Rush Limbaugh Seeks Retraction and Apology from DCCC for ‘False and Defamatory’ Statement. Attorneys for Premiere Networks-syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh are seeking a retraction and apology from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for what is being termed a “false and defamatory” statement regarding Limbaugh’s on-air discussion about consent for sexual relations. Limbaugh attorney Patricia Glaser writes in a letter to the DCCC that the organization purposely took Limbaugh’s words in which he “condemns the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes’” regarding sexual relations, and edited them to give the impression that the opposite was said. The DCCC then sent the message out via the internet. The question is, does Limbaugh’s attorney have a case? She cites legal precedent in her letter. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says it would appear that the comments of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are way off base. “The email went so far as to ask people to contact Limbaugh’s advertisers to voice their disapproval. However, the same First Amendment that protected Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ may well protect the DCCC in their gross mischaracterization of Limbaugh’s remarks. Specifically, as a public figure, in order to be successful in a defamation action, Limbaugh would have to prove that the DCCC acted with malice – that is that they knew what they were saying was a lie or that they acted with a reckless disregard for its truth. Even more problematic for Limbaugh would be that he would have to prove that he was harmed by the comments. In order to be successful in his lawsuit he would have to show that he lost sponsors and/or listeners.” Limbaugh’s lawyer cites two cases that deal with the narrow issue of whether it is libelous if you use the exact words of someone out of context or edited. Weisman says that while the cases support Limbaugh’s position on the matter, he doesn’t think they are wholly determinative of the case. But he adds, “Ironically, merely by exercising his own First Amendment rights and making his threat of a lawsuit, Limbaugh may have already won the battle by presenting his case to the people without even entering a courtroom.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Regardless of whether the DCCC apologizes or whatever the results of Rush’s subsequent lawsuit, Limbaugh is doing a service to our culture by bringing this general, nasty trend to the forefront of conversation by saying enough is enough – and that is the tendency by political types of all persuasions, left and right, these days to seek victory at the expense of truth.” Read the entire letter from Limbaugh’s attorney to the DCCC here.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Q3. The third quarter of 2014 turned out to be flat on a pro forma basis for Cumulus Media. On an actual basis, net revenue was up $51.4 million – or 19.4% — but that was due primarily to the addition of the operations of Westwood One. Digging a little deeper, the company reports that “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $12.5 million. Net broadcast advertising revenue was down due to ongoing weakness in several large local markets that began in the second quarter of 2014; however, we believe that weakness has now largely dissipated into the early portion of the current quarter. National spot advertising was generally flat as we continued to take share from small competitors. Network advertising continued to see disruption following the acquisition of Westwood One in December 2013. We believe that process of reorganizing our network sales verticals is also now completed. Digital advertising revenue increased by $6.7 million, primarily due to increased Rdio user generation activity and digital commerce generated by our Sweetjack platform. Political advertising revenue increased by $2.9 million due to additional activity associated with mid-term and gubernatorial elections and license fees and other revenue increased by $2.8 million.” For the first three quarters of 2014, Cumulus’ net revenue was up 1.8% on a pro forma basis.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Brings Jim Villanucci Aboard for Afternoon Drive. After suddenly exiting Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland where he was hosting middays, Jim Villanucci resurfaces at CBS RADIO’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas in the afternoon drive slot vacated by the departure of talk host Kevin Wall. Villanucci’s first day on the air was yesterday (11/10). Prior to his stint in Portland, he spent almost 14 years at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque enjoying high ratings in the afternoon drive slot, but exited that post in March of 2013. Villanucci says that although he misses the KXL staffers in Portland, he’s thrilled to be in Las Vegas working with CBS RADIO SVP/market manager Jerry McKenna and programmer Cat Thomas.
WRKO, Boston Helps Raise $115,000-plus for Fisher House. The personalities on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston spent Monday (11/10) broadcasting live from the Seaport Hotel as part of an effort to raise funds for the Fisher House in Boston. Pictured here are Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan hosting “The Financial Exchange.” Morning drive personality Jeff Kuhner also was on hand as the station brought in more than $115,000 for Fisher House. Kuhner says, “The WRKO listeners are the best in the country. Hands down. When we ask them to come through, they do. And they do it in a very big way.” The tally was at $98,000.00 just before 6:00pm, when Entercom CEO David Field donated the $2,000 it took to get over the six-figure mark. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in-house treatment at one of the medical centers. The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times.
Odds & Sods. The broadcast rights for Arkansas State play-by-play are re-upped for another five years by East Arkansas Broadcasters. The agreement allows EAB to continue to originate the broadcast of every Arkansas State game in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball from the company’s flagship sports talker KFIN, Jonesboro…..SiriusXM signs PGA pro John Daly to host a six-part series on its PGA Tour channel. The show is called “Hit It Hard with John Daly” and will debut in December.
Eric Dickerson Joins Westwood One’s Jim Gray Aboard USS America. Pictured here is Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson speaking with troops aboard the USS America on Monday (11/10). As part of last night’s Westwood One Monday Night Football broadcast, pre-game and half-time host Jim Gray broadcast live from aboard the brand new naval ship USS America and he was joined by Dickerson during the programs. In honor of Veterans Day, both mingled with the sailors and fielded football questions for Monday Night Football weekly contributors Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.
Lame Duck Congress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, President Obama in China/Russia-China Relationship, Fall of Berlin Wall Anniversary, U.S.-Iran Nukes Talks, Battle Against ISIS, Net Neutrality Issue, Early Cold and Snow, Veteran’s Day, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). What the lame duck congress may try to accomplish before the GOP majority takes over in January; a look ahead at the prospects for president in 2016; President Obama’s visit to China and the cozier relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China; the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the talks between the U.S. and Iran about the latter’s nuclear program; the fight against ISIS and reports the organization is considering a merger with al Qaeda; the net neutrality issue and President Obama’s weighing in on the matter; an early blast of cold and snow hit the Upper Midwest; the Veteran’s Day holiday and observances across the country; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Hubbard Names Drew Horowitz President and COO. Just a week after announcing that president and CEO Bruce Reese was stepping down from his role with the company, Hubbard Radio today announces that Drew Horowitz, executive vice president and chief operating officer, is named president and chief operating officer, effective immediately. Ginny Morris remains chairman and chief executive officer. She states, “For the past few years I have had the privilege to work with Drew and see first-hand what a gifted broadcaster he is. Drew’s passion for the radio business and for the people with whom he works is evident in how he approaches every opportunity and every challenge. I look forward to further partnering with him as we continue to move our business forward.” Horowitz came over to Hubbard from Bonneville International in 2011 where he’d been EVP and COO since 1992. Horowitz comments, “I am honored to have this wonderful opportunity to work more closely with Ginny and to be part of this extraordinary family-owned company. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the rest of the leadership team to further Hubbard Radio’s success across our seven nationwide markets.”
