Tag: "Al Gardner"

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

| December 10, 2013

macnowglenWIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Glen Macnow on Vacation While Contract Talks Ensue.  There’s a lot of speculation in Philly about what the outcome of contract talks between CBS Radio and afternoon drive co-host Glen Macnow (who works with Anthony Gargano on “SportsRadio 94”).  First, Macnow tells the Philadelphia Daily NewsMolly Eichel that he left in mid show on Monday (during a live remote from Chickie and Pete’s, no less) to allow Anthony Gargano time to segue into the Howie Roseman show.  “I actually wanted to do it as unobtrusively as possible, just to let people know what was going on.  And I certainly didn’t want to not work today after that great Eagles game yesterday.  I live for shows like today.”  So while he and CBS are in contract talks, Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com says he hears Macnow will move to a more part-time role with the station and that the station plans to pair Rob Ellis with Gargano for the PM drive show in the New Year.  The station tells the Daily News it is keeping any and all contract negotiations private.

gardneralAl Gardner Returns to Charlotte for Sports Talk Gig.  Longtime WBT, Charlotte morning drive co-host Al Gardner will be back on the air in Charlotte but this time on HRN Broadcasting’s WZVG, Charlotte “730 ESPN Charlotte” beginning December 16 alongside Lanny Ford on “The Bottom Line” show.  The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that Gardner tells him he’s looking forward to being involved with a local broadcasting endeavor.  “They’re going to grow locally.  That’s what I want to be part of.”  Gardner left WBT more than two years ago to join Randy Michaels’ WWIQ, Philadelphia when the former talk station was launched in 2011.

adamsmarkAdams Returns to Clear Channel Portland as VP/Programming.  CBS Radio Houston vice president of music programming Mark Adams leaves to oversee programming operations for Clear Channel‘s eight Portland stations.  For eight years (2000 – 2008), Adams programmed Clear Channel Portland rhythmic CHR KXJM and was operations manager of then (talk) sibling KXL-AM (now Alpha Broadcasting sports outlet KXTG).  Clear Channel Portland market president Robert Dove comments, “Mark has a proven track record and I know he will lead the Clear Channel Portland cluster to even greater ratings success.” Adams adds, “I am looking forward to working with all the incredible brands and teams in the market, and contributing to their future success.  Portland is one of my favorite cities in the country and it’s exciting to have the chance to return to the Pacific Northwest and do some great radio.”  Prior to joining CBS Radio in April 2008, Adams worked in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Fresno.

bowersbethWSB, Atlanta Ups Bowers to General Sales Manager.  With the promotion of Walt Phillips to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta operations earlier this fall, the company boosts Beth Bowers from her local sales manager post at news/talk WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM to general sales manager.  CMG states that “in addition to continuing the proven tradition of success at news/talk WSB, Bowers will partner with the talented team of GSMs at the other stations in the cluster – ‘97.1 The River,’ ‘KISS 104.1’ and ‘B98.5.’  Together, the team will strategically lead CMG Atlanta’s radio sales organization into the future and offer unprecedented opportunities for advertising clients in the Greater Atlanta market.”  Prior to becoming LSM for WSB in January of 2011, Bowers served as director of marketing for CMG Atlanta.  She comments, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead this legendary station, as well as partner with the most talented sales staff in the country.”

pittmanbobCC’s Bob Pittman Explains View of Media Landscape in AdWeek Essay.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman pens a brief piece on his philosophy about dealing with the “disruption” that’s taking place in the media business in AdWeek.  In it, Pittman states that he believes a crucial mistake to make is to follow conventional wisdom and allow yourself to be hyped.  In our business, Pittman says that translates into dumping all other media and putting all your eggs into the shiny new basket that is digital.  Pittman advises to be aware of the behavior of the consumer and further asserts his belief that a mix of media is a winning plan for advertisers in this era.  Read the entire piece here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Select Data from RADAR 119.  The December 2013 RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) is data culled from the 48 PPM markets Nielsen measures between September 13, 2012 to September 11, 2013 and it concludes that “more than 178 million persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.  Keep in mind that RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks and doesn’t purport to account for listening to all network radio programming.  The study concludes that in the top 25 DMAs (designated market areas), network radio adlargelogodemonstrates extensive reach including: 70.5% of persons aged 12+ (92,593,000 persons); 73.7% of persons aged 18-49 (50,599,000 persons); and 74.5% of persons aged 25-54 (48,331,000 persons).  Subscribing networks are happy to release their success stories and AdLarge Media reports that its ROI Network debuted in this report and was “#1 with Adults and Women 18-49; and Women 25-54, Monday-Sunday and Monday-Friday, 5A-8P.”  AdLarge co-founder and president Cathy Csukas states, “We promised our advertisers an expansive network and the results of AdLarge’s ROI Network debut delivered.  The robust female showing bolsters our commitment to help advertisers westwoodone logoconnect with this hard-to-reach demographic that has strong purchasing power.”  WestwoodOne issues a statement saying that it is “proud to be a part of RADAR’s expanding networks within the audio landscape.  In addition to proving that radio is alive and well and that its audiences are broadening, today’s RADAR 119, released by Nielsen Audio, showcases more diversity in network offerings.”  WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer adds, “Overall growth is positive for the audio category, and for RADAR.  Generally, the December RADAR is a non-event because many networks re-configure their lineups and publish special tabs at this time of year, WestwoodOne included.  It is exciting to welcome a new company into the RADAR marketplace and to the Network Radio Research Council.  We look forward to more diversity in the promotion of network radio audiences.”

