Tag: "AM band"

Monday, June 3, 2013

| June 3, 2013

missouribroadcastersFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Addresses Missouri Broadcasters Association on AM Revitalization.  FCC commissioner Ajit Pai wasn’t physically at the Missouri Broadcasters Association convention over the weekend but he delivered an opening statement before a panel discussion about revitalization of the AM band.  Referencing the recent tornados in Oklahoma and the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri two years ago, Pai pointed to Zimmer Radio’s KZRG, Joplin as an AM outlet that kept Joplin residents informed when most other paiajitforms over communications – cell phones and the internet – were knocked out by the power loss to the region.  Pai stated, “In the wake of the Joplin tornado, when mobile phone service and the Internet were all but wiped out, broadcasters led by KZRG-AM 1310 provided around-the-clock, uninterrupted coverage for nine consecutive days. KZRG told residents how to get disaster relief and connected people in need with people who could help. The residents of Moore, Oklahoma have a long road ahead of them, but if they need inspiration for how to rally and recover, they can look to Joplin as a model.”  As for the future of AM, Pai said, “But AM radio plays an important role in towns throughout the United States every single day. AM stations cover local politics and host debates about local issues.  They cover community events, such as high school sports.  And they reach out to all parts of society, with programming targeted at minorities, people who speak foreign languages, and the elderly.”  Pai reiterated his move to address the AM band in Washington, DC, “I proposed last year that the FCC launch an AM Radio Revitalization Initiative.  The last time the FCC comprehensively reviewed its AM radio rules was over two decades ago.  I think it’s time we do so again.  Since I made this proposal, I’ve been amazed by the outpouring of support from broadcasters across the country.  They’ve shared many ideas with me for improving the AM band, and I know that you’ll be discussing some of them today. Such as: How can the FCC make it easier for AM broadcasters to obtain an FM translator?  Should we eliminate the AM ratchet rule?  Should we replace the current minimum efficiency standard with a minimum radiation standard?  Should we modify community of coverage standards?  And what about the long-term future of the band?  Should our goal be to transition stations to all-digital? Or are there other options we need to think about? These are just a few of the questions that I hope you’ll address during today’s panel.”

raytomTom Ray’s Professional Opinion:  Do NOT Air the FEMA/Ad Council PSA!  You may have seen TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray‘s warning in this past Friday’s edition of TALKERS  (5/31) regarding a PSA that was released by the Ad Council, under the auspices of FEMA, extolling the virtues of the emergency alerts the public can now receive on their cell phones.  A great idea.  Worthy of getting the word out.  Even if the PSA promotes a service available on cell phones.  Only one problem.  The PSAs (there are several, and they are also available for television) use the EAS two-tone alert tone as part of the message.  Why is this a problem?  According to Ray who writes in a scathing column posted today (6/3), “Well, FCC regulation 11.45 states that the EAS codes and the EAS two-tone alert cannot be used for any purpose unless directly associated with an actual EAS message or an EAS test.”  Ray continues, “I believe the FCC fine for using the tone outside an EAS message starts around $10,000.  I, along with numerous other persons around the country, sent out the alert NOT to air this PSA.  I even sent notes to the SBE and the NAB.  Around 4:00 pm on Friday, May 31, a notice was released by the FCC granting FEMA a waiver for one year to utilize the EAS two tone alert in their PSA’s.  It is apparently OK to air this PSA.  I’m wondering how you prove it is the one produced by FEMA and is legal.  I then received an email from someone at FEMA that stated, ‘See, we aren’t off our rockers.  This notice was supposed to come out before the release of the PSA.’  Three letters came to mind.  W.  T.  F.”  To read Tom Ray’s entire column, click here.

seltzerbrentBrent Seltzer and Meg McDonald Named “Official Greeters” of Talkers New York 2013. TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce that the Los Angeles-based husband and wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald have beenmcdonaldmeg named to serve as the “Official Greeters” of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 set this week for Thursday, June 6 in the Big Apple.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Brent and Meg are one of the most colorful and dynamic couples in the radio business today and the contributions they made to the past two California installments of the TALKERS conference in 2012 and 2011 proved to be invaluable.  We are absolutely delighted that they will be joining us in New York City Thursday for the big annual event and serving in this key role.”  Brent Seltzer is a legendary radio journalist/talent whose roots go back to the golden era of album rock radio when he established himself as one of the nation’s most successful and creative “rock ‘n’ roll radio newsmen.”  He was heard on such storied stations as KMET, KNX, KZLA and KMPC, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego among others.  A ubiquitous figure in the voice-over field since then, Brent is the main voice and writer of the widely heralded, short-form feature “Brent Seltzer: Still at Large” heard on XM Satellite Radio, Podjockey, and WSRO, Santa Rosa.  Meg McDonald APR, who serves as co-writer and co-performer on “Still at Large,” is the multi-award winning president and founder of McDonald Media Services, one of the premiere public relations firms on the West Coast for the past three-plus decades.  The beautiful and gorgeous-voiced daughter of popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser (“The Phil Silvers Show”) and famous film and TV dancer Ray McDonald, Meg has been in show business and media since birth.  According to Harrison, “Brent and Meg will be playing a significant role in the lineup of TalkersRadio – but we’ll save that story for later in the summer.”  The role of “Official Greeters” at the TALKERS conference consists of being the liaison between the directors of the conference and its attendees providing a vital link in keeping everything moving smoothly along its very tight and power-packed schedule.

