Tag: "Al Herskovitz"
TV’s “Bones” Episode Takes Shot at Conservative News/Talk Radio. The cry keeps emanating from the media world and beyond. “Radio is dying or is already dead!” Particularly AM talk radio. Then a question comes to mind. If the format is dead then why does a prime time, long-running, TV hour crime drama devote the theme of one of its shows to the murder of an AM radio conservative, talk show host? Did any of you watch this past Thursday night’s (10/9) episode of “Bones?” It was titled, “The Purging of the Pundit.” If you haven’t ever seen the program, the theme of the entire series is simply about a female scientist who appraises the remains of murder victims and partners with her FBI agent husband to solve the crimes. In this particular episode the victim was an AM radio conservative talk show host who was named “Hutch.” They also portrayed him as overweight and, for a little extra spice and color, a sadomasochist in the thrall of a dominatrix. In an opinion piece posted today (10/13) in TALKERS, H&H Communications president and radio marketing maven Al Herskovitz writes, “Unless I’m suffering from serious paranoia, most of the elements including the name, with some slight exceptions, minor exaggerations and a few twists, strike me as a barely-veiled description of someone in our business with whom we all are familiar. It’s hard to believe the medium — AM radio — troubles the TV producers to that degree. The only logical conclusion is they object to the talk host’s political positions and find this a way to use their program to get out their message while still keeping it under the umbrella of entertainment. Or perhaps, they are simply trying to appeal to what they assume are the predisposed beliefs of their target viewership and shamelessly illustrating (and amplifying) a nasty caricature based on a stereotype. There are numerous conclusions for us that can be drawn from this. But here’s one really important one. Don’t sell short your format. Talk radio continues to make major impact on our society. Obviously it has some TV producers concerned.” To read Herskovitz’s entire article, please click here.
Greenville Remembers Russ Cassell. Entercom Greenville, South Carolina-owned WYRD “WORD 106.3″ 8:00 am – 12:00 noon talk show host Russ Cassell passed away over the weekend. The 60-year-old Cassell reportedly suffered a massive heart attack at his home Saturday morning (10/11) and could not be revived; he had been with WYRD the past 20 years. Entercom Greenville vice president and general manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “The passing of Russ Cassell is a sad day for his family, our Entercom family, and his listeners. His passion was his radio program on ‘WORD 106.3.’ Cassell was a well-respected professional. He was a radio giant and it is difficult to express how much he will be missed.” Operations manager Bob McLain remarks, “There are some radio personalities who are larger than life – that was Cassell. He was passionate about what he believed, and he was dedicated to keeping people informed. He was a brilliant and very talented radio host and a personal friend. His loss will be greatly felt by all of us in the ‘WORD’ family, those who worked with him, and those who listened to him.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news and talk programming Tom Tradup oversees programming on Greenville’s WGTK and states of Cassell, “He was a tough competitor, but beloved throughout the upstate of South Carolina. All of us at ‘Conservative Talk 94.5′ have Russ’ family and Entercom colleagues in our prayers.” One listener comments on the station’s website that, “Russ Cassell was famous for saying ‘Know what you believe and why you believe it.’” Another writes, “His convictions were strong, but his compassion for humanity was stronger.” WFBC AM & FM, Greenville hired Cassell in December 1980 to do afternoons and color analysis for Clemson University football broadcasts. Six months later, he was promoted to morning drive. Cassell eventually became program director, music director, sales manager, and station manager. McLain hosted a WYRD memorial show for Cassell Saturday (10/11) at 6:00 pm. The station will continue paying tribute to Cassell all this week during what was his customary 8:00 am – 12:00 noon air-shift.
Nielsen Knew of TV Ratings Errors. In a story, which at the very least, is bound to raise some eyebrows in the radio industry, Nielsen last Friday (10/10) acknowledged that it had been reporting inaccurate television ratings for the last seven months. In a Friday conference call with reporters, however, Nielsen executives Pat McDonough and Steve Hasker downplayed viewer discrepancies, saying they fell between .1% – .25% of viewing totals. They repeatedly indicated incorrect ratings fell “well within the tolerance of statistical error.” Nielsen said it discovered a software flaw and traced it back to March. Inaccuracies, of course, could affect billions of advertising dollars based on the research company’s rating stats. WPP‘s GroupM is the world’s largest media buying group. A managing partner in charge of research there, Lyle Schwartz, tells The New York Times, “You look at Nielsen as the gold standard for currency. When you introduce these errors on systems that were working fine in the past, you start looking at the numbers a little bit closer to see if there is anything else occurring that we haven’t identified yet.” Nielsen execs say any changes in numbers or program rankings would be corrected when the company issues new TV ratings today (Monday, 10/13).
PPM Analysis: News. In several thorough breakouts, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian scrutinizes Nielsen Audio September PPM data for all-news outlets. Follow each news station’s trends for the last six monthly ratings sweeps and see how the format fares in terms of market share and market rank (6+). In addition, each all-news outlet’s year-to-year, as well as month-to-month performance is tracked. Mike Kinosian’s entire analysis can be viewed by clicking here.
SAG-AFTRA’s White Gains Four-Year Extension. SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White received a four-year contract extension yesterday (Sunday, 10/12). White comments, “This job presents new challenges every day and I am thrilled to continue in my role at SAG-AFTRA. It is an honor to represent SAG-AFTRA members and I look forward to continuing the great work we have accomplished to date.” Along with union president Ken Howard, White was a lead negotiator on the recent primetime television and feature film deal. White was a candidate for a similar position with the National Basketball Association this spring.
Will You Wear My Pin? One of the most dynamic broadcasters association presidents in America, New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) president Paul Rotella appoints noted presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin an honorary NJBA member. Seen here Rotella is pinning the coveted NJBA membership pin on Goodwin during a reception following her recent lecture at the New Jersey City University in Jersey City, and Paul’s mom, Jean Rotella, looks on along with NJ Chamber’s Ray Zardetto. The lecture series is a part of New Jersey’s year-long 350th birthday celebration.
Decatur’s WSOY Sets Benchmark Accomplishment. Although the stated goal of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois’ 12-hour “Community Food Drive” was 825,000 pounds of food,the Neuhoff Media talker looked to have the 13th annual event reach an even loftier, unanticipated objective of one million pounds. The event’s host – and one of its co-creators – Brian Byers admits, “I worry each year if we can make our set goal. Each year, I am grateful that we can reach what we set, but once I heard that we had a shot to hit one million [pounds], I knew we had to get there. It would not have sat well with me all year knowing we got so close [without reaching] it. We set high goals for ourselves. It is not the size of the community that should dictate what we can or cannot do – it is the generosity of the people. What we have in Decatur is unmatched anywhere.” The Salvation Army is one of the drive’s largest beneficiaries and three-year captain Wes Dalberg comments, “We see an increase in traffic through the Salvation Army each year, yet somehow, this community comes together and raises more and more donations – it really is amazing.” The WSOY food drive wrapped up last Friday (10/10) at 6:30 pm with 1,039,593 pounds of food as the final (record-setting) total. Monetary donations matched nearly one-third of what was collected during the combined sum of the station’s previous 12 food drives.
A Visit to Historic Ithaca. Well-known CBS Radio news correspondent Peter King (not to be confused with the sports guy) recently visited Cayuga Radio Group Ithaca, New York affiliate WHCU AM & FM. The station is included in “Ithaca Radio,” King’s just-published book he co-authored with his brother Rick Sommers. “Ithaca Radio” (Arcadia Publishing) contains many historical photographs from four legendary stations, including a 1940′s-era shot of legendary CBS News correspondent Edward R. Murrow at a WHCU microphone. Left to right are WHCU news director Greg Fry, co-author Rick Sommers, King, and WHCU morning host Lee Rayburn.
Ten “Giants of Broadcasting” Honorees Announced. The Library of American Broadcasting‘s 12th annual “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts” event will be held this Thursday (10/16). Honorees include Spanish Broadcasting System founder and chairman Pablo Raul Alarcon Sr.; SBS president Raul Alarcon Jr.; television producer/director David Barrett; “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor and co-managing director Gwen Ifill; talk show icon Regis Philbin; longtime New York City television anchor Chuck Scarborough; noted television programmer Fred Silverman; Greater Media chairman and chief executive officer Peter Smyth; a special tribute to Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver; and “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor and co-managing director Judy Woodruff. Hubbard Radio president Virginia Hubbard Morris chairs the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, which created the Library of American Broadcasting – located at the University of Maryland. Donald West chairs the Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards program.
Venison for Dinner. During the week, Lars Larson is a mild-mannered conservative talk show host on the air six hours a day on two shows. One is heard regionally in the Northwest on a network of 17 affiliates emanating from Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland; the other is nationally syndicated across the country on more than 100 affiliates by Compass Media Networks. On the weekends, Larson morphs into a rugged outdoorsman, taking on the untamed forests and natural wilderness of Eastern Oregon, braving encounters with wild beasts, and hunting for food to feed his family. This photo was taken this Saturday morning (10/11) as the proud champion of the Second Amendment displays his latest conquest felled at 450 yards with a Nosler rifle and .270 wsm shell.
Indefinite Extension Proposed to LPTV Digital Deadline. The FCC last Friday (10/10) released a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the issue of analog low power and translator TV stations. The Commission suggests extending indefinitely the present September 1, 2015 deadline for those stations to switch to digital transmission. Broadening the cut-off date would give new life for Channel 6 analog television stations that basically function as FMs, given that channel 6 audio is receivable on FM (at 87.75). The docket – open for comment 30 days after publication in the Federal Register – proposes LPTV and translator channel-sharing in the manner being proposed for full-power digital stations; creation of a new digital-to-digital replacement translator service; and elimination of the analog tuner requirement.
