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Eight More Arbitron PPM Markets Gain Accreditation by MRC. The Media Rating Council gives accreditation to eight more Arbitron PPM markets – making the total number of accredited markets 26. In making the announcement, Arbitron notes that the MRC is not granting accreditation in the remaining 22 markets at this time. The eight newly accredited markets include: Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver-Boulder, Detroit, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, and Nassau/Suffolk (Long Island). They join the 18 markets the MRC is voting to continue accreditation: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. Arbitron executive vice president, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Linder states, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is a company-wide priority at Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize our ongoing efforts to improve Sample Performance Indicators and other quality metrics in our Portable People Meter ratings services. Continuous improvement remains our watchword, for PPM and for all our ratings and software offerings and we are focused on earning accreditation for the balance of our PPM markets.”
Former CNN Producer/Reporter Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. Steve Krakauer – former CNN digital producer and media reporter – is named vice president of digital content for TheBlaze. In his work at CNN, Krakauer oversaw the social and digital output of the CNN domestic U.S. television programs. He also managed the team that ran @CNN — the network’s flagship Twitter account. Krakauer joined CNN in November 2010 as the digital producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight.” At TheBlaze, Krakauer will be responsible for growing the network’s presence across all digital media. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Steve was one of the first people to truly recognize the growing relationship between digital media and traditional television and has built a remarkable track record integrating the two media. We are excited to have Steve join TheBlaze as we continue to be at the forefront of creating a television network designed for the 21st century.”
Ed Schultz Returns to Weeknights on MSNBC. It hasn’t been quite five months since MSNBC moved “The Ed Show” from weeknights at 8:00 pm to a Saturday and Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot with Ed Schultz saying the move was for personal and professional reasons. Now, the Hollywood Reporter writes that MSNBC president Phil Griffin asked Schultz to return to weekdays in the 5:00 pm slot replacing the first run of “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Matthews’ show will only air at 7:00 pm beginning August 26 when Schultz returns to weekdays. Griffin told the publication, “Ed has proven himself no matter where we’ve put him.”
CEO Gary Nell to Exit NPR to Head Up National Geographic. NPR CEO Gary Nell announces he’s leaving the public radio company after 21 months on the job. In a letter to staff, he says, in part, “As president and CEO, supporting NPR’s success – your success – has been my highest ambition. Working together, we have put NPR on more solid footing to continue to deliver the highest-quality journalism and programming. We have launched innovative new platforms and made meaningful strides in attracting new audiences and new funding. We have promoted a series of collaborations in news gathering, development, and a digital future. And we have an exceptionally strong leadership team in place that is charting an ambitious path for our future. We also face challenges, including the mandate to bring NPR to break-even cash operations. We are completing a plan to focus our limited resources which support our essential services to stations and audiences. We will present that plan to the Board soon, go over it carefully, and make it a reality.” Nell took over the reins of NPR in December of 2011 after the high-profile departure of former CEO Vivian Schiller. During her tenure, Juan Williams was fired after making comments on Fox News Channel admitting to feeling nervous when seeing people dressed in Muslim garb on airplanes. Also, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was recorded denigrating conservatives at a lunch meeting.
Boston Herald Reports Kevin Graham Will Succeed Jason Wolfe at WEEI-FM, Boston. There is no confirmation from Entercom Boston market manager Jeff Brown about the Boston Herald’s recent report that KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” program director and afternoon drive co-host Kevin Graham will take over the program director post at the station. According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the key architects of KFNZ back in 1996 and has worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets. In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the Gunther & Graham pm drive show with Kyle Gunther. Longtime program director Jason Wolfe exited the station last week and the Boston media is rife with speculation about the status of the station’s air talent – especially morning duo John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. CBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” has been topping WEEI-FM in recent ratings reports. Still, the Herald also reports that Dennis and Callahan have been assured that they are not on the chopping block at this point.
Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (“Brent & Meg”) Sign Up as Charter Members of TalkersRadio Lineup. The married couple team of “Brent & Meg” (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, pictured below) join the initial lineup of the soon-to-be-launched experimental internet talk station, TalkersRadio. They will be hosting a Monday through Friday, two-hour Los Angeles-based program titled, “The Brent & Meg Show,” that will stream live between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm ET with possible re-streams at other times during the following 24 hours. According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “There never has been a ‘Brent & Meg Show’ prior to TalkersRadio. They are coming together to do this specifically because the station is designed for these kinds of experiments. Although they’ve been married for 28 years and have been in the media business doing everything from amazing short-form features to ground-breaking public relations campaigns for years, the idea of them being on the air live as a team hosting a long-form talk show is the brainchild of Michael Harrison who has been after them to do this for over two years now since hearing them bounce off each other in the ongoing short-form feature ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large.’ “I am excited about the potential of this show. We envision it to be in the tradition of the classic husband/wife chat shows of the golden era – except with its focus fully planted on a 21st century foundation.” The short-form feature “Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” — written, produced and performed by the couple — has accrued a dedicated multi-platform cult-following on Podjockey.com and XM Satellite Radio after having broken out in 2008 as a hot commodity at KSRO, Santa Rosa. According to the couple, “Outraged by the cable TV political bloviates, we invented ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large’ as a panacea to the anger and complacency that radio was becoming. We figured that since all the extreme right wingers and extreme left wingers were only preaching to their targeted choirs, we could have an extremely good time talking about anything to everyone. It is our intention to continue that tradition on the ‘Brent & Meg Show.’ Absolutely no politician, celebrity, corporate business practice, social custom, anything or anybody will be safe from our scathing, biting and hopefully humorous and entertaining observations. Hey, we just wanna have fun!”
Brent Seltzer is legendary in the annals of West Coast radio having worked as a personality “rock ‘n’ roll newsman” on two of the most storied signals in rock radio history – KMET, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego — as well as LA’s KZLA-FM/AM, KNX-FM, and KMPC. He has also been a popular radio writer working for years at companies such as Watermark (“American Top 40”) and its founder Tom Rounds’ celebrated international company, Radio Express.
Born into a Hollywood show business family, Meg McDonald’s mother was the popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser and her father was the dancer Ray McDonald. Although a native of Santa Monica, her parents divorced when she was very young and her Mom moved to New York to co-star with Phil Silvers in his popular comedy, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” later known as “The Phil Silvers Show.” As her mother went to work in many classic films, TV shows and Broadway shows, Meg found herself surrounded by gifted writers including Neil Simon, Norman Lear and Gore Vidal. Returning to LA after a few years, Meg never thought of herself as a performer, so she majored in Journalism at LACC, but chose a career in public relations where she has forged an award-winning history as founder of her own shop, McDonald Media Services. Strikingly beautiful with a big gorgeous voice, she always wanted to be on-air but was too shy to take the shot, until she met Brent Seltzer. “The Brent & Meg” show debuts on TalkersRadio Tuesday, September 10. For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413 or email GM David Bernstein at email@example.com. TalkersRadio streaming is powered by Backbone Networks.
WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne Morning Show to Begin TV Simulcast. Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne will begin a simulcast of one hour of “Fort Wayne’s Morning News with Charly Butcher“ on local NBC affiliate WISE-TV “NBC33” on September 23. The television outlet will air the 6:00 am hour of Butcher’s program using several high definition cameras placed in the studio and newsroom at WOWO. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “What we’re doing is taking a historic show in the market and advancing it to a new medium. Finding new platforms for our product is an important part of our station strategy, and we think this is going to make a big impact not only in the market but it’s what should be expected for news/talk stations looking for ways to gain a younger audience share.” Butcher states, “We’re excited to bring a show we work very hard on every morning to NBC33. It’s another way for listeners to get a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and get all the information they need every morning. I’m not excited that I might need to start wearing make-up.” Pictured above is the WOWO-AM/FM morning show in action (Butcher at right.)