grandephilOdds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is expanding to two hours on Radio Colorado Network’s KRCN, Longmont, Colorado airing from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Grande describes his show as “thoughtful economy and investing dialogue with news, stock market updates, timely interviews and only Phil tells you what Wall Street doesn’t want you to know.”…..CBS Radio’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94” is gearing up for “the most infamous annual radio event in the world” – WingBowl 22 – to be held at the Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2013.  The sponsors include Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino.  The station says this year it is offering the most prizes in the history of the event, including the top prize: $22,000 from Steven Singer Jewelers.  For the first time ever, the contest offers two cars – one for the top local eater and one for the top college eater (two 2014 Chrysler 200’s from Barbera’s on the Boulevard), two bikes for Wingettes (two Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycles from Barb’s Harley Davidson) and other incredible prizes.  And for the first time ever, Wing Bowl will have a college division, with the top collegiate eater winning one of the cars…..Minnesota Public Radio today announced that Jim Dwyer and Jean Taylor have been elected to MPR’s board of trustees.  Dwyer is chairman and CEO of Michael Foods, a diversified processor and distributor of food products and one of the largest privately held companies in Minnesota.  Taylor is president of Life is Now, a strategy and consulting firm that she founded in 2010, and a principal at Middle A Restaurants, a franchise development company.

scba logoRecord Number of SCBA Radio Sales Training Graduates.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) has just presented certification awards to 31 new – or newer – sales professionals, sales assistants and individuals seeking a sales career in Southern California radio.  That is a record number of people successfully completing the training classes, which were conducted from September 23 – December 5.  SCBA President Thom Callahan comments, “The SCBA is firmly committed to helping our members train the next generation of professional radio sales executives.  Each class and professional instructor brought a special focus for our students.”  Included in the 10-week training curriculum were “New Business Development,” “Strategic Selling,” “Building Client Relationships,” “Interactive Selling,” and “Cold Calling Techniques.”  The SCBA Sales Training Classes is a collaboration of the SCBA and the GSM Council of Southern California.

ObamaCare Criticism, Nelson Mandela Retrospective, Iran Negotiations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9).  The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; remembrances of the life and times of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela; the instability of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and Congress’ plans for renewed sanctions; and the snowy action in the NFL over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, March 15, 2013

| March 15, 2013

ksco logoKSCO, Santa Cruz Is an Independent Talker that Flies in the Face of Corporatism.  The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  Nor is it in debt.  Its ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper.  You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.  The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – exist at this station.  10k KSCO (1080 AM) is located in Santa Cruz, California, in a neat stand-alone building (that also houses its smaller sister station KOMY 1340 AM – a facility that its owner uses as a developmental farm club) on a piece of land that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  It would be the envy of any real estate developer in a town known for its college, its beach and boardwalk, liberalism, the state park land and forests that surround it, and is an 80-minute drive from San Francisco.  KSCO is also one of the last “mom & pop” radio stations left in the United States.  It has not only survived the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it has thrived despite consolidation based upon several key factors, including vision by its family ownership, a shocking format change by a chief competitor, along with a non-traditional revenue approach, and a solid and real commitment to a local audience.  To understand KSCO, how it operates and its success, you have to understand the people who run the highly successful news/talk station.  TALKERS correspondent Jeff McKay writes a special feature about a special station.  To read it, click here.

gardneralAl Gardner Gone from WWIQ, Philadelphia Morning Show.  At Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9,” morning co-host Al Gardner is out and, though TALKERS has not had a response yet to its inquiry from management about the move, chatter in the Philly radio scene is they want to take the morning show in a less “conservative” direction.  Morning show co-host Lionel and news director Michelle Murillo are still listed on the station’s web page, but it’s unclear what the station’s plans are for the future of the daypart.

mcnabbdonovanNBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name McNabb and Malone PM Drive Hosts.  Six weeks after teasing the former NFL quarterback would be part of the NBC Sports Radio Network 24/7 lineup, it’s announced Donovan McNabb, andmalonemark another former NFL QB Mark Malone, will pair up for the network’s 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program called, “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” beginning April 1.  Mark Malone has been serving as an analyst for Dial Global Sports‘ Sunday afternoon NFL package and he also hosts “NFL Insider” each week.  Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran says, “We’ve got two quarterbacks, two leaders, two competitive former professional athletes and two current media personalities who know all sports – you know this is going to be a fun ride for sports fans!”

wind logoSalem Chicago Confirms New Joe Walsh Show.  As Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reported last week, one-term Republican Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh begins a new 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND beginning Monday, March 25.  General manager Jeff Reisman states,walshjoe “There are few politicians in Illinois or anywhere in the country that garner as much attention as Joe Walsh.  Joe is an outspoken defender of freedom, and because of his firsthand experience in Congress, he brings a unique perspective to the national conversation as our country searches for answers during these challenging times.”  Walsh’s arrival bumps Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt to the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot.  Feder quotes Walsh saying, “We’re at a crucial point in this country, and I’m excited to take the debate right to listeners throughout Chicagoland via the airwaves.  The radio program will be a great platform to help grow a freedom movement which is already gaining momentum right here in Illinois.  I intend to do with this program what I did as a U.S. congressman — speak plainly, speak directly, not worry about political correctness, and engage in respectful, engaging debate with all viewpoints.  This is just too important of a time for all of us to do anything less.”  Walsh’s agent tells Feder if things go well the show could go national.

grandephil‘Phil’s Gang’ Returns to Denver on KRCN.  The nationally syndicated business talk show “Phil’s Gang” – hosted by nationally recognized investor and entrepreneur Phil Grande – returns to the Denver airwaves on KRCN 1060 “The Biz” at 1:00 pm beginning Monday, March 18.  Radio Colorado Network general manager Les Haber states, “We are excited and very pleased that Phil Grande is back in Denver because he is one of the best investment talk show hosts in the country.  Phil Grande brings insightful information that is very current and very cutting edge to an audience that will benefit from his program.”  Grande’s show is independently syndicated to stations across America and he describes his program as providing “all the information that Wall Street and the government doesn’t want you to know.”