washburndocWBT, Charlotte Drops Doc Washburn’s Evening Show.  Telling the Charlotte Observer that the program wasn’t cost-effective, program director Jason Furst announces that Doc Washburn’s 9:00 pm to 1:00 am talk show is being replaced by Premiere Networks nationally syndicated “America Now with Andy Dean.”  Washburn will remain a regular fill-in host on the station.

clearchannelClear Channel Announces Debt Restructure Terms.  The bond exchange that Clear Channel announced back in mid-May has been completed and the terms are as follows.  A new $5 billion Term Loan D has been created as Term Loan B lenders and/or Term Loan C lenders agree to push the maturity of a portion of their loans due in 2016 to January 30, 2019.  The company states that “approximately $6.7 billion in aggregate principal amount of term loans was submitted for extension in the offer and, accordingly, the amount of each lender’s term loans that was accepted for extension was reduced by a proration factor of approximately 74.6808%.”  Upon the closing of the offer, CCU’s cash flow credit facility consisted of an approximately $3 billion Term Loan B facility which matures on January 30, 2016, an approximately $198.2 million Term Loan C facility which matures on January 30, 2016 and a $5 billion Term Loan D facility which matures on January 30, 2019.  Concurrently with the closing of the offer, CCU entered into an amendment to the agreement governing its cash flow credit facility, which permits CCU to make AHYDO catch-up payments beginning in May 2018 with respect to the new Term Loan D facility and any notes issued in connection with CCU’s previously announced exchange offer with respect to its outstanding 10.75% Senior Cash Pay Notes due 2016 and 11.00%/11.75% Senior Toggle Notes due 2016.  The new Term Loan D facility has the same security and guarantee package as the outstanding Term Loans B and C and borrowings under the new Term Loan D facility bear interest at a rate equal to, at CCU’s option, adjusted LIBOR plus 6.75% or a base rate plus 5.75%.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Boasts Digital Ratings Peak.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago reports the station achieved its highest digital ratings ever Wednesday, May 29 during its coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Western Conference Semifinals Game 7 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings.  The historic game registered 22,917 simultaneous digital listeners at 10:00 pm, the peak of the thrilling overtime playoff victory by the Blackhawks.  WGNRadio.com shattered its previous streaming record of 11,771 recorded on May 27, 2013 and the next closest was 10,318 during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run on June 2, 2010.  The station says it will continue to broadcast on all of its digital platforms as it covers the 2013 NHL Western Conference Final featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

wproWPRO, Providence Takes Page from the Papers.  Cumulus Media’s “Newstalk 630 AM and 99.7 FM” WPRO, Providence and its website 630WPRO.com, begins a regular column called “Your Voice, Your Turn,” an op-ed platform where “Rhode Island’s most intriguing voices will share their opinions with the people of the Ocean State.”  The first column in this ongoing series features the state’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah A. Gist with a piece titled, “The Truth About Testing.”  WPRO program director Craig Schwalb states, “As Commissioner of Education, Ms. Gist’s voice is prominent in, and important to, Rhode Island which makes her the perfect choice to launch the ‘Your Voice, Your Turn’ Op-Ed platform on 630wpro.com.”  The station says it “looks forward to showcasing the views of other notable Rhode Islanders on a regular basis.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

| April 9, 2013

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s Panel at NAB Show Addresses Future of the AM Band.  To someone outside the business eavesdropping on the FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai-moderated panel at the NAB Show it would seem almost bizarre that in an era where every other word uttered in connection with media is “digital” that a long discussion about saving the AM band could take place, but that’s exactly what happened in Las Vegas on Monday.  As the AM-friendly Pai led the talk about AM’s future, there were several ideas put forth about how to keep the band alive – one of which included crafting legislation to flip the whole band digital.  This idea was supported by CBS Radio SVP of engineering Glynn Walden who suggested that very soon HD radios will surpass satellite radio receivers in numbers (presumably due to inclusion in new car information/entertainment systems).  Other suggestions included making it easier for broadcasters to use FM translators by changing the regulations to simplify their move to the same location as the original city of license.  Still, other observers noted that these suggestions all involve making the operation of an AM station more expensive – in some cases requiring tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In recent years, numerous broadcasters have told TALKERS that one of the beauties of buying an AM station is that, in relative terms, it’s more affordable than an FM operation and allows for easier entry into the business for minority and foreign-language operators.

