Tag: "Al Gore"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

| November 7, 2013

sportshh2013TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio.  The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7).  Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The results are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication.  TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list!  To see the entire roster, please click here.

parksdarrylDarryl Parks Exits Clear Channel.  The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel.  Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company.  He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW.  As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company.  The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”

cbsradioCBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%.  For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%.  With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio.  EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results.  Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter.  And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.”  The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.

cclogoClear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%.  CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million.  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas.  At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.”  Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram.  iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.  Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”

katztonyTony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11.  Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles.  Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch.  Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape.  I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement.  To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.”  Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC.  He is also a sought after public speaker.

cunninghambillBill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW.  WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.”  Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET.  The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting.  Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations.  When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top.  His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”

cookehollandA Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California.  Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.”  He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business.  Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.

westwoodone logoWestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers.  Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios.  The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life.  The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.”  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix.  Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition.  Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”

valentinephilPhil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour.  Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.”  Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA.  Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release.  It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival.  The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out.  It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.”  Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth.  People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison.  They instinctively know they’re being lied to.  We just arm them with the facts.”  The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville.  Other tour dates are being added.

morelandkeithOdds & Sods.  Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role.  WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family.  In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity.  After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.”  Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February.  The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL.  Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen.  In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.

zimneymissindy‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’  Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes.  Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday.  The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.

ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 19, 2013

| April 19, 2013

premiere networks 2Premiere Networks Partners with Dave Kolin for Comedy Content.  Premiere Networks announces a partnership with comedy production pro David “Dr. Dave” Kolin that will involve a variety of content including services for radio talent, stations, digital outlets, video projects and more.  Additional details will be announced inkolindavid the near future.  Premiere EVP of music programming Jennifer Leimgruber states, “Dr. Dave is a fantastically creative person with a demonstrated record of success in a variety of media.  We were delighted when the opportunity to work with him presented itself.”  Dr. Dave states, “It is a dream come true and the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to apply my talents and skills with people who share the same vision for entertaining consumers in this multimedia world.  I look forward to revealing Dr. Dave 2.0.”  Kolin’s resume states that he was founder, director and president of DB Communications, Inc., a radio syndication company.  That company served as the nucleus for USRN, which he co-founded in 1994.  During his time with USRN, he wrote and performed much of the comedy product distributed by the network and served as the executive producer of the comedy department.  In addition, he served on the company’s board of directors and executive produced Pulse Comedy Prep.  He also has two decades of extensive television credits, including FOX, ABC, HBO and MTV.

wqamlogoJohn Renshaw Takes Midday Slot at WQAM, Miami.  Beasley Broadcasting promotes weekend sports talk host John Renshaw to the daily 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show left open by the departure of Dan Sileo back in early March.  According to the Sun-Sentinel, Renshaw will be joined on the air by Miami Hurricanes broadcaster Alex Donno.  WQAM program director Jorge Sedano tells the paper the move “made a lot of sense.  I know how smart, funny, entertaining and self-deprecating he is.  He’s everything you want in a sports talk radio show host.”

hillschlerethOdds & Sods.  Fox Sports Radio Network will simulcast the television program, “UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez,” on Saturday, April 20.  The fight originates from the HP Pavilion in San Jose and features four fights plus the main event, Benson Henderson versus Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez.  Following the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call ins from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..ESPN Radio will be live from New York next Thursday for the NFL Draft. Coverage begins Thursday, April 25 at 7:00 pm and will feature Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth (pictured here), co-hosts of the network’s Hill & Schlereth evening show.  They’ll anchor from Radio City Music Hall and will be joined by ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. providing analysis of each first-round pick…..The New York Post reports that it is slow going for Al Jazeera’s new American cable news/talk network – the former Current TV it purchased from founder Al Gore.  The paper says the Qatari government-owned network’s goal of launching in June is not doable and sources tell the Post it’s looking more like August or September.  So far the network has hired former CNN business analyst Ali Veshi and investigative reporter Ed Pound but has not been able to ink a news chief.  The piece noted one exec said he felt squeamish about the source of the network’s funding.

beckasingsKOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Channels the Rat Pack.  Omaha talk radio personality Tom Becka is pictured here at the Omaha Press Club Show giving attendees at taste of 1960s Las Vegas lounge singing as he does a take-off on Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” with the chorus changed to “there’s better things up ahead.”  Becka tells TALKERS magazine, “The show is an annual event that raises thousands of dollars for journalism scholarships.  Over the years the show has featured such dignitaries as Chuck Hagel, Warren Buffett, Herman Cain, Bill Gates and others.  They asked me to write and sing a song chronicling the year I had, starting with getting fired from Clear Channel, and ending with landing on my feet at NRG Media’s Mighty 1290 KOIL.”

raytomIP in Our Broadcast World:  Don’t Fear the Internet.  Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray points out that the subjects of IP and IP codecs are increasingly becoming a major concern among broadcasters – a conversation that quickly escalated when Verizon quietly started telling customers in the northeast that ISDN was soon to be history. In the latest in his enlightening series on the subject (must-reading for programmers and management charged with taking a more hands-on approach to the tech end of things in this new economic environment), Ray responds to a question he heard raised at the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas: “Would you trust your high dollar sports remote to an IP connection over the public internet?”  Apparently, CBS television has answered that question in the company’s recent coverage of college basketball’s Final Four.  Ray explains how and takes us deeper into understanding the growing importance of IP and IP codecs in the radio broadcasting world.  Basically it comes down to embracing the internet, not fearing it – and learning everything you can about IP and IP codecs.  To read Tom Ray’s column, click here.

KFWB300Dial Global and NBC Radio Sports Reps Visit KFWB, Los Angeles.  Following last week’s announcement of KFWB, Los Angeles’ new sports talk programming, representatives from Dial Global and NBC Radio Sports stopped by KFWB’s studios in Los Angeles yesterday (4/18) to meet the staff.  Pictured (l-r): Diane Sutter, president of the KFWB Asset Trust, co-host Eytan Shander of The Amani & Eytan Show weeknights 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on KFWB, Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran, NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver and KFWB general manager Valerie K. Blackburn.

wpg100benztown100WPGG (“WPG Talk Radio 1450″), Atlantic City Wins Benztown Contest to Receive a Year’s Worth of Free Voiceover and Imaging Service.  Burbank, California-based syndication and imaging company, Benztown tells TALKERS that Townsquare Media-owned Atlantic City radio station, WPG Talk Radio 1450, is the winner of its “Love Your Station, Elevate Your Sound” contest. The news/talk station will receive a full year of free voice-over services from voice-over icon, Joe Cipriano. WPGG will also receive a full year of free professional imaging services from the company.  WPGG PD/brand manager Chris Coleman, explains “I was a huge fan of Benztown before winning the contest. WPGG went on the air this past October (six days before Hurricane Sandy passed over Atlantic City) and when I was building the station, I wanted and needed a big, news/talk voice. However, with a tiny budget, I was really concerned that how I wanted the station to sound wasn’t going to be possible… then I found Benztown. Through Benztown, I was able to hook up with Greg O’Neill, who is nothing short of excellent to work with. Being able to launch a news/talk station with the voice of Fox News made us sound HUGE on day one.”  Coleman continues, “Fast forward a few months and I found Benztown’s “Love Your Station, Elevate Your Sound” contest and entered it. Much to my surprise, Masa Patterson called me and told me I won! Being the PD/brand manager of a six-month-old news/talk station that has access to two of the biggest voice-over guys in the country, on top of the world-class imaging and production that Benztown has to offer, is truly amazing.” In addition to being the PD/brand manager of WPGG,  Coleman also handles afternoon drive on Townsquare’s country station and is the production director for their five-station cluster. No doubt, his prize will come in handy!

bq_41913Blanquita Cullum Continues to ask The Hard Question.  Controversy continues to surround the future of the Keystone Pipeline. Is the pipeline a symbol of an environmental movement? Or is the country about to capitalize on the greatest economic opportunity from our neighbor to the North – Canada.  The second in the series of “The Hard Question” debates hosted by talk radio veteran and former U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors member Blanquita Cullum recently (4/10) tackled the critical discussion over the Keystone Pipeline at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  Participants included U.S. Senator Don Nickles (retired, R-OK); U.S. Senator Bryon Dorgan (retired, D-ND); Anthony Swift, Natural Resource Defense Council; Chris Faulkner, Breitling Oil & Gas; Doug Cain, Lake Truck Lines; Brian Ambrose, Vencedor Energy Partners and Lane Sloan, Greater Houston Partnership. To view highlights of the debate click here.  “The Hard Question” is a weekly TV news program and quarterly debate series hosted by Blanquita Cullum to get to the root of critical energy issues that impact the US and the world. The pilot TV programs were aired on June 24th and July 15th in 2012 on KTRK-TV (ABC) in Houston and won the top spots in their time periods. The program will go national in 2013 on MHz Networks national channel and plans are in place to launch a radio/audio version of the program.

earthdaylogoCBS Radio Philadelphia Gets a Jump on Earth Day.  Tomorrow (4/20) CBS Radio Philadelphia will be involved in its Fourth Annual Earthfest Celebration in partnership with the Clean Air Council.  The 5K Run for Clean Air is Philadelphia’s leading green run. For 2013, the Run’s Earth Day Celebration has moved to the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. CBS Radio participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, presented by United Healthcare, on-site. This opportunity gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor. Kids can download and listen to their very own news report, and share it with family and friends.  Sports talk WIP’s “Tailgate Team” will offer participants the opportunity to play games to win prizes and get involved in a sports conversation about all the Philadelphia sports teams.  98.1 WOGL’s Ross Brittain will be providing “music and fun for everyone.”  Talk Radio 1210 WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco, will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Steve will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing.  Over the past 32 years, the 5K Run for Clean Air has grown into Philadelphia’s largest Earth Day Celebration.  Earth Day is Monday April 22.