wzgc am showCBS Radio’s “92.9 The Game” Atlanta Adds Kristen Ledlow to AM Drive Show.  The five-month-old Atlanta CBS Radio sports talker brings Kristen Ledlow aboard the “Opening Drive” morning show with Rick Kamla and Randy Cross.  Ledlow takes over for CJ Simpson who leaves the program to be the in-game host of the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks broadcasts.  Ledlow comes to the station after serving as the Southeast field reporter with Fox Sports NEXT in Atlanta.  She’s also worked as television host and sideline reporter with ABC News in Tallahassee and as co-host on ESPN Radio in Tallahassee.   WZGC program director Terry Foxx states, “We were very fortunate that Kristen was available.  She has tremendous passion, an incredible personality and a love for sports.”

fisherhouselogoFisher House Foundation Offers Second Annual Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations.  For the second year in a row, the three-hour “A Grateful Nation” program is being offered for broadcast by news/talksladescott stations this Memorial Day weekend.  The program is a project of the Fisher House Foundation which provides no-cost housing and other support for the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.  The radio special debuted last year as a one-hour program, but was expanded to a three-hour format in its second year due to popular demand.  The program includes profiles of several wounded warriors who have overcome serious injuries to build full and happy lives.  It also looks at how today’s America remembers her fallen heroes and cares for the loved ones left behind.  It’s hosted by Scott Slade, award-winning host of “Atlanta’s Morning News” on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/FM.  Slade states, “It’s so important that we continue to remember and support our volunteer military and their families.  These folks make incredible sacrifices to protect our freedom and keep us safe.  I’m honored to tell their stories.”  Produced by Bloomquist Media and distributed by Premiere Networks, interested stations can get more information and sign-up for “A Grateful Nation,” by contacting Kurt Kretzschmar at 602-374-6351 or kkretzschmar@premiereradio.com.

russilloryenRussillo and Ryan Come Off the Bench for Celtics Broadcast.  ESPN Radio personality Ryen Russillo and Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan will sub for Cedric Maxwell alongside Sean Grande in the radio booth for WEEI, Boston’s broadcast of Saturday’s Boston Celtics vs Charlotte.  Russillo co-hosts ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo show.

oneamerica logoHerring Broadcasting and The Washington Times Partnering on New Conservative Cable News/Talk Channel.  Various media reports indicate a new conservative-slanted cable TV news/talk channel is scheduled to hit cable systems beginning around July 1, 2013.  Deadline.com reports it’ll be called One America News, and be a combined effort of The Washington Times and Herring Broadcasting, owner of WealthTV.  President Charles Herring is quoted saying his family’s company has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” into the San Diego-based media outlet that will broadcast a combo of news and conservative talk and expects to be available in about 10 million to 20 million homes to start.  The story also quotes Herring saying he plans “to open up another front and give independents, libertarians and all kind of different voices under the conservative umbrella an opportunity to express themselves.”

wilderchuckChuck Wilder Returns to CRN Digital Talk Radio Show.  Veteran radio host Chuck Wilder will be back behind the mic of his “Talkback with Chuck Wilder” program on March 18 on CRN Digital Talk Radio after being on medical leave since late January.  With Wilder out, a number of top radio personalities have been sitting in including: Barry Farber, Frank Morano of New York City’s WNYM AM 970, actor P.J.  Ochlan of the TV series “Castle,” Jennifer Horn, of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day,” Larry Van Aalst of CRN’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine: Sonoma Report,” and actor and radio host Fred Dryer, among others.  Wilder says, “I’m extremely pleased to have such great talent filling in for me during my leave and I’m especially happy to hear how great our audience has responded to them in the interim.   It’s been a great experience to listen to the show these last two months, but I’m looking forward to returning to the studio and getting back to work.”  The show airs 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT on CRN and its affiliates across the country.

nms2013logoEclectic Group of Visionaries Set for “Big Picture” Panel at Talkers New York 2013.  The stellar roster of speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 continues to be unveiled.  The lineup is being set for this year’s “Radio: The Big Picture” panel.  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the panel’s speakers include (in alphabetical order): Jeremy Coleman, SVP/talk and entertainment, Sirius XMSteve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media; Mike McVay, SVP/programming, Cumulus Media; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; and Dennis Wharton, VP/communications, NAB. “It is always an invigorating challenge to moderate these ‘Big Picture’ panels because of the diversity of specialties brought to the table by the movers and shakers participating,” says moderator Harrison.  “The idea is to create a lightning-fast informal chat session giving serious insights to at least 15 burning issues relevant to the industry.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout.  Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.

gallagherCPAC2013Mike Gallagher Live from CPAC.  Salem Radio Network syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is in Washington, DC broadcasting his program live from the site of CPAC 2013.  He’s pictured here talking on the air with former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich and oil industry expert Scott Noble about energy policy.  CPAC 2013 takes place through this weekend.

Sequestration and Budget Battle Stay Atop Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week.  The debate in Washington over the sequestration and the nation’s budget deficit and national debt was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 was the naming of Pope Francis as leader of the Catholic Church.  At number #3 was the costs of the Affordable Health Care Act followed by North Korea’s military threats at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

| November 13, 2012

Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip?  Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays.  No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio.  If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12).  It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.

Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons.  Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson.  Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career.  Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners.  We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”

KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant.  Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising.  As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black.  Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction.  “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.”  Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast.  Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter.  See the next story…

The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station.  The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle.  Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy?  Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side.  Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.”  Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.

Opinion Piece:  Five Trends About to Make a Buck.  Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.”  They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ.  For the juicy details, click here.

Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number.  Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats.  WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years.  After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).

St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests.  The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts.  The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX).  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play.  He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance.  Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time.  Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it.  If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it.  Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”

Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension.  Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since.  Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM.  The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM.  Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition.  We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”

CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal.  According to Dave HughesDCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal.  By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County.  In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage.  Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.

Timely Guest.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school.  Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.

Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12).  The widening David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 1, 2012

| October 1, 2012

Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today.  Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am.  In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.

Gregg Henson Named PD at WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh.  Sports talk and news/talk pro Gregg Henson takes the programming reins at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh and sister sports talk WBGG “970 ESPN.”  Henson most recently served as director of programming operations at Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Henson says, “I’m excited to return to the Clear Channel family and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at ‘FM News Talk 104.7’ and ‘970 ESPN.’  Pittsburgh’s passionate and loyal Steelers and Penguins fans make this an exciting new opportunity.”  CC Pittsburgh OM David Edgar states, “Gregg has the skills and passion to lead our sports, talk, and news programming on all of our brands in Pittsburgh to new levels of success.  His past experience will be a great asset to the Clear Channel Pittsburgh team.”  Henson replaces Jay Bohannon who exited the cluster last month.

Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast.  This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.”  The program took place before a live audience of more than 2,000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville.  It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck.  Video of the show was streamed live online.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee.  He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo).  The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion.  A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together.  The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber.  Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo).  According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business.  Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”

Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit.  After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement.  Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract (see story below).  Talk Radio Network has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”) – at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.

Talk Host Michael Savage Produces First Internet-Only Broadcast.  Former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicate host Michael Savage – who won his arbitration case against the company last week to get out of his contract and left terrestrial immediately thereafter – produced his first Ustream-hosted webcast on Sunday evening (9/30).  Savage broadcast for about an hour.  His website encourages visitors to check back for announcements of future broadcasts.  The video is not being archived for repeat views at this time – so it must be watched live – and chatter on Ustream’s message board reveals some Savage fans are irked by that move.  Could it be that Savage is trying to create an appetite for a pay model?  The arbitrator’s decision voided Savage’s contract with TRN and allows him to work anywhere he likes.  Stay tuned!

TRN’s America’s Radio News Network Inks with Armed Forces Radio Network.  Talk Radio Network-owned America’s Radio News Network announces it has signed an agreement with Armed Forces Radio Network to serve as the top-of-the-hour news on the broadcast service for American military personnel.  American Forces Radio Network Worldwide director Jef Reilly, tells ARN, “The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you’re delivering that.”  ARN/ANN vice president for news John McCaslin says, “Our expanding team of news anchors, producers and board operators is extremely proud to enlist the trust of the millions of men and women of America’s armed forces, who every day put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for those of us here at home.”

Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time.  Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station.  WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore.  Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”

Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk.  Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy.  CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.

Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book.  Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it.  The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business.  The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie;  as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures.  He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one.  At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy.  Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.”   For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail  amir@foresterpublicrelations.com.

Monday, May 7, 2012

| May 7, 2012

Merlin Media’s Philly FM Talker Debuts Today.  News/talk outlet WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) debuts its morning show today co-hosted by market TV news personality Larry Mendte (pictured here).  Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning host (and Philly native) Al Gardner is co-hosting the program with Mendte.  Over the weekend Mendte posted a YouTube video promoting the new station being operated by the innovative Randy Michaels and his Merlin Media.  In it, Mendte asks Philadelphians to submit suggestions for the new station (ideas used could win the people who submit them Phillies tickets!).  He also suggests the current news outlets – other stations, the newspapers and TV are outdated and/or in trouble financially and he believes WWIQ-FM will give listeners what they need.  In the video, Mendte is clearly ribbing CBS Radio’s all-news KYW even though he doesn’t mention the company or station by name.  See Mendte’s video here.  WWIQ-FM has been stunting with wall-to-wall Sean Hannity for several weeks and today it’s believed the station will debut with the morning show, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity and Glenn BeckRush Limbaugh is expected to move over from WPHT soon.  Other programming has yet to be announced.

FCC Says “No Go” to Liberty Media’s SiriusXM Takeover Bid.  Liberty Media had petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM after supplying $530 million to the satcaster in 2009 to help it avoid bankruptcy.  But, as SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin said recently, “Forty percent is not the new 50 percent.”  Liberty Media owns 40% of SiriusXM as a result of the 2009 deal but the FCC denied its request saying that Liberty’s filing lacked details and rejected its claim for control.  During the recent SiriusXM Q1 conference call with analysts, Mel Karmazin stated the company’s relationship with Liberty was not “combative.”  Liberty Media has five of the 13 seats on the SiriusXM board of directors.

WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas Names Ben Ferguson Late Morning Host.  Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas cut ties with market legend Mark Davis after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract.  Now, Memphis-based talk host Ben Ferguson is named permanent host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.  Ferguson had been filling in during the time slot since Davis left the air.  He hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Cumulus Media’s WKIM-FM, Memphis and will continue to host that show as well.  Additionally, Ferguson is the host of his own nationally syndicated weekend program that is heard on both WKIM-FM and WBAP-AM/FM.  Ben Ferguson was the first recipient of the Young American Broadcasters‘ scholarship award given at the TALKERS New Media Seminar several years ago.  Ferguson won the award while still in college and, due in part to winning the award, fulfilled his dream of becoming a working radio talk show host.

