Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Journal Broadcast Group 2012 Q4 Revenue Up 53% on Strong Political; Radio Up 15%. Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steve Smith reports the Broadcast Group’s fourth quarter of 2012 was up an amazing 53% due to a very good quarter of political advertising. He says that same-station revenue – excluding political – was up 4%. Journal owns TV stations so when that was broken down, radio was up 15% for the quarter compared to the same period a year ago. President and CFO Andre Fernandez went a little more in depth about radio during the conference call. “On radio, revenue increased nearly 15% in Q4, but only 1.5% on a same-station basis excluding political and the extra week. And that was driven by a 4% gain in local and helped by such categories as auto, up over 20%. Political revenue was a more modest $700,000 in radio for the quarter and $1.7 million for the full year. Looking ahead to the first quarter for radio, total revenue is pacing up in the mid-single digits, though in the low single digits on a same-station basis.”
NBC Sports Radio Moves Erik Kuselias to AM Drive; Jon Stashower to Evenings. As the NBC Sports-Dial Global co-operative sports radio network project prepares to go full time on April 1, NBC Sports Radio announces that current evening host Erik Kuselias will be the AM drive host airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and weekend sports talk personality Jon Stashower will move to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. Kuselias has been in the evening slot for the network since its soft debut in September of last year. Rob “Stats” Guerrera will serve as Kuselias’ producer. Kuselias states, “I’m thrilled to be in the prime spot for NBC Sports Radio’s first daily lineup. We believe this is the smartest and most fun sports radio program in the nation, and we look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. Additionally, NBC Sports and Dial Global Sports allow us to have an unparalleled guest list, which will help us rejuvenate mornings for those looking for a fresh approach.” As for the evening show, Jon Stashower says, “In sports, so much happens at night. It’s when the games are played and so many of the stories break. I’m really looking forward to being on every night to break down all that’s going on.”
Heavy Hundred to be Revealed at 12:00 noon ET on Tuesday, March 12. The highly anticipated 2013 installment of annual TALKERS magazine feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America,” — also known as the “Heavy Hundred” — will be posted at Talkers.com this coming Tuesday at 12:00 noon ET. This marks the 19th edition of the feature (which launched in April of 1995 as the “Talkers 25″ and was expanded to 100 in 1996). In announcing the date, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “It is never an easy task for the TALKERS editorial board to arrive at a final list considering all the many factors taken into consideration, not to mention the pressure and consequences attached to the endeavor. This year, however, has been especially challenging due to all the changes that have taken place in the composition of the industry during the past year and we needed an extra week to make last minute adjustments. You wouldn’t believe all the screaming matches that take place in our conference room during this process every year. It would make an amazing reality TV show.”
KRLA, Los Angeles Debuts “The Bigger Picture with Timothy Spangler.” Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles “AM 870 The Answer” brings a new program to its Sunday evening schedule as “The Bigger Picture” hosted by Timothy Spangler is airing in the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. The station calls it a show with “its focus on the unusual and humorous aspects of international affairs and global events…it brings the attitude and sensitivities of ‘The Daily Show,’ ‘The Colbert Report,’ and ‘Tosh 2.0’ to talk radio for a younger generation of listeners.” Spangler is an accomplished young man having studied applied mathematics at UCLA and law at Vanderbilt University, he earned his PhD in law at the London School of Economics. He is admitted to practice as an attorney in California and New York, as well as a solicitor in England and Wales. He writes an award-winning syndicated foreign affairs column that appears each week in the Orange County Register and the Jerusalem Post, as well as other newspapers across the US. He is currently an adjunct professor of law at UCLA School of Law. He also serves as a visiting lecturer at the University College, London’s Faculty of Law and a senior fellow at the University of Melbourne School of Law.
2013 “Hersky” Awards for Achievement in Talk Radio Advertising and Sales Announced Today. Each year, TALKERS magazine’s resident radio advertising and sales maven, Al Herskovitz, presents the “Hersky Awards” recognizing outstanding achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales. This years presentations are made for the following categories: Best Live Read, Best Humor, Best Produced, Best Website Presentation of Sales by a Rep, Best Website Presentation of Sales by a Radio Station, Best Jingle, and Nosey (which means Most Stinky). To read Al Herskovitz’s presentation of this year’s Herskys, click here.
On the Road with Dave Ramsey. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey has been on the road recently visiting markets including Kansas City and Las Vegas. In Las Vegas he presented his intimate “Building Your Legacy” live event before a sold-out crowd. At this event Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage. Local affiliate KXNT helped promote the event. Ramsey (center) is pictured here with KXNT program director Andrew Paul (left) and SVP/GM Jerry McKenna (right). Paul says, “Our listeners were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and hear Dave. He is such a dynamic speaker. He motivated and inspired everyone. We are so grateful and proud that Las Vegas was a stop on the ‘Building Your Legacy’ tour.” Ramsey also visited Kansas City recently hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day” event there before a packed house at Folley Theater. Ramsey, along with speaker Jon Acuff, spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees. Affiliate KCMO took part in the event.