Boston Marathon Bombing the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of April 15-19.  The bombing at Monday’s Boston Marathon and the subsequent deaths and injuries were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week.  Following at #2 was gun legislation activity in Washington.  At #3 was the immigration bill debate followed by the DC ricin incidents at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

| February 21, 2013

nms2013logoNorm Pattiz to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention.  Pattiz will deliver a solo address titled, “From Westwood One to Podcast One.”  He will pattiznormdiscuss the challenges facing broadcast radio companies as they integrate their product lines into a workable balance between on-air and digital venues with the focus being monetizing radio on the internet.  In the past year, Westwood One-founder Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment has shown aggressive growth – offering such personalities as Dr. Drew Pinsky, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly and more to its affiliates.  The company’s recent signing of Ron Paul to a talk radio deal has been a big source of buzz and the industry anxiously anticipates the coming internet launch of Podcast One – an online initiative of Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The subject of balancing the interests of on-air and online radio broadcasting with the focus on revenue generation has never been more important in the radio industry conversation than it is right now.  Norm Pattiz brings extraordinary historical background as well as future-based vision to the discussion.  His participation adds to this being the most important TALKERS event ever.”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

madisonjoeSiriusXM and WOL, Washington Talk Host Joe Madison to Interview Barack Obama Today.  Assuming the president’s schedule doesn’t take a sudden turn in another direction, SiriusXM-based Joe Madison, whose AM drive show is also heard on Radio One’s WOL, Washington, DC, will tape an interview with him for airing, presumably tomorrow.  The subjects covered will include Black History Month, a follow-up on the State of the Union and other topics.  President Obama — certainly not considered the most radio-friendly president by conservatives – has actually done a lot more radio than many of his recent predecessors.  The president has appeared on Madison’s show in the past, been interviewed by WYD Media-syndicated personality Michael Smerconish and has appeared on numerous music-formatted morning programs.

sabowalterRadio Station Staffers Pre-occupied with Job Security. This gets in the way of paying attention to important trends and information vital to competing and growing successfully during these times of rapid technological and cultural change.  Noted consultant Walter Sabo makes this key point in his latest article for TALKERS in which he cites five significant trends of importance to radio broadcasters.  They include the importance of video to radio online and sales presentations, the radio host as owner of intellectual property, the still-untapped female market in spoken word radio, and the emergence of the listener as a media star.  Sabo suggests not asking listeners to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter.  Instead, he says you should be offering to like and follow them! Read the entire article here.

backusdonDon Backus Named Eastern Region Sales Manager for Broadcast Electronics.  Broadcast Electronics (BE) announces the promotion of Don Backus to Eastern Region sales manager.  In this new role he’ll represent BE’s RF and studio lines, which include AudioVAULT, Commotion and The Radio Experience (TRE) studio brands as well as BE’s AM, FM and HD Radio™ transmitter lines to customers in the East.  Previously, Backus represented Commotion, a Broadcast Electronics company, as vice president of global market development.  Backus will continue his efforts with Commotion, increasing the company’s presence in new global markets.  BE VP of studio products Ray Miklius says, “Don’s education, experience, and extensive knowledge of the radio industry will serve radio broadcasters well as they look to improve their operations.”

Father-Son Sports Talk Webcast to Get Terrestrial Outlet in Las Vegas.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal spotlighted a local father-son team who have been hosting a weekly, two-hour sports talk podcast on the local Las Vegas internet site lvrocks.com.  Now the duo of Bryan Feldman and his son Jaycob are planning to have their Sunday evening show air on Lotus Broadcasting’s KLAV, Las Vegas beginning March 3.  Bryan Feldman previously worked in radio for CBS/Infinity.  His bio says he’s hosted talk shows and worked as a marketing specialist with pro sports teams including the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

cookehollandHolland Cooke to Speak About Social Media at NAB Show in Las Vegas.  Consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke confirms: “Take it literally!  We’ll FEED YOU” at the Lunchtime Social — as in Social Media — Wednesday, April 10, at the National Association of Broadcasters NAB Show convention in Las Vegas.  NAB will provide box lunches to attendees at this interactive 90-minute session, where HC will demonstrate how radio stations and radio and netcast talent are using Social Media “to grow audience reach, deepen the relationship you have with ‘your tribe,’ and MAKE MONEY.”  For more information, click here.

goldenmike2013The Broadcasters Foundation of America to Honor David J. Barrett at Golden Mike Award Ceremony.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it will present its 2013 Golden Mike Award to David J. Barrett, chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Television Inc., at a gala to benefit the Foundation on Monday, February 25 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Legendary sports broadcaster Jon Miller will host the event, which will include presentations by comedian, author and talk show host Steve Harvey and “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz.  Iconic singer and actress Darlene Love will perform.  The annual gala is the year’s top fundraiser for the Foundation, which supports broadcasters who can no longer work due to a catastrophic event, illness or family circumstances.  The Award honors exemplary service to the industry.

koil logoNRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha to Host Mayoral Debate.  The five candidates in Omaha’s mayoral race will take part in a debate to be held at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday, March 14 7:00 pm and the event will be broadcast live on NRG Media’s KOIL.  NRG Media personality Mike’l Severe will serve as moderator and KOIL personalities Tom Becka and Clint Bellows along with KETV City Hall reporter Todd Andrews will question the candidates.  KOIL program director Neil Nelkin says, “This is a hotly contested race for mayor as we have several critical issues in the city of Omaha that will dictate the future direction of the city including employment and education.”  The station says a limited number of tickets will be available to the public via the KOIL website and that Tom Becka will provide listeners with free tickets during his program.

Odds & Sods.  Former Vice President Al Gore will appear on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series to promote his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change (Random House 2013).  He’ll be interviewed before a studio audience by Ari Rabin-Havt, who hosts “The Agenda” on the satcaster’s progressive talk channel…..MLB’s Oakland A’s ink a multi-year deal with CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento to air their games on the sports talk station…..The National Association of Broadcasters are announcing that CBS TV journalist Bob Schieffer will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award during the 2013 NAB Show.  Schieffer will accept the award at the opening keynote session on April 8 in Las Vegas.

Sequester Issue, Gun Legislation, Jesse Jackson, Jr. Guilty Plea, Oscar Pistorius Case, and Storm Q/Climate Change Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20).  The battle in Washington over the sequester issue; ongoing debate over gun legislation proposals; Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s guilty plea in his illegal campaign funds usage case; the Oscar Pistorius murder case and Winter Storm Q/climate change controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

| January 3, 2013

johnkenKFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken Appear on WOR, New York.  New WOR, New York owner Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has begun airing talk radio duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou in the evenings on the station.  On Wednesday night, a simulcast hour from the final hour of the pair’s highly rated KFI, Los Angeles wor710program aired at 9:00 pm followed by a 10:00 pm hour of custom programming for the New York station.  John and Ken are no strangers to the region having grown up in the New York area and having gotten their start on radio stations in the Tri-State Area.  They rose to prominence during their stint at Trenton-based “New Jersey 101.5” (WKXW).  John and Ken have been syndicated in the past.  During a brief period in the late 1990s, the duo began a national syndication effort under Fisher Entertainment but that ended when they moved to KABC, Los Angeles to take the morning drive slot.

nbcsportsradioPeacock Sports Network Playing the Hits.  In TALKERS magazine’s second part of its three-part series on the new sports talk radio players (and the growing field in general), managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian gets inside the heads of those involved in the new NBC Sports Radio Network that is launching its weekend programming this weekend and its full daily slate in April.  NBC Sports Radio kinosianmikeprogrammer Jack Silver tells TALKERS his network is focusing on finding talent it believes is the next generation.  “The weekday and weekend lineups mirror the network’s mission statement, which is to be a new wave of sports talk.  We did not hire the more traditional names.  The developmental mindset we have is to find new sports talk talent.  CBS Sports Radio has veterans like Jim Rome and Scott Ferrall.  We are looking for the next versions of people like that, as well as Dan Patrick and [ESPN Radio morning personalities] ‘Mike [Greenberg] & Mike [Golic].’  We are producing this sports network like a rock station, with in-your-face production.  To my ear, it feels like an FM talk station – which is my specialty. It is based on opinions and talk show topics.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s entire piece here.

cumulusCumulus Media Returns 44 Markets to Arbitron Diary Service.  After three years with no Arbitron diary ratings service, Cumulus Media-owned stations in 44 markets will resume subscription to the service effectivearbitron immediately.  Cumulus Media and Arbitron announce they have agreed to a multi-year contract that brings Cumulus stations in the 44 markets back into the fold and renews the company’s PPM ratings service deal in the 17 PPM markets in which it operates.  Arbitron states that the deal covers all 450 Cumulus stations in the 100 Cumulus radio markets currently surveyed by Arbitron.  It also renews ratings agreements in 39 diary markets.  In addition to diary and PPM local market ratings, the agreement also provides Cumulus with access to Arbitron software applications, Scarborough consumer profile services, dickeylewand national and network radio ratings for Cumulus Media Networks.  Cumulus has also agreed to collaborate with Arbitron on cross-platform services that would quantify the total impact of the Cumulus radio brand.  Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey says, “With this agreement, Arbitron and Cumulus are demonstrating a long-term commitment to collaborate for the benefit of the radio industry.  We will work closely with Arbitron on its ongoing quality and service enhancement initiatives.  Specifically, we look forward to participating in the development of an integrated, total radio audience service that gives broadcasters full credit for our audiences regardless of how listeners access our content.”

cainhermanHerman Cain is Coming and Consultant Holland Cooke Predicts Success.  Businessman, talk show host and one-time presidential candidate Herman Cain is prepping to take over the WSB, Atlanta and Cox Media syndication of the Neal Boortz program when Boortz retires this month.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke predicts Cain will succeed and offers eight reasons why, beginning with: “He’s a radio natural, as we heard when he filled-in for Sean Hannity last summer.  Even if Cain’s primary run hadn’t made it so familiar, his voice jumps-out-of the speaker.  And he speaks in sound bites that are made for AM radio.”  There’s more.  Read Cooke’s piece here.

mendtelarryLarry Mendte Exits Merlin’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Announcing his departure from the Philadelphia talk outlet via his Facebook page, talk personality and former market TV news anchor Larry Mendte states the reason was not due to ratings as his show was “by far the highest-rated local show.”  But Mendte, who joined the station in May of last year, says in his post that he believes his exit will spur rumors the station is for sale.  He says he hopes that’s not true as he believes the station “fills an important void.”  Mendte was hired to work the morning show alongside programmer and co-host Al Gardner.  Earlier in the fall, New York-based multi-media star Lionel was brought in to work with Gardner for a portion of the morning program.  WWIQ’s website lists both Gardner and Lionel as co-hosts of the 5:00 am to 9:00 am program.

woky logoClear Channel to Flip WOKY, Milwaukee to Sports Talk.  Beginning Monday, January 7, Clear Channel-owned classic country WOKY, Milwaukee will become a sports talk outlet as “The Big 920.”  The station will feature regional sports talk personalities as well as Fox Sports Radio Network syndicated programming including Dan Patrick and Jay Mohr.  According to a report in The Business Journal, the station will run the same programming that airs on CC’s Madison sports talk station WTSO “The Big 1070.”  The station will air a talk show featuring morning drive hosts Mike Lucas and Matt Lepay from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  It will be in competition in the market with Good Karma’s WAUK and Entercom’s WSSP.

