, real and natural. We played tennis a time or two. This is very sad.” Longtime KOST, Los Angeles on-air personality Ted Ziegenbusch notes that Edwards was, “One of my favorite lunchroom pals. Thanks for the laughter, the stories and the fun. I know you have always enjoyed travel. This journey is the best one ever.” Veteran Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan comments that he was, “a fan for years, then honored to work with him at KFI, so happy to have called him a friend.” Fellow television game show host Jim MacKrell remarks, “I am deeply saddened by the news of Geoff’s passing. I know of no one in our business with a better reputation and a multitude of friends. I am glad I was one of them.” Edwards’ national television resume includes hosting “Jackpot!”, “Chain Reaction,” “Play the Percentages,” “Treasure Hunt” and “The New Treasure Hunt.” In Los Angeles, he and Meredith MacRae won Emmy Awards for co-hosting the daily “Mid-Morning L.A.” For nine years (1986 – 1995), he co-hosted the California Lottery‘s “Big Spin.” An eyewitness to one of America’s most memorable moments, then-news reporter Edwards was in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Funeral plans are pending for Edwards, who is survived by his wife, two stepsons, his ex-wife and their three children, as well as nine grandchildren.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Intrigue, ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Obama Approval Ratings Sink, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5). The political storm in Ukraine and Crimea and how President Obama is handling Vladimir Putin’s moving Russian troops into the region; scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act as the administration announces current health plans can be kept through 2016; Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in new hearings looking into the IRS scandal; dipping approval ratings for President Obama; and speculation about candidates for president in the 2016 election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Buckley to Sell Connecticut Stations to Connoisseur. Led by Hartford classic hits outlet WDRC-FM, the Connecticut stations Buckley Broadcasting is selling to Connoisseur Media also includes talk WDRC-AM and its simulcast AMs WMMW, Meriden; WSNG, Torrington; and WWCO, Waterbury. The price on this deal is not being made public yet. Buckley is being represented by Richard A. Foreman Associates. In a memo to staff, Buckley president and CEO Joe Bilotta says, “After much reflection, the Board of Trustees has decided that the reality of the evolving competitive landscape, and our sincere desire to see this historic brand continue, are cause for a change in the ownership of our Connecticut properties. Our decision to negotiate with, and eventually sell WDRC-AM/FM to Connoisseur, gives our audience, advertisers, and employees access to the considerable resources of this multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. For over half of a century Buckley Broadcasting has been the steward of these great call letters and there is not a better company than Connoisseur to ensure the continued and accelerated future success of the WDRC brand.”
Fox Sports and Premiere Networks Renew FSRN Deal. The relationship between Clear Channel subsidiary Premiere Networks and Fox Sports goes back to August of 2000 when the two companies agreed to work together to debut the Fox Sports Radio Network. Now, almost 14 years later, the two companies agree to a long-term extension of the partnership. Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute Fox Sports Radio Network to its radio affiliates. Additionally, “Premiere Networks and Fox Sports will continue working together across multiple platforms to synchronize the audio, digital, online and television assets of Fox Sports, FOXSports.com and Fox Sports Radio, further extending the reach, visibility and engagement of these brands with millions of consumers. Additionally, with the recently-launched 24-hour television network Fox Sports 1, the radio and television divisions will work closely to increase cross-promotional opportunities and highlight Fox Sports’ established team of top insiders, analysts and personalities.”
Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report: Smartphone Use Rising, AM/FM Use Decreasing. The numbers are nothing astronomical with regard to the decline in use of AM/FM radio, but they show a trend. According to the March 2014 Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, the hours of use per day for adults 18+ for AM/FM radio have dropped from 2:53 minutes to 2:46 minutes from the fourth quarter of 2011 through the fourth quarter of 2013. At the same time, use of smartphones has risen from :48 minutes per day to 1:07 minutes per day over the same three-year period. Again, this is not a dramatic change but it certainly shows that the use of smartphones continues to rise for adults and the use of the AM/FM radio is declining. You can check out the report here.
And Speaking of Smartphones…The increase in usage of smartphones by Americans has risen to 61% (persons 12+), according to Edison Research and Triton Digital – the two companies presenting their “Infinite Dial 2014” webinar today at 2:00 pm ET. Edison releases this little teaser in advance of today’s event indicating that in 2009 just 10% of Americans owned smartphones. That number climbed to 44% in 2012 and has soared to 61% in 2014 and Edison estimates that means about 160 million people in raw numbers.
Just a Few Slots Left at FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row. The topic of immigration reform continues to be a much-discussed one on news/talk radio with related legislation brewing in Congress. The Federation for American Immigration Reform-sponsored “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row taking place April 9 and 10 in Washington, DC is nearing a full slate. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s ‘last call’ for one broadcast booth remaining in morning drive, one in afternoon drive, and two in midday.” Broadcast slots are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested hosts should contact Dane 202-328-7004 ASAP to discuss details. Dane says, “Attendees enjoy Capitol Hill access to lawmakers, immigration activists, experts and law enforcement working in tandem to secure our borders and to enforce the rule of law.”
‘Radio Guy’ Jim Lange Remembered. When Jim Lange passed away last week at age 81, he was remembered by most for his role as host of television’s “The Dating Game.” But as TALKERS managing editor and bureau chief Mike Kinosian writes, “Jim Lange was one of the finest ambassadors radio could ever hope to have.” A few years back, Kinosian did a profile of Lange and learned more about his radio career – including why he always kept a radio job even during the heyday of “The Dating Game” and his other TV game shows. He said that if the TV job failed, he always had radio. Lange told him, “I noticed that all the game show hosts were radio guys. They were hired because they could adlib. There is no script on a game show. You have rules, but that is it.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story about Jim Lange here.
Ukraine-Crimea Unrest/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, MSNBC Programming Changes, Texas Primaries, U.S. Marijuana Policy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea and criticism of President Obama’s stance against Russia’s Vladimir Putin; ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the cable news/talk wars and the performance of new MSNBC programs; Tuesday’s Texas primary elections; the changes in marijuana policy in the United States; and speculation that Hillary Clinton will emerge the the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
In much the same way the late Dick Clark never seemed to age, some were shocked that the always youthful-looking Lange was actually 81 when he passed away at his Mill Valley, California home.
Several years ago – during my tenure as special features editor for the trade publication Inside Radio – the two of us had an extended conversation; the result was one of my in-depth personality profiles.
That chat laid the foundation for what became a continuing friendship. It was a privilege to remain in contact with the gracious and hospitable Lange, who was most deserving of the “Gentleman Jim” handle.
As a tribute, here are edited/condensed/updated highlights from that profile, which began by theorizing, if those at Guinness ever concocted a world record category for “Person Throwing The Most Kisses on Television,” Lange would be the hands-down winner.
Syndicated Host Doug Stephan Suffers Devastating Loss in Dairy Farm Disaster. Early yesterday morning (2/19) Eastleigh Farm – located in the suburban Boston community of Framingham, Massachusetts – suffered a winter-related natural disaster in which one of the barn roofs collapsed under the weight of snow trapping, killing and injuring some of the dairy cows at the historic facility. The farm is owned by nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan, whose long-running morning program “Good Day” is heard on hundreds of stations across the country and is consistently ranked one of the most-listened-to talk shows in the business. According to reports from the scene (pictured here where a cow is seen being hoisted to safety), at least three cows have died and many others are injured. The trauma to the cows is immeasurable. Dairy cows are very sensitive and this has potentially long-term consequences for the health of the farm and the remaining herd. Stephan is somewhat of a local folk hero in the “Metrowest” region of Massachusetts where the Eastleigh Farm – already beleaguered by economic issues challenging small family farmers across America – has been engaged in a high-profile struggle to exist and continue to bring healthy, raw locally raised dairy products to the community. Eastleigh Farm is the last historical dairy land in Framingham. A fund-raiser has been launched to help with the formidable veterinarian bills, the care of the cows and the rebuilding of the barn. For information about the fundraiser, please click here. To see local video news coverage of the story, please click here. Ironically, Doug Stephan recently launched a new, weekly one-hour show on TALKERS magazine’s experimental talk radio platform, TalkersRadio titled, “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan,” designed to bring information, inspiration and a political voice to the hard-pressed, small farmers battling the powerful interests of the mega-corporate-government-supported farm industrial complex that has been systematically squeezing them out of existence. The show airs with a new installment on TalkersRadio every Saturday morning at 8:00 am ET with repeats throughout the week at 11:00 am ET. Clearly, this disaster and its aftermath will provide Stephan with a tremendous amount of compelling material and content for the show. (Image: WCVB-TV, Boston)
Radio’s Kerri Kasem to Appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto to Introduce Parental Access Legislation. Industry pros and the radio-loving public have been following the tragic story of radio legend Casey Kasem and his second wife’s refusal to allow Kasem’s adult children to visit him as his health deteriorates due to advanced Parkinson’s disease. Now a California legislator is introducing a bill that would “provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit their parents, and provide children the right to know when an ailing parent’s health becomes worse or if the parent dies. The proposed legislation seeks to protect children from previous marriages from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child.” State Assemblyman Mike Gatto will introduce the bill and “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” co-host Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey from his first marriage, will appear alongside Gatto when that happens today at 2:30 pm PT at the Los Angeles Superior Court. In explaining the reason for the bill, Gatto’s office states, “Currently, adult children are not afforded the legal right to visit an ailing parent. With divorce and remarriage becoming more prevalent, there is a greater possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and an ailing parent’s children from a previous marriage. These conflicts can become exacerbated when a parent becomes incapacitated or dies. In some cases, elderly parents are not even informed that their children wish to see them. Such conflicts are very painful for those involved and can mean that certain adult children do not get to see their parent(s) before the parent(s) pass away.”
Clear Channel Issues Q4 and 2013 Revenue Numbers; CCM+E Up 3%. The parent company of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment – Clear Channel Media Holdings LLC – is reporting figures for the fourth quarter of 2013 and for the whole of 2013. It reports revenue for the CCM+E division was up 3% — 8% excluding political advertising – and it notes that the reason was “due primarily to stronger national and digital advertising, as well as promotional and event sponsorship with the expansion of the Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Music Festival and album release events.” For all of 2013 CCM+E was up 2%. The company states that “increases across multiple advertising categories were led by the telecommunications, retail and entertainment advertising markets. Digital revenue benefited from higher total listening hours, which were up 29%, and from investments in a digital sales organization. Promotional and event sponsorships also moved higher, driven by special events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party and album release events.”
Tribune’s WGWG, Chicago Grabs Finfer for Daily Role. The Tribune sports talk format airing on WGWG-LP at 87.7 FM adds another local talent as Ben Finfer jumps aboard from CBS RADIO’s crosstown WSCR. Finfer served as producer for the late morning McNeil & Spiegel show before joining Tribune’s new “The Game 87.7” on Wednesday. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that he’ll be part of the midday shows hosted by David Kaplan and Howard Griffith and Alex Quigley. While all of the media eyes may be on the new guy in town, WSCR and ESPN O&O WMVP have a healthy head start on WGWG. Data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM indicates WSCR enjoyed a 5.0 share with Men 25-54 and WMVP racked up a 3.6 share, according to Feder.