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Michael Harrison Moderates “Radio: The Big Picture” Panel. Today (7/18) marks the fourth day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “Radio: The Big Picture” panel moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The panel features an array of leading radio figures including Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sam Kimball, CRO, Livestream; Tom Langmyer, VP/news/talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, Cumulus Media; and Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media. As Michael Harrison’s series of “Big Picture” panels are known to do, this fast-paced, sometimes rollicking session cuts a broad swath across many of the universal topics of importance to radio broadcasters in general – including the future of the stick (AM/FM radio), the relationship between talk and music radio, the pros and cons of utilizing video as a component of digital radio, the evolving relationship between radio and newspapers, techniques for lowering the news/talk demos, overcoming the challenges of rating radio accurately in the digital era and much more. To view “Radio: The Big Picture” please click here. Coming Monday: “The State of Local Talk Radio” panel moderated by TALKERS GM of broadcast operations, David Bernstein and featuring Michael “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM Salem Communications-New York; Lee Harris, morning anchor, 1010WINS, New York; McGraw Milhaven, morning host, KTRS, St. Louis; and Larry Young, morning host, WOLB, Baltimore. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Pistons Radio Network Chooses Chapman to Be Executive Producer. Five-year Orlando Magic radio network executive producer Jake Chapman departs the Sunshine State to handle similar responsibilities for the Detroit Pistons radio network and its Greater Media sports-formatted flagship WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” WMGC program director Jason Dixon states, “We are thrilled to welcome Jake to the ‘Detroit Sports 105.1′ and Pistons radio network team. His skill set and his experience working in the NBA made him a perfect fit to join us. Jake shares our vision to provide Pistons fans with unparalleled content and coverage of their team.” Palace Sports & Entertainment and Detroit Pistons executive vice president/chief marketing officer Charlie Metzger remarks, “We appreciate Jake’s ability to provide entertaining and informative year-round content for our fans; we look forward to his coverage of Detroit basketball.” In addition to being responsible for day-to-day network operations, Chapman will host the team’s pre-game and post-game shows, as well as various other programming. He begins his new assignment in three weeks (8/6).
‘The Mighty 1090’ San Diego’s Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith Team with Fox Sports San Diego for TV Special. The afternoon drive duo of Scott Kaplan (right) and Billy Ray Smith (left) – “Scott & BR,” on Broadcasting Company of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” is working with Fox Sports San Diego on a seven-part TV series that will begin airing on Tuesday, July 22. The series is being filmed at the Fox Sports San Diego studios and will feature athletes and sports celebrities being interviewed by Kaplan and Smith as well as segments with other San Diego sports reporters. “The Mighty 1090” programming and operations manager Mike Shepard comments, “I am thrilled to partner with Fox Sports San Diego on this special series. The exclusive ‘Scott & BR’ content created specifically for the network is an exciting venture that will bring San Diego sports fans something they’ve never had before.”
Odds & Sods. Congratulations are in order for Pat Frisch, AM operations manager at Cumulus Media’s Albuquerque cluster, who this week is celebrating his 15th anniversary with the station group. Frisch is ops manager for news/talk giant KKOB and sports talker KNML “610 The Sports Animal.”…..In celebration of its three-year anniversary, the Yahoo! Sports Radio is broadcasting live from Las Vegas beginning Monday, July 21. Dubbed, “Super Week,” the network says the broadcasts will emanate “from Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo Hotel and Casino with more than 80 hours of live programming packed with superstar guests including Mike Tyson, Dana White, Stephen Curry and more.” Hosts taking part in the Las Vegas broadcasts include: Steve Czaban, Travis Rodgers, Geoff Ketchum, John Granato & Sean Salisbury, Ken Thomson, and Peter Brown. Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “This is a great opportunity to spotlight our entire lineup. We’re thrilled to be partnered with the Venetian and Palazzo and it’s truly an honor to broadcast from the magnificent Lagasse’s Stadium.”…..Entercom’s WWKB, Buffalo is the new flagship for University of Buffalo football and men’s basketball play-by-play. The school’s games return to WWKB after being heard on Cumulus Media’s crosstown WHLD “Sports Radio 1270 The Fan.”
NAB Hands Hayes Marconi Award Performance Duties. Louisiana-born, Nashville-based, country songwriter/artist, multi-instrumentalist Hunter Hayes has been selected to entertain at the NAB‘s Marconi Radio Awards dinner September 11 in Indianapolis. According to NAB executive vice president of radio John David, “Hunter Hayes is a talented musician, whose performance will contribute to a memorable 25th NAB Marconi Radio Awards dinner. Atlantic Records and Warner Music Nashville connected us so Hunter can join radio in saluting the Marconi nominees and winners.” Hayes’ platinum-selling, self-titled debut album was released on Atlantic Records three years ago. Among his accomplishments are three number one singles: “Wanted,” “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” and “I Want Crazy.” Established in 1989, the Marconi Radio Awards – named after inventor/Nobel prizewinner Guglielmo Marconi – recognize stations and individuals for excellence in 21 categories. This year’s Radio Show (9/10 – 12) is produced by the NAB and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Joining the lineup at KWTO-AM, Springfield, Missouri, is the Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated Laura Ingraham show which is being heard from 9:00 am to 10:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..KYDT, Sundance, Wyoming adds the nighttime edition of the GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show featuring Michael W. Dean.
Child Immigration Crisis Tops Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The influx of child illegal immigrants in the Southwest and the political issues surrounding the problem was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 14 – 18, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the second week in a row. At #2 this week was the Israel-Hamas violence. Following at #3 was the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria and the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane over the Ukraine came in at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Mike Francesa’s Sports Talk Keynote Address. Today (7/16) marks the second day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful sports talk keynote address delivered by WFAN, New York sports talk radio legend, Mike Francesa. The focus of Francesa’s speech consists of 1) his opinion that the current lack of ratings for online “re-purposed” radio content is damaging radio; 2) the benefits of being live and local; and 3) the burgeoning role of sports in American life. Francesa states, “I have done the same show at the same time on the same station for 28 years. I never wanted to be syndicated. I believe in live and local.” Although respecting the importance of digital and social media, he believes that radio broadcasters place too much emphasis on it to the detriment of their on-air content and performance stating, “I take a limited approach to the new technology…I don’t have a Twitter account.” Regarding sports, itself, as a subject and field of interest to the media, he advises, “I think we are at the beginning of a sports explosion the likes of which you haven’t seen yet. If you’re in the communications business, you’d better get on board. Sports today is what Hollywood was in the 40s and 50s.” To see the entire session, please click here. Coming tomorrow (7/17): RAB, CEO/president Erica Farber moderating the panel, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” with Ron Furman, CRO, Westwood One; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Joe Puglise, president/market manager, Clear Channel, New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Dave Elswick Show Expands to Searcy, Arkansas Market. Longtime Little Rock talk radio personality Dave Elswick’s KHTE “96.5 The Voice”-based show will be heard on KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas starting July 21 as the show begins efforts to network across the state. Elswick states, “This is exciting as I will now reach the North Central part of the state. My goal is to touch all Arkansans and keep them informed about what is happening in their state.” Additionally, Elswick tells TALKERS magazine he is in the process of launching a 24/7 online TV station as he explores new platforms.
KKOB, Albuquerque Personality Rides on Soon-to-Be-Deactivated Sub. The market’s namesake nuclear sub USS Albuquerque is being de-activated after 30 years of service to the U.S. Navy. Last week, KKOB, Albuquerque weekend personality Terrie Q. Sayre – pictured here at the periscope of the sub – was able to take a voyage on it. The sub is based in San Diego and during Sayre’s visit, she went out to sea in it and was able to dive to 600 feet, take sharp angle maneuvers, take part in periscope viewing and more. Sayre reports they even did a burial at sea involving a three torpedo salute.