wqrtlogoWQRT, Cincinnati to Drop Talk; Station Will Go Dark, Launch New Format in February.  The Cincinnati market sports and talk station WQRT “Real Talk 1160” will go dark after the broadcast of the BCS National Championship game on January 7 and take the rest of the month to prepare for a new format.  Christian Broadcast System owner Jon Yinger tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter the station did not perform as the company had hoped despite hiring numerous local personalities over the course of the past few years to challenge competitors in the market.  Local staffers including morning host Dean Miuccio, news staffer T.C. Summers, afternoon sports talk hosts Dennis “Wildman” Walker and Jeff Piecoro have been let go and the station will air syndicated programming until it signs off.  The station recently lost operations manager Rob Williams and sports talk host and producer Rick Ucchino who left to join Cumulus Media’s crosstown WCFN which debuted the CBS Sports Radio Network format on Wednesday, January 2.

currenttvAl Gore’s Current TV Bought by Al Jazeera.  The Al Gore- and Joel Hyatt-owned Current TV cable news/talk channel has been purchased by the Qatar-based Arab world cable news operation Al Jazeera for a reported $500 million.  Bloomberg reports Gore and Hyatt paid $60 million for the media outlet in 2004.  Bloomberg notes in its report that Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable company, said it would stop carrying Current TV with the ownership change.  “Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service…We are removing the service as quickly as possible.”  Time Warner Cable currently carries the Al Jazeera English-language programming in New York City however it does not offer Al Jazeera in the Los Angeles market.  The Associated Press reports the acquisition will give Al Jazeera access to about 40 million more homes.  It also states that Al Jazeera – owned by the government of Qatar – plans to gradually transform Current TV into a network called Al Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists.  More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York City.

mohrjay

Fox Sports Radio Network’s Jay Mohr Debuts on 70-Plus Stations.  The new late-morning program on the Fox Sports Radio Network hosted by long-time FSRN fill-in host, comedian and actor Jay Mohr hit the ground running with about 70 affiliates yesterday.  Fox Sports reports the show aired in markets including: Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Portland and Pittsburgh.  Mohr’s program fills the slot held for so many years by Jim Rome who left Premiere Networks for the new CBS Sports Radio Network.

keelerbillBill Keeler to Host Mornings on WIBX, Utica.  Local media personality Bill Keeler will begin hosting the morning drive program on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WIBX, Utica, New York on Monday, January 14, according to WKTV-TV, Utica.  Keeler, who has been hosting a restaurant program on WKTV-TV, has also worked in the market in radio at CHR WSKS and rock WXUR.  He says, “I am so excited about doing mornings on WIBX.  This is a heritage radio station that’s been around for 87 years and it remains one of the top stations in the market.  I can’t wait to get on the air and get started.”  Keeler will be joined by news anchor Kristine Bellino.

mcmichaelsteveWMVP, Chicago Personality Steve McMichael Pulled from Broadcasting After Equal Time Request.  Former Chicago Bears great and WMVP, Chicago sports talk personality Steve “Mongo” McMichael was yanked from Sunday’s program prior to the final Bears game of the season after the mayor of Romeoville, Illinois filed an equal time request with the station.  McMichael filed papers on December 26 to get on the ballot to run for mayor of Romeoville in April and one of his opponents, current Mayor John Noak, filed the request citing equal time regulations.  McMichael tells the Chicago Tribune, “I was ready to go on and talk football.  I by no means used that pre-game show as a political platform this year.  But if that’s the law, it’s the law and I have to accept it.”

wtmjJournal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Record Results for Holiday Toy Drive.  WTMJ, Milwaukee program director Joe Scialfa announces the Journal Broadcast Group station collected more than 19,000 toys during its 2012 “Kids to Kids Christmas”  Scialfa says more than 50 schools in the region participated in the charity drive that encouraged children to shop with their parents for toys to donate to those less fortunate.  Scialfa states, “The listeners of Newsradio 620 WTMJ are amazing.  Again this year, they have shared the message of giving with their kids in a record setting way!  We couldn’t be prouder to come to work each day to inform and entertain this great audience.”

‘Fiscal Crisis’ Bill Signed, Hurricane Sandy Aid Controversy, Financial Markets Activity, Hillary Clinton Health Status and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2).  The aftermath of the bill signed to avert the “fiscal crisis”; the anger over Congress’ bypassing Hurricane Sandy aid; financial markets respond to “fiscal crisis” legislation; the health status of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and ongoing debate of gun laws in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, October 26, 2012

| October 26, 2012

Interviewing the Commander in Chief.  WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish is interviewing President Barack Obama today at 12:00 noon ET for the seventh time and the fourth time since he took office in 2009.  He will be given 15 minutes with the president. Today’s interview will be broadcast on the Michael Smerconish program this afternoon at 1:00 pm ET.  Getting an interview with the chief executive, even by phone, is a major deal on radio but Smerconish is one of the few radio personalities to have the privilege to do a no-holds-barred discussion with the president about the issues in a rare sit-down session actually in the Oval Office.  In an exclusive interview with Smerconish conducted this morning at 9:00 am ET, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the host about his mindset, the state of partisan news/talk radio, and about what goes into preparing for a discussion with the commander-in-chief.  Listen to their conversation here. (If you are on a mobile device – please click here).

To hear Michael Smerconish’s interview with President Obama, click below.

WQXI, Atlanta Promotes Keith Allen to APD.  The Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet announces “Mayhem in the AM” producer Keith Allen is adding the assistant program director duties to his responsibilities.  He’ll continue to produce the morning show.  Program director Bob Richards states, “Keith has produced the biggest brands in the market.  He understands our target demo and is one of the key factors in making ‘Mayhem in the AM’ the top-rated sports talk show in Atlanta over the past year.  Keith’s appointment to this position is one of many exciting changes taking place at ‘790 The Zone.’”  Allen came to WQXI three years ago.  Previously he served as producer at sports talk WBNS, Columbus.

WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts 16th Annual Breast Cancer Special.  This will be the 16th year WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards has hosted the multi award-winning breast cancer special.  It takes place Sunday from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is presented by Walgreens.  WGN states, “The live, three-hour town hall meeting examines where we are in the fight against breast cancer featuring a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.  Special guests include: breast cancer survivor and actress Maura Tierney; Dr. Kathy Albain, medical oncologist, Loyola University Medical Center; Dr. Claudia Perez, assistant professor surgery, surgical oncology, Loyola University Medical Center; Deborah Cornwall, author of the new book, Things I Wish I’d Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out; and LauraJane Hyde, chief executive officer of Gilda’s Club Chicago.

Get Well Wishes to WIBA, Madison’s Mitch Henck.  Morning talk show host Mitch Henck is off the air at Clear Channel’s news/talk WIBA, Madison this week after suffering a mild stroke early Monday morning.  The Wisconsin State Journal reports co-workers held a get-well-Mitch discussion on the radio this week and news director Robin Colbert said, “”He’s in the hospital, but he is recovering and getting stronger and better every day.”  Henck hosts the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on WIBA.

Al Gore’s Current TV on the Block.  The New York Post reports the cable channel owned by former Vice President Al Gore, CEO Joel Hyatt and other private investors is up for sale.  Hyatt tells the Post, “Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company.  This year alone, we have had three inquiries.  As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.”  The story notes Current TV is interviewing investment banks but has yet to launch a formal sales process.  The Post reports ad revenue for 2011 for the cable channel was estimated at $16.9 million.  It is available in approximately 60 million homes.

Dave Ramsey Delivers in Denver.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey recently presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live” event in Denver to a record crowd.  This presentation centers on “how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.”  Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage.  Local stations KLZ, Denver and KRDO, Colorado Springs benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in the region.  KLZ station manager Mike Triem states, “The listeners of ‘560 The Source’ get to learn daily from Dave and they set aside that time each day and week to grow their knowledge about finances and about life.  The ‘Living a Legacy’ event gives our listeners the opportunity to learn from Dave ‘live.’  These listeners will be able to establish a lasting legacy for their children and what their friends and co-workers will ‘take away’ from knowing them.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): KLZ’s Mike Triem, Dave Ramsey, KRDO program director Mike Lewis, and Jon Acuff.

Welcoming the Candidates to Nevada.  KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive talk show host Alan Stock is pictured here with Governor Mitt Romney backstage at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada.  Stock was invited to welcome the crowd for the Romney/Ryan Rally in Henderson where some 8,000 supporters gathered.  KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “It’s always great to have your station and its talk personalities involved in the local community, but to have one be asked to participate in an event of this magnitude, makes me realize the integral role KDWN plays in Las Vegas.”  Stock was elated at the opportunity to welcome the candidates to Nevada, saying, “It was an incredible experience to be part of an historic event like this, to be in the presence of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and to feel the energy of the crowd that came out to support them.”

Odds & Sods.  Drew Belzer exits ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles where he’d been serving as a reporter/anchor and host after nine years with the station…..CBS Radio’s sports talk WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia inks a deal with Villanova University to carry play-by-play of the school’s men’s basketball and football that begins with the 2012-13 basketball season.  Games and special Villanova basketball and football talk shows will air on WIP’s AM 610 signal…..The Washington Post reports CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and Hubbard’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” will share carriage of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards.  Both teams’ games will air on both stations unless there’s a conflict, then the Capitals will air on WJFK and the Wizards will air on WFED…..A1R Psychic Radio earns a “special thanks” credit from the executive producer of NBC/Universal’s “Trisha Goddard Show” for its help contributing to the Halloween edition of the show dealing with psychics and mediums.

Washington Programmer and Personality Bernie McCain Mourned.  Bernie McCain was the first program director of Radio One’s WOL, Washington when it flipped to a talk format.  He also served as a personality on the station.  He came to WOL from crosstown WWRC.  McCain died of kidney failure on October 13 at the age of 75.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish program is added to the schedule at KGY, Seattle…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added to the program schedule at Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando.  Other stations adding Dean include: KLFE, Seattle; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KFAB, Omaha; WELI, New Haven; and WSCC, Charleston, South Carolina…..Dial Global‘s’ “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger is picked up by KJRB, Spokane and KNEZ, Reno…..WGDJ, Albany adds Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage to the program schedule…..Mass Wave Media Group’s “Scott and Tim” overnight talk show featuring Scott Chambers and Tim Sutton is added to the program lineup at WTDR, Talladega, Alabama and WGAD, Gadsden, Alabama…..KIVA, Albuquerque adds the “Out Loud Minute” by talk personality Malcolm Out Loud.

