Tag: "Al Sharpton"

Monday, December 3, 2012

| December 3, 2012

Michael Savage Bashes “Bash Obama” Programming Philosophy.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage appeared on WABC, New York’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program last night and told Klein’s audience that talk radio conservatives are “committing suicide” by incessantly criticizing Barack Obama.  Savage, who recently left longtime syndicator Talk Radio Network and subsequently signed on with Cumulus Media Networks, said, “Many people on the conservative side of the dial are making the same mistakes now that the liberals made when Bush was in power.  “Air America went bankrupt, why? Because all they did was…Bush bashing and they were just crazy in the Bush bashing.  Boring.  Boring.  How much could you listen to?  It wasn’t even clever Bush bashing.  This is what’s going on now with the conservatives.  They’re committing suicide.  Just attacking Obama – although he deserves it – is not good radio…Remember one thing, radio is primarily an entertainment medium.  It was not created to be the voice of the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.”  Savage’s program begins airing on Cumulus O&O WABC tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

CBS Radio Dallas Offices Hit by Gunfire.  The offices of CBS Radio’s Dallas operations that house its radio stations was hit by gun shots on Friday and police are still investigating the source of the bullets.  CBS Dallas is reporting the shots hit the outside panes of glass on two floors of the 12-story building that abuts the busy Central Expressway.  One of the offices hit was that of NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’s promotions director Matt Stacks.  The other window hit was above the KRLD offices belonging to former police officer and practicing attorney Pete Schulte who tells CBS, “It sounded like a rifle.  It was clearly a loud bang, and as soon as I heard the loud bang the glass shattered in my office.”  Schulte says he was frustrated by how long it took the police to take action.  “I should think police should at least canvass the area to see if they can find anyone with a long gun.”  The CBS story notes police did canvass the area a little over an hour later and that Schulte was told the call had been mis-categorized as a criminal mischief call instead of an active shooter case.  The building also houses CBS Radio’s other Dallas stations including sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” AC KVIL “103.7 Lite FM,” adult hits KJKK “100.3 Jack FM,” classic hits KLUV, and Spanish WMKV, “Mega 107.5 FM.”

WLS, Chicago Adds Early-Morning Newscast.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder tips that Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS, Chicago began a 4:30 am newscast anchored by John Dempsey this morning (12/3).  The move means WLS is cutting the second half of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “This Morning” program that aired from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  “The 89 WLS First Morning News at 4:30” also uses ABC Radio News London-based correspondent Tom Rivers as a contributor.

Radio One to Consolidate Syndication One Division with Reach Media in January.  Radio One will increase its ownership stake in Reach Media from 53% to 80%.  The consolidation of Radio One-owned Syndication One and the Tom Joyner- and David Kantor-founded Reach Media will, according to Radio One, create an “assembly of top talent, programming and prime national advertising inventory that make Reach Media the leading radio network with the ability to speak directly to the African-American audience.  In 2013, Reach Media will use its strong affiliate lineup and relationships with leading urban stations to also launch a new network.  Reach Media’s new network is expected to be in the top tier of radio networks and have one of the largest African-American audiences of any radio network.  Reach Media will expand its dedicated sales and marketing staff to sell the radio network advertising inventory along with web and event sponsorships.”  The company will offer talk and music radio talent including: Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley, Russ Parr, Yolanda Adams, Reverend Al Sharpton, Warren Ballentine and CoCo Brother.  It indicates it has plans to acquire more urban-targeted talent in the near future.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “Radio One has a commitment to be the leader in radio and online programming with compelling entertainment and information for the African-American audience.  Combining our assets under Reach Media offers an incredibly broad platform for affiliate stations and advertisers to connect with our loyal audience.”  Reach Media CEO David Kantor states, “In bringing together the most compelling urban programming in radio, we’ve created a platform that can focus on outstanding talent for our affiliates and the delivery of an incredibly responsive consumer base.  We look forward to expanding our offerings and becoming the primary radio network for advertisers to reach African- Americans.”