Colleen O’Brien Joins KIRO-FM, Seattle for Mornings. At Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, former KXLY-TV, Spokane news anchor Colleen O’Brien is named morning drive news anchor, filling the role held by Linda Thomas prior to her exit from the station to join Starbucks as managing editor for online news and content strategy. O’Brien is no stranger to Seattle or the radio side of the business. Prior to her work in Spokane, O’Brien served at crosstown KOMO-AM/FM.
The 4th Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Fundraiser ‘Opens’ Monday. For the fourth year in a row, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York teams up with “The Great White Way” to present “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. The evening’s event – a benefit for the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer – is a one-night-only production hosted by New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel and features performances from the casts of: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” “After Midnight,” “Avenue Q,” “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia,” “Motown the Musical,” “Kinky Boots,” “La Soiree,” “The Lion King,” “Pippin,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Wicked.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Ukraine Unrest, Sochi Olympics, ‘Smart Gun’ Bill, Jay Leno-‘Tonight Show’ Controversy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the violence and political unrest in the Ukraine; the Winter Games in Sochi; the Democratic proposal for new guns to only fire in the hand of the owner; the accusation by a former ‘Tonight Show’ writer that Jay Leno was ousted for picking on President Obama; and the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature
The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse
By Jeff McKay
Special features Correspondent
NEW YORK — Since he ventured out on his own and started what has become not only a highly successful syndication company, but one that can truly serve the needs of both the largest and even the smallest radio station, Danno Wolkoff has known that he cannot simply rest on his laurels. Wolkoff will be the first to admit that his company, in order to be and remain successful, must change with radio’s changing times from how companies do business and manage their own businesses, to how companies must do more with less, and the ever-changing technology that could cost a company listeners and their survival.
Envision Networks has changed with the changing times in radio, something Wolkoff identifies as being driven by technology which is now the catalyst for these changes and placing traditional radio at a crossroads.
KABC, Los Angeles Adds Jillian Barberie to Midday Show. The sound of the midday show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles changes beginning Monday February 17 as the station adds local media star Jillian Barberie to the lineup co-hosting the new “Mid-Day LA with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.” The show airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is part of the station’s move to add more local content to its programming. Barberie is well known to Southern California for her 18 years as co-host of Fox 11’s top-rated morning show, “Good Day LA.” In a statement, the station says that Barberie’s work at Fox 11 “engaged audiences with her real-life stories and electric energy. The sassy, Canadian-born Barberie has made a career out of hanging with the guys. While hosting ‘Good Day LA,’ she also spent a decade on the Fox NFL Pre-Game Show working opposite Curt Menefee, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.” Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey adds, “Jillian’s energy, experience and love for Southern California are unmatched. We’re absolutely thrilled that she’s joining the ‘TalkRadio 790’ team in this important role.” Barberie comments, “I am so excited to be partnered with John Phillips! I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the KABC team, which is such a great place with incredibly talented people. I’ve always felt that there is something unique and liberating about doing radio.”
WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina Names Vince Coakley Weekend Host. Television and radio pro Vince Coakley joins Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina “WORD 106.3FM” for a regular Sunday program and as a fill-in personality when station hosts Bob McLain and Russ Cassell are on vacation. The station notes that Coakley’s program is “the Upstate’s only weekend live and local current events talk show” during that daypart, and adds, “Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean the news and the discussion about them stops.” Coakley hosted afternoon drive on Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte from June 2011 to July of 2012. He spent 20 years in television news prior to that. He’s also hosted a daily internet radio show called “Revolution Radio.” He says, “I am thrilled to officially join the team at WORD. The station is fearless in giving voice to hosts and listeners who place a premium on liberty. I have come to view the Greenville area as a second home and look forward to spending more time with the people of the Upstate on and off the air.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Three Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. What broadcasting executive and entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years in founding and establishing Cleveland-based national syndication firm Envision Radio Networks is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that in today’s installment) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses how, as a result of new technology and social practices, radio has grown to point that it is “more than” simply radio and that operators must work diligently to preserve its history and uniqueness without sacrificing its potential and rightful place within the digital-era. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part three of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed parts one and two published Monday and yesterday, please read them here and here, respectively.
More Details from Entercom’s Q4 Conference Call: The Drop on Boston and WEEI. While Entercom president and CEO David Field acknowledged that 2013 revenue was not where the company would like to have seen it (down 3%), he stated numerous times during Tuesday’s conference call that he believes the company has turned the corner and is “positioned for a strong 2014.” Saying that the company’s strongest-performing markets were San Francisco, Kansas City and Memphis, Field glowed about the ratings of some of the stations in those markets, pointing out the success stories of “The Wolf” and “The Point” in Kansas City, KOIT, KBLX and KGME in San Francisco. He also addressed the state of the Boston market and of sports talker WEEI. “We have some work to do there, but it’s interesting. We have a new leadership there now, which we are very excited about, and I believe we are starting to turn the corner there. And if you look at the fundamentals of Boston, WEEI, our flagship in the market, remains one of the top-rated sports station in the United States. It’s a top-three player in Boston among men. We are about to enter baseball season with the world champion Boston Red Sox and what’s little noted too is our digital play there. We have a major platform there with a team of writers who work for that, and it has become sort of a much visited site for fans. And to put it into context, we do about 1.5 million unique visitors each month, just on the digital side there. So we have a ton of opportunities in Boston and I would expect better things to come in the not-too-distant future there, and again, I think the future’s bright.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole chat here.
Fernandez Boosted to Journal COO; Graham Upped to SVP/CFO. It’s a promotion for Journal Communications president Andre Fernandez as he is appointed chief operating officer in which he’s assuming operational oversight of the company’s broadcast and publishing segments. His other expanded responsibilities will include corporate human resources; executive vice president of radio Steve Wexler continues reporting to Fernandez. Elsewhere, the company names vice president/controller Jason Graham senior vice president of finance/controller/chief financial officer. Graham will report to chairman/chief executive officer Steven Smith, who states, “Jason has done an excellent job leading our accounting, billing, accounts payable, payroll, and tax teams. He has also contributed to our strategic planning and growth initiatives, which will continue to be an integral part of his expanded role as CFO.” Prior to joining Journal in June 2012, Graham was Brookdale Senior Living‘s vice president/corporate controller.
Odds & Sods. At Sports USA, the company announces that Lyle Gordon is promoted to EVP affiliate relations. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Lyle is a centerpiece of our company and his incredible relationships with over 400 radio stations makes Sports USA programming available to a nationwide audience. His experience with all forms of sports programming makes him the perfect person for this job.”…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 17th anniversary on the radio as she begins broadcasting year number 18 of her Providence-based weekly talk show program…..According to ESPNNewYork.com, when the New York Mets take to the field this season, radio broadcasters Howie Rose and Josh Lewin will be back in the booth as games air on new flagship WOR. Previously, games were heard on crosstown WFAN-FM…..In Nashville, Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM, will continue as flagship for the AAA Nashville Sounds this season. The Sounds are the AAA affiliate of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers.
Wichita Police Continue to Investigate Death of Steckline Communications Staffer. Authorities in Wichita are investigating the death of 25-year old Daniel Flores, a staffer at Steckline Communications, who was killed sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning at the company’s studios in West Wichita. Right now, police have little to go on and are asking the public’s assistance in solving the crime. At a press conference on Tuesday, police said they believe the perpetrator(s) were at the station for a reason – that it was not a random attack – but they are not sure at this point why the station or Flores was targeted. Flores had been an employee at Steckline for about a year.
Cool Job Opportunity. Sirius XM’s new Business Radio channel, originating from the Wharton School in Philadelphia, is looking for a business news host/producer. The host/producer will be responsible for anchoring two hours of daily programming on business news including topics ranging from product development to marketing and management strategies. Duties include working with an editorial team, faculty, industry experts and Sirius staff to identify daily content, create segments, and book guests as well as research business topics related to content themes. A Bachelor’s degree and three to five years of experience in news/business reporting and anchoring or equivalent combination of education and experience required. Applicants must be skilled in gathering, researching and reporting business stories as well as interviewing business newsmakers. The focus is on drawing useful business insight and analyses for a lay audience on a tight deadline. This position is based in Philadelphia. For more information please log on to: http://jobs.hr.upenn.edu:80/postings/1269Special.
WFTL’s Joyce Kaufman Jumps with the Golden Knights. Yes, that’s WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk show host Joyce Kaufman riding tandem with a member of the United States Army Parachute Team “The Golden Knights” over Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida. On another note, Kaufman tells TALKERS the recent Chapter 11 filing of WFTL’s parent company James Crystal Radio is not weighing on her. She says she had faith in the company. “We had a very anxious January, but I knew they would be honorable so I hung in. We received all our money last week and are on schedule to be paid in a timely fashion as the company reorganizes. I love this market. I love this company and as long as they give me the opportunity, I am staying.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Winter Weather Headed for South and East, Obama “I Can Do Anything I Want” Quip, Sochi Winter Games, Congress Raises Debt Ceiling, Hillary in 2016, NSA Spying Scandal, and Gay Football Player Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the next winter storm headed for the East and South; President Obama’s “I can do anything I want” quip; the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia; Congress’ move to allow the raising of the debt ceiling; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the backlash from the NSA spying scandal; and the announcement by NFL prospect Michael Sam that he’s gay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013. The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat. Also free cash flow increased by 2%. For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%. Though station expenses decreased slightly during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million. Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11). President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase. 2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year. We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”
Beasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing. In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.” In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management. It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services. Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns. Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.” Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremely excited by this relationship. It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component. The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.” Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging. Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers. Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue. We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.
Max Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances. The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales. Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed. No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”
FCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine. The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009. The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News. During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per. Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000. But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.
Former MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols. During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis. Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show. The station also issued an apology to Pujols. But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused. Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.
“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch. What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.” The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets. Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts. “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments. “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program. It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.” Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day. We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media. Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.” Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Beatles Played in Washington, Too! As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC. Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital. Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.
Odds & Sods. Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today. Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college. He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program. Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16. Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry. They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.
Brent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop. Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity. This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home). The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot. Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio). Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg. True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature
The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse
By Jeff McKay
Special features Correspondent
NEW YORK — Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal to wind up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks, he became VP of Affiliate Relations.
However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroad, and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Tremendous temptation surfaces in the years of profiling talk radio personalities to make an occasional obligatory James Brown-inspired reference.
Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.
Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).
That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz. Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.
As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1. According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel. The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week. Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show. Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.
Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks. Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street. Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.” This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.
Mark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27. Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned. The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive. The Tea Party is our only hope. It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.” Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Todd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era. Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day. It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today. I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
TALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Lars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner. There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson. Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson. This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.
Michael Smerconish Jumps to CNN. The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple. In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN. At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux. Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings. CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”
Honoring Ann. ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.
Odds & Sods. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show. Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program. Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist. Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting. He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6. The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
Tim Benz Promoted to Sports Director at CC Pittsburgh. Programmer and air personality Tim Benz exits his role as morning show host at alternative WXDX, Pittsburgh “105.9 The X” to take the sports director role at Clear Channel’s Pittsburgh cluster. With the move, WXDX evening host Abby Krizner moves to mornings. According to Pittsburgh’s Timesonline.com, Benz’s move means he’ll host a show on sister sports talker WBGG but will also continue to contribute to WXDX’s sports content (the station is the Penguins flagship). In a related move, Benz’s co-host Bob McLaughlin stays with the station as producer of the sports-heavy PM drive Mark Madden program on WXDX. About his promotion and the expansion of sports programming which will see his commentary used on cluster stations including rock WDVE, CHR WKST “96.1 KISS,” news/talk WPGB “FM News Talk 104.7,” and classic hits WWSW “94.5 3WS,” Benz tells Timesonline.com, “This opportunity to extend sports programming is something we have been discussing for some time and will enhance our platforms.” He’ll host the daily 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WBGG.
