Tag: "98.5 The Sports Hub"
ESPN Confirms Reports of Stephen A. Smith’s Return to the Company; LeBatard Show Bumped to ‘ESPN Deportes’ in NYC. Yesterday, numerous media reports predicted sports media personality Stephen A. Smith’s exit from Mad Dog Sports on SiriusXM and his return to the ESPN Radio platform. Today, ESPN confirms the matter, stating he’ll bring his current two-hour radio show from Mad Dog Sports to ESPN Radio where it will also air on one of the sports giant’s SiriusXM channels. In addition to being available nationally in radio syndication, it will air on ESPN Radio O&Os WEPN, New York from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET and KSPN, Los Angeles from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon PT, effective Tuesday, January 17. It will originate from ESPN Audio’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The move bumps WEPN’s “Hahn & Humpty” show to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm timeslot. But, this addition also pushes the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” off WEPN-FM and over to WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes” (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm). Also, back on SiriusXM, the first two hours of Russillo & Kanell (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm) will move to the ESPN Xtra channel while the third hour will remain on the ESPN channel.
Retiring WSCR, Chicago Personality Terry Boers to Host Farewell Toast. “670 The Score” operations manager Mitch Rosen tells TALKERS that the CBS RADIO sports talk station will bid adieu to retiring Windy City sports personality Terry Boers during a special broadcast tomorrow (1/5) from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Performance Stage inside the CBS RADIO Chicago offices. Boers is retiring after 25 years with WSCR (the station celebrated its 25th anniversary as a sports talk station on Monday), and he’s hosting the “Toast To Terry” that will include past and present hosts at “The Score.” A limited amount of fans are able to win tickets while listening to the station.
Analysis: 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas at the gigantic 2017 Consumer Electronics Show reporting for TALKERS magazine. True, this isn’t a media show, but a lot of what is being displayed at the mega-convention affects the radio business – mostly because of the relationship between the Internet and high-tech automobiles. Cooke writes, “Cars we’re test-driving here talk to each other…the cars, not the drivers. ‘Texting each other’ actually. 2017 Cadillac CTS Sport Sedans can share information about driving conditions — weather, speed, sudden braking, and accidents. The term is ‘V2V,’ meaning vehicle-to-vehicle communication, your car’s sensors feeding, and reading, the cloud, to tell you what’s beyond your line of sight. With real-time information, instantly updated, why wait until the 8s for an old-school radio traffic report?” Read more from Las Vegas here.
Nick Cattles Leaves WVSP, Virginia Beach for Gig at ‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. Sports talk personality Nick Cattles is leaving Max Media’s Newport-Virginia Beach sports station WVSP “ESPN 94.1” to return to his native New England to take an on-air position with CBS RADIO’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.” His last show on WVSP will be Monday, January 9. WVSP VP/GM Mark McKay tells his staff the station will be “methodical” in its search for Cattles’ replacement and will use fill-in hosts during the interim. Interested hosts should see the application details below. Meanwhile, CBS RADIO has not announced Cattles’ arrival yet, so it’s unclear in which daypart he’ll work.
Darnell to Program iHeartMedia’s Connecticut N/T and Sports Stations. Programmer Ben Darnell joins iHeartMedia Connecticut to handle programming duties for the company’s news/talk and sports talk stations there. He’s now in charge of programming news/talkers WPOP, Hartford and WELI, New Haven and sports talk outlets WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” and WAVZ, New Haven “ESPN Radio 1300.” Darnell was most recently serving with Sunrise Broadcasting’s sports talk WMFD, Wilmington, North Carolina.
KCRS-AM, Midland’s Hallmark and Verlei Morning Hosts Retire. Today (1/4) was the last “Morning Drive” program for co-hosts Robert Hallmark and Kurt Verlei at Ica Radio Ltd.’s news/talk KCRS-AM, Midland, Texas. The duo is retiring after 14 years on the air together waking up West Texans. Hallmark has been with the station since 1992, serving in numerous positions including as program director. The “Morning Drive” show launched in the spring of 2001. The station has not announced the morning show’s replacement host.
New Affiliates for Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann. The new year brings new affiliates for WYM Media Management’s Stephanie Miller show and the Thom Hartmann show. Miller’s program is now heard on KTMS, Santa Barbara; KBZZ-AM, Reno; KTOX, Needles, California; KKNW, Seattle; and KEVT-AM, Tucson. The Thom Hartmann show also joins KEVT-AM, Tucson as well as KSZL, Barstow, California.
December Brings 23 New Affiliates to Envision Networks. Content and service provider Envision Networks announces it inked 23 new affiliate stations during the month of December for programming and services across numerous formats. In the talk realm, WKXO, Lexington, Kentucky added “On Air with Doug, Jen, and Victoria.” Envision also formed a partnership with Sun Broadcast Group to offer Shazam for Radio. Additionally, it launched new programming including: Today’s Comedy Network, Drive By Funny, and Collin Raye’s Rewind Country.
Obama Lame Duck Actions, GOP Ethics Office About-Face, GOP ObamaCare Strategy, Russian Hacking Allegations, Megyn Kelly Exits Fox News Channel, Jeff Sessions Protests, Trump vs Ford and GM, and NFL Playoffs Chatter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3). The moves being taken by President Barack Obama to prevent President-Elect Donald Trump from undoing some of his legislation; Republican House leaders elect not to try to eliminate the Independent Ethics Office on the advice of Trump; the GOP’s potential strategies for altering the Affordable Care Act; ongoing debate over the allegations of Russian hacking of the DNC’s emails; FNC personality Megyn Kelly announces she’s leaving Fox for NBC; the protests over Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general; Trump’s fight with Ford and General Motors over expansion of plants abroad versus investment in U.S. facilities; and the NFL playoffs and coaching vacancies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool Sports Talk Gig. “ESPN Radio 94.1,” a locally owned and operated, top 50 market radio station located in Virginia Beach, VA, is searching for a full-time afternoon sports talk host. Qualified candidates will have the ability to host solo but also be a strong team player, must be a champion across all social media platforms and go beyond the headlines to create unique and compelling content. This individual will have relationships with key local and national contacts, as well as the ability to develop and grow new associations. If this is you, please send resume, air check – mp3 demos of your latest work and anything else to support your qualifications to firstname.lastname@example.org. EEO.