BRADENTON, FL — Like everything else in today’s world, language is changing, and language in radio commercials is changing with it. New phrases and descriptive terms are popping up all over the place. Even a venerable old clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch, is planning to drop its long-running identification and is reported to be working on a new logo yet to be revealed. And are you familiar with “YP?” This is the way the Yellow Pages is now labeling itself. That big, fat, old yellow book that used to materialize on your doorstep is all but gone. It’s now a website where you tap in your desired category and a listing of choices appears for your specific area. You can even download coupons. A heavy national radio ad campaign is currently underway.
Notes & Quotes from Indy. Reporting from the 2014 Radio Show in Indianapolis for TALKERS/RadioInfo is media consultant Holland Cooke who delivers today’s analysis. He reports on former Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s speech on management tactics; the NAB Leadership Breakfast featuring Cumulus’ Lew Dickey, Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman, and CBS RADIO’s Dan Mason; Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker’s brutally frank assessment of the state of the radio business; and more. Read Holland Cooke’s full report here.
Jonathon & Kelly Return to WVOC-FM, Columbia. It was early in August that Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash (pictured here) exited the afternoon drive slot on Clear Channel’s WVOC-FM, Columbia to focus on their morning drive show on sister country station WCOS “The Great 98.” Now, Nash tells TALKERS magazine they are returning to WVOC-FM in a way that won’t burn them out. They’re now providing a 90-second feature called “Rash Thoughts” (when you combine their last names, Rush and Nash, you get Rash!) that will run in all dayparts. Also the duo is hosting a Saturday morning program on WVOC-FM that will air at 11:00 am.
Questionable Word Choices Can Ruin Ad Copy. Sale maven Al Herskovitz writes in a piece published in TALKERS today (9/12) that some of the word choices used in ad copy leave him baffled. In an era when radio needs all the competitive advantages it can get, using stale and/or ineffective word in ad copy is one of the things radio could easily change. Herskovitz writes, “Many commercials, particularly those on local stations, seem to be stuck in the ways they have been making their sales points in the past. Some of the spots I hear sound as if they were churned out of one of those old “fill-in-the-blanks/client’s-name-inserted here” books that stations and ad agencies used 30 years ago.” To read Herskovitz’s entire column, click here.
Dave Ramsey in Grand Rapids. Nationally syndicated radio talk show star Dave Ramsey brought his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to fans in Grand Rapids on Thursday, September 11 at DeVos Hall. His presentation centered on how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage in a live event promoted in conjunction with affiliate station WTKG. He also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” there on Wednesday during which he, along with speakers Chris Hogan and Christy Wright, discussed how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that he practices in his own company of more than 400 team members. Clear Channel West Michigan VP and market manager Tim Feagan says, “We were pleased when Dave chose Grand Rapids for both EntreLeadership and The Legacy Journey events. This is a natural progression from the many successful ‘Total Money Makeover’ events WOOD Radio has hosted over the years. Our listeners have responded enthusiastically and it looks that we will have a great turnout for both events. We, and more importantly, our clients, are thrilled!” Pictured here are (from left to right): WTKG program director Phil Tower, Ramsey, WTKG general sales manager Henry Capogna, and Feagan.
2014 Marconi Award Winners Announced. The winners of this year’s Marconi Awards were revealed at the 25th Anniversary NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the 2014 Radio Show in Indianapolis last night. This year’s honorees are: Legendary Station — WFAN-FM, New York; Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year — Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Radio Networks; Major Market Personality of the Year — Kevin and Bean, KROQ-FM, Los Angeles; Large Market Personality of the Year — Ryan and Shannon, KSTP-FM, St. Paul; Medium Market Personality of the Year — Kevin Miller, KIDO-AM, Boise; Small Market Personality of the Year — Dottie Ray, KXIC-AM, Iowa City; Major Market Station of the Year — KKBQ-FM, Houston; Large Market Station of the Year — WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee; Medium Market Station of the Year — WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne; Small Market Station of the Year — KFGO-AM, Fargo; AC Station of the Year — WBEB-FM, Philadelphia; CHR Station of the Year — KQKS-FM, Denver; Country Station of the Year — KCYY-FM, San Antonio; News/Talk Station of the Year — WLW-AM, Cincinnati; Oldies Station of the Year — WOGL-FM, Philadelphia; Religious Station of the Year — KLTY-FM, Dallas; Rock Station of the Year — KROQ-FM, Los Angeles; Spanish Station of the Year — KLZT-FM, Austin; Sports Station of the Year — WBZ-FM, Boston; Urban Station of the Year — WHQT-FM, Coral Gables, Florida; Non-Commercial Station of the Year — WRHU-FM, Long Island.
Hofstra University’s WRHU Wins Marconi for Best Non-Commercial Station. Celebrating the 2014 Marconi Award for Best Non-Commercial station for Hofstra University’s WRHU, Hempstead, New York are (from left to right): Brianna Borresen, news director WRHU; John Mullen, director of operations WRHU Radio Hofstra University; John Shea, VP and market manager of COX Long Island and member of Hofstra University Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; and Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency and member of the Hofstra University Lawrence Herbert School of Communication advisory board and president of the Hofstra University Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Alumni Association.
Odds & Sods. At CBS RADIO’s news/talk WCCO, Minneapolis, Steve Simpson is named the new morning news anchor alongside morning host Dave Lee. Simpson was the longtime morning news personality on Emmis-owned news/talk flagship WIBC, Indianapolis until exiting in June…..KIRO-FM, Seattle morning personality John Curley – host of the “Curley and Tom Morning Show” – is set to serve as the keynote speaker at the 3rd annual National Student Electronic Media Convention being held in Seattle on Saturday, October 25. At the convention, Curley will share his personal formula for succeeding through difficulty and achieving career goals…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington adds a new hourly health and fitness feature to the programming lineup. “To Your Health” will be a one-to-three minute segment airing every hour at :22 minutes past the hour. The feature debuts Monday September 15…..Clear Channel’s WCKY, Cincinnati is serving as the flagship station for Northern Kentucky University Men’s basketball for the 2014-15 season.
U.S. ISIS Policy and President Obama’s Address Top Story for Week of September 8-12. The issue of the United States’ military policy in dealing with ISIS and President Obama’s national address on the matter was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Ray Rice controversy and the related topic of domestic violence. Coming in at #3 was the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race followed by the anniversary of 9/11 at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
BRADENTON, Fla. — Topic A in all conversations I have with broadcasters is about radio’s pending doom. The woe-is-me and the finger pointing invariably aims at our new-tech world where anybody can be a talk show host if they possess one of the many available space-age devices… and anybody can listen to an infinite number of unlicensed shows and networks on a variety of readily available “devices” that are not AM/FM “radios.” I hesitate to name these devices because by the time I finish this sentence there will be a new one.
This is the easiest way to cast blame without looking into our own house. I listen to a lot of radio and have a whole bunch of radios around my home and office from big, boxy ones to a couple real tiny ones that’ll fit into my pocket as I do my exercise hike around the neighborhood.
BRADENTON, FL — One of the many valuable side-effects of attending a TALKERS conference is the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a number of folks with whom you communicate only by phone or email. In addition to the onstage presentations at Talkers New York 2014 held this past Friday (6/20), it was a unique opportunity to discuss and explore some of the current challenges facing the talk media — particularly those offered only moments prior from the podium. At lunch, between sessions and during the cocktail hour I found myself in the midst of several of these spirited exchanges.
Regarding the slowly, stuttering recovery of the national economy, within my various knots of conversers, it was clear that one issue dominated all others — advertising sales. It was agreed that sales never have been really easy, but one element of the process has become far more important. It is servicing the account after the sale has been made. All acknowledged that advertisers are demanding more attention, reassurance and hand holding. And in the medium and larger markets, their obsession with having a digital component connected to just about all packages can be positively maddening. On the local level, especially in the small markets (which remain extremely important in my book) mere occasional contact and messaging no longer are sufficient in the current atmosphere.
BRADENTON, Fla. – No, this is not about the Emmys, the Oscars, the Clios, the Obies, the Tonys, the CMAs or the Golden Globes. No, this not about these lesser annual awards. They all make way for the most important citations that occur around this time, and this is the seventh year – the Annual Hersky Awards. As you all know, the Herskys honor outstanding achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales.
There may be a handful of readers who are still among the uninitiated, so let us restate the few, simple rules. There is no actual statuette, naked or semi-clothed (just the mock-up seen here)! There is no committee, although nominations and suggestions from the greater broadcast world are accepted and reviewed. There is no formal event with a red carpet or fashion parade. Keep in mind, however, the honors are pretty much confined to national entities, since reviewing every talk show or program in the country is a physical impossibility. The decisions of the judges are final, and there is only one judge (see byline above). So, may I have the envelopes!
Salem Communications Posts Q4 2013 Revenue Increase of 3.4%; Broadcast Up 1%. Digital was the key to Salem Communications’ 2013 fourth quarter revenue increase of 3.4% for the company as a whole. The broadcast sector was up 1% on revenue of $47.4 million and broadcast makes up about 60% of the company’s revenue. The company’s publishing sector was flat while internet and e-commerce was up 16.6%. Salem’s outlook for the first quarter of 2014 projects “total revenue to increase 9% to 11% over the first quarter 2013 total revenue of $55.6 million. The company is also projecting operating expenses before gains or losses on the sale or disposal of assets, impairments and stock-based compensation expense to increase 13% to 16% as compared to the first quarter of 2013 operating expenses of $48.2 million. This guidance includes the impact of the hiring of two new senior executives and the financial performance for the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing. The guidance for the first quarter contemplates a loss of $0.4 million due to the assumption of some unfavorable contracts that will rapidly unwind and the fact that the first quarter is always a soft quarter in the book publishing business with the big titles being released in the spring and in the fall.”