James Crystal Radio Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. After reports surfaced in the radio trades (including TALKERS) that James Crystal Radio had missed payroll in January, questions began to arise about the state of the company’s affairs and, sure enough, it’s now public information that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Florida. In the filing, James Crystal Radio lists assets of between $1 million and $10 million with between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities. Some of the 20 creditors with the largest claims include: more than $220,000 owned to BMI, more than $1.5 million to various attorneys for fees, plus some $861,000 owed to the IRS in payroll taxes and more than $200,000 in property and local taxes. This is a particularly unfortunate situation since the company has operated in a very locally focused manner giving opportunities to Florida personalities at news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN, both serving the West Palm Beach and South Florida markets. The company also owns foreign-language WFLL, Fort Lauderdale and gospel KBXD, Dallas.
Dave Ramsey Crosses Town to KEIB, Los Angeles. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves from news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles to Clear Channel’s new conservative talk KEIB “The Patriot 1150” where the show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm beginning February 24. KEIB program director Robin Bertolucci says, “We are delighted and excited to have Dave as part of our lineup. With his proven track record in LA, he’ll be an excellent addition to our station.” Currently, local personality Carlos Amezcua airs in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot on KEIB.
KFWB Expands ‘Money 101’ with Bob McCormick. With the departure of Dave Ramsey, CBS RADIO operated KFWB, Los Angeles grows Bob McCormick’s “Money 101” program and places it in the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot on the program schedule. As a result, “LA’s Morning News with Penny Griego and Phil Hulett” adds another hour, wrapping at 10:00 am. The station notes that McCormick “is a recognized authority on personal finance issues in Southern California…his fast-paced show features compelling content that goes beyond the headlines and focuses on how these issues influence our lives in Southern California.” Program director Andy Ludlum says of the changes, “We have enjoyed a great relationship with Dave Ramsey and his team. They are consummate professionals and Dave did a great job for us. It was a good partnership, but the opportunity to add more local programming to super-serve our listeners prevailed.”
Envision Networks Announces New Brand. The new name and branding for Envision Radio Networks is Envision Networks. The 11-year-old media network, which provides content and services to more than 1,500 radio stations across the country, says it has grown beyond the scope of a radio-only syndication company and that the new name Envision Networks encompasses its heritage radio business as well as its growing digital networks, streaming networks and on-demand listening. President and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Envision Networks is a more accurate representation of our current evolution and growth in radio, digital, streaming and product placement. The Envision Networks name and branding now reflects everything we supply to radio stations and other media while creating a desirable audience for our advertisers and partners.”
Broadcasting Pro Todd Feinburg Launches Boston Traffic Service. It’s called J4traffic and the Boston-based broadcasting pro tells TALKERS magazine it is a “crowd sourced, all-traffic radio station for Boston, the first radio format being launched by Speaks Mobile, Inc.” The app is available for free download from the Apple and Android stores. Todd Feinburg (who co-hosted morning drive on WRKO, Boston for the past five years and currently is doing part-time and fill-in work for WBZ-AM) explains the concept behind this initiative. “Rush hour is expanding to encompass much of the day in major American cities, and not just on weekdays. Radio traffic reports lack the frequency, substance and reliability to be effective at easing this pain, and traffic maps don’t go together well with the legal and practical responsibilities of operating a motor vehicle. Furthermore, traffic data delivered to mobile apps lacks the nuance that drivers need to make effective decisions regarding comparative routes – and it’s generally not much fun. We will correct these problems with The Jay – on-demand traffic talk radio that is informed by the crowd.” Feinburg says the programming will consist of a traffic report every five minutes. In between, they’ll broadcast updates reported to them by commuters. Drivers will share what they see on the road via 15 second mp3s they record on the J4traffic app, or they’ll call in with live reports. He says they are in “beta” mode right now but once they’re up to speed, they’ll use “Facebook mobile ads and Google keyword ads to push new users to the app in order to speed growth. In addition, we are optimistic that local media outlets will respond well to a PR campaign emphasizing a new format – all traffic radio – on a platform that has not been used to offer unique, local, radio content – but has been proven successful by companies such as Pandora, Spotify and Apple.” Feinburg says their positioning will be “as a humble, bootstrap operation looking to solve a problem, because that’s what we are. We see this as the beginning of a trend – ‘local’ is the power of radio, and local radio has been abandoned by broadcasters. Now that the threshold to entry has been lowered and anyone can have a radio station, we expect thousands of niche broadcast outlets to appear on the mobile platform.” Along with Feinburg, the two other principals are Jonathan Roy, an attorney who has left his practice in order to join the startup world. He gained experience in tech and startups before attending law school 15 years ago. Aaron Sawyer is a 20-year veteran of Total Traffic and its predecessor, Metro Traffic. Aaron worked as a manager and announcer for Total Traffic, setting up and rolling out new markets.
Executive Changes at NextMedia in Chicago as Sale to Digity Expected to Close on Monday. The sale of NextMedia’s nine suburban Chicago radio stations to Dean Goodman-led Digity, LLC is expected to close on Monday, February 10 and Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that two executives are being told they will not be retained when the deal is consummated. General managers Patrick Pendergast and Scott Kosak will reportedly exit the company and NextMedia360 vice president Brian Foster will serve as manager for the entire group. The Chicago stations are part of a larger deal that encompasses 33 stations becoming assets in Digity, LLC. The Chicago-area stations include: classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora; country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; news/talk WJOL-AM, Joliet; AC WSSR-FM, Joliet; rock WRXQ-FM, Coal City; sports WKRS-AM, Waukegan; hot AC WXLC-FM, Waukegan; rock WIIL-FM, Union Grove, Wisconsin and news/talk WLIP-AM, Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Dave Ramsey Brings Live Events to Boise. Nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here with (from left to right) Idaho First Lady Lori Otter, Townsquare Media regional vice president Kevin Godwin, and Idaho Governor Butch Otter during a visit to the market this week. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to a sold-out crowd in on Thursday (2/6) at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. The production presents Ramsey’s philosophy about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage. Local affiliate KIDO helped promote the event and Kevin Godwin states, “KIDO’s enthusiasm for the unique opportunity to host Dave Ramsey in Boise is brimming. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, as KIDO is celebrating its 85th anniversary of broadcasting this year. It’s very special to have one of our most popular talk show hosts here to share this with us and our community.” On Wednesday, Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan, about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. In the Riverside-San Bernardino market, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh is added to the lineup at KTIE, San Bernardino…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the program lineup at WVFT-FM, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama Beach, Florida and KGUM-AM, Agana, Guam…..The XtreMedia produced and syndicated Kevin McCullough show is added to the programming at WHEP, Mobile/Pensacola; WTXY, Wilmington, North Carolina; and WROM, Rome, Georgia…..The WYM Media-produced Leslie Marshall show is added to the Indiana Talk Radio Network airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved show is added to the lineup at WFBL, Syracuse; WMCR, Oneida, New York; and KVOC, Casper, Wyoming and the company’s Mike Gallagher show joins the programming at KMAX, Colfax, Washington…..“The Graveyard Shift” show announces affiliates for its March launch. KONR, Anchorage and KDOL, Livingston, Texas will carry the program.
Bennett Keynotes at Reagan Event. Nationally syndicated morning drive host Bill Bennett is pictured here speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California yesterday (2/6). The Salem Radio Network personality, who served as Education Secretary under Reagan, was keynote speaker at the event commemorating the 103rd anniversary of Reagan’s birth. Yesterday’s ceremony included a color guard, chaplain, a brass quintet, a 21-gun salute, a flyover, the placing of an official White House wreath on President Reagan’s gravesite and remarks by Bennett. Prior to the ceremony, Bennett signed copies of his new book, Is College Worth It?
Sean Hannity to Keynote and Host Special Breakfast at Talkers New York 2014 Set for Friday, June 20. Nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk media superstar Sean Hannity will again serve as the morning keynote and breakfast host at this year’s installment of TALKERS magazine’s annual New York City-based convention. The TALKERS magazine annual national talk media industry conference enters its 17th consecutive year as the date and site have been set for the next installment of the industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering. Upon the announcement of Hannity’s participation, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Sean’s valuable contributions to this event have become a tradition over the course of its colorful history. He transcends politics and even the competition factor at this event and is by far one of the brightest and most popular individuals in a behind-the-scenes sense in the talk industry. His grasp of ratings issues, sales challenges, the local/national balance equation and changes in the syndication sector is extremely ‘black belt’ in quality and greatly appreciated by his colleagues in the business.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This will be the most important installment of this can’t-miss conference ever because it will deal with some of the most sensitive and existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’ It should not be missed, plain and simple, by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.” Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are members of the working media (meaning actively or recently employed in the industry or associated industries) and can only be booked by telephone with credit card. Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249. As usual, because of space limitations and the quality of this long-established event, an early sellout is expected. Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead. For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
Mike Francesa to Deliver Sports Keynote Address at Talkers New York 2014 - Set for June 20. WFAN, New York sports talk superstar Mike Francesa will reprise his “grand slam home run” contribution from last year and again deliver this year’s sports keynote address at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20. Upon making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mike Francesa’s speech last year was one of the most memorable highlights of the conference. He brings the same no-nonsense, unapologetic, common-sense approach to the issues of the industry that he brings to his legion of fans on the radio about their passion – sports — and quite frankly, it is quite refreshing and inspirational to those of us for whom radio is the ‘game’ of our lives. Francesa is the quintessential local sports talker – the most important in the business – and is a voice that needs to be heard because so much has happened in the sports talk sector since last summer. He’s the perfect guy to deliver the updated message within the context of continuity.” Francesa’s address will directly follow the conference’s general morning keynote address delivered by Premiere Radio/Fox News Channel heavyweight Sean Hannity. More than 60 speakers from the leadership ranks of the industry’s talent, programming, management and sales arenas are being signed up to fill out the power-packed, one-day agenda. The TALKERS magazine annual national talk media industry conference (known for years as the “New Media Seminar”) enters its 17th consecutive year as the talk radio industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering. Harrison continues, “This will be the most important installment of this must-attend conference ever because it will deal with some of the most sensitive and even existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’ It should not be missed by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.” Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are members of the media industry (meaning actively or recently employed in the radio, television, and press industries or associated industries) and can only be booked by telephone with credit card. Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249. As usual, because of space limitations and the quality of this long-established event, a very early sellout is expected. Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead. For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
ObamaCare Criticism Returns to #1 on Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 3-7 was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. The issue held the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for eight straight weeks last fall and now returns to #1. At #2 this week was the pending immigration legislation and the amnesty component expected to be included in the bill. Following at #3 was talk of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 with the nation’s and several states’ marijuana laws coming in at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
By Pete Gustin
Voice Over Artist & Creative Services Director
BOSTON — “Imaging” isn’t nearly as difficult a concept to define as you might think, even when it comes to radio imaging. In fact, it’s quite simple. What is the image that you wish to portray to your listening public? Is it cool? Is it smart? Is it irreverent, connected or quirky? When done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are. It’s extremely powerful in fact. If you’ve ever heard the old saying “act as if”, that’s exactly what you should do when it comes to your radio imaging. Act as if you’re cool, or in this case, image as if you’re cool… and you will be.