Save the Date! Talkers 2017 Set for Friday, June 2, 2017 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled, Talkers 2017: A New Era, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 2, 2017 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age at the dawn of the Trump Era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ Talkers 2017: A New Era will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary, Talkers 2017: A New Era is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
iHeartRadio Music Awards Nominees Announced. The list of nominees for this year’s 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards is announced by iHeartMedia and Turner. The winners will be announced on Sunday, March 5, at a broadcast event at the historic Forum in Los Angeles. It will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV and will be simulcast on iHeartMedia stations and iHeartRadio. See the complete list of nominees here.
iHeartMedia Names DZL Program Director for ‘XL102’ in Richmond. Programmer Chuck “DZL” Thompson is the new program director and midday host for alternative WRXL, Richmond “XL102.” iHM Richmond SVP of programming Zac Davis says, “‘XL102’ is an extremely valuable heritage station in our iHeartMedia Richmond market. We needed to find the right fit to oversee its day-to-day operations – someone who had good relationships with our label partners and had experience in coordinating and managing large-scale events. ‘DZL’ stood out as someone who possessed this unique skill set and we’re looking forward to having him lead our ‘XL102’ brand.” Thompson most recently spent eight years at WEND, Charlotte as APD/MD and afternoon personality.
KSHE, St. Louis to Unveil the ‘KSHE 50th Anniversary Real Rock Museum.’ St. Louis rocker KSHE “Real Rock Radio” – which just celebrated its 50th anniversary as an FM rock station – announces it is opening its vaults of rock history to listeners in the form of “The KSHE 50th Anniversary Real Rock Museum” to be launched on January 9 at kshe95.com. The Emmis station says there are eight wings in the museum: The KSHE 95 Audio Wing is filled with KSHE audio history, including air-checks of air personalities from throughout the decades, fascinating interviews and listener favorite audio clips; each gallery in The KSHE 95 Photo Wing has a theme such as Air Personalities, Rock Stars and St. Louis Concerts; the KSHE 95 Hall of Fame is made up of videos that each focus in on an artist or band that has had a very special long-standing relationship with the station. In each video, these rock stars share KSHE and St. Louis memories. The KSHE 95 Video Wing is an amazing collection of videos ranging from moments with rock stars caught backstage at concerts to KSHE events through the years and old KSHE TV commercials. In the KSHE 95 Essentials Wing, you’ll find what have been selected as albums and songs that rise to the top of all the great rock that has been played on the station since the beginning. The KSHE 95 John “U-Man” Ulett Wing is a toast to this 40-plus year KSHE air talent. The KSHE 95 You-seum Wing is dedicated to KSHE listeners. Listener submitted photos include themes such as Generations of Rock, World Famous KSHE and Show Us Your Schtuff. The KSHE 95 Collections Wing is a wide array of Real Rock Radio history including: magazine and newspaper articles highlighting KSHE, early KSHE playlists, and unmistakable KSHE humor on display in Sweetmeat’s Gallery. Station PD Rick Balis says, “So many talented people have contributed, throughout our 50 years, to make KSHE 95 what it is today. It’s actually, amazing. More amazing, though, is the incredible listeners that we have had and have today. It’s rare. And, we cherish those relationships. The relationships are ‘generational.’ Grandparents, their kids and the kids of those kids are listeners today.”
Townsquare Media Renews with Compass Media Networks for Syndication of Weeknight Music Radio Shows. The four evening music shows are produced by Townsquare Media and are affiliated with their namesake websites, also owned by Townsquare. Under the terms of the multi-year extension, Compass Media Networks will continue to provide advertising sales and affiliate marketing for the rock program “Loudwire Nights,” CHR show “PopCrush Nights,” “Taste of Country Nights,” and “Ultimate Classic Rock.”
More Career Moves and Music Radio News. In Philadelphia, market radio pro Marilyn Russell joins classic hits WOGL as part of the “Breakfast Club” morning show alongside co-hosts Frank Lewis and Bill Zimpfer. WOGL program director Anne Gress says, “Marilyn’s got tons of enthusiasm and a rich history of delivering compelling Philadelphia morning radio. I’m excited about the fresh, new perspective she’ll bring to the show alongside Frank and Bill, and look forward to her contributions both on-air and at our many events.” The Philly native started her radio career in 1993 at modern rock WDRE…..Chicago radio pro Robin Rock is back hosting middays on iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WLIT “93.9 MYfm.” Rock takes over for Brooke Hunter, who exits. Rock hosted middays at the station until June of 2013 when the company re-branded the station from “LITE FM” to the “93.9 MYfm” and made across-the-board talent changes…..Former news/talk station WOBM-AM, Lakewood Township, New Jersey is now an oldies outlet as Townsquare Media re-brands the station as “BEACH RADIO 1160/1310.” Townsquare says the format change was made to better serve the influential adult audiences in Monmouth and Ocean Counties…..In the Los Angeles market, Entravision Communications the official launch of its new radio format: La Suavecita. The company calls is a regional Mexican format focused on playing a mix of grupero and cumbia music from the 80s and 90s. The format airs on KSSE-FM.
T-Mobile Will Activate FM Chip. The decision by T-Mobile was issued Friday (8/14) via Twitter by president and chief executive officer John Legere, whose actual “tweet” reads, “Hey @NextRadio app – We heard you! We’re saying yes to FM and will push our OEM partners to support!” Expanding his remarks, Legere states, “We are excited about T-Mobile joining Sprint and AT&T as the first carriers to officially request their handset makers activate FM radio chips with NextRadio in their device specifications. Activating the FM chip, already present in every Smartphone in America, allows users to download the NextRadio app and engage in a visually compelling, interactive experience with local radio stations, without the data charges and battery drain of streaming.” NextRadio/Tag Station president Paul Brenner instantly and directly replied to Legere with a video message by commenting, “Hey John, we saw your ‘tweet’ and you made our day. It was so great to see T-Mobile say ‘yes’ to the FM chip. The American radio industry is excited to be behind this effort and to work with T-Mobile going forward to make this a great experience for your customers. We have tens of thousands of T-Mobile customers respond to this program. Just like you always said you would do, you listened to those customers. Thank-you and we look forward to working with you in the future.” T-Mobile’s parent company is Deutsche Telekom.
The Howie Carr Northeast Regional Juggernaut Rolls On — Adds WPOP, Hartford. The independent Howie Carr Radio Network, just over a year old, has added iHeartMedia outlet WPOP, Hartford to its ever-growing roster of affiliates in New England and the Northeast. That raises the total to 23 with more reportedly about to be signed. The network is built around the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET daily program of legendary broadcaster/newspaper columnist/author Howie Carr who tells TALKERS, “We have a lot of listeners in Hartford and now they have an easier way to hear the show on 1410 WPOP.” The network’s VP/sales and marketing Kathy Carr adds, “We are excited to add WPOP in Hartford. WPOP is a great addition to the network and will greatly benefit our sponsors.” Stand by. More affiliates to be added shortly.
WPOP Flips to News/Talk. It was the flip from sports talk to news/talk that opened up the door for Boston-based Howie Carr to get his show cleared on WPOP, Hartford as noted in the story above. The iHeartMedia station returns to news/talk after almost 18 years away from the format. Morning drive features “The Vinnie Penn Project” with host Vinnie Penn – a Connecticut broadcasting pro, comic, and writer who’s worked in local radio on CHR WKCI, New Haven “KC101” and news/talk WELI, New Haven as well as on SiriusXM. The rest of the station’s lineup includes: Boston-based “The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong; Bloomberg Radio; Westwood One’s Mark Levin; and Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Meghan McCain.”