SiriusXM and MLB Reach Six-Year Extension. Satcaster SiriusXM and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement to extend their relationship for another six years. As a result, every regular season and post-season game will be available on both Sirius and XM platforms through 2016. The deal also includes select exhibition games and Spanish-language broadcasts. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Baseball has been an essential part of our programming lineup and we’re very happy to extend our relationship with MLB to deliver the games to our subscribers for many years to come. We’re especially pleased to now offer the games to SiriusXM subscribers whether they listen through Sirius radios, XM radios, the SiriusXM App or online.”
NPR Producer Teshima Walker Dies at 44. After a two-year battle with colon cancer, NPR executive producer Teshima Walker passed away on Friday morning. Walker had been executive producer of the Michel Martin-hosted “Tell Me More” program since 2011. She’d been with the show in various capacities for four years prior to that. During her career she had worked at WBEZ, Chicago and served as a producer on the Tavis Smiley program.
Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill Join Arbitron PPM’s MRC-Accredited Markets. The list of Media Rating Council-accredited markets for Arbitron’s PPM ratings service jumps to 18 with the addition of Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill. Arbitron EVP, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner says, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is an important priority for Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize the progress we are making. Continuous improvement in our PPM, diary and other information services is our objective, and we remain focused on our efforts to maintain the MRC double checkmarks in our currently accredited PPM markets and to achieve service-wide accreditation for all PPM markets.” The MRC chose not to issue accreditation for the remaining 30 PPM markets.
Chris Tyler Assumes Brand Manager Post at Cumulus Media’s WSBA and WGLD, York. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania radio pro becomes program director and brand manager for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WSBA and sports talk WGLD in nearby York. Tyler was the longtime program director and morning host at Clear Channel’s rock WRVV, Harrisburg “The River” before exiting in August of 2011. He then served as general manager, program director and morning host at crosstown rock WTPA – a Cumulus station the Department of Justice demanded the company spin off. Tyler fills the programming role vacated by Jim Horn who retired from WSBA as morning co-host and PD last year.
WQZQ, Nashville Flips to Sports Talk. Cromwell Radio Group drops the gospel on WQZQ, Nashville and begins simulcasting FM sports talker WPRT “102.5 The Game.” The station is being used to air conflicting programming beginning with the 3:00 pm hour of its George Plaster-led “Sports Night” program that got bumped from WPRT when the station became the local home of financial talker Dave Ramsey.
Sports USA’s Joe Morgan Show Re-Brands. The weekend sports talk show hosted by baseball and broadcasting legend Joe Morgan re-brands as “Conversations with Joe Morgan” to reflect the nature of the program. Sports USA states that the show “will continue to focus on Joe’s unique conversations with iconic legends and celebrity personalities. Previous guests have included Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, former President George H. W. Bush, Jim Brown, Bob Costas, Charlie Sheen, Tom Seaver, John Madden, Al Michaels, and Johnny Bench. These conversations take listeners well beyond what they think they may know about the subjects.” Morgan says about his style, “These are conversations, not interrogations.” Sports USA indicates there will be added digital aspects to “Conversations with Joe Morgan” as well.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Launches CRN Digital Mag. Content provider and distributor CRN Digital Talk Radio is launching CRN Digital Mag, its own entertainment and lifestyle online magazine this week. The magazine launch coincides with CRN’s 30th anniversary celebration. CRN CEO and founder Mike Horn says, “Embarking on our 30th year is a major milestone for us. We are proud of all that we have accomplished and look forward to our future endeavors, including CRN Digital Mag. Our listeners have asked for more access to their favorite personalities, in-depth pieces on the topics we touch on CRN and CRN Digital Mag keeps your favorite shows going on your schedule.” The all-new magazine will include exclusive stories written by CRN personalities Fred Dryer, Barry Farber, Karel, Larry Manetti and many others who will write about recent shows, upcoming guests and other popular topics. Horn, who is also host of CRN’s highly popular “What’s Cookin’’ program, will also write a regular column on food, wine and the good life as featured on his show.