So what happened? Why is the true art of imaging fading away? PPM consultants are breaking everything down into 15 minute segments and telling us that the most important thing to do is to get people from one block of listening to the next. So how do they propose we do this? It’s simple. Just tell the listeners what’s coming up next and they’ll stick around to hear it, Right? Maybe, but probably not. I can’t remember the last time I went to see a stand-up comic who, after delivering a really fantastic joke stopped to tell the crowd “Hey, if you liked that joke, stick around. I’ve got plenty more to come.” The show just keeps on going… until it absolutely has to stop.
A Good Listen to a Good Guy
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams.
To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.
It would have been quite easy and understandable for Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73 years old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).
Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take to talk radio.
By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host
Unfortunately, that’s what many of us are doing. Let me explain the analogy.
Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks won the lottery. His rant after the NFC championship game hit all the viral markers: it was loud, it was outrageous and it reached a huge audience at exactly the right time. Sherman went from a fine-but-obscure cornerback to a national figure literally overnight. Blogs, tweets, Facebook pages and every other form of social media either supported or vilified him. The fame he achieved might last the traditional fifteen minutes, or with clever marketing, catapult his off-field career to new heights.
RAB Connects Radio and Home Improvement Spending. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s Finding Consumer Trends (F.C.T.) Report, “when consumers are determining their next home improvement project, radio ads influence that decision. Also, listener trust is positively influenced when a favorite radio station personality promotes a particular home improvement project or service – especially among 18-34 year olds.” Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “The findings from the survey demonstrate radio’s ability to persuade and influence behavior. With 75% of the survey respondents being homeowners, it’s clear that radio is a key medium for home improvement companies and services to reach their target audience.” The study was conducted from October 29 to November 19, 2013 and queried over 12,300 respondents aged 18+ about their home improvement plans, timelines and estimated budgets. The RAB worked with Presslaff Interactive Revenue on the study and determined some of the top goals of homeowners regarding home improvement projects. Presslaff president Ruth Presslaff states, “The information from this report provides RAB members with the information they need to drive sales for their stations. The identification of consumers’ home improvement goals and preferences is certain to open doors for radio sellers and create a dialogue with local home improvement businesses and services.” The RAB and Presslaff are presenting a webinar on this study on January 30 for members. To become an RAB member, please call Member Response at 800-232-3131.
Sean Hannity for Senator? Governor? President? There’s often speculation in the media about the possibility high-profile personalities – especially those in the news/talk game – would ever run for public office. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio star and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity entertained that notion during the #Ask Sean segment of his FNC show on January 21. His response? “The answer is ‘yes, I think about it.’” When asked about what office he’d consider, he responded, “I’m leaving New York as you know…so it would be either in Texas or Florida.” If Hannity does seriously consider a run for office, it would be down the road as he indicates he has ties to New York for the near future – kids in school, etc. – and contractual obligations that have him working in New York. In case you missed it, Hannity’s plans to leave New York come after Governor Andrew Cuomo made public comments critical of those with traditional conservative values including being pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and opposed to same-sex marriage. The idea of Sean Hannity being political office “material” is not new, especially as a concept floated in TALKERS. Almost a decade ago the print version of this publication featured a bold cover with an artist’s rendition of a gray “mature” version of the handsome radio star delivering a mythical presidential press conference as the nation’s Commander in Chief. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who is vehemently non-partisan as a function of his role in the broadcasting industry, makes no secret of his admiration for Hannity’s qualities as a person of substance and potential leadership skills outside the radio show world. Regarding today’s news story, Harrison states, “Regardless of where you stand on his political positions, on the larger playing field of life, Sean Hannity is an extremely authentic human being with remarkable ‘people skills.’ I have witnessed him in action long enough and know enough radio broadcasters over the years to recognize how out of the ordinary he is. Hannity might be a staunch conservative and Republican Party advocate, which serves a purpose in the mosaic of things in radio and the larger marketplace of ideas – but forget the stereotypes…he is also one of the most compassionate and generous human beings in terms of his day-to-day life, his charitable work, and his dealings with colleagues in the business of all stripes. He also works a room (from the position of central player) better than anyone I have EVER seen, including Bill Clinton! I’m not saying Sean Hannity will be president. But I believe he would be extremely effective as a congressional or gubernatorial candidate in the right situation. In the meantime, from a purely selfish perspective, I truly hope he forestalls any such ambitions for years to come. We need people of his talent and character in this business and we need them now.”
Dan Spadafora Named Brand Manager at WHTC, Holland, Michigan. In West Michigan, Midwest Communications brings Dan Spadafora aboard as brand manager and morning drive personality at WHTC, Holland, Michigan (25 miles southwest of Grand Rapids). Spadafora comes to WHTC from his most recent position with Clear Channel’s sports talk WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids “96.1 FM ESPN” and sister news/talk combo WOOD-AM/FM. He says in a statement, “Radio to me has always been more than simply a job. It is about providing a service to the community while also doing something I love. I want to show that not only is radio alive and well, but this station in town can be a station people can depend on for local news and information. ‘Holland’s Hometown Station’ should be a news leader.”
Journal Broadcast Group Re-Aligns; Separates Radio and TV. The move means that Journal Broadcast Group EVP and GM for the Milwaukee TV and radio stations Steve Wexler takes on the new role of EVP of radio for the company. Debbie Turner is named EVP of television. Journal Communications president and CFO Andre Fernandez explains, “As we have invested in our broadcast businesses and expanded our geographic footprint over the last decade, we believe that repositioning our broadcast segment around television and radio recognizes the unique expertise we’ve always had in Journal Broadcast Group around each medium. These changes also ensure the appropriate strategic focus and resourcing for each business, and should help us further improve our operational performance.”
Cox Media Group Announces Openings in Tampa Cluster. With the promotion of Tim Clarke to director of digital audience and the departure of program director Michael Sharkey, Cox Media Group Tampa has three new programming positions as a result of organizational changes following these events. Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “CMG has invested the last four years in creating some of the biggest and most successful brands in Tampa Bay. This is a very unique opportunity that CMG Tampa has not seen in decades. The entire CMG family is eager to welcome the next programming leaders to help take these big brands to the next level.” Positions include:
- CMG Tampa Operations Manager (OM): This new position will oversee all programming and content for CMG Tampa’s six top rated FM brands. Those stations include WWRM “Magic 94.9,” WSUN “97X,” WPOI “HOT 101.5,” WHPT “102.5 The Bone,” WDUV “105.5 The Dove,” and WXGL “107.3 The Eagle.” This individual will oversee all program directors and will report to the Tampa VP/market manager. The OM will also have PD responsibilities for one or more stations.
- WPOI/WSUN Program Director: This individual will be responsible for the branding and growth of Tampa Bay’s most innovative 18-49 brands, “HOT 101.5” and “97X.” In its third year in format, “HOT 101.5” is a top ranked CHR while “97X” delivers one of the deepest relationships with its listeners as America’s premiere Listener Driven Radio station. This individual must have a track record of successfully developing brands as well as a deep understanding of emerging digital and social platforms. This position will report to the OM.
- WHPT 102.5 The Bone Program Director: This person will be responsible for the overall operation of America’s hottest talk radio station. “The Bone” has one of radio’s largest personalities with the highest ratings, all on Florida’s hottest signal. The successful candidate will have a track record of successfully operating talk-based formats, working with high-profile talent, and creatively marketing and growing brands like “The Bone.”
Interested candidates should send their resumes and cover letter to Keith Lawless: 1015.Lawless@coxinc.com.
Twitter Tip: Think Twice. Broadcasters using Twitter to connect with their audience are offered some tips from media consultant Holland Cooke who writes the following. Observation: You won’t lose followers by not Tweeting. Twitter is a powerful tool. I myself was a late-adopter, and I’m real impressed. AND IT’S FREE…and that’s a double-edged sword. Tip: Pretend that each Tweet costs you a dollar. Why? Watch your followers numbers. They tend to go down right after you’ve Tweeted something, which, apparently, one or more followers didn’t find relevant. Don’t take it personally! Whoever just left (and I wish there was a way to know who) might’ve followed you in the first place because an earlier Tweet was as enticing as the one that turned ‘em off wasn’t. You yourself will un-follow after perhaps even a Tweet doesn’t grab you. Spam is spam, whatever the platform. I was recently exposed to some research that demonstrated something you might find unsurprising: Tweets about one’s self get re-Tweeted less than Tweets which link to third party internet content. In Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster), Wharton prof Jonah Berger writes, “People like to pass along practical useful information. News others can use.” Social media is sharing. Facebook seems to be degenerating into pictures of what the waiter just delivered.
Odds & Sods. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive talk host Chris Stigall got the chance to do an in-studio segment with WestwoodOne syndicated talk host, SNL alum and comic Dennis Miller as the latter was on the East Coast for a stand-up gig at a nearby Delaware casino. The two talked about Jimmy Fallon succeeding Jay Leno, his take on the job President Obama is doing and a look ahead to a possible Chris Christie-Hillary Clinton race in 2016…..Nationally syndicated Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine will appear on Fox Business Channel this evening (1/23) to discuss the issue of global warming on John Stossel’s program. Valentine recently produced the film “An Inconsistent Truth” challenging current global warming conclusions. Also appearing on tonight’s show are Bill Nye the Science Guy and Marc Morano who runs the website ClimateDepot.com…..Fox Sports Radio Network is announcing it will be broadcasting live from New York next week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII as it has for the past 13 years. Beginning Monday, Fox Sports Radio will bring listeners programming and updates from several locations throughout New York City as the Dan Patrick show, “Jay Mohr Sports,” J.T. The Brick and “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” broadcast live from the center of the action…..Once again ESPN Deportes Radio is presenting play-by-play of the Super Bowl in Spanish. Coverage will begin with a three-hour special Super Bowl preview from the stadium with analysis by Kenneth Garay, Sebastian Christensen, Eduardo Martell, Carlos Arratia and Marcelo Sandrin. Game coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. with Garay (play-by-play) alongside Christensen (analysis) in the booth, and Sandrin reporting from the field…..The San Franciso 49ers name former NFL player Tim Ryan color analyst for 49ers radio broadcasts. He replaces Eric Davis and will work with Ted Robinson. Cumulus Media‘s sports KNBR and rock KSAN serve as flagships for San Franciso football games.
Global Warming/Eastern Freeze-Western Drought, Roe v. Wade Anniversary, ObamaCare Rollout, Bob McDonnell Investigation, ‘Real’ U.S. Unemployment Figures, and Iran Nuclear Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The freezing winter weather affecting the East and the Western drought plus talk of their possible relationship to global warming; the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the investigation of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges; the report that the real unemployment figure in the United States is over 30%; and the deal being struck with Iran over its nuclear program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
John Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash. Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division. Here’s what he can count on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014. Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement. Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation. Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement. CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.
Sean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit. The Motor City destination for Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK. The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut. WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up. Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market. He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’” Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.
Double Shot of WGN, Chicago News. Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago. Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager. When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.” WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.” Second, longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday. Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program. Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN. Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team. For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time. The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”
Salem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million. It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com. In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger III says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space. Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience. The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform. With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.” The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.
‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast. The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that. And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats. A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”
Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move. The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons. The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related. The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.
Shannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension. This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team. According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball. We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.” It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station. Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games. Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.
Great Read! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (2014 SBN Books). Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change. This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.” Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’” The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before. Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer. With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe. He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future. Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email email@example.com.
WHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant. The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations. The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia. Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations. The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.” CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact. This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.” In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB funds six other LJCs across the country, including: EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.
Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Media + Entertainment Chairman and CEO John Hogan Retires; Position Eliminated. In a move that comes as a surprise to many, John Hogan is retiring from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment as chairman and CEO and will take on the title of chairman emeritus. At the same time, his position will not be filled and folks in the CCM+E division will report to CC Media Holdings chairman Bob Pittman and president and CFO Rich Bressler as Pittman announces he’s signed a five-year extension of his contract. In a statement this morning, Pittman says, “John Hogan has made tremendous contributions to Clear Channel during his tenure – particularly during the unprecedented economic headwinds our country, our industry and our company, faced in 2008 and 2009. He has been an excellent partner for me and for Clear Channel’s leadership as we have evolved into the only multi-platform media company with national reach and the ability to execute locally. As my friend and partner in Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, John has been an important element in Clear Channel’s transformation into a multiplatform media company. There is never a perfect time to make big decisions like this, but his logic was compelling and making this change at the start of a new year made sense. We thank him for his long service and the enormous positive impact he’s had on both our company and the radio industry, and we are delighted that John will remain part of the family with his title of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman emeritus.” Hogan joined Clear Channel when Jacor – for which he was serving as senior vice president of radio – was acquired by the company in 1999. He became president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 and took on the chairman and CEO of CCM+E role in 2012.
WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Is the Subject of Talk Himself After Police Visits to His Home. From a piece published in the Buffalo News, we learn that there is concern among WBEN, Buffalo afternoon drive host Tom Bauerle’s Williamsville, New York neighbors and local police about his recent behavior that some might describe as paranoid. Here’s the short version: the paper reports that police responded to a 911 call to Bauerle’s home last Wednesday where Bauerle complained he was under surveillance by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s operatives. Police found Bauerle in his backyard with a loaded weapon. He surrendered the weapon to police – who were not able to find evidence of anyone spying on Bauerle – and was also willing to surrender additional weapons in his home to his attorney. The paper also reports that Bauerle’s neighbors held a recent meeting with the talk host after he sent them emails raising the issue of him being “watched.” Neighbors told the paper his concerns seemed “quirky” and “made you scratch your head.” Nonetheless, Bauerle – who was off the air last Wednesday and Thursday but returned to the air on Friday to explain his absence was due to hitting a “physical wall of exhaustion” – did agree to a voluntary psychiatric evaluation on Wednesday of last week. No reports have been released yet and the Buffalo News received its information from neighbors and interviews with police officers who are remaining anonymous until the report is released. No charges have been filed in connection with the incident. Read the Buffalo News story here.
Profile: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher. Talk radio personality Mike Gallagher has been in the business since he talked his way into a substitute position at WAVI, Dayton while a junior in high school in 1978. Thirty-six years later and heard in syndication across the country, Gallagher tells TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian that he’s still going strong after a career that’s seen him in morning drive at WABC, New York; in business for himself running his own syndicated show; and moving on with his career after the heartbreaking loss of his wife Denise to endometrial cancer in 2008. His philosophy about programming a talk show remains simple, “I go where my gut takes me. You have to reflect the ‘hits,’ and in our business, the ‘hits’ mean the headlines.” He tells TALKERS that he has always stayed on top of how his show is performing from a business perspective. “It is self-preservation, and my secret to longevity. I learned many years ago that ratings in our business are very volatile, and in particular, talk radio ratings can be cyclical. We are subjected to a political season and a post-political season, so ratings go up and down. I will always win, however, if I deliver revenue…I know where we are to the penny at any given point, and right now, I’m 7% over my January budget. It is a tough environment, so I am very proud of that. We are fighting and scrapping for every dollar. I have always viewed the radio show as a business. I learned that many years ago from Greg Anderson.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire profile of Mike Gallagher here.
KFBK, Sacramento FM Signal Changes. News/talk KFBK, Sacramento’s FM simulcast had been 92.5 for much of the past two years. But after Christmas, Clear Channel Sacramento flipped KFBK’s FM signal to 93.1 – most recently the location of classic hits KHLX. Now we know that the company made the switch so that it could turn the better 92.5 signal into new country outlet “The New B92.5.” The 93.1 frequency is licensed to Pollock Pines – some 40 miles west of downtown Sacramento – whereas the 92.5 signal is centered on the market and provides full-market coverage.
KXTG-AM, Portland Sports Talker Named Sportswriter of the Year. Midday sports talk host John Canzano – heard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland – is named 2013 Oregon Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and Hall of Fame. Finalists for the award were nominated by NSSA members from mid-October to mid-November. Final balloting took place during the month of December. In addition to his work on KXTG-AM, Canzano writes for the Oregonian and makes regular appearances on KGW-TV. Oregonian editor and vice president of content Peter Bhatia states, “John is a terrific columnist and reporter. He brings something special to our city and state every day and it is great to see that recognized.” KXTG-AM PD Bernie Bokenyi adds, “I am honored to have John as a part of our team on ‘750 The Game.’ His commitment to readers, listeners and viewers every day is unmatched.” Canzano comments, “This market offers the most compelling news anywhere in the country. I love working and living here and being able to bring that to readers and listeners and viewers. We’re different than other markets — we have an ongoing dialogue.”
Long Named Co-GSM at WSB, Atlanta. At Cox Media Group’s Atlanta Radio, Jaleigh Long is named new co-general sales manager for news/talk WSB where she’ll work alongside fellow GSM Beth Bowers. Director of sales Walt Phillips says, “Jaleigh Long has a proven track record of leading her teams from the front. Her focus has and will continue to be on developing talent and driving new business development initiatives. She’s strategic in her problem solving and decision making with an extensive background in digital ad products and strategy. Partnering with current GSM Beth Bowers only strengthens our position when it comes to coaching and leading this team into a new era at news/talk WSB.” Long spent the last seven years as GSM for South Central Media in Evansville, Indiana.
Brandon Randazzo Named Social Media Director at Sports USA. The executive producer of Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” and podcasts “Leigh Steinberg on Sports” and “Odds Are with Jimmy Vaccaro” is upped to director of social media for the company, Sports USA president Bob Moore says Brandon Randazzo “is a go-to guy with a vast history of getting the job done. His background in programming, producing, promotions, and voicing radio stations tied to his skill set of social media makes him the ideal person for this position. Brandon will front all of our social media platforms going forward.” Randazzo comments, “Sports USA is one of the most respected names in radio. Their relationship with a significant network of over 400 radio affiliates and massive audience will increase the exposure of our social media platforms every day. I am excited for this opportunity to expand the Sports USA brand into social media.”
Talk Personality Brian Holland to Host Syndicated Overnight Show. The program is called “The Graveyard Shift” and host Brian Holland is planning to self syndicate it beginning March 17. In a statement, Holland says, “Overnights are often a forgotten daypart because everyone assumes that one show is unstoppable. That was true a few years ago, but now, the fact of the matter is when a program isn’t challenged, it’s of course going to stay number one. We are getting a lot of attention from stations that are either concerned with the drop in their overnight audience, or are looking for something serious and sustainable to carry in that daypart.” Holland’s press release states the program will focus on the paranormal and what he calls “fringe topics,” but will also cover popular culture, movie news, video game news, and other topical items. Each program will feature at least one guest for an interview, listener phone calls and emails, and a look at current affairs from all walks of life. The show was formerly syndicated by Harris Broadcasting Network but ceased after the death of that company’s principal.
Three Broadcasters Facing Legal Action for Copyright Infringement. Orange County California-based Mavrix Photographs LLC has filed complaints against Clear Channel, CBS Radio and Townsquare Media for copyright infringement in the United States District Court Central District of California. Mavrix claims that the three companies all posted images it owns – specifically, images of pop star Katy Perry – to some of their stations’ websites with full knowledge that the photos did not belong to them. As in the past, Mavrix is seeking $150,000 per illegal use per company but it is more likely that the issue will be settled out of court for less than what Mavrix seeks. Still, the lesson for website operators is that – especially with celebrity photos – the companies that own the copyrights will seek out violators and will file complaints if they recognize their property being used without permission.
Cool Talk Radio Opportunity. WWTN-FM, Nashville seeks full-time midday host. This is a rare opportunity in the city The New York Times calls “it!” Nashville is on the rise and WTN is the dominant talk station in Music City. We are a live and local operation. With the addition of this position the station is live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm every weekday. And “yes,” we usually beat Rush. This is not an entry level job. We are looking for some authentic, fresh energy – someone that is a people person and will weave themself into the fabric of the community in short order. Expect to work social media and participate in public events. We’re looking for someone who is a voracious consumer of news and info – someone that brings solutions with the problems, someone with a sense of hope. You should be as good as any trial lawyer at convincing people of your position using indisputable logic to connect the dots. You can’t ‘just’ do national-political; you have to sound like Nashville. You must be good at sensing the mood of the community and covering a wide range of emotions. If you are just angry, don’t bother applying. Being a fan of and having interest in country music is a plus. Email resume, references, optional cover letter, and un-scoped air-check to firstname.lastname@example.org put “WWTN-FM Nashville Host” in subject line. Cumulus Media is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Neither long ago (relatively speaking) nor far away in some remote galaxy, teenagers were so routinely enthralled by their local radio station of choice that summoning up the courage to actually go visit it was a personal seminal moment.
When one Dayton high school junior made such a trek in 1978, nothing short of a series of mind-boggling events followed.
Eager to see what his favorite facility looked like, this 17-year-old requested a tour, and what immediately caught his attention wasn’t a piece of equipment or seeing someone involved in the on-air process. Rather, it was a bulletin board memo, which read that the station was “still looking for a young talk-master.”
Completely fearless, he knocked on the program director’s door and confidently declared he could do that. As luck would have it, the night talent at the talk station was out with the flu.
Improbable reality number one was that, while the PD had planned to fill-in for his ailing talent, he remarkably, inexplicably said the young visitor should go ahead and give talk radio hosting a try – that night.
Either the program director was one of the foremost assessors of raw talent imaginable or, at the other end of the spectrum, had temporarily taken leave of his senses.
Regardless, the high school student did a four-hour shift and was so impressive in what was – in essence – an on-air audition that, defying logic, he was hired.
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, MA – TalkersRadio, the “experimental” talk radio station launched last fall by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts” has, according to its general manager David Bernstein, “hit the ground running” in 2014 with the announcement of several new hosts and shows scheduled to join its programming roster this month.