Nielsen Study Ties Station Choice to Buying Behavior. In a release from Nielsen about its recent major market pilot test, the company says that “for the first time, a connection can be drawn between what consumers listen to on the radio and how they spend. This solidifies radio’s place as a valuable marketing platform for advertisers and media planners. The major market pilot test combined proprietary Nielsen data with anonymized panelist credit and debit card purchasing behavior covering more than 24 billion transactions and $2 trillion in annual sales primarily from the retail, travel, digital, restaurant, entertainment, financial services and telecom categories.” Results from the Dallas market, for example, show that listeners to pop radio spend more per buyer annually on casual dining than those listeners who prefer other formats. In the same market, rock and alternative listeners spend more per buyer annually in retail locations than listeners who prefer other formats. News/talk listeners, the study showed, go to the movies more each year that do listeners of other formats. Nielsen SVP of local media product leadership Farshad Family says, “The ability to determine how radio listeners among different formats like pop, news or rock are spending their dollars creates a unique opportunity for radio broadcasters to make a case for the value of their audience. We are just beginning to tell the story about the value of radio’s audience. As we make progress on conducting more links between listening data and purchase data, we will continue to share more insights with the marketplace.”
Ordway’s ‘Big Show Unfiltered’ to Begin Next Month. Longtime Boston sports talk radio host Glenn Ordway is returning with a daily, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program (“Big Show Unfiltered”), which will be heard via his SportstalkBoston.com website and on mobile devices. “I am so thrilled to once again be talking local sports in my hometown with the best fans in America,” comments Ordway, who presided over “The Big Show” for 27 years on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI. “I look forward to presenting an alternative in the market that will feature the best of the past with some new, innovative elements and voices. There is no reason to hold anything back anymore – it is all unfiltered.” The renamed “Big Show Unfiltered” is set to begin in about two weeks (Monday, March 17) and it will include similar components from his WEEI program, such as “The Whiner Line.” It is believed that down the road, Ordway is planning to have his program air on a terrestrial radio network comprised of New England affiliates. Boston native Mike Salk, who co-hosted a program on Seattle’s KIRO-AM since 2009, replaced Ordway in afternoon drive on WEEI-FM alongside Michael Holley. Ordway’s final show on WEEI-FM was in mid-February of last year.
Logan Exits Shane Media. Stating on his Facebook page that he thought he’d “spend the rest of my working days in this chair at Shane Media,” Lee Logan says the fiscal realities of the industry have him exiting the consulting company and looking for his next great opportunity. Logan had been with Shane for the past seven years and was instrumental in assisting Radio One put its all-news format on KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”
Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting to Purchase Dark KPTO, Pocatello for $75K. The principal of Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting is Tim Aalders who hosts the “Freedom’s Voice” talk show heard on United Broadcasting Company’s KTKK, Salt Lake City. Ted Austin’s Main Street Broadcasting is the seller for the signal that is currently dark. Aalders plans to expand the reach of his programming into the southeastern Idaho market. This is no announced timetable for KPTO going back on the air.
If Weekends Were Weekdays? Hey, They Are! That so many talk-formatted stations air infomercials on weekends is not news – nor is the programming-versus-sales paradigm so prevalent at many of these stations. Media consultant Walter Sabo says a little-known truth in the business is that Saturday midday is an indicative daypart and the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart. What could this mean to your talk station? Read Walter Sabo’s latest column here to find out.
Odds & Sods. The New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs announces the appointment of Michael Freedman, senior vice president and professor at University of Maryland University College to the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Advisory Board and GrandJury panel. NYF executive director Rose Anderson comments, “Michael Freedman brings over 35 years of broadcast journalism experience to his role as Advisory Board and GrandJury member. His creative vision and reputation within the industry will be a tremendous asset.”…..ESPN O&O WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Nueva York” will continue to air New York Mets play-by-play in Spanish as the team and rights owner Clear Channel (English-language games will be heard on WOR) agree to continue the broadcasts through the 2016 season…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington announces the addition of an entertainment section to its WTOP.com site with WTOP.com staffer Alicia Lozano named editor for the section. Director of digital media John Meyer comments, “As WTOP evolves into a digital news operation, we are continuing to dedicate resources to original digital content that will feed not only our website but also our radio and mobile platforms. The Washington area is rife with local stories concerning the arts, music, movies and more. Our entertainment section will bring these stories to life online and on-air.”…..Media consultant Holland Cooke (pictured above at left in the WABC, New York studios with host Laura Smith) is appearing on WABC, New York this weekend on “Saturday Café with Laura Smith.” Cooke, who also blogs at his SurvivalSpeech.com, will offer “9 Tips For YOUR Academy Awards Acceptance Speech.”
The Media Roundtable. TALKERS and RadioInfo sales and marketing specialist Al Herskovitz (standing) was a recent speaker at the Media Roundtable in Sarasota, Florida. His subject was “The Current State of Radio Broadcasting.” The Media Roundtable conducts a monthly meeting that brings together media executives and active participants from all types of media: radio, TV, cable, internet, newspapers, magazines, publishing, motion pictures, theatre arts. The purpose of the group is to review current and future news and developments in the media with an interchange of opinions and questions by those in attendance. The Media Roundtable originated in 1950 in New York City and moved to Florida in 1991 and is unique in the United States. It currently is chaired and managed by longtime TV executive Irwin Starr. While there are some 300+ active members, the luncheon sessions are limited to the first 50 who make reservations. Pictured here with Herskovitz are Starr at far left and media broker Burt Sherwood, second from left.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” talk show featuring Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, Rob Carson and other personalities, is added to the program schedule at Ohana Media Group’s KAST, Astoria, Oregon.
‘Religious Rights’ Legislation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 24-28. The story of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a “religious rights” bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based on religious beliefs was the most-talked-about issue of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the political unrest in Crimea and Ukraine and the U.S.-Russia tensions accompanying it. And at #4 was the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s prospects and the looming mid-term elections this fall. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Congressman Greg Walden Intends to Kill FCC’s Critical Information Needs Study. It wouldn’t be out of line to suggest Oregon Congressman Greg Walden doesn’t trust the FCC not to step over the line regarding its Critical Information Needs study. The controversial study would send researchers into the field to determine how stations and news personnel are choosing and presenting news and information and whether the conclusions reached somehow create a barrier to entry into station ownership for minorities. Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler backed off the study as initially created and he has said the Commission has no intention of regulating the content of journalists or broadcasters. Walden is promising to craft legislation to end the CIN study permanently. He says “The very existence of this CIN study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place. As someone with a journalism degree, I was alarmed from the moment I saw it, which is why we wrote to Chairman Wheeler in December to urge him to stop the study. To date, Chairman Wheeler has insisted upon only making small tweaks, and what he has proposed to do isn’t enough. The study should be eradicated completely. The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious, but it is also concerning that the commission believes it can prescribe what ‘critical information needs’ are in communities across the country.”
Salem Names Joe Piscopo Permanent Morning Host at WNYM, New York. Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, comic and actor Joe Piscopo has been sitting in hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” since the beginning of the year. Now the company makes it official as he’s named morning host of “Piscopo in the Morning.” He is joined on the air by morning show producer Frank Morano and newsman Al Gatullo. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “One of the best things I get to do in this job is find talented people who have accomplished something on one stage and are ready to take on another one. Joe is extremely talented on the radio, bringing a level of entertainment to mix with the information that you seldom get to hear. This is a very connected morning show in the nation’s top market.” Piscopo has been involved in a variety of projects since he left SNL, and still does a number of nationwide tours with former cast members. In addition to numerous movie appearances, and comedy club gigs, he is soon to be featured in a national reality TV show for a major network. He comments, “I have my college degree in broadcasting. I remain a dedicated student of the most intimate medium, radio. And with legendary broadcast giants like GM Jerry Crowley and current day guru of all radio personalities past and present, Phil Boyce, this is the positively perfect storm of talk radio. I honestly believe that this is not only the reinvention, renaissance and revitalization of AM radio, (not to mention a totally new and exciting journey of my career) but the best thing to happen to NY radio since David Sarnoff.” Crowley says, “We have had a huge positive reaction to Joe, both from listeners and advertisers, since he joined us. This is going to be a true home run.”
Improve Your PPM Performance. Media consultant Walter Sabo offers five quick tips for improving your talk radio station’s performance in PPM (or frankly, any) markets. Sabo writes that one of the biggest gripes from general managers at stations which he consults is that the program director doesn’t coach the talent. That can lead to bad habits. To read his quick five-point prescription for getting on the track to better audience engagement, click here.
WFNZ, Charlotte’s Brittney Cason Tells Chilling Tale of Narrow Escape from Human Trafficking Ring. There’s no word how far the FBI is in its investigation of what happened – or almost happened – to media personality and WFNZ, Charlotte air talent Brittney Cason, but as the former NFL cheerleader writes in a column on XOJane.com, her dashed dream to cover the Sochi Olympics turned out to be a probable life-saving event. You can read her story here, but here’s a summary: After being recruited to cover the Winter Games by whom Cason thought was a legitimate agent, Cason discovered through her own dogged pursuit of answers to questions that bugged her that the man pretending to be an agent was likely involved in a human trafficking ring operating around the Sochi Games. Cason notes that one of the most common pretenses for abducting women for trafficking purposes is a modeling gig. Cason’s experience in the broadcasting and modeling business may have saved her life.