Presidential Race Polls Top Talkers TenTM for Week of October 22-26.  Talk of the numerous polls tallying support for the presidential candidates was the #1 story on news/talk radio this week, according to TALKERS.  The second most-talked-about story was the Benghazi attack controversy.  Coming in third was the aftermath of the presidential debates and at #4 was the Mourdock rape comments.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

| August 9, 2012

Pioneering Radio Owner Peter Straus Dies at 89.  His Straus Communications owned WMCA, New York when it was a part of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll radio and after it became a talk radio outlet in 1970 until the time it was sold in 1986.  From a talk radio perspective Straus’ WMCA employed legendary talk hosts including Barry Gray, Barry Farber, Bob Grant and Bruce Williams.  The station is now owned by Salem Communications and broadcasts a Christian format.  Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS he has fond memories of working for Straus as executive producer of the talk shows in the early 1980s.  “I worked with Peter at a time when WMCA was a petri dish of talk radio creativity.  Legendary hosts like Barry Gray, Bob Grant, Bruce Williams and Barry Farber were all local hosts on WMCA…and our 5,000-watt station (albeit in the middle of Midtown Manhattan!) was the home of every important New York politician including NYC mayor Ed Koch, New York Lt. Governor (and later Governor) Mario Cuomo, New York city clerk (and future mayor) David Dinkins and many more.  The hallways of WMCA were always full, and it was a rare day one didn’t run into a guest like Marlon Brando or Woody Allen or Tony Randall or Robert Vaughn.”  Tradup says the station was “vibrant but challenged” during his time there as it battled WOR and WABC but Straus was “one in a million.  Peter instituted a ‘first radio in New York’ policy, meaning if an author appeared on another NYC station before WMCA, we wouldn’t book him.  And son of a gun, we started getting all the big authors first because publishers knew he meant it.  This taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten: If you act as if your radio station is #1, people will treat you like #1.  Peter was a winner, an exceptional leader, and the talk radio industry owes him respect and gratitude.”

Howard Stern Appeals Suit Dismissal in Beef with SiriusXM.  Talk radio legend Howard Stern and agent Don Buchwald are not going to let one dismissal get in the way of their goal of getting some $300 million in stock bonuses they say is due them as the result of the satcaster’s success.  According to the New York Daily News, Stern and Buchwald – through Stern’s 112 Inc. production company – filed suit in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division.  The Daily News reports the suit hasn’t even been processed yet so the documents aren’t available but we have a pretty good idea what Stern is claiming: That he is owed the $300 million in stock bonuses because his program is responsible for a large degree of SiriusXM’s success, even the success that came after the merger of Sirius and XM.  In April of this year though, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick disagreed with Stern’s logic and dismissed the case ruling the language in Stern’s contract is “clear” and “unambiguous.”  In other words, he’s gotten everything the contract promised him.

Howard Eskin Returns to TV Sports Anchor Role.  Longtime WIP, Philadelphia sports talk personality Howard Eskin goes back to the little screen as sports anchor at WTXF-TV Fox 29 in Philadelphia.  The station says Eskin helped launch its 10:00 pm news back in 1986 and now he’ll be behind the sports desk for the Fox News 29 at 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm newscasts as well as “Fox 29 Sports Sunday,” “Game Time Live,” and he’ll contribute to “Good Day Philadelphia.”  After leaving his full-time talk show position at WIP, Eskin continued to work with the station as part of the Eagles pre- and post-game shows and as a sideline reporter.  Eskin will remain with WIP to host programs, the Eagles pre-game show and handle sideline reporting for the station.

Shara Fryer Added to KTRH, Houston AM Drive Show.  Longtime Houston market television news personality Shara Fryer will join Matt Patrick as co-host of KTRH’s “Houston’s Morning News.”  Fryer is currently director of the World Affairs Council of Houston but served as co-anchor of KTRK-TV, Houston’s 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm evening newscasts for more than 25 years.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Houston president and market manager Eddie Martiny says, “Over 25 years of major-market broadcast excellence combined with her commitment to numerous charities in Houston make Shara the perfect choice for mornings on KTRH.”  Fryer says, “I’m excited by the energy and raw spirit of radio.  It’s a brand new world for me…There’s a spark with Matt and the entire KTRH team that I hope listeners will feel and join us weekday mornings.”  She begins her new duties on September 4.

Al Gore to Anchor Current TV’s Convention Coverage.  Former Vice President Al Gore – founder of the cable news/talk channel Current TV taps himself to anchor the channel’s coverage of the two political conventions.  Current TV states, “Gore will be joined by former Michigan governor and ‘The War Room’ host, Jennifer Granholm, former New York governor and ‘Viewpoint’ host, Eliot Spitzer and ‘The Young Turks’ host, Cenk Uygur.  Additionally, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will join the panel for the RNC coverage.”  Current TV hosts Joy Behar and John Fugelsang will also assist in the coverage of the RNC beginning August 27 and the DNC beginning September 4.  In a statement, Gore says, “I’m pleased to be participating in Current TV’s impressive lineup throughout the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.  Cenk, Jennifer and Eliot provide the keen insight and spot-on analysis our viewers have come to expect, combined with decades of experience in public service and a deep understanding of politics.  I have no doubt that our coverage will be innovative and informative, and I look forward to working with them.”

Olympian Brings Home the Gold.  Bethesda, Maryland teen Katie Ledecky (pictured here with WTOP, Washington program director Laurie Cantillo) stopped by WTOP to talk with the news organization about her experiences at the London Olympics.  The gold-medal-winning 15-year-old won the 800-meter freestyle and spoke with WTOP anchors Shawn Anderson and John Aaron about the games and answered her critics who predicted she swam too fast in the beginning of the race and would tire before the end.  Obviously, she didn’t.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony bring their program to Chicago for a live remote broadcast tomorrow from the 115 Bourbon Street Bar in suburban Merrionette Park.  The special afternoon edition of the program kicks off at 3:00 pm CT…..CBS Radio names Laura Gonzalez local sales manager for sports talk WJFK, Washington, DC…..Cumulus Media splits off the AM side of sports simulcast WLQR, Toledo to go talk using all Cumulus Media Networks programs: Imus, Geraldo, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin, John Batchelor and “Red Eye Radio”…..Clear Channel’s sports WPOP, Hartford will carry Central Connecticut State football and basketball play-by-play for the next four seasons…..Attorney Eddie Gadrix begins hosting a Monday hour-long program focused on senior issues on WVNJ, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philadelphia market) on Monday mornings at 9:00.  Gadrix has been hosting the “Divorce & Custody Show” on Fridays at 9:00 am on the station and continues that program…..Talk host Matt Bruce fills in on the AM drive show on the simulcast of WWJB, Brooksville and WXJB, Homosassa Springs, Florida today through August 14.

A Sign of the Times.  WRKO, Boston talk host Barry Armstrong – Boston-area financial advisor and host of the daily “The Financial Exchange” program – is pictured here during one of the presentations that was part of the two-day financial seminar event on the economy, social security and estate planning.  More than 1,000 people attended the seminars that were only promoted on Armstrong’s show on WRKO.  Many listeners decided to also get an inside look into the production of Armstrong’s program as he conducted the entire program in front of a live audience.

Presidential Campaign Ads, Neo-Nazi Hate Groups, London Olympics, Mars ‘Curiosity’ Mission and Randy Travis Arrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/8).  The state of the presidential campaign ads in the 2012 election; neo-Nazi groups and the aftermath of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings; the London Olympics; the ‘Curiosity’ mission on Mars; and the arrest of country star Randy Travis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

| August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain.  The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story.  Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue.  The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain.  Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook.  Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store.  At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l)  – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich.  In the panoramic photo below.  The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.

Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store.  A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat.  Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business.  Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Kube states, “This was just the first.  We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”

Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year.  CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment.  Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.

Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show.  Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall.  Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there.  In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime.  He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience.  His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.”  Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs.  The network has not announced what time the show will air.

WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk.  The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D.  Programming consists of: Cumulus Media NetworksImus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.

California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme.  It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do.  The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California.  The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA.  Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust.  59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9.  Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today.  Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.

20 Gallons of Hat.  WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l).  Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.

Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1).  The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

| June 12, 2012

WPHT, Philadelphia Announces New Limbaugh-Free Schedule; Names Buzz Bissinger and Steve Martorano PM Drive Hosts. With Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh headed across town to Merlin Media‘s new WWIQ-FM, CBS Radio‘s news/talk WPHT announces Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pundit Buzz Bissinger will take over PM drive with co-host Steve Martorano. Bissinger moves into PM drive as WYD Media‘s Michael Smerconish slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot (his live air time for national syndication). CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP Marc Rayfield states, “With the presidential election only a few months away, there couldn’t be a better time to heighten our focus on how today’s issues affect our friends, relatives and neighbors. The addition of Buzz to the lineup and presenting Michael’s program live to the audience gives us an incredible advantage as a station created in Philadelphia by Philadelphians for Philadelphians. Buzz has one of the most compelling voices in Philadelphia today. He’s intelligent, honest and hard hitting. He doesn’t play favorites; his only goal is to pursue the truth and no one in local media is more qualified to do so.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Reorganizes Operating Management Team.  Two Clear Channel executives get promoted as the company restructures. Tom Schurr is named president of operations for major markets and Matt Martin is the new president of operations for regional markets. The changes also include the promotion of Tom O’Connell from SVP of operations for the Northeast regional markets to EVP of operations where he, along with EVP of operations Hartley Adkins, will report to Tom Schurr. Matt Martin was previously SVP of operations for the West region. CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers. The proven leadership, experience and performance results of Tom, Matt and Tom M. have shown that they are the perfect candidates to help continue to reinvent how our evolving markets operate.  They have all earned the opportunity to grow their careers and will be an integral part of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s exciting future.” As a result of the moves, EVP of the Western Region Susan Karis exits the company.

New Jersey Broadcasters Association Convention Begins this Evening.  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference and Gala kicks off this evening at Caesar’s Atlantic City. The event, considered by industry observers as one of the most innovative statewide radio conventions in America, begins at 6:00 pm with a spectacular opening reception overlooking the ocean and picks up tomorrow morning with a full schedule of speakers, sessions and presentations under the theme, “The Best is Yet to Come!”  Headline solo presentations will be made by Howard L. Green Humanitarian Award honoree Steve Forbes and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison who will address the topic, “How Terrestrial Radio Can Thrive in the Digital Age.”  Special presentations will be made by ratings expert Charles Sislen and marketing guru John Tkac.  For information call 800-345-7253.