Pat Miller Returns to PM Drive on WOWO, Fort Wayne.  Longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne talk show host Pat Miller re-joins the station for the afternoon drive slot beginning in January.  Miller exited his full-time role at the station last spring but continued to do a two-hour weekend program.  After Gregg Henson exited the program director and PM drive posts at WOWO at the end of the summer Federated Media plugged in Premiere NetworksSean Hannity.  But Hannity has been moved to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot with Casey Hendrickson filling in on the PM drive show.  Hendrickson also hosts the morning drive show at Federated’s WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana “Michiana’s News Channel.”

Dave Ramsey Moves to Daytime in Atlanta on WCFO.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey’s program is moving to new affiliate JW Broadcasting’s WCFO, Atlanta beginning today where he’ll air live in the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm time slot.  Ramsey’s program most recently was heard in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot on Cox Media’s WSB-AM and WSBB-FM.  Prior to being picked up by WSB in 2011, Ramsey aired in afternoons on Clear Channel’s WGST.  Brian Mayfield, vice president of broadcast for The Lampo Group, says, “We are very excited that Dave can now be heard live in Atlanta.  Our audience has been asking for this, and we are proud to partner with WCFO to deliver on this request.”

Five Practical Digital Lessons Radio Can Learn from the Obama Campaign.  Noted radio digital consultant Chris Miller says broadcasters should look to the recent Obama Campaign’s effective use of digital media for promotional and branding initiatives.  In this piece, he illustrates how 1) all the various platforms we use today are inter-connected and must be treated as such; 2) every platform has a specific purpose and should be used to achieve clearly defined goals; 3) remember that it is all a “show” and just because it is digital or “social media” doesn’t mean it isn’t show biz; 4) make sure your emails are likely to be opened by labeling them with irresistible subject lines; and 5) create “community,” not just “conversation.”  Read Miller’s entire piece here.

Jason Pugh Exits WEFL, West Palm Beach for DC TV Gig.  Jason Pugh is leaving his positions at Good Karma’s “ESPN 760” WEFL, Tequesta, Florida where he partnered with Jeremy Marks-Peltz for the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show and his sportscasting gig at WPTV-TV for a position at NBC O&O WRC-TV, Washington, DC.  Pugh also worked in the play-by-play booth for Florida Atlantic University football games.  The Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Pugh joined Good Karma in 2006 and began hosting his own program in 2009.

ESPN New York O&Os Re-Up with NFL’s Jets.  The New York City ESPN O&O stations – WEPN-FM “ESPN New York 98.7” and WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes New York 1050” announce they have extended their contract to be the exclusive New York radio partners of the NFL’s New York Jets.  Included in the deal are three ancillary programs — the “Jets Player Spotlight” (Mondays at 3:30 pm) a weekly interview with Jets head coach Rex Ryan (Mondays at 5:15 pm) and “Inside the Jets” (Mondays at 7:00 pm).   ESPN New York vice president and general manager Dave Roberts states, “We’re excited to continue our relationship with the Jets.  The Jets have a huge fan base in the New York metropolitan area and we look forward to continuing to serve them.”

XtreMedia Talk Hosts  DoGood.com  Charts Giving Success.  XtreMedia talk show hosts Dani Johnson, Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin began a campaign in April of this year to assist 2,012 orphans with a stated goal of raising $185,000.  After achieving the goal in just eight weeks instead of the eight months they had given themselves, they set about creating DoGood.com and partnered with Kings Ransom Foundation to assist orphaned children and others in need.  Some examples of their success include: In November, Dani Johnson again publicly challenged her listeners to radically help with practical help for victims of hurricane Sandy.  In one weekend’s broadcast the Dani Johnson web and radio community (some of whom were directly impacted by the storm) and working with Kings Ransom Foundation raised in excess of $35,000 to aid specific cases whose stories were of particularly tough loss.  Over the course of five weeks after Sandy, Kevin McCullough was able to rally listeners to his national daily show to provide aid by connecting volunteers to engineering and contracting, clean-up crews, and miscellaneous needs in excess of $25,000 towards help for churches, communities, pastors, and parishioners in hard hit communities in Brooklyn, Queens, The RockAways, and down the Jersey shore.  On December 12, Stephen Baldwin is scheduled to headline a fundraising gathering being hosted by VH1 with proceeds to be donated to hurricane Sandy relief efforts via DoGood.com.  On December 1, the clients and listeners in attendance at Dani Johnson’s “Creating a Dynasty” leadership training weekend raised an additional $113,000 (by auctioning off slices of cheesecake freshly prepared by Dani personally) for the King’s Children’s Home orphanage in Belize that is in need of a new roof for four buildings on its campus.  The total cost for the roofing project will run $200k for all four structures.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