Cape Cod Broadcasting Names Reckford News Director. General manager Beverly Tilden announces that Cape Cod Broadcasting is naming Laura Reckford news director for the company. Tilden says, “Cape Cod Broadcasting has been a trusted resource for local Cape Cod news and information. Laura’s experience and leadership will assure that we continue that tradition as we grow and expand our news offerings.” Reckford most recently worked in the communications & development department at Housing Assistance Corporation. She is also the founder of the new online magazine CapeCodWave.com where she currently is editor and publisher. Cape Cod Broadcasting says it will partner with CapeCodWave.com as part of its development of its website CapeCod.com. She has worked at Cape Cod Life as managing editor and served with The Falmouth Enterprise in the same capacity. She began her media career in New York City at Entertainment Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Viacom and 20th Century Fox. Reckman comments, “After working in film, television, magazines, and newspapers, I am excited to be working in radio, a medium I have long admired. In addition, I am looking forward to bringing local journalism to CapeCod.com and also enhancing that website with the magazine-style journalism of Cape Cod Wave.”
Political Ad Season Is for Everyone. Media sales maven Al Herskovitz, president of H-and-H Broadcasting, writes about the already-upon-us political advertising season and what radio stations can do to get their fair share of the pie. Herskovitz notes that political is a busy category at major and large market stations but that smaller market stations and shows that may have considered themselves too small or “unconnected” can follow some strategies to make sure they are exhausting all possible sources of revenue in this category. Read Herskovitz’s column here.
Dean Adds Nightly Show to GCN Lineup. “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean is hosting his own nightly show distributed by Genesis Communications Network beginning Monday, March 10. In addition to the weekly “Freedom Feens” program he hosts with Neema Vedadi, “Michael Dean After Dark” will air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT. Dean says the program will feature him and a rotating cast of co-hosts for the two-hour show.
Weighing in on Net Neutrality. Nationally syndicated talk show host, columnist and digital expert Kim Komando (right) is seen here in this screen shot during an appearance on the Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report” hosted by Gerri Willis (left). During the segment, Komando discussed the net neutrality issue and a potential deal between Netflix and AT&T for faster download speeds.
Arizona Religious Rights Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, Hagel Army Reduction Plan, Defense of Marriage Laws Controversy, Bitcoin Exchange Troubles, and Ukraine Turmoil-Russian Influence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The controversy over the Arizona bill that would allow business owners to discriminate against customers based on their own religious beliefs; the plan of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to downsize the Army to its lowest level since after WWII; the edict from Attorney General Eric Holder that state attorneys general do not have to enforce “defense of marriage” laws; the question of the solvency of bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox; and the political turmoil in the Ukraine and Russia’s influence in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Al Herskovitz
BRADENTON, FL — There is a remarkable, growing retail phenomenon occurring around the country this time of year that is directly attributable to the current national economic downturn. And it is a unique opportunity for sales reps.
These are retail outlets that suddenly appear in vacant spots in shopping centers and malls and stay just for the holiday season and then close. The phenomenon even has gotten a name. They are called “Pop-Ups.”
As you probably have noticed in your very own community, there are numerous barren locations which give the centers a certain forlorn appearance. Therefore, shopping center operators are delighted to have them filled even though the leases are short-term. They provide a more festive and better look and at least generate some income. They also are a lure for shoppers to frequent the regular space occupiers as well.
Instant Case Study: Power of Local Talk Radio. Earlier this week, one of talk radio’s most rapidly rising young stars impressively underscored how local hosts can dramatically, effectively flex their muscles and gain community goodwill. Cogently serving as a mediator, KSCO, Santa Cruz (California) afternoon drive talent Ethan Bearman accomplished what no attorneys or court could do in four years of active litigation. Here is the back-story. In a lawsuit filed in 2009, the Community Alliance for Fairgrounds Accountability (CAFA) alleged noise caused by dirt track racing at Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds’ Ocean Speedway was disruptive to neighbors. There has been what Bearman labels “heated rhetoric and acrimony” from both sides of the dispute. Last Thursday, he decided to engage each principal, with racetrack promoter John Prentice agreeing to come in-studio this past Monday (10/21). Meanwhile though, the CAFA attorney never returned Bearman’s call. After Monday’s broadcast though, spokesperson and national owner of West Marine, Randy Repass, sought to share his side. “I invited him on-air [yesterday, 10/22] and John Prentice called in to counter Mr. Repass,” Bearman recounts. “I proceeded to walk through the issues with both sides in a calming manner.” The result was a perfect-case local talk radio scenario: Bearman achieved a verbal agreement between Prentice and Repass for a framework agreement on solving the matter. Click here to listen.
Layoffs Reported At Sinclair Stations. According to a report in TVSpy, Sinclair Broadcast Group has issued layoffs at its newly-acquired stations in Seattle and Portland. Relying on a source inside Seattle ABC-TV affiliate KOMO, TVSpy notes there have been 10 layoffs in that station’s newsroom and close to 20 across all Sinclair’s Seattle properties. Those affected include satellite truck operators, editors, producers, and radio reporters and editors. The source describes the mood at KOMO as sad and nervous, noting that the newsroom is a “very tight-knit group” that has been through a lot. Staffers are said to be helping laid-off employees find new jobs. It was announced on April 11 of this year that Fisher would sell its Seattle radio properties – news KOMO-AM, talk KVI, and hot AC KPLZ – to Sinclair; the deal was completed on August 8.
Longtime KYW Manager Roy Shapiro Passes. Former 20-year vice president/general manager of all-news KYW, Philadelphia Roy Shapiro, 76, has died. CBS Radio president/chief executive officer Dan Mason comments that, “Roy was the backbone of KYW Radio for so many years and continued to make valuable contributions to CBS Radio through his wealth of knowledge in audience measurement research. All of us at CBS Radio will miss him – not only as our colleague but as our loyal friend.” CBS Radio executive vice president of operations Scott Herman remarks, “Roy was an incredible person and one of the brightest, smartest minds the broadcasting industry has ever seen. His legacy will live on through those of us lucky enough to be mentored by him and those of us blessed to be able to call him a friend.” According to senior vice president/Philadelphia market manager Marc Rayfield, “Roy was not only a great boss, he was a father figure to many of us. He made everyone around him a better broadcaster and a better person. His presence in our daily lives will be sorely missed, but his spirit will live on forever.” Shapiro joined Group W/Westinghouse Broadcasting in 1962. He would serve in many capacities at the company, including vice president/general manager of Group W Radio Sales and vice president of Strategic Planning and Research. Shapiro retired as KYW’s General Manager in 2003, but he continued to consult for CBS Radio up to the time of his death.
It is Washington to Washington For Mathes. American University-owned noncommercial WAMU, Washington, DC general manager Caryn Mathes has accepted a similar assignment at University of Washington noncommercial KUOW, Seattle. She will commence her new duties on January 2, 2014. University of Washington associate vice president of Media Relations and Communications Norm Arkans comments, “Caryn has had great success wherever she has been. She brings a fresh perspective and genuine passion for the role of public media in our society.” Mathes previously was general manager of Wayne State University noncommercial outlet WDET, Detroit. “I am driven by and thrive on building public media organizations,” she remarks. “The future of civil society depends on the foundation of a well-informed population capable of nuanced thought. KUOW is poised to be a leader in public media’s next chapters on audience, content, and technology. I know we will do great things in this regard.” WAMU senior director of business operations Cary Needham is tapped to be that station’s interim GM until a successor for Mathes is found.
KYW Presents a Ten-Piece Laptop Computer Lab. The Tacony Center of the Police Athletic League (PAL) is the recipient of the joint venture between CBS Radio all-news KYW, Philadelphia and Comcast. The computer lab was presented to a group of children and supervisors of Tacony PAL this past Monday (10/21) evening. “It is gratifying to assist organizations like PAL who help make a difference in the community and the lives of local children,” comments CBS Radio, Philadelphia senior vice president/market manger Marc Rayfield. Approximately 30% of Americans do not have home internet access. Comcast vice president of Government Affairs Kathleen Sullivan states, “By leveling the playing field and giving low income kids the same tools as their peers, they will be able to compete in a 21st century technologically savvy environment. We launched “Internet Essentials” to make it possible for kids to have the internet available at home and purchase computer equipment at an affordable rate.” This marks the 14th year that KYW and Comcast have joined forces to bring computers to Delaware Valley individuals, schools, and community centers.
Sports/Talk Expanding Commercial Envelope as Traditional Norms Fade Away. Of all the subsets of talk radio, sports/talk appears to be the most innovative and pioneering when it comes to finding new and appropriate sales opportunities. There are lessons in this for all of radio to follow. Some of the arenas now considered “normal” are sales categories that were considered forbidden or at least in questionable taste just a few short years ago — such as “gentlemen’s clubs” (strip joints), hard liquor and gun shops. Language itself is changing with a far looser tolerance of specific words finding their way into the glossary of acceptable terms. Also, standard scheduling practices are changing such as the clustering of spots in which stations are not as meticulous as they once were in separating competitors within any given category (automotive ads being a prime example). In a new column posted today (10/23), TALKERS sales maven, H&H Communications CEO/president Al Herskovitz discusses these changes along with what new opportunities and challenges they bring to radio of all formats. To read it please click here.