Joy Behar Signs Up with Al Gore’s Current TV.  “The View” cast member Joy Behar will continue her role on that show but will begin a new 6:00 pm ET show – probably called “The Joy Behar Show” – in September. Until then she’ll make appearances on the network including filling in for Eliot Spitzer on “Viewpoint” next week while he’s on vacation. The program will feature a regular, rotating cast of pundits, experts and journalists as cast members to discuss political and social issues. Current TV founder and chairman Al Gore says in a statement, “Joy Behar is a beloved veteran television personality with her finger on the pulse of what viewers care about. Millions of Americans tune in daily to hear her take on the issues along with her inimitable style. We are honored that Current TV will be Joy’s new prime time home.” Until December of 2011, Behar hosted a prime time show on HLN.

MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan to Exit Cable Channel to “Walk the Walk.”  That’s not Dylan Ratigan‘s quote but that’s what the host of his eponymous MSNBC 4:00 pm ET show implies he plans to do. Ratigan, whose three-year-old program (he came over from CNBC in 2009) has often taken on the power structure in American politics – including the close ties between the banking industry and Washington – is quoted by The New York TimesBrian Stelter saying, “Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it – and then it’s a job, good job, pays well, everybody knows your name, it’s great – or you can decide what you’re going to do about it. And the answer is, I don’t know. But I do know, in order to figure it out, I have to dismount.” MSNBC will move Martin Bashir into the 4:00 pm slot and craft a new show for the 3:00 pm hour.

Gregg Hersholt Debuts as Co-Host of KOMO, Seattle AM Program.  Fisher Radio announces Gregg Hersholt returns to the Emerald City as co-host of KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle’s “The KOMO Morning News” alongside Manda Factor. Hersholt worked at Bonneville International‘s crosstown KIRO for 26 years before departing for Portland to work at KXL. Program director Paul Duckworth says, “We’re so excited to have Gregg join us. He’s a terrific storyteller, knows the news business and is a name that is synonymous with Seattle.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Radio talk show host Akos Jankura (whose show is heard Saturday afternoons on WFLA, Tampa), along with his father and daughter rode as “Team 3 Generations” in the 200 meter bicycle competition “Endridge Ride to Conquer Cancer” in Ontario, Canada. The event raised some $18 million to benefit The Princess Margaret Foundation…..Slacker Radio and ESPN team up to offer a collection of ESPN stations designed to stream ESPN shows and sporting events on Slacker’s service. Four of the stations will feature content from ESPN’s O&Os in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas…..In honor of Father’s Day, SiriusXM launches a week-long series of special programming with Men’s Health Radio. The channel will be hosted by Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and will spotlight a different topic each day: why guys don’t go to the doctor and why they should; how to eat like a man and not look like a Neanderthal; tips from the editor-in-chief David Zinczenko’s bestselling books Eat This! Not That!; and much more…..The “Bobby Likis Car Clinic” show is giving away “The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift Package” this Saturday that includes an Escort Radar detector and a subscription to Escort Live – “social networking for the road.”

Radio Newsman Chris Stanley Passes Away at 64.  Radio news pro Chris Stanley spent the last five years of his career at Fox News Radio. Prior to that he worked at CBS Radio‘s KNX, Los Angeles. Stanley, who died on Saturday, June 10 after a heart attack, had retired from Fox News Radio in April.

2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Commerce Secretary Car Crashes, and Spain Bailout/EU Uncertainty Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11).  President Barack Obama‘s campaign to win re-election in the face of Mitt Romney‘s challenge; the trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky; U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson takes medical leave after two auto accidents in Los Angeles; and a bailout for Spain and the uncertainty of the stability of the euro were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

| April 19, 2012

Entertainment Industry Mourns Passing of Dick Clark.  The music, television and radio industries are mourning the passing of pioneer broadcaster Dick Clark, who died on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at age 82.  In addition to his numerous other contributions to the entertainment industry, Clark co-founded United Stations Radio Networks with Nick Verbitsky in 1981.  Verbitsky says, “Dick was an icon to many, but a true friend, partner and mentor to those of us who worked closely with him.  His impact on broadcasting is immeasurable, and his entrepreneurial spirit will be a part of our world at United Stations forever.”

Talk Host Scott Hennen to Purchase WZFG, Fargo.  The conservative talk-formatted WZFG, Fargo – positioned as “1100 AM The Flag” – will return to the control of talk host and station manager Scott Hennen upon FCC approval and the closing.  Hennen announces he’s struck a deal with Great Plains Integrated Marketing to buy back the station he founded in 2008.  Hennen was fired by his investors as president and CEO of GPIM in the fall of 2010.  His program remained on the air at WZFG until May of 2011.  Hennen is currently hosting a nationally syndicated radio show but is not heard in the Fargo market at this time.  His program will return to the station when the new deal begins.

Internet and Terrestrial Radio Are Different Businesses When it Comes to Non-Competes.  That’s the ruling of Stark County (OH) Common Pleas Court Judge Charles E. Brown in the case of two Canton jocks who started a radio show on the internet and were sued by their former employer for violating the non-compete.  Radio hosts Patrick DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco (pictured here) left their highly rated morning program at WDJQ-FM, Canton after failing to agree to terms on a contract renewal with station owner Don Peterson III.  They started their own station at www.theradiosucks.com and began broadcasting three shows per week after exiting in February and Peterson sued, claiming they violated the non-compete.  Attorney Steve Okey argued his clients were prevented from operating a business that was “the same or essentially the same as a radio station” and their venture does not fit that description.  The judge agreed.  Peterson tells the Youngstown Vindicator he’s disappointed with the decision and will review his options.  This is a case others in the radio and internet radio businesses will be watching closely.

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Inks Deal for Sports Content with Dial Global.  Red Zebra Broadcasting announces it has signed a two-year deal with Dial Global Radio Networks to have exclusive rights to March Madness, the NFL package, the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft, Golf’s Majors and the Olympics in the Washington, DC market. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says of the deal, “We want to thank Greg Leader and Sean Thompson of Dial Global for being such great partners.  We could not be more pleased with the relationship and all the great programming Dial Global brings to our listeners.  When you team the Redskins Radio Network with Dial Global’s NFL Package, NFL fans in DC will receive extensive, exclusive coverage of the National Football League on ESPN980.”

Current TV to Add Show Hosted by California Lieutenant Governor.  Former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will debut a new talk show on the Al Gore-founded Current TV network beginning in May.  The New York Times reports the move is designed by Current TV to “keep its progressive agenda on track.”  In a statement announcing the move, co-founder Al Gore states, “He touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism.  We are honored that Current TV will be bringing his curiosity, intelligence, insights and enthusiasm to television.”  Newsom will continue to serve as lieutenant governor of California.  Current TV is rebounding from the high-profile battle – now in the courts – with former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann.  It also recently added video simulcasts of talk radio stars Stephanie Miller’s and Bill Press’ nationally syndicated morning radio programs.

TALKERS Publishes 2012 Heavy Hundred.  The 2012 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature feature, “The Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred,” is officially posted.  This long-running talk radio industry institution also titled, “The 250 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America,” is compiled by the TALKERS editorial board based upon a compilation of both objective and subjective elements including (in alphabetical order):  courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness.  Although the list is traditionally drawn from a wide variety of genres representing the breadth of spoken word radio from commercial to public and including everything from traditional news/talk to specialty programming, this year’s installment of the popular feature marks a departure from the custom of including sports talk hosts.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Because of the explosive growth of sports talk radio and the number of excellent hosts participating in it across the country, TALKERS will be publishing the genre’s own Heavy Hundred beginning in 2012.”  The TALKERS Sports Talk Heavy Hundred is scheduled for publication this coming June.  To see this year’s entire “Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred” click here.

23rd Annual Imus Radiothon Begins Today.  77WABC, New York-based Don Imus broadcasts the 23rd Annual Imus Radiothon beginning today and running through tomorrow.  The Radiothon is airing on 77WABC, radio affiliates around the country and on the Fox Business Network.  The two-day event benefits the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer, the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the CJ Foundation for SIDS.  Guests on the program for the Radiothon will include various sponsors and children/siblings who have visited and experienced the Imus Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico.

Warren Ballentine Interviews First Lady Michelle Obama.  Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine is pictured here at the White House on April 16 interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama.  Ballentine visited the White House as part of the Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.  The White House Summit offered the opportunity for Ballentine to provide a national African-American audience for small business owners, government experts and leaders from a variety of HBCUs/MSIs to discuss their numerous opportunities and facilitate solutions to challenges in underserved communities.  Ballentine states, “Doing my show from the White House was such a great honor for me.  The staff was outstanding and the chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama was truly a blessing and honor.  The First Lady is not only gracious, she is wise, funny, empathetic and truly in tune with the people of America.  This is an experience that I will never forget!”  Ballentine’s interview with the First Lady will be highlighted on his program today (4/19).

2012 Presidential Campaign, U.S. Soldiers Photos Scandal, North Korea Military Ambitions, Trayvon Martin Case Developments and Ted Nugent Comments Concern Secret Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/18).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the problems being caused by U.S. soldiers taking photos with the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents; ongoing concerns over North Korea’s military ambitions; judge steps down from Trayvon Martin case; and Ted Nugent’s comments to NRA group draws concern of Secret Service were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

| April 10, 2012

Current TV Fires Back at Keith Olbermann.  Fledgling network Current TV is countersuing former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann in the wake of his messy departure from the operation.  Entertainment Weekly reports the Al Gore-founded network is calling Olbermann’s $70 million suit against the network “frivolous” and “riddled with falsehoods and distortions.”  “Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.”  The complaint also refers to Olbermann’s April 3 appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” during which he stated the situation was “my fault” and admitted “I screwed up.”  Current TV filed its complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Rumor Confirmed: Limbaugh to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Smerconish to Air Live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  Yesterday (4/9) TALKERS reported the rumor that Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh would leave longtime affiliate WPHT and be replaced by WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart.  CBS Radio is confirming that switch will take place with Premiere Networks saying Limbaugh will appear elsewhere in the market, though neither source is giving specifics on when the changes will take place.  Absent another major signal talk outlet in Philly, speculation is that Merlin Media will take new acquisition WKDN-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) news/talk in the near future and put Limbaugh on the station.  Meanwhile, Michael Smerconish returns to a live broadcast (he’s currently being delayed to PM drive) on WPHT, the station where he hosted a very successful AM drive program for many years.

WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Clears Air with Listeners About Absence.  Chicago sports talk host Dan McNeil told his listeners his absence from CBS Radio’s WSCR for the past six weeks was due to what he could best describe as a nervous breakdown that resulted from his ceasing to take the mood stabilizer Lamictal.  McNeil says after he stopped taking the drug he became depressed and sought treatment for depression and substance abuse.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports McNeil was open and honest with his listeners saying, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family.  And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.”  McNeil co-hosts the midday show at WSCR alongside Matt Spiegel.

Sid Rosenberg to Be Off WQAM, Miami This Week.  After an arrest on Thursday of last week on DUI and driving with a suspended license charges, WQAM, Miami talk host Sid Rosenberg was on the air last Friday.  But he was not hosting his show yesterday and the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating he’ll be off the air all week.  It’s unclear what Rosenberg’s status with the station is – whether he’s been suspended or is out for medical reasons – but he is not expected to return to the station this week.

CRN Digital Talk Radio Expands into the Hawkeye State.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it has struck a deal with Iowa Network Services to bring its six audio HD channels to cable subscribers in the state.  CRN chief executive officer and founder Michael Horn states, “We are pleased to join with Iowa Network Services and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining talk radio programming.”  Iowa Network Services is based in Des Moines and serves 57 independent telecommunications firms providing internet, data, telephone and cable television service throughout Iowa.  INS video content manager Sarah Roeder says, “INS is excited to bring CRN Digital Talk Radio to Iowa.  The diverse programming will add value to our existing content.”  CRN Digital Talk Radio states it offers more than 100 original shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Lou Dobbs, Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Cindy Laverty, Laura Ingraham, Mancow, Michael Savage and Doug Stephan among others.  “Iowa Network Services subscribers will also enjoy the popular Robert Conrad show, featuring the TV legend, as well as the Larry Manetti show, starring the former ‘Magnum P.I.’ star.”

KNST, Tucson Hosts Arizona Congressional Race Debate.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KNST, Tucson is hosting a debate among the four Republican candidates vying for the Congressional seat vacated by former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords earlier this year.  KNST morning host Garret Lewis will moderate the debate along with National Republican Committee member Bruce Ash.  Candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton will face off in the April 17 primary to determine who will battle Democrat Ron Barber and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis in the June 12 special election.  The debate will take place Thursday evening at the Quail Creek Country Club and will be broadcast live on KNST and 97.1 FM.

Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington Wins “Headliner Award” for Website.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s Federal News Radio announces it has been honored with a 2012 National Headliner award for a second place win in the category of Radio-Affiliated Website.  Federal News Radio web manager Julia Ziegler states, “What makes FederalNewsRadio.com so successful is the fact that everyone on our staff contributes to the web product – from our reporters and web staff, to our producers and anchors.  Our most innovative web projects always come from staff members bringing their individual skills, knowledge and ideas together.”  WFED, Washington program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We offer a lot of interactivity with our surveys, multi-media features, radio interviews on demand, photo slide-shows and videos.  We have improved the graphic experience with some excellent data visualization.  The goal is to push our capabilities to be in the vanguard of digital journalism.”

KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Hospitalized for Heart SurgeryJon Justice hosts the morning drive show at Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson.  He suffered a heart attack in 2009 and explains via the station’s video blog (pictured here) from the ICU that doctors will operate on him to fix a prior valve replacement that needs repair.  Justice says doctors expect him to recover quickly and he hopes to be home from the hospital by the weekend.

Jerry Doyle Live on the Strip.  That’s Talk Radio Network star Jerry Doyle broadcasting live from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on April 6.  Doyle and flagship station KDWN, Las Vegas co-produced the appearance which will become a monthly live broadcast at which Doyle’s fans can take part in what he calls “radio magic.”  After Doyle’s three-hour broadcast, he took questions from fans and talked about “the things they won’t let me talk about on the radio.”

 

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Tepid Jobs Report/Stock Market Activity, Status of Obama Care, Syrian Violence and Mike Wallace Passes Away Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9).  The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the falling Dow on the heels of a weak jobs report; the Supreme Court’s Obama Care hearing and analysis of the law’s impact on the nation’s deficit; an increase in Syrian violence; and the death of journalist Mike Wallace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  That’s Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Bob & Tom show at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Opening Day leading the fans in the traditional 7th inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  Bob & Tom produced a live remote broadcast from the Whiskey Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Opening Day.  Members of the Bob & Tom crew, including Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee, participated in the Opening Day parade in Cincinnati.  Griswold and Lee rode in affiliate Fox 92.5’s car in the parade.

Olbermann, You Blew it!

| April 6, 2012

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL — Ego, ego, ego!  Message to Keith Olbermann: You are blowing whatever is left of your image as a “person” by allowing your behind-the-scenes employment war with Al Gore and Current TV to boil over the top and become the main issue in an ugly spectacle.  Not good strategy nor image positioning for a guy who claims to be a “progressive” concerned about the struggles of working people, the unemployed and the suffering middle class in America.  C’mon Keith – what’s the matter with you?  Why are you allowing yourself to come across as an egomaniacal ass?  (Is it because you actually are one?)  It is not fitting for someone who wants to – no needs to – be perceived as a mensch!  Especially since it is clear that you have such an abundance of God-given talent.

And why are you giving Al Gore such a tough time?  Don’t make it all about YOU.  At least Gore is attempting to widen the commercial media platform available to progressive talkers in this country, not to mention sign you to a big fat friggin’ contract with enough dough that could keep countless of the families you claim to be so concerned about under their roofs and fed through this economic and political crisis.

You are proving yourself to be just like, even worse than, the greedy right-wing “nut-jobs” you have made a fortune publicly holding in judgment.  You are part of the problem and you are doing a terrible disservice to the progressive movement.  You are a hypocrite of the worst order.   But that’s okay, the world is full of hypocrites… what really bugs me is you are hurting your colleagues in talk media.

Look, we all know at its core this is show business, and that’s where I’m coming from in pointing out, Mr. Ten Million Dollar Chandelier (oh brother!) that you are putting on the wrong performance.  Instead of erasing all doubt that you are a diva when you realized that Current TV has less than the top-notch production skills to which you became accustomed at ESPN and MSNBC, you should have rolled with it and made it part of the shtick!  You should have pointed out that Current TV is an upstart operation bucking the well-financed slick, corporate bastions like MSNBC, CNN and Fox.  You could have made the case that it is content- and message-oriented, run by people with a cause and a mission – not “money grabbing” heartless corporate types!  You could have kindly said these folks are working hard to get the technical “show biz” aspect of their act together… because at the heart of it, they are just down-to-earth everyday folk more concerned with helping America than starting yet another plastic, glitzy, BS cable network.  Now THAT would be smart positioning and a clever strategy to keep your fat job, help a fledgling network get on its feet, come across looking like a great guy, help the business of talk media… and maybe, just maybe – help America!

Monday, April 2, 2012

| April 2, 2012

Programmer Paul Duckworth Returns to Seattle to Lead Fisher’s KOMO.  News/talk programming pro Paul Duckworth returns to the Emerald City, where he formerly led the programming department at Fisher Communications’ KOMO and KVI, to once again head up news radio KOMO.  He left Seattle in 2002 and programmed several other stations including KLIF, Dallas and WMAL, Washington, DC.  He begins his duties at KOMO on April 16 at the station that features morning and afternoon news blocks surrounding local talk hosts John Carlson in late mornings and Ken Schram in early afternoons.  Duckworth spent the last year in retirement in Florida.

Keith Olbermann Promises Legal Action as Tumultuous Term with Current TV Comes to an End.  Reports of mercurial news/talk TV personality Keith Olbermann’s contentious relationship with management at Al Gore-founded Current TV have been coming out for some time and, despite recent assurances via press releases that everything between the two sides is fine, Current TV has cut the cord and let Olbermann go, replacing him with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his new show “Viewpoints.”  Current TV had hoped that Olbermann’s “Countdown” show – brought over after his departure from MSNBC – would be the anchor program around which the network could build, but after just nine months the relationship was too strained to continue.  Current TV released the following statement on Friday, March 30: “We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet.  We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.  Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.”  Olbermann has fired back via Twitter and is promising legal action.  He states, in part: “I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better.  But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff.  Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract…In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out.  For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one.  That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.”

Rush Limbaugh Reports Audience Hikes.  During his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks show last week, Rush Limbaugh broke format briefly to talk about his ratings in the wake of the Sandra Fluke controversy.  He stated that he usually doesn’t talk about ratings but because of the high-profile assault on his program’s advertisers (and others’) he felt compelled to report ratings were up at all 600 of his affiliates.  The Daily Caller reports Limbaugh stated, “The simple answer is that on the range of all 600 radio stations, our ratings are up anywhere from 10% to 60%, depending on the station…And that’s as detailed as I’m going to get…What I mean by that is we could be up 33% on one station, 12% on another – 60% is the top that we’re up on another.  We’re up 50% in a number of places.”  The increased interest in Limbaugh’s program was predicted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as numerous consumer media outlets quoted TALKERS in covering the unfolding story.  Addressing the advertiser issue, Limbaugh also stated, “The advertisers who hung in here are going gangbusters, yes.  I mean, that’s the simple truth.  The only ones who got hurt are the ones who left.  And that’s its own tragedy because they left under false, trumped up, unreal pretenses.”

Another Casualty of the Clear Channel Cuts: Cincinnati Programmer Tony Bender.  Program director Tony Bender had been with the Cincinnati cluster of stations since it was owned by Great American Broadcasting in the late 1980s.  Until Friday he was serving as program director of talk WKRC and sports WCKY.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports other staffers let go in the latest round of cuts included promotions director Sherry Rowland, traffic reporter Brian Pitts and two other off-air employees.

Coming Tomorrow: The FCC and You – Part 2 - An Explanation of Obscenity.  Don’t miss the second in a series of exclusive TALKERS articles by legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman covering the crucial FCC regulatory information of which every license holder and radio station management employee must be aware.  Informal surveys of radio station managers indicate that an alarming number of them are dangerously under-informed about the FCC regulations that pertain to them and their stations.  TALKERS editors urge managers to take the time to read this free abridgement (of a forthcoming expanded e-book) and share it with their management teams.  Information on the purchase availability of the expanded e-book will be announced via TALKERS soon.  In tomorrow’s installment, Attorney Weisman covers the FCC’s position on obscenity.