Sun Broadcast Group Recognized by Inc. Magazine for Second Year in a Row. The company will be honored at Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony in Orlando later this year for being one of the fastest-growing companies in America. Sun Broadcast Group also is receiving recognition as the fastest-growing company in the broadcast radio industry and the 11th fastest-growing company in all of media. The annual list ranks the country’s fastest-growing private companies according to percentage of revenue growth over three years. Sun reports during that time its revenue jumped more than 629%. It also has added 18 full-time positions between its New York City and Boca Raton offices. SBG CEO Jason Bailey comments, “When we were given the honor of making the Inc. Magazine list in 2014 you could have knocked me over with a feather. Making the list for a second year and being in the top 20% among some of the most incredibly innovative companies in this country is absolutely mind blowing. I’m so proud of the incredible team here at Sun and so thankful to the clients, producers and agency partners who have supported us over the last seven years. The journey has been a mighty one but we always have and will continue to do it our way for the better of our partnerships and for this incredibly industry. Onward!”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this year’s second analysis of the performances of stations serving as flagships for MLB play-by-play – this time based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2015 PPM survey (6+). As is often the case, MLB teams that appear to be headed for playoff contention (even in June and July) tend to boost ratings for their flagships. The continuing resurgence of the Kansas City Royals has certainly been good for KCSP – the station performed three full shares better in 2015 than during the same period a year ago. Although interestingly, the division leading Houston Astros have only nudged flagship KBME up 0.3 share (1.3 share, 6+) from a year ago. View Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Morning Show Now Seen on Comcast SportsNet New England. The WBZ-FM, Boston morning show “Toucher & Rich” – hosted by Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb – is now being simulcast on regional cable channel Comcast SportsNet. The CBS RADIO sports station currently has an agreement with Comcast to simulcast the station’s afternoon drive show, “Felger & Mazz.” Comcast has sold the title sponsorship to UNO Pizzeria & Grill. Comcast SportsNet New England president Bill Bridgen says, “‘Toucher & Rich’ have been incredibly successful by mixing sports and pop culture into one creative daily show. We are thrilled to expand our relationship with ‘The Sports Hub’ into the morning and further establish Comcast SportsNet as the go-to television source for Boston sports programming.”
Odds & Sods. Late Friday afternoon (4:00 pm, 8/14), Cumulus Media Minneapolis flipped trimulcast WGVX, WRXP, WGVZ, “Sports Talk 105 The Ticket” to classic hip hop as “The Vibe 105.” The latest (July 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM figures for the Twin Cities indicate that “Sports Talk 105 The Ticket” ranked #25 of the 25 stations listed with a .1 (6+). Locked on .3 from January to May, “The Ticket” dipped to .2 in June and then to .1 in July. The other two sports stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul are iHeartMedia‘s KFXN “K-Fan” (4.2, #11) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN” (1.1, #19)…..ESPN Audio announces the return of its “Fantasy Focus” podcast for a ninth season. Field Yates joins as the new co-host with Matthew Berry. Stephania Bell continues her role as a contributor to the podcast, which is produced daily throughout the NFL regular season. “Fantasy Focus” has also accumulated almost 30 million downloads – second all-time among ESPN podcasts.
Townsquare Media to Add to its Live Events Business with NAME Acquisition. The 2015 second quarter net revenue figure for Townsquare Media, Inc. rose 10.5% on the strength of its Live Events division, which saw a year-over-year increase of 50.4%. Now, the company announces it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire North American Midway Entertainment, LLC (NAME) for approximately $75.5 million (subject to certain working capital and other adjustments). In a press statement, Townsquare says, “NAME entertains more than 15 million people on an annual basis as the owner and operator of amusement attractions, including over 200 state-of-the-art rides, custom-designed food concessions and family-oriented games at approximately 150 fairs per year across the United States and Canada.” NAME’s management team will join Townsquare and become part of its Live Events division. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We are excited to partner with NAME’s management team and add NAME’s market-leading mobile amusement parks to our Live Events portfolio. Nearly half of NAME’s current events are within 100 miles of a Townsquare market and fit squarely within our core stated strategy of providing affordable, family-friendly entertainment content.”
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com Claims Increased Unique Visitors. The website that’s a part of Glenn Beck’s digital efforts is growing rapidly, according to the company. TheBlaze.com reports that, according to data from Omniture, it had its best month ever in March, attracting more than 35 million unique visitors and becoming the 43rd most trafficked site in the U.S. Further, the company claims the site generated 198.7 million page views in one month. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood comments, “TheBlaze.com’s mix of original reporting and curation has quickly made it one of the leading sites in America. Editor-in-chief Scott Baker and his team have done a tremendous job and we are proud of how the site continues to grow alongside our TV network.”
Opie & Anthony to Celebrate 20 Years Together at Carolines on Broadway. The hot talk duo of Greg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia will celebrate 20 years together on the radio as Opie & Anthony with a special edition of its “Unmasked” comedy series broadcast live from Carolines on Broadway – New York City’s premier stand-up comedy nightclub. The program – “O&A20: Unmasked” – will air on SiriusXM live at 4:00 pm ET. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We want to toast Opie & Anthony on reaching this milestone and for being one of the most outrageous and daring duos in all of talk radio. SiriusXM has been proud to give Opie & Anthony the freedom to give fans and listeners their intense, edgy talk and uncensored comedy. We are thrilled to have SiriusXM listeners across the country celebrate their decades in radio with an evening that will be without a doubt an outrageous and unpredictable show.”
WEEI, Boston to Stick with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley in PM Drive. Well, for as long as anything is stuck with in radio these days. Those are our words, not those of Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary, who tells the Boston Globe that the station is “going forward with Dale and Holley” several weeks after parting ways with Mike Salk, who returned to his adopted hometown of Seattle to serve as program director at KIRO-AM. Salk and Holley were paired up in afternoon drive for almost a year after Glenn Ordway was ousted from the station (Ordway has subsequently begun his own digital venture SportsTalkBoston that features his “The Big Show Unfiltered” also airing live in PM drive). Michael Holley and Dale Arnold had been partners in middays on WEEI for almost six years before their show was broken up in 2011 to bring Lou Merloni into middays. Boston radio observers speculated that WEEI management felt the knowledgeable-but-not-very-hip Arnold is the antithesis of what CBS is doing successfully at rival WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” so they took him out of the daily lineup. Arnold stuck around WEEI hosting weekend shows, sports pre-game programs and doing fill-in work. Now, Zachary tells the paper, “We will continue to evaluate and enhance the program as we start to get some Nielsen feedback.”