KFQD Scores Six Alaska Broadcaster’s Association Awards. The Morris Communications-owned Anchorage talk outlet was honored by the ABA for “Best Radio Show” for afternoon talk personality Dave Stieren; “Best News Program” for morning drive “Newsday AM”; and “Best News Coverage” for reporter Kathy Phillips’ live updates on a local fire. In addition, the station was cited for producer Toben Shelby‘s “Best Station Imaging”; Alaska Aces hockey voice Josh Bogorod for “Best Sports Play-by-Play”; and Steve Stripling and Mike Ford for “Most Uniquely Alaskan Program” for “The Big Alaska Show.” Anchorage Media Group director of spoken-word programming Joe Campbell remarks, “I am blessed with a talented group of professional broadcasters who love what they do, and that shows in our on-air product. They truly deserve this recognition.” KFQD signed on in May of 1924, making it Alaska’s first radio station. This year’s ABA awards were presented at the conclusion of the organization’s annual convention at Anchorage’s Sheraton Hotel.
Alliance For Women in Media Selects Strobel As Interim CEO. As a search for a new chief executive officer is being conducted, Sylvia Strobel will oversee day-to-day AWM operations. She succeeds three-year AWM president Erin Fuller, who becomes president of AWM’s professional services firm Coulter. Strobel is the co-founder/partner of the law firm Lehmann Strobel PLC, where she provides legal and business consulting services to the nonprofit arts, cultural and media communities. AWM chair Kay Olin remarks, “Sylvia’s industry knowledge, leadership abilities, and commitment to AWM will help us continue the organization’s incredible momentum advancing the influence and impact of women in all forms of media.” A past chair of the organization, Strobel notes, “AWM’s mission and work – to advance the opportunities for and impact of women in all forms of media – is critically important to me personally, and is necessary to ascertain diversity in a rapidly changing media industry.” Strobel served as an attorney and business advisor to the entertainment community for over 20 years. Most recently, she was executive director of the Alliance for Community Media and she previously was president/general manager of the Pennsylvania Public Television Network.
Strand Media and Boostability Offer “Digital Profit System for Radio.” The concept allows stations to bundle Search Engine Optimization services (SEO) with traditional radio advertising to improve advertiser results, while creating what Strand Media president Mike Carruthers describes as, “a substantial recurring revenue stream” for the station. “The money is virtually all profit,” he maintains. Every business must come at the top of a Google search, Carruthers advises, and with “DPS for Radio,” station salespeople can offer SEO services to help get clients to the top of those search results. They then coordinate the SEO campaign with ad copy to create a message intended to get better results for clients. Carruthers insists that local businesses will buy these services and he rhetorically asks, “Why not buy them from a radio station salesperson out in the community making calls?” Once a radio station sells a “DPS for Radio” package to an advertiser, they hand it off to Boostability. Stations make a commission on every dollar their clients spend for as long as they remain a customer. “Over time, that can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars with virtually no expenses,” Carruthers states. There is no cost to offer DPS for Radio and there is market/format exclusivity protection for this venture. Strand Media produces the daily feature “Something You Should Know” and the daily service “Relevant Prep.” It has syndicated “Backstage Country,” “Oldies Essentials” and “Recollections.” Founder Mike Carruthers has worked at over a dozen radio stations, most of them in Los Angeles; his contact information is 626-325-3360, Mike@DPSforRadio.com, or www.DPSforRadio.com.
Comedy Legend Emo Phillips to be Presented as Week-long Host for Halloween by CC Comedy Format. “24/7 Comedy,” the 24-hour, all-comedy format syndicated by Clear Channel, will treat listeners to a special week-long Halloween host – legendary comedian Emo Phillips. From October 28 – November 1, “24/7 Comedy” will feature “A Very Emo Halloween,” giving listeners a peek behind the mysterious mask of Phillips and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits. Emo has been a mystifying figure in the comedy world for nearly 30 years. With an orchestra of tonality and cadence, an odd falsetto intonation, and weird observations delivered in a child-like and rambling voice, Emo found himself climbing the ranks of the stand-up ladder in the 1980s. He is currently touring and setting attendance records at comedy clubs around the globe. Launched in 2010, “24/7 Comedy” is a first fast-paced, hits-oriented, mass-appeal comedy format for broadcast radio. With a growing library of more than 15,000 comedy bits, each hour of programming features more than 20 of today’s top acts as well as established artists. For more information visit www.247comedy.com.
Low-Power FM Application Deadline Extended. Opening of the original, two-week LPFM window was slated for October 15 – 29, but owing to the October 1 -16 federal government shutdown, the FCC is pushing it back. Applications for community radio stations are now due by November 14. Prometheus Radio Project Policy Director Sanjay Jolly comments that, “Low-power FM is radio at its most local. These stations transmit less than 10 miles in any direction, but that small range can cover an entire town, suburb, or small city. Since only local organizations are eligible to apply, low-power stations can make radio relevant to the towns and cities where they broadcast.” Nonprofit groups, public safety organizations, and Native American tribes can apply for Low-Power FM stations online at the FCC website. Over 800 low-power stations run by nonprofits, colleges, churches, and emergency responders are currently on-air.
By Al Herskovitz
BRADENTON — Of all the subsets of talk radio, sports/talk appears to be the most innovative and pioneering when it comes to finding new and appropriate sales opportunities. After you think you have heard it all a category comes along from out of the blue that really throws you. It’s a relatively new category of commercials that currently is most prevalent on sports/talk stations. The category – “Strip Joints”…euphemistically referred to as “Gentlemen’s Clubs.” The spots primarily are voiced by females using seductive tones as they list the club’s attractions through indirection. Considering the sports/talks audience make-up, it does make a great deal of sense.
By Al Herskovitz
BRADENTON, Fla — With cries of woe, beating of breasts and the rending of garments, radio sales reps are responding to the mournful tune being sung by predictors of the medium’s imminent demise. It is the same song we heard many, many years ago with the emergence of television. “It’s all over for radio,” they wailed. “Nobody’s going to listen to the radio anymore when they can watch TV.” But sharp management, innovative programmers, and clever promotion beat that notion into the ground.
We heard that tune again with the FM explosion. “Nobody’s going to listen to AM radio anymore when they have FM.” Then talk radio expanded across the AM band to such a degree that national leaders, columnists and commentators, public figures go bonkers when a program host says something that they deem controversial or are against something they said or did. Only today as I write this I read a column in a major metropolitan daily that railed against Rush Limbaugh. If nobody is listening, what are they worried about? After all he’s just a talk show host on AM radio.
WBEN, Buffalo to Flip Programming. Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN will move late morning talk show host Tom Bauerle to the PM drive slot currently held by Buffalo market legend Sandy Beach and Beach will shift to the late morning show. Both personalities have been in their current time slots for long periods – Bauerle for the past 11 years after moving to WBEN from the company’s sister sports talk station WGR. The change is expected to take place at the end of July.
How to Be a Talk Show Host. In a candid, tell-it-like-it-is piece posted today (7/22) WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk star and TALKERS columnist Bob Lonsberry draws upon his vast experience and presents a point-by-point tutorial on how to be a talk show host…or at least how to be a GOOD one. He basically breaks it down to five steps: 1) ignore anyone who tries to tell you how to be a talk show host; 2) focus on listeners; 3) don’t suck; 4) remember that callers are only a tool; 5) stand for something; and 6) get out of the studio. To read all the juicy details, please click here.
Kevin McCullough to Host Daily Local Talk Show on WMCA, New York. Salem Communications announces talk media pro and digital entrepreneur Kevin McCullough will begin hosting a daily one-hour talk show on Christian teaching-formatted WMCA, New York on August 5. Salem states this is a return to WMCA for McCullough who has also been heard on the company’s KKLA, Los Angeles and WMBI and WYLL in Chicago. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “Kevin has proven to be one of the true up-and-coming voices in Christian talk radio and we are delighted he will be able to join our team. His afternoon program will be live and local, tackling issues of concern going on locally and in the world with a Christian world view.” In a statement, Salem says McCullough’s program will include discussion with local ministers about their concerns and how our listeners can relate to and understand major world events in a biblical perspective. “The addition of Kevin will allow WMCA to truly reflect the attitude of the city we serve, and be more responsive to community concerns,” according to WMCA vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley. McCullough continues his talk programs produced and syndicated via his own XtreMEDIA.
NBC Sports Radio Network Lands WCAR, Detroit as Affiliate; Move Adds Fuel to Greater Media Sports Talk Flip. Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Detroit is the newest affiliate for the NBC Sports-Dial Global sports talk radio initiative branded NBC Sports Talk Radio. From the sound of the press release it appears the station will carry most if not all of the network’s programming in addition to NFL games distributed by Dial Global. WCAR had been an ESPN Radio affiliate and this move strengthens the suspicions that ESPN will find a partner in Greater Media which is strongly rumored to be prepared to flip AC WMGC, Detroit “Today’s 105.1” to sports talk in August.
‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Gets Media Attention for ‘Homeless Vet’ Sting. When WGRD, Grand Rapids-based, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning show “Free Beer & Hot Wings” heard about panhandlers posing as homeless veterans to gain sympathy and earn more money, they sent Producer Joe to a corner in Grand Rapids where a panhandler named Rudy was doing just that. In fact, Rudy had admitted to local TV station WZZM that he was not a veteran. According to AllMichigan.com, and as you can see in the WGRD photo here, Producer Joe showed up where Rudy was panhandling sporting a cardboard sign reading “Liar,” causing Rudy to ride off on a mountain bike. Producer Joe came back to the location the next day and “panhandled” to raise $1,085 for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. WGRD matched the funds and $2,170 was donated to the home.