St. Louis Personality John Carney Joins News/Talk KTRS for Nights.  Gateway City radio personality John Carney – son of the late KMOX, St. Louis legend Jack Carney – joins CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS to host the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program beginning June 4.  Carney most recently was a jock at CBS Radio’s crosstown classic hits KEZK-FM – Fresh 102.5 – until he exited that station in April.  He also worked at KMOX for 11 years prior to KEZK-FM.  Carney’s addition to KTRS comes as the station shuffles its programming.  Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran had been hosting two programs on KTRS – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – in addition to his afternoon drive show at WIND, Chicago.  Cochran will continue to host the late morning show.  John Hadley’s sports talk show slides down to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot and Martin Kilcoyne takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show formerly hosted by JC Corcoran.

KTAR-FM, Phoenix and News Director Part Company.  Bonneville International and news director Adam Thomas part ways after less than a year together.  Thomas joined KTAR-FM in June of 2011 – Thomas moving west from Minneapolis where he’s worked at CBS Radio’s WCCO.  Thomas had also worked for Bonneville at KSL, Salt Lake City prior to joining WCCO.  Details on Thomas’ exit from KTAR-FM are few but it appears there’s a news director position to be filled in Phoenix.

WTDY, Madison Promotes Amy Barrilleaux.  Mid-West Family Stations announces WTDY-AM/FM, Madison afternoon anchor and “Everything@Five” host Amy Barrilleaux is promoted to news director for the station.  WTDY-AM/FM program director Rex Charger says, “I am pleased to announce Amy Barrilleaux as WTDY news director.  Amy has been instrumental in helping grow our news product and brand and I look forward to her continued leadership in the newsroom.  Amy will continue to anchor afternoon newscasts and host ‘Everything@Five.’”

Media Personality Jack Rice Hosts Weekend Talk Program in Twin Cities.  Talk media personality Jack Rice – who left the daily talk radio business more than two years ago – returns to a regular talk program with his Sunday morning show on KTNF, Minneapolis airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Jack Rice is a former CIA agent, a practicing attorney in Minneapolis and is regularly seen on such news/talk media outlets as MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera offering expert analysis on issues, especially those surrounding foreign intelligence and terrorism.  He previously hosted daily talk shows on WCCO, Minneapolis and KOGO, San Diego.  His investigative style of talk radio, his travels to the world’s hot spots and willingness to put himself in harm’s way to get the story earned him the Freedom of Speech Award from TALKERS magazine in 2009.  Of his new program, Rice states, “I’m very excited to be back on the air on a regular basis.  This business gets in your blood and once you’re in, you’re in.  And while I recognize the realities of the business, nothing allows for a deep connection with an audience like radio.”  Rice tells TALKERS he is exploring the possibility of developing a national program dedicated to international events including terrorism, the economic collapse in Europe, the Chinese economic juggernaut, the drug wars in Mexico and more.  He says his experience as a former CIA officer and international journalist give him a unique experience and take on such events.

Dave Ramsey Live in Grand Rapids.  Nationally syndicated personal finance talk sensation Dave Ramsey filled the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 5 for his “Total Money Makeover Live” event there – more than 8,000 fans attended.  Ramsey is heard on news/talk WOOD-AM/FM and Clear Channel Grand Rapids market manager Tim Feagan says, “Having another sellout with Dave is the only way I know of for a news/talk station to touch thousands of our core listeners.  Music stations can sometimes do it by owning a concert, but when it comes to the talk format Dave is it!”  Pictured here during Ramsey’s visit to Grand Rapids are (from l-r): Feagan, Ramsey, WOOD general sales manager Henry Capogna, and WOOD program director Phil Tower.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

| April 17, 2012

All-Hannity Stunt Points to New FM Talker in Philly.  Merlin Media dropped the Christian talk on its new WKDN-FM, Philadelphia and began airing Premiere NetworksSean Hannity round the clock.  The move seems to back the speculation that Merlin will not follow the footsteps of its New York and Chicago FMs with an all-news format but will go news/talk.  It’s expected the station will soon clear Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and possibly Glenn Beck as well as it builds an FM talk station with Philadelphia native son Al Gardner as PD and morning drive host.  Merlin also changed the call letters of the station to WWIQ-FM.

News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Wins March PPM Battle.  It’s not often a commercial news/talk station is ranked the top station in a PPM market, but Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles topped sister Top 40 KIIS-FM by a tenth of a point to win the March PPM contest with a 4.9 share.  A few news/talk stations have landed in the top spot in the monthly PPMs – Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee has a track record of dominance in that market as does Cox Media‘s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville – but for the most part, the number one slot is usually nabbed by a music or all-news station.  It goes to show the astounding cume KFI has in the market.

Clear Channel Reorganizes Marketing Structure; Tim Castelli Replaces Charlie Rahilly.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes a major move to “unify and align its marketing offerings under one umbrella” with the creation of a new, unified sales and marketing group led by former AOL executive Tim Castelli.  CC states, “This move, the latest in the company’s transformation to a fully integrated, multi-platform media and entertainment company, creates an unprecedented opportunity for partners to tap into the company’s unparalleled reach of 237 million people a month (the largest of any radio or television outlet in America) and unmatched collection of media assets.”  CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “This is an entirely new way to leverage the unmatched national reach with local engagement capabilities of Clear Channel Radio Sales, Strategic Partnerships, Clear Channel Connections, Digital, event sponsorships and Premiere Radio Networks Sales supported by innovative programs and world class custom marketing insights.”  In addition to Castelli’s hiring, Clear Channel announces Condé Nast’s Holly Lang joins the company as senior vice president, marketing solutions.  Lang is responsible for conceiving and implementing innovative marketing programs for national advertisers, with a special focus on consumer brands.  Also, Chris Monteleone, formerly vice president of partner strategy at Madison Square Garden, has been named senior vice president, event sponsorship sales and development.