| April 25, 2012

Feature Series – Part 2:  Walter Sabo on Finding and Nurturing FM Talk Talent.  In the second of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes that the best FM talk hosts come from the ranks of successful music jocks.  “I look for talent who have invested their time doing excellent radio taking advantage of a strong format.  A great CHR jock has remarkable broadcasting skills.  He/she is taught the importance and necessity of getting to the next event.”  Sabo says talent must be willing to prep two hours for every hour they are on the air and that matching this type of host with a skilled radio programmer presents the best opportunity for great success with targeted talk on the FM band.  Read part 2 of this series here.

KMBZ, Kansas City Names Jonathan Weir Late Morning Host.  The search for a new late morning talk host at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City began when Chris Merrill took a talk host position at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego earlier this year.  Merrill’s been doing double duty while the search was on.  Now, KMBZ program director Jack Landreth announces Jonathan Weir comes aboard to host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show.  “Jon’s enthusiasm and unique approach to his audience instantly drew me in as a listener first.  His ability to weave his life experiences into the fabric of the show is a real quality that endears him to his listeners.”  Weir comes from Entercom’s WSKY, Gainesville, Florida where he was producer and co-host of “The Drive Time Happy Hour” program.  Weir, a St. Louis native, states, “I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a landmark station in the Midwest.  I’m inspired and so thankful to everyone at KMBZ for giving me this incredible opportunity.  I look forward to the challenge of living up to the incredible standards set by KMBZ, and the chance to be close to my family again is a great bonus.”  Weir begins his new gig on April 30.

Talk Legend Barry Farber to Receive TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award.  Talk show host Barry Farber, still heard regularly on both Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk, has been named the 2012 recipient of TALKERS magazine’s annual “Lifetime Achievement Award.”  The venerable host, named in 2002 and 2010 by TALKERS as one of the most important radio talk show hosts of all time, has been performing regularly scheduled talk shows on radio since 1960 when he started a groundbreaking program on WINS, New York.  He is credited by historians as being one of the seminal pioneers and architects of today’s talk radio.  Farber, also a prolific and accomplished author, has a new book coming out this summer titled Cocktails with Molotov: An Odyssey of Unlikely Detours (WND Books).  The award will be presented to Barry Farber by Michael Harrison at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  This event, nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media only.  For registration information call 413-565-5413.

Merlin Media LMAs Third Chicago FM Signal.  Merlin Media is agreeing to lease the signal of Venture Technologies Group-owned WLFM-LP, Chicago at 87.7 on the dial to program and sell advertising on it.  Of course there’s a ton of speculation about what Merlin will do with the low-power smooth jazz outlet.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the station has been faring well with the smooth jazz format – garnering a 1.6 share in the March PPM.  Since the deal was announced, news from Merlin’s FM News 101.1 has begun airing on the station.  Though the Tribune notes Randy MichaelsRadioactive LLC has applied for the WKQX-FM call letters of the former alternative rock station (now FM News 101.1) and that’s leading to rumors the station will flip to alternative rock.  Program director and midday host Rick O’Dell confirms via the station website that a format change will take place Monday (4/30) but doesn’t say to what.

Rodney King Visits Rev. Al Sharpton.  The 20th anniversary of the verdict in the case of the Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King is Sunday, April 29.  The acquittal of the four officers sparked the riots that consumed part of the city for days.  King (pictured here at left) visited Syndication One talk show host Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss the historic event and his new book, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption (HarperOne 2012).