CBS Sports Radio Morning Show Gets Online Video Simulcast. Beginning immediately, the morning drive show hosted by Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney, and Dana Jacobson on the CBS Sports Radio Network – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – is available in a live, online video simulcast, especially targeting consumers using mobile and tablet devices. Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “We are excited to launch yet another way to expose our programming to audiences nationwide. Tiki, Brandon and Dana prove every day to be dynamic and passionate sports hosts, and providing additional access to the show follows the trend of listeners spending more time with the program.”
’99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh Holds ‘Fan Town Hall.’ Tomorrow morning Capitol Broadcasting-owned sports talk WCMC-FM, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” is presenting the first-ever “Fan Town Hall” with four of the most influential people in Triangle college sports today at Full Frame Theater in nearby Durham. Panelists will include: Duke athletic director Dr. Kevin White; North Carolina Central athletic director Dr. Ingrid Wicker-McCree; NC State athletic director Debbie Yow and North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham. The 90-minute, commercial-free event will be moderated by WCMC-FM afternoon drive host Adam Gold and WRAL-TV sports anchor Jeff Gravley. Topics to be addressed include the state of college athletics, successes and challenges athletic departments are experiencing and much more. Station program director and OM Dennis Glasgow states, “This is a historical event that’s never been done before in the Triangle, and to bring together these four remarkable people will be a fascinating 90 minutes inside the looking glass of college sports. Our Town Hall format will be less traditional in that we’re encouraging conversation among our special guests, and its unique format will allow social media questions throughout the event.”
Golloher Joins Fox News Radio as Correspondent. Former freelancer Jessica Golloher – who’s been based in Moscow for the past six years – joins Fox News Radio as a correspondent based in New York. In this new role, Golloher will report on breaking news and provide daily live reports while covering stories in the Northeast and across the country. During her time in Moscow, Golloher provided live coverage of stories, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the crisis in Ukraine, and the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Golloher previously worked at radio stations in Washington, Boston, Tulsa, and Los Angeles.
Odds & Sods. All-newser KNX, Los Angeles is tackling the Western drought story as it relates to Southern California on July 31 during a day-long program titled, “Running on Empty: Our Epic Drought.” The CBS RADIO station says KNX’s news staff, “led by producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, will look at the impact the worsening drought will have on” the population. KNX will detail what sets the current drought apart from those the state has experienced in the recent past. Among the questions to be answered are what food products might disappear from shelves and which ones will get costlier, who decides who’ll be able to tap into the eroding water supply and what will the long-term effects be on the local environment and wildlife? Seven KNX reporters have conducted more than 50 interviews with California Governor Jerry Brown, representatives from the Metropolitan and Orange County Water Districts, climatologists, environmentalists, farmers and others…..Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York reports a coup as former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson appeared on “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby” on Wednesday afternoon to “address publicly for the first time” her departure from the paper. She talked about her reaction to Arthur Sulzberger saying she was let go because of her management style, her feelings about the current state of journalism and more…..Thirty-two year NPR veteran Margaret Low Smith is leaving the public radio network where she’s been serving as senior vice president/news to become a VP at The Atlantic. Smith will also be the president of the publication’s AtlanticLIVE Events division…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announced the winners of its 2014 Food & Wine Awards during an appearance at the 33rd Annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival at the Kapalua Resort in Hawaii. CRN president & CEO Michael J. Horn and CRN personality “Sommelier of the People” Michael Jordan made the presentations on a special live broadcast of the network’s nationally syndicated “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” show. Michael Browne of the Kosta Browne Winery and Robert Cabral of Williams Selyem shared the Winemaker of the Year honor. Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas, Texas was named Chef of the Year. Zimzala Huntington Beach, California was crowned Restaurant of the Year. Sommelier of the Year honors went to Troy Smith at Montage in Laguna Beach, California. CRN listeners selected the winners from a list of nominees.
SRN’s Dennis Prager Visits Death Row. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager is pictured here (right) with an unidentified death row inmate at Angola State Prison in Louisiana – the nation’s largest prison. Prager spent Monday, July 14 at the prison as part of the annual “Returning Hearts Celebration,” organized by the Christian organization Awana. Among that organization’s projects is work with prison inmates. Prager has been lecturing to evangelical pastors all over the country about the American Renewal Project. Prager shared his experiences at the prison with listeners on his programs yesterday and today. During a meeting with the inmate pictured here, Prager asked the man if he felt sorry for himself. “No,” he responded. “But I do regret the things I’ve done.”
NYC Competitors Get Together at Big Fundraiser. These two New York City talk radio personalities – Geraldo Rivera from Cumulus Media’s WABC (left) and Mark Simone from Clear Channel’s WOR (right) – usually compete against each other in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot. But they are pictured here together as they attend and speak at a fundraiser luncheon for the city’s 100-year-old charity The Police Athletic League of New York City.
Child Immigrant Crisis-Immigration Policy Reform, Eric Holder Racism Comments, Middle East Turmoil, Possible Warren 2016 Presidential Run, Hookah Craze, and Western Drought and Summer ‘Polar Vortex’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The ongoing child immigration crisis in the Southwest and debate over who’s responsible and how to fix it; Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments that criticism of the Obama Administration are race-based; the violence between Israel and Hamas and the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s recent travels and speculation she’s gearing up for a ‘stealth’ 2016 presidential bid; chatter about the health issues surrounding the current hookah craze; plus the Western drought and the summer ‘polar vortex’ affecting the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Posts 3.5% Revenue Gain in Q3. Milwaukee-based Journal Communications issued its 2013 third quarter numbers yesterday and the radio division reports revenue was up 3.5% on $20.5 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company adds, “Local advertising revenue increased 4.3%, primarily due to increases in professional services, retail and medical advertising. National advertising revenue decreased 4.9%, mostly due to declines in media, professional services and restaurant advertising. Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.5 million compared to $3.0 million, an increase of 16.3%. Radio operating expenses increased 1.3% driven by higher employee-related costs and higher broadcast rights fees.”
FCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Revitalization of AM Radio Service. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued yesterday (10/31) by the Federal Communications Commission addressing the revitalization of AM radio service can be found in its entirety here. The six-pronged proposal consists of: opening an FM translator filing window exclusively for AM station owners; modifying the daytime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; modifying the nighttime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; eliminating the AM ‘rachet rule’; permitting wider implementation of modulation dependent carrier level control technologies; and modifying AM antenna efficiency standards. NAB CEO Gordon Smith says the organization supports the move. “NAB salutes the leadership of Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai for taking a strong interest in revitalizing AM radio, which has a long and storied history of providing America’s hometowns with news, entertainment, sports and community affairs information. AM radio is a cultural touchstone and jobs generator in cities large and small; many of the top revenue-generating stations are on the AM band. We strongly endorse the revitalization proceeding and stand ready to work with the FCC to develop meaningful solutions.”
FCC Denies Virginia Man’s Objection to Renewal of WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s License. From time to time, the FCC receives objections to the renewal of the license of a radio station and, also occasionally, that is based on the notion that the station’s programming is biased and that it is not serving the public. That is roughly what Kevin M. Raymond of Woodbridge, Virginia claimed when he objected to the renewal of WMAL’s license. Raymond argued that the station has an “incessant bias” against the government throughout all its programs and the station broadcasts “blatant lies on each program” that cannot be considered protected by the right to free speech. On Thursday, the FCC announce its denial of Raymond’s objection. Stating in part, the Commission wrote, “The Objection also questions whether the Station is funded anonymously for political propaganda purposes. The Objection provides no support for this speculative comment. Accordingly, this argument requires no further discussion here…There have been no other violations which, taken together, constitute a pattern of abuse…We have examined the Objection and find that it does not raise a substantial and material question of fact calling for further inquiry or otherwise persuade us that granting the Application would contravene the public interest, convenience, and necessity. The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.
