“Secret Weapon” Reveals Radio’s Greatest Ally. As vice president of talent development, iHeartMedia‘s Dennis Clark is often referred to inside the company as its “secret weapon.” Interviewed in Los Angeles by Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey during hivio 2015, Clark emphasizes that talent is the “difference maker of what radio is today” and what the medium could be in the future. “At iHeartMedia, we realize that our point difference is the talent we have on our radio stations,” he acknowledges. It is up to an individual talent though to have personal drive and that starts, Clark suggests, when they raise his or her hand. “They might become super-irritating or annoying, but we really love it,” he comments because it shows that a person “has the energy and the spirit.” At that point, the person has most likely researched the station for which they want to work, or what their “act” could be. “It has to be a great show inside what the station is,” Clark states. “The person has to really know [that particular] station’s brand, its overall, 24-hour mission, and where [he or she] fits into that package.” That philosophy of Clark’s, which he readily admits is not easy-to-teach, applies to all day-parts, not simply morning drive. In order to get his point across to talent, Clark uses examples of other people “who have built a brand.” For example, Bobby Bones – who formerly did mornings on iHeartMedia Austin CHR KHFI “Kiss-FM” – approached (iHeartMedia’s Premiere Radio Networks) with the idea of syndicating his 6:00 am – 11:00 am morning drive program to country stations. “We listened to his show as-is and felt it could fit,” Clark recounts. “The opportunity came for him in Nashville” on iHeartMedia’s country WSIX-FM “The Big 98” and “he went all-in. His CHR experience has been very helpful for him. He understood – and was a great student of – branding. It is very important that talent [get] that.” While iHeartMedia has quite a number of talented on-air personalities at its hundreds and hundreds of stations, no one has a higher profile than “American Idol” host and television production mogul Ryan Seacrest. Not only does the man spearheading morning drive with Ellen K on CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” accept direction, he welcomes it. That, Clark stresses, is a characteristic of a great talent. “It goes to show his drive. Really great personalities have many ideas, but they also know when something is not working. Each show is unique and the ideas have to come from them. Ryan seizes the opportunity to have the conversation at the right time.” Years ago on Seacrest’s show, there was a producer whose nieces and nephews were big fans of “Hanna Montana,” the 2006-2011 Disney Channel television program starring Molly Cyrus. Seacrest played a few of her records, even though the label – Hollywood Records – was not actively promoting them. “At the time, it was a fad and it became a phenomenon,” Clark explains. It might be said that one particular social media platform is also “a fad that has become a phenomenon” and Clark declares, “Twitter has been the best thing for radio. It is now; it is in the moment; and it is interactive.” Among the beliefs at iHeartMedia is that the more ears that hear their company’s shows the better – regardless of method of distribution. “This is a cume business,” Clark puts forth. “The more you invite – the more people will come. The more that they hang into a show, [the greater the chance that] they could become raving fans and disciples of the brand you are developing.” The two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood’s Improv.
Are Television Ratings No Longer Relevant? A production of Chicago public radio station WBEZ, “Serial” was a hot topic of conversation during the two-day (Thursday, 6/4 and Friday, 6/5) hivio 2015 seminar in Los Angeles. Among those invoking the Peabody Award-winning podcast was TV Guide Magazine Los Angeles bureau chief Michael Schneider, who possesses more than 20 years covering the television business. Regarding “Serial,” he points out to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey that, “It is a game-changer and has television people talking, and you don’t hear television people talk too much about audio. You can see the impact of ‘Serial’ on television, which is ironic because ‘Serial’ reminded television people of ‘Dateline NBC‘ and ’48 Hours.'” the most Perhaps the most important issue in television these days is ownership. In announcing their fall lineups, TV network executives indicated they are picking up more of their own in-house productions. “That’s the way [the networks] still make money,” Schneider explains. “They are not making it on advertising anymore because ratings are going down.” NBC and Fox are in the distribution space; however, as the former 12-year television editor of the trade publication Variety points out, people no longer consume programs on those networks live. “They are watching their shows time-shifted, on Hulu.com, or someplace else.” It is Schneider’s contention that television ratings no longer matter. “Look at Netflix – look at Amazon,” he stresses. “We constantly bug Netflix to have them tell us who is watching, but they will not do it. I have no idea who is watching ‘Orange is the New Black.’ All they say is that it is their top-rated show, but that does not help me at all.” Given they do not sell advertising, there is no need to disclose that information – and they are not doing so. Several of Schneider’s friends work at Netflix. Their feedback is that Netflix has figured out just what the audience wants and the company has it down to a science. A strong partisan of CBS Radio Los Angeles alternative outlet KROQ morning drivers Kevin & Bean, Schneider downloads their four-hour show each day. “They do a fantastic job and I love them,” he proclaims of the recent Radio Hall of Fame inductees. “When you take out the music and commercials, they do about two hours of content every day. I have a ridiculous one-hour [one-way] commute.” By the time Schneider leaves for work and then returns home, he has listened to all two hours of the “Kevin & Bean” content. “In the ‘old days,’ I would have heard bits and snippets of their show going in, but nothing on the way home,” he states. “Now, I get a concentrated two-hour dose of that show every day. I am more in-tune to what they are doing.” As a result, he has become even more of an “avid fan” of their daily broadcasts since he feels a greater investment in the program. On the flipside, he no longer listens to the terrestrial station (KROQ). Particularly this time of year, which is Emmy campaign season, Schneider is moderating panel discussions with major television stars and producers. Relevance to a radio audience is that Schneider is a podcaster for Los Angeles public outlet KCRW (Santa Monica Community College). He brings along a digital recorder to his panel sessions and is able to have a “bonus edition” to his “The Spin-Off” podcast. “Suddenly, I am doing four podcasts a month,” Schneider explains. “All I have to do is ask my pals at KCRW to edit it down a little bit. We are in the early experimental stages of podcasts where we can get away with doing something like that. People are hungry for content so they dig it. The more I give, the more I hear from people.”