New Jersey 101.5 Gives Steve Trevelise the Evening Show.  Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton – New Jersey 101.5 – announces part-time staffer Steve Trevelise is named permanent host of the evening show on the station.  Trevelise has been sitting in hosting the evening program since the station parted ways with Michelle Jerson.  Now, brand manager Eric Johnson states, “There are few in radio that I know who sound more Jersey than Steve!  We are thrilled he is bringing his passion and knowledge of the state to weekday evenings on New Jersey 101.5.  Having been here part-time for a few years now, he has worked hard to earn this position and knows how to relate to our more than 1 million listeners.”  In addition to his radio career, Trevelise is a stand-up comic and has performed at comedy clubs throughout New Jersey.  He currently owns and operates Sarcasm Comedy Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago Joins iHeartRadio.  The Windy City’s urban talk outlet, WVON, is the latest station to join Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s mobile/digital radio service iHeartRadio.  Midway Broadcasting chairman Melody Spann Cooper states, “I think this is a win-win for both WVON and iHeartRadio.  We’ll reach a national audience, our listeners will have the benefit of taking the station wherever they go by using their smart phones, and iHeartRadio gets the benefit of our best-in-class urban talk format.”  The station says it is embarking on an aggressive promotional campaign to introduce iHeartRadio and to educate its listeners on its usage.

Gabe Hobbs Named Strategic Advisor at Listener Driven Radio.  Former Clear Channel news/talk and sports corporate programmer Gabe Hobbs joins Listener Driven Radio to spearhead the company’s LDR.TopicPulse – what the company describes as “a new system that offers real time social media topic tracking, so news/talk stations can see what local audiences are talking about up-to-the-second.”  LDR further describes LDR.TopicPulse as “valuable real-time information to show producers and hosts on which topics and news stories are ‘getting buzz’ in their market on social media.  The system scans all available news sources, local blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets and other social media.  Then, producers can see a report – which is updated to the second – on the hottest trending topics and their shelf life.”  On his new position, Hobbs states, “LDR’s team is the finest group of interactive innovators in the country.  I’m proud to join the team to translate the success LDR is having at music radio to the news/talk/sports formats.”

Salem Radio Network Host Dr. Richard Land Responds to Plagiarism Accusations.  Southern Baptist Dr. Richard Land – host of the “Richard Land Live” Saturday program syndicated by Salem Radio Network – responds to accusations he pulled direct commentary for a monologue about the Trayvon Martin case from an editorial by Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times.  Land admits he failed to provide verbal attribution on the program for using some content and apologizes.  Land states he did not intend to deceive and always posts his source material on his program’s website.  SRN VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “SRN stands firmly behind Dr. Richard Land, whose ethical standards and intellect are recognized around the world.  An oversight in giving an on-air mention to a source he clearly posted on his website hardly rises to the level of ‘plagiarism.’  That standard is reserved for individuals like Vice President Joe Biden, who was forced to abandon his 2008 presidential campaign when it was revealed he was recycling entire speeches from British Labour Policy figure Neal Kinnock. Or President Obama himself, who was found to be lifting entire sections of speeches formerly delivered by his friend DeVal Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts.  It says a lot about Richard Land that he has acknowledged that he can do better…and that he has pledged to do just that.”

Dial Global Names Michael Schreck SVP/Director of Corporate Sports.  In his new position as senior vice president and director of corporate sports, Michael Schreck will be responsible for sports sales and marketing as well as league and team negotiations for Dial Global.  Co-president and CEO David Landau states, “Michael has a proven track record of success in cultivating both advertiser and league partnerships.  With his leadership, we are looking forward to continuing to define great moments for our advertisers and the millions of sports fans our broadcasts touch.”

Dave Ramsey Invades San Antonio.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage in San Antonio) addressed more than 6,000 fans during the presentation of his “Total Money Makeover Live.”  Ramsey also spoke before some 1,000 local business people  as he presented his EntreLeadership 1-Day event.  Affiliate KTSA, San Antonio benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in town.  General sales manager Coreena Hazelett says, “One of the invaluable things about Dave’s Live Event visit is the time he puts aside for our sponsors.  The clients really get the opportunity to connect one on one with Dave, and they are moved by his desire to see their businesses succeed.  He’s not just a host on the radio, he’s a true partner who’s committed to the success of our station and our advertisers.”

Secret Service Prostitute Scandal, 2012 Presidential Race, ‘Buffet Rule’ Blocked by Senate GOP, GSA Wasteful Spending and ObamaCare Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16).  The backlash against the Secret Service after agents found in prostitution scandal in South America; the 2012 presidential race including the flap over Ann Romney homemaker comments; the Senate GOP’s blocking of the ‘Buffet Rule’ to tax the super rich; the investigation into wasteful spending by the General Services Administration and the legal status of ObamaCare were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, April 9, 2012

| April 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee Debuts Today.  The number of affiliates set to air the Mike Huckabee show is pegged at somewhere between 175 and 200.  The eager anticipation of Huckabee’s debut would not be so intense were it not for the facts that the show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – the same time period as Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh – and that the latter is recovering from the backlash and intense consumer media scrutiny that followed the Sandra Fluke controversy.  Regardless, the industry will certainly be watching how Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Networks program takes off but the consumer media appears to be salivating at the notion that Limbaugh has “competition.”  The fact, of course, is that every radio show has competition of one sort or another and Limbaugh has faced high-profile talent in his daypart in the past – most notably from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly for a number of years.  Mike Huckabee will succeed if he hosts a compelling program that grabs listeners.  Broadcasters understand that will happen or not independent of what other talk show hosts are doing or whether they are facing a “crisis.”  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told Politico in a piece published over the weekend, “This isn’t an election, it’s an industry.  There’s room for both, just like there’s room for Letterman and Leno.  Yes, every competitor hurts Limbaugh.  But Huckabee is basically just another competitor.  If he takes a little away from Limbaugh, fine.  But he also has the potential to expand the talk radio audience.”