The Dismal State of the Radio Remote. According to radio sales and marketing maven Al Herskovitz, TALKERS columnist and president of H&H Communications, the age old programming/sales tool known as the “remote” – which has fallen on hard times — still has the potential to be a winner in the sports talk genre. The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airwaves, particularly from talk radio — and for logical reasons, too. The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location. In a new column posted today (7/22) Herskovitz breaks down the challenges that must be overcome and cites opportunities still ripe for exploitation in doing remotes. To read it, please click here.
Jeff Katz Commentary Added to Arkansas Talk Station. Boston-based talk radio personality Jeff Katz’s “The Katz Commentary” is heard three times daily on WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts. Now, Katz gets his daily feature added to the program schedule in Central Arkansas on Saline River Media’s news/talk KEWI, Benton. Katz says, “I am thrilled that the voice of Central Arkansas will be adding ‘The Katz Commentary’ to its great lineup. I’m working hard on my Razorback yell, as well.”
Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The “intensive, 10-day event,” organized by Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System in cooperation with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and Western Kentucky University kicks off the Radio Talent Institute at the school today. The Institute begins with opening comments from WKU President Gary Ransdell; Dean David Lee of Potter College, WKU; and director of journalism and broadcasting, WKU, Dr. Loup Langton, along with Rick McCue from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and WBKO TV. Former broadcaster, now assistant professor at WKU, Dick Taylor will moderate the event. Sixteen students from the region have been accepted into this year’s Institute. Those students will hear from 36 radio professionals, including Bud Walters, president/owner of the Cromwell Group, Nashville; Steve Newberry, president/CEO, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Glasgow; Christine Hillard, president/COO of Forever Communications, Bowling Green; with Ed Henson of Henson Media, Louisville, opening the institute with “Getting in, Becoming an Entrepreneur.” Also instructing during the event are: Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media leading a session on “On Air, Developing Your Voice, Your Style…You”; Morning Mouth publisher Don Anthony who will deliver “How to Get a Good Job”; plus news/talk radio sessions by WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and WKU public radio morning host, reporter and producer Joseph Corcoran. This is the second Radio Talent Institute of the summer and Vallie states, “These students are starting their careers in radio, and we are developing the next generation of broadcasters. The students come with enthusiasm and passion for the business, and it’s very impressive how industry professionals sacrifice their time to come to the campus to teach sessions and give back to the industry.”
Odds & Sods. Matt Dery exits CBS Radio’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit where he was afternoon sports anchor on the Valenti & Foster program after the station did not renew his contract…..Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco renews its deal with IMG College to carry University of California football play-by-play and adds Men’s basketball games to the five-year deal.
The poor, abused programming/sales tool still can work well in sports talk
By Al Herskovitz
BRADENTON — The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airways, particularly from talk radio. And for logical reason too. The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location.
However, there is a place for the commercial remote broadcast to flourish… in sports/talk radio!
By Al Herskovitz
BRADENTON, FL — Who cares why “Brave” beat out “Frankenweenie” for the Best Animated Feature Oscar? Who cares about Anne Hathaway’s coiffure? And who the devil is Seth MacFarlane (alright, alright…even I know who he is)? The Oscars is just about one of a score of lesser awards presentations – the Emmys, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Obies, the Tonys and on and on that have swept through the past 30 days or so. They pale in comparison to the one awards presentation that has any worth or meaning or gravitas. It’s 2013 Hersky Awards. For the uninitiated the Herskys honor outstanding achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales.
First, the rules…
Now to restate the rules for this sixth year for those who don’t remember. There is no golden statuette of a naked, bald man protecting his vitals with a sword or naked woman leaping after a sphere . The criteria vary from year to year at the whim of the awards committee. The committee consists of just one person. (See byline above.) Since it is impossible for the committee to hear every talk program or station in the country, the awards are pretty much confined to national entities or concepts national in scope.
So, now the envelope please!
Creating Content Available Nowhere Else at Bonneville Seattle. News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle and parent company Bonneville announce a changing role for “Seattle’s Morning News” anchor Linda Thomas that puts the radio personality and journalist in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space MyNorthwest.com. Bonneville says Thomas will “devote 100% of her time and energy to original enterprise reporting for radio and digital channels in a groundbreaking new role announced today by KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com. As senior features reporter at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com, her role is to meet intriguing people and tell their stories. In her role as digital journalist, Linda will continue her award-winning blog and file original reports to MyNorthwest.com covering topics from parenting and politics to technology and trends.”
During numerous presentations at industry gatherings, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has stated that what radio must do to survive this convergence of media and the changes in consumer behavior it is fostering, is to create content that is only available in one place – your radio station. KIRO’s move combines this notion with the concept of a “media station” – a digital destination for unique multi-media content. Bonneville’s radio and digital news director Peter Gammell says, “Original local reporting is what fuels KIRO Radio’s conversations and drives our users to visit MyNorthwest.com. Linda has a proven ear for the compelling story, and she’s one of our most prolific reporters. This role frees her to focus on what only she can do.”
Thomas relishes her opportunity to pursue her journalistic endeavors. “I believe everybody has a story, and I want to know what’s yours. I meet so many people whose stories have value, and someone hearing or reading them is going to have their life changed by their bravery and originality.” Program director Larry Gifford states, “I’ve always been impressed with the compassion in Linda’s reporting. She finds real, interesting people in the community, has a personal conversation with them and shares what she’s learned. I can’t wait to hear who she introduces me to next.”
Thomas will continue her popular “News Chick” efforts. Tweeting and posting on social media as “The News Chick,” Thomas is among the most-followed local journalists in the U.S., according to Bonneville. The company says she promises her social media followers on Twitter @thenewschick and Facebook will continue to be fed her customary stream of sharable gems. “The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.” In addition to her longer-form radio and online feature reporting, social media are where she will continue sharing viral videos, photos, links to eye-catching stories from Seattle to Hollywood and around the world — along with Thomas’ famed fascination with her boots.
Cumulus Media Inks Agreement to Buy New York Market FM. Pending approval from the FCC, Cumulus Media will have a third New York City station after closing on Family Stations, Inc.’s WFME, Newark, New Jersey. Cumulus states in a press release that it will announce format plans for the Class B FM at 94.7 upon closing and expects that to happen sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Crain’s New York Business cites an industry insider saying Cumulus got WFME for a bargain: $40 million. Family Stations has undergone changes during the past year and is said to be cash-strapped after Family Stations chief Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions on the date of Christ’s reappearance last year failed on two occasions. CEO Lew Dickey says, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.” Of course, although Cumulus is remaining vague about the specifics of its programming intentions with the new acquisition, industry observers are actively speculating as to what might be in store for the Big Apple’s soon-to-be competitive commercial FM. For years, through several ownerships, WABC program directors have privately confessed that they wished talk-formatted WABC had a NYC FM outlet for its programming. But the fact that its only sister FM, hot AC WPLJ (95.5) has been such a consistent ratings and revenue success put up a roadblock to that happening easily. Now with the New York talk market in flux per Clear Channel‘s soon-to-be-completed takeover of WOR and Cumulus launching new high-profile syndicated talk shows such as Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, and with the end of their contracts with Premiere Networks‘ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows looming – it makes sense that they would be looking for a new Gotham outlet for their considerably valuable talk properties. Of course, this is just speculation.
Tavis Smiley Takes on WBEZ, Chicago in Open Letter After Public Station Cancels Weekend “Smiley & West” Program. Talk media personality Tavis Smiley wrote an open letter to Chicago Public Media president and CEO Torey Malatia after the station cancelled his weekend program “Smiley & West,” co-hosted by Princeton professor Cornel West. In the letter, Smiley reacts to his work being called “less than inclusive” and being compared to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but Malatia in response to WBEZ cancelling his program. Read the entire letter here.
KTTH, Seattle Announces New Schedule; Names David Boze AM Drive Host. Beginning in January, Seattle talk radio personality David Boze will have a new role with the Bonneville talk station. Boze currently does a one-hour program at 3:00 pm on KTTH that serves as a local hour between Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity on the station. In January, Boze will host the three-hour morning drive show and bumps Premiere’s Glenn Beck from the AM drive slot on the station. Bonneville Seattle program director Larry Gifford states, “David is a stand-up guy with a traditional Northwest sensibility. He’s someone you’d want as a neighbor – who happens to host a great radio show. He always leaves me better informed and mentally energized.” Boze, who began his talk radio career as a producer for Peter Weissbach at KVI in 1999, has been with KTTH for 10 years. He says, “I try to live my life with the same traditional values as my listeners do; decency, liberty, hard work, and doing what’s right. I want to create a friendly gathering place where people can digest the news and we can talk about important stories that other media misinterpret or miss altogether.”
Talk Radio’s Unique Sales Advantage. H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz says the unique place talk radio occupies in the stew of formats is that it is a foreground format that brings a better value to its advertisers. This is not a new concept but Herskovitz writes that talk sales staffers can be very creative in taking advantage of this in bringing new categories of advertisers to the format. “It would be hard to believe that the Rolls Royce manufacturer or even the local Rolls dealer would want to buy a spot in that Sunday 5:30 am auto show,” Herskovitz states. “But an Atlanta station saleswoman I know did sell that very program to a salvage yard in her market coupled with a weekday spot package and a handful of promos. Now that’s creative salesmanship!” Read Al Herskovitz’s entire piece here.