Steve Dahl Reduces Staff at Podcast Venture.  New-tech broadcasting models are subject to the same economic forces that affect terrestrial radio and Chicago’s Steve Dahl is making changes to keep his podcast initiative going.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Chicago radio legend let three staffers go recently — technical producer Pete Zimmerman, assistant technical producer Jim Ruffatto and assistant Stephanie Fallara – in order to continue operating in a way that works for him.  Dahl wrote on his blog, “It was not a decision I came to easily, but I think that it was the right move for the show.  I know when I am not growing as an entertainer and I know what I need to do to keep that process moving forward.  It’s ‘The Steve Dahl Show, and that at some point is the brand that I need to protect, not only for my own creative integrity, but in order to support my family.”  Dahl recently added two staffers – Dag Juhlin, director of creative services and Eric Drogoszewski, marketing/operations director – to his subscription-supported venture.

Backstage in Phoenix.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck (third from right) poses for a photo with KFYI, Phoenix hosts and staffers backstage at the Phoenix stop on his “Unelectable Tour II” on Friday, April 20.  Beck is hitting the road this spring bringing his standup comedy routine to audiences in Southern and Southwestern cities.  Pictured here with Beck are (from l-r): KFYI GSM Jim Wilson, KFYI early morning host Jim Sharpe, KFYI PM drive host Mike Broomhead, Beck, KFYI program director Neil Larrimore, and Mike Broomhead show executive producer Andrew Fountaine.

2012 Presidential Race, North Korea Nukes Test, Euro Zone Jitters, Secret Service Scandal and SCOTUS Hears AZ Illegal Immigration Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24).  The presidential campaign and Mitt Romney’s Northeastern states primary sweep; North Korea’s threat to test nuclear weapons very soon; economic sluggishness in the euro zone; more dismissals in the Secret Service hooker scandal; and the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

| March 15, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Controversy Brings Political Attack Tactics to Talk Radio.  Perhaps it’s because the nation is in the grips of a still-stagnant economy during a contentious election year or maybe it’s just a sign of the times.  But, the talk radio industry is being invaded by political special interest groups and their hard-nosed tactics and it appears some broadcasters are playing along.  Broadcasters – and radio stations more specifically – have traditionally competed with each other intensely on many levels.  But going after each other’s advertisers with threats of guilt-by-association in order to hurt the other’s business is something in which they have rarely engaged.  The reason is simple: It pollutes the same body of water from which all broadcasters drink.  If one day your programming is poison to sponsors, who’s to say my programming won’t be tainted next week.  And the special interest groups are noticing this and employing it as well.  Media Research Center founder and president L. Brent Bozell III has written an open letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin taking the cable news/talk network to task for what he terms its hypocrisy.  Bozell notes MSNBC talent Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donnell spent part of their March 13 programs “attacking Rush.”  He then lists statements made by Ed Schultz over the years as “vile, repugnant venom coming out of Schultz’s mouth.”  Bozell promises he’s not going to let up on MSNBC, either.  So, what are some broadcasters guilty of with regard to this case?  Potentially bringing harm to the entire talk media industry – especially the already hard-hit radio side – by willingly allowing special interest groups that do not represent the actual listeners of these programs to provide ammunition against one of their own (a broadcaster) for the sake of what is really a political goal and not a business goal.  Broadcasters willing to join the political battle at the expense of maintaining the integrity of their broadcasting business model may find out down the road that attempting to serve two masters – politics and the business of broadcasting – is a very difficult task to handle successfully.  If you wish to read Mr. Bozell’s piece, it’s here.

Problematic Data: Bloomberg Poll Concludes America Wants Limbaugh Fired.  That’s the result of a Bloomberg poll of 1,002 Americans conducted from March 8 to 11 asking questions about the GOP candidates, how they feel about the birth control coverage issue and, whether Premiere Networks star Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks about Sandra Fluke and her testimony.  According to the Bloomberg data, 53% of Americans believe Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks and 30% of those who expressed that point of view were Republicans to boot!  TALKERS is not questioning Bloomberg’s polling techniques but as alluded to in the story above, it should be underscored that the poll in question doesn’t survey Rush Limbaugh’s regular listeners.  It doesn’t even survey regular talk radio listeners.  Therein lays the problem.  Consumer media will grab hold of the result of this poll and conclude that the end is near for Limbaugh since a majority of the country wants him fired.  But as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been telling the dozens upon dozens of media outlets he’s spoken with on this issue since it began, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t broadcast to a majority of the country.  He broadcasts to a niche audience – a sizeable one to be sure – but a niche nonetheless.  Asking a sample of all Americans how a talk radio station should be programmed is analogous to asking the same sample about how to program the Golf Channel.  Read the Bloomberg poll story here.