Battle for Control of SiriusXM Is Brewing.  Liberty Media Corp has filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM, setting the stage for a battle between Liberty’s John Malone and SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin.  Malone’s Liberty Media came to the rescue of SiriusXM three years ago with a cash investment of $530 million when the satcaster needed it most.  Now, Liberty’s filing is being contested by SiriusXM as it asks the FCC to “dismiss or deny” the petition.  Liberty Media only owns 40% of the company and, though there is precedent for a minority shareholder taking control, it’s not common and many deal watchers are quick to doubt that the FCC will grant even “de facto” control to a minority shareholder.  Liberty is arguing that certain provisions of the Investment Agreement inked in 2009 have expired and should result in a takeover.  But again, numerous experts in the field of corporate takeovers are saying the Liberty FCC filing is unlikely to result in a control change.  Most say if Liberty wants control over SiriusXM it is going to have to acquire more shares the old-fashioned way: Buy them.

Cumulus Media Splits Simulcast of Sports WWLS, Oklahoma City; ESPN Radio Takes Over AM Side.  The “Sports Animal” radio network continues to be led by flagship WWLS-FM, Oklahoma City with programming sent to six affiliate stations in five Oklahoma markets, but the AM side of WWLS has split off to broadcast ESPN Radio’s programming lineup.  The Oklahoman reports the AM station will continue to air Oklahoma City Thunder play-by-play as well as Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State pre- and post-game programming.

Dan McNeil Set to Return to WSCR, Chicago After Month-long Absence.  It’s been a bit over a month since midday co-host Dan McNeil took time off from his program at CBS Radio’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago (co-hosted with Matt Spiegel) for unspecified health issues.  He recently announced on his Facebook page that he’s ready to return on April 9 and thanked family and friends for their support, assuring them he’s feeling better.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that McNeil’s health issues were not disclosed but that colleagues have alluded to McNeil’s struggles with sobriety.

Monday, March 26, 2012

| March 26, 2012

Cumulus Makes Changes at KLIF, Dallas.  The move toward more news in commercial spoken-word radio continues.  Cumulus Media Group announces talk station KLIF, Dallas will add morning and afternoon drive news blocks and changes its slogan to “News & Information 570 KLIF.”  The AM drive news block begins today (3/26) and features Amy Chodroff (from sister WBAP) and Dave Williams co-anchoring the program.  Williams most recently worked at Merlin Media’s all-newser in Chicago.  The PM drive news block is expected to begin on April 2.  The changes mean morning drive talk host Jeff Bolton is out and PM drive talk host Chris Krok will move to sister WBAP-AM/FM for an evening talk show.

Current TV’s Bill Press and Stephanie Miller Simulcasts Debut Today.  The new one-two punch of progressive radio talk stars hitting the air at Al Gore-founded Current TV begins this morning (3/26) as Dial Global syndicated talk hosts Bill Press and Stephanie Miller air TV simulcasts of their morning drive radio programs on Current TV.  “Full Court Press: The Bill Press Show” airs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and “Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show” follows from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET.  The network announces that Senator Chris Coons, (D-DE); Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post; Faiz Shakir of Think Progress; and Lara Setrakian of ABC News and Bloomberg are all scheduled to appear during the premiere week of “Full Court Press.”  The first week of “Talking Liberally” will feature Senator Byron Dorgan (ND – Former U.S. Senator and Chairman of The Senate Committee on Energy), as well as comedienne Kathleen Madigan.

Hubbard Broadcasting Names Emily Kopp WFED Morning Anchor.  Hubbard Broadcasting announces a permanent addition to the morning drive show on WFED, Washington – the station dedicated to serving the many federal government workers living in the region.  Emily Kopp joins host Tom Temin on the morning drive program.  Kopp joined Federal News Radio in 2011 after living in the Netherlands where she reported on a freelance basis for various radio network and print outlets.  Prior to her promotion, Kopp served Federal News Radio as a federal workforce reporter.  Since July 2011, Kopp has produced several compelling series that focused on key human aspects of working for the federal government.  WFED program director Lisa Wolfe states, “Emily had been filling in as co-anchor while we’ve been conducting our talent search for the next morning anchor.  Her talents were obvious and when we got together to discuss the possibility of making it permanent, it just made sense.  I look forward to Emily bringing her well-crafted interview style to mornings.  I think she will uncover a lot of news.”

WTEM, Washington Launches New Afternoon Sports Talk Show Today.  Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington announces the debut of “Inside the Locker Room with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell” today (3/26).  The show teams up former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with broadcast pro Scott Jackson.  Walker continues with the station after 15 years, most recently serving as co-host of the John Thompson show.  Both Mitchell and Jackson return to WTEM after several years’ absence.  VP of programming Chuck Sapienza states, “With Doc and B-Mitch, ESPN 980’s lineup includes the two most prominent former players in Washington, DC media today.  Listeners of the show will receive opinions and insight from professional athletes that is rarely offered on local radio.  In addition, Jackson gives the show a ‘point guard’ that every successful program needs.”  The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

KXTG, Portland Re-Signs John Canzano.  “The Bald Faced Truth” host re-ups with Alpha Broadcasting’s sports KXTG on a multi-year deal to remain with the station.  John Canzano also writes a column for the Daily Oregonian and is a commentator for KGW-TV, Portland.  Upon announcing the deal, Canzano commented, “Sports talk listeners of ‘The Bald Faced Truth’ radio show are smart, educated, good looking, influential and relevant.  I love my audience, my sponsors and this station.  I’m staying right here because ‘The Game’ is the place to be. Period.”

Southern California Public Radio Names Melanie Sill Executive Editor.  The former editor at the Sacramento Bee and the Raleigh News and Observer takes over the executive editor role at Southern California Public Radio.  Her duties include overseeing the daily news gathering operations across KPCC, Pasadena’s broadcast, digital and social media platforms.  KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton states, “Sill brings a wealth of news and managerial experience to this new position.  Most importantly, she has been a force of change in two newsrooms, leading efforts to restructure staffs to better compete in the digital age.”  The Southern California Public Radio website announces the non-profit is aggressively working to build out its online news service with ambitions to become the region’s pre-eminent source for information across multiple media.

Jacksonville Gets FM Simulcast for Sports WJXL.  Seven Bridges Radio LLC buys the former Gospel WFJO-FM, Jacksonville (a class A FM signal at 92.5) from receiver Scott Savage for $1.95 million and begins an LMA immediately simulcasting its sports station 1010 XL (WJXL).  The station was formerly owned by Tama Broadcasting.

Smerconish Visits Boston.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (center, standing) chats with WTKK-FM, Boston listeners at a private meet & greet on March 20 prior to the national screening of his movie, “Book Club with Michael Smerconish Featuring Chris MatthewsJack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.”  In addition to the meet & greet, Smerconish conducted a curtain call speech before the showing of the film at the Cinema De Lux in Dedham, Massachusetts before a sold out theater.  The film appeared at more than 100 theaters across the country on that evening.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

| March 6, 2012

Progressive Talk Stars Stephanie Miller and Bill Press Become Featured Current TV Content.  The progressive cable and satellite TV channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore is adding Dial Global radio talk show hosts Stephanie Miller and Bill Press to its lineup.  Miller’s and Press’ programs will be simulcasts of their radio shows – Miller airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Press from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – beginning early this spring.  In a statement, Current TV chairman Al Gore says, “I’ve followed Stephanie and Bill for years.  They provide the kind of smart, insightful news analysis that our viewers want to hear.  Bill brings a vital perspective directly from the heart of the Beltway, and Stephanie’s fresh take on politics and news has a decidedly outsider flair.  We’re really looking forward to bringing their voices to our viewers.”  WYD Media president Ron Hartenbaum, executive producer of Stephanie Miller’s program, says, “We at ‘The Stephanie Miller Show’ are excited to participate in another radio-based video simulcast program.  The bottom line is entertaining talk radio makes great and engaging tune-in programming for video.”  Other political talk shows seen on Current TV include: “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur,” and “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.”

Rush Limbaugh Addresses Sandra Fluke Issue, Loss of Advertisers at Beginning on Monday Program.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh began yesterday’s program speaking about his apology issued over the weekend to Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke for using the terms “slut” and “prostitute” to describe her.  Limbaugh stated that he “descended to their level” – meaning liberal political opponents – when he used the two words.  “I became like them and I feel very badly about that.  I’ve always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program.  Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate.  They were uncalled for.  They distracted from the point I was actually trying to make.  And I, again, apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her.”  Limbaugh addressed the loss of advertisers without going into specifics but appeared not overly concerned about the matter stating he turns down advertising on his program regularly for various reasons and said companies advertise with him to have access to his large audience – that everything about the program is for the audience.  Without the audience, Limbaugh said the whole enterprise would be academic.  Limbaugh slapped back at exiting advertisers a bit when he said, “They don’t want you or your business.”  We don’t expect Premiere Networks to announce which advertisers have dropped their advertising – whether temporary or permanent – but it’s being reported that as many as 13 sponsors have left but eight are being widely reported: Carbonite, Citrix, Go To Meeting, Legal Zoom, Pro Flowers, Select Comfort, Sleep Train and Quicken Loans.  For her part, Sandra Fluke appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” and said of Limbaugh’s apology, “I don’t think that a statement like this issued, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support.”  So far, two affiliate stations are confirmed to have dropped Limbaugh’s show as a result: KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii and WBEC, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Progressive Talk Host Mike Malloy Mocks Tornado Victims on Radio Program.   Longtime progressive talk host Mike Malloy self-syndicates his program and in some quarters he’s taking heat for mocking the victims of the tornados that swept through the Midwest late last week.  Malloy is quoted by several sources on his Friday program saying, “Their God, if this is the way they want to look at it, keeps smashing them into little grease spots on the pavement, in Alabama, in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma – you know, the Bible Belt…where they ain’t gonna let no g*dd*mn science get in the way, it says in the bible, blah blah blah, so according to their way of thinking, y’know, God with his omnipotent thumb, and so far tonight, has smashed so far 20 people on Highway 12, or whatever the hell highway they live next to.”  With the controversy being raised by Rush Limbaugh overshadowing the consumer media, it’s unlikely Malloy’s comments – which could certainly be deemed insensitive to the people affected by the storms – will get enough attention to catch the national media’s eyes.  There’s also the fact that Limbaugh’s program is dominating in terms of presence and Malloy’s is not.  Regardless, there are media analysts who are pointing to the use of hyperbole, name calling and insensitive language as a sign that more civility is needed in America’s public discourse.