WHNZ, Tampa to Add Sports Talk from Fox Sports Radio. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHNZ, Tampa – currently airing a combination of brokered local shows and syndicated news/talk fare, begins adding Fox Sports Radio content to the station beginning with the overnight “J.T. the Brick” program airing from 1:00 am to 5:00 am. In 2013, the station plans to add FSRN’s “Petros & Money” and “Fox Sports Tonight” programs to the lineup. Program director Steve Versnick states, “We are excited to launch the powerful brand of Fox Sports Radio on WHNZ in Tampa Bay. This adds star power to the station for us.”
Fox Sports Radio Changes “Loose Cannons” Lineup; Vic “The Brick” Jacobs to KLAC Duties. The trio of Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – known as the “Loose Cannons” on Fox Sports Radio Network – will continue with just O’Brien and Hartman as Jacobs has been re-assigned to the sports news updates role at flagship KLAC, Los Angeles. He’ll also serve as a reporter covering Lakers basketball.
Second Presidential Debate, Libya Attack Investigation, Malala Yousufzai Case, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16). The second presidential debate from Hofstra University on Long Island; the ongoing investigation and controversy over the attack on the Banghazi consulate; the case of Pakistani wounded teen Malala Yousufzai; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Al Herskovitz
H & H Communications
BRADENTON – In the wild mad scramble for ad dollars during these highly challenged economic times, Talk Radio has one outstanding and special advantage over other popular radio formats. In order to enjoy listening to talk, it is obvious that one has to listen to it attentively. It doesn’t make a very good background service as does music.That is why certain products tend to gravitate toward both the demographics and the psychographics of the format…. particularly higher priced goods and services.
By Al Herskovitz
H & H Communications
BRADENTON, Fla. – The radio advertising world is going through a major shakeup. National ad agencies and the clients they represent are finding that “funny commercials ain’t workin’” as intended. Research is showing that these spots do get an occasional chuckle, create some brand awareness, may even improve market share a little bit, but have not been as effective as designed in bringing in new customers. Does this mean the disappearance of the Geico lizard and the spokesduck for AFLAC? The insiders are not saying, but there are strong hints that changes in approach are coming and soon to a number of national advertisers who have been featuring humor and what is termed as “cuteness.”
In what direction will they be going? Sources say the Madison Avenue move is going to be to recognizable spokespersons and “scenes from real life” in order to make an emotional connection with the listener.
By Al Herskovitz
H & H Communications
BRADENTON, Fla. — Have you noticed lately how thin and anemic your daily newspaper has become? That is if you read a daily paper at all. New Orleans’ famous daily, the Times-Picayune, is reducing itself to three days a week starting this autumn. Incoming publisher Ricky Mathews says the move is necessitated by “upheaval in the newspaper industry.” There also will be staff reductions in this newspaper that’s been around for some 175 years. This is quite an admission and development.
And that’s not all! Three major papers in Alabama are going the same route: The Birmingham News; the Mobile Press-Register; and the Huntsville Times are also cutting back to three days. All of them will be publishing only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Why only these particular days? Because these are the days they carry the ad flyers and coupons.
How sad it is that the newspaper business has declined to the point of becoming just a coupon delivery system.
Newspapers cannot even depend on the classified ads for sustenance which were historically their bread and butter now that Craig’s List has eaten that portion of their lunch.
I can’t tell you how many times in recent years when I called on a local retailer to pitch him talk radio time that I was hit with, “I must have my newspaper ad before I can even consider radio at all.” Now is the time to go back in and see that retailer.
Sirius XM Reports Revenue Up 11%. SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin tells analysts the satcaster has seen subscriptions increase by 405,000 compared to the first quarter of 2011. Revenue for Q1 of 2012 was $805 million, an increase of 11% over the same period a year ago. Karmazin states, “SiriusXM is starting the year with tremendous operational momentum. We grew subscribers faster than any first quarter since our 2008 merger of Sirius and XM, and we improved our self-pay monthly churn rate to 1.9% despite implementing a price increase at the beginning of the year. Rising auto sales and our strong execution should enable us to exceed our prior 2012 subscriber growth guidance of 1.3 million, which today we are raising to 1.5 million.” The continued good news for SiriusXM includes: its subscriber growth rate accelerating to boost its subscriber base to an all-time high of 22.3 million; reduced its monthly churn to 1.9%; and was able to show positive free cash flow in the first quarter of a fiscal year for the first time – free cash flow was $15 million for 2012’s Q1. SiriusXM EVP and CFO David Frear states, “Our growing cash flow is reducing our leverage substantially and this improving credit profile should benefit stockholders as we refinance or pay down more than $1 billion of high coupon debt over the next 15 months.”
2012 Q1 Report: CBS Radio Down 2%. CBS Corporation announced its first quarter revenue for 2012 and although the company as a whole was up 12% on revenue of $3.92 billion over the same period a year ago, the revenue for the CBS Radio division was down 2%. Content licensing and distribution revenue were responsible for much of the company’s growth.
Harris to Exit Broadcast Business. Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Corporation employs some 17,000 people worldwide but the bulk of its revenue does not come from the radio equipment sector – not even close. And that’s why the company announces it is divesting itself of the Broadcast Communications arm. The company states a review of its business structure revealed, “the (radio) business is no longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy. The plan to sell these assets supports our disciplined approach to capital allocation, and we intend to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and invest in growing our core businesses.”
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Won’t Be Charged in Fender Bender Case. Former Houston City Councilor and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry will not face charges of hit and run in connection with a parking incident outside an area bar that happened in late January. The District Attorney’s office tells the Houston Chronicle that based on its findings, there will be no charges filed against Berry. It appears there’s no evidence to show Berry’s vehicle hit the car of a club bouncer who told authorities a car matching the description of Berry’s car hit his. The incident happened outside of TC’s Show Bar in Montrose – a club known for gay clientele. The local media made a big deal out of the incident and, in addition to the connection between the conservative Berry and the gay bar, questioned whether the former city councilor received special treatment from authorities investigating the incident. Berry maintained his innocence and excoriated the local media on his radio show for running fast and loose with the facts. He blamed much of the attention he received from the incident on politics.
Merlin Media’s New York Programming Chief Is Mark Austin Thomas. “FM News 101.9” has been without an official programming chief since Liz Aiello was let go in December. Now, it’s being reported that former KABC, Los Angeles news director and news anchor Mark Austin Thomas is in the programmer’s chair. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports an announcement from Merlin Media about Thomas’ status may come as early as this week. All-news WEMP-FM, New York has been holding steady with a .7 share in the monthly PPM ratings.
Dave Milner Named Market Manager at Clear Channel Sacramento. Reports of Jeff Holden’s departure from the building at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento cluster turned out to be true. The company announces Dave Milner takes over the president and market manager role. Milner has been serving as vice president of sales at Entercom’s San Francisco station group. He previously worked for Clear Channel in the Portland market. Clear Channel EVP of operations, Western Region Susan Karis states, “Dave brings an extensive track record of sales and management expertise with him to the Clear Channel Sacramento market. I’m excited to have him back with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to lead our business in Sacramento to continued success.”
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Tony Katz to Permanent Weekend Show. Emmis Communications’ KFTK-FM, St. Louis announces regular fill-in talk host Tony Katz gets a weekly Saturday afternoon show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Katz is the go-to fill-in guy for midday talk host Dana Loesch. KFTK-FM program director Jeff Allen says, “Tony is a rising star and I am thrilled that we can launch a fresh, new talent into our Saturday evening line-up. Tony is passionate, informative and most importantly, fun to listen to!” Katz also hosts a regular internet talk program on allpatriotsmedia.com.
Commercials Are Content, Too. The phrase “content is king” may be a cliché but the sentiment is true. However, it’s important to remember that spots are content too and broadcasters should give attention to spot quality, according to H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz. In his latest column for TALKERS, Herskovitz cites examples of commercial copy gone wrong that could have been avoided. Read his piece here.
FM Sports Talker Coming to Twin Falls, Idaho. Lee Family Broadcasting principal Kim Lee tells MagicValley.com that he’ll drop the AC music on KMVX-FM for sports talk on May 24. The station will carry ESPN programming and be the local radio outlet for College of Southern Idaho sports. The school’s radio voice, Jonathan Drew, will join the station as sports director and PM drive host of a local sports talk show.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Bob Throndsen retires from his news director position at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO-AM/FM. Throndsen has worked at KOMO radio and KOMO-TV for much of the past 30 years…..The debut of Michael Patrick Shiels’ new morning talk show based at local Fox TV outlet WSYM-TV, Lansing, Michigan will come not this week but next, according to a piece in the Lansing State Journal. Shiels, who recently left his WJIM, Lansing based program after a contract dispute, plans to syndicate the new show to talk radio outlets across Michigan…..KBJR-TV, Duluth sports director Tom Hansen joins KDAL, Duluth-Superior as co-host of the late morning show alongside Dave Strandberg. Hansen maintain’s his position with the television outlet…..Talk show host Tom Donahue, host of Tom Donahue Reports, announces his new flagship network for his syndicated show is Orion Talk Radio. The program airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Second Annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic. The Broadcasters Foundation of America sets June 12 as the date of the second annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic – the fundraiser named in honor of the former Katz Media head who died in December of 2010. Since its inception, the fund has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the foundation. The event costs $250 per player and proceeds go directly to the fund. Reservations to take part in the golf outing can be made by calling Jim Thompson at 212-373-8250 or e-mail email@example.com.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Afghanistan Visit, U.S. ICE Scam and Ohio Bridge Terror Plot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s visit to Kabul, Afghanistan and the Taliban violence there; the Immigration and Customs Enforcement scandal; and the Ohio bridge terror plot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rusty Humphries Has Movie Role in “Flicka” Film. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just released the movie “Flicka Country Pride” starring Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black. Appearing in the role of the announcer at the championship horse competition is Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries. Humphries spent several days last November in British Columbia filming his scenes. He says, “It was an honor to be asked to be a part of a major motion picture and to learn from some of the best talent in the movie making business.” In a scene from the film, Rusty is seen here in his announcer role at the judge’s table. Rusty Humphries’ star continues to rise on a number of fronts. He has proven himself over the years to be like “the little engine that could.” In addition to accruing steadily increasing ratings and affiliations, his marketing campaigns continue to attract industry attention with significant sales of such items as Rusty Humphries Beef Jerkey and Rusty Humphries cigars. His position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred took a leap from #35 in 2011 to #20 in 2012. Meet Rusty Humphries at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7 where he will be appearing as one of the debaters on the Talk Rumble. The industry-only event is near a sellout. For reservations, hotel or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
By Al Herskovitz
H & H Communications
BRADENTON, Fla. — It was one of those a-scene-from-life commercials. It went something like this: Woman 1 was the voice on an answering machine. “Hi, This is Madge, please leave a message.” Woman 2 was the caller. “Hi, Madge, this is Marge. Do you remember last week when we were talking about hormonal imbalance?” HORMONAL IMBALANCE? Regular folks don’t chat about hormonal imbalance on the telephone! Not unless they are two endocrinologists. The commercial was supposed to be about a weight loss product, but the premise was implausible. The commercial finally got around to the real topic – belly fat. Now there’s a subject many of us can relate to, and diets are something we could talk about to a friend.