SABO: Introverts Are Taking Over the Business World. Media consultant Walter Sabo asks what kind of workforce are you building with respect to the personality types of staffers? Are they introverts or extroverts? Or a mix of the two? According to Sabo, the different personality types prefer to communicate in different ways – extroverts, verbally and introverts, with the written word. “An interesting fact about radio stars is that they are shy as hell. They thrive working alone in a room where they have absolute control of their environment. They hate to meet new people.” With emails and texting taking over the way people – yes, especially young people – communicate, it may just be that introverts are taking over the business world. Read Sabo’s entire column here.
LDR Interactive Adds Two to TopicPulse Executive Team. The growing firm LDR Interactive announces two executives join its TopicPulse leadership team. Hank McMonigle is named vice president, sales for TopicPulse and Dana Hall joins as TopicPulse support and client services manager. The company says in a statement that McMonigle and Hall will lead client development and service for TopicPulse, its real-time, social media monitoring system for local newsrooms and content producers. TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, blogs, comment/message boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. McMonigle comes to LDR Interactive with more than 30 years of experience in the media industry, most recently serving as vice president/general manager at NextMedia Group in Dallas. Dana Hall is a broadcast and music industry journalist who’s covered formats ranging from urban, hip-hop, gospel, rhythmic, and top 40 for Radio & Records, Billboard, Airplay Monitor, and RadioInfo. She also programmed urban outlet WILD, Boston. LDR Interactive CEO, Daniel Anstandig comments, “Hank and Dana bring exceptional talent and perspective to our growing team. They are media industry thought leaders and relationship builders. Their enthusiasm for innovation and forward-thinking mindset is already driving TopicPulse’s growth in the days since they’ve joined our team.”
The 2014 Hersky Award Winners Are Announced. For the 7th year running, TALKERS magazine is proud to deliver news of the winners of the annual Hersky Awards for talk radio advertising excellence. Okay, so maybe the Herskys aren’t as big as some other industry awards, but radio pro Al Herskovitz is an accomplished sales pro and a serious observer of today’s radio advertising landscape and, even though we have a little fun with it, his accolades are delivered with utmost sincerity. Check out his story and why Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr, Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt, Cumulus Media and others are being recognized this year by clicking here.
Catching Up with Lionel: One of Talk Radio’s True Originals Performing at the Top of His Game in Experimental Radio Space. One of the most unique and original performers to grace the airwaves during talk radio’s modern era is a quirky former trial lawyer, prosecutor and talk show caller from Tampa, Florida named Michael William Lebron who is known in his many media-related activities (radio, television, books, live performances) by the professional name “Lionel.” As Lionel, he has enjoyed a stellar career as a talk show host on such great call letters was WABC and WOR in New York, WFLA, Tampa as well as in national syndication on such networks as the WOR Radio Network and Air America. He even hosted a cool show on Court TV. These days he is familiar to New York television viewers as a commentator and legal analyst for WPIX-TV Channel 11 and to the elite audience of industry professionals and hard core talk show fanatics glued to TalkersRadio – the “experimental talk radio space” operated by TALKERS magazine on its website (www.talkers.com) as a laboratory for new ideas and formats for the industry. It is within this endeavor that Lionel has begun raising eyebrows and is receiving praise for having delivered some of his most remarkable spoken-word performances to date. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “When Lionel is left to his own on-air devices and not squished into an existing talk ‘format,’ ‘formula’ or cookie-cutter political ideology, he is capable of creating a level of compelling content the quality of which we haven’t heard since the days of Jean Shepherd. All we have done at TalkersRadio is encourage him to do whatever he wants and as a result we have benefited from the brilliant results of that strategy. What he does for us would fit any talk format out there today if the programmers didn’t ‘try to make it fit’ what they think is the only way to make talk radio work.” In a new feature story written by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (3/31), we look back at the amazing career of this most unusual talk show host, tap into his views and opinions about the state of the format, and reveal his hopes for the future. To read the entire piece, please click here.
Comrex to Unveil New Streaming Appliance at NAB Show. For broadcasters involved in streaming content and who may be attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas, a visit to the Comrex Corporation booth will be informative. There, the company will introduce the new P1L0T IP Streaming Server. The company states that P1L0T is a dedicated streaming appliance designed with hardened Linux-based hardware and software. There are no moving parts…not even a fan. AES3 and analog balanced inputs, special audio processing options enhanced for streaming and an intuitive web-based interface are included. P1L0T can deliver your source stream to any SHOUTcast/lcecast-based streaming server and, given enough bandwidth, can deliver 100 streams directly to listeners. Listeners connecting to your audio stream have a choice of formats, either HE-AAC, Opus or MP3 because P1L0T is capable of encoding in each mode simultaneously. P1L0T is a compact unit occupying 1/2 U of rack space, at a very low cost. The Comrex booth will be #C2221 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Odds & Sods. A new album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan has been released by the Charlie Daniels Band titled Off the Grid and Charlie Daniels visited the Fox News Radio studios in New York City to promote the record. Daniels (right) is pictured here with Fox News Radio morning anchor Dave Anthony (left) who is sporting Daniels’ hat for the photo…..Last week TALKERS announced CBS News Radio was recognized with National Headliner Awards. This week, we have two more to announce. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington wins seven National Headliner Awards including first place in the Newscast, News Series and Website categories. Also The Wall Street Journal Radio Network is honored with two National Headliner Awards. “Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” takes 3rd place in the Breaking News Category and MarketWatch.com Radio is recognized with a 2nd place finish in the Radio Affiliated Website category…..Chicago Public Media, which operates WBEZ, Chicago, announces Goli Sheikholeslami is named the new president and CEO of the organization. She most recently served as chief product officer at Everyday Health but also served with the Washington Post, leading the digital division.