Clear Channel Releases Results of ‘Audio Space’ Study; Growth in New Platforms Means Audio Consumption Is ‘Additive.’ The study was a combined effort with MediaVest and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and surveyed “thousands of audio listeners who use one or more of the following audio sources personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads), broadcast radio, streaming AM/FM radio, custom online playlists, satellite radio, online music videos and digital music channels on TV shows.” Among the results of the study is the conclusion that “because of the use of alternate audio devices, time spent across audio platforms continues to increase and growth in audio is predominantly additive.” The goal of the study was to determine when, why and how consumers choose different audio platforms and some of the conclusions reached are: afternoon drive (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm) generally sees the highest usage; the car remains the most popular location for audio listening throughout the day; 63% of teens listen to more than two audio platforms a day – the highest of any demographic; broadcast radio is the most popular audio platform; listeners choose broadcast radio to stay connected to “the world,” top drivers for radio usage are its accessibility, timely news, traffic, weather, engagement with radio personalities and discovering new music; personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads, etc.) are about control with 81% choosing the platform to control or customize their listening experience. Custom playlists are also about control and follow with 67% choosing the platform for this reason; 41% of consumers are willing to listen to ads in exchange for free online audio. Ads related to the music consumers like and optimized for the time of day are most powerful. MediaVest EVP and research director David Shiffman states, “In the audio space, most measurement focuses on a single audio platform, rather than a complete view of the landscape. Our goal in working with Clear Channel – with its extensive experience in both live and digital radio – was to generate a real-time and accurate view of the audio space, which we believe is going through an evolution similar to television. Marketers have embraced the concept of multi-screen consumer behavior, but audio media also provides a tremendous opportunity for them to connect with their target audience throughout their day.”
2014 CES: Innovate or… Reporting for TALKERS from the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas is media consultant Holland Cooke who writes that one of the hottest topics during CEA CEO Gary Shapiro’s interview with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was spectrum auction; that all of the five FCC commissioners where there and he was able to ask a question or two about AM revitalization of Ajit Pai; about some very revealing stats that show why smart broadcasters are taking advantage of posting video to YouTube (and why you should, too); and even more about the ‘connected car’ that is the focus of so much of the audio and information sector at the show. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Saga Portland President Pahigian Prepares To Exit. Fifteen-year Portland Radio Group president Cary Pahigian broke the news to his staff yesterday (1/8) he will soon be leaving the Maine operation. According to Pahigian, he told Saga vice president Warren Lada about a year ago that he was evaluating his next professional challenge. “I was certainly happy and fortunate to be working with the finest group of people I have ever met,” Pahigian wrote in a staff memo. “Still, the impending 15-year mark was activating an area in my brain that had been quiet for years. Warren asked me to forge ahead and see how I felt at the end of 2013. The only way to properly examine what I wanted to do and aggressively pursue that opportunity, was to focus on it 100%. It would be impossible to conduct that process and still remain at my best with the demands of this job.” Pahigian continues his duties at the operation until his successor is hired. Prior to his 15-year Portland, Maine tenure as president of the eight-station cluster, Pahigian was a 26-year-old station manager at heritage Boston outlet WBZ-AM; corporate vice president of operations for Sconnix Broadcasting; and he programmed Philadelphia’s WIP.
WABC, New York to Air Bob Grant Special. The longtime home to late talk radio pioneer Bob Grant will air a special broadcast in his honor this weekend. Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – where Grant worked daily from 1984-1996 and again weekly from 2009-2013 – is airing the special program that “will feature notable moments from the talk show host as well as comments from broadcasters inspired by Mr. Grant. Also, included in the special are thoughts and comments from members of Mr. Grant’s immediate family.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb said, “WABC is proud to produce this special to honor the late Bob Grant, a true legend in our industry. We hope our listeners will enjoy this opportunity to remember his contribution to WABC and to the city of New York.” The show will air Saturday 1/11 at 5:00 pm and Sunday 1/12 at 4:00 pm. Grant died on December 31, 2013 after an illness at age 84.
WEEI.com Keeps Its Team Intact. All contributing writers and columnists of Boston’s WEEI.com have signed new contracts for this calendar year. Alex Speier, Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean, Christopher Price, and Jerry Spar will continue blogging, opining, and reporting breaking sports news for the site, as well as appearing regularly on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. They join Kirk Minihane and Celtics beat writer Ben Rohrbach. Last week, “Dennis & Callahan” morning show co-host Minihane signed a long-term deal as the site’s opinion editor. “It is a privilege to work alongside such a talented and dedicated group of sports journalists,” comments site editor Rob Bradford. “There isn’t another sports radio station in the country with WEEI’s commitment to enterprise journalism. Boston sports fans have come to expect us to be first with breaking news and commentary wherever they engage with our brand.” WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham remarks, “[These guys] live and breathe Boston sports and they are respected throughout the Boston sports landscape for their journalistic integrity. In this sports-crazed market that boasts some of the most esteemed writers in the business, they stand among the best-in-breed.” WEEI.com recently won the 2013 RAIN Internet Radio award for “Best Streaming Radio Station in America.”
WTOP, Washington Touts Page View Growth. Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington, DC reports that it realized “a 30% overall increase in page views to WTOP.com, averaging more than 22 million page views and reaching more than 1.8 million unique users per month.” The organization adds that “a number of major news stories in the nation’s capital contributed to this growth, including sequestration, the government shutdown, and the Navy Yard shooting. WTOP.com also strengthened its commitment to unique local content with the launch of two new verticals – Living and Technology – and the introduction of the live blog for breaking news…WTOP’s growth can also be attributed to its strategic use of social media. Traffic to WTOP.com from Facebook and Twitter grew by 150% in 2013, making WTOP one of the top five social media players in the DC market.” WTOP director of digital media John Meyer says, “While news judgment will always be the primary factor in story selection, we have editorial meetings throughout the day, using a variety of statistical tools to determine how our homepage is performing. Armed with the most recent data on what people are searching, clicking, and sharing, we can adjust accordingly.”
Mark DePrez Named VP/GM at Farm Journal Media. Former longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne general manager and Federated Media COO Mark DePrez joins Farm Journal Media as VP/GM of the company’s radio business. In this position DePrez will oversee such shows as “AgriTalk with Mike Adams” and “American Countryside with Andrew McCrea.” The company also reports that a new commodity markets-focused show hosted by Chip Flory is being prepared to launch in the early spring. Farm Journal Broadcast SVP Brian Conrady says, “We are thrilled to have Mark join our team. Radio has quickly become an important part of Farm Journal’s integrated go-to-market media strategy, and Mark has the experience, the talent and the tenacity to further spur this growth.” DePrez comments, “It’s fascinating to see the role radio plays as part of an integrated marketing solution in agriculture. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about Farm Journal’s cross-platform content and how radio can fit. I’m excited to be part of this expanding radio business.”
Jimmie Kaska Named Sports Director at WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The new title for Jimmie Kaska comes as he takes over the sports director role at Clear Channel’s WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin from Mike Sullivan who held the position for the past 40 years. The station notes that during Sullivan’s tenure, “he was responsible for getting games on the air involving local teams performing in over 200 venues in 30 states, one territory and two foreign countries. Of those roughly 8,000 games, only two did not get on the air. Sullivan also negotiated rights fees and made other arrangements for airing over 10,000 games involving professional and college teams in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as nationally broadcast events. WBIZ-AM was the first 24-hour sports station in Wisconsin, and one of the first 10 in the United States when the format debuted in 1992. The station format was switched in 1994-95, but then returned to the all-sports format in 1996, and has remained all-sports since then.” Kaska serves as PD for WBIZ and sister news/talk WMEQ. He states, “It’s crazy to think that the first job I had in my life when I was 17 would be the same one I’m doing today. It seems like every year I find something else to take charge of, and of all the roles I have here, this one will be the most visible and most important. It’s my goal that I continue the long tradition of being one of the best and most active sports radio groups in the country. The mentoring I’ve received from Mike Sullivan has been invaluable to both my career in broadcasting and to life. I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity.”
Advantage Systems Brings Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis Aboard. Sales and marketing firm Advantage Systems Inc. announces Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis join the company as revenue development managers. The company says, “Bunzel has been leading a charge for the radio industry to use digital media to grow revenue since digital first appeared, and he has joined Advantage Systems, Inc. to help stations do just that. Bunzel, current president of Bunzel Media Strategies, will be working with broadcasting groups throughout U.S. and Canada to help them with a revenue generation program designed to incorporate traditional media with new interactive solutions provided by Advantage Systems, Inc.” Bunzel comments, “What I find interesting is that RAB’s just-released data shows that radio’s digital revenue was up 3% in the previous quarter and 7% in the first half, but I saw another study today predicting 16% growth in digital advertising next year. That tells me that radio is severely underperforming in the digital era. It needs to be smart and catch up.” Regarding Davis, Advantage Systems VP for sales Frank Kulbertis states, “Darryl has a history of doing programs similar to our Advantage Plan program that included schedules and digital products for television so he was a perfect fit as a new revenue development manager for us.” The company says Davis will work with broadcast groups to grow their advertising revenue. The program includes extensive sales training, new business leads in the local market, a focused workshop to educate local business owners on traditional and new media, 12-month advertising commitments along with turn-key creative services and the ability to generate digital revenue thru inclusion of interactive solutions.
Odds & Sods. Consumer finance expert Rodney Anderson is hosting a daily, one-hour program on Clear Channel’s news/talk KFXR, Dallas airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore inks the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles for another two seasons. The O’s have been heard on WBAL for all but 15 of the team’s 60-year history in the city…..WestwoodOne has the national radio rights to the remaining NFL playoff games – including Super Bowl XLVIII – that resume this weekend. While Scott Graham hosts the pre-, post-game and halftime shows for all four games, the WestwoodOne stable of in-game announcers and analysts are lined up for the four games airing this weekend.
Chris Christie Bridge Traffic Scandal, Robert Gates Book, War on Poverty Anniversary, and Dennis Rodman North Korea Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). The scandal involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s staffers allegedly closing lanes in Fort Lee New Jersey near the George Washington Bridge as a form of revenge against the town’s Democratic mayor; the new book from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in which he’s critical of Obama Administration officials and the president and vice president; the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s “war on poverty”; and former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s tumultuous return visit to North Korea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Borrell Associates New Study and Forecast Predicts Radio Revenue Flat but Listening Minutes Continue to Decline Over Next Five Years. Research firm Borrell Associates has published a new study titled, “The Future of Legacy Media: With 5 Years of Digital Disruption Ahead, What Happens Next?” As the title implies, it looks at the effect the digital revolution has had over the past five years on time spent with each medium and ad dollars spent and then goes on to predict what is likely to happen over the next five years. The conclusion for AM/FM radio is probably not going to be shocking to most. Borrell predicts that minutes spent with AM/FM radio (which have already dropped from 124.1 in 2008 to 93.5 in 2013, according to the study) will continue to erode even though the number of individuals listening at least once per week (that figure we hear reported by Nielsen Audio so frequently) may remain fairly constant. By 2018 Borrell predicts minutes spent with radio will further drop to 81.9 (for a total decrease from 2008 to 2018 of 34%). On the revenue front, Borrell notes that radio ad spending has dropped by almost a third over the past 13 years and predicts the level the industry is at right now – about $14.3 billion – is roughly where it will be in another five years. Here’s what the study has to say about AM/FM radio’s future: “If trends hold true, traditional radio ad spending will continue to tread water, remaining largely unchanged while growth moves online – especially among national advertisers. Detroit is already equipping some new cars with Pandora service, so even that industry sinecure may have been breached. Losses – where they occur – will be most felt in the larger metros, while suburban and rural areas will still depend on the local flavor of stations that have been good friends to their fathers and grandfathers.” Which media will experience growth in minutes spent with through 2018? Borrell predicts cable TV, out-of-home, video games and pure-play mobile, which it says will have realized a 1,145% increase in minutes spent with during the 10-year period examined in the study. Read more here.