Scenes-from-life commercials are quite common. The challenge is to make them sound like normal conversation. Sadly many of them come off contrived and unnatural because no one repeats an 800 number three times in rapid fire succession or refers to “plenty of free parking, open nightly ‘til nine” in this manner during talk between ordinary people.
Media Matters Begins Paid Ad Campaign in Eight Markets Against Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Talk Radio. The Associated Press is reporting that Media Matters for America will spend some $100,000 on an ad campaign in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Macon, Georgia and Cedar Rapids, Iowa asking people who hear the ad to call the Rush Limbaugh affiliate in their market and say, “We don’t talk to women like that in our city.” Clearly, Media Matters is not backing off its attack on conservative talk media and any success it can claim for harming Limbaugh’s program – or conservative talk radio in general – will help bring in more donations to its cause. And, according to Premiere Networks spokesperson Rachel Nelson, therein lays the rub. “This is not about women. It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse. It’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech. It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation.” As this ideological and tactical war escalates, more important voices are entering the fray with a variety of takes on the issue. For example, leading progressive talker of radio, television and live performances, Stephanie Miller tells TALKERS, “I, for one, as someone in radio for over 25 years, know that advertiser boycotts can cut both ways and hurt everyone in the radio business. The other side can just as easily take something I said, or Ed Schultz said, and goes after our advertisers and stations, and then where does it end? ‘You send one of ours to the hospital; we send one of yours to the morgue’? If advertisers decide that talk radio in general is too controversial, we all lose!” Miller tells TALKERS that she intends to extend invitations to both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to appear as guests on her nationally syndicated morning radio program (simulcast beginning Monday on Al Gore’s progressive Current TV) to present their side of the story in a non-confrontational setting. Dial Global-syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann is also bothered by the anti-Limbaugh campaign. “The Limbaugh boycott is bad for all talk radio; it’s harming progressive talk radio by shrinking the pool of companies willing to advertise on any type of talk radio. If people want to be activists “against” or “for” a show, they should call station management, not advertisers.”
America’s Radio News Network Gives CNN Radio Affiliates Free Trial of its 24-Hour News Service. With the CNN Radio news service going away after April 1, Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters says his company is offering the more than 1,100 CNN Radio affiliates the chance to take the America’s Radio News Network 24-hour top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service for 45 days contract and inventory free so they can make up their minds about their new news service without having to make a “snap decision.” Masters says, “This is a simple courtesy extended to those former CNN stations giving them a six week ‘pressure relief valve’ where they could sample our fine product inventory free without pressure, giving them extra time to make the best decision. Obviously we think that we are the best choice, but this offer was meant as a thoughtful courtesy to those stations that have not yet made up their minds – we don’t want them to be ‘high and dry’ on April 2.” Masters says because of the growth of America’s Radio News Network’s long-form programming and the demand for short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news brought on by CNN’s sudden departure from radio news ARNN recently announced that it had moved up its schedule for the launch of its second news network to accommodate the needs of radio stations looking for “agenda free” short-form news. ARNN EVP John McCaslin says, “We’re so confident that this is the best top- and bottom-of-the-hour news product on the air, we are willing to allow stations to air it, without inventory requirement contract free through May 15. So, all you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I going to do with over 700 extra minutes of local inventory, if I take ARNN up on its free sample offer?’”
All-News KROI-FM, Houston Fires Morning Anchor Scott Braddock. It’s an unusual case but not unheard of and certainly becoming more relevant as intellectual property issues become more common in the industry. Radio One’s KROI-FM, Houston recently dismissed morning drive news anchor Scott Braddock after he appeared on crosstown, non-commercial outlet KPFT-FM to discuss the Texas sonogram law and play audio of an interview that also had previously aired on his employer’s station. He tells the Houston Chronicle he did so without asking permission and believes he had the right to air the audio, equating it with a reporter’s notes. Radio One disagreed, stating it violated the terms of his contract – a contract Braddock says he had not signed – and it had no choice but to let him go. Braddock says Radio One is overreacting and wonders why a station that worked hard to get him to come to Houston from Austin for the job would let one of its prime talent go as it works to get the nascent all-news outlet off the ground.
Denver Woman Charged with Felonies After Telling Tale of Escaping Jury Duty on KOA. Last October Susan Cole appeared on KOA, Denver’s Dave Logan program and told the story of how she got out of jury duty by dressing bizarrely and pretending to suffer from mental illness. Unfortunately, Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield was listening and, due in part to Cole’s memorable performance in court, investigators were able to figure out who she was. According to the Denver Post, Cole used the name “Char from Denver” on the radio program and investigators linked her to her pen name Char Cole. She published a book that details her struggles with domestic abuse under the name and offered it to investigators to prove her life story and the mental illness claim, but she was unable to show she suffers from PTSD which she claimed at her jury appearance. It’s unclear what penalty, if convicted, the 57-year-old Cole faces.
Sales: H&H Communications’ Al Herskovitz Announces the Winners of His 2012 Hersky Awards for Talk Radio Sales Excellence. For the fifth year running, sales and marketing pro and TALKERS columnist Al Herskovitz recognizes some of the industry’s shining stars in the sales, commercial and ad copy arenas. Read Al’s humorous yet insightful piece here.
KILT, Houston AM Drive Co-Host Marc Vandermeer to Leave Radio Show. The NFL’s Houston Texans are taking their broadcasts in-house and current KILT morning drive co-host Marc Vandermeer will leave the CBS Radio sports outlet to become director of radio broadcasting for the team. KILT serves as the flagship for the Texans and Vandermeer tells the Houston Chronicle he’ll still be affiliated with the station. “It’s awesome to be able to work for an NFL team and to be involved in all aspects of their radio programming. I’m not saying goodbye to Sports Radio 610, so I will still maintain my relationships there. It’s the best of everything for me.” Program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper Vandermeer will exit in late May or early June and he will begin looking for a replacement to work alongside co-host John Lopez.
KKFN, Denver Re-Ups with Talk Host Alfred Williams. Lincoln Financial Media sports talk host (and former Denver Bronco star) Alfred Williams signs a contract renewal to remain in the co-host seat alongside Darren “D-Mac” McKee on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. In a statement, Williams says, “I am excited to continue to be a part of ‘The Fan.’ I love getting to interact locally with the Denver sports fans everyday and am happy to know I’ll be able to do it for many years to come.”
WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach Host Tara Servatius Exits Blog Position After Controversial Image Draws Criticism. Morning drive co-host Tara Servatius has left her position as a blogger for the non-profit John Locke Foundation after she used a doctored photo of President Obama in drag with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in front of him to accompany the piece about the president’s opposition to the North Carolina marriage amendment. Servatius apologized for the photo stating, “I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation. If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that. That was certainly not my intention. It was meant to illustrate Obama’s southern political strategy, nothing more. An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.” WRNN-AM/FM owner Next Media Group says the issue will not affect Servatius’ status with the station.
Los Angeles Sports Talk Personalities Joe McDonnell and Doug Krikorian to Host Daily Internet Show. Southern California sports talk personality Joe McDonnell, who’s been doing sports update work at KNX, Los Angeles, will begin a daily internet sports talk show with former radio partner Doug Krikorian, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan. The McDonnell-Douglas show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on a yet-to-be announced URL. McDonnell was a major presence in the Los Angeles sports media scene going back to the 1980s but he disappeared from sports talk radio after leaving KLAC in 2008. He made the local news after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and losing some 400 pounds several years ago. The new show debuts on April 9 with a live broadcast from Legends Sports Bar in Long Beach.
Republican Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign Again Tops Talkers TenTM News/Talk Chart. The GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign again tied for the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio during the week of March 19-23 landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for another straight week . Coming in at #2 was Iran’s nuclear weapons program tied with U.S.-Israel relations. At #3 was soaring gas prices tied with President Obama’s approval ratings and at #4 was the controversy over the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the most-talked-about stories and people of the week as heard on news/talk radio across American based on ongoing research from TALKERS. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge picks up major market affiliate WWRL, New York…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish adds Boise affiliate KYWN.