Sometimes It Is Fool’s Gold. Despite how perceptive you might think you are, or the conscientious pains you take to be aware, there is still a better-than-average chance you were duped about something yesterday – even if it was for a split-second. It is a national pastime and we are not talking about the beginning of the baseball season. Hopefully, the intention is always harmless, yet inevitably, something a bit wonky can happen when the calendar flips to the first day of April. Okay – more specifically – countless on-air April Fool’s Day pranks were hatched yesterday; here is a quick look at two of them – one nationally and the other on a local level. Registered 501(c)3 nonprofit car donation charity Kars4Kids changed their long-running radio jingle, although listeners of more than 50 stations in 14 markets wondered if they were hearing correctly when they heard the new “message.” The radio spot indicated Kars4Kids is launching a new division – Kids4Kars. The kid donation program supposedly provides free pickup of all donations of kids and offers a free lifetime vacation to donors in return. Kars4Kids spokesperson Morris Franco alleges that, “We had been getting requests for this service on social media and from callers for years. People would call up saying they have a kid they would like to donate and wondered what they can get in return. After we got enough of these parents calling, we realized that there was a real need for kid donation that wasn’t being filled by anyone else, so we decided to step up to the plate.” Prospective donors were directed to the charity’s website, where they could “submit a donation” by using an online form. The website stated the program could “accept kids up to age 12 in any condition, provided the donor is the child’s legal parent.” Anyone getting to the confirmation part would receive an “April Fool’s” statement, followed by, “Your kids are worth more than you think.” According to a Boston Medical Center study, 73% of parents pay more attention to their mobile phones than to their children during mealtime. The Kids4Kars campaign encourages parents to ignore their devices during times reserved for their children. “We felt we needed to hit hard to get the gravity of the message across,” Franco states. “With the increasing temptations of our mobile devices, it is harder and harder to stay focused on our children. The shock value of an April Fool’s prank allowed us to wake parents up to the damage they can do to their children by focusing on their devices instead of their kids.” It is estimated that this particular stunt reached at least 50 million people. Meanwhile in Connecticut, Chaz & AJ – the morning team at Connoisseur Media‘s WPLR, New Haven “Connecticut’s #1 Rock Station” and co-owned classic rock WFOX, Stamford-Norwalk “The Fox,” reported that state taxpayers could double their tax rebate check from $55 to $110 by registering with a new database program instituted by the Department of Revenue Service. According to Chaz, it was difficult to establish the exact number of calls the stations received, especially since, “The high volume that came in ultimately caused the phone system to crash. We did not think it would generate that many calls.” Shortly after 9:00 am, the morning duo fielded a call from the Governor’s office and Chaz points out, “They complained that the revenue department was overwhelmed with phone calls – they were not happy.” A voicemail message declared it was an April Fool’s Day joke, but the Department of Revenue Services received calls about the supposed “rebate” throughout the day.
ObamaCare Criticism, Global Warming Debate, Ryan Budget Cuts, Benghazi Hearing, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Investigation, Russian Aggression, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). Scrutiny of the White House’s claim that the Affordable Care Act has reached its stated goals; renewed debate over the theory of man-made climate change; Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut $5 trillion from the proposed federal budget; today’s House Intelligence Committee hearing at which former deputy CIA director Michael Morell will testify on the Benghazi case; new conflicting information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s last communications and a renewed criminal investigation; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine; and the opening of the 2014 Major League Baseball season 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.
Randall Bloomquist Returns to Programming as Corporate News/Talk PD for Cumulus. Cumulus Media announces the appointment of four executives to corporate programming posts and Randall Bloomquist – out of the radio station programming business since exiting WGST, Atlanta in January of 2009 – is named corporate PD for news/talk. Current corporate programmer Jim Mahanay is named corporate PD for sports, allowing him to focus fully on this growing aspect of Cumulus’ business. In other appointments, Derek Madden of KLOS, Los Angeles and Scott Jameson (OM/PD at the Minneapolis cluster) continue their local station responsibilities but also add corporate rock programming duties. In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Our success depends on executing effectively across programming at the local and national levels, which is why I’m very pleased about these new appointments that will help Cumulus continue building on our commitment to the very best content.” Randall Bloomquist, who most recently operated Bloomquist Media executing content and promotional work for clients including Fisher House Foundation, says of returning to radio programming, “I’m thrilled to join Cumulus at this exciting time in the history of radio and audio content. Cumulus is a true audio platform company well positioned to help shape the future of our industry. I look forward to working with John Dickey, Mike McVay and the rest of the Cumulus news/talk team to create great radio that resonates with listeners and delivers for clients.” In his career, Bloomquist has also programmed WMAL, Washington; WBT, Charlotte; and WRVA, Richmond. He previously was the Washington, DC bureau chief for Radio & Records.
’98.5 The Sports Hub’ Renews ‘Toucher & Rich’ Morning Show. Reporting that the morning team of Fred Toucher (left) and Rich Shertenlieb (right) has placed number one in the Men 25-54 demo for the past 14 Nielsen PPM rating periods, CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” inks the duo to a new, multi-year contract. CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “’Toucher & Rich’ have connected with Boston sports radio listeners over the last four-plus years with their innovative, clever and funny content. They are two great guys who have done an amazing job of anchoring ‘98.5 The Sports Hub,’ and we are thrilled that they will continue to wake up Boston for years to come.”
KNBR, San Francisco Host Damon Bruce Status Unknown. Sports talk host Damon Bruce has been under fire from many quarters after a rant related to the Richie Incognito–Jonathan Martin case in which he stated the influence of women is causing sports to “lose its way.” He said, in part, “There are very few – a small handful – of women who are any good at this at all. That’s the truth. This is guy’s stuff. This is men’s stuff. And I don’t expect women to understand men’s stuff anymore than they should expect me to be able to relate to labor pains.” It’s being reported that Bruce has been suspended for two days but that his job is also still in jeopardy. If the suspension report is accurate, he should be back on his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on Wednesday (11/13). For his part, Bruce is not apologizing and has indicated in recent Tweets that he’s not surprised by the “piling on” that’s taking place in the media over his comments. Part of a recent Tweet states, “If me pointing out men set policy/tone/rules/ in sports makes me a sexist, bad guy, than ‘say goodnight to the bad guy!”
Joel Hollander Joins Entercom’s Board of Directors. Former CBS Radio president and Westwood One chairman and CEO Joel Hollander is named to the board of directors for Entercom Communications Corp. Currently, Hollander is president and CEO of 264 Echo Place Partners, his own media consulting firm. Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are delighted to have Joel Hollander join Entercom’s board of directors. Joel’s unique background, intellect and expertise make him an ideal addition to our board.” Hollander adds, “I look forward to serving Entercom’s shareholders and helping grow their unique and powerful set of assets. This is an exciting time for radio, and Entercom is strongly positioned to succeed going forward.”
WEGO, Winston-Salem Talk Host Bill Flynn to Run for U.S. Senate. Over the weekend, WEGO, Winston-Salem morning drive host Bill Flynn announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. Flynn hopes to win the Republican primary and challenge Democrat Kay Hagan who defeated Elizabeth Dole in 2008. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Flynn spoke to about 50 people at a “Sunday Funday” event in Kennersville, North Carolina. Truth Broadcasting Company, owner of WEGO “AM 980 The Eagle,” has not announced the point at which Flynn will give up his daily radio program.
WGN, Chicago Adds Blackhawks Programming to David Kaplan Show. Former Blackhawks player Eddie Olczyk is already a regular guest on David Kaplan’s evening sports talk show on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Now, the station is adding more of Olczyk and making a live event out of the show. The broadcast series dubbed “The Eddie O Show” — a series of six one-hour radio broadcasts hosted throughout the 2013-2014 season – will feature Olczyk during Kaplan’s show. Each broadcast will feature in-depth hockey talk and listeners will have an opportunity to submit questions throughout the show. The season premiere takes place on Monday, November 18 at Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen in Chicago and is open to the public. The audience will have the opportunity to enter to win Blackhawks prizes, including merchandise and tickets. Olczyk also serves as the color analyst for Blackhawks hockey on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN-TV Channel 9.