Odds & Sods. Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine tells TALKERS magazine his program was the top-cuming talk show in the Nashville market during the Fall 2012 Arbitron survey. Phil says his show had “more listeners than Limbaugh and Hannity combined and almost four times the listeners of Beck!” The 12-plus DMA weekly cume for his program was 144,800…..CBS Radio Philadelphia announces all-news KYW reporter Mark Abrams will report live from Vatican City as the Cardinals of the Catholic Church prepare to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor. The station reports Abrams has arranged interviews in Rome with a number of Catholic Church officials and clergy from the Delaware Valley. His reports will begin this weekend on KYW Newsradio, and can be heard hourly throughout the conclave…..“Gun Talk Radio” host Tom Gresham reports that he delivered 16,630 new “Lifetime Members” to the National Rifle Association. Gresham announced a special $300 Lifetime Membership deal with the NRA on his program during the second week in January with a special direct phone number. The deal ended the last day of February. He tells TALKERS, “It’s incredible that we were able to send the NRA almost five million dollars in only seven weeks.”…..Digital audio aggregator TuneIn announces the continuance of its relationship with Performance Racing Network. With this alliance, TuneIn now carries the excitement of every NASCAR race. Listeners can hear live coverage of all 36 races of the Sprint Cup Series, including the Coca-Cola 600, the Brickyard 400, and the Bank of America 500.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Ward L. Quaal Recipients. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the recipients of the 2013 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards that will be presented at the BFoA’s annual breakfast on April 10 at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. The six honorees this year are: Skip Finley, radio executive, managing partner, Noepe Communications; Alan Frank, president/CEO, Post-Newsweek Stations, retired; David Kennedy, former president/CEO, Susquehanna Media Co.; Mike McKinnon, president/CEO McKinnon Broadcasting; Charles Osgood, TV news anchor, radio and TV personality; and Bob Schmidt, president/CEO Eagle Communications, retired. The Leadership Awards are given annually in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal. The breakfast, which is complimentary to all, is sponsored by the National Association of Media Brokers, Arbitron, Frank N. Magid Associates, the Television Bureau of Advertising, Marketron and the National Association of Broadcasters.
Sequestration Battle Remains Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 4 – 8. Even with a number of major international stories breaking during the week, the battle over the sequester stayed atop the Talkers TenTM for the third straight week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio. At #2 this week was North Korea’s nuclear threats. Coming in at #3 was Iran’s nuclear program followed by the death of Hugo Chavez at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on American news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Up 4% in Q4 of 2012; Premiere National Sales Down. The Media and Entertainment division of CC Media Holdings was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 on revenue of $821.5 million. But that figure was helped greatly by the $40 million in political advertising the division realized. Otherwise it would have been down by as much as $9 million. During yesterday’s conference call with analysts, CFO Tom Casey also said, “We increased national advertising sales by 17% over last year’s fourth quarter, or 3% excluding political, and local revenues grew 5%. We also saw a nice lift in revenue from digital, with our listening hours up 68% over the fourth quarter of 2011, fueled by increased iHeartRadio usage, which reached 118 million total listening hours in December.” But both Premiere Networks and the Total Traffic Network had down fourth quarters and are off to sluggish starts in 2013. The company does not break down specific numbers for these divisions. Casey did say Total Traffic Network is still struggling with the merger of Metro Networks. As for Premiere, he simply said national sales were weak for the division. For the full year of 2012 Casey reported, “Media and Entertainment revenues grew 3% to $3.1 billion. National revenue rose 9%, driven by both our new national advertising efforts and political. Local revenue was up 2% for the year. Our top advertising categories were auto and telecommunications. Political advertising reached $70 million for the year.”
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Remain on WABC, New York – for Now. During yesterday’s CC Media Holdings conference call with analysts, chief financial officer Tom Casey did not give specifics when asked about the much-speculated-upon move of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh from his current and longtime home at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR. But he did say, “No decisions have been made…we’re working through our options.” Contracts with WABC for both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity run through the end of 2013 and it doesn’t appear CC is preparing to exercise the 90-out clause and move the shows to WOR. Still, the option to move them to WOR in January of 2014 after their deals with WABC end must seem like a nice, clean way of doing it – if that is the company’s ultimate goal.
Sports Talk in Boston Is “Its Own Breed.” That’s the sentiment from sports talk personality Mike Salk, who is preparing to return to his native Boston to join Michael Holley for the PM drive shift on Entercom’s WEEI in mid-March. He says he can’t say enough about the people of Seattle and how much he’s enjoyed his time at Bonneville’s KIRO-AM co-hosting with Brock Huard. But he also says, “The passion and intensity of Boston sports fans – the frustration when things don’t go as they’d like – those things are different in Boston than anywhere else in the country.” Salk will fill the void in the afternoon show that opened when longtime Boston sports personality Glenn Ordway was let go from the station last week. Salk tells TALKERS the fact that Boston is such an intense sports town helps make WEEI “the gold standard for sports radio. It’s why people have always talked about it as one of the biggest sports stations, if not the biggest and most important sports station in the country.” Salk says the opportunity to work in his hometown at WEEI is one thing, but the goal is to capitalize on it and he’s excited about working with Michael Holley. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk sports with him every day. Not just talk sports but ‘banter.’ That’s the fun thing about sports radio, it’s not always arguing, it’s not always angry or fighting; I think of it more as bantering – two guys going back and forth with a smile on their faces. Sometimes it gets heated, sometimes it’s just straight fun, but it’s banter.” Salk is a rabid Boston Bruins fan and he says he’s looking forward to getting back to a hockey town. “It’s in my blood. I grew up watching those games.” Salk and Huard helped build the midday show at KIRO-AM to the point they hit the #1 mark in men 25-54 last September. He’s been a part of the ESPN Radio network since 2007, hosting “SportsCenter Saturday” and serving as a regular fill-in host over the past few years. Prior to going to Seattle in 2009 he worked for ESPN 890 in Boston (WAMG) for four years co-hosting middays with Bob Halloran. Vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Mike Salk has a proven record of success, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back home to Boston. He’s a very skilled broadcaster, a fun personality and a passionate sports fan. I’m really looking forward to the new dynamic that he and Michael Holley will provide on a daily basis.”
Emmis Adds FM Translator to Sports WFNI, Indianapolis Brand. The translator W298BB at 107.5 FM is simulcasting part of sister WFNI-AM’s programming but is carrying ESPN Radio’s midday programming of Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. In a statement, Emmis Indianapolis SVP and market manager Charlie Morgan says, “The launch of ‘FM 107.5 The Fan’ demonstrates Emmis’ deep commitment to making ‘The Fan’ Indy’s dominant sports brand. Given that Emmis is credited with creating the first sports talk station in the United States, it only seems fitting that we would deliver the city’s first FM sports station to Indy’s sports-loving fans.”
Illinois Attorney and Radio Host Found Liable in Missing Money Case. Illinois attorney Kathleen Niew, her husband and her law firm were found partially liable in DuPage County Court for the some $2.3 million that a local couple claims Niew misappropriated. Niew hosts a brokered financial advice program on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago. The couple, Jamal and Leda Khoury, deposited the money in an account controlled by Niew. According to the Chicago Tribune, her former attorney stated in court filings that the Niews are victims of the same crime as a third party is responsible for the missing money.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington reports a big January in the Arbitron PPMs. Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says the station went up dramatically from January a year ago in the 25-54 demo. He also says, “WTOP is # 1 25-54 full week and both drives, #2 nights and #3 middays and weekends. Note the incredible 11.4 share in persons 25-54 in morning drive and the even more eye-popping 14.4 women 25-54. Full week we’re also # 1 with women 25-54 and I give the credit on that to WTOP PD Laurie Cantillo.”…..In another note from WTOP, the station announces it is adding Wall Street Journal Network news anchor Joan Jones to its roster of news anchors. Jones has been a network business anchor for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2008, writing and anchoring network broadcasts and customized business updates for major market stations. Prior to joining WSJ, Jones was the morning news anchor at WPHT in Philadelphia and the morning co-host of “Chris and JJ” on Philly’s B101. She states, “What an honor to join this legacy radio station and to work alongside the best in the business.”…..WFLA, Tampa-based news anchor Martin Giles is retiring from Clear Channel on March 1. In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the 76-year-old Giles says he’s leaving the place he’s been for 28 years due to the workload where the company requires them to do news for Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other markets as well. “It’s an overload of work they were handing us. I’ve had a little trouble with it…I am really worn out when I go home on Friday.”…..The Heritage Foundation-produced “Istook Live!” talk show – hosted by former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook – adds C.J. Wheeler as co-host and executive producer. In the additional role of executive producer, Wheeler will oversee the show’s content across radio, digital and TV platforms.
Sequestration/Deficit Reduction, Gun Control Issue, Immigration Reform, Soaring Gas Prices, and Oscar Pistorius Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Washington battle over who’s responsible for the looming sequestration; the ongoing dialog over new gun control measures; the Obama Administration’s policy on immigration reform; the fast-rising prices at the pump; and the murder case of Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.