SiriusXM Reports Total Subscribers Top 25 Million. Satellite radio service SiriusXM announces it ended the year 2013 with 25.56 million subscribers – an addition of 1.66 million net subscribers during the course of the year. The company reports that self-pay net additions in 2013 were 1.5 million for the full year, bringing self-pay subscriptions to over 21 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM had an outstanding 2013, and we expect to meet or exceed all other guidance we have provided for the year. Automotive distribution is hitting on all cylinders and an increasing number of households, at all income levels, are subscribing to SiriusXM. In a world where consumers have many choices, millions of subscribers continue to love our unmatched and easily affordable lineup of exclusive talk, live news, major sports events, and commercial-free and curated music channels.” At the same time, the company offers guidance for 2014 that includes: Net subscriber additions of 1.25 million; free cash flow approaching $1.1 billion; revenue of over $4.0 billion; and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.38 billion.
2014 International CES: Day Two. Media consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas where he’s covering the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronic Show for TALKERS magazine. Some tidbits for radio people include how Yahoo! is revamping its content to fit what consumers want with regard to size and frequency and how new global anchor Katie Couric is integrating “citizen reporting” into her work. Also, read what radio execs attending a session on internet radio are saying about building a connection with consumers in Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Compass Media Brings Research Pro Len Klatt Aboard. Research pro Len Klatt spent the last 16 years with Premiere Networks (ultimately as SVP of research) and 11 years with Westwood One before that. Now, Compass Media Marketing announces it has hired Klatt as a research consultant and advisor, effective immediately. Klatt comments, “It is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the changing audio entertainment landscape. Compass is well positioned for continued growth and my goal is to work closely with the Compass team to best serve our advertisers, affiliates and programming partners.”
Kirk Minihane Inks Multi-Year Deal with WEEI, Boston. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that staffer Kirk Minihane – a recently added member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show – has been rewarded for his positive impact on the show and the station with a new multi-year deal. Minihane became part of the morning show featuring John Dennis and Gerry Callahan in February of last year and Finn reports that the morning show has been gaining ratings ground over the past several months. Minihane was already employed by Entercom Boston writing for WEEI.com at the time he joined the show. The Dennis & Callahan show – and the station in general – has been under the microscope since the start-up of CBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” debuted, gained ground on WEEI and overtook many of WEEI’s shows in the ratings. Now, Finn reports that the Dennis & Callahan show recently finished in second place in the Nielsen Audio PPM ratings behind WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich program with a 9.0 share.
Odds & Sods. At Salem Communications’ New York City news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer,” comic Joe Piscopo is guest hosting the morning show today (1/8) through the end of the week. The permanent morning show slot is vacant right now after Curtis Sliwa split for Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC for a midday show with co-host Ron Kuby. The station says Piscopo will “have top name guests, give his take on the news of the day and do a variety of other comedy bits.”…..At Clear Channel’s Cincinnati cluster, Bo Matthews is named vice president of programming for the station group. While Matthews’ recent day-to-day experience has been with music radio – he comes to Cincinnati from the company’s Cleveland cluster where he programmed rock WMMS and CHR WAKS “Kiss FM” – he will ultimately oversee news/talk WLW, talk WKRC and sports talk WSAI in his new position…..In the public radio sphere of the Rochester market, WXXI listeners are hearing new host Evan Dawson in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot held for so long by market pro Bob Smith. Dawson is a familiar face as he spent six years as morning anchor at WHAM-TV. The new show is called “Connections with Evan Dawson.” Smith stepped down from his position in August after suffering a stroke in the spring. He’s currently in long-term rehabilitative care.
Rick & Bubba Celebrate 20th Anniversary. The nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba show – featuring Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey – celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Syndicated Solutions Inc.-distributed program has special plans to commemorate the show’s birth. Burgess and Bussey, along with cast members Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess, Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Chris “Eddie Van” Adler, along with past/present show interns and related show contributors, will be performing live before sellout crowds during at least five special one-night only events in concert halls/theaters in select cities beginning in May. SSI reports that “each ‘20th Anniversary Tour’ event will include hilarious, unforgettable Rick & Bubba moments, show favorites such as Good ‘ol Boys Theater, Willie & Wanda, The Giant Game of Rick & Bubba Knowledge, The Wacky World, Fact or Crap, and more. There will be prizes, video tributes reliving the past 20 years, musical performances, special Q&A sessions and more…All behind-the-scenes and on-stage activities will be video recorded so excerpts can be shared during the Rick & Bubba show television/radio broadcast, and a full 20th Anniversary documentary will be available later in 2014.” SSI president Bob Carey states, “Congratulations Rick and Bubba…I am so proud of what you’ve accomplished all these years and the special relationship that we share. Although we’ve been business partners for just nine of your 20 years on air together, the Rick & Bubba show continues to evolve and gets better day after day, which is a testament to you both never taking your successes for granted or never stopping to work hard and improve upon yesterday.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Bill “Bubba” Bussey (sitting), Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Rick Burgess (center/sitting), Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess and Chris “Eddie Van” Adler.
Outstanding Talk Producer on the Loose. One of the personnel casualties of WWRL, New York’s recent switch from progressive talk to regional Mexican Spanish-language entertainment is Jeffrey Haveson. Haveson, an accomplished veteran radio broadcaster is known in talk circles as one of the most hard-working, versatile and dependable producers in the business, is without a home base for the first time in more than a decade. He served at WWRL as an executive producer working with a wide variety of hosts and formats ranging from urban talk to liberal politics and then some. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Jeffrey Haveson is one of the most competent and multi-faceted facilitators of talk programming I’ve ever met. This guy can handle all the chores that go on behind-the-scenes in making a great show happen from nurturing hosts of all political and cultural stripes, booking guests, executing remotes and creating superb production to writing an effective press release and managing social media. He is located in the New York area and should be grabbed by one of the many media outlets looking for a solid producer.” Haveson can be phoned at 973-207-3095 or emailed at email@example.com.
Robert Gates Criticizes Obama in New Book, Dennis Rodman in North Korea, Boehner-Benghazi Connection, Polar Vortex Chills U.S./Global Warming, and Janet Yellen Confirmed New Fed Chief. The new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates that is critical of the Obama Administration; the controversy over former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s latest trip to North Korea; questions about what House Speaker John Boehner knew about the Benghazi mission; the frigid temperatures across the U.S. and the connection to global warming; and Janet Yellen is confirmed as new chief of the Federal Reserve were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
But there’s lots more happening at CES than gadgets. Among what Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro calls “all aspects of the tech ecosystem:”
* CEA unveiled an initiative to help returning service men and women find tech jobs. Hit USTechVets.org
* Also thank this bunch for helping to change the rules of flying, so you can now use your iPad or smartphone takeoff-to-landing. BUT Shapiro urges that airlines use “common sense” about allowing phone calls up there. Imagine sitting between two loud-talkers?
Cumulus to Acquire Merlin Media’s Chicago Signals – WKQX and WLUP-FM. Variations of this deal had been rumored in the Windy City for some time. Scuttlebutt heard in the late fall also had Tribune interested in WLUP-FM due to WGN president Jimmy de Castro’s earlier comments that his company is looking to acquire an FM signal in Chicago. But now it comes to pass that Cumulus Media – for a sum yet-to-be-announced – will bring classic rock WLUP-FM and WKQX (currently adult hits WIQI at 101.1) into the company’s portfolio in addition to the alternative format airing on WKQX-LP. Speaking about the sale, COO John Dickey states, “These great brands will be welcome additions to the two legendary brands we already own in Chicago.” Dickey says the alternative format under calls WKQX will return to the 101.1 frequency as early as next week. The company also has no plans to change the classic rock format on WLUP-FM so it’s unlikely it will put the country NASH format on either station in the near future. The acquisition of the two FM signals from Emmis by Randy Michaels-led Merlin took place in 2011 and the alternative format of WKQX was displaced by a news and talk format that was to target females. The format never took off and was flipped to adult hits a little less than a year later in July of 2012.
Exclusive Never-Before Seen Video of Special Tribute to Bob Grant. In 2008, now-defunct trade publication Radio & Records announced that it was going to present the late Bob Grant with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its then-annual convention. Shortly after making the announcement, the publication rescinded the award in the face of threatened picketers that protested Grant’s selection based on their opposition to his stated views and controversial reputation. WABC, then owned by Citadel and Grant’s home base at the time, stepped up to the plate and decided to present Grant with its own Lifetime Achievement Award. The station, represented by its then-VP of programming, Phil Boyce, asked TALKERS magazine if it would be willing to host the ceremony at its annual conference (then known as the New Media Seminar) in New York City that summer. TALKERS agreed and the ceremony was conducted (amidst protests) at the event’s Friday night cocktail party. It featured the presentation of the award by Boyce and a magnificent acceptance speech by Grant in addition to a stunning video tribute to Grant’s career produced by renowned industry videographer and historian Art “Radio’s Best Friend” Vuolo. After the event, the video was filed away in the TALKERS vaults for posterity and never seen again. Until now, that is. Upon the sad occasion of Bob Grant’s passing at the age of 84 this past New Year’s Eve, TALKERS has made the video available for public viewing. To see this historic document which includes Grant’s discussion of talk radio’s role in a free society, its relationship with the First Amendment and the unconstitutionality of the repressive Fairness Doctrine please see the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Fox Sports Radio Goes to Gorman for Afternoons. As far as Fox Sports Radio is concerned, the next wave of sports talk talent may be coming from the world of rock music, as the network fills its weekday 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with The Black Crowes’ founding member/drummer Steve Gorman. “Steve Gorman Sports” debuts later this month (1/27) with a series of broadcasts leading up to the Super Bowl. According to Clear Channel senior vice president of sports operations Bruce Gilbert, “‘Steve Gorman Sports’ is the perfect combination of sports, passion, pop culture, music and entertainment. Fox Sports Radio is committed to serving sports fans with unique and entertaining insight, stories, and opinions surrounding the natural drama of sports. Steve Gorman is an excellent addition to our leading, multi-platform, sports entertainment lineup.” Gorman comments, “This is an amazing opportunity to be able to work with the one network I always felt was a perfect fit for my show. I know listeners will love hearing athletes and musicians alike talking, laughing, and arguing about our shared passions: sports and music.” Gorman has hosted several local sports shows; he began “Steve Gorman Sports” as a podcast in 2010. With all times listed referring to the Eastern time zone, FSR’s revised lineup consists of: “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman & Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Dan Patrick Show” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Jay Mohr Sports” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “Steve Gorman Sports” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); J.T. “The Brick” with Tomm Looney (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); “The Jason Smith Show (10:00 pm – 2:00 am); and “The Ben Maller Show” (2:00 am – 6:00 am).
Carlos Amezcua PM Drive Host at ‘The Patriot’ in Los Angeles. The newly transformed conservative talk outlet KEIB, Los Angeles (formerly progressive talker KTLK), now branded “The Patriot AM 1150,” has a new PM drive host as former KTTV-TV, Los Angeles news anchor Carlos Amezcua joins the station. KEIB’s change includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck now airing at the station – Limbaugh slid over from sister news/talk KFI – and also includes The Blaze personality Doc Thompson in early mornings and Westwood One’s Clark Howard in evenings.
Genesis Communications Network and Mancow Partner for Syndication. Talk radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller and Genesis Communications Network are partnering to distribute the Chicago-based morning program. GCN states it is “excited to announce the arrival of the popular Mancow show featuring the notorious Erich ‘Mancow’ Muller and his controversial, snarky, hilarious and hard-hitting brand of talk radio.”