BIA/Kelsey: Radio to Capture 11.5% of Local Ad Spend in 2013. In a report detailing local ad spending, advisory firm BIA/Kelsey projects that radio will have garnered 11.5% of local ad spending for 2013 – totaling $15.2 billion – when all is said and done. The full report is available to clients and radio stations and states that radio will grab the fourth largest share of local ad revenue behind direct mail, newspapers and TV. The reports states, “The local radio market is growing, albeit at a more moderate pace than it once did, by expanding its offerings to off-air platforms, providing a wider range of listener experiences and advertiser opportunities.” Chief economist and report author Mark Fratrik adds, “As we move toward 2014, it’s clear the radio industry has adapted to incredible competition from all sides, with streaming and other audio competitors taking audiences. Yet local radio is surviving, and in some instances, thriving, and poised to compete well in the new marketplace. Radio is also beginning to deliver other compelling digital services that help its local advertisers navigate promotional opportunities. With the right attitude towards the new reality of increased competition and strategic planning, local radio stations can prosper.” The report offers tempered good news for radio when it states, “Another indication of the success of the radio industry’s performance is the recent increase in values of publicly traded radio companies. Like other local media companies, values of public radio companies have increased by 68.2% through the first three quarters of 2013, easily beating the performance of the overall stock market. But as competition for audience share continues to cut into audience share for radio stations, the industry needs to be on its toes to remain competitively viable.”
Randi Rhodes Hints at Departure from Premiere in New Year. The message board on her website is full of her fans commiserating the potential end of her Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show based on comments the progressive talk star made on her program about being unemployed in January. There’s been no official statement from Randi Rhodes outside of the show chatter and Premiere has issued no notice to affiliate stations as of today (11/12).
Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett will be away from his “Morning in America” nationally syndicated program tomorrow (11/13) and Peter Kirsanow, a former member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, will sit in the guest host chair. Kirsanow is a regular contributor to the National Review and is a partner with the Benesch’s Labor & Employment Practice Group and a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee…..Front Range Sports Network adds University of Kansas and Duke University men’s hoops to the programming at KDSP, Denver and KJAC, Fort Collins-Greeley…..Jim Blasingame’s “The Small Business Advocate” prepares to celebrate the program’s 16th anniversary on November 17.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Veterans Day, Incognito-Martin Case, Philippines Typhoon Devastation, and ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). Ongoing debate and criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the Veterans Day holiday; the case of Miami Dolphins player Jonathan Martin’s leaving the team and Richie Incognito’s television interview; the death and destruction after Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines; and the controversy over the new film “Blue Is the Warmest Color” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Big Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future. The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3. With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, industry watchers knew changes were afoot. De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were. And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer. Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online effort WGN-2. Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive. Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station. The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Garry Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon. Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN. The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.” De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling. As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory. We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.” The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division. That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.
Jim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network. Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company. Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN syndicates.” The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming. CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time. “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country. As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate. Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.” Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others. He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way. To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”
Nationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column. Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal. In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails? You can read the piece here. Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here). In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.
Scott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director. Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.” In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations. Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001. Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C. He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas. WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami. He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”
Boston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In? The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms. Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights? In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town: Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously). As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games. Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee. Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.
Good Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland. In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe. Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.” Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”
Art Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager. In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station. It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.” Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio. The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series. Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state. Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am. The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November. Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way. We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.” During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week. Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country. Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.
NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Spencer Brown to Sole Dial Global CEO Post; David Landau Resigns. In a major top-level management move, Dial Global ditches its three-person CEO structure and Spencer Brown becomes the sole CEO of the corporation. Former co-CEO David Landau resigns and former co-CEO Ken Williams takes on the president title and reports to Brown. In a statement, Dial Global says the reason for the changes are to “sharpen the company’s strategic focus and provide greater clarity to its advertising clients, station affiliates, producer partners and stockholders.” Spencer Brown states, “Along with me and Ken, David has led Dial Global since its formation in 2002, and he has been a cornerstone of the company’s growth and success. I am personally grateful for his significant contributions over the years, and I know that the entire organization feels the same. While David will certainly be missed, I am excited to lead the company forward and am convinced that Dial Global’s best days lie ahead.” David Landau adds, “Working with Spencer, Ken and many of the other talented executives at Dial Global over the last 10 years has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, both personally and professionally. I have tremendous respect for Spencer and believe that he has the necessary qualifications and passion to lead the company through its next stage of growth. I remain a meaningful shareholder of Dial Global and its most ardent supporter.”
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Gets Attention in Hometown Media Over Focus Group. The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom’s sports brand WEEI, Boston conducted a focus group of 15 young men – believed to be on the younger side of the 25-54 demo – in late January. The key aspect of this is the subjects are reported to have been converts from WEEI to CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” The questions by the moderator of the focus group zeroed in on the perceptions about the morning and afternoon drive personalities, how they discovered WBZ-FM and what they think of various WEEI contributors and co-hosts. WEEI PD Jason Wolfe responded to a question from the Globe in an email simply stating, “These things are common. All companies do market research from time to time to gain insight into how they can improve.” Globe writer Chad Finn goes on to give his opinions about the WEEI personalities in the piece. That WEEI-AM/FM and WBZ-FM are locked in a battle in a lucrative sports town is not news, nor is the fact that WBZ-FM tends to beat WEEI in the younger demos while the strength of Boston Red Sox baseball pumps up WEEI during baseball season. Clearly each station has its own sound and one doesn’t have to listen very long to hear why they appeal to different demographics. The question for WEEI is, do they want to re-tool their lineup and alter their programming philosophy to go head-to-head with WBZ-FM for the younger demos or stick with the programming that has made them iconic in the region and sell the fact that they appeal to an older demo that has more disposable income. Decisions, decisions…
Attention Radio Managers: Time Cannot be Managed – but Tasks Can! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison once described the job of managing an active radio station as feeding human time and energy into a black hole in space. No matter how much you shovel in, it keeps demanding more and wants to be fed quicker and quicker. In today’s frenetic world of inter-connective multi-tasking, this observation rings truer than ever and it impacts all levels of communications industry management. Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers several valuable ways to navigate the time demands placed upon today’s radio managers. First of all, he says, “Time cannot be managed – don’t even try! But tasks can!” Read Cooke’s strategy for staying on top of the mountain of tasks facing today’s radio manager while avoiding the pitfalls and wipeouts of the non-stop stream of distractions, interruptions and nightmarish disorganization by clicking here.
