Talkers New York 2015 ‘Fireside Chat’ Video featuring Dialogue Between Michael Harrison and John Dickey Posted Today. Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey. In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics. Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop. On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives. He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain an effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.” Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena. He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.” On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.” He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.” Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio. Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task. Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.” To view the “Fireside Chat” in its entirety including an introduction by rising talk star Ethan Bearman, please click here.
Nielsen Unveils its Total Audience Report; Radio Leads Weekly Reach of Adults. Senior vice president of the audience insights division at Nielsen, Glenn Enoch, says that in preparing the first-ever Total Audience Report, the company is “using the best available data and have done all we can to make this an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison, but it is important to remember that these platforms are measured by different methods using different samples and different crediting rules.” Enoch is referring to the challenge of finding one way to express the consumption of three different media platforms – TV, radio and digital. That said, radio practitioners are happy with the results indicating that on a weekly basis, radio reaches 93% of the adult population compared to television’s 87% reach. Digital is broken up into three segments – PC, smartphone, and tablet – and those reach 54%, 70% and 35% of American adults, respectively. However, when one looks at the weekly hours and minutes spent with each medium, television comes out on top across all adult demographics and radio comes in second. The data shows that, for persons 35-49, the average hours/minutes during the week spent with television was 33:05, for radio 13:39, for PCs 6:58, for smartphones 8:52, and for tablets 4:50. In tallying the number of days per week of usage for each medium for persons 18-49, smartphones come out on top with 5.9. Radio is close behind with 5. Television is third with 4.7, followed by tablets at 4.6 and PCs with 3.6. In a memo to his sales stall, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard writes, “While radio is known as a frequency medium, we have always had significant reach. Radio’s reach has remained consistent while television has eroded. Radio now finds itself as America’s number one mass reach medium.”
New York Festivals Winners. Pictured here at Monday evening’s New York Festivals International Radio Program awards ceremony at New York Penthouse are Grand Jury member Geller Media International’s Valerie Geller (center); SiriusXM host Paul Bachman, Bronze Radio Winner in the Best Children/Young Adult Program for “Couch Potato Stew on Kids Place Live” (left); and SiriusXM VP Frank Raphael (right). The New York Festivals International Radio Program awards is an annual radio program competition executed in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The United Nations Awards were established in 1990 to honor programs highlighting global concerns of interest to the UN.
Odds & Sods. The Edward R. Murrow Awards from the RTDNA will be handed out on October 12 in New York and CBS Radio News will receive the awards for Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage for the third straight year. Outstanding coverage of the downed Malaysian airliner in the Ukraine earned CBS the Best Newscast for its July 18 edition of World New Roundup by Steve Kathan and Paul Farry. The Continuing Coverage award was given for CBS’s yearlong reporting of the war on ISIS.….Chicago media writer Robert Feder is reporting that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago has secured the rights to Chicago White Sox baseball for a six-year deal that would start with the 2016 season. Currently, White Sox baseball is heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR “670 The Score.”…..It didn’t take long for former San Diego Chargers analyst Hank Bauer to find a new gig. The former Chargers player will join Sports USA as a play-by-play analyst for its NFL broadcasts beginning in September. Bauer’s deal to work in the Chargers radio network booth was not renewed after 17 years…..Jon Laaser is named the new radio play-by-play man for Virginia Tech football starting this fall by rights holder IMG. Laaser will work in the booth with color man Mike Burnop.
Alan Colmes Recalls Playing Gunhill Road in His DJ Days. Mainstay radio and TV talker Alan Colmes of FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel is pictured at left at Talkers New York 2015 (6/12) being interviewed for a documentary film being produced about the legendary pop/rock band Gunhill Road that he recalls from his early days as a DJ spinning rock ‘n’ roll. The trio had a great time schmoozing with radio broadcasters from both music and talk formats at the recent mega-conference. Gunhill Road had two FM rock radio album favorites and the hit single “Back When My Hair Was Short” in the early 1970s. They surprised the music world recently by releasing an unexpected album with 19 new tracks titled Every 40 Years (Gunhill Road Records) that has garnered some airplay on AC and triple-A formats as well as a ton of interviews on talk radio – talk show hosts with a taste for pop culture find the group’s personal story fascinating. The group attended the conference to appear with various radio folk in the forthcoming documentary (“Back When My Hair Was Long”) about their extremely unlikely two-part journey from the 1970s to the modern digital era set for theatrical release in 2016 and to promote their latest single, “I’ve Got To Learn To Cry (featuring American Idol’s Julia DeMato). Pictured above: Gunhill Road members (l-r): Glenn Leopold, Steve Goldrich and Paul Reisch with talk radio legend Tom Leykis.
The Dump Buttons Start Season with Narrow Loss. Pictured here after their first game of the season – a very close 10-9 loss to Bloomberg News – are the players on the Cumulus Media New York co-ed softball team, The Dump Buttons. They represent hot AC WPLJ, news/talk WABC, and urban contemporary WNBM. Top row (from l-r): the Don Imus show’s Lou Rufino, WPLJ digital/social media producer Sheila Watko, Joan Hamburg producer Matt Meany, WABC account executives Jamie Roberts and Jose Torres; and Bryce Grafton (Jayde’s boyfriend). Bottom row (from l-r): WPLJ GSM Mary Jo Vetrano, WNBM midday host La Loca; WPLJ morning show co-host, Jayde Donovan; Curtis & Kuby producer Flipper; WABC personality Curtis Sliwa.
The 28th Annual Geraldo Golf Classic. 77WABC personality Geraldo Rivera (left) is here with honoree Steven G. Santino (right) at Monday’s Geraldo Golf Classic at Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, New Jersey. Geraldo’s radio show was broadcast live from the event and golfers participated in contests, watched the broadcast, golfed, and enjoyed an extended cocktail hour in the evening. All proceeds benefit Life’s WORC, which provides support and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Charleston Church Massacre Aftermath/Confederate Flag Controversy, Pope’s Climate Encyclical, Obama Trade Deal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Activities, Iran Nuclear Program, White House Ransom Policy, and Skinny Jeans Hospitalization Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The aftermath of the Charleston church killings and the related South Carolina Confederate flag issue; the recent climate change encyclical from Pope Francis and the controversy over the beliefs of his science advisor; the revived fast-track trade bill; the activities of the 2016 presidential candidates; the military progress of ISIS and world reaction to its grisly tactics; potential cooperation between the US and Iran and the latter’s nuclear program; the new White House policy that would not legally pursue families that pay ransom for family members held by terrorist organizations; and the case of a woman hospitalized due to ill effects from “skinny jeans” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Programmer Drew Hayes Moves to KABC, Los Angeles. News/talk programming pro Drew Hayes is leaving his OM position at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago to take up the PD reins at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles. That station has been without a PD since Jack Silver exited last summer to program the NBC Sports Radio/Dial Global sports talk initiative. The WLS-AM programming duties will be assumed by PD Tracy Slutzkin who served as APD under Hayes before being promoted to program director. It’s been a tumultuous four months for WLS-AM with longtime morning duo Don Wade and Roma being forced to leave their position due to Don Wade’s health and the sudden death of midday talk host Jake Hartford last week. WLS vice president and market manager Donna Baker says, “Drew has led WLS through some unique challenges and his leadership is respected and appreciated. We wish him and his family the very best in LA. I’m confident Tracy will continue to lead WLS forward to great success.” About his latest move to the West Coast Hayes says, “It’s a thrill to return to LA and I am appreciative of the support and confidence Cumulus has shown in me. I am looking forward to helping re-energize one of the greatest sets of call letters in the most exciting city.” Hayes previously programmed KABC in the late 1990s when the station was owned by ABC/Disney.
Super Bowl Media Week Begins Next Monday. It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many sports talk radio people who get to leave their studio confines behind and re-locate to a (usually) warm location to take part in the media buildup surrounding the Super Bowl. Beginning Monday, ESPN reports that, in addition to their slate of live broadcasts from New Orleans, Mike Hill of the Hill & Schlereth program will serve as a special behind-the-scenes reporter filing stories online. ESPN states, “Adding to ESPN Radio’s already comprehensive coverage will be the deployment of Mike Hill, co-host of the nightly Hill & Schlereth, as a behind-the-scenes reporter for ESPNRadio.com. He will provide clandestine chronicles of ESPN Radio-related activities in New Orleans, providing a perspective unique to ESPN Radio.com’s previous Super Bowl coverage.”
Dan O’Donnell Jumps to WISN, Milwaukee. News anchor and talk show host Dan O’Donnell moves from Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown news/talk WISN where he’ll take on news anchoring duties as well as do fill-in work for the station’s talk hosts, provide commentary and take charge of the station’s “Common Sense Central” online initiative. In a statement, O’Donnell says, “This is an incredible opportunity, but it is at least somewhat bittersweet because of the amazing people I’ve had a chance to meet and work with over my many years at Newsradio 620 WTMJ. I’ve made friendships there that I consider lifelong and will always love and cherish every minute I spent at my first broadcast home. Yet I am looking forward with all of my heart to beginning this exciting new chapter in my professional life and hope that you will join me on what I hope will be one heck of an adventure.”
“Imus on Broadway” Charity Fundraiser Scheduled for February 11. The 3rd Annual “Imus on Broadway” event is taking place on February 11 at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. For the event, New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel will emcee the promotion and join 77WABC-based Don Imus for a “best of Broadway” review featuring performances by the cast of some of the biggest shows on Broadway including: “Patsy Cline,” “Chicago,” “Hands on a Hard Body,” “Mamma Mia,” “Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Once,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Wicked.” All ticket sales for the event benefit the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary. The Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is marking the occasion with special on-air programming, its all-new online magazine and by hosting the “1st annual Food and Wine Awards.” Founder and CEO Michael Horn began CRN (Cable Radio Network) in 1983 with a little seed money and lots of enthusiasm. It all began when Horn saw a trade publication article about how Los Angeles rock station KMET-FM was garnering a 7-share in the Phoenix market. It turned out that the station was sending its audio into a dedicated channel with cable providers in that market. He says, “I thought that it was a great idea to try to bring radio to television and give cable subscribers the variety and cutting edge programming that only radio can offer.” Soon, Horn’s fledgling service was serving a number of Los Angeles-area cable companies who saw the value of radio programming on their cable lineup. Today, CRN is available on scores of cable and telecommunications providers as well as radio stations across the country, offering more than100 shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Fred Dryer, Robert Conrad, Mancow and Doug Stephan, among others. Horn states, “As part of our anniversary, we’re launching ‘CRN Digital Mag,’ our new online magazine aimed at listeners who want to know more about their favorite shows and personalities.” Capping the year-long celebration will be the “CRN Food and Wine Awards,” scheduled for the fall which will honor the Los Angeles area’s top eateries as well as the California’s great wineries and winemakers.
The End of an Era for New England Patriots Fans. The longtime voice of New England Patriots football radio broadcasts is retiring. Gil Santos called his last game on Sunday as the Pats lost to the Baltimore Ravens. Based out of CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Santos spent 36 years calling 744 games for the club – a record he shares with former Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese. Santos signed off Sunday’s broadcast by telling listeners, “Thank you very much for allowing me to be the voice of the Patriots for 36 wonderful years. I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope the next guy enjoys it as much as I did, and realizes it’s a privilege, not a job. This is Gil Santos, thanking you all for 36 wonderful years.” Santos’ longtime partner – former Patriot Gino Cappelletti – retired as the color analyst prior to this season.
Affiliate Relations Pro Jim Watkins Joins Sun Broadcasting Group. Jim Watkins had been with Talk Radio Network for 13 years, most recently as director of affiliate relations and executive producer. Now he becomes part of the Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcasting Group as vice president of programming. Sun EVP Steve Gallagher says of Watkins, “Jim is a class act and brings an impressive background to Sun. We are confident our advertisers, content providers and radio affiliates will profit from his vision, creativity and expertise. Jim has a keen sense of what great product sounds like and we’re excited to have him at Sun.”
Best Seat in the (White) House. ABC News Radio White House Correspondent Ann Compton is pictured here reporting from her unique vantage point of a plot of grass on the White House lawn as she covers yesterday’s Inauguration Day Parade. Thanks to digital technology and the work of amazing companies such as Comrex Corporation that have developed reliable remote broadcasting equipment, Compton is able to deliver high-quality reports from the field and allow her radio reports to be up-to-the-minute.
Filling In. Sitting in for Compass Media Networks’ talk show host Todd Schnitt on his nationally syndicated show on Wednesday is KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell.
Cool Job Opportunity. KMJ-AM/FM in Fresno has an immediate opening for the position of Director of Agri-Broadcasting. If you are experienced in gathering, writing, and reporting local news and agri-business news, are knowledgeable about the multitude of farm products and issues in the Central Valley of California, have a sense of curiosity, urgency, and know today’s broadcast environment, this could be your new home for a long time. Send your resume and mp3 sample of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. Peak Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
KNX, Los Angeles Picks Up Six Golden Mike Honors. At the 63rd Annual Golden Mike awards dinner held in Universal City over the weekend, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles was honored with six Golden Mike Awards. The awards are presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California annually for excellence in radio, TV and internet broadcast journalism excellence. KNX took home honors for: Best News Broadcast Over 15 Minutes; Best Spot News Reporting; Best Hard News Series Reporting; Best Feature News; Best Traffic Report; and Best Business and Consumer Reporting.
Blue Ribbon Winners. WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk show hosts Ben Ferguson (left) and evening talk host Chris Krok (right) display the blue ribbons they won for coming in first place in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s annual Celebrity Goat Milking Contest this past weekend. In order to claim the bragging rights, Ferguson and Krok had to beat the staffers NBC 5, the Star-Telegram newspaper and other radio stations from the Metroplex.
Inauguration Day, Debt Ceiling/Deficit Deduction Debate, North African Terror Threats, and Prince Harry Taliban Slaying Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). The Inauguration Day festivities and speeches; the debate over reducing the nation’s deficit and dealing with the debt ceiling; terror threats from North Africa; and Prince Harry’s comments to the press about killing Taliban in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Speculation Abounds Over New Role for Former Gov. David Paterson at WOR, New York. While he might not have accrued the most impressive ratings as chief executive of the Empire State after ascending from the lieutenant governorship upon Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s scandal-driven resignation, the New York broadcasting community is basically unanimous in its recognition of David Paterson as a skilled and engaging talk show personality. While in office, he was known to be extremely talk radio friendly – accessible and open – and made regular appearances on the airwaves as a guest newsmaker. Since leaving the governor’s mansion, Paterson has become a welcome fill-in host on a number of Big Apple radio stations, covering everything from current events to sports. Today, his transition from politician to broadcaster will likely be official, as Buckley-owned WOR has called a major 12:00 noon ET press conference at posh Midtown Manhattan eatery Ben Benson’s Steakhouse to make “a major announcement” regarding the station and Paterson. Stay tuned.
WBAL, Baltimore Brings TV News Veteran in for PM Drive. The Hearst news/talk station chose not to renew the contract of PM drive host Shari Elliker, who’d been there since July of 2010, and brings aboard award-winning TV news personality Mary Beth Marsden to host the “Afternoon News Journal” program. Marsden worked in the market for 20 years, spending much of that time as news anchor at WMAR-TV. WBAL news director Merrie Street tells the Baltimore Sun, “Mary Beth has been a respected journalist in the market for over 20 years. Her news judgment and her genuine commitment to her audience make Mary Beth a great fit for WBAL.”
WTOP-AM/FM, Washington Adds Mike Causey Column to its Media Station. Washington, DC journalist Mike Causey is now producing a weekly column covering humorous insights on daily life and the news for WTOP.com, the Hubbard Broadcasting station’s award winning multi-media website. WTOP SVP and general manager Joel Oxley says, “We are excited to debut this new weekly column at WTOP.com. Mike has a well-earned reputation as a leading correspondent in covering federal news for many years. However, in addition to his wealth of industry and life experience, Mike is a master humorist and story teller. We look forward to sharing that side of Mike, which promises to be very entertaining and should spark lively conversation and debate. Mike may be known for his federal knowledge, but is loved for his general knowledge and one-of-a-kind insight on life.”
KDWN, Las Vegas Host Alan Stock Adds Hour to Show. Las Vegas talk host Alan Stock, who recently exited crosstown KXNT-AM/FM and was added to the midday program schedule at KDWN, expands his program to two hours. Originally brought on for the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program, Stock now begins his show at 10:00 am starting on September 6.
Filling in this Week. WSTC/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler sits in for Joe Crummey at 77WABC, New York on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show tomorrow (9/2)…..Former KTSA, San Antonio talk host Kevin Wall fills in for Brian Kilmeade today (9/1) through Monday on Fox News Radio.
Obama Jobs Plan, 2012 Presidential Election and Middle East Turmoil Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). President Obama’s planned address to Congress and the nation on September 8, the GOP candidates for president in 2012 and the social and political turmoil in the Middle East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Moonlighting. WAXY, Miami program director and on-air personality Marc Hochman is pictured here performing at The Improv comedy club in Fort Lauderdale recently. Hochman, who is a cast member on WAXY’s PM drive Dan LeBatard program, was invited to perform his “sports comic” character at the club before a sellout crowd. Apparently he “killed” because the club has invited him to come back and perform again.