Rumors of Major Syndication Changes in Philadelphia and New York; Smerconish to Bump Limbaugh from WPHT.  And possibly more than that…but first things first.  A very hot rumor out of Philadelphia has WYD Media-produced Michael Smerconish’s nationally syndicated program airing live 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT– where Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh does right now.  Smerconish is currently delayed to PM drive on WPHT.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor wrote about the other part of this rumor in his morning blast on 4/6: Merlin Media may be planning to go talk and not all-news on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia  – its new property which is still airing Christian programming from prior owner Family Stations.  With former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host (and Philly native) Al Gardner hired to program and possibly host mornings at WKDN-FM and Rush Limbaugh possibly soon-to-be-available (plus Premiere’s Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck available, as Tom Taylor points out), a move to talk would be much less personnel intensive and would enjoy the ability to grab three of the biggest news/talk personalities in the business.  But there’s more…other chatter coming out of New York is that Merlin Media has been talking to Premiere Networks about bringing Rush Limbaugh to its all-newser FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM) if Cumulus Media decides to put new national syndication rollout Mike Huckabee on WABC in Limbaugh’s place.  Then one would have to ask the question, “Would Merlin do the same with WWWN-FM, Chicago if Cumulus bumped Limbaugh in exchange for Huckabee on its news/talker WLS?”  Stay tuned.

KFAQ, Tulsa Talk Host Pat Campbell Responds to Deadly Shootings.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive talk host Pat Campbell tells TALKERS his program responded very quickly to a series of shootings in the city in which five citizens – all African American – were shot and three died.  Campbell says he hosted a special Saturday noontime edition of his program to address the crimes and seek the public’s assistance in capturing suspects.  He tells TALKERS,I had the mayor in the studio urging calm but more importantly, cooperation with the police.  We urged listeners that might have any information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline and the good news is that a tip came in around 4:00 pm that led to the arrest of the suspects early Sunday morning. This is an example of talk radio at its best!  Rather than becoming a wedge like we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, 1170 KFAQ brought the community together and got the bad guys off the street.”

WQAM, Miami Standing By Sports Talk Host Sid Rosenberg After DUI Arrest Last Week.  WQAM, Miami afternoon sports talk host Sid Rosenberg was back on the air on Friday after spending most of Thursday in jail following an early morning arrest on DUI and driving on a suspended license charges.  Rosenberg, who has spoken publicly about past substance abuse issues and has talked of having twice been to rehab, is being supported by his superiors at the Beasley sports talk outlet.  The Miami Herald reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating, for now, Rosenberg is not being suspended.  WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment to the paper.

Matt Lauer to Remain with NBC’s “Today.”  The months of speculation about the future of television talk host Matt Lauer have come to an end as NBC announced Lauer has signed a multi-year contract to remain with the network’s morning news magazine program.  The buzz in the industry included rumors Lauer would rejoin Katie Couric at rival ABC.  Though Couric is set to begin a new chapter in her career at ABC with her own daytime talk show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has been closing the ratings gap between it and “Today.”  On Lauer’s signing, NBC News president Steve Capus tells The New York Times, “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team.”  The Times story notes that “Today” has been in first place in the morning news show ratings for the past 16 years.

Fox News Channel Brings Santita Jackson Aboard as Contributor.  The daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson left Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago due to budget cuts last fall.  Now, Santita Jackson is named a contributor for Fox News Channel.  Santita Jackson is also producer of Jesse Jackson’s weekly Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show “Keep Hope Alive.”

Raubin Pierce Leaves On-Air Position with WIBW, Topeka for Management Post at Manhattan Broadcasting.  Raubin Pierce co-hosted the “On the Other Hand” talk show with co-host Megan Mosack at Morris Communications’ WIBW, Topeka and served as the company’s director of information technology.  He’s left those duties to become operations director and head of new media at Manhattan Broadcasting in Manhattan, Kansas.  The company operates four stations in the Manhattan market including news/talk KMAN.  Pierce tells the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This was just a fantastic opportunity.  There was just no way that I couldn’t do this.”

Longtime South Florida Broadcaster Patricia Anderson Dies from Cancer at 54.  Trish Anderson was well known on South Florida radio.  During her career she worked as a producer, voice-over talent, sports reporter and traffic reporter at stations including WINZ and WIOD, Miami.  Anderson battled breast and bone cancer.  She passed away on March 31.

Johnny B at Wrigley Field.  That’s WGN, Chicago morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier (center with sunglasses) surrounded by the Chicago band The Fold at the Captain Morgan club at Wrigley Field on Opening Day.  The Fold won the station’s contest to write an original song celebrating the Chicago Cubs.  The winning song – “Let’s Go Cubbies” – is being played at the beginning of each Cubs game broadcast on WGN this season.  The band was with Brandmeier on Opening Day to perform the song live at WGN’s pre-game broadcast and live remote.