cookeholland2013 NAB Show: “Metamorphosis: The Changing Face of Media & Entertainment.”  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports that “change” is certainly the name of the game in Las Vegas this week as radio broadcasters gather to talk about their medium and its integration into the fast-changing, bigger picture that is the world of information and entertainment.  Holland reports on numerous sessions he attended dealing with such issues as the changing face of sales as it applies to markets of all sizes; the technical limitations of the AM band; AM/FM radio’s future in the car dashboard; and the opening keynote by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith.  Read Holland’s column here.

nms2013logoAgenda Set for Talkers New York 2013.  The roster of industry luminaries signed up to serve as speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 has been announced and it reads like a who’s who of the talk radio industry.  Not yet named on the list are several more “surprise” speakers including the yet-to-be revealed recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award which will bring the total to around 50.  In making the announcement, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “In the 16-year colorful history of this national conference, I believe this is the best and most balanced lineup of speakers we’ve ever assembled.  This power-packed gathering of management, programming, sales and technical leaders will directly address today’s most important issues, as the radio industry – not just spoken-word - faces some of the most existential challenges of its century-long history.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Concierge Conference Center, 780 Third Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side.   The event, which is on the verge of being an early sellout, is open exclusively to members of the working media.  Registrations can only be booked by credit card over the phone at 413-565-5413.  To see the up-to-the-minute agenda and schedule, click here.

bokenyibernardBernard Bokenyi Named PD at Sport Talk KXTG, Portland.  Alpha Broadcasting’s sports talk KXTG-AM “750 The Game” announces Bernard Bokenyi is the station’s new program director.  Director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “Bernard brings a genuine passion and drive to sports radio that is invaluable to ‘750 The Game’ and Alpha Broadcasting.”  Bokenyi has served with Alpha Broadcasting for the past three years.  Prior to that he served as executive producer at Good Karma’s WKNR, Cleveland and spent a number of years based in Chicago with Sports News Radio.  On his new gig he says, “I am truly honored to be given this opportunity with such a great radio station and to be a part of a company that is committed to creating quality content.”

freemanedge“Free Talk Live” Adds Two Affiliates.  The independent, nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live” – co-hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – announces two new affiliate stations join the program.  First, replacing the soon-to-be-ending “Daily Wrap,” Georgia Eagle Broadcasting’s WRWR-AM, Warner Robins, Georgia adds FTL for the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  Over in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hutton Broadcasting’s triple A KVSF-FM is flipping to talk and will add FTL for the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight time slot.

federrobertChicago Media Journalist Robert Feder to Exit Time Out Chicago.  Longtime Chicago media writer Robert Feder – who’s wrote for the Sun-Times for decades and most recently has been a fixture at Time Out Chicago, announces that due to a change in the ownership structure of Time Out Chicago, he’s accepted a buyout of his deal and says he looks forward to continuing his coverage of Windy City media in another incarnation very soon.

waltonmcnabbThe Land of the Giants.  Prior to last night’s Dial Global broadcast of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game in Atlanta, NBC Sports Radio personality Donovan McNabb of the network’s “Under Center with McNabb and Malone” program interviewed basketball great Bill Walton who served as an analyst for Dial Global’s radio coverage of the game.

Margaret Thatcher Dies, Gun Legislation Issue, North Korea Threats, Immigration Reform, and News Reporter Faces Jail Time Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8).  The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; various gun legislation proposals; the threats against the U.S. and South Korea from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; immigration reform proposals; and the legal battle being fought by Fox News reporter Jana Winter to protect her sources in the case of Colorado shooter James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

| February 7, 2013

owensronnRonn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco.  The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year.  Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years.  At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!

eaganbraudeBoston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH.  Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change.   Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK.  The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8.  The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium.  Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”

olivertrevorTrevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks.  After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position.  Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity.  Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.

malonesamTalk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!).  Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later.  The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope.  “This is where radio will be going in the future.  We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.”  In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston.  He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.

sweeneyjohnFormer Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show.  Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.”  Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11.  Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.”  Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District.  Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”

ramseyknoxDave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently.  Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation.  Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event.  WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community.  Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”

la talk radio logoLA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary.  The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.”  Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world.  We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.”  LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles.  It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.

patrickmorgan gunsKTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston.  Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.”  Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns.  Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.

kykn gun rallyKYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally.  Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.”  A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue.  The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.

Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.