NAB/RAB Radio Show Opens in Orlando. A delegation of editors, writers and reporters from TALKERS/RadioInfo is on hand at the massive Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida as day one of the 2013 NAB/RAB Radio Show kicks off with a battery of sessions and presentations. Initial observation of the event indicates a large turnout (official numbers to come) and the discussion of a wide variety of topics covering everything from music label/radio relations to the rise of sports talk radio including programming, marketing, sales and financial issues intrinsic to the radio industry. The underlying issue of radio’s integration into the digital era remains the prevailing theme of just about every subject being examined and scrutinized. Interestingly, in spite of the Florida heat and humidity, the crowd is particularly well-dressed in business attire (we take note of these things) indicating a no-nonsense seriousness in terms of the collective industry consciousness and mood on display in the city built by Mickey Mouse. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will be presenting his annual address at the conference tomorrow detailing 10 problems facing radio and solutions available to the medium in securing its vital pop cultural role in the new digital era. The address takes place in room Gatlin E2 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm on Thursday and is open to all attendees of the show. Pictured here are (clockwise from top): TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler, and H&H Communications president and TALKERS/RadioInfo sales maven Al Herskovitz.
Tap into Your Star Power. Earlier this morning at the NAB/RAB Radio Show, Cumulus Media senior vice president Mike McVay (far left) moderated the panel “Tap into Your Star Power and Build Your Brand.” The panel provided attendees the opportunity to “learn from the experts who, through the power of radio, have successfully branded themselves.” On the panel with McVay are (from l-r): ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton; Reach Media nationally syndicated radio personality D.L. Hughley; and Brand Like a Rock Star author Steve Jones.
RAIN Summit Coverage. Radio consultant Holland Cooke covered the RAIN Summit held here in Orlando held the day prior to the beginning of the Radio Show and he reports from the gathering of broadcasters and digital audio practitioners. Cooke says topics ranged from the ongoing problem of ad insertion to building a digital sales force to the drive to become the destination for listeners using their mobile device for audio entertainment. Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
WEEI, Boston Wins ‘Best Streaming Broadcast Station’ Award. At the RAIN Summit – traditionally held each year the prior to the kick-off of the NAB/RAB Radio Show – Entercom sports talk outlet WEEI, Boston was honored with the award for Best Streaming Broadcast Station. More than 100 services made entries for this year’s RAIN Awards and WEEI bested both WBZ-AM, Boston and ESPN Radio to take home the honor. Entercom vice president of digital strategy and enterprise platforms Tim Murphy, says, “This recognition centers on the quality of our audio programming at WEEI. This is a tremendous award for an amazing brand, and our incredible team of talent and producers who do an amazing job covering Boston sports. The entire WEEI team is incredibly innovative at distributing our content through industry leading strategies regarding search optimization, mobile distribution and social engagement.”
Lew Dickey Lays Out Digital Strategy. In a memo to his company (and the media), Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey explains the company’s digital audio strategy with regard to the recently announced partnership with Rdio. Part of the three-page memo includes the four-pronged plan for digital audio consisting of: on demand, custom playlist, internet radio/non-local radio, and local radio streaming. With regard to on demand, Dickey states that “people realize that it’s better to rent an unlimited library of content than it is to acquire limited pieces of content — be it music or movies. Rdio is positioned on the leading edge of this important media trend, enabling consumers to listen and discover virtually unlimited amounts of music on any device with a high degree of social engagement across the Rdio platform. Think of Rdio for audio as the equivalent of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon all combined for video. A free or paid subscription to Rdio gives you access to 20 million songs as well as nearly every new song that is released instantly. Your iTunes library now becomes obsolete.” Stating that the custom playlist aspect is Pandora’s only business and that Rdio offers the service, his company will assist Rdio in that. “We will help add an experienced professional programming element to curation that will further differentiate Rdio from what is Pandora’s singular business. In addition, Rdio draws from a vast library of 20 million songs – 20x that of Pandora.” In the internet radio/non-local radio category, Dickey says the best product out there now is SiriusXM – but he calls it expensive and not widely listened to. “Cumulus will draw upon our stable of iconic brands, content and talent to produce new, exclusive channels and short-form programs that give listeners an unparalleled listening experience on a single digital platform. Rdio will combine the best of iTunes, Pandora and Sirius in one app that can be accessed on virtually any desktop or mobile device.” Dickey says Rdio does not currently offer the local station streaming service that iHeartRadio does and his stations will continue their relationship with the Clear Channel service for now.
Ad and Media Expert Michael Kassan to Be Featured on WOR, New York During Advertising Week. The annual New York City Advertising Week event takes place next week – September 23 – 27 – and Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR, New York will feature content from renowned ad and media expert Michael Kassan, founder, chairman and CEO of MediaLink. Clear Channel notes, “Kassan will bring his unparalleled understanding of the advertising and media worlds to broadcast and digital listening audiences via WOR 710 AM, iHeartRadio’s WOR station and wor.com via an ongoing series of insightful reports, commentary, updates and interviews throughout Advertising Week, the world’s premier gathering of advertising, marketing and communications leaders. Among other features, Kassan will host a series of daily Advertising Week previews and updates; exclusive interviews with major media and advertising world figures; and commentary on significant advertising and media topics that emerge during Advertising Week events.” CCM&E chairman and CEO John Hogan states, “Michael Kassan is one of the most highly respected names in the advertising and media worlds. His incredibly well-informed reporting will illuminate Advertising Week for WOR listeners, as well as those listening to WOR over iHeartRadio and wor.com, bringing unparalleled insight and depth to the most important issues facing the industry as it prepares to address the future and prepare for its next stage of growth. We are thrilled to have an expert of this caliber play such a critical role in our Advertising Week lineup.”
Federated Media Chooses TuneIn for Mobile App. TuneIn becomes the official mobile app and online audio player for all Federated Media stations including Fort Wayne news/talk giant WOWO and rocker WBYR “The Bear.” Federated Media owns 15 radio stations in Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Warsaw, Indiana. TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “TuneIn is constantly focused on giving listeners access to the best content available, no matter where they are in the world. We are very excited Federated Media has chosen TuneIn as their full digital solution, offering listeners content via mobile, and web.” Federated Media programming has been available on TuneIn for months, but this new agreement makes TuneIn the broadcast group’s comprehensive digital solution for both mobile and desktop listening. Every Federated Media station will eschew their existing mobile apps in favor of the free TuneIn Radio app, and Federated Media stations will promote TuneIn on-air. Federated Media chief strategy officer James Derby comments, “With TuneIn, our listeners can now hear their favorite Federated Media stations at any time, no matter where they are – all through one app. TuneIn now provides all Federated Media stations additional digital distribution to reach our listeners through over 200 connected devices, ranging from mobile phones and tablets, to smart TVs and cars.”
Dave Ramsey in Orlando. Timing his appearance to coincide with the NAB/RAB Radio Show, nationally syndicated talk show star and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Orlando on Tuesday, September 17, to a packed house at Chapin Theatre. Ramsey spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees. Ramsey joined with local affiliate WFLA, Orlando (WFLF) to promote the event. WFLA general sales manager Mark Kanak states, “On behalf of all of us at Clear Channel Orlando, it is a genuine pleasure to welcome a legend like Dave Ramsey. Dave has made an enormous impact on our listeners’ lives and his fans continue to grow.” Pictured above are (from l-r): WFLA PD Jim Poling, Kanak, Dave Ramsey and the WFLA sales team.
Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success. WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts. With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months. Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album. “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says. The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful. Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011. The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!” Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.
WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt. The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com. Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt. Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States. I’ve tried everything. He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug. It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances. And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.” Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper. Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS. Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did. When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply. Read the Miami Herald story here.
WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show. Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations. Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September. Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.” Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati. While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.
Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks. The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there. But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests. Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel. Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.
Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs. The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming. The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs. David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”
Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel. Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California. Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience. This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.
Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal. A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America. This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product. SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us. We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year. We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”
Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales. Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.” Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization. Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”
Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix. Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios. Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.” Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years. We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf” on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”
CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City. The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.” The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary. Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events. A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.
KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest. In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida. The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports. The station has been holding open auditions for the past month. Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced. Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.