Compass Media Networks to Syndicate Bob Vila Radio Features.  Iconic home improvement figure Bob Vila and Compass Media Networks are agreeing to work together to distribute daily home improvement features voiced by Vila exclusively for radio beginning May 1.  Of course, Vila is well known for his television programs – “This Old House(1979-1989), “Bob Vila’s Home Again” (1990-2005), and “Bob Vila” (2005-2007).  He now heads up his own home improvement site, BobVila.com.  Vila says of the venture, “Radio offers an incredible opportunity to connect with the American homeowner.”  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says the project hopes to take advantage of the nearly $112 billion spent annually on home improvement.  “Bob Vila is truly an American treasure.  Radio stations and advertisers will leap at the chance to associate their brands with Bob Vila.”

Cumulus Media Partners with Radiate Media to Produce National Traffic Reporting Service.  The combined effort is going to be called “Right Now Traffic” and will be available to stations in April in the top 75 markets.  The reports will be powered by the world’s largest traffic flow network, which includes government sensors, toll tag monitoring and billions of GPS data points.  Radiate Media’s premier traffic data comes in part from Nokia (formerly NAVTEQ) – a source also used for GPS navigation devices, in-vehicle navigation systems, mobile devices and hundreds of radio and television stations.  Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states, “We’re excited about launching ‘Right Now Traffic’ with Radiate Media.  Americans are spending more than 1,000 hours per year in their cars.  Our listeners, advertisers and network affiliates all demand accurate and timely traffic information and this partnership enables us to address that need with a best-in-class service.”

Dial Global Amps Up Producers Department for Programming.  Dial Global promotes Scot Kirk to the newly created position senior production director and brings James Harness aboard as a producer.  The company says Kirk will oversee the creative direction and imaging for all of Dial Global-owned formats, shows and programs.  Both Kirk and Harness will be located in Valencia, California and report directly to VP Programming, David Felker.  EVP of programming Beau Phillips says, “Since merging with Westwood One, Dial Global now produces a tremendous amount of content.  While our programming sounds strong, we’re investing in producers who will set the vision and boost the quality across all DG products.”  Scot Kirk brings more than two decades of radio production expertise to his new role, including positions at Jones Radio Networks, KISW-FM and KMTT-FM in Seattle, and KXPK-FM in Denver before joining Dial Global in 2009.  James Harness is best known for guiding the creative imaging for KROQ-FM in Los Angeles as well as 92.3 NOW, WXRK-FM and FREE-FM in New York.

Salem Radio Network Holds Urgent Drive for Help for Tornado Victims.  The talk hosts syndicated nationally by Salem Radio NetworkBill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Janet Mefferd, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt – mounted a daylong appeal yesterday (3/5) to gather donations for food, blankets and other essentials for the people of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and the other states affected by the tornados that swept through the region over the weekend.  The storms caused dozens of deaths and millions of dollars worth of destruction.  Oklahoma City-based FEED THE CHILDREN is facilitating and administering the aid.

Sirius XM Beefs Up Election Programming on POTUS Channel.  The satcaster ramps up its 2012 presidential election coverage with new programming on its Politics of the United States – POTUS – channel.  “Showdown 2012” will air Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with veteran White House and Washington, D.C. correspondents including Jon Decker, Chris Core, Dick Uliano and Louise Schiavone.  “CQ Roll Call” airs Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by CQ Roll Call senior editor Morton Kondracke, editor David Hawkings, and others.  “The Flacks” airs Mondays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by veteran communications strategists and MSNBC political analysts Karen Finney and Robert Traynham.

Money Radio 1200 Debuts in Palm Springs.  CRC Media West’s KPSF, Palm Springs financial talk radio outlet signed on yesterday (3/5).  The station was constructed by CRC Media West principals Ronald Cohen and Brian DuBose and modeled after the company’s “Money Radio” outlet serving the Phoenix market.  The Palm Springs station features a mix of syndicated and local/regional programming.

WTOP, Washington, DC Names Washington Regional Transplant Community Charity of the Month.  The Hubbard Broadcasting media organization says that as part of WTOP’s ‘Charity of the Month’ program, Washington Regional Transplant Community will receive more than $30,000 in free air time and in-kind contributions, including on-air promotions, as well as content on WTOP’s social media platforms and on WTOP.com throughout the month.  The WRTC serves as the federally-designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the Washington metropolitan area.  As one of 58 OPOs nationwide, WRTC is the organization that facilitates all deceased organ, eye and tissue donation in our area, serving more than five million residents.  WTOP public relations and marketing specialist Robin Newton says, “WTOP is proud to support Washington Regional Transplant Community during the month of March.  WRTC has a direct effect on the health of our local community and helping them means strengthening an invaluable resource for our neighbors.  Our hope is to spread awareness and garner attention for their work.”

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

| September 21, 2011

WABC, New York’s Joe Crummey Gets NY Radio Pro Patty Steele for Producer/Sidekick.  Late morning talk show host Joe Crummey has a well-known New York radio personality in the producer/sidekick role for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning Monday, September 26.  Patty Steele most recently worked in the Big Apple at Cumulus sister FM WPLJ as news director alongside Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill.  She’s also worked with Elvis Duran at crosstown WHTZ-FM, with Danny Bonaduce at New York’s former Big 105 and as a news anchor at WCBS, New York.  WABC program director Laurie Cantillo says, “Patty is smart, warm, funny and she gets what our listeners care about.  We’re thrilled about the strong news background and big ideas that she’ll bring to 77WABC.”

Internet Talk Radio Company Stitcher Raises $10 Million in New Funding.  Stitcher reports it has closed a Series C round of venture capital financing, led by New Enterprise Associates (whose general partner Ravi Viswanathan joins Stitcher’s board of directors) that allows the company to “fuel growth, build out a direct sales team and drive product development including enhancing its platform for content partners.”  Stitcher offers more than 6,000 different shows encompassing news, sports, entertainment, comedy and more from such personalities as Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, NPR’s Terri Gross, Adam Carolla and many more.  Stitcher is available on the internet, via smartphone apps and in cars via the Ford SYNC platform and the Buick IntelliLink in-car connectivity system.  Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok tells TALKERS he expects the company to make more announcements about in-car availability in the near future.  He also states that for talk content providers, his service is about the ability to be everywhere.  “In the near term, one of the benefits that the internet provides is the ability to be where the audience is.  As you grow and build a listenership you want to be effectively where it’s most convenient for them.”  Battles between providers to grab headline-making deals for unique content may come down the road, according to Shanok, but for now, “it’s about getting users used to the same benefits they have in their home and on the internet – such as on-demand and personal information – that are now extending to the radio industry and content providers are taking advantage of.”  Shanok acknowledges that, especially for talk, the car is a crucial listening location and his company’s primary goal is to make using the technology as painless as possible for seamless integration into the car.  “We’ve been able to stay ahead and differentiate ourselves by having laser focus on product and technology by focusing on just talk.”  Shanok says content partners benefit greatly by the feedback they get from Stitcher in the form of audience metrics and other data to assist in sales.

Cenk Uygur’s “Young Turks” Lands at Current TV; Leads in to Olbermann.  Talk show host Cenk Uygur, who filled in extensively at MSNBC earlier this year and had hopes of landing a permanent gig there (Al Sharpton got it instead), takes his “Young Turks” progressive talk show to Current TV.  Uygur’s program will air at 7:00 pm ET and leads in to Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” at 8:00 pm ET.  In a statement, Uygur says, “Current is the perfect home for our show.  We wanted to be in a place that is both independent and truly progressive — not owned and encumbered by a media conglomerate.  Does it get any better for a progressive than working where Al Gore and Joel Hyatt are your bosses and Keith Olbermann is your colleague?  It’s an honor to be the lead-in program for Keith Olbermann.  Add to that we will work with David Bohrman, who has been creating unique and great television programming for decades.  His vision for Current is exactly in line with ours.” The show will debut later this year, according to TVNewser.

ESPN Partners with Slacker for Customizable Listening.  ESPN Audio’s deal with the Slacker personal radio service gives users options for listening to ESPN-created content depending on which Slacker service they subscribe to.  Listeners using the free Slacker Basic Radio service now have access to an interactive, programmed ESPN station.  Slacker Radio Plus and Slacker Premium Radio subscribers have unlimited access to the ESPN Radio integration, including an ad-free programmed station with unlimited skips and the ability to create highly personalized, myESPN Radio sports stations based on favorite sports, teams or ESPN programs. Subscribers also have the option to add hourly “SportsCenter” updates to any Slacker station.

Hubbard Radio’s Federal News Radio in Washington Revamps Web Presence.  Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington and FederalNewsRadio.com announces a complete overhaul of its website that it says makes information “more accessible and interactive for information seekers and decision makers of the federal government.”  The radio station and web destination serve the large number of DC-area residents who work for or contract to the federal government.  Program director Lisa Wolfe says, “Our new website is the next step in Federal News Radio’s continuing process to meet the news and information needs of our busy and time-crunched audience.  Our site is better organized, more searchable and has a nice aesthetic.”

KIRO, Seattle Inks MLB’s Mariners to New Play-By-Play Deal.  The length of the contract and the financial terms are not being disclosed but Bonneville Seattle crows its 710 ESPN KIRO will continue to be the place for Seattle Mariners baseball on the radio in the Emerald City for years to come.  Station general manager Dave Pridemore says, “It has been a pleasure working with the Seattle Mariners for the past three years and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come.  Combined with our additional coverage of the team on MyNorthwest.com, we are striving to maintain our status as the number one place for fans to find Mariners news and information.”

Canadian Specialty Sport TV Channel The Score Reportedly for Sale.  Sources say owner Score Media wants as much as $200 million (Canadian) for a business that earned less than $8 million dollars last year.  By the numbers The Score is Canada’s number three cable sports station.  It doesn’t have the deep pockets of rivals TSN and SPORTSNET.  Rather than carry hockey, Major League Baseball and football, The Score generally reports on sports and carries live sports talk programming.  It does broadcast some events including NBA games, WWE wrestling and pro poker tournaments.

Obama Debt Reduction Plan, 2012 GOP Candidates, European Economic Tensions and U.N.-Palestinian Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20).  President Obama’s debt reduction plan, the field of GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential election, the instability of the European economy as Greece teeters on default and the Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

WTOP-FM, Washington Entertainment Editor Joe Barber Dies at 53.  Barber was found dead at his home in Washington, DC on Monday (9/19) and no cause of death has been made public.  Barber served as entertainment editor at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM since 1997.  The Washington Post reports that Barber suffered from diabetes and had been in failing health.

On Tour with Dave Ramsey.  This beautiful custom-wrapped tour bus is carrying nationally syndicated talk star and bestselling author Dave Ramsey around the country as he promotes his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).  Ramsey and company started in New York yesterday (9/20) with an appearance on CBS TV’s “The Early Show” and winds across the country through early November hitting such markets as Phoenix, Los Angeles, Knoxville, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta and more.