New Comedy Album Getting Noticed by Talk Show Hosts and Producers. Before the days of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, when it came to politics, some of the most interesting political comments came from music parodies and comedians. Older industry professionals might remember the radio phenomenon of their childhoods called “The First Family” – a comedy album created by talented impersonator Vaughn Meader and a cast of characters parodying the newly elected President John F. Kennedy and his family/administration. After the assassination of the young president, the album disappeared as quickly as it rose to prominence. You don’t really hear much pre-recorded political satire on the radio these days…but that may change. A longtime radio host/producer has joined forces with a longtime entertainment industry executive to put together a political comedy CD that has hit the top of the comedy CD charts in just the initial two weeks of release. For Michael Hardeman (a recurring contributor to the Stephanie Miller radio show) and Marshall Blonstein (a veteran LA record executive), being politically correct means being “Politically Incoherent.” Read all about this exciting project in a new article posted today (11/1) by TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay by clicking here.
The “Talkers Show” Covering Radio and Talk Media Debuts Today on TalkersRadio. As the new experimental internet talk radio station, TalkersRadio, passes its six week milestone, a new crop of programs are slated to launch during the next month. Debuting today is the “Talkers Show” – a daily, one-hour conversation program hosted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison featuring interviews with members of the talk media industry and related fields. The program is scheduled to air weekdays 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm ET with repeats programmed throughout remaining open slots on the schedule. Today’s initial guests are Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, hosts of the TalkersRadio program, the “Brent & Meg Radio Thingy” (weekdays 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET) and noted Fox News Radio star Alan Colmes, who hosts a show on TalkersRadio titled “Healed Planet” heard on the third Sunday of each month 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET. Upcoming scheduled guests include TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein (former PD of WOR, New York; WBZ, Boston; WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford and WPRO, Providence, among others); successful record producer Robbie Student who hosts a daily program on TalkersRadio (weekdays 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Steve M. Fassberg, the media-savvy CEO/founder of the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company. Upon beginning this new program, Michael Harrison states, “Hosting this show about talk media is sheer fun for me and having the opportunity to give long form conversational exposure to some of the brightest and most articulate people in our industry is a wonderfully gratifying extension of the services this trade publication is so dedicated to providing.” New shows currently in development for launch on TalkersRadio include “Radio Lifeboat with Diane and Mickey Gooch” – a mother/son co-hosted program focusing on the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction. Diane Gooch is a veteran New Jersey newspaper publisher and a principal in the Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service. Mickey Gooch is a young LA actor who has experienced the depths of addiction and is now in recovery. Another show set for launch later this fall is “Green Connection,” a show dedicated to chronicling environmentally friendly industrial developments hosted by noted Washington, DC journalist Joan Michelson. Veteran broadcaster Bob Shannon, executive director of the Upper Midwest Conclave will host a program titled “Stories” in which he will share candid insights into the real-life personal issues facing men and the women they love. Also on tap for launch on TalkersRadio is a brand new program hosted by WPIX-TV, New York personality, Lionel. TalkersRadio is powered by Backbone Networks and heard exclusively on Talkers.com and TuneIn. For more information call 413-565-5413.
WFAN’s Boomer & Carton Open Food Stand at Barclays Center Tonight. At this evening’s Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center, WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will open their self-titled food stand located by section 17 of the arena. Both Esiason and Carton will be on hand for the 7:00 pm ribbon cutting of the Boomer & Carton Kitchen at Barclays Center. Some of the menu items – personally designed by the duo – include: the Boom Doggy Dog – a Nathan’s Hot Dog with smothered onions, spicy cheese sauce and crisp bacon; the Chubby Chaser – which includes a Brooklyn Burger, chicken tenders, Nathan’s fries, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato, on a brioche bun; Lobster Monster, a Red Hook Lobster Pound sandwich with authentic Brooklyn hot cherry peppers and mustard; and Carton’s Kitchen Chicken – which includes a chicken cutlet, eggplant spread, broccoli rabe, and provolone on ciabatta bread. Boomer & Carton state, “We are thrilled to bring the WFAN brand and our taste for great food to the world class Barclays Center. Since starting our morning show in 2007, we’ve easily gained 50 pounds between the two of us. Clearly we know what tastes good and what people like to eat. Boomer & Carton Kitchen will be a great extension of our show and an amazing partnership for years to come with Barclays Center.”
Two Promoted at WTOP, Washington. Jim Battagliese and Michael McMearty have been promoted at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington. Battagliese has been upped to director of traffic and weather from director of traffic and transit operations. He will be responsible for the station’s coverage of traffic and weather on air, as well as on its online and social media formats. McMearty, previously senior news director, has been named senior news and sports director and will be responsible for overnight sports news with Dave Johnson and George Wallace.
Tony Dungy Visits KNML, Albuquerque’s ‘Opening Drive’ Show. In town to promote Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” program that provides low-cost internet and low-cost computers to families in need, former NFL coach and current NBC Sports personality Tony Dungy visited both news/talk KKOB where he spoke with morning host Bob Clark and sister sports talk station KNML “610 The Sports Animal” and appeared on the morning “Opening Drive” program. Pictured here (from l-r) are “Opening Drive” host Jeff Siembieda, Dungy, Michael Carlyle and JJ Buck.
ObamaCare Rollout/Sebelius Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 28-November 1. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the Congressional hearings featuring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the NSA spying controversy. Following at #3 was more Benghazi cover-up allegations and at #4 was the state of the GOP. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. You can see this week’s entire chart here.
Talk Radio Network Sues Epic Times in U.S. District Court for Tortious Interference and Misuse of Trade Secrets. EpicTimes.com is the website developed around talk show host Jerry Doyle – who is currently embroiled in legal issues surrounding the recent dramatic changes and financial issues at Talk Radio Network. At the core of this most recent action is a two-pronged complaint by TRN. It alleges Epic – the company of which Jerry Doyle is president and CEO – is interfering with contracts TRN has with both Doyle himself and talk host Rusty Humphries by using their services for content for the EpicTimes.com site. The interference claim is based on TRN’s assertion that it has exclusive content creation deals still in effect with Doyle and Humphries. The complaint also alleges that Epic is misusing trade secrets through Epic’s conversion to its own use of the “confidential and proprietary business information of plaintiffs provided to Doyle in confidence and subject to nondisclosure agreements.” TRN is seeking an injunction to prevent further use of the proprietary information and $150,000 in damages plus legal fees.