Midway Broadcasting’s urban talk WVON, Chicago to Address City’s Deadly Violence. The market’s urban talk outlet is hosting and broadcasting a special live forum this evening addressing the ongoing violence that is plaguing the young African American population. Station personality Kendall Moore will host the event in front of a live, selected audience. Appearing on the program will be: Nathaniel Pendleton, father of Hadiya Pendleton; Tio Hardiman, director for Cure Violence Illinois; the Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina; Richard Wooten, member of the Chicago Police Department; Che’ Rhymefest Smith, recording artist, writer and community activist; Harold “Noonie G” Ward, former high-ranking Gangster Disciple gang leader and members of the Guardian Angels; Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has also been invited. The broadcast will air tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Larry Gifford to Exit Bonneville Seattle. Programmer Larry Gifford has been at the helm of news/talk KIRO-FM and conservative talker KTTH in Seattle for the past two years. But Gifford says that after some soul searching, he’s decided to resign from the post. In a memo to the staff he writes: “I am a big fan of Bonneville Seattle, the brands, philosophies, purpose, and the people who breathe life and personality into our products. I believe KIRO-FM and KTTH are positioned for success. I also recognize the stations have both evolved greatly in the two years I’ve been here. As stations evolve, their leaders need to evolve as well. As I’ve considered where we are and the road ahead, it has become clear to me that the type of leadership needed to keep moving these stations forward requires someone with different strengths and passions than mine. So, with mixed emotions, I have resigned my position at Bonneville Seattle. At Carl’s [GM Carl Gardner] request, I will be here through March 1 to help both stations through this transition. As to what comes next? I don’t know. Though, Becci, Henry and I are planning to go on a month-long RV adventure this Spring to visit friends, favorite places and make some memories.”
Tom Ray Resigns from Engineering Post at WOR, New York; Will Launch Consulting Business. After a 15-plus year career based at the former Buckley Broadcasting facility in Manhattan, engineer Tom Ray announces his resignation from the station via Facebook. He writes in a press release: After 15-1/2 years, Tom Ray is leaving WOR Radio in New York City. During Tom’s tenure at WOR, he had taken the station from an older analog facility into the digital world, culminating in the move of the WOR studio facility to downtown Manhattan. This was the world’s first large scale Axia deployment. Subsequently, he built WOR a new state-of-the-art transmitter facility in the New Jersey Meadowlands, retiring the former Lyndhurst, NJ facility that had served WOR for 40 years…Tom has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, was Chairman of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City for 9 years, has been on the NAB’s Broadcast Engineering Conference Committee several times, serving as Chairman of the Committee twice. Until the acquisition of WOR by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, he was corporate director of engineering of Buckley Broadcasting and chief engineer of WOR Radio. Tom’s immediate plans are to consult as Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 845-418-5065.
KGMZ, San Francisco Adds Sean O’Connell to Midday Show. Entercom sports talk KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” names college footballer and current MMA fighter Sean O’Connell to the midday program alongside Matt Steinmetz. O’Connell hosted AM drive and middays at Cumulus’ KFAN, Salt Lake City. In college, O’Connell played for the University of Utah, where he was a teammate of San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith and was coached by Urban Meyer (now with Ohio State). He was part of the undefeated 2004 team, which won the Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked #4 overall. After finishing his playing days, O’Connell began competing in MMA and was part of the cast of the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 on Spike TV. KGMZ PD Jason Barrett says, “To say that Sean O’Connell is a unique talent would be a tremendous understatement. Bay Area sports fans are going to love his passion, plus, now we also have a guaranteed bodyguard at future events, which will come in handy since our hosts have a tendency to fire up the fan base.” O’Connell begins his duties February 21.
SCPR’s Craig Curtis to Leave Pubcaster. Program director Craig Curtis will exit his role with Southern California Public Radio at the end of this week. LA Observed reports it’s not known if Curtis has a new position lined up or if recent turbulence at SCPR (the demise of Patt Morrison’s show and the matching of A Martinez with Madeleine Brand on the KPCC morning show and the popular Brand’s departure soon thereafter) had anything to do with Curtis’ exit. In other recent news about SCPR, the newsroom staff voted to unionize with SAG/AFTRA. Curtis received accolades from VP of content Russ Stanton in an email to staffers. He wrote, in part, “Craig has played an integral role in the growth and success of SCPR. From his then-perch as program director at Minnesota Public Radio, Craig oversaw the transformation of KPCC’s programming from its music and news format into the 24/7 news and information programming we deliver today. He also has been involved in the hiring of virtually all of our on-air talent, as well as the broadcast production staff. He is responsible for KPCC’s distinctive on-air sound which, among other things, boasts a core audience loyalty of 74%, a remarkable achievement.”
Jeff Katz Reports from the Heart of Nemo! Talk radio pro Jeff Katz didn’t waste the opportunity to take a few minutes from shoveling the two-plus feet of snow from his Boston-area driveway to appear on radio stations across the country on Friday. Katz shared his observations with the Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated Todd Schnitt show; Simon Conway’s WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive program and on the Kitty O’Neal and Pat Walsh morning show on Clear Channel’s KFBK, in snowless Sacramento. We couldn’t help noticing that, in the heart of Boston Bruins country, Jeff is sporting a Montreal Canadiens jacket. He is truly fearless!
Day One from the Democratic National Convention. WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller (c) is pictured here in an “action” shot that shows the expansive media center in Charlotte from which she is broadcasting her nationally syndicated morning drive program. In this photo, she’s joined by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes (l) and Stephanie Miller show regular Jim Ward (r). There are more than 100 talk show hosts joining the news organizations covering the DNC in Charlotte that wraps up Thursday with President Obama’s evening speech accepting his party’s nomination for the ticket.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Makes Brand Change and Boost to News Product Official. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK has re-branded itself and is rededicating itself to providing Bostonians with more news and information and program director Grace Blazer makes that official. She says the station “will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices. Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes. In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.” Blazer says, “We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts. The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.” Total News Source VP Chris Berry says of the new relationship, “An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England. We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”
Glenn Beck Gets Apology from American Airlines After Rude Service. The Premiere Networks-syndicated radio host told his audience he was treated rudely by a flight attendant on a weekend flight from Newark to Dallas – ostensibly for his political views – and would never fly American again. Beck told his national radio audience the male flight attendant “fawned over” the other passengers but slammed a can of soda down in front of him and “barked” at him, treating him as “subhuman.” The airline tweeted an apology and went further issuing the following statement, “We are sorry for the experience Mr. Beck had on a recent flight. The comfort and satisfaction of our customers are very important priorities to us and we take these matters seriously. We have reached out to Mr. Beck’s office and are actively looking into the situation.”
Matt Fox Exits NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton. The morning show at NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton, Ohio will consist of co-host Pam Cook and Canton Repository sports columnist Todd Porter for now as Matt Fox exits the station to take a position outside the radio business. The Repository reports Fox cited the early morning hours – a 3:45 wakeup call – as one of the reasons he’s choosing to leave the show he’s been co-hosting with Cook since February of 2011. He took over for Fred Chenevey at that time and the program was his first full-time radio gig. He continues to co-host the “Around the House with Matt and Shari” home improvement show that airs on the local PBS TV outlet.
Big Changes at Chicago Public Media; Big Shoes to Fill at WBEZ. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports on the announcement that afternoon talk host Steve Edwards is leaving his “The Afternoon Shift” talk show on CPM’s WBEZ, Chicago to take a new post at the University of Chicago. Edwards has been with Chicago Public Media for 14 years, serving in a number of capacities during that time, including as director of content development and program director. It was just last February that the 41-year-old public media pro returned to the air to host “The Afternoon Shift.” On his new position as deputy director, programming at the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Politics, a public policy and public service institute led by David Axelrod, Edwards tells Feder, “What motivates me is trying to create a deeper understanding of the world around me and trying to share that with people. How do I touch and transform people and communities? How do I uncover insights and share them with others? Journalism has been an amazing place where those values and skill sets intersect. And I think my new role at the Institute of Politics represents another place where they do as well.” Meanwhile, CPM has retained Livingston Associates to help find Edwards’ successor. Read Robert Feder’s full story here.
Clear Channel Takes Aim at CNN with Its ClearVision In-Airport TV Network. Providing what it calls an alternative to CNN’s news-only airport network with a debut at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Clear Channel Outdoor’s Clear Channel Airports division unveils ClearVision. The company says it’ll provide content to travelers from numerous sources, including: “CBS with offerings from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime, and CBS Interactive, among others; NBC, with shows including The Today Show, Smash, The Voice, Grimm, America’s Got Talent and The Office; daily headlines from around the world from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports from the Tennis Channel with original programming like the travel series Destination Tennis and highlights from major tournaments like the French Open and US Open.” This is a partnership with connectVISION Digital Networks and CCO says it “provides airports, content partners, and advertisers with an unparalleled ability to reach and engage air travelers – through customized content ranging from local news to top network shows and live events. Airports ultimately will be able to leverage WiFi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops.” There’s no word from Clear Channel on what other American airports with which it’s negotiating but the company sounds very dedicated to this market and you can bet there will be more airport deals announced in the near future.
Sports Biz Today Produces Daily Updates. Sports Biz Today is launching a new daily product called “Sports Biz Update” – a two-minute feature in which host Fred Wallin gives listeners the headlines of what is going on in the world of sports business. Fred Wallin is a veteran of sports talk radio, both locally in Southern California and nationally. Wallin has hosted ‘Dodger Talk,” “Angel Talk,” “Kings Talk,” and “Bruins Talk” on various Southern California radio stations. He has hosted programs on KABC, KFI, KLAC, KIEV, KFOX and 1150 AM in Los Angeles. Nationally, Wallin has hosted programs on The Sports Radio Network, The American Sports Radio Network, Prime Sports, The Sports America Radio Network, and the Cable Radio Network, and presently on Sports Overnight America, Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas and KCAA Riverside, California.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel names Melissa Forrest market manager for the San Diego cluster. Forrest most recently served with CC at the Atlanta cluster where she was president and market manager in charge of the company’s radio stations, the Total Traffic Network and the Georgia News Network…..TRN and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries is putting his passion for cigars together with his own brand and is working with Cuban-born cigar-making legends to create his own limited-edition El Presidente cigar. Working with Don Lino creator Nestor Miranda and master blender José “Pepin” Garcia – both Floridians now – Humphries made 300 boxes of the cigars. He says, “It’s not made to be an everyday smoke. There’s not that many of ‘em. I only wanted to do a limited amount. I wanted to honor a president each time. When they’re gone, they’re gone. So each cigar is a collector’s item in its own right.” Humphries is pictured here with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who declared the cigar “bueno.”…..Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit” partners with TuneIn to create a 24/7 home improvement channel on the audio service. “Money Pit” co-host Tom Kraeutler says, “We’ve experienced rapid growth of our program through our existing online assets. But with over 40 million monthly active listeners, TuneIn has the infrastructure and leadership to help us expand that listener base in ways never before possible and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to share our home improvement insights with this new audience.”…..Dr. Michio Kaku – renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author and host of Talk Radio Network’s “Science Fantastic” – has been selected through a vote of IPC members to keynote the trade group’s biggest electronics industry event next spring in San Diego. “Kaku’s keynote will present a vision of life in the year 2100 culled from ideas of 300 of the country’s most influential scientists. He will explore revolutionary advancements in medicine, energy production, artificial intelligence and aeronautics that will forever change our way of life – including innovations like internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that will drive (or even fly) themselves and brain sensors that will let us move objects using only the power of our minds.”…..Mike Rosso joins Continental Electronics as vice president of sales and marketing, where he’ll be responsible for maintaining and developing Continental’s global market presence. Continental bills itself as a “global leader in broadcast transmitter equipment. It is the foremost supplier of advanced RF transmission technology and the world’s most experienced designer and builder of the highest power radio broadcast equipment.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Launches Daily Big Ten Football Show. The new show, an extension of the weekly Big Ten show, debuted yesterday on affiliates including WDFN, Detroit, KFXN, Minneapolis and WSSP, Milwaukee. Dubbed “BTN Live,” the show airs live daily from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET and is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and others.
WEEI, Boston Announces Patriots and NFL Coverage. The Entercom sports talk brand – heard throughout New England on numerous company-owned stations and affiliates – announces its fall football programming. VP of programming and operations for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe reports coverage of Patriots football features the return of Patriots Friday and Patriots Monday that includes exclusive interviews with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Its “Gameday” broadcasts on home game days will emanate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough. WEEI has also secured a number of current and former Patriots players as well as NFL experts – including (WFAN, New York and “NFL Today” host) Boomer Esiason who chats with morning hosts Dennis & Callahan each Monday – to join coverage of the team on its shows throughout the week during the football season. Wolfe states, “We’ve made it a priority to provide Patriots fans with the most compelling and comprehensive coverage of the team that we can. With Patriots Monday and Friday and our slew of NFL Insiders, WEEI will be the place to be to keep up with the Pats throughout the season.” Actual game play-by-play rights are owned by WEEI’s crosstown competitor – CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM, Boston 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Are Hard Times Hitting Television Talk, Too? The New York Post reports on rumors that Comcast’s NBC is taking a serious look at morning television talk’s “Today” for possible budget cuts in the wake of its “ratings woes.” With the story of Jay Leno’s recent voluntary pay cut to help save staffer jobs at “The Tonight Show,” the story questions whether “Today” co-host Matt Lauer will take the same path there to save the positions of lower-level staffers such as makeup artists and writers. In the piece, one person is quoted saying, “It will be the little people who go first — the makeup people, writers, but these people have families, and it will put pressure on Matt to do the right thing.” Lauer reportedly makes $25 million per year. Commenting on the rumors, a rep for “Today” states there will be “absolutely” no staff cuts at the program.
Michael Strahan Officially Named Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host. The former New York Giants football great is officially named the permanent co-host of the “Live!” show, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired from the show late last fall. Kelly Ripa has been hosting the show solo and with a parade of potential co-hosts doing live auditions since then. But, according to People, Ripa made the announcement official that Strahan would be her new co-host.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, National Debts Hits $16 Trillion, and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4). The presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; the national debt hitting the $16 trillion mark; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.