The Next Generation(s). Seated at the control board of Syracuse University’s student-run CHR WJPZ is general manager Corey Crockett. The studios will soon bear the name Envision Radio Networks Broadcast Center after Envision CEO Danno Wolkoff and COO Laura Orkin made a donation to acquire the naming rights to the newly renovated studios at the school’s Watson Hall. Wolkoff states, “There is no better classroom in the world than ‘Z-89’ and I’m thrilled the legacy will continue. Students who work at the station will benefit from learning the industry in a brand new space outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment including a new console, audio boards, touchscreen monitors and two new production studios.” Wolkoff is an alumnus of the school and he helped sign the FM station on the air in 1985. He began his career in radio as one of the original members of the “Cra-Z Morning Crew” and was inducted into the WJPZ Hall of Fame in 2009. The official opening ceremony for the Envision Radio Networks Broadcast Center will take place on March 1 in conjunction with the station’s 28th birthday banquet and annual WJPZ Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 2.
WRKL, New York Goes on the Market. Owner of currently Spanish Christian WRKL, New York (class B AM at 910) Polnet Communications is retaining Media Services Group to “to identify, examine and consider a range of strategic options available including a possible sale of WRKL. The asking price for the station is $3 million. Polnet Communications Ltd. owns radio stations WEEF, WNVR, WPJX and WKTA and television station WPVN in the Chicago area. It also owns WRKL and WLIM in the New York City area and WRXB and WTMY in the greater Tampa-Sarasota, Florida area. Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group is the contact.
Budget Cuts/Tax Hikes Debate, Gun Legislation, Iran/North Korea Nuke Threats, and Deadly Force Drones Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). The debate in Washington over budget cuts and possible tax hikes; proposals for new gun legislation; the threat of nuclear weapons use from Iran and North Korea; and President Obama’s use of drones for deadly force on U.S. citizens were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Overnight: The Underexploited Daypart. Consultant Walter Sabo suggests more talk radio operators should take advantage of the overnight daypart – the one it wins by default. Citing a Media Audit report indicating talk radio has the largest overnight audience, Sabo contends that – contrary to conventional wisdom – there is money to be made there and other opportunities on which to capitalize. Read his exclusive TALKERS article here.
Can Radio Afford to be Rated Accurately? That’s really the question that should be asked as Arbitron loses accreditation for five PPM markets. The Media Rating Council is informing Arbitron, Inc. that accreditation for the Portable People Meter in five markets – Cleveland; Portland, Oregon; Riverside-San Bernardino; Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo; and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – is being withdrawn. The MRC says its board of directors “reached this decision upon consideration of a recommendation from an MRC audit committee based on its review of the 2011 Arbitron PPM service audit results, which showed certain issues related to internal controls of the service and declines in service performance metrics.” Arbitron EVP, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner says, “Consistent with our long-standing priorities, we will work to retain accreditation where we have it, to regain accreditation where it was withdrawn and to achieve accreditation in our remaining PPM markets. As always, we will continue our work with the MRC in order to address their concerns.” Arbitron says it intends to have all 48 PPM markets undergo MRC audits this year. Currently, nine markets remain accredited: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston (DMA), Kansas City, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and St. Louis. Although details remain vague, TALKERS suspects the problem faced by Arbitron in getting PPM off and running comes down to sample size – a two-fold challenge at this point. First: To get enough radio listeners to participate in the program and follow it diligently while busy and distracted; second, to expend the money required to have enough units and participants per market needed to achieve statistical accuracy – an investment that ultimately falls on the back of the financially strapped radio business.
CBS Radio Alters WINS, New York Top-of-the Hour Slogan. Some observers will call it a win for Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels who challenged CBS Radio’s use of the “New York’s One and Only News Station” for all-news WINS. After a back-and-forth of letters from lawyers regarding station slogans and positioning statements in which CBS Radio first asked Merlin to stop using a permutation of its “Give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world” slogan, it seems both sides may be moving forward with the business of doing news. That’s probably best since we’re assuming neither desire to spend more on lawyers than necessary. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says each side could have made a case. Weisman says CBS could reasonably argue that Merlin was infringing upon its trademark and Merlin could make a good argument that CBS’ use of the “one and only” phrase regarding its all-news radio product violated the Lanham Act (false advertising) in light of WEMP-FM’s existence.
Radio Pros Lee Abrams and Steve Saslow Plan Reinvention of TV News. Radio programming legend Lee Abrams and marketing and network radio pro Steve Saslow are teaming up with attorney Brandon Davis to form THINK TeleVisual Network, Inc. In a statement, the trio say they will “elevate the television news playbook into the digital age with a radical reinvention of the way news and information is produced and delivered.” THINK states its programming will be “designed to present one unified televisual news experience across every device category. It represents a profound rewriting of the news/information blueprint where a completely new style of presentation will merge with the magic of 21st century technology and modern American culture.” Lee Abrams says, “News and information is what is steering our 21st century America, the equivalent of what rock ‘n roll was forty years ago. THINK will merge this passion for information, knowledge and insight with the revolution in technology to create an interactive multi-media experience that will redefine how people are informed and enlightened.” Initially funded by the three principals, the venture is currently going through another round of fundraising in collaboration with the Boston-based investment firm Kaufman & Company.
Clear Channel’s KFBK Celebrates 90 Years of Serving Sacramento. News/Talk KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento is celebrating 90 years on the air serving the people of the region. As part of the commemoration, the station is unveiling an online museum “that will showcase and honor the station’s rich and storied history. The museum will include audio clips, photos and videos that will transport listeners back in time to relive KFBK’s evolution.” Other events throughout the day include Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh joining KFBK morning news anchors Amy Lewis and Ed Crane live at 8:00 am where Limbaugh will reminisce about his time at KFBK. At 11:00 am, station staff will open a time capsule left by a past generation of KFBK employees and longtime KFBK talk host Tom Sullivan – now syndicated by Fox News Radio but still heard on the station – joining Kitty O’Neal during the KFBK Afternoon News to commemorate the occasion. VP/market manager Jeff Holden states, “The celebration today is recognition and confirmation that the commitment of the employees – past, present and future – is exactly what Sacramentans, at each point in time over the past 90 years, have so welcomingly accepted into their lives. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such an illustrious and valuable asset to the region and a part of the team that is making history.”
Clear Channel Quad Cities AM Duo Moves to News/Talk WOC; Piped to WMT, Cedar Rapids. Morning show hosts Mark Manuel and Steve Ketelaar have been hosting the morning drive show on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s oldies KUUL-FM, East Moline, Illinois for the past four years. Beginning February 20, the duo moves across the hall to handle the morning show on the cluster’s news/talk WOC, Davenport and will be simulcast at CC’s Cedar Rapids news/talker WMT. They’ll replace WOC program director Dan Kennedy as morning host. Kennedy stays in his PD post and will remain on the program as news anchor. Kirk Marske will produce the WOC morning show. According to the Quad City Times, WMT will provide its own news anchor during news cutaways. Clear Channel Davenport operations manager Jim O’Hara tells the paper, “A big thing with us over the past year with Clear Channel in general has been making the best use of our strongest people, our strongest programs. As I’ve thought about that over the last several months, it dawned on me that WOC is one radio station that needs more help, more people.”
Florida Primary Aftermath, Facebook IPO and Earnings Report, U.S. Afghanistan Combat Withdrawl Plan, and Syrian Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). The aftermath of Mitt Romney’s victory in the Florida primary, the announcement of a pending Facebook IPO and its first public earnings report, plans for an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan and ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.