L&L Broadcasting Acquires Border Media Trust San Antonio Stations. What’s been rumored to have been in the works turns out to be true as Larry Wilson’s Portland, Oregon-based L&L Broadcasting announces its buying the San Antonio radio stations from the Border Media Business Trust. The stations include adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack FM,” regional Mexican tri-mulcast KLEY “La Ley 95.7,” KSAH-AM/FM, CHR KTFM, news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC and Spanish KHHL. The additions put the L&L station count at 43. Wilson says, “This is a great cluster of radio stations located in a beautiful market operated by a very talented group of people. We are excited to add them to our growing company.” Trustee Larry Patrick adds, “We could not be happier to have found a wonderful home for our San Antonio stations. Larry Wilson and his L&L Broadcasting represent the best in broadcasting. We wish him continued great success with this cluster.” Piper Jaffray & Co. assisted L&L Broadcasting in the transaction and Patrick Communications was the broker for the Border Media Business Trust.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 a Success. More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 this past Thursday (10/10). Among the major issues covered are the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platform ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day. To read an overview of the event and see photos of its key sessions, speeches and attractions, please click here.
Entercom Debuts Hybrid Talker in New Orleans. Today is launch day for Entercom’s new hybrid talk station WWWL, New Orleans “3WL.” Calling it an extension of its “Gulf South POWERhouse” WWL-AM/FM, the company says it “builds on the success of this legendary New Orleans station by offering a branch focused on the passions of New Orleans.” Vice president and general manager Chris Claus says, “‘3WL 1350’ celebrates the three greatest passions of New Orleanians: sports, food and fun! Think of ‘3WL’ as a radio station as tasty as gumbo, as fun as Mardi Gras and as passionate as Saints fans on Sundays. In the three weeks since we announced ‘3WL,’ the response has been overwhelming. ‘3WL’ is perfectly set up to succeed and deliver real results for our advertisers.” WWL operations and program director Diane Newman is overseeing the station’s programming. The lineup is as follows: “Morning Drive with T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic”; NBC Sports Radio’s Erick Kuselias in late mornings; “The Food Show” with Tom Fitzmorris from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and “The Lighter Side of The Spud Show” with John Spud McConnell from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. NBC Sports Radio rounds out the rest of the day. Newman says, “Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning. Our lineup from top to bottom is as good as any in the country. With sports in the morning, food at lunch, and a larger-than-life personality, Spud McConnell, in the afternoon, ‘3WL’ launches with tremendous strength, proven talent, and unquestioned passion.”
Another #1 Finish for KKOB. The Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talker finished #1 12+ for the 53rd straight Nielsen Audio book in a row. Program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine, the station finished #5 in Adults 25-54 and #2 in Men 25-54. “Our TSL is a high 9:15 minutes a week in Adults 25-54, that’s #1 in the market.” Frisch also reports that he’s especially proud of afternoon talk show host Scott Stiegler who took over the afternoon program seven months ago and has taken it to #1 Adults 25-54. Frisch says, “Morning drive personality Bob Clark finished #1 again in mornings. He’s been #1 for seven straight years in that daypart.”
Talent Shuffle at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Resort Broadcasting’s FM news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” makes some personality changes as late morning host Mike Bradley becomes part of the morning drive show alongside Judy Mangini. Bill Colley leaves the morning program and now heads up the PM drive show. Jim Rash moves from afternoons to the late morning slot.
Bryan Switzer to Exit Cumulus Media Networks. After eight years in the radio business, Bryan Switzer announces he’s leaving his VP of affiliate sales position with Cumulus Media Networks. Switzer started his career in network radio with ABC Radio Networks in April of 2006. During his time in the music industry, he served as VP/GM of Atlantic Records and senior VP of national promotion at Universal South. He says, “Since moving from records to broadcast eight years ago, this is without a doubt the most exciting company I’ve been associated with. I have a great deal of respect for what Lew and John Dickey have built and are building. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to move on and turn a page. I can’t thank Dennis Green enough for the opportunity to continue my role through the Cumulus acquisition of Citadel two years ago. It’s been a privilege to work under his leadership. As for me, it’s time I get back to serving my creative genes, and though I’ve made no commitments as of yet, I’m extremely excited by the prospects!” Switzer can be reached at email@example.com or 615-838-0809.
Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle Turns 78 Tomorrow. Radio history buffs can learn more about the history of one of the Emerald City’s most famous radio signals at Bonneville’s MyNorthwest.com right here. The station – now a sports talker – began its life spinning records on October 15, 1935 and would play second fiddle to the Fisher family’s KOMO until getting a power upgrade to 50,000 just prior to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. The war kept the FCC from handling any power upgrade requests and KIRO was, for some time, the most powerful signal in the Pacific Northwest.
Marilu Henner Rocks Sun Broadcast Group Upfront Party. Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (pictured here with SBG CEO Jason Bailey) appeared at the Sun Broadcast Group’s 2014 Upfront Party at the Penthouse Lounge in New York City on October 11. The day after making an appearance at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference where the TV and film star introduced herself to the talk radio industry, Henner was one of the stars representing her show before the hundreds of media people in NYC including agency reps, programmers, station managers, and network suppliers who attended the party. Speaking about the now-five-year-old event, Bailey told the attendees, “I am so humbled as I look around at all the people here supporting us. We’ve been working so hard to be a very different kind of network for all of you over the last five years and tonight you’ve welcomed us into your busy lives with open arms. I can’t thank you enough for standing by us and believing in our mission as we aim to transform radio.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Names BMI’s Del Bryant ‘Golden Mike’ Recipient. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces Broadcast Music Inc. president Del Bryant is its recipient of the 2014 Golden Mike Award. The award will be presented on Monday, February 24, 2014, at a black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to benefit the Foundation’s mission of helping broadcasters in need. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “Del has been an admirable and inspiring supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation for many years. Well-known and respected across the broadcasting and music industries, his contribution as a longtime member of the Foundation’s board of directors is immeasurable. We are proud to award him the 2014 Golden Mike.” Bryant comments, “I am honored to be recognized by the Broadcasters Foundation of America with the Golden Mike Award. I have always felt strongly about giving back to the community, both from a professional and personal standpoint. It has been a privilege to support the Foundation and to collaborate with them throughout the years. I commend them for the exceptional work they do for broadcasters and the sweet and understanding attitude with which they do it.” The son of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant – the legendary songwriters who penned classics such as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” All I Have To Do Is Dream,” the Tennessee state song, “Rocky Top,” and more – Bryant’s rich musical heritage inspired his accomplishments and passion for the business. He joined BMI in 1972, and worked in numerous areas of the company for 32 years, rising to president and chief executive officer in 2004.
Still More Positive News/Talk Radio Stories. For the past several days, TALKERS magazine has been writing about some of the individual success stories of news/talk stations that are performing well or even enjoying a ratings bounce during a time when the mainstream media (and some of the trades) are presenting the idea that news/talk radio is dead, dying or, at the very least, suffering from some malady. TALKERS editors believe this too-broad approach to describing the state of a whole radio format that’s heard across an entire continent is detrimental to the industry. And apparently many of the industry’s practitioners agree as we are being besieged with accounts of success from PDs, talent and anonymous station staffers (who want to keep a low profile). Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque has long been a ratings-getter in the market and program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS things are going particularly well for new PM drive host Scott Stiegler. “He is #1 Persons 25-54 in afternoon drive. It took Stig just six months to take the afternoon show from 8th to 1st in Persons 25-54. They are also listening to the Stig show an hour longer a week than they were six months ago in the key demo.” Frisch also commends Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh for his recent success. “The rock of the station, Rush, is #1 Persons 25-54 and they are listening an hour longer per week to Rush in the key demo, as well. Conservative talk still works and works well if you are a true conservative and stick to your principals.” At NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, talk radio pro Tom Becka says his story – exiting crosstown KFAB, doing a year in Fargo, and returning to the market on KOIL – is indicative of how success can be achieved without headline-grabbing stats. “We hit our sales quota for the year two months ago and I am beating or competitive with KFAB in my time slot in the demo. Advertisers that are looking ahead to 2014 are putting us in their mix when we were a non-issue at this time last year. I don’t have to beat (Clear Channel’s) KFAB to win. But it is good to know that good local programming that responds to the needs of the listeners still wins.” Reports from KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno (a Peak station soon to be owned by Cumulus Media) indicate the station’s efforts to rebuild its programming after losing Premiere shows to Clear Channel’s new crosstown news/talker have worked in “retaining format leadership in the Fresno market.” Finally, TALKERS is getting reports that the Cox Media Group-WestwoodOne effort syndicating Herman Cain is getting good traction and results. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Cain is #5 in that market with Men 25-54 (6.1 share); #1 at WHIO, Dayton with Men 25-54 (10 share); and #3 with Men 18-49 at KRMG, Tulsa (8.1 share). Thanks to all the folks who’ve reported positive news/talk stories over the past few days. We look forward to hearing – and reporting – more of them in the future! For those attending the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood next Thursday, this will be one of the focal points of the event.
WQAM, Miami Names Andy King PD; Channing Crowder and Brandon Guzio to PM Drive. Beasley Broadcast Group’s Miami sports talker WQAM fills the afternoon drive slot and program director position that had been open since Jorge Sedano left to join ESPN. The station ups APD Andy King to PD. King started at WQAM in 2005 as producer of the Dan Le Batard show, eventually became executive producer of the Jorge Sedano show and took the position of assistant program director in May 2012. WQAM reports that in King’s first year there, he helped the station grow nearly a full share point in the coveted Men 25-54 target audience. The new permanent PM drive program is the Channing Crowder show featuring the former University of Florida and Miami Dolphins star along with co-host Brandon Guzio. Crowder began his radio career with WQAM while still playing professional football and joined the station full time in October 2012 as co-host of the “Kup & Crowder” show. Guzio joined the station’s Jorge Sedano show in 2013 and is also currently the host of “The Post Game Show” following every Miami Dolphins game. With Crowder moving to afternoons, longtime WQAM personality Captain Curtis Stevenson joins Adam Kuperstein for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm “Kup & Curtis” show.
Prime Opportunity for Conservative Talker in Seattle. As Bonneville’s conservative talk outlet KTTH, Seattle celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, program director Jason Antebi tells TALKERS he is preparing to add another local talk show to the station’s lineup. Antebi says, “The station has been sharpening its vision – who do we want to talk to, what do we talk about and what unique value can we provide to our listeners? We are passionate about our beliefs, yet we also want to move the community conversation forward in a meaningful way and make a difference where we live and work. I’m lucky to work at a company like Bonneville where we’re able to truly provide a place to passionately advocate for traditional American values (like freedom, community, and personal responsibility) without having to be a bomb-thrower.” Antebi says he’ll be looking for “talk show hosts who feel they have what it takes to stay on top of breaking news with insightful, civil and forward-thinking analysis and constructive conversation.” Those interested in learning more about the position should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Progressive Talk Radio to Return to Portland on New FM. KXRY, Portland (HERP of 8 watts at 91.1 MHz) is currently dark but owned by not-for-profit Common Frequency, Inc. and is expected to go on the air as a non-commercial station in the near future with a progressive talk and music hybrid format. Writing on BlueOregon.com, Carla Axtman says the goal of “XRAY.FM” is to fill the gap left by the demise of former progressive talker KPOJ. It plans to air former KPOJ AM drive host Carl Wolfson (who is running his own internet station) as well as WYD Media’s Thom Hartman, who made Portland his home base for a number of years. Axtman also writes, “Why the sudden audio activism? October 2013 marks the only opening for new independent radio licenses granted by the FCC – a one-week window after a 15-year battle. Congress has allowed commercial radio stations to snatch up nearly all available frequencies (and the ears of billions of listeners) for a long time. This is XRAY.FM’s chance to bring Thom Hartmann, Carl Wolfson and the music of independent artists back to your local dial. XRAY.FM is partnering with community organizations around Oregon to make sure that the whole state can enjoy the sweet sounds of progressive radio once again.”
Odds & Sods. The Los Angeles Lakers and ESPN agree to extend the club’s relationship with KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” for another seven years with the station airing Lakers play-by-play through the 2019-2020 season. John Ireland and Mychal Thompson will continue to call the games…..WBBM-AM and WCFS, Chicago part-time anchor and reporter Brandis Friedman leaves CBS Radio to join public television station WTTW-TV, Chicago as a full-time correspondent for the “Chicago Tonight Program,” according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Dave Rutherford begins contributing daily commentaries to Rogers’ CFFR, Calgary. Rutherford exited Corus’ crosstown CHQR where he hosted a talk show prior to the expiration of his contract after he criticized that station’s coverage of the flooding in Alberta in June.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin show becomes part of the programming at WEZO, Augusta, Gerogia; KVML, Sonora, California; and WLVA, Roanoke, Virginia…..Cumulus’ Mike Huckabee is added at WGDJ, Albany; KVRC, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; and WBKK, Wilton, Minnesota…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” is added to the lineup at KOKC, Oklahoma City and KJCE, Austin. Additionally, KFAQ, Tulsa expands its carriage of the show to 4:00 am to 6:00 am…..GCN’s “The Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WSZL, Barstow, Californnia…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters joins the programming at WGTK, Louisville, Kentucky.
Jennifer Hudson on ABC News Radio. Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (right) sits down with ABC News Radio’s Joi-Marie McKenzie (left) to discuss her latest movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” which hits theaters on October 11.
Government Shutdown Tops Talkers TenTM. The shutdown of the federal government and the political battle to re-open was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 30 – October 4. Coming in at #2 this week was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was U.S.-Iran relations and at #4 was the IPCC’s climate change report. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Moves Full-Steam Ahead into Digital Talk with iHeartRadio Talk. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces its newest digital platform – actually a custom feature of the existing iHeartRadio – dubbed iHeartRadio Talk. The company calls it “the first mass-market audio platform with the ability to offer on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment ‘audiosodes.’” The company also says iHeartRadio Talk will feature “Daily Pulse,” a customizable talk channel featuring the most up-to-date news and culture highlights, which allows users to add content that is most important to them. Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Talk radio listeners are some of the most dedicated and engaged listeners in the world, and now with iHeartRadio Talk, we are giving those listeners access to their favorite talk content anywhere they are. Plus, for the first time ever, listeners who have been accepted into the iHeartRadio Talk library will be able to record and instantly share their perspective on any topic they choose – it’s basically like offering ‘audio Twitter.’ We are giving a voice to the everyman, and at the same time are enabling iHeartRadio users to discover and enjoy thousands of ‘audiosodes’ from the best talent around the country – something only Clear Channel is able to offer.” As part of the initiative, Clear Channel has struck a deal with ABC TV to have the new feature include audio from “Good Morning America,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The View.”
Courtside Entertainment Brings Greg Batusic Aboard as COO. Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group announces former Westwood One executive Greg Batusic joins the company in the newly created position of chief operating officer. Batusic will be based in Los Angeles and report to Pattiz where he’ll be in charge of day-to-day operations of both Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media/Podcast One. Norm Pattiz comments, “In the early years of Westwood One, Greg helped lead the way to the multi-billion dollar network radio business. Now, while we do the same thing to on-demand audio, Greg’s expertise and leadership will be invaluable. He knows what it takes to build a company and an industry from the ground up and I’m happy to be working together again.” Batusic spent 15-plus years with Westwood One. During his career he has also served as executive vice president of global sales for Gibson Guitar. Prior to Gibson, he co-founded The Promotional, L.L.C. and served as the managing partner of the promotion company. He oversaw all operational business, marketing development and revenue generation through high profile promotional programs. Batusic says, “It’s my great pleasure to be working with Norm again. The vibe at Courtside is very much the same as it was at Westwood One – a lot of life, contagious energy and innovative ideas. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
CASE STUDY: How to Launch an Independently Syndicated Talk Show. In a highly informative column posted today (7/24) noted radio engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray outlines a step-by-step guide to launching an independently syndicated talk show using “Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor” as a case study. In it, Tom discusses every detail: from building a studio to purchasing satellite time; covering details such as getting the audio from the studio to the satellite, acquiring a toll-free, call-in line; launching an affiliate relations campaign, handling sales and audio production; as well as offering podcasts and building an accompanying website. Ray says, “Going into independent syndication, while not simple to do, will give you a great sense of satisfaction.” Actually, if you have a good show, launching an independently syndicated program is quite do-able. To read Tom Ray’s entire column, which is sure to help you get started, please click here.
Five Tips to Instant Cume Growth. Since the advent of PPM, many programmers have ceased worrying about certain elements that were deemed vital to the diary method but are now considered unimportant in the age of PPM. They are especially ignoring past-proven, cume-builders based on the premise that once people are listening — you already got ‘em. This is a huge mistake. Unless you have a major billboard, TV and newspaper advertising campaign in place you cannot afford to waste the power of your own air in generating cume. In a new column posted today, noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo addresses the AM radio problem of cume shrinkage and offers five tips to turn this negative trend around. To read the column, please click here.
Entercom CEO David Field Addresses Employees in ‘Midyear Update.’ In a companywide memo, Entercom CEO David Field delivers what’s termed a “midyear update” that serves as both a pep talk for the immediate future and a slap on the back for what the company has achieved thus far. Field states that coming out of the company’s management meetings in Minneapolis last week where they heard presentations on the state of the business and what the company can do to grow he believes, “We have terrific content, large audiences, outstanding personalities, great ratings, and powerful listener engagement. I found the meetings extremely motivating and informative and really enjoyed the time with our team of top-notch programming leaders.” Field then goes on to address numerous items under the subheadings Investing in Our People, Investing in Our Future, Making Entercom a Better Place to Work, and Why We Matter. Finally, he waxes positive about the radio business, “And radio is thriving. More people listen to AM/FM radio than ever before in history. And AM/FM radio has more than 9x the combined listening of all satellite and internet radio combined. The addition of our digital platforms has enabled us to engage our audiences and serve our advertisers in unprecedented ways. We have generated hundreds and hundreds of case studies demonstrating our effectiveness in delivering results for our customers.” To read David Field’s entire memo, click here.
KKOB, Albuquerque Records 52nd Straight #1 Book. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque notches its 52nd straight Arbitron ratings book at the top of the heap for Persons 12+ in the Spring ’13 ratings period. AM operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine the station is #5 in the market with Men 25-54 (Mon-Sun 6A-Mid) and notes “TSL is driving KKOB up to nine hours, two hours more than the Winter ’13 book.” Frisch also states, “The station is being driven by the king of mornings, Bob Clark (6:00 am to 10:00 am), and midday giant Rush Limbaugh (10:00 am to 1:00 pm). Both had over a nine-share in their time slots in the Spring book. I am finishing up my 14th year here at KKOB and 13 of those years have been at #1 and all of this is accomplished because of a great staff that gets it.”
Entercom to Flip WDMT, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Sports Talk. Speaking to the local Times-Leader, Entercom general manager Ryan Flynn says that although the adult alternative format heard on WDMT “The Mountain” had done “OK from a ratings standpoint” over the past 10 years, the company has not been able to monetize the format. With that, the station will become “The Sports Hub 102.3” on August 5. It’ll use NBC Sports Radio Network programming but will air a local, three-hour sports talk show in afternoon drive. The host(s) for that program have not been named. It’s interesting to note that the “Sports Hub” moniker is also used by CBS Radio in Boston on WBZ-FM which is in vicious competition with Entercom’s WEEI.
Sara McClure Named VP of Sales at CC Sacramento. Sara McClure is a veteran of Northern California radio sales, most recently serving with Entercom in numerous sales capacities. Now she joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment as vice president of sales for its six-station Sacramento cluster that includes: news/talk KFBK-AM/FM, talk KSTE classic hits KHLX “Classic 93.1,” adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and rhythmic oldies KHYL “V101,” . McClure worked with a Bay Area ad agency beginning in 1995 and has also served with CBS Radio. She says, “With my background in multimedia integrated selling, I know the timing is right to make my move to Clear Channel. I am looking forward to teaming up with [market president] Dave Milner to lead the Sacramento cluster and leverage the company’s industry-leading capabilities.”
Thom Abraham to Host AM Drive on Fort Myers Sports Duo. As TALKERS reported on July 23, Sun Broadcasting is splitting the two AM signals off its news/talk trimulcast WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM “92.5 Fox News.” The sports duo “The Fan” will feature Nashville-based Thom Abraham in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot. Abraham – whose show is heard in Nashville on WNSR as well as on WNTC, Drakesboro, Kentucky and WZZN, Huntsville, Alabama – was heard in the Fort Myers market on former sports talk WJBX from 2001 to 2004.
Celebrity Promotion for ObamaCare, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, IRS Scandal, MLB Suspends Ryan Braun, Detroit Bankruptcy Fallout, and Anthony Weiner Internet Sex Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration’s use of celebrities to promote the controversial law; issues of crime and race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict; the IRS policy targeting conservative groups and individuals; MLB suspends Ryan Braun for PEDs – A-Rod believed to be next; the fallout from Detroit’s bankruptcy filing; and the new allegations of sexual dalliances by New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Heidi Harris Exits KRLA, Los Angeles. After almost a year co-hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ KRLA/KTIE in Southern California “AM 870 The Answer,” Las Vegas-based talk show host Heidi Harris has left the program. It appears co-hosts Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro will be joined by another female co-host but who that is has not yet been announced by Salem. Harris doesn’t say what her plans are but posts this on her Facebook page, “I have some news that is GREAT news for me, and bad news for those of you who like me. After a very interesting year, filled with changes I could never have anticipated, I have left Salem LA. This has been in the works for months, and my recent “absences” were intentional, so management could audition someone to replace me. They have finally decided on someone, so my last day was yesterday. I could tell you who she is, but I’ll leave that to management to announce. She’s a darling girl, and I wish her the very best.” Harris has worked at KXNT and KDWN in Las Vegas.
Verizon to Cease Taking orders for ISDN in the Northeast Starting May 18. The fact that ISDN is on the way out is no surprise to anyone in the radio industry who has gone through the headache of trying to order it over the past five or more years. Simply put: The phone companies are not thrilled to install it. It doesn’t make money for them. It was originally created for use as “high-speed” internet. Now there are better and faster ways to increase internet speed. Broadcasters (who make up a rather small percentage of the population) adopted ISDN as a standard way of getting remote audio from point A to point B with good quality. For the most part, the phone companies could care less. They didn’t create it for that purpose. Now, the imminent demise of ISDN has taken a giant step closer to being a reality. Verizon stated yesterday (3/28) that they will no longer take orders for the service, at least in the Northeast, beginning May 18. What does this mean to radio broadcasters who have come to depend on ISDN for a majority percentage of their remote broadcasts? Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray provides the details and advice. Read his exclusive column here.
Clear Channel Cincinnati Announces Winner of “Final Format Tournament” for Soon-to-Be WLW FM Signal. On May 1, translator W233BG, Cincinnati will become the permanent FM simulcast signal for news/talk WLW (it’s been simulcasting CHR “Kiss 107”). However, the company ran a contest giving the winner programming control of the signal for a month and WEBN OM and PD Chris Williams announces that Florence, Kentucky resident Josh Field won the contest with his “Cincy Rock 94.5” entry. Following the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day broadcast on Monday, April 1, the signal becomes a rock outlet programmed by Field and dedicated to the “undiscovered rock of Cincinnati.” Williams states, “Before turning 94.5 over to ‘The Big One, 700 WLW,’ we wanted to take the opportunity to make Cincinnati radio history. Never before has a radio station been given away as a prize and placed in the control of a single fan. We’re excited that the audience selected a format that will support the local music scene with ‘Cincy Rock 94.5.’”
American General Media Names Bob Lewis Regional PD. Bob Lewis will be in charge of American General Media’s seven-station cluster in Albuquerque/Santa Fe and seven-station cluster in Bakersfield and as regional director of programming he’ll “be instrumental in the evolution of AGM’s established brands, as well as the launch of new stations, for both markets.” AGM president Rogers Brandon states, “I am delighted to have Bob rejoin our company in this important new capacity. We have a broad array of great radio stations in both Bakersfield and Albuquerque. I look forward to working with Bob to grow our stations with great heritage and develop new and exciting product lines.” Bob Lewis has worked as marketing and brand manager/program director for Trumper Communications‘ KMVA-FM in Phoenix and at Emmis Communications’ KDHT-FM and KBPA-FM in Austin. Prior to joining Emmis, Lewis was director of FM operations/marketing & programming for AGM’s Bakersfield cluster. He says, “I am beyond thrilled to be rejoining American General Media and look forward to learning and partnering with the exceptional PDs and staffs in Albuquerque and Bakersfield.”
Progressive Talk Show Host Thom Hartmann Provides Inspiring Model of Multi-Platform Delivery System – Exclusive Tour of DC Facility on TALKERS TV. He is a progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show host (WYD Media) whose shows – because of a creative, multi-platform approach (and a huge, growing fan base to support it) – are now available in over a half-billion homes worldwide. Thom Hartmann‘s radio show is distributed on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, on cable systems nationwide by CRN, on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in real time into nearly 40 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide. (In addition, his evening TV program, “The Big Picture,” is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries by the RT TV network and distributed worldwide on Hulu.) TALKERS TV caught up with this five-time Heavy Hundred member (currently ranked #8 in the nation) at his Washington, DC broadcast headquarters where he gives TALKERS readers an exclusive “tour” of the multi-media model facility. To see it click on the TALKERS TV box in the upper right hand column on this page.
Pssst, Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Record Company? TALKERS has gotten a line on an incredibly interesting and rare opportunity for the right person or company who would like to enter the music business or expand their present operation by acquiring a long-standing (decades) independent record company whose owners are retiring due to health issues and looking to liquidate some very interesting and valuable intellectual property. This acquisition would include a veritable treasure trove of 701 original master tapes – 380 of which are full albums, 341 containing 2-5 tracks covering approximately 225 artists from the early rock ‘n’ roll and big band eras. We are talking about many major names and hits as well as a number of almost-forgotten collector items. The owners are looking for a quick sale and are willing to make a great deal with the right buyer willing to give these treasures a good home and proper presentation in the marketplace where there is significant niche demand for this era of music. Interested parties should contact Barbara Kurland at TALKERS by calling 413-565-5413 or emailing Barbara@talkers.com for more details.
Is Moss Growing on Your Website? If so, radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers advice on how to maximize its impact as a numbers and revenue inducing ally to your on-air dial frequency. In a nuts and bolts column posted today (3/29) Cooke responds to the often-asked question, “Should I move from Facebook to Twitter?” His answer: “I sure would NOT: a) bother with MySpace, b) abandon Facebook, or c) under-utilize Twitter.” He goes on to state, “Wisely, stations and personalities are prioritizing Twitter, a darn opportune tool which listeners have adopted as-fervently as they did Facebook…and MySpace, in its day.” He goes on to say, “If you’re thinking that ‘The Next Shiny Object’ is your very own iPhone app, STOP. Save the money, for reasons I will explain on June 6 in my Talkers New York 2013 presentation ‘Resourceful + Remarkable.’” To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.
Odds & Sods. CNN announces a new morning show lineup in an effort to get out of the #3 spot behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC. According to the Los Angeles Times, Chris Cuomo will be joined by CNN congressional correspondent and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” co-anchor Kate Bolduan. New CNN president Jeff Zucker is charged with bringing CNN’s morning show out of the cellar and he’s also brought Michaela Pereira aboard as news anchor…..Entercom’s WEEI, Boston teams up with Miller Lite to sponsor a promotion that wraps up at tonight’s Boston Celtics game. The station has already qualified four local listeners as contestants during lead-up events and between the first and second quarters of the game, each will get a shot at $50,000 if they can sink a half-court shot…..CRN Digital Talk brings legendary Los Angeles radio personality to its network for a Saturday program beginning tomorrow. Dave Hull, who became a star on KRLA in the 1960s, returns to the air alongside Mandy Armstrong for the “Dave Hull & Mandy” show. Hull was known for his close relationship with the Beatles during their rise to stardom. He helped push the growth of rock music by helping plan the Beatles’ 1966 Hollywood Bowl concert as well as promoting clubs, other concerts and his own nightclub. About his new program he states, “I took some time off a few years ago to write a book and do some other things, but now I’m excited about coming back to radio and working with CRN…We’re going to have a humorous look at today’s news topics in a way that you’ve never heard on talk radio before. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
SNL Kagan Releases Rankings of Top 25 Media and Entertainment Companies. Based on 2012 figures and broken into two bases – net income and operating revenue – the SNL Kagan rankings of the top-earning media and entertainment firms are dominated by companies with diversified interests. That’s not surprising. Based on net income, CBS Corp. ranks #6 (down from #5 last year); Liberty Media (owner of SiriusXM) ranks #7 (up from #10 last year); and News Corp. (Fox News, et al) came in at #8 (down from #2 in 2011) all made the grade. When basing the rank on operating income, CC Media Holdings – parent of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – ranked #10 (same as in 2011). Interestingly, Nielsen Holdings N.V. – which may soon own Arbitron – ranked #17 in net income and #12 in operating revenue.
Gay Marriage Bumps Sequester from Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. The gay marriage debate – spurred by this week’s arguments at the Supreme Court – became the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio, overtaking the sequester effects which had been at the top for the past five weeks. At #2 this week was North Korea’s military threats. Coming in at #3 was gun legislation tied with the Jim Carrey song followed by the slow economic growth figures at #4. 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. See this week’s entire chart here.