First Spot on Tom Leykis’ New Talk Show Sells on eBay for $1,225.  FishbowlLA reports the first spot on Tom Leykis’ soon-to-debut talk show that will hit the internet on April 2 has been purchased by Stitcher chairman Noah Shanok for $1,225.  Leykis tells FishbowlLA’s Richard Horgan, “The winning bid, in my view, proves what I have always believed, which is that the reason that some people say that internet content cannot be monetized is because they try to sell advertising for new platforms the same way it’s sold in so-called ‘old media.’  What these new platforms really require is out-of-the-box thinking and a completely different approach.”  Leykis has been paid by CBS Radio since his program based at the former hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles was dropped along with the rest of the format.  Leykis’ The New Normal will broadcast his new talk program as the CBS contract comes to an end.

Buckley Broadcasting Chief Rick Buckley to Be Honored Posthumously by Broadcasters Foundation of America.  At the Broadcasters Foundation of America breakfast held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas on April 18, the late president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting will be honored with the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.  The award honors an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.   It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Clear Channel Foundation and Wiley Rein, LLP.  The BFoA states, “Rick Buckley was a beloved and highly respected broadcaster who passed away suddenly this past July from a brain embolism.  For more than four decades Buckley led the family-owned Buckley Broadcasting, which includes renowned WOR Radio in New York.  He was a longtime member of the Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors and served as its treasurer for many years.  In recognition of his commitment to the charitable mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, The Rick Buckley Memorial Fund was established shortly after his passing.”

ESPN Montana to Provide Local Focus.  The Montana Radio Company is bringing the Worldwide Leader in Sports to Montana – a state without any professional sports franchises.  Tucker Sargent is project manager for ESPN Montana and he tells the University of Montana’s Montana Kaimin they are developing a website that will serve as the web hub for the three FM stations that will be simulcast in the Helena, Missoula and Great Falls markets.  Ben Cately, who does play-by-play for the Missoula Osprey minor league baseball team is hosting the morning drive show that will be featured across the network.  Sargent says the network will cover local schools as well, “High school sports have been pretty much completely ignored everywhere in the country.  Most other places with an ESPN station are in major markets that have professional and college teams that dominate the scene.  And while we still think that the professional teams need to be talked about, the high school sports matter quite a bit and need to get reported on as well.”

GOP Primaries/ 2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Civilian Massacre Aftermath, Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence and Soaring Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/14).  The tightening GOP primary race after Rick Santorum’s Tuesday victories and the 2012 presidential race in general; the fragile state of the Afghanistan operations after the killing of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier; ongoing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons projects; the Syrian violence against its citizens; and the American public’s concern with rising gasoline prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, January 9, 2012

| January 9, 2012

Talk Radio Hosts Invade New Hampshire.  The New Hampshire Primary election is tomorrow (1/10) and in what has become a talk radio tradition – the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row – is putting the candidates and the issues on the air for local listeners and national audiences alike.  The radio row event is organized by TALKERS magazine and the Talk Radio News Service and includes more than 45 programs broadcasting live from the Manchester Radisson.  National programs include: Dial Global’s Neal Boortz, Thom Hartmann and Michael Smerconish; Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock; Genesis Communications Network’s Kate Delaney; Syndication One’s Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine; Main Street Radio Network’s Alan Nathan; “A Touch of Grey” with Carole Marks; Michael Skoda; Dr. Gina Loudon; and Ed Morrissey.  Local talk hosts include: WOR, New York’s John Gambling; WTKK-FM, Boston’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan; WTKK’s Michael Graham; Stephen K. Bannon of KABC, Los Angeles; Marc Bernier of WNDB, Daytona Beach; Michael Berry of KTRH, Houston; Lee Davis of WYDE-FM, Birmingham; Scott Hennen of KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Mark Skoda of WMPS, Memphis; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, New York; Ken Pittman and Phil Paleologos of WBSM, New Bedford; Richard Girard of WGAM, Manchester; Paul Westcott of WGIR, Manchester; Dan Mitchell of WKBK, Keene; George Russell of WSMN, Nashua; Mark Johnson of WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont; Steve West of WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; John Harper of WUVR, Dartmouth, New Hampshire; Tony Lopes of WVBF, Taunton, Massachusetts; and Jeff Santos of WWZN, Boston.

SCOTUS Hears Indecency Arguments Tomorrow.  This day seems like a long time coming but tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments about the FCC’s handling of broadcast indecency.  The case comes to the Court with regard to television violations but the rules are the same for radio.  Recent fines against ABC and Fox were overturned by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after the court ruled the regulations are vague and unevenly applied – especially concerning the difference between how the rules are applied to over-the-air broadcast versus cable and satellite.  That’s what ABC and Fox will argue tomorrow.  The FCC will argue that even in the current era, most Americans expect broadcast TV (and radio by extension) to be “relatively safe” media for family consumption.  Many legal observers believe that the likely ruling from the Supreme Court will be the request that the FCC make the indecency rules very clear and that its method of enforcement be just as clear.  Interestingly, former FCC chairman Michael Powell – who now works for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association – is quoted by Bloomberg saying if he were voting on the cases in question again, he would dissent this time.  “I’ve always been deeply troubled by the way the First Amendment changes when you change channels.”

Programmer Neil Larrimore Lands KFYI/KGME, Phoenix PD Position.  Clear Channel Phoenix names former KMBZ, Kansas City program director Neil Larrimore PD for news/talk KFYI and sports talker Xtra Sports 910 (KGME).  CC Phoenix director of operations and programming Smokey Rivers states, “Neil is the perfect complement to our Phoenix programming team.   He is totally immersed in the flow of news and sports.  In this ‘that’s so thirty seconds ago’ age, having a quality programmer focused solely on the output of our information products is essential to maintaining our quality edge.”  Larrimore, who recently exited Entercom’s Kansas City news/talk outlet, says, “Information is the lifeblood of all media, now more than ever.  The opportunity to work with these powerful brands and continue to evolve them on-air, on-site and online, is extraordinary!  I can’t wait to get started!”

Rick Barber Retires from KOA, Denver.  After 30 years on the air in Denver, Rick Barber retires from his late-night talk show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver.  The Clear Channel station is filling the time with Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”

Drew Steele Takes Over AM Drive on WFSX-FM, Fort Myers; Trey Radel Exits to Run for Congress.  Trey Radel announces his candidacy for Florida’s 14th Congressional District seat and exits the morning drive show at Meridian’s “92.5 Fox News” (WFSX-FM) in the Ft. Myers/Naples market.  Meridian hands the reins of the morning drive show over to Drew Steele.  Radel is a longtime media figure in the market serving as anchor on WINK-TV for years before joining “92.5 Fox News.”  Radel is running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Connie Mack who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

ESPN Radio Celebrates 20 Years in Operation.  Once just a small part of the ESPN cable television-focused broadcasting company, ESPN Audio is now a major component of the ESPN brand.  In January of 1992, ESPN Radio consisted of weekday drive-time commentaries on about 100 affiliates.  The network now has 300 full-time affiliates and ESPN owns four stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.  SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport states, “In 20 years, we’ve gone from airing only weekday, drive-time commentaries on 104 radio stations, to the amazing success of “Mike & Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Scott Van Pelt, Doug Gottlieb, and having ESPN Radio become the most-listened-to sports stream on the planet.  Additionally, our local markets give fans the local angle on air and online. It is a tribute to our listeners and our team, which pushes us forward to greater success in serving the sports fan.”