Los Angeles Sports Radio Talent Dave Stone Passes. “This is one of the toughest things I’ve ever written.” With that, iconic Los Angeles sports talk radio/mainstream talk radio programmer and on-air talent Joe McDonnell began his Facebook tribute to longtime Los Angeles sports voice Dave Stone, who passed away earlier this week at age 64. He’d been diagnosed with ALS. “I didn’t even know he was sick, which was typical of Dave,” McDonnell states. “He did not want anyone to fuss over him – even when he was batting a terminal disease. Dave was my first hire when I was putting together ESPN 710 [KSPN, Los Angeles] in 1999 – 2000. He put his heart and soul into everything he did there.” Part of that lineup was “McDonnell-Douglas” consisting of McDonnell and veteran Los Angeles sportswriter Doug Krikorian; Stone did sports updates. “Big Joe” first met Stone in the mid-1970s when they were competing for the job to operate the Dodger Stadium message board. “Dave beat me out, but it became a moment when I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” FoxSportsWest.com writer-reporter-columnist McDonnell states. A notoriously famous Lakers fan, McDonnell nonetheless concedes that Stone might have been just as strong of a partisan of the NBA team. “We would spend hours talking about [Jerry] West, [Elgin] Baylor, [Wilt] Chamberlain, Darrell Imhoff, and Archie Clark. If he was a Lakers player, we knew about him.” Stone was the public address announcer for more than 1,400 Harlem Globetrotter performances and McDonnell writes, “If the phone rang at 3:00 am, it might be Dave calling from Singapore to get the score of the Lakers game.” In 1991, Stone was working at Huntsville, Alabama’s WVNN-WZYP and he hired a young afternoon drive talent named Sean Hannity. Mike Dunsmore worked with Stone at Fox Sports Radio from 2007 – 2009 and just this past year at NBC Sports Radio, where Stone was an update anchor. “He had a booming voice, loved the Lakers, and despised [former Lakers player] Kwame Brown,” Dunsmore posts on Facebook. “Dave Stone was a class act.” Former KLOS, Los Angeles program director Rita Wilde – currently doing evenings at cross-town KSWD “The Sound” – writes, “I had no idea he was sick – he was a great guy.” McDonnell rhetorically states of Stone, “You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you.” Services for Stone were held yesterday (Thursday, 1/2) at 2:00 pm in suburban Los Angeles (Simi Valley).
KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Launches Podcast Project. Talk radio pro Tom Becka – currently hosting afternoon drive at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha – announces the debut of a weekly podcast project that will be featured at his website tombecka.com. Becka tells TALKERS, “TomBecka.com is a podcast page where I interview everyday people with a unique story to tell. Think of it as NPR, but with personality and a pulse. Some of the interviews that are helping me launch this are a woman who’s a breast cancer survivor, a soldier with PTSD, a drag queen, a woman who accidentally found out her bartender was the child she gave up for adoption 27 years ago, and a couple that practices polyamory. Every Sunday I will add another podcast and so far I have a rodeo clown, a man with Asperger’s, and a drummer who has spent most of his life working the cruise ships.” This project allows Becka to step outside of the format of a live, on-air talk radio show but still bring his own personality and style to these interview projects. He says his ability to negotiate keeping ownership of his digital rights has allowed him to work on these types of initiatives.
Odds & Sods. There’s been a minor lineup shuffle at Yahoo! Sports Radio where Sean Salisbury moves to the late afternoon “Prime Cut” show alongside current host John Granato. Leaving that show to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program is Geoff Ketchum who replaces John Harris…..Compass Media Networks syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt announces changes in his show in a number of markets. In Schnitt’s home market of Tampa, his program will be delay broadcast on WFLA from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but will air live on sister station WHNZ from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The show will also shift to early evening clearances on affiliates WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina and WTKS, Savannah, Georgia…..“Labor-Lines,” hosted by Vic Fusco, moves from former progressive talker WWRL, New York to its new home at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” where it airs Saturdays at 1:00 pm.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the programming lineup at KROP, Yuma, Arizona; KVPI, Lafayette, Louisiana; and WGSO, New Orleans…..Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt joins the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Rodger Fredinburg’s “Homeland Security” show joins the weekend program lineup at KMED, Medford, Oregon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis program is added to the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Also from GCN, the weekly Steve Sanchez program announces its new flagship station KFNX, Phoenix…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces new affiliates: WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; WQXL-AM/FM, Columbia, South Carolina; KMMS-AM, Bozeman and KPRK-AM, Livingston, Montana; and KMED, Medford, Oregon…..From Salem Radio Network comes the following affiliate additions: Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” is added to KVTA, Oxnard-Ventura; Mike Gallagher becomes part of the lineup at KGED, Fresno; the Dennis Prager show is added to WEZO, Augusta, Georgia; and Michael Medved joins the programming at WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois and WTIM-FM, Taylorville, Illinois.
Holidays and Year-in-Review Top Talk Topics for Week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 3. The holidays and a look back at 2013 were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was criticism of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the poor rating of Congress by the public followed by winter weather and discussions of global warming tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a list of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
NEW YORK — Bob Grant, who ranked eleventh in TALKERS magazine’s 20th anniversary Heaviest Hundred (published in 2010), which lists “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time,” died on December 31 at 84 years old after a brief illness.
Grant, whose signature opening line in New York radio was “Let’s be heard!,” drove his rollercoaster career through numerous stations in New York City where listeners followed some of the more racially-charged issues in town.
Brash and confident for a guy who stood 5-foot seven, Grant was described by TALKERS in the July/August 2010 issue as an “infamous watchdog of public figures, 40-plus years in New York radio.”
Upon learning of Grant’s death, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “He was a founding father of modern talk radio whose influence on broadcasting technique, style and societal role go way beyond the boundaries of conservative broadcasting.”
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — “In this multi-tasking radio world, who in the station should be responsible for online content?” That’s a question I got from a smart guy I used to work with. It’s a great question.
You need only two particularly strong people with this plan I’m going to give you. You may be surprised about who they are.
Set it Up
Who should handle your online content? Here are the staffing requirements for this focused plan:
Cumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition. Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal. Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations. Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues. Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO. Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.
News/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference. Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets. The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3. It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share. Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share. There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Brian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles. Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles. Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss. Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York. Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future. I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air. But his skills go much beyond comedy voices. He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.” Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991. I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand. I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”
J.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down. Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3. Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program. Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3. “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well. For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day. I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”
Erickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays. Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26. Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited. It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college. I listened to him every day. I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”
Rhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro. According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee. The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals. Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone. Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time. DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities. DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.
Michael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014. The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help prepare modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era. Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation – as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue. Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event. Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee. Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.” For information about the conference please click here.
MacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales. Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber. “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.” MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television. Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates. It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”
WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show. WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29. Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties. The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program. Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins. Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”
WPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios. The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week. The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal. At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
‘Quinn & Rose’ Honor Commitments, Forge Ahead in Post-WPGB Career. Pittsburgh-based talk radio morning show “Quinn & Rose” – Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent – are not looking back after their 10-year relationship with Clear Channel’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh ended last month. As TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian notes in his story about the duo published today (12/12), not only are Quinn and Tennent continuing to operate their web base warroom.com, they are honoring commitments to listeners, charities and businesses made before their exit from the radio station. They have also been keeping in touch via social media with many of their P1s who’ve rallied around the duo. Tennent says, “I thought that I knew our audience was loyal – but I never knew just how loyal and passionate they were about the show. They really seem to care about what is happening to us personally. I am very moved by the response.” Read more about Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent here.
Life After Arbitron: Day One. Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke reports in from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference & Jacobs Media Summit in Baltimore. Presentations focused on operating radio stations in a multi-platform universe; the importance of solving the problem of competing for ad dollars against media that can provide specific data; and the use of social media. Check out Holland Cooke’s report here.
Year-End Special Available from Premiere and TheBlaze. Premiere Networks announces the availability of an exclusive, three-hour radio special, “TheBlaze: The Year in Your Ear,” – a comprehensive review of 2013 featuring different perspectives from the hosts and writers of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s news, information and entertainment network. The company states, “From the government shutdown and North Korea missile threats, to the Boston Marathon bombings and the George Zimmerman trial, listeners will be treated to a recap of the biggest national events, news headlines and stories that shaped America in 2013.” Premiere reports the show is already cleared on KOA, Denver; WOAI, San Antonio; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KPRC, Houston; and KNRS, Salt Lake City, to name a few. It’s available for air between 12/25 and 1/5/14.
The $1.4 Billion Mystery: What Do Women Want? According to Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo, the talk radio industry continues its modern era tradition of turning down a significant piece of the $1.4 billion advertising budget spent annually by the advertising community on female-targeted talk television. In a newly-posted article, Sabo writes these TV programs discuss:
- Celebrity gossip
- Diet & exercise
- Personal finance
- Balancing home and work
To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Fred Dryer to Appear in TV Series. CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer (also a former pro football star and a seasoned actor) will appear in a recurring role in the NBC series “Crisis.” Dryer hosts a weekly talk show for CRN called “The PM Show with Fred Dryer” that airs Wednesdays at 7:00 pm ET. CRN CEO Mike Horn says, “Fred is such a talented, multi-faceted actor. He’s also a great guy – so as fans of his work and him as a person, we’re very excited.” Dryer plays Thomas Jefferson Smith, a powerful, confident and wise CIA agent who, despite being in his 60s, can still kick butt. The Rand Ravich thriller centers on Washington’s most powerful players pulled into an international conspiracy. To bring the most powerful people in the world to their knees, the conspirator must threaten what everyone holds most dear. The “Crisis” cast includes other stars such as Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor and James Lafferty.
Salem Communications Spotlighted by Bloomberg Businessweek. The business-focused publication shines a spot on Salem Communications after its recently announced purchase of Twitchy.com from conservative media figure Michelle Malkin. The piece notes that the company is using profits from its radio assets to fund acquisition of digital properties and that fits with its conservative political philosophy. Felix Gillette writes, “The move may signal that the same forces currently driving consolidation in the digital news industry at large are starting to gain momentum among the ranks of conservative news publishers online. Since the advent of the internet, a diverse constellation of conservative news outlets has sprung up across the country, creating a rich buffet for GOP-loving readers – and a major logistical challenge for the advertisers hoping to reach them. In theory, bringing more of the sites under a smaller number of roofs will appeal to the ad buyers who oversee rising digital marketing budgets while simultaneously providing cost savings for the publishers. Thus, the increasing pressure to consolidate.” The piece reports that in fiscal 2012 Salem “generated $108 million of gross profit on $229 million of revenue. Of the company’s operating income, significantly more came from its radio group ($47 million) than from its websites ($3.7 million).” It also points to Politico which says it hears Salem is in talks to buy Eagle Publishing – owner imprints Regnery Publishing, Regnery History, Eagle Financial Publications as well as digital destinations RedState.com and MarkSkousen.com.
ObamaCare Criticism, Budget Deal/GOP Stalls on Nominees, Mandela Tribute Sign Interpreter Controversy, and Obama Selfie-Flirting Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; the budget deal and the Republicans’ stall tactics on President Obama’s judicial nominees; the controversy over the sign-language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela tribute; and criticism over President Obama’s taking a selfie and “flirting” with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune i