Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano to Host Late Mornings at WLS-AM, Chicago. A little more than a week after the Jonathon Brandmeier show was cancelled, Cumulus Media announces that it is bringing well-known Windy City broadcasters Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano aboard to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WLS-AM. The husband-and-wife team most recently worked on radio at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, handling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Cumulus Chicago VP/market manager Peter Bowen states, “Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano are deeply rooted in Chicago and are well known to the community. With their addition, WLS is more local and more relevant to Chicago listeners and advertisers.” At the same time, the station announces its new program lineup starting in January: Big John and Ray, 6:00 am to 10:00 am; Sirott and Murciano, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Rush Limbaugh, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Steve Dahl, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Mark Levin, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. The host of the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show is still to-be-announced.
Aircheck D.I.Y. Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today that, due to numerous changes in the radio business, talk radio personalities don’t huddle for aircheck meetings with program directors like they used to. Because of this, talk hosts are often missing a valuable tool for improvement. If you’re a young programmer with some talk talent to coach, or a music PD who isn’t used to coaching talk talent, Cooke offers this handy primer on airchecking talk radio personalities. Read more here.
Wainwright: Make it Part of the Show. WSYR, Syracuse morning show host Mark Wainwright tells TALKERS magazine that after viewing a recent Talkers TV video from consultant Holland Cooke titled, “Making Money with Endorsement Spots,” he felt compelled to share some of his experiences and strategies for endorsement spots. Wainwright says his overarching belief about the effectiveness of live endorsements is that they must become part of the show in order to achieve their maximum effect. Read more here.
WMAL, Washington’s Larry O’Connor Joins The Weekly Standard. In a memo to the staff, The Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Steve Hayes announces that WMAL, Washington personality Larry O’ Connor is joining the organization as online editor. Hayes calls O’Connor’s arrival at TWS “part of an aggressive expansion of the TWS online presence.” Hayes goes on to say, “As you might expect, Larry has a very good ear for the kinds of issues that resonate with grassroots conservatives and we’re eager for his input as we continue to improve and expand the digital side of the magazine.” His previous work in digital media includes time at Hotair.com and Independent Journal Review. Earlier this fall, it was announced that O’Connor is leaving the “Mornings on the Mall” AM drive show to take over the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm).
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Pens NYT Op-Ed Piece ‘Where the Right Went Wrong.’ Longtime Milwaukee conservative talk personality Charlie Sykes is stepping down from his role as a talk show host on E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of this month. It’s no secret in the industry that Sykes – along with other Wisconsin talk radio hosts – has been a vocal opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times over the weekend, Sykes lays out why he believes Trump won the election, how the conservative media helped him win and, as the title implies, where he thinks the conservative movement has gone wrong. Read it here.
John Ziegler Ends Syndicated Sunday Night Radio Talk Show. Conservative media personality John Ziegler announces he’s ending the live Sunday night broadcasts of his talk show, originally called the “John & Leah Show” that featured co-host Leah Brandon for most of its run (though he hopes to continue it as a podcast). Ziegler, a strong opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump, gives shared credit for his decision to shutter the show to Trump’s ascension to the Oval Office, some bad business moves for which he accepts the blame, and the state of the talk radio business. Ziegler also writes for Mediaite and he lays out his decision for leaving AM/FM radio in a piece in the publication here.
Odds & Sods. News/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne – with the help of two local co-sponsors – helped raise $343,808 for Community Harvest Food Bank and Super Shot during its recent two-day radiothon. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “The generosity was overwhelming this year.” The Penny Pitch Radiothon raised $171,094 but Brigadoon Fitness and King of Carts matched that to double the total raised. Community Harvest Food Bank’s Hope for Heroes program focuses on providing groceries at no cost to veterans and military families in need. Super Shot helps provide vaccinations for low-income, uninsured, under-insured and Medicaid eligible people. The WOWO staff is pictured at right around the phone bank…..The Salem Media Group Minneapolis cluster – news/talk WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot,” Christian talk KKMS “AM 980 The Mission,” business talk KYCR “Business Radio 1440,” talk KDIZ “Wellness Radio 1570,” and stream theFishTwinCities.com are presenting a “Crisis & Security Summit” on Thursday, January 26. It’s a free, informational event that will feature experts discussing topics such as IT security, personal safety, community preparedness, and child protection. Salem Minneapolis GM Nic Anderson comments, “In this day and age, we must plan ahead, be informed, and ensure personal and community safety from all angles. We at Salem feel a sense of duty to our local churches and schools.”
Trump Cabinet Nominations, Today’s Electoral College Vote, Allegations of Russian Hacking, ‘Fake News’ Controversy, China Nabs U.S. Submersible Drone, Rogue One Opening Weekend, Cold Snap, and NFL Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominees for cabinet posts; today’s electoral college vote and the numerous pleas from celebrities to not vote for Trump; the allegations that Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s servers in order to influence the election; the hot topic of “fake news” and its role in politics; China’s intercepting of a U.S. drone submarine and tensions between China and the U.S. over China’s military build-up in the South China Sea; the opening weekend of the new Star Wars film Rogue One; the bitter cold weather affecting parts of the country; and National Football League action were some of the top stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Because AM/FM radio now has so many non-local new-media competitors, the host/listener bond is a precious asset, especially if competing stations are robotic or mailing-it-in. And with attention so scarce, efficient execution is imperative (and doesn’t THAT sound like a consultant?).
So aircheck review is more important than ever, but that meeting is too rare, for three reasons:
- We’re all busy, and as cutbacks continue, we’ll get even busier.
- Talk radio critique is a lost art. Typically, one person, often from music radio, oversees programming on multiple stations of various formats. He/she may not have honed directing skills, and/or is intimidated by directing older talent.
- Talent resists, for both-of-the-above reasons, and/or because this diligent process isn’t routine, and/or because they think their guano is Haagen Dazs.
Full disclosure: This dearth of direction is good for my business. In addition to coaching talent at client stations, I’m reviewing airchecks sent by DJs and talkers who tell me nobody at their station offers constructive feedback; or because they’re upwardly mobile, and need another set of discreet ears. But you can Do It Yourself…
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND — Tell me THIS doesn’t validate the consultant caricature! I’m in a rental car, driving the pattern… or camped-out in a hotel, waiting for room service to deliver the BLT and Diet Coke, and more packets of that in-room coffee. I’m… listening. Stealthy, almost gumshoe, eh?
Relax. Notes which follow aren’t necessarily about you, personally.
On second thought, DON’T relax. Be psyched. Be stoked. Bring your “A” game, every day. Because the dang consultant gets paid to listen. Your concern is people-who-don’t, “real people,” listeners, each a potential PPM panelist or diarykeeper…and prospect for your retail advertisers.
So here are some generic Do’s-N-Don’ts, based on many miles along the winding radio road:
By Holland Cooke
Talk Radio Consultant
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Yesterday here, I outlined techniques for pumping-up call count to weekend specialty shows. If you missed it: How to Pump Up Your Weekend ‘How-To’ Show.
And here are four more tips for ask-the-experts hosts:
Stay (relentlessly) on-topic
Don’t, for instance, talk about a movie you recently saw, unless it relates directly to your topic of expertise. Why?