Jim Rome Takes TV Show to CBS Sports Network.  There’s no official confirmation from ESPN or Jim Rome’s camp but Big Lead Sports is reporting that Jim Rome’s “Rome is Burning” show will soon disappear from ESPN2 and Rome will begin a TV presence on the new CBS Sports Network.  The site reports that Rome was offered a multi-year deal to remain with ESPN but he’s choosing to begin TV life anew with CBS’ new cable initiative.  There would appear to be no affect on Rome’s radio program with Premiere Networks as a result of this.

KNX, Los Angeles Business Series Offers “The Business of Going Green.”  The next event in all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ Business Breakfast Series is titled, “The Business of Going Green” and takes place Friday, January 20 at 8:00 am at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  CBS Radio Los Angeles says “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will moderate a discussion that will explore how a sustainability strategy can be good for generating revenue and why being socially responsible doesn’t have to mean being fiscally irresponsible.  The free event will include a resource expo, continental breakfast and expert panelists H. David Nahai and Paul Polizzotto.  Nahai was senior advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative and is president of David Nahai Consulting Services which advises and assists public and private entities involved in the environmental sector.  Polizzotto is president of EcoMedia, a division of CBS Corporation, whose mission is to raise public awareness about environmental issues.

KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts New Local Food Show.  Hosted by local restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau and produced by Tina Cole, “Seattle Kitchen” airs Saturday mornings at 8:00 and Sundays at 10:00 am.  As you’d expect, the program will feature restaurant reviews of Puget Sound eateries as well as recipes and, of course, fielding listeners’ questions.  Program director Larry Gifford says, “Tom and Thierry are a natural fit and great addition.  For the weekend chef, who better to learn from, laugh with and relax to than these guys?”

Monday, October 10, 2011

| October 10, 2011

Civil Disobedience Nets Host Jail Sentence.  TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Ian Freeman, co-host of the nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live,” didn’t set out to spend 59 days in jail — but he believes so strongly in what he talks about on the air and how he lives his life that that’s exactly what he did.  Freeman served 59 days of a 90-day jail sentence (he got early release for good behavior) for obstructing a police officer who was arresting a young woman for an open container violation in Keene, New Hampshire.  Many talk show hosts have strong beliefs and “walk the walk,” but as someone who believes the government is too invasive in people’s lives (and positions his show as a reflection of that philosophy), Freeman makes a habit out of protesting police enforcement of victimless crimes.  He says the authorities in the New England community in which the national show is based see him as “a leader of people with such beliefs” and that’s why he believes a judge gave him a 360-day sentence with 270 days suspended.  Facing the consequences of his commitment was not only personally challenging, but professionally as well.  Freeman tells TALKERS being away from the show for 58 programs left co-host Mark Edge to handle the nightly broadcast with the help of guest co-hosts.  Most programs would be in trouble if their lead personality were gone for that period of time.  Freeman, who created the program, says the unique nature of “Free Talk Live” is that it’s not the “Mark and Ian” show.  He explains, “I didn’t want it to be a show about the personalities as much as it is about the ideas and the concept of open phones and a pro-liberty discussion forum…the idea of the show has always been to have it be able to continue in my or Mark’s absence.”  Freeman says that they have a great crew of friends and volunteers who helped Mark Edge during his time in jail and even though it was Edge’s first time sitting in the “first chair,” he’s heard nothing but good things about how the show went in his absence.  “We didn’t lose any affiliates while I was gone.”  In fact, Freeman says he had the opportunity to hear the show from jail on a local affiliate and had his first real opportunity to hear it as a program director instead of as a part of the show.  He even phoned in on the hotline from jail once or twice with programming advice!  Freeman tells TALKERS he certainly does not want to spend more time in jail but that won’t change how he handles the show or his own life.  “I still firmly believe that more people need to practice civil disobedience and non-cooperation.  I agree with the oft-cited statement that ‘all that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’  I just can’t sit idly by and watch as my peaceful neighbors continue to be caged for all manner of nonsense – whether it be an RV being parked in their yard, smoking a marijuana cigarette, drinking a little bit of beer – whatever…I can’t get on the air with listeners and advocate non-cooperation with the government if I’m not willing to do it myself.  That would make me feel like a hypocrite.”  “Free Talk Live” is a formidable independently syndicated national show with an impressive growth trend heard on 109 affiliates across the country on stations as disparate as conservative news/talk WSPD, Toledo and progressive talk outlet WXXM-FM, Madison.  In these days of both civil disobedience and peaceful demonstrations erupting on the streets of America and the fracturing of the rigid left/right political categories prevalent within the news/talk radio landscape, it stands out as an important emerging talk media industry entity.