Monday, December 12, 2011

| December 12, 2011

Cumulus Brings Geraldo Rivera to Radio at WABC, New York.  Geraldo Rivera has done a lot of media in his career (including WABC-TV) but he’s never hosted a regular radio talk show.  Beginning in January he’ll get his chance with the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program following Don Imus and leading into Rush Limbaugh on Cumulus’ WABC, New York.  Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York TimesBrian Stelter the company’s research indicates “people are interested in hearing a different perspective, a different voice, a more balanced opinion” and although Rivera is actually a registered Republican, he’s more liberal than WABC’s Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.  Dickey also states he expects Rivera to draw in younger listeners and females to the station.  Rivera’s program will be a New York-only show but Dickey doesn’t discount the idea of going into syndication with Rivera if the show is a success.  Rivera tells the Times, his show will have two positioning statements that help define him as a different kind of radio talk show host: “I’m Geraldo and I’m not always right” and “Not red, not blue, but red, white and blue.”  Rivera still works at Fox News Channel where he’s been a correspondent since 2001 but his “Geraldo at Large” show airs just once per week though he also does daytime reporting and makes regular appearances on the channel’s midday “Happening Now” program.  The late morning slot at WABC opened up when the station let Joe Crummey and Patty Steele go last week.

KABC, Los Angeles Confirms New Doug McIntyre Morning Drive Show.  The host of the nationally syndicated Cumulus Media Networks late-night show “Red Eye Radio” begins his duties as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC, Los Angeles in January.  Last week Cumulus announced it would merge the Eric Harley and Gary McNamara-hosted “Midnight Radio Network” program with “Red Eye Radio” and Doug McIntyre would leave those duties.  Now, speculation that McIntyre moves back to morning drive at KABC – the program he hosted from 2004 to 2009 – is confirmed.  News pro Terri-Rae Elmer – who announced her exit from Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI last week – is co-host of the new program.  In a release, Cumulus says, “The show will feature McIntyre’s unique sense of humor and ability to get to the heart of the biggest stories affecting Los Angeles and Orange County.”  McIntyre says, “I’m excited to return to the morning drive with leading radio station, KABC.  I look forward to keeping my audience informed and entertained as they wake up with me each morning.”  Current KABC morning host Peter Tilden appears to be staying with the company in a capacity to be announced later.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Morning Host Al Gardner to Program Merlin Media’s Philly Station.  Philadelphia native Al Gardner has been co-hosting the morning drive show at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM since 1997.  In January he’ll return to his hometown to take on the vice president of programming position at Merlin Media’s WKDN-FM Philadelphia – a station Merlin is expected to flip to an all-news format.  The Charlotte Observer reports the 64-year-old Gardner has been doing some consulting for the recently formed Merlin Media and Gardner tells the paper of his new gig, “This is a pinch-me job.  It couldn’t be better.”  Greater Media is letting Gardner out of his contract a year early to pursue the Merlin position.  As for WBT, program director Carl East tells the paper sports anchor Jim Szoke will take on a bigger role on the morning program alongside current morning co-host Stacey Simms.

Dial Global Star Clark Howard Cuts Live Portion of Program to Two Hours.  Saying he’s been burning the candle at both ends, money guru Clark Howard tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho he’s cutting back on his radio work and will only do two hours of live programming daily.  Affiliates that want to continue with three hours will get a third hour composed of best-of segments from the live show content.  Clark Howard tells Ho that he’s just finished touring to promote his latest book, “Living Large in Lean Times,” and he recently had to take two weeks off after a bout with laryngitis.  Howard, with some 600 radio affiliates, is a busy guy.  In addition to his radio work, he does TV segments for 15 Cox-owned TV stations, hosts a weekend show on cable TV’s HLN and operates the digital media station clarkhoward.com.

Robert Wuhl and Doug Urbanski Shows to Be Dropped by Dial Global.  That’s not the official word from Dial Global, it’s what TALKERS is hearing through the grapevine.  Both Robert Wuhl’s and Doug Urbanski’s shows were Westwood One properties that came to Dial Global with the merger of the two companies announced back in August.  Lean times make broadcast companies assess where they are spending money and we can only assume that the shows are not bringing in the kind of cash required to justify their continuation.  It’s expected the shows’ affiliates have been quietly notified so they can make programming plans for 2012.

WWRL Morning Host Mark Riley on TALKERS TV.  In an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey on the scene at last Thursday’s “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row, the veteran New York City broadcaster discusses the evolution of Big Apple urban talk radio as well as his own.  Mark Riley points out that his AM drive program is heard by a variety of listeners including both African Americans and whites. He talks about the positive aspects of being local in the nation’s largest market and the spectrum of issues covered in a major metropolis including the impact of guns and violence in daily city life.  Riley was one of more than 20 talk media personalities participating in the seventh annual radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence presented by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor, Liz Claiborne, Inc. at the company’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.  See the interview with Mark Riley now at TALKERS TV in the column on the right side of this page.

WGN, Chicago Partners with Ad Agency for Holiday Fundraiser.  Tribune Company talk station WGN, Chicago is partnering with ad agency Schafer/Condon/Carter to present “Carols for KidsSM” on Thursday, December 15 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.  During that time listeners are encouraged to join WGN and Schafer/Condon/Carter staffers for the mass caroling event, the second hour of which will be broadcast live on WGN.  The event included carols and entertainment from Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison and Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, WGN Radio’s Orion Samuelson and more.  Donations to the “Neediest Kids Fund” will be accepted on site during the event and online at www.SCCCarolsForKids.org.  Lou Malnati’s will also be providing slices of pizza for all attendees for a suggested donation of $3 per slice.  WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “We are so pleased that Schafer|Condon|Carter used its creativity to come up with this wonderful concept and chose the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ as its beneficiary.  We look forward to working with them to continue to raise money for the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ and help children all over Chicagoland.”