WWRL, New York Broadcasts from ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protest.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York is broadcasting from the heart of the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest in Manhattan.  WWRL morning drive host Mark Riley is broadcasting his program this morning (10/10) from 6:00 am to 9:00 am from Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street between Trinity Place and Broadway.  Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated program will also broadcast from the same location from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm today.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “We feel it is particularly important to expand the platform for ‘RL’s culturally diverse audience by being on site of this historic movement.”  The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement began on September 17 and continues to be a major story on talk radio.

Cumulus Promotes WJR, Detroit GM to Market Manager.  Tom O’Brien is upped from his GM post at news/talk WJR, Detroit to market manager for the Cumulus properties in the Motor City that include music FMs WDVD and WDRQ.  Regional vice president of Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier says, “Tom has absolutely earned this promotion!  He’s led WJR to a new standard and has embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System with a vision of incremental growth.”  O’Brien has served as GM of WJR since February of this year.

Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) Partners with eBay Motors for Expanded Online Distribution.  In what is being described as “the first of many new programming and distribution opportunities” that the company is identifying for 2012 and beyond, Entertainment Radio Network, the Oregon-based syndicator of specialty shows covering primarily automotive, consumer electronics, popular science and technology subjects, announces its distribution partnership with eBay Motors, one of the internet’s leading automotive destinations.  Effective immediately, all ERN shows will be distributed through the modJOBS site on the eBayMotors.com landing page to 14 million unique visitors per month.  modJOBS is also supported via social media links to Facebook and Twitter.  ERN president (and former ABC Radio Networks EVP) John McConnell tells TALKERS, “eBay Motors has an extraordinary audience – nearly one billion page views per month.  I believe this kind of distribution is very much a part of radio’s future and we are thrilled that Entertainment Radio Network is the first to be working with eBay Motors new audio programming initiative.  We are all accustomed to talking about TSL (time spent listening), but now get ready to consider stickiness as well – eBay Motors’ average shopper spends 35 minutes per day online, often with credit cards at the ready.”  McConnell recently joined ERN CEO (and on air personality) Alan Taylor as president and a partner in the company.

CBS Radio and NFL’s Houston Texans Sign Long-Term Extension.  CBS Radio’s sports KILT, Houston and country KILT-FM will remain the flagship stations for Houston Texans football for many years to come as the team and CBS agree to a long-term extension of their deal.  Texans football has been affiliated with KILT for the past 10 seasons.

Andy Greenberg Begins Local TV Segment Based on Radio Feature.  KFAB, Omaha-based motivational radio personality Andy Greenberg – host of “Your Weekend HIgh with Andy Greenberg” – is now appearing on KPTM-TV, Omaha on the Sunday evening broadcast beginning October 16.  Greenberg transitioned to his current role as a speaker, trainer and broadcaster after 35 years in the sales and marketing business.  He says, “I am thrilled to be part of the Fox 42 Sunday Night News broadcasts that continue the Fox tradition of broadcasting innovations and have been the forefront and hallmark of the network and its affiliates.”

Salem Radio Network Celebrates Talk Format with “SRN Talk-Tober Month” Promotion.  Rock radio fans certainly remember the “rocktober” moniker assigned to the 10th month of the year on many AOR stations back in the day.  Now, Salem Radio Network honors the talk radio format in its own way declaring it “SRN Talk-Tober Month” and Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne joins the celebration by issuing a proclamation in honor of the Irving-based syndicator and all talk radio serving the metro area.  As part of the proclamation, Van Duyne states, “The talk radio industry in North Texas includes a number of talk radio stations including KSKY; WBAP-AM/FM; KRLD; and KLIF which strive to promote a free and open exchange of opinions on the premise that City of Irving residents and others throughout the area have the right to exercise free speech.”